Fandom: Mother 3
Characters: Claus, Fuel and Lucas
Warnings: None really. Just that it's potentially trippy.
Genre: Gen, character study, sprinkles of hurt/comfort.
Somehow Claus always inspired a peculiar pair of boys as young as he.
He never noticed it, he barely had the idle time for such off topic observations. By the time he interacted with either of them, he was already winding down to go to sleep or protecting them. Unlike his gentler half who he preferred to stay 'at base', he allowed his friend to accompany him one foggy morning.
“...You're not cold, Claus?”
“No.” Winter's cold, not moist spring morning air. Over time he learned how to move his limbs a certain way with his strut, how it heated his body up efficiently and consistently. Claus didn't move very fast in order to not leave Fuel behind, and he done so under the guise of being weighed down by two fanny-packs. Green one of tools around his hip, and a pink one with medical supplies over his left chest with the strap across his shoulder and lower back. He was concentrated on his movement as well as his path line, and not any more nervous than if he was alone. The leader stayed silent through out their trip, even when he stopped at a marked tree he did not speak first. He fell out of the talkative habit over time.
“..'s that what you're looking for?”
“Huh? No. I just marked this for future reference.”
“It looks so...”
“Authentic. What I was going for.” So did the dyed green rope he previously shaved at to give it the look of a splitting vine. Someone like Lighter, Isaac, or any other woodsman could tell it was fake upon inspection, but not the Pigmasks. They could barely work their flashlights when he ran around at night on an emergency stock run. He pulled down a net of pine cones; matured ones and some young green ones he tucked away. He extracted the nuts from within a ripened one and offered some to his friend. “If you eat too many, you'll get a weird iron taste in your mouth.”
“Uh...” He took the offer and stared at it after the unappetizing warning. He was always wary of eating things straight out the woods after their accident a few years back. To cover up his hesitation, he steered his gaze towards the green cones and asked, “so what about those young looking ones? They won't grow anymore.”
“You can boil it into tea... Lucas likes that.”
“Did you... just figure that out on your own?”
“Kinda... He reads it, I test it out. And if its smooth sailing I let him have it. Don't make a face or nag at me, I can handle a lot of things.” His friend looked off to the side a bit. Claus stared at him in his own nagging way until Fuel nodded. “The inside the bark is edible too. I took some before while marking it.” At the end of his sentence he chewed on a few nuts. “Anyways, in the bush over there, I got a box I found but couldn't open it. So can you get it? You're closer.”
“Uh, sure.” He pocketed his foreign snack and strolled over to the bush. He knelt down, stuck his hand in and was met with an intense sting. Instead of a yelp, he made more noise by hastily yanking his arm out of the leafy bush and toppling over on dried leaves. The snake was latched onto his arm tightly until Claus electrocuted it. Hissing at its attacker failed, it was only zapped once more before deciding to take its retreat.
Claus pulled out a short length of gauze in his hand he cut with his teeth before stating,“Fuel, don't freak out. It'll circulate even quicker that way.” Besides the sounds of quickened breathing, the bitten boy was silent. Claus had limited supplies but he always managed to make things stretch for ages.
“Don't freak, I told you,” he huffed and tied the gauze above the cut.
“Aren't you supposed to put it on t-th--”
“It's tied on tight!” His arm was levered. “What are you--??” And it was latched onto again. Perhaps as short as the snake's duration, just without the electrocution. He watched as Claus spat to the side and latched back on. Eyebrows wrinkled and nose crinkled until he pulled back to spit again; this time twice. He snorted and latched on again, for what seemed to be the last because his suction was hardest. “Ngh-” Claus spit several more times after the thick chunk flew out.
“You can put the gauze on it now,” he instructed and spat again shortly after. He had water to unscrew, swish around in his mouth and spit out too. He was careful not to choke or cough on the water when he poured it into his mouth without putting his lips on the lid. “Gah. Taste won't go away! It's like bitter metal or something and that doesn't even make sense.” He repeated the rinse and spat it out again.
“You're only going to rinse twice?” He asked as he watched Claus put the cap back on it. “You...did just have poison in your mouth.”
“Poison and blood.” He spat a little again. “And yeah, I needn't waste water, Fuel.”
No use arguing...
“So what do we do now...?”
“Just wait for awhile. We don't have any antidotes, and moving would do the same thing as panicking.” He placed the water down and went into the bushes himself to get the metal box. “Would've been better off getting pecked instead. For some reason they're not poisonous. Heh.” Fuel idly wondered if he tested that out too. As he watched Claus tinker with the rectangular box, he dug into his pockets and popped as much of the pine as he could into his mouth. He couldn't hide the massive crunching sounds, but it wasn't like Claus was paying anymore attention to him as long as he was safe. Pocket emptied by the second hand dip, his mouth did have a bitter, metal taste to it.
Loud noises of any kind no longer scared Lucas.
Clak, clak, clak, clak.
As long as Claus was around, at least. He wasn't in view, but he could hear his voice—complaining. It made him smile.
“Fuel, I can do this.”
“It's not a matter of can or can't, just that you sit back and eat a snack or something.”
“I'm not even the one you should be complaining at—or puffing at either, y'know! It's my dad, and if you're so restless, climbing to the roof he's fixing would settle that or something—I dunno!” He could just imagine Fuel pulling his hair right at that moment. “And I don't talk to backs so whatever!”
“I'm not talking to your dad!” And apparently, Fuel was no longer talking to him (for the moment), and was very serious about what he said. His light steps were eventually over taken by the sounds of plank being placed and a hammer nailing it down in place. Claus's steps on the other hand, were getting louder until he was within the sight of his concerned blue eyes. “They can do what they want,” Claus huffed and heavily sat down next to him. “Lightning will strike it again anyways.”
“Yet, you wanted to get up there and do it yourself.” He could hear his nails curl against his ashy legs and took a look at them. Thicker white streaks from his nails were now present. “You should really cut your nails.”
Clak, clak, clak, clak.
Lucas looked back up and sighed softly--relaxed. Claus, his fingers clutched the edges of his tattered shorts and very tightly. His exhale was weakened, but still a little on the stressed side. His breath hitched when he felt a softer arm wrap around his waist and under his shirt.
“I'm happy you're right here,” Lucas stated with a wider smile. “Or I should say; happy you're here and awake,” he giggled and swayed him left and right while he kept him close. With one arm free, he was able to pinch at a rosy cheek.
“Mnn.” He looked over and smiled a little bit. Claus held his smile back from its full, pearly potential. The more he was swayed, and the more he heard Lucas' wispy laughter...it grew.
But like most things around them, it collapsed. Lucas gripped Claus's waist at the startling crash, but he didn't shriek like someone around the upstairs of their house. The sigh from his right side was heavy again. Looking over, his smile was down to half a frown, and eyebrows furrowed too. He brushed his faintly scratched forearm with his finger tips as he hurried to the door frame.
“I'll be back.”
“I know.” And out of his sight once again.
Everything about Claus was just so heavy...
Both hands bandaged to the tips of his fingers from burns and broken nails doesn't stop him. He still fumbled around with tools in hand. The metal box with a pink snout print was pretty hard to open, he spent a week on it. Admittedly for a few minutes a day, but point still stood. He tried shocking the small lock at the front, bashing it with hilts of tools, and even prying it open; it just wouldn't budge, but what little it did kept the stubborn flame of his spirit flicking. Trying to keep a firm hold on this stolen screw driver was hard with these bandages over the entirety of his hands.
“Maybe...it's not meant to be opened, Claus,” Lucas softly suggested. He slowly sat down next to him on this now very family floor and observed his hands.
“You shouldn't be on the floor like this. It's kinda cold...” Lucas didn't budge himself, instead, his pale hands firmly held onto Claus'.
“You could tear the bandages and you'd have to wait until the next day for new ones...” He rubbed his knuckles. “I wonder how many times he'd do them over for you, though?” He cleverly placed his fingers under the grooves of his hand to keep them from clutching entirely. I didn't ASK him to!
“It's not like I asked Fuel to.” Lucas chuckled continuously. “What's so funny?” It was like he could read his mind. He squeezed his hand and laughed to the point that his voice was airy and light. “Hmph.”
“Put the box down, Claus.” He stated as he rubbed his neatly bandaged knuckles. “Give your hands the break.” He continued his rubbing until his fingers loosened their hold on the box. Once the box was on the floor, his hands rested on top of those white wrapped hands. “He's really good at it. Wonder where he got it from?”
“I don't know,” he huffed.
“Must've took some time...” They were very evened, smooth, and not too snug but fit. It was just about as good as if Hinawa had done it.
“Forever.” By now, Lucas had slowly wrapped himself around his slumped form from behind, and with his slight height advantage, he done a pretty good job of it.
“...Was it nostalgic?”
“You know, Claus, our moms were best friends before we were all born? Mom said that she was so hyper after she birthed us, that not even dad could keep up with her even though he tried his best to,” he giggled. His arms tightened just a bit in reflex when Claus quietly laughed at the mental image of Flint being unable to capture Hinawa. “So his mom watched us. I didn't ask much about her, though... ”
“I didn't at all...”
"Because she died birthing him, right...? Felt weird to bring it up. Our mom had two, it was just him and she died... seems unfair. I would be pretty upset if it were me.”
“Questions, I guess.” He shrugged.
“You were gone a lot...but mom treated him how she would treat us... So I wouldn't be surprised if she taught him some things.” Claus's fingers wriggled in-between his and clenched. The bandages created a mild barrier, as well as the wounds on parts of his fingers underneath, but squeezes he could still feel to the depths of his chest.
“....I...” He felt his heart crumple. He tried his best to not gulp, but the tip of a slightly cold nose against his throat caused the apple to bob. He sighed out no words. Belly rubbed, and instead of words, if felt like gas climbed up his chest to the bottom of his throat. He couldn't speak. Eventually, the extra gesture stopped but the embrace stayed. Lucas was a bit more heavy now.
But it was alright.
March was always such an unreliable month. Today was called the first day of spring, but it gotten colder and it was snowing. When he sighed, he saw his exhale in the air, and from his stoop he could see a sheet of snow. The outfit he wore currently wasn't made for the snow, and his first step of the day out of home was to see the height of the snow. Short, with the way it captured the imprint of his shoe with crushed grass along with it. He could barely take the cold the past few years, because already, he felt the plate of his chest caving in. He moved back inside with a rough shiver and slam of the door. His nose felt on fire, and upon his quick slip away, he caught a glimpse of his reddened features and stopped. Nose, cheeks, and tips of his ears all red.
He snorted and kept going. Most of their clothing and possessions were now relocated to various places downstairs to the insistence of Fuel and Lighter. While they had a point, he still found the shift irritating. Whether they were right or not, whether the upstairs was prone to accidents or not, whether the weather had a field day up there... it just was not the same anymore; and if there was anything he could ask for, was for things to stay as much of the same as possible. He walked over to the drawer under the mirror and slipped on his coat and different pairs of shoes. He felt a bit more blocked out from the world, and it gave him an unnerved feeling. His face cooled down, the shivers died down, and he pushed himself back outside—still snowing. He turned around and went back inside.
Back to the drawer under the mirror, there was a quilt in there; heavy and a dark burgundy color. When it brushed across his face after hauling it over his shoulder, it was pretty rough too. It once belonged to Flint and more so used for the outdoors. It 'reflected' things than just the temperature alone, so it felt all the more safe. He entered another room and found Lucas curled up tightly in the bed, his shape showing through their piled up sheets. He tried to carefully unfold the quit, but it still made a noise when it rolled out onto the floor, and even more so rubbing against the bed on its way to the top of Lucas. He kept an eye on him as he smoothed it out on top of him. He shifted only a little bit before sighing and falling into what looked like a transition back into a deep sleep. Claus sighed softly in relief and finally took his leave for outside.
In the summer, Claus felt a consistent nausea he just couldn't beat entirely. He could smell the new scent yards away before they became face to face. Each encounter no more worse than the very first time he smelt those strange oils from his hands and hair. Increasingly, he smelt less and less like the woods and more like metal and strange fumes; it locked the air in his throat sometimes. He'd feel brief faint when he was closest, and lingering dizziness when he was given something from him everyday. The smell just stuck no matter what and he could not get used to it.
“We're going to open that box today! Lucas is still recovering so...go get it!” He nodded, went back into the house, closed the door, and took a very deep breath. He breathed deeply and completely inside the house, banking oxygen for when he reunited with Fuel with the heavy metal box in tow. “Okay, it's surprisingly simple... Not quite a key but...” As he explained, he stuck a thin wire inside of the box and jiggled it. “You need to poke something inside it...” And as he stated that, a thin blue light emitted from small opening in the front. It beeped and popped open. “It's not the real key but it could fit and trick it!”
“...It smells like salt.”
“Salt has a smell?”
“...The food kind. Like uh... 'pork chips' I think.”
“Oh—yeah, that'd make sense, I guess. They have to gorge on food to be a Pigmask.” Fuel kept his gaze on the three items in the box. Eye contact rarely ever went right with Claus when you mentioned 'Pigmask'. “These are...chemicals. 'Wimperizer', 'defense spray' and...”
“A thud charm..?” Claus grabbed for that item in particular, even if the brightly colored fluid cased within the plastic spray bottles made him curious. “I thought it was supposed to be heavier than this...”
“Dude, you smell crazy stuff, hear things way before anyone else does, zap stuff, and you feel like what is normally a sickness's warmth but be perfectly healthy. Your definition of heavy is totally different.” In comparison to Claus, he also lacked his reflexes. The offended youth tossed the thud charm into the luckily emptied box on his lap and hurt his knee. “Ow! Claus!” He snorted roughly in reply and turned his back to him again. “How was what I said even offensive when it's true??”
“Callin' me a freak, just like the rest of them.”
“No I didn't! Tch-ow...” His leg began to bruise alright, and unlike Claus, he didn't carry bandages around at default.
“I'd prefer it that you don't get any closer to the house than you are now,” he stated once on the top of the stoop with his door opened. It shut before Fuel could pick up his jaw to properly talk back. The boy didn't move, not just because of his knee feeling sore, but how quickly things just turned into the worst and seemingly for no reason.
Until the door cracked opened again.
“Claus—Hey! You're ridiculous!!” He was hit in the face with a small roll of gauze before the door closed again. He put the gauze aside on the grass and lifted his arm up to his face before abruptly sneezing. …
He wished he had kept that thud charm or that could sell the stolen tools, or had something of worth to sell in this home. Something, anything, in exchange for something to make Lucas comfortable. He couldn't stand to see him wheeze and cough up a strange looking mucus he described as feeling like having webs in his throat. Nothing he did could make it go away like he could rid him of the bugs that invaded their home and caused this in the first place. All he could do now was chase his mild fevers away for a short while before it came back with coughs that hurt the muscles around his twin's ribs. Coughing or no, he held his red cheeks with a promise that as long as he held on, he would do whatever it took to make him better.
He would go to Fassad.
The proposed deal was unspoken, but Lucas knew, and his trembling hand squeezed Claus's hand when he turned around to leave. His chest felt too heavy to talk, and his eyes, they were already hazy and not all that there. He couldn't talk through them either.
He just couldn't make that nausea go away. Instead of the feeling of trapped air in his throat, it was a knot that climbed up no matter how much he swallowed it back down. The stench of fumes, fruit, and faint flowers stung his brain, and it was in very close proximity—right in front of him. A large hand in his messy hair making it messier, and leaving that smell to circle him long after he turned to leave. At the graves with a shovel in hand, to to collect a supple supply until the zombies would rise...
Balance had become forgotten. The forgotten sense, none of that paranormal mess people would whisper and theorize about, just the simple ability to be able to walk without teetering left and right to remain upright. In the morning, he felt ill himself, and landed on his knees and clung to the splintered frame of their door. Even with old wood pricking his face and hands, he remained there as he silently cried. He remained right there, even when day broke before his eyes. Sore knees added to the pile of everything else that had hurt him.
The oils and fumes he smelt strongly for several days in a row came back for yet another day, but with a twist of familiar hair. He didn't bother to wipe his face, he nested right here, tiny cuts and tears in total view. It took awhile for the boy in the distance's walking to turn into running, but when he did, he felt just a bit of relief. He didn't pay mind to his words when he wiped his face off with a blue handkerchief, in fact, he was glad when he stopped talking and helped him into bed next to the half-awake Lucas who was quick (as quick as a really recovering person could be) to snuggle him under his arms. The set of hands in his hair was much less invasive, even with the strange motor smell to them.
Was this 'link' his imagination? Was he being a hypochondriac with this supposed tingle in his fingers and extra pulse in his heart he was sure wasn't there before many years ago? He didn't have weird eyes, and he wasn't legitimately related to them either. Yet, he could always find himself with them in the exact moment he was 'needed'. Well, not exactly, close, but he bets if he had PSI too he would be more in tune and on time with them. Trips in Murasaki never go too well without his technology. His GPS had no signal to bounce off of and he found himself a little lost. All he had was his old forgotten gut(-feeling).
He mostly followed Claus' beckon. Otherwise, he would idle around and do his usual... It made him wonder if he should question his abilities to maneuver around, or simply just blame Murasaki forest for being such an incomplete mess. Holes everywhere, wide open gaps rather than walk ways, and everything being purple and a clashing teal. There was simply nothing to go off on as far as he was aware of. He was very close to giving up and sitting down with the goods until he heard a series of sounds in a thick cluster of trees. His heart felt like an unusual physical echo when he entered the leafy bushes to get through to the sound.
He was lead to where he needed to be just when he was ready to give up. … But awkwardly so. He always found the twins so...peculiar in this day and age. They were still so close no matter what, especially when it came to sleeping. Claus simply just never slept unless he had Lucas right there next to him; he could quite literally, 'run on battery'. His lower body stretched out, but his upper body curled against his twin with his face close to his neck, obviously taking him in with all of his senses. Awake, sometimes, but more so in his sleep.
“Took you long enough.” If it weren't for Lucas' sheepish expression, or the risk of hitting him instead of Claus, he could've very easily tossed fruit square at the back of the redhead's large and pompous head. He heavily sighed and sat on the edge of Lucas, away from Claus for the moment. Only a moment, because the once curled up man shifted right in between them and turned his head to look at Fuel.
“...What?” No verbal reply, he was the next one to be coiled on. “What--”
“You're already getting goose bumps. You know how cold this forest gets with how dark it is.” He was nonchalant, and he later yawned, “You hate the cold as much as I do. If not more.”
“You do.” At this point, it was expected of Lucas to get up, walk around them and place himself on his other side with that eerie and wispy laugh of his. Whenever the brunette was unfortunately involved, they had a mischievous streak. “Lucas, you're not even warm, you're kind of cold.”
“Well...If you happen to get a rash or anything...I could fix that even in my sleep? Or... I could be like that cool side of the pillow...”
The three 'heh's fell on one another like an amusing set of dominos.
In Fuel's case, he did have an incoming rash he chose not to scratch, and of all things to wonder about, he wondered if Lucas had the sense for that or only guessed from past experiences... He softly sighed. If felt kinda..home-y, even in the middle of a creepy, dark, and cold forest. His arms weren't free to hug, and he was sitting too upright to really lean against either of them, but he was never picky or a complainer, and was able to sleep easy in-between.