Part One - Staring into the Barrel
They stuck together when they were kids, but as time went on they drifted their separate ways, forgetting about what their parents had foretold. Though separated, each one of them seemed to only be a stone's throw away from one another. They each knew if they were in trouble they could count on each other if in danger. And thus was the unspoken rule…
Tap. Tap. Tap.
A lonely figure sat on a cement bench, her back to the rest of the world as she sat in silence. The only sound that emitted from her corner of the world was the tapping of the long metal rod on the floor. It was red, and flaking off in some places, but this was unknown to the girl, she had not seen the color red for many years. Though she sometimes felt it, and even claimed that she could smell it. Despite her lack of site, she insisted that her dark glasses had a tint of red in them. Her shoulder length black hair blew in the wind softly as she thought to herself. Thinking about the world passing by the girl usually gave her great joy, being able to listen to all the happiness around her. But today, she was not listening to the world, she was listening for familiar footsteps. She wanted someone to talk to.
Tap. Tap. Tap.
And then she heard it; familiar footsteps coming from the distant crowd. She stopped the tapping to intently listen, trying to decipher whom the footsteps belonged to. It was not until the figure sat next to her that she was able to tell who it was.
"Vriska." She spoke softly to her friend, a hint of hurt behind her voice, as if she had been crying. When her old friend did not answer, she spoke again. "Your breath is faster than usual, are you okay?"
"I'm fine, Terezi." Vriska spoke sharply, her voice like ice. They both fell silent and Vriska scanned Terezi, her gaze drifting towards the symbol for the star sign Libra on the shoulder of her jacket. Though Vriska's long tangled hair covered it, she had a similar sign sewed into the lining of her own. Her black hair fell over one eye, where previously she had sustained an injury and was forced to lay a bandage over it in a faint hope that it would heal. One of her arms had fallen limply on her lap, where it barely moved.
"You are nervous, I can feel it." Terezi retorted to which Vriska scoffed and they both fell silent again. Terezi's ears picked up a few moments later to a familiar sound of footsteps, ones she knew all too well and her blank eyes started to water with tears. At her reaction Vriska was up in a flash, her eye flashing with anger.
"Look, I just want to talk to her." The boy spoke sternly; he appeared to be underweight and worse a long sleeved shirt with the star sign for Cancer on his left forearm. His hair was a mess and his eyes were bloodshot, as if he had not slept in days.
"And why should you be able to?" Vriska snapped, the word 'why' elongated out longer than she had intended, as it often did when she was mad or annoying someone. In this case, she was doing both. "You are a complete bastard, Karkat! After everything you and Terezi have been through? And you break up with her over text! Even I would never stoop that low." She snarled at him, cutting him off before he had a chance to open his mouth.
Karkat's hands balled into fists. "You do not have any say about what I do or do not do! Fucking Hell, Vriska! Mind your own God Damn business for once and fucking step aside!" He lost his temper, standing his ground against Vriska, who was nearly a head taller than him.
Vriska's hand trembled inside of her jacket pocket. "Just step the fuck away Karkat." Her voice lowered to a hiss, glaring at him with an icy stare with which Karkat returned with one of his own.
There was an extreme tension in the air, and Terezi could feel it. Before she could open her mouth to say anything, she heard Karkat move towards her, and was suddenly stopped by something she could neither see, nor hear.
"Vriska!" Karkat hissed under his breath, his eyes wide with fear as his entire body trembled.
"You will pay, Vantas, I told you to step the fuck away." She whispered, concealing the barrel of a gun beneath her jacket, aimed directly at his stomach.
"Gamzee…? Gamzee are you listening…?" His voice was muddled, as if speaking through a phone with a bad signal. Clear eyes looked up with worry painfully swimming through their gray, almost orange, color.
Gamzee shook his head, trying to clear it. It only made things worse, his vision going slightly fuzzy while he swayed from the sudden motion. "Yeah…" He managed to spit out, fixing his hood carefully over his black, messy hair. "Tav… I'm listening, bro."
"I-I... uh... I'm worried about you…" He stammered, looking nervously at his star sign, sewn onto the shoulder of Gamzee's purple jacket. "You… haven't been yourself, uh, lately and…" He paused, gathering his thoughts and what little courage he had. "I-I… I need to tell you something…" He spoke softly, staring at his feet as he tapped his foot nervously. Though he was only a few inches shorter than Gamzee, Tavros felt as if he was two inches tall.
"Hey. Motherfucker." Gamzee swayed faintly, putting his hands on Tavros' shoulders as he tried to slowly figure out in his mind the best get away. He had started to feel himself on the downhill slide, if he could just turn Tavros and get away to find one of his stashes… "You don't need to worry about a fuckin' think. I'm alright." He gave a weak smile, turning Tavros to the side.
Kanaya knew of the unspoken rule. It had been her that established it at a very young age. She always watched over the others, carefully, silently. She seemed to know what was going to transpire, but this was not so. She gained her information by closely observing an old friend. Kanaya was a tall girl, with short black hair and a calming smile, though today she was tense. Across the quad she could see others, the only others that mattered.
A boy and girl walked out of a classroom, hand in hand, dressed a bit lavishly for school attire. But none the less, even they were burdened with their Star Signs. Eridan and Feferi. Though they claimed to be better than the others, but in an outsider's eyes they were merely nothing.
Scanning to the left Kanaya could see her friend Equius meeting up with a rather short girl who bounced a bit when she saw him. Kanaya cracked a small smile for a split second. She grew panicked as she could not find the last two members, and then she remembered, they would be outside of their class soon. Not daring to look to the right, for she knew what was to occur.
The one place no one looked, the right of the quad. Standing there, were Vriska and Karkat.
"What was that?"
She was laughing.
She made the gun click. It was armed.
"Say goodbye, Vantas."
The look in her eyes…
No. No. No.
And then Karkat found the strength to fight.
The sudden loud noise deafened those within ear shot of the outdoor school. In a flash, bystanders did not know left from right, up from down. No one knew what was happening, and caused panic. With one noise released shouting and running. Chaos.
It took a moment for Gamzee to fully calibrate what he was seeing, weather it was from the drugs or just the fact it was impossible, he was not sure. Though impossible, there it was before him. There was no mistaking it, no looking away, no looking back, no time to do anything. Not even a tear was shed because of the shock was so horrible. At that moment, Tavros Nitram had crumpled to the concrete in a pool of his own blood.