Crawford Tillinghast had finally settled into his bedroom after a long day of working with his mentor, Edward Pretorius. The young man would have had no trouble working longer if Edward hadn't invited one of his ‘friends’ over for a night of sadistic pleasure. Crawford sighed and sat down on his bed, turning his bedside lamp on and pulling out a book; he didn't exactly have a plethora of friends to call him up on a Friday night. Three pages into his Lovecraft story and Crawford was interrupted by a shrill, violent scream; while anyone else would have jumped to find the source, Crawford knew it was just Pretorius’ idea of a fun night. It bothered Crawford; he had met Pretorius’ women more than once at dinner and they all seemed nice, commenting on how cute Crawford was or asking about his research. It wasn't fair that Edward didn't know how to make love, though Crawford would never tell him that.
After a solid five minutes of listening to incessant screaming, Crawford gave up on his book and instead decided to turn on the television. He flipped through a couple of cheesy scientifically-inaccurate sci-fi movie before settling on the news; the local charities were thriving, a cat was rescued from a tree, and multiple people were dead in what was being proclaimed as the ‘Miskatonic Massacre.’ Crawford jolted upright and cranked up the volume.
“As far as we know, only two people that were involved survived this horrible tragedy,” the news woman said as photos of both Daniel Cain and Herbert West appeared on the screen. “ Multiple others, including Dean Alan Halsey, have been reported dead. The two students have been brought in for questioning, but at this point we do not know the cause of the incident.”
“Herbert,” Crawford sighed and shook his head. “What have you done this time?” He hadn't seen his brother since he himself had left for Miskatonic. He had since left to do independent study with Pretorius while his brother went to Switzerland. The last he knew, Herbert had left Switzerland after Gruber’s death. The two had always squabbled growing up, mostly in result of Herbert always wanting to pick on his brother. Every so often Crawford could tell that Herbert wasn't completely heartless toward him, but those moments were few and far between. Crawford heard the sound of Edward’s door opening and closing, followed by heels on the cold tiles of the hallway. A small knock resounded on his door.
“Goodnight, sweetheart,” the woman said kindly before leaving. Crawford could hear Pretorius shuffling about and opened his door.
“Edward?” Pretorius turned toward him, tying his robe into place and raising a brow.
“Yes Crawford, what can I do for you?” The man smiled in a porn-like-fatherly way at him and Crawford smiled nervously back.
“I, umm, I just found out that my brother may be in trouble at my old school and was wondering if I could take a small vacation to go see him,” he wrapped his arms around his own waist, waiting for the older man to say no.
“Yes, of course you can,” he patted Crawford on the back. “You’ve already helped me so much with the Resonator; perhaps by the time you get back it will be ready for trial. You won’t be gone long, will you?” Crawford shook his head.
“A week at most, if he lets me stay with him that long…”
“Well get to packing your bags, Tillinghast. Trouble at your old school, you say; are you referring to Miskatonic University?”
“I just heard about that place on the television; your brother wouldn’t happen to be Herbert West, would he?”
“Oh...well good luck to you, then.”
Back on Darkmore Road, the young couple was returning home after hours of talking to the police. Lucky for them, Dan had a solid reputation at the school and the police weren’t worried about him. Herbert was a different story; a story that Dan had to play off like a professional Shakespearean-trained actor. It was all worth it to get to take Herbert back home. He had died back there, and Dan had saved him; needless to say this would result in some changes in their relationship, but for now Dan held Herbert close to protect him from the world.
“Dan I’m perfectly fine walking on my own,” Herbert huffed. Dan quickly held his hands up in defense. “You did a great job with the police back there,” Herbert added with a small smile. “You really saved me...well, in more ways than one.” Dan experimentally held Herbert’s hand and was pleased when the other man squeezed it gently. He thought back to looking at Herbert’s dead body and holding onto hope, saying that he loved him. Herbert hadn’t heard it and Dan hadn’t said it since, but he wasn’t going to scare him away.
“How about we have a little homecoming celebration,” Dan purred as they walked through the door, kissing Herbert’s neck. Herbert tensed and gently pushed at Dan, shaking his head. “S-sorry…”
“It’s fine,” Herbert said quietly. “I just need to rest tonight, okay? Maybe we can copulate tomorrow when I’ve had a chance to calm down.” Dan nodded in agreement and kissed his forehead. He watched Herbert walk back the hallway to the shower and he laid in bed alone for nearly an hour as he waited for Herbert to finish. He didn’t comment on the red scrub marks on Herbert’s arms when he entered the room and instead wrapped his arms around him and they both drifted off to sleep.
Dan jerked awake to a loud pounding on the front door. He looked over at Herbert curled up to him, still sleeping. His brow was furrowed as if he were dreaming, and Dan lightly brushed his hair back and got up to answer the door.
“Now what could you want this early in the mor-” Dan’s voice cut off when he swung the door open and got a look at the visitor. Large hazel eyes looked up at him, dark brown hair cascading over his forehead. He wore a large grey sweater that was much too big on his small frame. Oh, and he looked exactly like Herbert. “I...I…”
“Crawford Tillinghast,” the young man smiled shyly and held out his hand. Dan took it and smiled like an idiot. “Does Herbert West live here?”
“You must be Herbert’s twin, then?” Crawford nodded.
“Much to Herbert’s dismay, I am…”
“Well come on in, it's nice to meet you. I’m Dan; a friend of Herbert’s. Your brother is still asleep at the moment,” Dan watched Crawford plop down on the sofa and swallowed. “Wow you..you two really look alike, don't you?”
“Kinda the point of twins isn’t it, Dan,” Herbert came into the room, distaste dripping from his voice. “What are you doing here Crawford?”
“Wanted to make sure you weren't in any trouble after that whole massacre thing that I'm sure you were the direct cause of..” There was concern in Crawford’s voice .
“Not really any of your business..”
“I know you don’t like it, but my family is my business and you’re my family!”
“Well you can just waltz your way back into your old man mansion, suck Edward Pretorius off, and call it science!”
“Now you listen here-”
“HEY hey hey guys why don't we all calm down and have a cup of coffee,” Dan interjected for fear of physical violence . Herbert remained with his lips pursed while glaring at Crawford. Both boys weren't wearing glasses and Dan had to shake any dirty thoughts away that came to mind. “Why don’t we all migrate to the kitchen and take a deep breath; it’s six in the morning and I have a full day planned.”
The twins sat in silence as Dan brewed the coffee; Crawford played with his hands and Herbert was half asleep. “So Herbert,” Crawford tried after a long couple of minutes. “What kind of work have you been doing lately? Herbert groaned in response and waved his hand dismissively.”
“Tell us about your work, Crawford,” Dan smiled at him and handed over a cup. “Herbert mentioned something about the pineal gland; what is that all about?” It was adorable the way Crawford’s eyes lit up at the fact that someone was actually interested in what he did.
“Edward and I have been experimenting with the pineal, yes; he believes it is the third eye,” Herbert rolled his eyes.
“All that comes to my mind when you explain this garbage is him putting a finger to your forehead and humming, is that what goes on,” Herbert asked.
“No...we’re building a machine that he calls the Resonator. When it’s finished, he believes that we will be able to see beyond this reality. As of now I can’t tell you anything for a fact,” Crawford shrugged. “It’s nice living in a big house, though.”
“Well you’re free to stay with us for a few days if you’d like to,” Dan offered. “There’s a nice guest bedroom that Herbert no longer needs.” Herbert slapped Dan on the arm.
“Why doesn’t he need i-”
“Because I sleep in the basement with my work,” Herbert cut in. “Now if you two will excuse me, I should get back to it.” He got up abruptly and left the room. Crawford sighed.
“Just ignore him, Crawford; he’s been through a lot recently. I noticed he likes to take his anger out on people.”
“He’s been taking his anger out on me since we were little; I’m used to it.”
“I’m sorry you had to deal with that,” Dan chuckled. “He can be sweet and adorable when he wants to be though…”
“Dan get you ASS DOWN HERE AND HELP ME,” Herbert erupted from the basement and Crawford raised an eyebrow.
“He really can be, I promise,” Dan took a deep breath and headed down the stairs.
That night, a small knock on his bedroom door got Dan’s attention and he pulled it open to find Crawford standing there wearing his long sweater hanging down just above his knees and nothing else. Dan quickly turned and saw that Herbert was sound asleep before turning back to the sweeter of the twins.
“C-can I help you,” he stuttered. Crawford merely nodded, shoving him down onto the bed and straddling him. “Whoa, what are you doing?” Crawford put a finger to his lips and looked over at his sleeping brother.
“Want me to wake up Herbert so he can join us,” Crawford purred, leaning down to nibble on Dan’s ear and his hips worked down onto Dan’s growing erection.
“Crawford I don’t know if he’ll like thi-ooooh my god,” Dan watched in amazement as Herbert woke up and began to let Crawford attack his face. Crawford crawled off of Dan to curl up next to his brother and Dan could only look on in helplessness until Herbert sat up, glasses crooked and hair ruffled.
“Wanna take turns on us?” Dan’s eyes widened, but he didn’t answer.
“DAN WAKE UP,” Herbert yelled at him.
“SHIT,” Dan leapt up. “Guess I fell asleep; what’s wrong?!”
“Crawford is dusting our house,” Herbert hissed. Dan groaned and wrapped his pillow around his head.
“Just leave and go for a walk if it bothers you so much.”
“This is my place, not his; if he’s bothering me, he should leave.”
“Why do you hate him so much? He clearly adores you and wishes you wanted to spend time with him-”
“You’re just saying this because you think he’s cute, aren’t you?”
“I don’t think he’s-well, he does look exactly like you…”
“SO YOU ADMIT IT!!”
It was going to be a very long week.