One day, after the twins come back from a joint session with Bee and they slam doors and growl and hiss insults at everyone that they so clearly mean for each others, Nicky realizes, this might now work. 

Coming back to the USA, hoping in Neil and Katelyn, spending so many years away from Erik, they might all be for naught. He’d stared everything with the thought that he’d stay until the twins got their issues sorted out, until he could rest assured that if anything happened they would at least have each others even if he was on the other side of the globe. But maybe that will never happen.

Maybe it was wishful thinking all along, maybe he just deluded himself because he’s just a naïve dumbass. Maybe some siblings never get to love one another, and end up staring from afar to each other’s burning pyre. Maybe some siblings end up like Luther and Tilda, and the poison never heals.

It’s a bad shock, it’s a bucket of water down his back, it’s hands pushing his head under the surface of an ice bath all over again.

Maybe he failed.

And it hurts and he cries and when it’s over he looks out of the window and realizes that saying “I’ll stay for as long as they need me” might actually mean “I’ll stay forever”. And he’s not-… He loves the twins, he does, but…

He spent so many years in this godforsaken country he had sworn to never come back to. He’s so tired.

He calls Erik three days later and he promises, out of the blue, “I’ll come home after graduation.” 

And Erik’s red flags pop up, all the alarms start blaring because Nicky never made promises like that, never gave a precise date, because it would have been unfair. He tries to prod, tries to understand, but Nicky doesn’t want to talk about it. Nicky says, “I’m giving up” and Erik shivers because he’s heard him say so one time in the best, when he had just arrived in Germany and was sitting on the edge of the bridge and looking down as if there was something tempting in the muddy water.

So Erik hangs up and he paces and he goes to his mother and he goes to his father and he’s fucking scared because what is going on?

Erik’s father takes a long sigh and says, “I think this might be the first time since he chose to come living here, that Nicky does something truly selfish. It’s not how his heart is wired, son. I think it’s hurting him to do it.”

Erik’s mother shakes her head slowly. “People like Nicholas, they’re easy to overlook. They’re always there, no matter what, no matter when, and before you realize you’re taking for granted that they always will. It’s not how it works, though.” She touches Erik’s hand above the table. “You can’t do anything about this, sweetheart. Either those boys realize they’re losing him, or they will. Nicky is right in that he can’t live his life for other people. He would consume himself.”

“He already almost did it before coming here,“ Erik’s father picks up, taking a drag from his smoke-pipe. “You’ve seen how well it worked for him.“

Erik did. Erik never wants to see Nicky getting that bad ever again.

He calls Andrew that night. Then, because Andrew doesn’t answer, he calls Aaron. Then, because Aaron doesn’t answer either, he considers leaving it be. Why should be bother if these brats lose Nicky? They clearly can’t be bothered to care.

But Nicky, curse his soft heart, loves them so much and Erik loves him so he crosses his fingers and calls Neil instead.

Neil’s phone is turned off and, really, Erik is a patient man but he’s starting to get seriously angry. Last time he did, in Nicky’s behalf, he wrote an whole letter full of insults and threats to send to Luther, and he only didn’t mail it because his mom intercepted him and reminded him Nicky wouldn’t want that.

He curses out loud, punches the wall and then calls Katelyn.

She answers after three rings, bless her. Erik loves one person in the whole expanse of Nicky’s family, honestly.

“I need to talk with the twins,“ he says, smoothing out his accent as much as possible and doing a great job in doing so. He’s still using British English, because that’s what he’s been taught, but it’s okay. “Can you get me on the phone with one of them? I couldn’t reach them otherwise.“

Oh, yeah, they left their phones in the rooms. They’re out with Nicky right now, I can tell them to call you back when they’re back?

Erik blinks, once, twice. “They’re…what?”

Katelyn hesitates for a moment. Erik hears rustling sound and a door closing before she sighs in the phone. “I guess you heard that, uhm, therapy is hitting a rough patch, right now,” Erik makes an affirmative sound. “Yeah, it’s been heavy on everyone, but on Nicky especially. I mean, of course Neil and I aren’t happy that they’re hurting too, but Nicky is kinda caught in the crossfire, you surely know it, so…

“He told me some about it this morning,” Erik admits, still feeling kinda shell-shocked.

I see. Well, he looked pretty dejected the past few days and today in particular. Aaron went to his room to fetch a book and then suddenly texted me he, Andrew and Nicky were going out for a drive. They left a bit longer than an hour ago and they’re not back yet. I think if they’re trying to talk it out, with how bad they are at communicating, it’s going to be quite longer before they come back. Do you want me to text you when they do?”

“That-“ Damn, is Erik in the Twilight Zone, now? “That would be lovely, yes. Thank you so much, Katelyn.”

Oh, you’re welcome! Nicky covered up for me and Aaron lots, I’d like to see him happy soon. Have a nice day, Erik.

It takes a bit longer for Erik to take the phone from his ear and put the pieces together. With the passing minutes, his residual anger melts and his lips lift just a bit. 

He fixes himself dinner and indulges in a glass of wine because it feels like an occasion that should be celebrated. Later in the night, a rough four hours after he called her, Katelyn texts him that the Maserati is back and the cousins are hauling a bunch of bags and boxes upstairs.

Later yet, Nicky calls him and begins, excited like a little puppy, with “You would never guess it, Erik!” And Erik lets him go off about the twins, and sitting in a parking spot as they tried not to yell at each others as they tried to make him feel better, and having to move when a policeman came to ask what was going on. And ending up at Walmart buying literally everything the twins thought Nicky would need in Germany, including a coffee machine (yes, love, I know you think American coffee is an abomination and, yes, I prefer German espresso too, but listen, they were being nice, I didn’t feel like breaking that, okay?) and pillows and pots and under-pots and blankets and slippers (do they think we don’t have those in Germany? You do realize shipping all that stuff will probably cost you more than your own plane ticket?) and Andrew bought a sand neck pillow (Nicky, you hate those. - It’s not for me! It’s for himself! For when he comes to visit, Erik! He’s gonna come to visit!) and Aaron tried to get Nicky to buy more coats and scarves because apparently Nicky complains about cold too much.

Even later yet, he gets a text from Aaron, “Chill out, Erik, for fuck’s sake”, and one from Andrew, “Fuck you”, and somehow he bursts out laughing anyway.

Neil sends him a “???” message and Erik wonders if Nicky shouldn’t be more worried about him, than the twins.

·Andrew sends this to the group chat

·Kevin is so offended

·He just starts to list off the history of the greatness of his name and annoy the living shit out of everyone

·Andrew points out why each of those people were in some way a bitch

·Aaron would just say now this is why you’re a bitch, Kevin

·Basically everyone roasts Kevin within an inch of his life after a particularly bad training session

·Kevin inevitably calls Allison a bitch and she just points out that he is more of one

·Everyone takes bets on how long it’ll take him to snap

·It’s not long

·Like at all

·Allison wins

·Neil causes it by saying he is a bitch to stick ball

·Nicky changes Kevin’s name to stick ball bitch in the group chat

·Allison changes his name in the university database to stickba llbiych

·Teachers struggles to pronounce it

·Kevin explodes

·Next is his jersey Courtesy of Dan

·It has Stick ball Bitch in place of his name

·Matt graffitis it onto his actual stick

·But the final straw

·The final straw, is when wymack is listing out their jobs for the day

·And says okay, stickball bitch is on press duty

·Kevin throws everything

·And when he is at his lowest, Neil makes a bet with Kevin and when Kevin loses he has to walk around for 3 whole days with stick ball bitch printed on his shirt

·Once he is so convinced he can win a bet

·Allison says if he loses he’s gotta get it tattooed

·He gets the tattoo on the side of his leg so no one can see it

·(Unless you ship Kandreil in which case they do very often😏)

·But of course the next bet he loses, Allison decides Kevin has to wear booty shorts for a week

.(Renee accidentally gave her the idea. But She prayed for Kevin’s sanity so all is fair)

·He forgot about the tattoo

´Now he is walking around in a crop top and booty shorts and just dying because they go out in public

·ALL DAY

·Everyone is staring

·Andrew is low key jealous

·Kevin thinks it’s because of completely different reasons

·Neil is oblivious as per usual, Except for the constant tattoo mocking

·Allison slaps his butt

·So does Nicky

·He runs before Andrew can get to him, so he’s alive

·For now

·But then Matt puts an arm around Kevin’s waist and Neil’s

·Kevin is blushing

·More mocking ensues

·Dan is pouting because her boyfriend can be really really gay, but eventually decides she is a okay with sharing when she sees Kevin blushing

·They try to console Kevin later that night, but they all know that the joke will NEVER die

·Neil does not feel guilty AT ALL because it’s Kevin, and Kevin is his stick ball bitch

·Still Kevin debates moving to a far away country

·Andrew just flat out says I’m not going with you

·So Kevin stays, cause like deep (deep) down he likes it

·Interpret that as you will

An awesome piece of art @rainbowd00dles made because i was shameful enough to request it!

au where i do what i want and you cant stop me

* its late at night and nicky hemmick is choking on his own breath

* usually his memories from conversion therapy are manageable (crawling into the bath tub, puking his guts out until hes doing nothing but dry heaving, tears silently streaking down his face)

* but usually, his father doesn’t show up without warning to announce that his mother is in the hospital and if it comes time for a funeral, he shouldn’t attend

* nicky can hear luther’s voice ringing in his head, a steady stream of it would be better if you didnt come and we dont want to taint her soul with your sins

* andrew, kevin and neil are all asleep for once and nicky prays to a god that abandoned him that he doesn’t wake them up

* he doesn’t want to be an even bigger burden than he already is

* his phone is in his hand, and his head is spinning so badly that he doesnt realize he called someone until they pick up

* laura matthew’s soft voice says “hello? nicky are you there” and immediately soothes nicky’s nerves, even if it’s only slightly

* laura matthew was the only good thing that had ever come out of conversion therapy

* she was his lifeline and after they both got out, they promised to help each other in case it ever got too bad

* “will you come pick me up from fox tower?” nicky hears himself speak but doesn’t quite process that it’s him until she replies “of course i can, give me 45 minutes”

* neither one of them points out that she lives an hour and a half away

* he stays huddled in the bath tub, slowly evening out his breaths, until she texts him that she’s five minutes away

* as quietly as he can, nicky shoves some clothes into a duffel bag, ignoring the mess hes making on the floor

* the spinning in his head doesn’t stop until he’s sitting in laura’s car, an hour away from palmetto

* god nicky thought, wymack is gonna be pissed

the foxes as popular text posts #1

neil josten: i hate that my first reaction to stress is always Time To Die™ like ok calm down edgelord.

andrew minyard: they call me… 7 Knives. because that’s how many knives it takes me to cook things because I keep puttin em in the fuckin sink without thinking about it

kevin day: me rollerblading into my therapist’s office this week with sunglasses and a piña colada: maurice, you’re not gonna fucking believe this,

nicky hemmick: *walks up to straight couple* which one of you is the bee and which one of you is the fully grown adult woman who left her fiance for the bee?

matt boyd: *begins breakdancing gently* what’s wrong, son

dan wilds: listen, I’m a nice person so if I’m a bitch to you, you need to ask yourself why.

renee walker: it’s all fun and games until you remember the person you were from 2007-2010.

allison reynolds: how to kiss a boy: 1. grab his waist, 2. slip your hand in his pocket, 3. steal his wallet, 4. dont even kiss him, 5. just run.

aaron minyard: Why are there 2 A’s in Aaron? Why not 6? What’s stopping us?

david wymack: you gotta put your heart into it! no. no, not literally– not your actual– no. how did you even manage to get that. is it even yours. put that. away.

betsy dobson: [at a session with neil, about andrew] It’s weird to think that people who are 5ft are only 5 subways long.

abby winfield: always practice safe sex!! until you have mastered it. then you are permitted to practice Danger Sex

  • Neil: [taps racket]
  • Andrew: [taps racket in response]
  • Nicky: Stop that.
  • Neil: Stop what?
  • Nicky: You’re talking about me in morse code.
  • Andrew: Yes, that’s what we’re doing. In our very limited free time, we took a class on a very outdated, very unnecessary form of communication just so we could talk about you in front of you.
  • [later]
  • Andrew, to Renee: That's exactly what we did.

I cannot stop thinking about @local-astronaut‘s a look into Matt’s phone post and the “we love neil” chat gave me ideas.

  • Renee adds Andrew to the chat
  • Andrew doesn’t ever respond, but doesn’t block them or ask to leave the chat either
  • He just straight up doesn’t acknowledge the chat
  • Everyone in it assumes Andrew is just ignoring them in the chat and carries on, pretty much forgetting he’s even in it
  • At one point they decide to have a competition to see who can get the cutest picture of Neil
  • They give it a week and whoever sends the cutest picture by the end of Thursday gets 10 bucks each from the others
  • Andrew of course doesn’t acknowledge that, just like he doesn’t acknowledge anything else they send him
  • But he watches the pictures coming in even more than usual all week
  • The one of Neil smiling after Matt called him one of his best friends
  • The selfie Dan took of her hugging Neil with their cheeks smushed together
  • The one Allison secretly took from the back of Matt’s truck of Neil staring dreamily at Andrew while he’s sitting on the trunk of his car smoking
  • The one Renee takes of him sitting between Dan and Matt on the couch in the girls’ room, all wrapped in a blanket
  • The one Nicky sends of Neil standing in the kitchen, yawning and stretching, two minutes after getting up
  • The one Dan sends of Matt standing behind Neil, grinning as he slouches with his forearms resting across Neil’s shoulders while Neil scowls at the camera
  • The one Allison takes of Neil looking super confused after she purposely referenced a movie he hasn’t even heard of
  • Late Thursday they’re all arguing over which picture is cutest and asking how they’re supposed to pick a winner and questioning if there was any way they could convince Andrew to judge or if they should all just have to vote for one that isn’t theirs to be cutest and see what wins that way
  • Andrew sends a message to the group chat for the first time ever at 11:59 pm on Thursday
  • It’s a picture of Neil being so cute that it physically pains Andrew and he 500% wants to kill him for daring to make him feel like this
  • Neil’s curled up in the fetal position asleep cradled in one of the bean bag chairs and his hair is sticking out in every fucking direction and his arm’s reaching out so that he’s still holding Andrew’s hand in his sleep and there’s the faintest hint of a smile on his lips
  •  Neil’s curled up facing where his and Andrew’s hand are intertwined, resting on the edge of the beanbag chair, because he definitely fell asleep staring at Andrew so that he wouldn’t miss one extra second of Andrew’s beautiful face
  • With the picture Andrew sends “I win, fuckers.”
  • None of them argue and Andrew doesn’t respond to the group chat again, but they know he’s watching it
  • Neil looks super confused when the next morning at practice Matt, Dan, Renee, Allison, and Nicky each cough up ten bucks to Andrew without even being asked
the foxes as popular text posts #3

neil josten: took a DNA test and found out I’m 100% back on my bullshit

andrew minyard: people always shoot down my ideas and I’m sick of it. two sentences in and everyone’s already shouting “what the fuck that’s illegal” or “you can’t do that” let me talk dear god

kevin day: mid life crisis ? no no, mid DAY crisis, happens every day

nicky hemmick: if u can’t handle me at my worst, u don’t deserve me at my longest yeah boi ever

matt boyd: my tombstones gonna say “ripped in peace” as i flex forever in my tiny coffin

dan wilds: Girls aren’t playing hard to get…they don’t want you.

allison reynolds: the bible says adam and eve so I did both

renee walker: sometimes ‘brb’ stands for ‘be ready bitch’ so you have to be careful

aaron minyard: do you ever have the urge to tell someone to shut the fuck up even when they aren’t talking

david wymack: im adopting everyone im tired of seeing people suffer bad experiences due to their shitty parents. i am your dad now

betsy dobson: pick your battles. pick… pick fewer battles than that. put some battles back. that’s too many

abby winfield: my transformation into a bitter angry old woman is almost complete

+ BONUS

jeremy knox: i told a lady i really liked ghosts and she said “are you being serious or are you just saying that in case one is listening”

jean moreau: je suis sick of this shit

sara alvarez: my body is 80% respect women juice, the other 20% is im gay juice

laila dermott: people with the same name as me are cute but they need to remember who is in charge

erik klose: gayer than intended: an autobiography

riko moriyama: i identify as an inconvenience to the world

listen

I CANNOT be the only one who is truly in love with Andrew Joseph Minyard’s canon height. Like it really does just make everything he does that much more impressive. Here let me give you some examples:

•During one of the games, 6'5 starting backliner Matt Boyd hid behind 5 foot even Andrew Minyard when being chased by a character only referred to as Gorilla.

•Without even pulling out his knives, all Andrew had to do was stand between Matt and Kevin to get Matt to back off.

• 5ft BABY Andrew nearly kills 4 grown men when they attacked Nicky outside of the club??? Not just A man. FOUR. MEN.

• despite his height he still manages to take his short legs clear across the field at record breaking pace to break Riko’s arm before he can decapitate Neil. A+, Minyard.

•ALSO let’s just take into account that exy racquets are customized to the height and arm length of the holder SO while Andrews net is bigger the length of the stick is short MEANING when Andrew blocked The Impossible Goal™ in the bottom corner he had to be moving quicker than a fucking bat out of hell.

•despite being called a “midget with an attitude problem” no one fucks with Neil or his hubby bc they know better…

“When I leave you wanna keep *hand motions* doin dis. But den when I come around you don’t wanna POST UP.”

•Also Andrew is canonically 3 inches shorter than Neil so Neil actually has to bend down to kiss his boyfriend OR (bear with me) Andrew has to stand on his damn tip toes I’m done with this