"Nepeta... Uh... Nepeta drinks a mothefuckin' thing of Faygo or something."
"Gamzee, that's what you always do."
"Yeah, I know. Meow."
Gamzee absentmindedly scratched at Nepeta's cat hoodie as she poured them some tea, humming a little tune to himself as he glanced around her house. Getting the hood on had been a chore: Gamzee couldn't remember how he'd gotten it over his horns the first time, and Nepeta had to fuss with it for half an hour to get it on right, but good roleplaying was worth it. For her part, Nepeta couldn't figure why Gamzee wanted to roleplay with her so badly, but she had been pleased enough when he asked. Sure Gamzee was a little strange, and sure he was more of a mindset to stare with vacant joy at things that amused him than to actively use his imagination, but the boy was trying dammit, and anything was an improvement over ruthlessly murdering people. Not that she held that against him.
They were sitting in the troll equivalent to a living room, part of the weird blended architecture that resulted from the trolls picking up human cultural tidbits without really understanding how they worked. Many a pleasant hour in New Can Town had been spent throwing the throw pillows around for no reason, and sweet Jegus beds were so damn comfortable. Screw piles of horns, if you wanted a nap you took it on a foot and a half of fluffy, cottony goodness. Nepeta had set up a tea set between two of the haphazardly-strewn throw pillows, and had lent Gamzee one of her hoodies. She herself was wearing a little red clown nose, Gamzee's day-to-day attire lacking anything distinguishing except the weird face paint that creeped her out.
"Gamzee purrs his delightful host some more tea, being careful not to spill some like last time-"
"Yeah, yeah, my bad."
"-and asks her what she intends to do this fine day."
"Aw man, I dunno, I hear Tavros got some new-"
"Third purrson, Gamzee."
"Right. Gamzee thinks he'll just go over to his best buddy Tavros's house and have a mothefuckin' feelings jam on his new pile of shit."
"Yeah, but you're supposed to be me now, Gamzee."
"Okay, I got this, Nepeta thinks she'll head over to her best buddy Tavros's-"
"Me and Tavros aren't best buddies though."
Gamzee arched an eyebrow. "What? Why not?"
"Well it's not like I don't like him, we just aren't very close."
"But I thought me and Tavros were best buddies."
"No, I'm not being you right now now."
"I'm being me."
"...But I'm supposed to be you?"
"...And you're Gamzee, so I'm me! Aw man, now I got it, this is motherfuckin easy."
"No, you're Nepeta!"
"Okay, now I'm just confused again."
Nepeta growled a little in frustration. "Just-just tell yourself, over and over, 'I'm Nepeta', okay?"
"Okay... okay, 'I'm Nepeta, I'm Nepeta, I'm motherfuckin' Nepeta..." Gamzee said, squeezing his eyes shut in concentration.
Nepeta smiled a little to see that Makara was at least taking this seriously, and got up to get more tea. Gamzee cracked an eye open. "Nepeta? Where you going?"
"I'm still Gamzee. I'm getting some more tea."
"Right... You're Gamzee..."
"Yes, and you're Nepeta." She said, not even bothering to use third-person anymore. Poor Gamzee clearly wasn't up to her level of imaginative gameplay. What was making this so hard for him?
She couldn't have known, of course, but Gamzee's mind wasn't in the best of shape. A lifetime of inebriation and stunted thinking, a subconscious design on his part to restrain the terrible rage that every day threatened to burst force from his psyche, had left Gamzee's mind strained and frail, culminating in the explosive release of pent-up existential fury that had killed his friends on the meteor. Now that they were here, in this safe place far away from the dark influences that had been manipulating his life, he was starting to find his way towards a more stable mental equilibrium, but he was still psychologically volatile, and had learned long ago that his friends probably knew better than he what was going on. So, as he sat there, the mantra of I'm Nepeta, and she's Gamzee began to worm its way into his mind, leading to a strained afternoon for everyone involved.
Heh, this roleplayin' stuff is pretty serious. Gamzee thought to himself, I can see why I-why Nepeta loves this so much... wait, no, it is me. That's right, 'I'm Nepeta' and all that shit, yeah... wait... was that because Nepeta said so, or because I said so... to me... who am I again?
Gamzee opened his eyes, and glanced around the room. Okay, Nepeta's house... I'm wearing Nepeta's hat... Tea? Gamzee doesn't like tea, he only drinks that shit because Nepeta gives it to him. So I guess that means I'm Nepeta? Phew, crisis averted.
With that, a contented smile broke out on Gamzee's face, his brief moment of identity uncertainty successfully resolved. Of course, there were some glaring logical inconsistencies with this new conclusion of his, but at this point he had learned to just go with it. He stretched out, assuming that the reason he was sitting in the living room like that would just come to him eventually, as things usually did. He got up, feeling pretty good about finding his place in the universe once again, only to see with shock that Gamzee Makara was in his kitchen making some tea. I mean, it had to be Gamzee: He had the clown nose and everything.
Nepeta turned back to see how her guest was doing, only to see the room empty. "Mm? Gamzee?"
Gamzee, meanwhile, had ducked into the hallway, and was pressed up against the wall, breathing heavily, eyes darting from side to side to try and find something to defend himself with. "Oh Gawd, Gamzee broke into my motherfuckin' house, oh no, oh gawd, he tried to kill me now he's here to finish the job!"
He heard footsteps in the other room, and clasped a hand over his mouth, weird troll hearth equivalent palpating in terror as Nepeta's voice came from around the corner. "Where'd you go? You okay?"
He's playing some kind of sick motherfuckin' mind game with my head! Gamzee thought, edging down the hall and ducking into one of Nepeta's rooms before she rounded the corner. He shut the door behind him as quietly as he could, creeping softly on the floor to avoid making a sound. He was in an empty bedroom Nepeta had included in case a human guest ever wanted to stay the night. This hadn't seemed all that likely, but they had grist to spare, and everyone had kind of gone overboard with their houses, especially Meenah, who built hers underwater.
Heh. Ocean puns.
Gamzee shook himself out of that pleasant pun, and snuck stealthily over to a bedside table where a phone was resting in its... phone-holding thing. Gotta call the motherfuckin' po-lice. He thought anxiously, sweating nervously as he heard Nepeta walk past the door, hurriedly dialing Sollux's number.
Sollux was playing an old troll game grub with Karkat when he heard the phone ringing, and was so surprised to hear the rarely-used device go off that he lost the round to Karkat. Mumbling obscenities as his friend started his annoying-as-fuck victory dance, Sollux got up and picked up the phone. Despite having the just-as-effective Pesterchum and Trollian systems at their disposal, the humans had insisted upon the sentimental value of hearing someone's voice over the phone, and most of the trolls had gotten one as part of the general 'Why not?' attitude they were developing towards life. Personally, Sollux suspected it was a conspiracy on Rose's part so she didn't have to read their typing quirks (to someone as anal-retentive as Lalonde, each typo was like a knife to the soul), and so was more than a little irritated to be thrown off by this call.
"Hey, Nepeta." He grumbled, glancing at the caller I.D. "What'th up?"
"Oh gawd, you gotta help me!" Came Gamzee's hushed, terrified voice.
"Gamthee? What are you doing at Nepeta'th houthe?"
"Officer, you gotta come quick, Gamzee broke into my motherfuckin' house and I think he's going to kill me!"
"Waith, Gamthee, you broke into your houthe, and now you're trying to kill yourthelf? Ith thith, like, thome weird cry for help or thomething?"
"No, gogdammit, you're not motherfuckin' listening, officer, he's here to finish the job, and I-"
"Wait, wait, 'offither'? Why doeth everyone keep thaying that?! It'th tho thtupid!"
"Officer, please, you gotta listen-"
Sollux hung up the phone in disgust, grabbing a Tab from the fridge and stalking back to the couch, seething with umbrage.
"'Officer Sollux' thing again?" Karkat said, giving his friend a wide berth as he returned to the couch.
"Yeth." Sollux snapped irritably, cracking open the Tab as he did so. "Thtrider makes one joke about blue and red glatheth at a party, and you never live it down."
"Yeah, that's pretty much how things work around here." Karkat said with a shrug. "At least you're not stuck with Vriska and the whole Feferi thing like Egbert."
"Aradia'th worthe: Me and Fef actually dated, and now every time we're in the same fucking' room Aradia giveth me thith 'A-ha' look."
"Well, at least you can get her back for Equius."
Sollux froze mid-sip, eyes widening behind his glasses. "Gimme a minute," He said, getting up with a grin, "I gotta write that down."
After Sollux hung up, Gamzee stared at the phone in mute horror. No help was coming, and he was trapped, all alone, with that psychopathic-
Makara jumped about a foot in the air, screaming like a banshee, then jumped over the bed, tangling himself up in the blankets and flopping gracelessly to the floor. "Oh Gawd, no, please Gamzee, just don't hurt me! Take whatever you want, just leave me alone!"
Nepeta stared blankly at her guest, who cocooned himself in the blanket as a feeble means of protection, moaning about how he was too young and pretty to die. "I don't think we should roleplay anymore..." She said as he sobbed pitifully.
Sollux had just gotten back into the game, and was about to take back the lead when, abruptly the phone rang, shattering his concentration.
"GOGFUCKINGDAMMIT!" He screamed, so loudly that Karkat knew better than to celebrate his victory.
Sollux stormed over to the phone, yelling "THITH HAD BETTER BE PRETTY FUCKING IMPORTANT, GAMTHEE!" into the receiver.
"Oh, uh, hi Sollux... Is this a bad time?" Came Nepeta's cowed, quiet voice.
"Oh, fuck, I'm thorry Nepeta, I thought gamthee wath prank-calling me." Sollux said, blushing with embarrassment and a little guilt for blowing up at her.
"Actually, it's about Gamzee- I was calling for Karkitty, actually, I think he might need some help."
"Hey, Vantath." Sollux said, chucking the phone at his friend. "It'th for you."
"See, see, you're alright, pal, nobody's going to kill you." Karkat said, lightly papping Gamzee's head as he tried to convince him
"So wait, I'm actually Gamzee?" He said, eyes darting between his moirail and the embarrassed-looking troll he could have sworn was him five minutes ago.
"But... That's Gamzee over there."
"No, that's just Nepeta wearing a stupid clown nose-take the clown nose off, Nepeta-and you're just Gamzee wearing a Nepeta hat. See? She got rid of the nose."
"So I'm... I'm me... Ooooookay, that makes sense." Gamzee said, a relieved grin spreading across his face. "I was getting worried there for a second. I was all up in a motherfuckin existential jumble, man."
"Yeah. That sounds great buddy. Listen, Nepeta, I know you were just having fun, but from now on, I think you wanna dial back the whole 'in-character' nature of your roleplaying."
"Yeah, I don't think we should be doing this anymore. Gamzee has trouble getting into it, except for today, when I guess he got way more into it than he should."
"Well, I'm just happy to help." Karkat said, papping Gamzee once more for good measure before walking out of the room. "That's what I'm here for, curbing Gamzee's psychotic tendencies for everyone. I think I'll just show myself out."
"Aw, Nepeta, I'm sorry I lost it for a second there." Gamzee said, wiggling over to his host with an apologetic look. "I think I took it a bit too motherfuckin' seriously."
"It's alright, Gamzee, no harm done." She said, smiling awkwardly, before an uncomfortable thought occured to her. "It's just... Why did you I was going to kill you?"
"I mean, I suppose you must have thought I had broken in, but if you thought I was you, then doesn't that mean that you actually..." She trailed off, eyes widening as she stepped back.
"Aw, man, no!" Gamzee said quickly, a look of genuine pain on his face. "No, it's not like that! look, I... I don't really like roleplaying, okay? I just... I felt so motherfuckin' bad you know, after I killed you guys. I know I wasn't myself back then, and you don't seem too mad about it, but I... I figured you must've been pretty motherfuckin' upset, and I didn't want to bring it up, so I thought the best way to apologize would be your roleplayin' partner. I'm a real sorry motherfucker about what I did, and I thought this might make it up to you."
Nepeta looked into his earnest, ashamed face, and for the first time in a while noticed the three parallel scars her claws had left in his face. She knew that most injuries or scars didn't carry over from one body to the next, and it was only things like Terezi's blindness that carried over. To identify with the guilt of having killed her so strongly that he carried his badge of shame with him wherever he went was all the evidence of his sincerity Nepeta needed, and she began to understand the lengths Gamzee went to to protect his friends from himself.
"So... When you were scared of me... You did that because you think I'm scared of you?"
Gamzee nodded slightly, and she smiled again. "Fur the record, Gamzee, I feel purrfectly safe around you. I don't blame you fur what happened."
"And, all the stuff you said about being too young to die...?"
"You really think I'm purretty?"
"Fuck yeah, man, you're like one of the top five prettiest girls around or somethin'."
"You know what, do us both a favor and don't name the other four."
They shared a pleasant, happy moment together, both of them coming to greater mutual understanding and respect.
"You gonna get out of my blanket anytime soon?"
"Naw," Gamzee said, rolling up tighter in his cocoon, "This motherfucker's motherfuckin' comfy."
Yeah, I ship it. Please review!