Skinner👨: Oh Superintendent👴, I was just, er, stretching my calves🐮 on the windowsill⬜, isometric exercise💪💪💪. Care to join me? Chalmers👴: Er, right. Seymour👨, why is there smoke🚬 coming out of your oven? Skinner👨: Oh no❌! That isn’t smoke🚬, that’s steam💨. Steam💨 from the steamed clams💨🐚 we’re having. Mmmm😋👌👌👍, steamed💨 clams🐚. [Skinner👨 runs💃💪 across to Krusty Burger😂🍔🍴 to buy💵💰💵 burgers🍔 to replace his burnt🔥 roast🐔. He enters the dining room🍴 with them.] Skinner👨: Well, Superintendent👴, I hope you’re ready for mouthwatering😍😝💦👌 hamburgers🍔! Chalmers👴: I thought😒 you said we were having steamed💨 clams🐚? Skinner👨: Oh no❌, I said ‘steamed💨 hams🐷’. That’s what I call📞 hamburgers🍔. Chalmers👴: You call📞 hamburgers🍔 steamed💨 hams🐷? Skinner👨: Yes👍. It’s a, regional dialect🈵🉐🈶. Chalmers👴: Oh yeah? What region🇯🇵🇰🇷🇩🇪🇨🇳🇺🇸🇫🇷🇪🇸🇮🇹🇷🇺🇬🇧? Skinner👴: Er, upstate⬆ New York🗽. Chalmers👴: Really. Well I’m from Utica🌇 and I’ve never heard📳 the phrase ‘steamed💨 hams🐷’ before. Skinner👨: Oh no❌, not in Utica🌇 it’s an, Albany🌆 expression. Chalmers👴: I see👀. You know these hamburgers🍔 are quite similar to the ones they have at Krusty Burger😂🍔🍴. Skinner👨: Haha😂, oh no❌, patented Skinner👨 burgers🍔. Old family👫💏💑 recipe. Chalmers👴: For steamed💨 hams🐷? Skinner👨: Yes👍. Chalmers: Yes👍 and you call📞 them steamed💨 hams🐷, despite the fact that are obviously grilled🔥. Skinner👨: Uh you know…😳 One thing I should…😳 excuse me for one1⃣ second. Chalmers👴: Of course. [Skinner👨 enters and leaves🍁🍃🌱🍀 the kitchen🍴 swiftly💃💪 upon seeing👀 it is now on fire🔥] Skinner👨: Well, that was wonderful👍👌👌✌. A good time was had by all👍👌👊✊✌💪. I’m pooped💩. Chalmers👴: Yes👍, I should be–good lord👐☝⛪, what is happening in there?! Skinner👨: Aurora Borealis🌃⭐✨🌟? Chalmers👴: Aurora Borealis🌃⭐✨🌟?! At this time of year🎉🎈🎄🎃?!? In this part of the country🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸!? :Localized entirely within your kitchen🍴!?! Skinner👨: Yes👍. Chalmers👴: May I see👀 it? Skinner👨: Er, no❌.
I’m not exactly sure about the 2nd one but I’m assuming that you want another fic that’s in the same ‘verse as Ribs? The bit about the house smelling like mint is a shoutout to muffindragon227’s adorable fic ^^Anyways, here it is, I hope you two enjoy it :)
He knows this because everything smells like mint and the air is cold but not frigid—it’s the drafty kind of cold he likes, the kind that’s brought on by his father’s ice magic. He can see his most favorite chair in the corner and his snowboard, still fresh with snow, leaning against the wall near the fireplace. His mother used to always hate it whenever he brought it in and made wet puddles on the carpet.
His brows crease into a frown.
Where is his mother? And more importantly, how did he even get here?
He starts walking forward, fingers reaching out to touch the wood-paneled walls. Maybe he’s killed END. Yes, that must be it. He’s killed END, completed his mission. He doesn’t remember the battle, doesn’t remember the coppery smell of blood assaulting his nose, the lacerations tearing across his skin, the heaviness of the battle’s aftermath. But he must’ve done it. He’s home. With his parents. They’re here. He knows. He’s killed END and somehow, that brings his parents back, makes everything better—their lives must’ve been bartered in exchange for the demon’s.
“Mom? Dad?” he calls out. The room suddenly becomes dimmer, the air colder. Despite himself, he shivers and exhales a cloud of frost.
There’s a warm glow coming from the kitchen.
He walks towards it, steps tentative, chest tight with anticipation. The hair at the back of his neck is standing and there’s a strange, trickling sensation in his gut. Something is wrong.
When he rounds the corner into the room, his muscles tense, ready to expand into a fighting stance and—
“Gray, you’re up.”
He blinks once.
“Mom?” he says.
His mother gives him a small smile. “How was your nap?”
“Looks like someone’s still a little groggy from sleep,” his father jocundly says, mouth full. It’s only then that Gray realizes that the table is full of food. His favorites actually; warm soup, hot potatoes and ham, steaming hot chocolate. “Sorry, champ. Tried to but we couldn’t wait for you.”
“You mean you couldn’t wait for Gray,” his mother says as she gives Silver a pointed look. She turns to look at Gray, a wry smile on her lips. “Your father is the most impatient man in the planet.”
“I was hungry,” Silver defensively says.
“I-It’s okay,” Gray sputters, flummoxed. He takes a step forward. “I don’t mind.”
“Here Gray, have a seat. Luckily, I managed to keep your father from devouring all of the ham,” Mika cheerfully says as she pulls a seat out.
“Stop making me sound like a pig,” Silver complains.
“Really, mom. It’s okay,” Gray says, a warm feeling settling in his chest. Everything’s okay. His parents are here. He’s back at home. But something feels missing. No, not something. Someone.
“Would you rather have hot chocolate or apple cider?” his mom asks, snapping him back into focus.
Before he can reply, a loud, wailing roar trembles across their house, rattling the walls and windows. Gray stiffens; his throat constricting. He knows that sound. He’d know it from anywhere. It's—
“Deliora,” his father hisses, and suddenly Gray is a child again, weak and helpless. He stands up, tries to remember everything he’s learned from Ur, his fingers clenching into the position of his ice-make stance. But he can’t seem to do anything, can’t seem to stop the tremors that’s expanding across his body.
“Gray, go!” Silver yells and before he can respond his father pushes him.
And then he’s falling, falling against the snow and darkness, the wind whipping against his face. His face feels cold, chapped and his body buoyant, as if he had become weightless in the span of three seconds.
He lands in a bed of soot and snow.
His eyes snap open, focusing on two blurry figures in front of him. “Ur? Lyon?”
“Listen to me, Gray. You have to run. Run and don’t look back,” Ur says, her voice frantic.
“What? What are you talking about—”
“Stop asking questions. Just leave this to us,” Lyon interrupts in his usual cocky voice.
“Where’s my mom? Dad?” he demands in a shaky voice.
Ur opens her mouth to respond but she is cut off by a wailing cry. Suddenly the ground fractures from beneath them and Lyon falls into the chasm, right into the jaws of Deliora. Gray is screaming, screaming Lyon’s name but no sound is coming out of his lips. The demon suddenly rises from the crack, expanding, almost filling up the entire space.
Ur steps in front of him.
“Lyon…” Gray chokes.
Ur gives him a small smile. “Run.”
And then she places one arm over the other and before he can stop her, a wall of ice is encasing her, expanding, surrounding Deliora. Her body starts freezing over, fracturing into tiny, little shards.
“Ur!” Gray cries out. No. She can’t do it. She can’t be doing it again. She can’t do Iced Shell again—
Everything is suddenly still.
He’s suddenly standing in nothing but darkness.
And then, he sees her. She’s there, alive and well and not a block of ice encasing a demon. He runs towards her, chest heaving, his hand outstretched as he reaches out to her.
She’s not Ur. She only looks like her.
“Ultear?” Gray says.
Ultear smiles at him, doesn’t say anything. Gray reaches out to touch her shoulder or to grasp her hand but before he can, her skin suddenly sags and wrinkles start appearing from the corners of her mouth. Her hair turns brittle, grey and her skin shrinks against her bones. It’s like she’s folding inwards into herself, slowly shriveling up.
“Gray…” she whispers. “Help me.”
“No!” he screams, leaping forward to grab her. She disintegrates into dust before he can.
His eyes are hot and he knows that any minute now, he’s going to start crying. His chest feels hollow and he thinks to himself that he’s never felt grief as bad as this before. His entire body is trembling with despair—everything’s gone all wrong, nothing can fix it, he can’t do anything about it anymore
He looks up and sees her, eyes soft and wide, lips curled into a gentle smile.
And suddenly, everything is alright again. Calm washes over him, an overwhelming sense of peace settling in his chest.
“What’s wrong?” she asks him as she kneels down to face him. She places a hand against his cheek.
“Nothing. Nothing’s wrong now,” he mumbles as he leans into her touch. No, everything’s still all wrong. But at least he still has her.
Suddenly, there’s a hissing noise and he stiffens. All of the darkness surrounding them suddenly starts moving towards one corner, leaving an unsettling white in its wake, like the room is being drained of color. It’s as if all of the blackness of where they are is being absorbed into one area, forming into a huge shifting, shapeless mass. He can’t tell what it is but he can make out two horns protruding from the top.
He turns to look at Juvia. She’s holding a hand out to him.
She gives him a huge smile, cocking her head slightly to the side. “Let’s go and defeat END, yeah?”
“No. I won’t let you,” he says as he tries to step forward and block her path. “This is my fight.”
“But we promised to do this together right?” she says, frowning.
“I never said—”
Suddenly, spikes of black start shooting out of the mass. Juvia pushes him out of the way and blocks the spikes with arcs of water. Gray struggles to stand up but his limbs won’t work, almost as if he’s paralyzed. The black mass is creeping towards Juvia, slowly lapping at her feet. She suddenly puts one arm over the other, in the formation of an x. His eyes widen. Why is she doing that pose? She can’t. She’s a water mage. She can’t do Iced Shell. A glob of water expands from around her.
“Don’t worry, Gray-sama,” Juvia says, her form faltering into droplets of water drifting off into the air. “Juvia will take care of it…”
New procedure for Hatchy… don’t pull out a bigger gun, just take a bite out of the one pointed at your head. Don’t neglect Rabbit in these… she was on nonstop. Bunny wasn’t just saying she had fun. She had fun.
This is it for now, it’s late, I’m tired, the photos really need to be shopped… but I got so many silly faces in this set! And my son made a video of the funny new story Rabbit told about Hatchworth. The Spine acted it out and made silly noises for parts of it, eventually cracking himself up, and then cracked up all over again when Rabbit misspoke and said bax instead of box.
But my photos are blurry because they are, my camera is almost as humble as my skills. I will post them anyway (once I run them through Photoshop) because they made me laugh. So why not make others laugh, too? But there were masses of photographers there so you’ll be getting good ones as well. Keep an eye on Geekshot and Kimberly Paul Photography for those.
And even if we can’t get the video posted, I’ll try to transcribe the story and match it with the photos I took (including a very blurry one of David briefly losing it).