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[personal profile] cryptaknight

Venus sank her hands into the soil, which always, always, brought a smile to her face. Something about the cool, damp dirt felt like coming home. She scooped the soil up and patted it into place over the seedlings she’d just planted.

"A vegetable garden was a wonderful idea, Lagoona," she said, lifting her eyes to meet the other ghoul’s.

Lagoona had such pretty eyes, Venus thought, so wide and warm and welcoming. But, ahem, that was not why they were there. Gardening. Planting a garden at the school, for use in the creepeteria. It really was a fantastic idea; Venus was only sorry she hadn’t come up with it sooner, though she was very glad for the opportunity to work with Lagoona.

"My mum has always kept one," Lagoona explained. "And I knew you’d be the ghoul to come to with the idea, because you know so much about plants. I think it’s important to eat the fresh stuff, yeah?"

Venus had been happily surprised that so many of Lagoona’s beliefs were in line with her own. It was really too bad that the garden was now planted, and the need to work together was over for now. There would be upkeep, of course, but that wasn’t necessarily a side by side venture.

"Oh, me, too. And it’s so much better for the environment, and it will save the school some money of course, and…" Venus hooked her upper fangs into her lower lip. "And I’m rambling. Sorry."

"Nah, you’re cute when you ramble," Lagoona said, grinning in a way that stained Venus’ green cheeks with a pink blush. "But we’re filthy. Maybe we’d better wash up."

Venus looked down at her hands and knees. They were covered in soil, and her vines had dirt on their leaves. Lagoona’s fins and webbed hands weren’t in much better shape.

"Probably," she admitted, reluctant to let the moment go, even so.

"So come with me to the showers, and you can tell me about that recycling campaign you were thinking about?"

Lagoona’s eyes were wide and innocent, but the smile playing on her full lips told a a different story.

"Oh! Yeah. Okay. Let’s shower."

As she followed Lagoona inside, Venus secretly hoped they might get a bit dirtier before they got clean. And if she was reading the signals right- and Gaia, she hoped she was!- the sea monster felt the same way.


Heath tried not to smile too much as he watched Manny attempting bake goodies with Frankie and the other kids from Home Ick class. The fundraiser had been Frankie’s idea, but almost everyone had gotten behind it. Frankie had that sort of personality. Even Manny had said yes when Frankie had asked, which was why Heath was now watching his friend, vastly amused, and wondering exactly when the shift from bully to buddy had occurred.

If he had to guess, Heath would say it had begun when he’d started hanging around with Deuce and Clawd and the rest of the casketball team more. Manny could have kept up his old bullshit (Heath smirked to himself over that pun; it was a good one, and he’d have to remember to use it out loud), sure, but Heath liked, well, being liked. And for whatever reason, Manny had decided to come along for the ride.

His buddy must’ve felt the weight of Heath’s eyes, because Manny looked at him just then. The minotaur gave a shrug of his broad shoulders, and Heath gave him a thumbs up. The cookie looked a bit like a misshapen squid, but maybe it was supposed to. Whatever. As long as they were having a good time and getting along with everyone, right? Manny smiled and went back to his work.

After the cookies were in the oven, Frankie told everyone to take a break. Heath made his way over to Manny, flipping a chair around to straddle it.

"So what’s up? You gonna sign up for cooking lessons like old Deuce?" Heath teased.

Manny rolled his eyes, and leaned back in his own chair. “Nah. I only signed up because I knew you would.”

"Well, bud," Heath said, making a confused, dismissive gesture, "you don’t have to do everything I do. I won’t get hot."

Then he laughed at his own play on words, nudging the bigger bull. Manny laughed, and snorted behind the ring in his nose.

"I like doing what you do," Manny said, not quite looking at Heath. "I like being around you, and I like it when you’re proud of me."

"Of course I’m proud of you, pal," Heath said, slapping a hand on Manny’s shoulder.

Manny sighed, and dusted his hands on his thighs. “I’d better get back to it, Heath. I’ll catch up with you when we’re done.”

As the minotaur lumbered off, Heath watched his back, feeling very much like he’d just missed something important.


"Frankie, dear, is the noise strictly necessary?"

Frankie looked over he shoulder at her mother, a thick piece of brioche bread in her hand, poised above the bowl of beaten eggs, ready for dipping.

"Yes, Mom! He’ll be here any second, and I don’t want him to have to keep his headphones on!"

Mrs. Stein sighed, then kissed her young daughter atop her black and white striped head.

“Alright, Frankie. But I can’t stand this stuff you kids call music. I’ll be out in the garden if you need me.”

Frankie tried not to smile too widely as her mother shut the back door behind her. So the music served a dual purpose. Nothing wrong with that. If she got privacy along with a Holt that stayed Holt without headphones getting in the way, that was even more voltageous, right?

She dropped the soaked bread on the griddle, letting it sizzle a bit before flipping it over. By the time the doorbell rang, she had a nice pile of the golden brown french toast on a plate.
Untying her apron, she ran to the door. He’d made it. She could never be too sure about dates with Holt, because sometimes Jackson could be so stubborn. Frankie was glad she’d asked Jackson so very nicely at school yesterday to let Holt come out to play this morning. She supposed the book she’d given him on kappa biteology had probably helped things along.

She stretched on her tip toes, kissing Holt hard on the cheek before she reached up to pull his head phones off. He looked alarmed at first, then bobbed his time in head to the beat as he heard the loud club tunes she’d put on.

"Ah, Frankie Fine! You think of everything."

"I try," she said, grinning broadly at him. She kissed him again, then tucked her hand into his, drawing him to the kitchen. "You ready for the famous Stein family french toast?"

"You bet, babe," Holt answered, squeezing Frankie’s hand. "As long as I’m getting something sweet for dessert."

He winked, and she giggled, giving him what she hoped was a seductive look.

“You are. Why do you think I picked Lady Gorgon? Mom can’t stand her.” Frankie shrugged her shoulders coyly. “She’ll be in the garden for hours.”


Heath was struggling with his ice cream; his naturally high temperatures made it melt faster than it might otherwise, and the fact that they were at the beach didn’t help slow things down. Luckily he had Abbey with him. Periodically she would blow on the swiftly melting scoops for him, freezing them again.

There were benefits to dating a yeti. Strong as a yak might not sound super sexy, but he’d found that could definitely be the case. And her talents allowed him to enjoy ice cream, a treat he hadn’t been able to fully enjoy before meeting her.

"Clawdeen says you are dating me to be cool," Abbey said, digging her long blue toes into the sand. "I do not know if she means temperature, or something else."

"Not true!" Heath said, affronted. "However she meant it. I’m with you ‘cause I like you."

"This is what I told her," Abbey agreed, and leaned over to blow on his cone again.

Heath pondered all of this, trying to eat his ice cream as quickly as possible, when something seen from the corner of his eye startled him.

"What is that?" he screeched, his arm flailing as something landed on his nose. His hand was preoccupied with his ice cream cone, and his brain quickly became preoccupied with the fact that Abbey was laughing.

“What?” he demanded.

"It is a butterfly, Heath. Give me your cone; it will be better for this creature if you are the one to remove it."

He did what she asked, and gently nudged the insect from his nose, watching it fly off in a swirling pattern before turning his attention back to Abbey, who was still laughing.

"All that moving of the cone," she explained. "You have ice cream on your lip."

He looked down at his hands. “I’m all sandy now. And I don’t have a napkin.”

"It is okay. I will take care of the mess."

Abbey leaned in, her chilly tongue swiping the melted cream from Heath’s upper lip. He dipped his head for a proper kiss, ice cream, butterflies, and coolness forgotten.

There were advantages to dating a yeti. The way his heart pounded as his mouth moved with hers was the best one.


”I was watching some show on TV about people with messy houses,” Heath said, gesticulating wildly, ”and the lady had frozen owls in her freezer. Normies are so weird, am I right?”

He elbowed Clawd, who sat next to him, and took a big bite out of his sandwich.

"Heath, the last time we went camping, you lit the fire with your head. Monsters and glass houses, you know?" Clawd shook his head. "Anyway, in a monster house that might be dinner."

"But it wasn’t a monster house," Heath insisted. "They were normies. And normies are weird."

"At least they probably haven’t singed their best friend’s fur," Clawd pointed out, taking a bite of his own food.

"Stop getting so close then, buddy," Heath replied, waggling his eyebrows.

Clawd was glad that his fur covered the blush that rose to his cheeks. That had been one time. On the aforementioned camping trip. Clawd had made the excuse that wolves liked to sleep in a giant pile, and Heath had seemed to accept that, but there were times, like now, when his usual joking took on an edge that Clawd wasn’t sure of.

"There’s, uh, not some way you could get that under control, is there?" Clawd asked, his words aimed at his plate rather than directly at Heath.

"Not unless I wear a helmet or something, and that would be like, super weird. Owls in the freezer weird." Heath looked around the crowded lunch room, aware of Gil and Deuce deep in conversation about the casketball team across fom them, of the ghouls at the table behind them. Lowering his voice, he said, "Why are you asking?"

Clawd did the same glance around the room that Heath had just done. Finally, he muttered, “Thinking about going camping again, is all.”

Heath paused, and gave Clawd a long look. “… I’ll ask my mom.”

Then Heath took another enormous bite of his sandwich, and, grinning, Clawd did the same.

January 2017

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