Newspapers were strewn over the majority of the kitchen floor, covered in clumps of pumpkin seeds. Fran and Belphegor sat at the table, each with their own pumpkin. Belphegor carved out his jack-o-lantern with expert precision, his knife cutting smoothly through the hard exterior. Fran was a little more clumsy with his execution, his knife jerking in an uneven rhythm. Lussuria was at the marble island, idly drawing a face on his own pumpkin, silently musing when his Sun Flames would be needed.
“What the hell are you doing?”
“The answer is obvious dear,” answered Lussuria, shifting his gaze towards the kitchen entryway.
Levi stared in bafflement at the scene before turning to the pile of untouched pumpkins stacked in the corner of the kitchen. “Boss is going to kill you. He hates Halloween.”
“He hates Christmas too, yet we still get a tree.”
“Carve one,” ordered Belphegor, pausing in his work to point his dirty knife threateningly at Levi. “You’re going to suck at it and I want to laugh.”
“Shut up brat,” growled Levi.
He was half-tempted to just walk away, but Belphegor had issued a silent challenge and Levi was going to prove him wrong. Scowling slightly, Levi stalked over to grab a medium-sized pumpkin and ignored Lussuria’s amused gaze.
“Get your elbow out of my space,” snapped Fran, pausing his pumpkin carving to glower at Belphegor, who was encroaching on his side of the table.
“The prince is creating perfection and I can use as much as the damn table as I want, commoner.”
“I’m afraid to break this to you, but what you consider to be ‘perfection’ others consider it to be complete crap.”
There was a thump as Belphegor shoved Fran off of his chair and to the floor. Fran was about to retaliate when Lussuria cleared his throat in warning. Rolling his eyes, the boy remained on the on floor, moving his pumpkin to rest in front of him.
Mammon entered the kitchen a few minutes later, stilling at the sight of far too many pumpkins. Lifting his hood down he glared at Lussuria. “You better have grown those pumpkins yourself.”
“Don’t be silly. We don’t have pumpkins in our garden.”
“You’re wasting money,” hissed Mammon. “What compelled you to buy a dozen pumpkins?”
“Fran wanted to carve a pumpkin and I couldn’t find a reason to say no.”
“You don’t need a reason to say no,” said Mammon flatly.
“It’s Halloween, Mammon-chan. Get into the spirit!”
“You know there’s no talking to him, especially around this time of year,” spoke up Levi.
“You’re not exactly helping by encouraging him,” returned Mammon.
“I’ve got a point to prove to the royal pain. I’ll show him who can carve a proper jack-o-lantern.”
“You can barely carve a turkey, so I’m not sure where this confidence is coming from,” snickered Belphegor.
Levi responded by taking a handful of pumpkin goop and chucking at Belphegor, who nimbly dodged. Lussuria swung his knife out of his own pumpkin and aimed at Levi. “Try it again,” he threatened, “and you’ll be cleaning this kitchen from top to bottom.”
“I’m cutting you off,” grumbled Mammon.
“Just carve a stupid pumpkin,” said Fran, levitating the fall vegetable over to the senior illusionist.
The pumpkins were probably going to end up smashed or thrown out by the end of Halloween, and the money was already spent. Figuring he might as well make some use of what he considered to be a wasteful purchase, Mammon merely shook his head in resignation and went to grab a knife from the drawer.
Squalo strode into the kitchen ten minutes later, going to straight to the fridge to retrieve a can of soda. He had just taken a sip when he turned, finally noticing the abundance of pumpkins around him. He nearly choked on his soda in surprise.
“What the hell?”
“Why is that everyone’s reaction?” wondered Fran, starting to scrap loose pieces of pumpkin away from his carefully carved design. “It’s Halloween. People carve pumpkins on Halloween.”
“Yeah, one or two, not a damn dozen,” returned Squalo. “And since when does anyone other than Lussuria do anything festive around the holidays?”
“I wanted to carve a pumpkin,” replied Fran. “A guy can’t carve a pumpkin in this house?”
“Not if those pumpkins cost over five dollars each,” said Mammon moodily.
“Why couldn’t you do this crap outside?”
“Are you crazy?” asked Belphegor. “It’s cold out.”
“What exactly are you going to do with these things?”
“Use some of them for target practice,” said Fran. “Luss wants to put the jack-o-lanterns outside the gate.”
Squalo shot Lussuria a withering glare, and the Sun Varia smiled innocently. “Just a few decorations, Squ-chan.”
“That’s what you always say, and somehow every year we get one snot-nosed brat rattling the gates in search of candy,” said Squalo with an annoyed scowl.
“Take a pumpkin and pretend it’s Luss’ head,” said Mammon, giving his own pumpkin a harsh stab with his knife. “It’s making me feel better.”
After a moment of thought, Squalo eventually shrugged and went to grab a pumpkin. It was probably a bad idea to encourage Lussuria by engaging in this Halloween activity, but there was something satisfying about plunging a knife through the pumpkin’s tough exterior.
Up in his office, Xanxus awoke from his nap, sensing that something was not quite right. Crimson eyes narrowing, he listened intently, and realized that it was silent. No shouting, no swearing, no screaming, and no fighting. There was complete silence, a rare occurrence in his house.
He stood and went to investigate. He went downstairs and roamed the first floor landing, growing suspicious when he couldn’t find any of his men with each room he checked. He then came upon the kitchen and paused in the doorway, eyebrows flying upwards.
“What the eff?”
Wiping excess pumpkin goop from his pumpkin, Mammon replied, “It’s Lussuria’s fault.”
“Fran wanted to carve a pumpkin,” explained Lussuria. “And of course that meant Bel wanted one as well.”
Xanxus swept his gaze over the pumpkins. “You bought a dozen pumpkins for two brats?”
“I bought more in case anyone else wanted to join, and it’s a good thing I did.”
“What are you going to do with them?” asked Xanxus suspiciously.
“He’s going to put them outside,” said Squalo with a smirk.
Xanxus removed his gun and fired one bullet into Lussuria’s pumpkin, causing it to explode in hard chunks. Lussuria stared at his mangled pumpkin and gave a sigh. “It’s a shame no one has any appreciation for the holidays.”
“I appreciate when they happen away from me,” drawled Xanxus. “You are not soiling my lawn with this crap.”
Fran set down his knife and spun his pumpkin around, revealing a jagged outline of an ugly goblin with a lumpy head and a large nose. “It’s the exact likeness of Belphegor, don’t you think?”
“You stupid frog–”
Fran shifted to the other side of the kitchen, sitting against the island and away from Belphegor’s immediately vicinity. “I know its a hard truth but it’s best to accept it.”
Belphegor sneered and showed his own design, a zombie’s face with severe gashes dripping with pumpkin goop. “This is going to be you when I’m finished. Oi, Old Man, let’s see yours.”
Levi held up his pumpkin, which depicted a saggy face with a gaped-tooth grin and a broken crown. “It’s you. But I think Fran’s is more accurate.”
“…I hate you.”
Squalo’s pumpkin was covered in slashes. When Lussuria sent him a questioning look, he said, “I pretended this pumpkin was all of your heads. It was therapeutic.”
Rolling his eyes, Xanxus glanced at Fran and asked, “This is your fault.”
“I apologize for my fleeting desire for a smidgen of normalcy. It won’t happen again. Carve a pumpkin. Apparently its therapeutic and you could seriously use some therapy.”
“You know what that pumpkin of yours and you have in common?”
Xanxus knocked off his frog hood and stuck the pumpkin over Fran’s head. “You both have no brains,” he said, and smirked at the kid’s resulting indigent squawk.