[fuck. i think the first sentence curse is back. goddammit i did some writing earlier today just fine x_x ]
There’s movement in the hallway.
Someone’s coming to the door. It’s not the Future Man. The steps are too heavy and too slow. Those are Scorch’s―Kim’s steps.
[shit i still need to decide a codename for Ben. And fucking everybody else. except solnishko. whatever]
Kim’s knocking. That’s weird. It’s their and Ice’s house. Why aren’t they just coming in? The door’s not even really shut either. It actually kinda bounces when they knock.
“Can I come in?” they ask.
“Yes,” Solnishko says. What a silly question. “It’s your house.”
Kim hadn’t been thinking. They took the kid from one jail and didn’t tell him that he wasn’t in another.
This was why Ben was the planner.
[oh my god i need to fucking name solnishko soon ughhhhh]
“This is your room, okay?” Kim did their best to explain. “Nobody goes in it without your say so, not even me, not even Ben. ‘Less it’s an emergency.”
“Okay,” he said. He didn’t sound like he believed them. Maybe Ben…
“Get outta my kitchen!” Kim said as Ben loomed over the counter.
“It’s my kitchen too,” Ben said with a smirk, creeping his water-burning paws all over it.
Kim pushed him away from the innocent newborn kitchen. “You lost custody when you fucking burned it down the third time!”
“The second time was Lalitha’s fault too,” Ben shamelessly threw their oldest child under the bus. When Kim wouldn’t have it.
“She was eight, you ass!” Kim batted him away while trying to grab the frying pan. “Go talk to our son. We need an expert on shitty parents.”
“Whatever,” Ben said like the little punk he never stopped being. “You’re just jealous of my amazing hot chocolate.”
“That stuff you dump so much creamer in it’s basically chocolate milk? Fuck off!” Kim said.
Kim didn’t need to see Ben to know he was flipping them off as he left.
Ben was assessing the damage.
“Alright, kid, Kim says we’re kindred spirits. Kumbaya.”
The kid just tilted his head to the side. His confusion was obvious. His fear, less so, but still clearly there; at least to Ben. Ben had spent most of his childhood and his entire teenhood keeping his emotions in a lockbox. He knew that the face didn’t reveal jack shit. The tension in the kid’s body, the smallness of his posture; doing anything he could to look non-threatening. Not a threat.
It disturbed Ben to know that the kid thought he and Kim would hurt him too, but it didn’t surprise him. He used to think Kim would hurt him too. Fucking anybody, really.
Maybe bribery would help get the point across.
“Kim’s making pancakes. You hungry?”
The kid perked up. “I can eat?”
“Yes!” Ben said, mind barreling into memories of bare fridges and pantries.
The kid flinched.
Ben steadied himself. “Yes, of course you can.”
True to form, Kim had pulled out a pan of bacon. Sizzling and greasy, freshly baked. These were the chewy ones. Ben swiped the first one.
There was a stack of pancakes on the table too.
“Want some pancakes?” Ben asked.
“Okay,” the kid said. He clearly wasn’t expecting to actually get any.
Ben felt horrible.
“Take the whole thing,” Ben said, slipping three long strips of bacon on the kid’s plate for good measure.
The kid didn’t budge. “What about you and Kim?”
“Kid, I’m making way more pancakes than this,” Kim said.
“Make me some eggs too,” Ben said. “I’d make them myself, but I’ve lost custody of the kitchen.”
“We got family coming over, and the next nearest safehouse is two hours away,” Kim said. “I’m not dealing with whatever fucking Frankenstein shit you try to pull in my kitchen.”
Ben leaned against the counter, nibbling bacon, keeping an eye on the kid and an eye out for the others as he talked with Kim. The kid didn’t try the syrup. And he was having trouble with utensils.
“Ever hold a pencil before?” Ben asked. To his pleasant surprise, the kid nodded.
Within minutes, the kid was using forks and spoons like a pro. Interesting…
Knives took a little longer, but they took everybody a little longer. Ben wasn’t worried. Plus, anything was finger food if you gave zero fucks.
Their heads immediately looked to the door. Solnishko zipped into the hallway at super speed.
Kim had warned Ben that the new kid on the block was a bit shocking. But it seemed even Kim was surprised by the speed.
But before they could think any longer about that, Buddy and Rosy popped in. Lynxes. Mother and new adult.
Rosy pulled a whiteboard out of her rolling backpack. She showed them a female symbol along with the name and pronouns she wanted right now. Drawn with a wine-colored marker. One of her favorites.
“Rose,” Ben said, wading over to her.
“Mom,” she said as she clasped his hands.
They spent a minute just smiling at each other.
[oh my god one of these days i’ll remember which name belongs to which person XD ]
“Roses are red. Violets are blue,” Rose sang. Ben joined her shortly. He raised his arm to twirl her, following her lead. “Carrots are orange. And I love you.”
And then she did the same for Kim, minus the dancing, as he was still cooking. By any name, sweet.
Buddy put her own bag down at the door. “Kim! Ben!” she said as she tugged her wedges off. “I’ve missed my gentlemen so much!”
“You missed my cooking,” Ben said, pecking Buddy’s lips.
She pushed him against the wall and didn’t part until his lips felt bruised.
“Hot damn!” Kim said before wolf-whistling.
Rose wrote something quickly on her whiteboard, “Go, Mom and Mama!”
Ben smirked at those two. He caught his reflection in the window, and sure enough, his lips had Buddy’s cherry lipstick and some lavender in bloom.
“Buddy,” Ben pointed out the missing chunk of color on her own lips.
She shrugged, already seated and digging right in. “I’ll fix it later. Mama’s hungry!”
Rose, however, locked eyes on where Solnishko had been sitting.
Papa was still cooking, and Mom never sat down until Papa was ready. Lalitha wasn’t here yet, and it wasn’t Mama or Rose’s plate, so whose was it?
“Rosy, aren’t you hungry?” asked Mama.
Rose went down the hall. She stopped. She thought she saw sparks. A very pretty, vibrant cobalt blue.
Nobody was in Lalitha’s room, or her room, or their parents’ room… Nobody was in the bathroom or the towel closet either.
The Unclaimed Room.
Someone could also be downstairs, but that was back in the living room. The pretty sparks had shown up in the hallway.
Rose thought about just going right in, but if there was someone new here, this was probably their room now. The door didn’t have any pictures or posters or stickers or anything on it yet. Rose would help them fix that.
Her tail wagged slowly.
The person on the other side looked shocked to see her. She was here first! She should be shocked to see him. But she wasn’t. She solved the mystery all by herself!
He was a raccoon. Even shorter than Mom. With a spiderweb of scars all over the right side of his face.
“Thorn???” he said.
That wasn’t one of her names… Yet.
She showed him the word “rose” on her whiteboard, along with her pronouns and the female symbol.
[i’m gonna break for dinner, but ideally i’ll be stream later tonight (or at least tomorrow) so i’ll see y’all later, let’s find someone to raid~]