You watched the sun rise well past the horizon, and was hours before either of you spoke.
“I should be going” you stood and stretched awkwardly, Cronus standing and walking with you towards the door
“yeah, gotta get back to reality” he mused as he walked you all the way to the front door, where you expected a goodbye, but instead Cronus walked with you all the way to your car, he waited till you were inside and then leaned down to the window.
“Kanny” you rolled down the window and waited as Cronus looked like he was having trouble trying to word what he wanted to say
“I don’t really wvant you to, but could you hang back a fevw days and let Meenah mellovw out?”
he asked, his expression giving you the impression he expected you to be mad
‘Of course Cronus, I do have some stuff it won’t hurt to catch up on, hold on’ you reached into your glove compartment and pulled out your spare cellphone, checking it still worked, and giving Cronus both the phone and the solar powered charger you had.
“My number is on there, under my name, so just call me when you think it’s fine for me to come back over” you smiled at him, and he smiled back, glad you weren’t mad at him. With a wave you pulled out of the driveway and headed towards civilization, leaving Cronus staring down at the phone in question.
You had been away from Cronus’s house for three days now, and you had finally gotten used to sleeping in your own bed again, although you missed the whole batch of them. Not to mention Karkat was driving you insane, you would think that a twelve year old would have something better to do with his time, but no. So here you were, sitting on the couch Karkat occupying the other area, pestering you with questions about the non existent girl.
“So how ugly are we talking?” he asked again with a nudge to get your attention
“Karkat for the last time-”
“like, Hillary Clinton ugly, or guy fieri ugly?” you had enough and turned to glare at your younger sibling
“Karkat, for the last time, I do not have a girlfriend, so stop asking silly questions” he stared at you before a smile creeped onto his face, you sighed and rubbed your hands over your face.
“so it’s a guy” he stated, leaning towards you
“what?” your head snapped up and you stared at him
“nothing” he said, rushing upstairs with his phone in hand. you groaned and texted Porrim, you could not handle another night of your brother. So much, that within the hour, you were in the car and on your way to Porrim’s little house. When you knocked on the front door, Kanaya let you in and waved you upstairs, talking on the phone and you could hear Karkat on the other line. Even here you can’t escape.
When you knocked you were mildly surprised when Damara opened the door, flashing you a grin and letting you inside. She paced over and flopped down onto the bed, her short red dress riding up and giving you a view of too much of her long legs for your comfort, so instead you turned your attention to Porrim, who sat perched on her desk painting her toenails, her black dress folded around her so she could reach. she glanced up and smiled at you
“Hey Kanny” before she stopped and gave you a once over
“Kanny, please tell me that’s not what you’re wearing?” she questioned, you glanced around in confusion just in time to see Damara smack the back of Rufioh head, he apologized about looking and went back to fiddling with the studs on his jacket. You glance back at Porrim.
“What?” you ask, you have no idea what she means, and she sighs, pushing off of the desk, gathering her skirt in her hands so she doesn’t rub the polish on it, she shuffles towards the closet and starts going through the section of her closet dedicated to you and your other male friends, in case of a “fashion disaster” as Porrim sometimes put it.
“You know? to the party?” she said into her closet, making it kind of hard to understand her. You glanced at the other two then at the calendar on the wall by Porrim’s desk. December third, it clicked in your head and you mentally smacked yourself. The Strider twins birthday party. even though none of you were friends with them, you still went every year. Mostly because you had trouble saying no to Roxy, their sister. But then again, almost everyone had trouble saying no to Roxy. A knock at the door snapped you out of your thoughts in time to catch the clothes Porrim tossed at you, she opened the door, Meulin, Kurloz, and Horrus shuffled into the room, making the room seem a lot smaller than it was. Damara stood up and grabbed her red purse from the nightstand, She blew you all a kiss, winked at Porrim and her, Kurloz and Horrus exited. Porrim smiled at that and went back to painting her nails, you stopped Meulin in the doorway before she could leave.
“Oh, Merlin, i’m afraid the sage you gave me didn’t work” you seen Kurloz appear again in the hallway and wrap his arms around Merlin's waist.
“oh, that wasn’t sage Kan Kitty” and she waved as Kurloz tugged her down the hallway, those two had a hard time keeping their hands off of each other sometimes. You ogled at her words but rushed to change and Porrim’s prompting.
when you had come back, you wore a long black sweater and red skinny jeans, Porrim gave you a seal of approval in the black lipstick stamp on your cheek before she started to slip on her heels, The two of you made your way towards the door and turned back to see Rufioh hadn’t moved from his spot on the floor.
“Rufioh?” You called, he ran a hand through his hair
“I just don't see why we go, none of us are friends with the twins, they’re kind of douchebags” he shrugged and didn’t move, Porrim pulled out her cell phone.
“well, i’ll just get Roxy and you can tell her that yourself” she smiled and pretended to scroll through her phone, Rufioh stood up quickly, shrugging his jacket onto his shoulders. If anyone missed the Memo that fringe jackets weren’t a thing anymore, it was Definitely Rufioh. He passed by the both of you and Porrim locked her phone with a grin. Like you said, everyone had a hard time telling Roxy no.
You pulled your little bug on the road that led to the Strilonde Manor, even from half a mile away you could see the lights of the house and yard. You swung into the large circle drive, and befor you rested the largest Mansion anyone had ever seen. The house housed the nine Striders and Lalondes, There was Roxy, your favorite of the group, Rose, The twins, Dave and Darren
, their older brother Dirk, D, and the one just called Bro, then there was Mom and Aunt Lalonde. all of them somehow managed not to kill each other while sleeping under the same roof, even every once in while Darren will show off this big scar he has on his chest. And sometimes you get to catch a glimpse of the tat he has on his back, big orange wings that fill his entire back. By the time you make it to the front door you are shivering a little, and you are greeted by Roxy, she comes over and hugs you, and this gives Kankri enough time to slip inside before Roxy hands him a drink, which she does to you and Rufioh, both of you taking sips of the sweet liquid. The party was a blast, even if the only time you seen the guest of honor is when all of the brothers race down the large main staircase, Darren wins and slaps his twin on the back, before the two of them disappear into the crowd, never to be seen again. The lalondes hang around a bit more dignified, all of them do something important, D is a director, Dirk is a world famous roboticist, Mom lalonde is a writer and so his her sister, and the most amusing is Bro is the ruler of a kink porn empire. You had heard plenty about it from Roxy, who chooses you to rant to, and while you found it a little distasteful, it was pretty all around amusing. As the party wore down, people spilled out of the house and onto the lawn, The guardians making rounds outside to either move passed out kids inside of cover them in a mess of blankets. You found yourself wedged between Damara and Kankri, Roxy would pass by occasionally and Refill Kankri’s drink, which he hadn’t touched except to pour its contents into yours or Rufioh. Horus was passed out and Kurloz was busy drawing a dick on his face when the last of your group appeared Latula came through the crowd dragging Mituna behind her, the plopped down on the floor next to the you occupied. Kankri excused himself to the bathroom, and while he was gone Roxy set a new drink down for him. The conversation turned quietly to Kankri’s love life, and the mystery girl, when you mentioned casually.
“Kanaya and Karkat seem to think that it’s not a girl” everyone stared at you in confusion until Meulin squealed loud enough to make several people glanced her way.
“I never even thought of that, of course Kankri is probably gay” and with this, everyone dissolved into excited conversation. Kankri returned shorty, sighing at the new drink he found waiting for him
“what did I miss” he asked and you shrugged before flipping the subject
“if you don’t want that drink, Damara might want it” and as soon as you had said it, Damara had clutched the glass and down the entirety. then she stood and disappeared without a word. When Kankri questioned the conversation topic, you couldn’t help but giggle a little.
~~THE NEXT DAY~~
You blinked awake slowly, your view slightly obscured by a tangle of black hair. You huffed and tried to untangle yourself but only succeeded in making Porrim shift closer against you. You sighed and resigned yourself to your fate and glanced around. You were half laying on a couch in the living room in the strilonde manor, Porrim was asleep half on top of you and half beside you, Damara was asleep on the ground next to the couch, Rufioh was asleep beside her, cuddled against Horuss, you didn’t see Meulin, Kurloz, Mituna, and Latula anywhere. you wonder where the rest of your group; went as you seen a few guests wander to the door and out into the December sunlight. You sighed again and rolled your head up, fear stopping the scream in your throat as you registered Mullins smiling face mere inches away from yours. Her a few strands of her hair fell on to her forehead and she pushed them back against the rest of her hair that was in a bun, still smiling, she whispered to you
“Hey Kankitty” you failed to reply as the scream was still a little stuck in your throat, you nodded to her and tried to shift away, only succeeding in making porrim shift more on you again.
“Kurloz left, but Lalonde is making breakfast, and then Kurloz said you have to go back to the house today” she moved around the couch, carefully stepping over Damara and wiggled her arms under Porrim.
“Meulin, I have to wait till he calls” you finally began explaining as she lifted Porrim off of you, you scrambled out from underneath Porrim and Meulin laid her back onto the couch. Which lasted a whole three seconds before Porrim rolled off the couch onto to Damara and flung her arms around the other female. Meulin giggled and pushed you towards the kitchen, where you could smell and hear the process of breakfast being made. Upon entering you seen the various host family members scattered throughout the kitchen. Bro, D, Mom and Aunt londe and Darren all sat at the table, drinking coffee, Rose, Dirk, and Dave sat at the island facing the stove, where a plump girl with short dark stood flipping pancakes into a massive stack as she talked to Roxy, who sat on the counter beside the stove, sipping at a oversized mug of coffee. you and Meulin slid onto two of the remains stools and watched as the dark haired girl, who thanks to Roxy, you learned is named Jane, slid stacked plates of pancakes, bacon, eggs, biscuits, pastries, waffles, and hashbrowns onto the other end of the island, along with a variety of drinks and a huge stack of plates. Meulin slid down and made you both a plate, you watched as everyone shuffled forward to get their food, the food was the best breakfast you ever had. You made it through most of your plate before Meulin chugged her glass of juice and stood up.
“We have to go Kankitty Kurloz is back” she said, you frowned but stood up, taking your half eaten pastry with you. Meulin led you outside, waving to various people as the two of you passed. Outside, Kurloz waited beside a purple car, as you climbed in, you noticed that even the car was covered in small green polka dots. You shuddered and buckled yourself in, waiting for Meulin and Kurloz to get in, who had taken the time to embrace like they hadn’t seen each other in years instead of hours. As they got in, your phone began to ring, as you slid it out of your pocket you noted the low battery and answered it. The other end was silent before
“Kanny? Kanny can you hear me” Cronus’s voice crackled through the receiver
“yes Cronus I can hear you fine”
“Kanny, this phone is weird”
“Cronus, is there a reason you called?”
“yeah, Meenah’s chilled off, Eridan’s still a little salty, but it’s alright, so you can come over whenever”
“actually Cronus i’m on my way there right now, Meulin and Kurloz are dropping me off”
“oh, damn you’re with Meulin, can i talk to her?” you felt your eyebrows raise in confusion
“Cronus I don’t think that’s a good idea”
“nah, nah chief, i promise it’s fine, unless she’s driving”
“no, Kurloz is driving” Meulin turned around in her seat and stared at you
“well, since he can’t talk to me at the moment” Cronus laughed and you seen Kurloz smile in the rearview mirror, you gave up and handed the phone to Meulin, who smiled and greeted Cronus..it was weird hearing a one sided conversation that mainly consisted of Myelin assuring Cronus that she had something, and that he would be getting it soon. Meulin hung up and returned your phone and handed you a green box, sealing the box was a green ribbon. Kurloz turned onto the road to Cronus’s house, and before you even really had time to question how he knew where to go, they were waving and driving away. leaving you more than a little confused, clutching the green box, you turned around and for the first time in months, Cronus scared the crap out of you. He stood there, bouncing on the balls of his feet, his eyes moving between the box and you, you held out the box and Cronus snagged it, opening the lid with a whoop of joy and he began shoving….Brownies? into his mouth, he ate about three before he slowed down enough to greet you
“hey kan” he said with a mouth full of chocolate brownie,
“Cronus, can you even eat?” he stopped and swallowed before smiling and taking another bite
of course i can, i don’t need to, but i love these fuckin brownies“
“Cronus language” you replied, and he smiled like he did the first time you told him that, and it made you suddenly really amazed at how far the two of you have come in this wacky friendship.
“Sorry Kankri, I just really love these brownies, highlight of being dead”
“Cronus...that’s” and door slammed open and Eridan meached out onto the front porch, his arms crossed over his chest, his eyes narrowed at you
“oh great, you’re back, you ARE THOSE MULLINS BROWNIES” Cronus instantly started trying to shove all the remaining brownies in his mouth, while simultaneously screaming no. Eridan yelled and jumped off the porch, running towards the two of you, Cronus backed up a few steps and then stopped, you turned and stared in horror as Eridan started convulsing, Cronus shoved the box back into your hands and scooped Eridan up, running towards the house. He was halfway to the porch when you saw the blood running down Eridan’s face, you started running after them, by the time you made it to the porch, Eridan had stopped convulsing and you sat leaning against Cronus. Breathing heavily, you kneeled beside them.
“what the hell was that?” You asked in panic
“we can’t leave, or that happens” Eridan explained
“but Cronus can go in the yard” you asked, staring at Cronus for an explanation
“yeah, but i’m the only one who can, the farthest everyone else can go is the porches or the balconies” Cronus carried Eridan inside and led you to the nearest living room, sitting down with Eridan on the couch, you set the box on the table and sat on the other end, by Eridan’s legs.
“i’m sorry bro, i wasn’t thinking” Cronus whispered to Eridan and he ran a hand through his younger brothers hair. You wiggled out your shirt that you were wearing underneath your sweater, and leaned forward, cleaning the blood off of Eridan, only slightly grossed out when the blood got on your hands. slightly more creeped out when you realized the blood was cold, cold like a dead person’s blood would be. Cronus reached forward once Eridan was cleaned up and set the box of brownies on his chest, he pulled one out and nibbled on it while Cronus continued to mumble apologies and petting his hair. you stood up
“Cronus, are there any other bathrooms that have running water? I need to wash off my hands” Cronus looked up at you, his expression as if he just now remembered that you were there.
“i have no idea, honestly, you can check” he shrugged and went back to Eridan. You walked out of the door and tried the door right beside the living room, and what you found was not a bathroom, but a ballroom. a large, gold and pink chandelier hung from the center of the room, the white floor was dusty, but still shiny. The way the room settled around you made you think no one had been in here in a very long time, alive or otherwise. You walked down the room, following your reflection in the full length mirrors that lined the sides. in all your exploring of the house, you had never been in here. But you could see it, the way this room was and felt, dozens of people dancing, Cronus and Eridan in suits, Meenah and Feferi spinning around with each other. it made you a little sad before you remembered what you were looking for, and left the ballroom.you had made it a few steps down the hallway when you heard Meenah shout
“ARE THOSE MUELINS BROWNIES” followed by a mutual chorus of no’s and then the sound of running. Eridan round past you, face in terror clutching the box to chest. Cronus followed soon after, followed by an angry Meenah. you heard the front door swing open and
“cro catch!” and then the sound of Cronus running around the house laughing
you checked two more rooms and as you passed by the back door, you glanced out on of the windows and saw Meenah holding Eridan in a headlock, you rolled your eyes and opened the door
“Cronus, do you need a reminder of what just happened?” Cronus’s smile faded and he handed the box to Meenah
“sorry Nah” he said and stepped over to where you were, as soon as Meenah wasn’t looking he busted out into a grin
“Cronus! there’s only three left” And Cronus laughed and disappeared, Eridan following after him, there laughter could still be heard and Meenah angrily shoved the last three brownies into her mouth. You closed the door and headed down the staircase, hoping to find a bathroom that works. You glanced down the staircase that led to the very bottom floor and shuddered. you checked all the rooms, none of the bathrooms worked until you reached the one at the very end of the hall, right beside Eridan’s room. When you turned the handle, it sputtered a little, getting your hopes up before it stopped, and then nothing happened. You sighed and sank back against the wall, sliding down and stopping when you heard a horrifying creak , you froze in horror, remembering the staircase and you quickly spang away from that spot. when none of the other boards creaked, you tentatively stepped on that spot again, and sure enough, a high whine came from it. you tested it again and again, before calling for Cronus. it took a minute, but he appeared, still laughing until he saw your expression.
“what’s up?” he asked, you walked around the spot, then stepped on it, letting the creak fill the silence.
“Cronus there’s something wrong with this floor, get me something to pry it up with” Cronus made an offended gesture
“Kanny, you need to stop just rippin up our house, we care about this place-” he began laughing so hard he couldn’t finish his sentence
“yeah, i’ll be right back with a crowbar” and he disappeared, leaving you to stare at the odd floor spot, terror and curiosity brewing inside you.