you can find me dancin’ in a lovers hurricane - Chapter 8 - LittleLilliana15 (2024)

Chapter Text

“Speeding across the country in someone else’s car

Keeping a book of secrets and takin’ it too far

When we were

Sleeping in motels, of course I’m

Skipping some details and we would

Break all the windows

To feel the wind on our skin.”

  • Crash by Neovaii

The last time Raine had seen their girlfriend like this, they had been slowly dying from a Draining Spell in Eda’s arms.

Eda was so upset and angry and grieving that Raine couldn’t fix it no matter how hard they tried. Her hurting was coming from within, and the only thing that would fix it was confronting the cause which they were already planning to do.

Their partner had spilled her guts (not literally) and Raine… didn’t know what to do. Fixing Eda’s self-worth issues had been an uphill battle since the beginning. She talked a big show, but the fact remained that she didn’t think she was good enough for anybody.

Funny, that, because Raine often didn’t think they were good enough for her. She was so brave and loud and bright, and Raine could barely even talk to people. They were a freaking Bard with stage fright. They weren’t strong enough to fight back outright. Not like Eda can.

Eda needed them to fight, though. She needed them to be her warrior because she couldn’t be her own.

So Raine would try.

On another note, Raine was pretty distracted. Eda had shifted into Harpy Mode in order to fly back home and she looked really really hot in Harpy Mode.

In fact, the second thought Raine had when they saw her like that was how on Titan did I get such a beautiful girlfriend.

The first thought was absolutely not appropriate for children, but rest assured it was in a positive way.

Changing the subject.

They were flying over New York now. Just thirty more minutes and the group would find out the truth…

For better or worse.

After that girl ran off, the Masha kid rounded on Stan and opened their mouth-

Only for a voice to call for them from the other room.

They glared at Stan, but he barely noticed. He was too busy wondering how on earth he’d managed to send someone into a panic attack just by talking. not the first time you’ve screwed something up

Masha grabbed the front of his affront-to-fashion and got right in his face. “You are going to go after her and fix this or I swear to Goddess I will make you regret it.” they growled.

Stan wasn’t really intimidated (Masha didn’t even make the top twenty), but he nodded because the kid did look like a witch and he didn’t need to get on the wrong side of yet another witch. Masha let him go.

He asked, “what’s her name?”

Masha answered, “Vee. Her name is Vee.” before the voice yelled for them again and they had to go see what the person wanted.

So Stan ran.

Hot Belgian waffles, this kid’s fast.

Stan woulda thought the girl - Vee, right - was in the Olympics the way she ran. He’d managed to catch up with her, but she’d gone into the forest and serpentined around trees almost faster than Stan could see her do it. And he’d spent an entire summer with Mabel, for Pete’s sake. That girl was damned fast.

It must‘ve been only around 15 minutes before he lost the girl. She disappeared into the bushes and the next second Stan heard thudding and a scream.

He tread carefully to where Vee had disappeared and pushed back the bushes to find a steep hill - more like a small cliff.

The girl was at the bottom, crumpled on the ground.

Stan slid down as fast as he could and hurried to her side. She was breathing, but way too fast to be normal even after running. Her hands scrabbled at the dirt and she was gulping for air, eyes wide and glazed. Her skin and clothes rippled with spots and a dusty gray-green color. Panic attack.

Well, Stan knew how to handle panic attacks. He gently said, “Hey, hey, it’s okay. I promise. It’s okay. I’m not gonna hurt you. Vee, right? Your name’s Vee? C’mon, Vee, it’s okay. It’s okay. Breathe with me. Just breathe…”

She kept panting and whimpering, but her hands slowed their desperate movements. Stan slowly put his hand on her back and she tensed, but he kept his movements slow and clear. He rubbed her back in a circle, counting a steady rhythm for her to follow with her breathing.

It felt like a good long while before Vee’s panting slowed enough that Stan wasn’t afraid she’d make herself sick. She was still tense as hell, so Stan kept rubbing her back gently, whispering reassurances.

Finally, Vee attempted to get up but fell back with a bit-back cry and clutched her ankle. Stan looked: the ankle in question was red and well on its way to being swollen. Great. Stan had gotten her a sprained ankle. That Masha kid was gonna kill him.

“I’m sorry, kiddo. Shouldn’t have scared ya like that.” he sighed and helped her sit up. “C’mon, there we go. Let’s see the damage.”

He inspected her quickly: possibly-sprained ankle looked like the worst injury, but her leg, forearms and chin were scraped bloody by her fall. Stan patted his pockets and cussed quietly. Of course this would be the one day he didn’t have his first-aid kit. It really was an off day today.

“Alright, Vee, we’re gonna hafta get you to your home before I can do anything about all that.” He stood up to stretch, joints groaning and himself following suit. “Pro tip, kiddo, when you get to be an old fart like me don’t chase people through the woods. Your joints will not thank you.”

The girl still sat there pale and petrified, like she was expecting Stan to attack her. I mean, fair, considering he’d chased her through what felt like half the woods, but Stan hadn’t been about to argue with that teenager. He did not need to lose his hands again. That would just top off the sh*tty day this was.

Stan crouched again. “Vee, I’m gonna need to carry you if we wanna get you home. I don’t want you walking on that ankle. Is that okay, or do you want me to go find your parents?”

Vee shook her head shakily and held up her arms. Stan scooped her in a bridal carry - she weighed as much as Mabel, so it wasn’t hard - and looked around only to realize…

There were no buildings, no trail markers, nada. Zip. Zilch.

He didn’t know which way he’d come from.

He was lost.

He was freakin’ lost!

Every damn tree looked the same!

There weren’t even any helpful anomalies to guide him home.

It wasn’t the forest Stan had spent decades wandering, looking for those stupid journals. He didn’t know these trees at all, and that scared him more than he wanted to admit.

He brought out his cell phone, careful not to dislodge Vee, to see if he could call his brother or the kids - no service.

Scratch the hand-thing: this topped off the day, and it was barely 1 in the afternoon.

“Uhh, heh. Small problem, kiddo. We may be a little lost.” he admitted sheepishly.

Vee swallowed and whispered something Stan couldn’t hear. He told her, “Sorry, kid, you’re gonna hafta speak up. You’re right in my bum ear.”

The girl spoke again. “What are you gonna do with me?” Her voice was hoarse and shaky, like she was trying not to cry.

The question confused Stan. “I’m gonna take you home, kiddo. I’m gonna get you back to your parents. What, didya think I was just gonna leave you here?”

Vee shook her head. “N-no, what- wh- I don’t… aren’t you gonna take me back…th-there?”

Stan blinked. He felt like he was missing something yet again. “I don’t understand, where is ‘there’?”

“Y-you mentioned your brother was a s-scientist who studied..studied weird creatures.” The unspoken “like me” hung in the air between them. All of a sudden Stan understood. She must have come from a government (it was always the government) facility somewhere where she’d been poked and prodded and experimented on, then escaped and built a life for herself.

Who did sh*t like this? Who took a kid and didn’t treat them like they were supposed to be treated?

Stan shook his head both to clear it and to reassure the kid. “Yeah, he, uh. He is. And he can be kind of a jerk, but that usually happens cause he ain’t thinking about social stuff. He’s no good at that. But I promise, he won’t run experiments on you if you ask him not to. Worst he’ll do is kill ya with questions.”

The reassurance did the trick: Vee almost instantly relaxed against Stan. “My home is that way,” she pointed, and Stan started walking again.

He kept talking, babbling out every story he had about Ford being a goof. He had a lot of material, to be honest. Vee was an excellent audience, gasping and giggling at all the right times.

Eventually, he made it to the forest’s edge and gladly left those creepy woods behind.

Vee guided him to a small house kinda-close-to the woods. He went up to the door and knocked as best he could with a kid in his arms.

The door opened to reveal a woman with dark skin and pretty curly hair. She gasped when she saw Stan and moved aside to let him in. “Come in, come in.”

The woman led him to the kitchen and pulled out a chair, and Stan set Vee down in it.

The woman brought over a first aid kit and her and Vee had a conversation in Spanish that Stan pretended to not be able to understand.

“Sweetie, what happened? Who is this man, and why are you so scraped up?” The woman asked, clearly very worried.

“It’s okay, Mama, this is… actually, I don’t know his name. But he came in the museum and he was looking for weird creatures and I panicked and ran off into the woods. He found me and got me calmed down, but I got a sprained ankle because I tripped while running.” Vee explained, while Stan and her mom used the first aid kit to clean her up.

Vee’s mom turned to Stan. “And what is your name, mister?” Her English had a lovely Colombian lilt to it that Stan vaguely recognized from his own Colombian days.

Stan held out one hand for a handshake. “My name’s Stan. I, uh… I’m sorry. To both of you,” he added, looking back down at Vee. “I kinda scared you, kiddo, and I’m sorry about that.”

Vee flapped a hand. “It’s okay. Mamá, Stan’s brother is a scientist who studies creatures. Stan said he wasn’t mean, though, and I think they’re human. I think we should show him the door.” she finished her sentence in Spanish.

“Really? Are you sure?”

Yes mamá. I don’t need to go through.” Vee replied.

Stan briefly held an internal debate on whether he should ask about the door they were talking about, but decided not to. People tended to be more honest when they thought you couldn’t understand them, and Stan wasn’t about to give up a potential advantage.

Vee’s mom turned back to Stan and shook his hand. “My name is Camila.”

Stan smiled at her and started wrapping Vee’s ankle. “Couldja get some ice for this?”

Silence followed as Stan patched up Vee. Then the girl spoke up.

“If you and your brother are looking for weird things, I’ll tell you where to go.”

Stan nodded to indicate he was listening.

Vee continued, “There’s an old house about a quarter-mile away from here in the woods. It’s got a pink door with a yellow star on it. If you go through that door, you’ll end up in the demon realm, also known as the boiling isles.”

Boiling isles. “Why’s it called that?”

“You’ll see soon enough.” Vee answered not-at-all-cryptically.

Camila nudged Stan over, seemingly sensing his restlessness. “I can take over, if you want to go see.”

Stan nodded and stood. Camila led him out the door and pointed into the woods. “It’s in that direction. Tell whoever’s there that Camila sent you; they know me over there. And Stan,” she turned towards him, and he braced himself for the (deserved) ‘you ever even look at my kid again I’m gonna kill you’ spiel.

But Camila surprised him. “You did scare Vee, so don’t ever do that again. But,” she sighed, “at least you made up for it. The last person who scared her didn’t do so. He…did not get away unscathed.”

Knowing mothers, Stan sensed that ‘didn’t get away unscathed’ meant ‘was lucky to even be alive after I was through with him’. He nodded and rubbed the back of his neck.

“Yeah, I uh… normally I wouldn’t even get to the point of scaring her. I’m better with that kinda thing than my brother but…it’s kinda been an off day today. I really am sorry.”

Camila nodded back. “That’s what I need to hear. Good luck.”

With that, she went back inside. Stan started off in the direction she’d indicated, mulling over what he’d done in the museum. He really hadn’t been paying attention to Vee at all until she’d started panicking when normally he’d see it coming from a mile away.

He’d noticed he did that sometimes. After a lapse, he’d be off his game, not paying attention to things he normally paid attention to. Ford said that was likely his brain directing all its resources towards re-sorting his memories, leaving no room for paying attention to other things.

Stan didn’t like it at all.

After a few minutes of walking, he came across a broken-down house.

The door caught his attention immediately. It was in fact bright pink, with a yellow star that reminded Stan of Mabel’s favorite sweater. It looked like it’d been painted yesterday.

He walked up the steps and put a hand on the doorknob. A familiar buzz crept through his fingers. Magic. Stan got the same buzz whenever him and Ford were trying out a spell they’d found.

This must be it.

He opened the door and stepped through before he could think about it.




The first thing Stan registered was the heat.

The air was humid and warm like Columbia had been. Two weirdly familiar smells that Stan couldn’t place just then filled the air. He shuffled his feet; he was standing on something slightly squishy but rock-hard at the same time.

Screeches of something probably-not-regular-animals came from all around.

Stan opened his eyes and his jaw dropped.

The forest stretched around him - but it was a very different forest, with pink trees and red grass.

He took a deep breath; the source of one of the smells came from his memory. Decay. Something was rotting nearby. The sound of waves came from behind. That was the second smell: sea air.

A thought struck him and he pulled out his phone; he had service. How the fu- know what, never mind. Don’t let a good thing slide. He texted his brother (don’t broadcast your location, don’t know who might be listening) even though he couldn’t spell to save his life: thank Moses for autocorrect.

hey you know that portal stuff we were looking for

fond it

wierd pink door in Ann old house

pretty sure im in another dimensison right now

His phone instantly buzzed and lit up. Incoming Call: Poindexter.

Before he could do anything, several things happened all at once.

A horrible screechy voice shouted “INTRUDER!”

A shadow fell over him. He glanced up-

Darkness swallowed him whole just before he hit his head against something hard, and Stan knew no more.

you can find me dancin’ in a lovers hurricane - Chapter 8 - LittleLilliana15 (2024)


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