Gamzee had been going through withdrawal from the slime. It wasn't the first time it had happened, but it was definitely going to be the last. You see, this time, there was no more slime. It simply didn't exist in the world they had all ended up on after the game.
A tremor ran through Gamzee's body and he grabbed the edge of a nearby table for support. His heart rate started rapidly increasing and the tremors worsened until he was shaking uncontrollably. Unable to support himself, Gamzee came crashing to the ground, spasming and twitching unable to control his muscles.
The crash had Kurloz rushing to see what happened. Entering the room, he stopped dead in his tracks, he wasn't sure what he had been expecting, but it sure as hell wasn't Gamzee unconscious and twitching on the floor. Kurloz was startled, and to be honest a little frightened.
Kurloz knelt down besides Gamzee's shaking form, what was he supposed to do? He took a heavy breath, and slid his arms under the younger troll, holding tightly to Gamzee's spasming body as he stood, preparing to take him to the room they shared.
Kurloz carefully made his way towards their room, moving slowly, not wanting to even risk dropping Gamzee. The older troll was making his way down the stairs when Gamzee regained consciousness. Kurloz glanced down when he heard Gamzee give a small whimper, the younger trolls eyes were shut tight, and pain was etched all over his face. Feeling that Gamzee's shaking had lessened, Kurloz picked up his pace as he moved down the hall to their room.
Once inside, Kurloz laid Gamzee on the bed, covering him gently with the sheets, and, seating himself on the bed next to Gamzee, stroked the younger trolls hair, until the shaking subsided and Gamzee fell asleep.
When Gamzee finally fell asleep, Kurloz was reluctant to pull away from him, however, he did realize that he needed help, there was no way he could do this alone.
Kurloz rose slowly to his feet, trying not to jostle the bed, so he wouldn't wake up Gamzee. However, it didn't work, Gamzee was just in too much pain, even the slightest movement hurt. Gamzee gave a small cry and curled in on himself. Kurloz moved gingerly around him so that he was facing Gamzee. He gently touched the younger troll's cheek to get his attention. 'Do you need anything?' he signed.
"Tavros..." Gamzee croaked out, before closing his eyes again in pain, and hugging his long legs up to his chest.
Kurloz nodded, even though Gamzee wouldn't see, if he were in Gamzee's situation, he'd want to see his matesprit too. Kurloz stood carefully and rushed out the door, he didn't want to leave Gamzee alone for an extended period of time. Turning a corner all too quickly Kurloz ran directly into Mituna sending the two horned troll tumbling to the ground. Kurloz bent down to help his moirail off the flood, "You should watch where you're going..." Mituna said.
'Sorry,' Kurloz signed, 'Kind of in a hurry.' He was about to move on when he thought of something. 'Would you mind, keeping an eye on Gamzee, he's in our room, he's really sick.'
"Yeah, sure thing," Mituna gave Kurloz a toothy grin before they went their respective ways. Mituna to Gamzee and Kurloz's room, and Kurloz in search of Tavros.
It was pure luck that Kurloz ran into Rufioh, just as the winged troll was leaving his and Tavros' room.
'Do you know where Tavros is?' Kurloz signed, completely forgetting that Rufioh didn't understand sign language. He was reminded and instant later, by a completely blank stare.
"Come inside, I'll get you a pen and paper," Rufioh said, really hoping the conversation wouldn't drag on. He didn't want to keep Horuss waiting.
Rufioh opened the door and Kurloz followed him inside, immediately scanning the room for Tavros.
Rufioh caught the drift that he wasn't the one that Kurloz had come looking for, "Are you looking for Tavros?"
Kurloz nodded vigorously, trying to convey that it was an urgent situation.
"Last I knew he was with Equius getting maintenance done on his legs," Rufioh to him, wonder, after the fact, if telling Kurloz where Tavros was, was a good idea.
Kurloz was out the door before Rufioh had the chance to say anything else. It wasn't the first time a Makara had come to him looking for Tavros, but it certainly was the first time that it was Kurloz instead of Gamzee.
Kurloz was down the hall and up the stairs to the workshop in record time. Stopping abruptly in front of the door, Kurloz raised his fist and knocked four times.
When Equius opened the door he began to sweat almost immediately, "Please come in, highblood..." He stepped aside so that Kurloz could enter the workshop.
Tavros glanced over at the door when Equius said, 'highblood', expecting to see Gamzee, not a worried looking Kurloz.
Kurloz gestured at Tavros to come with him.
Tavros looked nervously at Equius, "Am I good to go?"
"Not quite yet, I still have to make a few adjustments," Equius cringed, turning to Kurloz, "I apologize profusely for making you wait."
Kurloz gave a half-hearted shrug, not really paying attention to Equius, he was looking around for paper and a writing utensil. Not seeing anything readily available to use, he walked up behind Equius and tapped him on the shoulder.
Equius flinched, dropping the screwdriver he was using to tighten a bolt in Tavros' knee, "Y-yes, highblood, can I do something for you?"
Kurloz mimed writing, trying to convey the message that he need something to write with.
"Give me one moment, highblood, I shall return with something for you to write with," Equius said, before hurrying off for a pad of paper and a pen. 'More towels wouldn't be a bad idea either' he thought to himself.
Equius returned with a towel hanging out of his back pocket and an old pad of paper and a dull pencil, which he handed awkwardly to Kurloz, who immediately began scribbling a note out for Tavros. 'I need you to come with me, Gamzee is sick.' Dying, the little voice in the back of Kurloz's head corrected. Kurloz handed the note to Tavros, before setting the pad and pencil down. Waiting impatiently for Equius to finish.
Tavros read the note the note twice, wanting to make sure he was reading it correctly, before looking up at Kurloz eyes wide with worry and fear, "He's, uh, gonna be okay though, right?"
Kurloz shrugged his shoulders apologetically. No he won't, the voice in his head nagged again. Kurloz squeezed his eyes shut and swallowed heavily.
Tavros crumpled the note in a tense fist, "Can I go?" Tavros asked, now as jittery and impatient to leave as Kurloz.
"Yes, Nitram, you are good to leave, do try to be more careful around stairs," Equius replied, as he began to put his tools away, desperately trying to avoid making eye contact, or even looking in Kurloz's direction.
Kurloz turned to leave immediately, and Tavros had to hurry to keep up with the older Makara. Kurloz didn't acknowledge that Tavros was behind him until the reached the top of the stairs, where Kurloz stopped, picked up Tavros, threw him over his shoulder, and headed down the stairs, setting the startled brown blood down at the bottom.
Kurloz grabbed Tavros' hand, pulling him down the hall the his and Gamzee's room. Once they arrived, Kurloz yanked the door open and dragged Tavros inside.
"Gamzee?" Tavros called softly, as he slowly approached his matesprit. The other troll was trembling, and his face was twisted in pain.
Gamzee winced coughing harshly, before opening his eyes. He smiled slightly when he saw Tavros, reaching out a trembling hand to his brown blooded love.
Kneeling down next to the bed Tavros took Gamzee's hand, bring his other hand up to stroke Gamzee's now paintless cheek. Mituna had washed the paint off when Kurloz had gone out to find Tavros.
Gamzee coughed again, and Tavros flinched as a speck of purple blood hit his cheek. Brown tears started welling in his eyes.
"Hey, don-don't cry Tavbro," Gamzee coughed again, "I'm-I'm gonna be fine, it's-" Gamzee gave a small cry of pain as the spasms started worsening again.
Tavros looked to Kurloz not knowing what to do. Kurloz quickly signed something to Mituna before hurrying to Gamzee's side, cradling his dancestor in his arms.
Leaving the room Mituna set out to do as Kurloz had requested and find Meulin. Mituna found Meulin in her and Nepeta's room teaching Nepeta sign language.
'Can I help you Mituna?' Meulin signed.
'Kurloz needs you,' he signed back, 'Gamzee is dying.'
Meulin's face paled, and she glanced over at Nepeta, slowly she signed out, 'Go find Karkat.'
'Why, what's going on?' Nepeta signed, awkwardly. She hadn't been able to follow what Mituna and Meulin had signed to each other, their hands had been moving too fast for her to follow.
"Gamzee is dying, now go get Karkat, and bring him to Gamzee's room, hurry." Meulin spoke.
Eyes widening, Nepeta scampered off to do as her dancestor directed.
"Karkitty!" Nepeta shouted as she bounded through the door of Karkat and Kankri's room.
"You know you really should have knocked. Barging in like that is highly inappro-"
"SHUT THE FUCK UP KANKRI!" Karkat shouted emerging, shirtless from the bathroom, hair wet from a recent shower.
"Karkitty you have to come with me!" Nepeta implored, running over and tugging on Karkat's arm.
"Let me get a shirt on, geez, what's so gog damn important," Karkat grumbled, tugging a shirt over his head.
"Your meowrail really needs you, you have to come right now!" Nepeta explained.
That got Karkat's attention, if his moirail needed him, he was going to help his moirail no questions asked.
Karkat followed Nepeta out of the room he, unfortunately, shared with Kankri, ignoring Kankri who had started to ramble about how inappropriate it was for Karkat to have exited the bathroom without a shirt on, and especially in the presence of a lady.
"Why did you come get me? Why couldn't Gamzee come get me himself?" Karkat asked, worried for his moirail.
"G-Gamzee's dying," Nepeta murmured softly.
"WHAT?" Karkat cried, "WHAT HAPPENED?"
"I-I don't know," Nepeta stuttered, "Meulin was teaching me sign language, and Sollux's dancestor came in and signed something that I couldn't make out, and then Meulin told me to get you, b-because Gamzee was dying..."
Karkat swallowed heavily before taking off down the hall, leaving Nepeta behind.
"Karkitty, wait fur me!" Nepeta cried, taking off after the mutant blood.
Nepeta stopped hearing her moirail's voice calling for her. She turned around and saw Equius coming down the stairs. She ran up to meet him, throwing her arms around him the tears she had been trying to hold in starting to spill over.
"Nepeta, what is wrong?" Equius asked carefully wrapping his arms loosely around his moirail.
"It's Gamzee," she sniffled, "He's-he's dying..."
Equius gulped, feeling himself being to perspire, "That must have been why Kurloz came looking for Tavros," he muttered to himself.
"We were all supposed to be happy here!" Nepeta wailed, "Nobody was supposed to die again!"
"Is that where you were headed?" Equius inquired.
"Meulin asked me to get Karkitty, she's purrobably wondering where I am," Nepeta sniffled and wiped her eyes on her sleeve.
"Would you like it if I accompanied you?" Equius asked, letting go of Nepeta.
Nepeta nodded, wiping at her eyes again before she and Equius headed down the stairs.
Meulin and Mituna were waiting outside the room, "There you are, oh, hello Equius," Meulin smiled sadly at the two of them, "I think it's best we wait out here for a bit."
Inside the room, Gamzee's condition was rapidly declining.
"I'm going to die aren't I," Gamzee croaked out, it wasn't a question.
"NO!" Karkat sobbed, "You can't..."
Gamzee squeezed his eyes shut as a spasm wracked his body, caused Kurloz to gently tighten his grip around Gamzee. Silent tears leaving trails down his face paint.
Gamzee spasmed again, coughing violently, blood bubbling from his mouth. Tavros reached up to gently wipe the blood away, leaving a deep purple stain on the edge of the blanket. "I-It's okay..." he murmured, trying to comfort Gamzee as much as he could.
Meulin open the door, signing to ask Kurloz if it was okay to come, and that Nepeta and Equius wanted to see Gamzee.
Kurloz nodded, giving them the okay to enter.
"Be quiet though," Meulin cautioned them.
Gamzee opened his eyes, the shaking had stopped almost completely, this was it, he knew it, "Karkat,"
Karkat looked up at Gamzee eyes puffy, translucent red tears still spilling from them.
"You were the best motherfucking moirail a troll could ask for."
Karkat started crying harder, "You were a fucking awesome moirail too."
Gamzee smiled before turning his head to face Tavros, "Hold me?"
Tavros nodded silently, climbing up on the bed and wrapping his arms around Gamzee, they didn't exchange anymore words, they both knew what the other would say.
Leaning his head back slightly he addressed Kurloz, "Love you bro, you really are the best."
Kurloz let out a muffled sob, wishing for the first time in so many sweeps that he could speak. Instead, all he could do was lean forward and place a gentle kiss on Gamzee's cheek.
Taking a shuddering breath, Gamzee finally turned to Equius and Nepeta, who were still standing by the door, "Equius, you take care of Nepeta. That's a," Gamzee wheezed coughing again, "That's a motherfucking order."
Turning back to Tavros, Gamzee whispered a soft, "I love you," before his breathing stopped completely.
Almost immediately Kurloz started shaking, noticing Meulin's eyes grew wide, "Everybody out! Everybody has to get out now!"
Seeing that Karkat and Tavros weren't moving, she grabbed their wrists and dragged them out of the room, closing the door firmly behind her, leaving Kurloz alone with Gamzee's body.
Before anyone had time to question Meulin's actions, from inside the room, came the most anguished and heart wrenching wail any of them had ever heard, even with the door closed it echoed through the halls, sending shivers down the spine of anyone who heard it.
Rufioh had just left Horuss and Equius' room when he heard Kurloz's agonized wail. Worried for his dancestor, he headed in the direction of the wail.
When Rufioh reached Kurloz's room he glanced around at the small group outside the door. Seeing his dancestor, Rufioh called out to him.
When Tavros turned, Rufioh saw that the younger troll's eyes were brimming with tears and that his face was already red and tear streaked.
When Tavros saw his dancestor he let out a choked sob and ran to the older troll, hugging him tightly.
"What happened?" Rufioh asked, very worried, he didn't really trust the Makaras.
"I-It's G-Gamzee," Tavros stammered out between sobs, "he's-he's d-dead." With that Tavvros broke down completely just sobbing into his dancestor's arms.
Rufioh's eyes widened, he hadn't been expecting that. He glanced around at the other trolls there. Meulin and Mituna were heading back into the room, presumably to comfort Kurloz. Equius was holding Nepetea, and they both had tears in their eyes. Then there was Karkat, stnading away from everyone else, arms wrapped tightly around himself, and desperately looking around for a source of comfort, with eyes that were flooded over.
Rufioh frowned, no one should have to cope with someone like this.
"Hey Karkat," Rufioh called softly, to get the young trolls attention, gesturing for Karkat to come over.
Nervously, Karkat moved over to Tavros and Rufioh. Tavros sniffled and shifted over so Rufioh could wrap his other arm around Karkat. Karkat whimpered, starting to cry softly.
"We, um, should probably head back to our room," Rufioh said, addressing Equius and Nepeta more than the two trolls that he had his arms around.
Equius whispered something into Nepeta's ear and the two of them hurried off.
Karkat clung tighter to Rufioh, "I-I don't want to go to my room... fucking Kankri..." he sniffled again.
Rufioh rubbed Karkat's back, Kankri would run his mouth and for all his preachings about warnings, tags and triggers, would probably end up triggering the poor boy, "Why don't you come back to my and Tavros' room instead."
Karkat nodded, pulling away to wipe his eyes with his sleeve, before the three of them headed off.
MEENAHWHILE! (that was a horrible pun and I apologize profusely for it but it isn't getting changed)
Inside the room Kurloz was a wreck. Aside from his make up smeared from all the tears, he had also torn the stitches from his lips, leaving them mangled and bloody, purple blood dripping down his chin and neck as he cradle d Gamzee's body.
Meulin tenderly pulled Kurloz away from Gamzee and he just collapsed into his former matesprit's chest, sobbing harshly.
"Oh, Kurloz," Meulin mumured, stroking his hair, "I'm so sorry."
Internally both Meulin and Mituna were panicking, they had never seen Kurloz act like this before, ever.
The next few hours were painful and saddening for all of the trolls. Rufioh, after Tavros and Karkat had ended up crying themselves to sleep, had taken it upon himself to inform the rest of the trolls, of the tragedy.
Some hours later all the trolls were gathered by the nearby lakeside, preparing to give Gamzee a final send off.
Gamzee's body was covered in oil and placed in a wooden boat that was also covered in oil. With a shaking hand, Kurloz, his lips once more sewn shut, used a match to set the boat alight, before Meenah swam it out to the center of the lake.
Nothing was said as the twenty three trolls watched the boat with their friend's body burn to ash at the center of the lake.