Nadezda Fava. Illustration
Wish, wish, wish…
Tea Spirit of the Month / March / English Breakfast
(milk, no sugar)
Benji growled, knowing Smokes was right, but not liking the point the tinbot made. “Fine. It stays… for now.” He huffed through his nose, pushing himself to his feet, tilting his head from side-to-side in an effort to loosen his neck. “I need to sleep while I can… go keep an eye on Fidget. Make sure he rests, we have no way of knowing if he even slept at all while he was locked up, and I’ll be spending most of tomorrow repairing him. I don’t need him neurotic and fighting me because he’s sleep-deprived.”
With that, he turned and stalked off towards his room, leaving no space for argument. Not that he thought Smokes would give any. He gave one last glare towards the kitchen, growling softly, before disappearing down the hall.
Fidget sighed, sitting next to Archer and looking at him sympathetically; taking the banana from him and peeling it with ease before handing it back. “I’m tougher than that… the worst Benji did was take off my arm… you’re the one who go shredded. We’re just lucky you can always manage to piece yourself back together.” He tilted his head to the side, resting his temple against Archer’s shoulder; always more open about being physically affectionate than Benji.
"Smokes is a good man… I don’t care what anyone says… not Sang, not Sweets. Not even my own brother. I’d go to jail a second time, and I’d stay there for good, if it meant keeping him safe." Idly, he began to twist the ring on his finger, fidgeting with it. "Now Gideon is becoming a relentless threat, and selling myself out won’t be enough to keep him away… I’m going to murder him, and I’m going to make him weep for the day that he ever so much as looked in Smokes’ direction."
Blowing steam through his nose, he abruptly stood up, storming back towards the bowl of cookie dough. “Stay as long as you feel like. Lucy and I will be glad to look after you.” He began the task of picking through all of Lucy’s added ingredients and mixing them in properly.
Archer quieted his sobs as Fidget drew close. Thanking him as he peeled the banana. Once it was back in his grasp he chewed on it softly. Closing his eyes and relishing the gentle touch of Fidget at his shoulder. Tilting his head back over and resting it on top of the automaton’s. “Even if I was…. completely obliterated… I’d still come back… for you two.”
Archer sighed between bites. His head nearly dropping against the table as Fidget pulled away. Now with some food in him he had a little more strength. He was able to sit up straighter, though still hunched over. “When Benji first described him…. to me. I was… nervous. I thought that… you were back in that crowd again…” He sighed, nursing his water bottle in one hand and banana in the other. “He is rough around the edges… He has his issues… but no man doesn’t… I think he fits you… rather well…. If I am honest. You were… never the type to want a man of education… of status… or complacency… You’ve always gravitated towards those… those who have a spark… about them… that exude passion… and the meaning of life…. I know you… care a great deal about him.” His smile turned into a soft frown, eyes tilting to the floor. “You were so distraught when he was… locked up… I had to look into… his case… put the gears… in motion for his release….”
"This Gideon… He sounds so much like Gryphon…. except he’s easier to fight…. his objective is not… to torture you… like mine-" He scoffed, shaking his head side to side. "Like my enemy…. he wants power…. thats why…. he wants Her." He waved a weak hand to Lucy who was spinning circles along the ceiling. "He hates… the idea… that he can be over powered…." He took another bite and smiled softly. "Thank you…. I am more than… happy to sleep on the couch."
Smokes huffed, watching Benji stumble back to his room. He hoped that the demon would finally get sleep, let his chest finish healing before he tried to pick another fight with the shadow fiend. He stalked his way to the kitchen. Never quiet on his feet he tried to listen to the conversation without letting them know he was there. It was a strain with his bad ear as he leaned closer to the archway. Frowning confused as Archer spoke about him.
He chewed his bottom lip and slowly walked in. “What was that?” He turned from Archer to Fidget. His green eyes shining in the dark of the kitchen. “Fidget why are ya cookin? You should sleep… actually… I think all of use kinda should take a nap….”
"I’d love to… but… must eat banana first.." Archer sighed, taking his last few bites.
Benji shook his head, rubbing lightly at his sore throat, glancing towards the kitchen where Fidget disappeared to. “Maybe—… maybe he’ll calm down once he’s had sleep. We can capture it while he’s in stasis… destroy it. If we kill it, Gideon will have nothing left to come after. This stupid fight will be over…”
Fidget didn’t even glance over his shoulder at Archer as he began to mix the cookie dough in the mixing bowl. “I don’t need to rest.” His tone had a bite to it, more than he meant. But the reality of it was, he wasn’t sure if could relax enough to rest; he was still completely tense and on-edge. Especially with Benji at Lucy’s throat — though, it was more the other way around.
He smiled broadly up at Lucy as he shifted across the ceiling. “Why don’t you get goodies from the cabinets… sprinkles, more chocolate chips… anything extra you want in your cookies, and add it to the dough, while I get Archer something to snack on while we wait~.”
He left the mixing bowl sitting on the counter for Lucy, turning and strolling over to the island bar; snatching up a banana from the fruit bowl. “Here…” Taking a few short steps to the table, he held the fruit out for Archer. “The potassium in this will help. So will the sugar, once the cookies are done. You should probably take a few oranges with you, too, when you go. To help boost your vitamins until your White Matter replenishes itself.”
Fidget remained oblivious to the deal Archer and Benji had made; regarding Archer staying for a few days to look over him. But, in the mean time, nothing kept him from mommying the human as per his programming. “After you eat, you need to get some sleep. I can take you back to your house, if you’d life, so you don’t have to risk being caught again.”
Smokes shook his head. “What if we kill it… an then Gideon wants it back? Then we’re fucked… he will fuckin’ destroy us…” He spoke in a hushed whisper. “Like that thing is scary… but he ain’t as scary as Gideon.”
Lucy nodded, throwing open every cabinet door and pulling whatever was inside to the floor. She gave each item a curious sniff, either wincing in disgust or purring in happiness. Throwing all the good things onto the counter, some falling into the batter still in its package.
Archer offered a weak smile, taking the banana and holding it close to his face. He’d attempt peeling it in a moment. He faked a pout. “I don’t… want to… go home…. Claude is nice….. and all… but his… care taking… lacks…… something….” He furthered his pout, weakly working the banana between his fingers as he gave Fidget puppy dog eyes. “There’s….. something very….. nice…. about being helped…. by family…. it makes the… chicken soup much more…… effective…..” He sighed as he snapped the tip of the banana off, making it more difficult to get a finger under the peel. “Plus….. I missed you.” His voice cracked with emotion. “Through all of this…. just like… in that pit…. I thought I had lost you….” He didn’t fight off the weak tears, surprised he even had enough water in his system to make them. “I know it will… happen eventually… but I will fight…. with everything….. I have…. to keep you two….. here…. I can’t….. I cant-… I can’t lose my family….. a third time…. I… I won’t survive it…” He drug his arm across the table, covering his face with the crook of his elbow. “I’m…. sorry…. I know…. this has…. been….. much harder on you….. than us….” His voice warbled between sobs. “I’m just…. so happy…. you are….. home….”
As soon as Benji was dropped, he started wheezing and coughing as he struggled to intake air. His throat would be bruised by the morning. He seemed shaken by the unsuspected attack, but he was more mortified by the way Fidget had laughed. “It’s possessing him… I t-told you… we need to kill it…”
When Lucy began to hiss at the light, Fidget made a sympathetic noises; flipping the switch and plunging the room into darkness. He didn’t require light to see, like organics — and neither did Benji, really; it was more the principle of the thing rather than necessity. At Archer’s apology, he scoffed, setting the man down at the table before walking over towards the fridge. “Don’t be. You can’t help that your blood is addictive to those heathens. They’re the ones with no sense of control.”
Grabbing a water bottle from the fridge, he slid it towards Archer as he walked past; making his way to the pantry and grabbing everything he would need to make a batch of cookies. The way he moved about the kitchen, one could question whether he had ever left at all; the only things to give it away were his short hair, scarred and broken features, and his new-found love for the darkness.
"You’ll need to eat to get your strength back. Think about what you want… I’ll cook it once I get this first batch put into the oven," He rolled up the sleeves to the jumpsuit he had been given for the trial. Gideon’s men had no intention of giving his things back, free man or not. He would have to get them, the next time he visited Dexter. Still, he hadn’t even thought to change. Lucy — and Archer, given his current condition — seemed to be his only priority at the moment. "Luce~… would you like to help~?"
Smokes frowned sternly. Squeezing Benji’s shoulder softly in one hand. A sort of form of affection, trying to make sure he was okay. “Alright maybe it is but… how do you expect ta do that? We can’t even get near it or else that-” He pointed to Benji’s neck. “Will happen again… and from the way Fidget acted…” He swallowed hard, hating to have to say this. “I don’t think… he’d stop it from attacking us…”
Archer dropped on the table, using it like a pillow. He sighed as the kitchen turned dark, thankful for it. All he wanted to do was sleep, but he knew he should at least eat something first. He slowly curled his fingers around the water bottle. It took several minutes between each step of opening the bottle and lifting his head enough to put it to his lips. He took a long gulp before dropping his head back on the table.
"You…. shouldn’t be… cooking…. you should be…. resting…." He groaned, forcing his eyes open partway in the darkness. Unable to find Fidget’s form, he just stared across the table. "…. fruit…. fruit would be good…. or… or cookies…… something with….. vitamins….. and sugar……"
At Archer’s mention of Cookies, Lucy chirped happily. Able to move unrestricted in the darkness, she swooped in behind Fidget. Hanging upside down from the ceiling and purring. “˙̕d͠l̀ǝ͜ɥ̀ ̷llᴉ̡ʍ͜ I”
Benji wasn’t deterred by Fidget or Smokes — if anything, it only served to amp him up more. However, when he was suddenly lifted off the ground and the life was slowly choked out of him, he slowly began to panic; hand frantically searching for whatever was around his throat only to find nothing there. His eyes darted down to Fidget, giving him a pleading look.
The automaton snarled, glaring up at his choking brother. “Oh… what’s wrong…? You want me to call Lucy off now? You threaten him, call her poison, try to start a fight… but the minute you’re in over your head, you want me to call her off. How fucking typical of you…” Slowly, he started laughing; a truly genuine and mirthful sound. Before it could escalate into a full-blown cackle, like it had in the prison, he gave a wave of his hand. “Let him go, Lu… he’s not worth it.”
Fidget shot Benji one final, bitter look before gathering Archer back up and retreating towards the kitchen. He began to softly hum that melody from before, in the hallway, hoping it would further persuade Lucy to leave Benji and follow him instead.
Smokes jumped back, eyes wide as he watched Benji be lifted off the ground. He knew that move. Then Fidget started to laugh. It made his metal shrink like a cold wind, his eyes go wide, and his jaw drop. Slowly he turned towards his partner. That look on his face. No this very clearly was not Fidget. This was what Benji tried to warn him about. “Fidget… Fidget put him down! That’s yer brother!” As if Fidget was the one performing the action.
Lucy gave Benji’s throat one last threatening squeeze before cold dropping him to the floor. She floated up to the ceiling, anticipating some sort of counterattack. He watched Fidget scoop up the human and walk through the rooms. Turning back to Benji and Smokes she gave them one last threatening snap of her teeth before swirling into a small cloud and poof he was gone. Popping back up in a shadow underneath the kitchen table, hissing at the light.
When they were gone, Smokes dove in. Helping Benji sit up from the floor and patting him down. “Are ya okay?” Quickly glancing from Benji to the kitchen, keeping an eye open in case they came back. “… I told ya… that thing… its over powered ta shit.”
Archer groaned, rolling his head over Fidget’s shoulder. There was a fight he was sure of it, he was also sure he wasn’t at the courthouse anymore. At least he hoped this wasn’t the courthouse. His head was killing him. Then there was the soft humming. He relaxed, relieved. He recognized that tune. Fidget used to sing it to little Benji was a baby. “… i’m…. sorry….” He managed to weakly whisper. Lacking the energy to truly explain just how sorry he was. For everything, he had ruined the meeting, he had brought Sang into their lives, he wasn’t there to stop Fidget from being arrested in the first place.
Once Fidget was through the portal and back in his own living room, he began frozen; eyes wide and glancing around, as if he was unsure of what to do with himself. With his freedom.
Lucy’s chirping brought him out of whatever downward spiral he was beginning to slip into. At the sight of her full and proper form, Fidget let out a happy noise, moving forward and running his hands along Lucy’s face and the top of his head; cooing right back to the shadow fiend. “Aww, I bet it feels nice to stretch out, huh…? You’ve been cooped up in my shirt for so long~. Don’t worry… we’ll make the bedroom nice and dark for you~.”
Looking down at Archer, he clicked his tongue, muttering under his breath. “Damn Vampires…” With a sigh, he moved to pick Archer up; struggling just slightly. His body was still far from fully functional, but he was determined. “Well… let’s get him fixed up, then. This is no hospital, but I can make due… we’ll get him something to eat and drink.”
He smiled broadly up at the massive black form hovering beside him. “Lu… would you like to help? After I’ve gotten Archer situated, I can make you those cookies I promised in return for helping me~.”
Throughout his brother’s rambling and sweet-talking to the creature, Benji had become rooted to the spot; hackles completely raised and eyes nearly a solid white. It was his first time truly seeing Lucy, and neither he nor Aggro liked it one bit. A low growl began to fill the room as Benji’s skin rippled, his gaze locked unblinkingly on Lucy’s form.
Fidget snapped to attention at the sound, nearly dropping Archer as he immediately placed himself between Benji and Lucy; snarling right back at his brother. “Don’t. You. Dare.”
Lucy gave a toothy grin as Fidget stroked her face. Purring lightly and puffing up her shadows. He nodded his head quickly, twisting her arms in glee at the mention of more cookies. Oh how she loved cookies.
Archer shrieked weakly when he was touched. His immediate reaction to try and push Fidget away, forcing his eyes open and blinking blearily into the fuzz. After several short moments he gave up the fight, not that he felt safe, but that he was completely exhausted and drained. He just did not have the strength. At the light drop he groaned, panting heavily.
In the time it took Fidget to lay down the warning, Smokes ran in. Grabbing Benji by the arm and pulling him back. “DON’T FUCK WITH THAT THING!” Giving his own warning.
Lucy grew massive. Stretching her form as large as she could and hissed through her teeth. All 6 arms spread, ready to grab Benji and throw him back. Too many enemies were antagonizing her new master. He was tired of playing nice. A warning snap of her teeth and she grabbed Benji’s shadow. The outline of her arms wrapped around the silhouette of his neck, lifting his shadow, and in turn him, off the ground. “¡̶┴̸I ƎΛ̢∀͏Ǝ˥”
Fox jumped from the bed, halfway through the door when she apologized. He turned back with a soft smile. “Hey its okay… your just… sick. I understand that…” he hoped that was it. He really did.
He turned sharply towards the door. “NO DON’T THE LANDLORD WILL HAVE A FIT!” He ran to the front door, undoing the 4 locks they had and the deadbolt. Finally ripping the door open. At that point he coudln’t remember if he was actually dressed again after last nights excursion, it didn’t matter though. “Shojo’s in my room… an… and she’s sick. She’s turning green and is freaking out on everything!” Hoping Walle had a better explanation for what the hell was going on.
"She’s turning- What?!"
Walle slipped past Fox and ran up to Fox’s room as fast as he legs could carry him.
"Shojo! Shojo, are you o- Hey!" Walle got a face full of pillow as he entered the room. Shojo sat with her arms and legs crossed looked pissed the hell off.
"Where have you been?! I’m sitting here dying from some weird ass disease I obvious got from that asshole and you think you can just take your goddamn time getting up here? You dumb fuck."
Walle could only stare, his mouth and eyes open in disbelief. It actually took him a second to realize all the green she was now sporting, too shocked by her profanity.
"HEY. You deaf or something? Get your fucking ass over here and help… help…. help me.." she shouted at first and then dissolved into a whimper. She held her head and curled up on her side in pain. "W-Walle, I’m.. I’m sorry, I didn’t…."
"Um, Fox? Can I have some context?" Walle asked.
Fox blushed, context? How much? “I uh well… After the birthday party we had a little… night of romance. Everything was great and then this morning she woke up hot, and shaking.” He moved behind Walle, finding a pair of thrown off boxers and slipped them on. “She’s been vomiting and her hair and lips turned green. And she’s really nasty too!”
He laughed, revving the bike’s engine. “Well… I’ll let you decide if its a date or not. I don’t wanna make you uncomfortable.” He chuckled, kicking off the kick stand and getting on their way.
It was a nice night for a ride. The stars were out over…She opened her mouth to yell back a clever retort, but was stopped at his hand being laid on hers, and she found herself gaping like a fish for a split second. Her mouth shut in surprise, torn between snatching her arm back round and away from his touch, or wriggling her wrist so she could squeeze his fingers reassuringly.
In the end, her own fingers curled slightly, but she kept her hand where it was. “I’M FINE! IT’S FINE!” she shouted back over the engine, finding her voice at last. “DID… YOU SEE THE OCEAN?”
He sighed in relief, turning out where the last of it could be seen. “I DID! ITS BEAUTIFUL THIS TIME OF NIGHT! MAYBE IF YOU FEEL LIKE IT AFTER WE EAT WE CAN GO WALK ON THE BEACH! FIND SOME SEASHELLS. MAYBE EVEN DO A LITTLE SKINNY DIPPING!” He snorted at his last joke.
He gave her hand one last pat before the light changed again. Revving the engine and off they were. A large smile creased his lips, unable to get rid of the happy feeling. She was having a good time. He didn’t have to be so nervous. She was having a good time.