53 (Halloween flavored)
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AN: So I was just gonna do a halloween special but then realized it was going to be halloween in the timeline anyway so I just merged the next scene with the halloween special so theres no need for debate on canonness later on down the line. Hope it was worth the rushed 52

It was a dreary Halloween. Rain had been gently sprinkling every surface with an icy chill for most of the day and now everybody was content to be inside and warm.

There was the strong reek of pumpkin as Mike had set us up for pumpkin carving on the dining room table and had started ripping out the stringy flesh of one of the orange fruits on his own as my friends were lingering, discussing things in hushed voices.

Normally, they didn’t come to my house but Halloween had, at one point, been a mainstay in our family for the majority of my childhood and Mike seemed unwilling to let it go, even when we ended up in these awkward situations where the dining room table was the only clean, guest-friendly space and the rest of the house was clearly inhabited by malfunctioning human beings.

But my friends were being good sports about it. There was still fun to be had in carving pumpkins and then devouring an unhealthy amount of pizza, soda and candy.

Scarlet was trying to understand why we had pumpkins at first, and I quietly showed her my selected pumpkin and began drawing a face on it, unable to explain to Mike why an American wouldn’t know what a jack-o-lantern was. She understood once she saw the face, so there was some amount of Halloween knowledge in her body.

Christian was supervising Elias, who kept trying to sneak in a penis shape, just to have Christian reach over with a damp paper towel and aggressively clean it off.

“Little children will be seeing these,” Christian whined at him, explanatorily.

“That’s why it’s in the butthole,” Ellias explained, tracing a finger over the pumpkins butt-like ridge.

Sierra was carefully drawing out a detailed face while Lee was going for a simple one, reminiscent of ghose-face.

“I’m gonna make mine throwing up its guts,” Lee said happily. We were all of the Halloween-loving type and would probably be curling up to watch a scary movie later on.

I was working on a cat face, carefully detailing it, though not being sure if I’d be good enough with the knife to get the finer points across. But practice made perfect and I’d done a similar design every year for a while now.

Scarlet stared at the surface of her pumpkin for a while, and turned it this way and that.

“Do you want some ideas?” I asked.

She blinked at me, confused.

“For your design?” I explained. I pulled out my phone and began searching the internet for some of the more popular designs. I showed her more simple ones though, as I knew she wasn’t super familiar with cutting into gourds with dull saws. She pointed to one of the most classic designs with the triangle eyes and zig-zag-like mouth. She then proceeded to copy it onto her pumpkin, cheerily humming one of the band’s songs as she did so.

Mike slipped off eventually to order the pizzas. I winced, hearing him confirm the price for all of them, knowing full well out money was tight and probably would be until I was old enough to help out and work a good number of hours. Then again, would we still be in this living arrangement by then. Surely, my mom would recover eventually and go back to working full-time and things would be a little more normal.

I stared off into space for a long moment, trying to decide if I was recovered from my dad’s thing. But it was a thought process I yanked myself back out of to continue cutting away small bits from my cat pumpkin.

A while later we had them all lined up, and put the candles in. Scarlet’s was very clean cut, and stared at us in an impressive display for somebody who had never rangled with the weird carving material before. Elias was child appropriate on the front, a constipated looking face, while the back was less so but we’d be putting it up against the wall so nobody had to look at that. Lee and Sierra had the most ornate ones while Mike and Christian both had decided to do animal portraits. Christian’s was a bat while Mike’s was a wolf, both silhouetted against the moon.

It was a cute display of Halloween tradition. The pizza boy came as we were setting them on the front stoop, carrying three pizza boxes and a paper bag I suspected was hot chicken wings.

Mike came out before any of us could say anything and paid the boy with a hundred dollar bill, telling him to keep the change before he could panic.

“Thanks,” said the boy that wasn’t really much older than us, and not much younger than Mike, firmly planted in the eighteen to nineteen year old range.

Mike urged us back in to eat.

Scarlet hesitated though, listening intently to something out in the woods. She gave me a shy smile.

“You can go,” I told her, “I’ll cover for you.”

Lee looked at me sideways as the vampire-girl bounded off toward the trees. “Is she…?”

I shrugged. “Up to something,” I said. She would probably be eating some poor animal out there but I wasn’t actually sure. Since Blacke had been in the area, she had stopped coming home covered in blood, but that didn’t mean she didn’t need to hunt sometimes.

Inside, the remainder of us feasted on pizza and barbecue-smothered chicken wings that weren’t quite as spicy as the hot wings but still had some kick. I enjoyed this tradition immensely. We didn’t frequently eat pizza like this and chicken wings were such a luxury now-a-days. I spooned some of that sauce onto my plate to soak up with the crusts. Once we were all full and rather sleepy, Mike took to picking up the dishes and began to wash them in the kitchen.

I went out to help him while my friends started to debate movie options.

It was much quieter in there, and he was silently scrubbing, lost in thought.

“Hey,” I greeted quietly and began to help dry and put dishes away.

He nodded as he continued his scrubbing. “Are you having fun?” he asked.

“Yeah,” I agreed. There was a quiet between us for a long moment.

There wasn’t an easy emotion for me to have at the moment. This was an expensive party. The cost of pumpkins, the food and candy and then the annoyance of my mom at having her living room spot occupied by a group of teenagers for several hours was all going to come down to him, and I felt guilty about it in so many ways.

I found Mike staring out the window over the sink, scrubbing down the last of our plates as he frowned.

“Who’s that?” he asked.

I followed his gaze through the glass to where Scarlet and Blacke were talking seriously about something right at the edge of the woods.

“That’s Scarlet’s brother,” I told him. I disliked the other vampire being so close by but Mike reached forward and yanked the window open with a scraping sound.

I opened my mouth to protest but he put a hand over my face to shut me up.

“Hey,” he called over to them. “D’you guys wanna come inside?”

The rain had stopped, replaced with a very fine mist falling from the sky, making it very cold.

The two figures looked up at him, wary, but then Blacke raised his hand in greeting, perhaps a quiet agreement to come in.

I pulled away from the hand keeping me still and rubbed my face. I wasn’t sure if I should be angry or not.

In either case, both vampires came over, and Mike opened the door to let them in.

The panic persisted as Blacke loomed in the doorframe a moment.

Mike offered a hand to him. “I’m Mike, Lexi’s brother.”

“Blacke,” Blacke introduced himself. “Scarlet’s brother.” They shook hands.

Scarlet came to me and with some amount of fear I pulled her with me to another room.

“Is this okay?” I whispered.

She blinked. “Why wouldn’t it be?” she asked.

“Because he— he’s like a full-fledged serial killer.”

Scarlet scowled at me. “You say that like its our choice,” she said. “He won’t hurt anybody.”

“Like Josh?” I asked.

She opened her mouth for a moment but closed it as she didn’t have an excuse. Then she looked sad. “It’s not… our fault.” Then she turned away and joined the others.

I felt bad. Maybe that was a bit harsh, but it was still a concern of mine.

Mike and Blacke were still having an adult conversation as I slipped back into the group and sat next to Scarlet as the others started up the movie.

I couldn’t relax for a long time, as the older adult-boys continued their conversation in the other room. Why Mike thought it was completely normal and fine to invite his sister’s girlfriend’s brother in, I wasn’t sure. I worried the entire time. What if Mike smelled blood on the two of them? Or if he realized Blacke was the one responsible for Josh’s disappearance.

I sweated, feeling the panic attack fighting with me, but managed to keep it hidden.

Scarlet, after a while, leaned against me to enjoy the movie.

“I’m sorry I said that,” I told her under my breath. Her hearing was much better than a normal persons. “It was very rude, and a bit… prejudiced.”

She nodded but patted my leg in acceptance of my apology.

“Thanks,” I said. I pet her hair a few times, appreciating her affection. 

We settled in to watch a second movie after the first. I heard Mike still talking to Blacke, but he sounded genuinely happy. Maybe I had misjudged Blacke a bit too much. They were just people after all. Just, with different dietary needs. I had to keep reminding myself of that.