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My Son's a Rustblood

Chapter Text

Alma’s heart was pumping as she felt the fabric of the long blue robe on her skin, looking at herself in the mirror, the hat on her face, covering most of her dark hair. She couldn't believe it, that the robes were already here, and that today they were going to be used in a special ceremony. Her college graduation.
“I can't believe our little baby is going to graduate”.
“Mom it's no big deal”.
“Yes it is, and you’re making us so proud”, her dad said.
“Well I don't really think it's a big deal, well the only thing is that I’ll move out of my dorm and into an apartment with Stacy”.
“Yeah Alma, you won't be living here anymore”.
“Mom I've stayed here a week”.
She gave a deep sigh as her parents continued to talk to her like if she was seven and not as a grown up, they always said they were happy until it meant she was far away.
“But won't the apartment be cramped?”.
“Not really, we got a living room, kitchen and a bedroom each”.
“Well you would have gotten a bigger apartment if not for those gray freaks”.
“Dad stop that, they needed the apartment more than we did”.
“No, those fucking space misfits though they could get here and just take stuff from us”.
“Dad, they are diplomats, they want our species to get along”.
“Well I certainly don't like it, or them”.

~Two months earlier~

A young man wearing a tweed suit sat in front of the camera, they were about to make a broadcast to the whole world, about the most extraordinary that had happened in centuries, and he was the lucky one that got to talk about it. He looked to the side, where his coworkers smiled and gave him thumbs up.
And then, they went live.
“Good evening everybody, my name is Richard Pines and you are watching Skaia News. Today we’re gonna talk about the the event of the century. We are not alone in the universe”
He pointed to his right were a picture of a gray humanoid lifeform with orange and yellow horns were present.
“This new species are called trolls, and yesterday they contacted us and wanted to start an alliance after watching us for a time. They live on the planet Alternia, a planet full of exotic plants and enormous white animals, countless of light years away, and what distinguishes them from us is that they have different colored blood than us, ranging from a spectrum from burgundy to fuschia”.
Now a picture of a seadweller was showing.
“The trolls have a biology similar to those of Earth insects, and the two highest “castes”, violet and fuchsia, has fins and are able to live in the ocean.
Their leader named Feferi Peixes is of this caste, and we will have an interview with her later today about how our two races can benefit from each other and an alliance. My name is Richard Pines and you have been watching Skaia News”.

~Back to the present~

As he can see, both Alma’s parents didn't seem to like trolls that much, believing they would just cause trouble and steal their stuff, ignoring the fact that they also exchanged alternian technology and culture with Earth, even letting humans visit Alternia. She had no idea on how her big brother William thought about trolls though, since she hasn't seen him in a few months, being busy raising a family and all, but that's another story. And so was it with her big sister Sarah, who had graduated last year and never really talked to any of them, so to say, her siblings weren't in her life that much at the moment. Alma really enjoyed the idea of building an intergalactic alliance and learn from each other, she was really interested in trolls. She hasn't told her family yet, but after she graduated, she was gonna spend some of her gift money to visit that gray planet far away, to be emerged in the culture and the new regime (since the society apparently was built on violence before). She really thought an experience like that would strengthen her for the better, and she was really interested in seeing the nature and their wildlife. Not even Stacy knew she was going yet, her plan was so secret so her parents wouldn't find out before it was too late to stop her.
She was 23 years old after all.
After a few more minutes of small talking, they all sat in the car and drew to her college, it was a boring one hour drive with she spend texting Stacy, who were also on her way, along with once again looking up price ticket for a ship to Alternia.
She found the perfect match, a ship that would depart in two days. The vacation would be a week long, 2 days in space, 3 on Alternia and then 2 more days to get back to Earth, and it was cheaper than she had expected it to be. Well she guess that meant she could buy more souvenirs.
She pressed the confirm button on the site, her money being withdrawn from her account and her tickets being sent to her mail. All this while her parents were talking shit about trolls and their culture as they thought Alma texted her friends.
As they drew they had to brake, they almost drew over a confusing looking troll with an orange sign and forked horns that tried to cross the road.
“Watch where the fuck you are going! Go home to your own planet!”, his dad screamed as he cranked down the window. The troll looked scared to death and started running, soon disappearing from their field of vision, and Alma felt sad for what her dad had done towards them. That was straight up racism.
“Fucking idiot, should've stayed on their gray little insect planet and left us alone, just a bunch of freaks, right Alma?”, her father said and she just shrugged. She was not gonna be a dick towards people she didn't know, that was common sense.
“Yeah, just destroying our traditions”, her mom said.
She couldn't stand anymore, but luckily the college campus was now visible in the distance, and she would be out of the car any minute now.
They drew into the almost over filled parking lot and she jumped out, ran to her class, everyone around her wearing blue robes, and in the mess of people, there were Stacy.
“Ready to graduate?”.
“Of course I am”.

~ A few hours later~

Alma was sitting in a fancy restaurant, munching on a steak, Stacy beside her and both their parents also there, and Stacy’s little brother (her own siblings were absent). They were still wearing the robes and their families were proudly bragging to the couple on the table beside on how their daughters had graduated college, with amazing (more like average to be honest) grades.
Well she didn't complain, she got steak after all, she loved restaurants, it made her feel like if she was royalty.
“So girls what are you gonna do now that you’ve graduated?”, Stacy’s father asked.
“Well”, Stacy said. “I’ll treat myself with a few relaxing days and then go back to my part time job as a librarian while I apply for a full time job”.
“Sounds amazing sweetheart, already having plans and all, such a grown up woman”.
“And what about you my sweetheart?”, Alma’s mother asked her.
“Well I'm just gonna take a few days of and maybe travel around a little”.
“Are you gonna bring a boy?”, her mother said, smiling a little.
“No, no boys, just me”.
“But sweetie you’re 23 and haven't had a single boyfriend yet, we want grandkids soon”, her father said.
“You have grandkids. Two, and one on the way to be exact. Did you forget about Alicia and Alexander? And their soon to be sibling?”.
“But we want you to have kids too”.
“Well too bad”, she said and shrugged it off, hoping her parents wouldn't make a big deal about it. She simply didn't feel the urge to be in a relationship, and she hasn't fancied someone, no need to rush anything right. It would happen when it happen.
“So Alma, where are you going?”, Eric, Stacy’s brother asked.
“Well I don't know yet to be honest”, she said, hiding the truth”.
“Well let's just hope the gray misfits hasn't polluted the place you're going too”, her dad said.
Well if he only knew…

~Even later~

The two friends were at their apartment, both relaxing after the long tiring day of their graduation. They were finally out of college and it felt weird, but overwhelming. She was tired, but she decided to start packing now so she wouldn't need to stress later, then she could spend all day tomorrow sleeping.
She got her suitcase, packed it with lots of clothes and other things she thought she might need, and put it under her bed so it wouldn't take up too much space.
“Hey Alma, so you are going?”.
“Yeah I am, I have tickets”.
“So where are you going then? I'm curious”.
“I'll tell you if you don't tell my parents until I've already left”.
“Okay?”.
“I'm going to Alternia”.

Chapter Text

The alarm sounded high pitched and broke her out of her dreams, back into reality.
Today was the day.
She was going to start traveling.
Stacy had been so excited when she told her about where she was going, and asked her to take lots of pictures and bring her something, she would pay her back.
She groaned as she got out of bed, getting into the shower to clean up.
In just three hours, she would not be on a plane, but on a spaceship, a real spaceship.
She was gonna be gone from Earth a whole week. Leaving her planet casually on a vacation was something her kind wouldn't think was possible only two months ago. How much have changed over the two months where the humans knew about trolls.
She let the hot water flow over her body, making her awake, before she got out of the shower, brushed her teeth and got dressed, in a black t shirts and gray pants, she knew trolls didn't have much color in their outfit, and she wanted to try it out the way they did it. If the trolls had to learn human culture on Earth, it should be vise versa.
As she went out of the bathroom, Stacy was sitting in the kitchen eating breakfast, and she quickly sat down beside her, grabbing a bowl and filling it with cereal.
“So today it is huh. You’re going to space, for a week”.
“Yeah pretty much”.
“How did you even have enough money for that, doesn't it cost much?”.
“Dude it’s way cheaper than you think, it only cost as much as it would to travel to like London. That is way cheap for space travel”.
“Wow are you serious? Maybe I should go one day too”.
“Would be nice, but remember, no color explosions”, Alma said, thinking back to all the weird tv news about trolls being scared about too much color in clothes, and for some reason, clowns. Well it was a phobia for humans too, but every single one of the trolls had that fear apparently.
“Oh yeah, the blood caste thingy. Who even invents a superiority system based on blood color of all things?”, Stacy said.
“Well we invented a caste system by skin color, both are ridiculous when you think about it, but I think the trolls caste system is also about age or lifespans or something. Don't know all of it yet”.
“Well it's a little weird thinking that a species actually has different blood than red, don't you think? Like if someone get wounded it would look like spilled paint? That would honestly be so cool if we had it”.
She just shrugged her shoulders.
“My ship is leaving in three hours, could you drive me to the airport or do I need to take a taxi”.
“Sure I'll drive you”

~An hour later~

Alma was walking, suitcase beside her as she was almost at the security check, Stacy beside her. They were gonna part, and her best friend gave her a huge hug.
“You have fun there, and stay safe and remember that you got to send lots of pictures”.
“Yeah I'm gonna do that, but you know that the Internet between the planets is a little slow so I’ll just show you when I’m home again”.
“Sure, I’ll be waiting for you”.
“Good, just try not to burn the apartment complex down and don't adopt any animals without my consent”.
“Naw bummer”.
“Stacy…”.
“Okay, no animals until we have a better income”.
She gave her friend a smile before giving her a second hug, and then walked up to security check, and was on her way.
Once she was through the security’s basic things, she showed her ticket to the security man, which called for someone to come and get her so that she could be showed to the special ship ramp.
After two minutes of waiting, a troll, 7 feet tall, wearing a formal uniform with an olive sign on their chest greeted them.
“Hello, my name is Walita Wehley and I’ll have the honor to lead you to our spaceship, that will take off in about an hour”, she said and started walking.
“So, how big is the ship?”, Alma asked.
“It's kind of small by troll standards, but huge for you humans. A small part of the ship is for transporting goods between our two planets, like your invention “sun screen”, it is really helpful for us when we must be out in the sun, and your instant noodles and other kinds of food that we haven't heard off. The other part is living quarters for tourists or travelers between planets, humans and trolls, and also living quarters for the people working on the ship”.
“That sounds interesting”, she said as they walked through more corridors. “What fuel does your ship use?”.
“Well “fuel” wouldn't be the exact word for it, we use organic power, this ship is powered by five helmsmen, trolls with psiionics, when we were ruled by the old Empress the psiionics stayed like that for all their lives, but these all gets breaks and free time, and they get paid for it”.
“Wow. Sounds … neat?”. She didn't really know what to say otherwise, it was kind of a weird discussion for her, but well, they were different species after all.
“It is indeed, oh, the ship will soon be visible from the windows”.
Alma looked to her right as they continued to walk through the (never ending?) corridor and then she saw it, bigger than any airplane she had ever seen, bigger than most schools she had seen, it was at least twenty stories tall and was covered in a night black metal that reflected the waves of the shining sun, with purple insect like legs on the sides and purple windows everywhere, except maybe the floors down (which probably was the cargo area?). She had no idea how that huge chunk of metal would be able to lift, let alone make it into space. She had literally never imagined a thing like this to ever exist, and yet there she was, staring at it like if she was from the Stone Age starting at a McDonald's.
Next thing she knew, she was finally out of the corridor, and came into (yay another one) a larger one, where both humans and trolls were walking around, talking, some running frantically to deeds they had to do. Some trolls were short, around 5 feet, and some were HUGE, around 9 feet tall. She felt like a small child beside these huge trolls, but Walita let her out of the busy corridor and to her gate. Next thing she knew, she was inside the ship.
Trolls and humans walking around, human children asking questions to trolls. It was a lively place, and the walls changed colors all the time, from deep red to a sparkling fuchsia, it was a scene of colors melting together.
They walked through a few areas with tvs and holo screens that everyone could use, and entered the passenger living quarters. Walita gave her her room key, 526B12, hoped that she would have a nice trip and left.
Her room was simple, a bed, a desk, a holo screen with both Earth and Alternian channels, and ship access things, a shelf with some books, and a bathroom. It was quiet cosy, and she had a window, which she found out wasn't purple on the inside, only the outside. It was so clear so she didn't realize there even was a window until her hand hit it as she reached out to touch.
For the next hour, she looked at maps of the ship through her holo screen, and then it happened.
A soft voice was heard, it was like if it came from her head, and the next second, she saw that the legs of the ship started to move, crouched down, and jumped. The ship flew high up in the air, and she heard motors start as they flew high. She had expected it to be a bumpy ride up, but no. It didn't feel worse than going on a roller coaster.
She saw everything getting smaller and smaller, until the sky turned darker and the ship was in Earth’s orbit.
A sparkle twinkled in her eyes as she saw her home planet down there, and it soon also became smaller and smaller.
She was really off planet.
And on her way to Alternia.

Chapter Text

The first hours in space, Alma did nothing, she just admired the black empty void, and the stars sometimes seen in the distance, and went back to checking her holo screen every now and then, and also took pictures of everything. Her room, the holo screen, the space outside of her window, her iPhone was filled with amazing cards, and she wanted to post some of them on social media, but then her parents would find out where she was.
Well at least if she posted on Facebook…
She opened up Instagram and checked her account, neither of her parents or siblings had the app so she could post here, she didn't have many followers either, and only about 50 pictures posted, latest one being a selfie of her and Stacy at their graduation, and a smile grew onto her lips.
She posted a picture of her beside the window, space in the background, and also sent a message in the DM’s to Stacy, that said “apparently wifi works on the ship, so it's only downloading stuff the takes ages I think”, before she sent her countless of pictures, hoping that would please her friend once she checked her phone, and that they actually would arrive and that she just thought they arrived on time or something, because damn Stacy would become angry if she didn't get vacation pics.
But enough of that.
She was on a spaceship for god's sake and shouldn't be slacking around in her room, she was gonna be out and do stuff, meet and greet people. Then the time would go by faster and she would be on Alternia in no time.
Who knows, maybe she would even become friends with a few trolls?
Hopefully.
She put a huge smile on her lips as she left her room, steering her steps towards the big communal tv, game and relaxation area (and cafeteria, damn she was feeling hungry), because she thought there might be people there, and oh how she was right.
On the way there however, she had gotten lost three times, the constantly changing wall colors confusing her when she needed to choose path, but at last she finally made it.
There were lot of people there, and she steered her way towards the cafeteria part, buying herself a bowl of soup, a Mountain Dew and something called “grubloaf”, which was a piece of something similar to bread, which some kind of meat stuffed into it (which was not troll grubs but some substitute since killing grubs for food was now illegal (but not for other things), and too be honest that relieved her because eating a troll? No), and it had a dark brown color.
She looked for an empty place and sat down on a table all by herself, enjoying her food. The grubloaf tasted quite interesting, but good, and move on to the soup.
“Excuse me, is this seat taken?”, she heard someone ask, and as she turned around she saw a troll, 7 feet tall with straight pointy horns and a Jade sign on her black shirt, and one over her white lab coat, and she just nodded.
“Sure, the seat is all yours”, she said and the troll smiled, one pointy tooth being visible.
“Greetings, is this the first time you visit Alternia?”, she asked.
“Yes it is, I’m so excited to see all the places at your planet, are there some you suggest I should go see?”.
“Well this is actually the first time I am going to my planet in sweeps, three to be particular, when I was nine sweeps old I got ascended like all other trolls my age, but thanks to the new empress we over that age can come back if we want too”. She quickly did the math in her head, figuring out that the troll was about 26 in human years.
“That’s nice, what are you gonna do there?”.
“I am there for work, I worked in the brooding caverns on one of our colonies as my duties as a jade blood, and I went to Earth with others of my kind to establish a place for grubs to live on, giving lusii more space, now I’m going to the caverns to take some eggs with me”.
“That sounds interesting. Why do you wanna bring grubs to Earth?”.
“Because here the grubs that aren't chosen by lusii gets culled, and there is plenty of fauna that would take a grub in if this was a more friendly planet, so that’s why we’re shipping some to your planet, so less of our kind need to die because they couldn't be taken in”.
“That’s actually quite noble”, she said, taking in the words. “What’s your name?”.
“I’m Therea Yehsen, and what’s your name if I’m obligated to ask?”.
“It's Alma, Alma Harlow”.
“Oh, your last name even fits the six letter rules of our society, that's quite interesting, even though your first name doesn't follow that pattern”.
“Well if the spelling accidentally disturbs some trolls, you could spell it as A-L-H-M-A-A when writing it down just to get up to six letters, I don't wanna accidentally offend anyone”.
“No you don't have to do that, but it sure was a kind gesture to suggest it”.
The jade blooded troll smiled a second time as her green eyes sparkled a little, and Alma smiled back, her company was really enjoyable.
“If I go into a city, what should I try to do?”.
“Well you could maybe eat a few pizzi with traditional troll toppings?”.
“Pizzi?”.
“Yeah, you humans have them too”.
“You mean pizzas?”.
“Well correct, but pizzi is the plural here”.
“Okay that's good to know”.
“You could also visit some clothing shop, they mostly sell dark clothes and some colors related to blood color, they can even sew signs if you wanna experience troll fashion. I’ve heard rumors that one Earth clothing lines are about to open in some towns too so you know if you wanna shop in your comfort zone”.
“Well no thanks, I wanna experience your culture the fullest, do you know how humans get their sign for shirts, if they can?”.
“Well we haven't really figured that out yet, but you could ask to have your Earth zodiac in your candy red blood color, be careful not to lend it to a troll though”.
“Why not?”.
“There is no blood like that on the spectrum and a troll like that could be in trouble and may attract the attention of some subjugators, executioners if you don't know the term yet”.
“Oh okay I don't wanna cause that”.
“Indeed, I’m only working my last day of the trip however, so I could show you around if the planet hasn't changed that much in three sweeps, I was planning on visiting my old lusus and as far I know from our letters she really like humans and would love to meet one”.
“Are you serious? I would love to meet a lusus, and a grub”.
“Troll, he’s three sweeps old, grubs pupate into wigglers when they’re close to a sweep of age”.
“Okay. Would you please teach me more about trolls and your society, I’m dying to know everything”.
Therea smiled again, making eye contact before answering,
“I’d love too”.

Chapter Text

The two days on the spaceship had flown by, she had spent all of the time with Therea who was happy to have made a human friend, they had eaten every meal together on the crowded cafeteria (she ate troll meals and Therea ate human meals to try new things) and they showed each other the best of their species reality TV series (apparently it was a big mistake to show her “Keeping up with the Kardashians” because now she was binging these), and she had even gotten to go to the workers part of the ship, meeting a few of her fellow jade blooded coworkers, who were just as eager as her to have a human who was willing to learn everything, she got a few names stuck in her head, Edalij, Welina, Torori, Mikava, to name a few, and they all shared their interesting stories about working in a brooding cavern with a mother grub. That made Alma even more eager to visit a cavern, and she actually wanted to see how the grubs on Earth project would go, hopefully plenty of fauna would raise them.
The schedule said that they would land on Alternia in about two hours, so Alma was using the huge pool, swimming with Therea and countless of other people of both species, she saw a troll with orange boxers and short nubby horns play with two human children, probably twins, and it looked so fun so she also joined, splashing water on the strangers, and Therea, who also joined the fight after that, and because there was a human infant in a bath ring that tried to rip off the top of her jade bikini without it’s mother noticing. The fight continued for a while, until she got shocked and saw a few trolls with gills just swim around and relax on the bottom, visibly breathing, but once she remembered what a seadweller was, it became less of a shock. It was actually kinda cool, and she wondered what it felt like to be able to breathe water. That continued until a voice once again spoke inside her mind, telling them that they would arrive in an hour.
She quickly got out of the pool, parted with Therea so that she could shower and change clothes before starting to explore.
She was entirely done when there was only five minutes left until landing, and she once again met of with Therea, both standing at the gate, waiting for it to open as she saw the gray planet closer as they came into orbit.
She wasn't gonna stay at a hotel as she originally planned, but rather at a communal hive stem that Therea would live in these three days (because she didn't really wanna part from her because she was such a nice friend, and it would be helpful to live with a troll, plus she thought she was kind of cute, such a bonus).
Living in a city in a communal hive stem rather than a fancy hotel would give her even more of a troll experience, and she loved it.
As they entered gravity, she felt almost nothing, and after a minute of some small turbulence they had landed, the purple night sky being visible, along with two moons, slowly turning into day as the sun rose.
The doors opened, and out they went, closely together to not disappear from each other's sight.
They were on a huge landing place for space ships, and they got into a hug car like object. Alma had asked where the seat belts were, but Therea just looked clueless and asked what exactly a seatbelt was. So she just shrugged it off, Alma would rather have a seatbelt but if there were none she just had to deal with it. She sat down and relaxed, looking out the window, and ten minutes later they were in the outskirts of a city, countless of huge green pillars with hives to be seen. She looked over at Therea and saw jade tears running through her face.
“I'm actually back, that hive in the stem there on the right is mine, I grew up there”.
Those words made Alma even more curious about the hive, Therea had chosen a stem because she wanted to have neighbors, and because the stem hives wasn't destroyed until ten sweeps after a troll left the planet, unlike hives that got destroyed after only a sweep, and Therea had apparently always hoped to come back. She was really happy that her dream got to come through as they walked inside the stem and took the lift up, story after story until they were outside of the door.
As she opened it, all lights were off and everything was speckled with lots of dusts, but that's too expect when no one had lived there in years. As she turned on the light she saw that the room was filled with movie posters and also a few music posters, one reading “the grubbles” in the alternian writing (it took her a while to decipher but she did, a jade sofa and a small tv, a really old husktop, a shelf filled with books, a recuperacoon and an empty pet bed, probably of her now gone lusus.
“It's kind of small, but it's my home, and since you probably don't sleep in sopor and wanna share my recuperacoon you can take the couch, I'll get some blankets. And the tv probably still works too, feel free to try and turn it on if you want too”, she said as she placed her bag in a corner and went to get the so said blankets. She sat down on the couch, turned on the tv that was playing a movie that was similar to Cinderella but with trolls, and she also looked out of the orange windows, like when she was on the ground, there was countless of hive stems, countless of trolls and lusii living their lives. So magnificent, and she was here along them all, actually on another planet. While she admired it, she didn't notice that Therea had gone into the bathroom and put on simple sleeping clothes (simple because they were gonna get filled with sopor), and sat beside Alma on the couch.
“How do you like Alternia so far?”, she asked.
“It's magic, I could have never pictured a world like this”.
“I'm happy that you feel that, I’m gonna go and sleep now, you can wake me up if you need anything”.
“Okay sure, and thanks again for letting me stay here”.
She saw the troll slide into her recuperacoon and how she slowly emerged into the green goo, and just a few minutes later she heard that her breathing deepened and slowed down, as it became louder and more like a purr. It was really cute to listen to, and made her tired also.
Without even thinking about it, she wrapped the blanket over her and fell asleep on the spot, the tv still on as her eyes closed.

~The next morning, or well, early night~

“Alma, it's night, time to wake up”, Therea’s comforting voice made her slide out of the world of dreams and into reality. She blinked a few times before remembering where she were, and jumped straight up from the couch. Therea was already dressed in her standard attire, pants, black shirt and lab coat.
“Morning”, she said and Therea smiled.
“I'm so excited to show you things of troll culture, such an honor, what do you wanna do first once you’ve gotten dressed? Maybe go eating since there is no food here?”.
“Sounds lovely”, she said and nodded and went to change, half an hour later, they were ready to leave the hive stem, and once again took the transportation vehicle similar to a car, but to another direction and they soon were in a part of the city that wasn't hives, but long streets filled with stores and markets, countless of monuments and the smell of food coming from everywhere, both from restaurants and from fast food outdoor services. Alma went to one of those and ordered a thing she couldn't pronounce, and it looked like a burrito but with a purple bread, steaming, hot and fresh, and the inside was a mush black and white, possible some larva in that, but the seasoning made it really tasty.
“Damn you trolls sure have a nice food culture, I love all your food”, she said, grease dripping from her lips as she talked to Therea who were also eating one of those.
“Well thanks, not all humans seem to understand the appeal of our culinary culture, especially the bug parts”.
“Well at least I think this is amazing, so different from Earth food but in a good way”.
She once again got a smile from the troll, and they continued to eat.

 

Chapter Text

As they both had finished their breakfast that consisted of purple bug burritos, Therea asked what Alma would like to do first, and that question quickly got her to lose it. There was so much to do, but so little time, and she wanted to do everything she could, take lots of pictures, try new things, buy souvenirs, and just have a great time with Therea. This vacation wouldn't have been the same without the jade blood, and it wasn't even halfway through yet. She really hoped the grub cavern on Earth would be near her house so she could visit her once they were back on the blue planet. She thought she and Stacy would get along well, and she loved the idea of pissing off her parents by being close with trolls, maybe they would finally understand that their racist views were wrong?
Well she could at least dream.
She looked at a few stores, not knowing alternian spelling that well to decipher what they said immediately, but after a little while she found a clothing store (which would have been pretty obvious because of the clothes in the windows), and she pointed to it.
“Can we go there please? I really wanna buy a few things”.
“Of course you can, I’ll help you with the money if you need, you exchanged your dollars for troll coins (the most cheesy name ever) at the ship right?”.
“Yes I did”, she said as she nodded before they both walked in. The store was filled with dimmed light, a few trolls walking around looking at things, the store filled with various shirts, sweaters, hoodies and even different kinds of armors, mostly on black but also blood color and brown, gray and white. Most of the things were completely plain because their symbols would be sewn onto them, but there were a few clothing items with patterns and pictures, and even a few band tees, the grubbles being one of them.
Damn that band must be very popular if they have merch in both clothing and posters.
She settled for two things, a black dress filled with layers of black and red. With a small tint of other shades on some places, and a simple black shirt were she asked one of the workers to sew in the Taurus sign (her zodiac) onto it in a candy red color, different from the troll rust. They started immediately with the help of a spider fauna, and it only took about a minute. Feeling the fabric in her hands was strange. It was nothing like Earth fabric, it was softer than any fabric she had felt, thin as a paper, but sturdier than most fabrics on earth, and no translucency. The fabric was a relaxing cold in her fingers, and she was told that it would always keep her at a certain temperature, chilling her on hot days and warming her on colder. That would only apply to the area with fabric on so wearing a t-shirt outside during winter was still probably a bad idea since she would have bare arms.
Nevertheless, she got so excited so she changed out of her regular black top from Earth into her new alternian one in the changing room before they left. The light of the two moons made her sign light up a little when reflected, like a small red reflex, something Therea’s signs didn't.
“It's because we trolls are a nocturnal species and have better night vision than humans, so this is to help you see during the nights here”, she was told, and it was pretty neat, but she hadn't even thought about the idea that she had way worse night vision than everyone else here.
How did they see this? Were their experience completely different?
Well she thought Alternia was beautiful either way, even if she couldn't admire it to its fullest glory.
They continued to walk around the city, looking inside store after store and buying souvenirs, one of her favorite was a big plush that looked like a tigerdeer fauna, basically a cute chibi looking tiger with horns and pure white fabric, that she had bought in a toy store filled with lots of young trolls of all blood castes. She must say, the plush was really cuddly and she wanted to hold it forever, but she put it in her huge backpack with her other souvenirs and stuff (like her dress, an alternian sweep calendar, a randomly picked book she would read once she was better at deciphering alternian, sunglasses for the sun, along with lots of other things). Many troll coins were spent but it was totally worth it, and it seemed that Therea thought so too as she just smiled at Alma, her one extra pointy tooth sticking out.
After shopping for some more time, they went to a cafe and drank some coffee, while Therea signed her up for a Prongle account (basically troll twitter, and she had to spell her name like Ahlmaa because it wouldn't confirm without six letters) and added her as a friend, it was a really kind gesture, and it wasn't the end of it all. While she was looking through her new profile, a curious troll child approached her, shyly asking her about Earth and human culture, she learned that this troll with nubby horns and cerulean blood was 6 sweeps old, and a real fan of humans, and he even added her on Prongle, where she found out his name was Alekso Vatyni.
As the troll walked away, she had a huge grin pressed on her face, she (sort of) knew a local that still lived here full time, and Therea must have seen her excitement as she calmed her down, begging her not to flip the table.
She didn't, thankfully, and when they left the cafe they went to a park, filled with lusii and young trolls, apparently trolls hadn't been so social before, but that had started to change during the reign by their new empress, and she thought it was a good change.
Well if the old empress was still in charge they would have probably conquered humanity so the new empress was much better.
She smiled as he saw a few young trolls, looking like they were around ten in human years, running around while playing something that looked similar to baseball, and smiled as they walked past, preparing to do other things.

Chapter Text

After an eventful day of shopping and exploring, Alma and Therea were finally back at the hive stem, just in time for the sun to start rising. Both of them were tired after such an exciting day, as Alma went and got changed into her pajamas (but not before taking pictures of the view as the sun rose, it looked amazing), Therea microwaved some grubloaf with some fungus topping they had bought on the market, and as they sat down at the table, they cheerfully chatted as they were eating.
“That was the best day in a long while, thanks for showing me everything”.
“It's my pleasure, I’m glad you like it here on Alternia”.
“What's not to like? Everything is so interesting, well except the murders and so on but those numbers have became fewer according to what you told me”.
“Well that is right, hopefully the government will stop culling for no reason in a near future, if they completely stopped, most trolls would too”.
“Yeah”.
“Did you still wanna visit my old lusus tomorrow?”.
“That would be awesome, when can we go”.
“Well the hive of her new case is not that far away, just the outskirts of the city, at a rural area. Maybe an hour with a communal transporting device and then a short walk”.
“Neat, that will be fun to do”.
“Well is there anything you would like to do before visiting my lusus? She is quite a social creature and we could be stuck there for hours”.
“No I don't mind at all, it would be fun. What kinda fauna is she?”.
“She’s a liondeer fauna, I have a picture of her in a photo album which I forgot when I left the planet, which kind of reminds me that I will not forget it this time”.
She got up, and took out a book from an almost empty bookcase, and Alma got to look.
The first picture in the entire album was a huge white fauna, with a body of a lions but with two tails, and the horns of a deer sit down in a forest, with a small jade grub at the top of her antlers, looking confused, probably wondering how she got up there in the first place.
“Is that you?”, Alma asked.
“Yes, before I pupated into a troll me and Miss Liondeer lived in the wilderness as she protected me from dangers, like most grubs do, since we are only allowed to build hives when we are trolls. She got to borrow the camera from one of her herd siblings, which case just had pupated and moved into a hive of their own”.
“That's nice, but one question, how does a liondeer hold a camera?”.
“Well that is an excellent question I'll let her answer when we meet her, it's fascinating and you’ll probably want to hear it from her and not me”.
“Okay”.
She turned the page and viewed more pictures. There was a picture of the head of Miss Liondeer, a pretty standard self portrait, another picture of grub Therea (which was really cute, grubs were the cutest things she had ever seen in her life), and then a picture of grub Therea sleeping in a cave in the wilderness, that picture being a little torn. Then there was a picture of a bigger but still grub Therea, and then there was a pic of the same grub smiling but with some white silk coming through her mouth, with alternian writing under, which Therea translated to “She grows up so quickly”. Next picture was a white cocoon hanging on the wall of the cave, Therea’s pupation. And the a picture of Miss Liondeer beside the cocoon.
She saw that Therea began blushing in a jade tone just before she the turned page, and there was a picture of a newly emerged Therea, carefully staring at her newfound limbs as she sat nude on the cave floor, and the next picture she was still on the floor, this time examination her bulge (so that's how troll genitals looked like). The picture after that was a still nude Therea, standing up and smiling, showing off her one extra pointy tooth.
Her troll friend quickly turned the page.
There was them moving into the hive stem and decorating it. Various pictures of Therea growing older, and as she continued to look through, some with different friends during her childhood years but one troll stood out from the rest, she noticed many pictures during her teen years were taken together with a short brownblood with braided hair and flat teeth, sign being a sort of circle with a straight line going through..
“That was my moirail Ibiqan, she pretended to be my matespite when I had none and filled my pail before leaving the planet, which made me escape being culled, I’ll be forever grateful for that”.
“Wow, what happened with her?”.
“She… got culled on the spaceship by a subjugglator captain who wanted to eliminate everyone brown and under from his crew, I had to helplessly watch”.
“Oh…”. “I’m so…”.
“There’s no need to say sorry, there’s nothing to do about it, I’ve learned to live with it and she would have passed many sweeps before me anyway, it was inevitable”.
“But still… That’s… just wrong”.
“Yeah but as said before it's in the past. The government is slowly changing and hopefully we’ll stop using this caste system and realize that hemophobia is not the answer”.
“I hope you’re right Therea”.
A few moments of silence followed before Therea stood up.
“Sun’s coming up, better get to bed or we’ll be tired later”.
“You’re right”, Alma answered as Therea went into her bathroom to change, while Alma put away Therea’s photo album, (but first looking through a few more pages, her moirail was on almost every picture, and Alma felt so sorry for Therea, knowing that your best friend would die years before you no matter what, how did trolls live with that? Well that’s something Alma would not be able to live with), and made herself at home at her cough, putting her blanket on and almost instantly falling asleep, not even noticing Therea coming out again and jumping into her recuperacoon to sleep, making the sopor slime move around.

Chapter Text

After a long days sleep Alma woke up as the sun was setting for the night, making the sky darker for every minute, making it go from blue to a purplish black. She must say, she really loved the alternian night sky, not to mention the moons.
She took out her phone and took a few pictures of the view, as she saw Therea emerge from her recuperacoon.
“You're up”, she said and Alma nodded.
“I'm so excited, meeting your old lusus and all”.
“It's nice indeed, but we should probably eat something and change into regular attire instead of leaving as we are now”, she said, spotting a smile on her face.
“You’re probably right”, Alma said as she went into the bathroom to change, which only took a minute.
“Would you please put the grubloaf in the microwave and get plates while I also change?”.
“Will do, you can count on me”, she said, Therea nodding to the answer as she went to the bathroom to change.
Alma got the grubloaf from the fridge, put it in the microwave, got plates, knives and forks, and then just waited for Therea to be ready, and waiting for the food of course, because forgetting it in the microwave when it was done would be completely meaningless.
They slowly ate while chatting, Alma could see how excited Therea was to meet her lusus again, there was a jade blush on her face as she happily talked about her childhood memories with Miss Liondeer.
The more Alma heard, the more excited she got, it sounded so different from her childhood, living with to snobbish families who wanted their children to become proper.
Her life was kind of a clique, the now grown up woman from a snobbish family doing everything her family hated, well on an entire new level, since she didn't do things they didn't approve on Earth.
She did things they didn't approve on another planet, a planet they didn't approve of either.
If they saw her here sitting next to the jadeblood, eating alternian food, they would absolutely flip. And the fact that Therea didn't just feel like a friend, she was so cute and she thought she had vague romantic feelings growing (exactly what was needed to please her parents even more, an interspecies lesbian relationship, not that she minded but she had known Therea for less than a week, this was way to rushed for her).
But it would explain why she never had seen a single boy attractive, and why she started blushing around girls in high school without thinking much about it.
She guess she was just confused on what those feelings were back there, since her family always fed her with how romance would feel, and those descriptions didn't match up?
Probably because they were expecting her to feel those for dudes, but she felt nothing when she thought of them.
Like what is she even doing?
She’s sitting at her (maybe?) crush’s table eating alien food and questioning her sexuslity.
Like how did he end up here?
“Alma, are you okay?”, Therea asked.
“Yeah, I’m just questioning my sexual orientation, you know the normal stuff”.
Why did she say that?
Why Alma why?
“What’s that?”.
She couldn't be serious. Is she serious?
“Well, its… the preference of people you are attracted to by gender”.
“Wait humans have that?”.
“Wait you mean trolls don't?”.
“No? When you fall in love you just do, gender is the least important thing? We do have a preference for red and black crushes however”.
What.
That's amazing.
“If only humans were like that”.
“What do you mean?”.
“Well some humans are discriminated if they like people of the same gender as them”.
“Are you serious, that is as bad as the hemospectrum. I thought humans were better than us trolls during our last ruler’s reign”.
“Well I guess there's no fault free species”.
“Indeed, sadly but that seems to be the case, but instead of your thinkpan making you feel like you are in the blue, let's do something else perhaps”.
“Yeah you’re right. I'm on Alternia right now, not Earth, I should not worry about our weird customs. So let's go and visit your lusus and just have a good day”.
“That sounds like a good idea, let's moving, are you ready with your grubloaf”.
“Yeah, I’m stuffed so I’ll eat the rest when we get back here”.
“Okay, then I’m pretty sure we’re ready to leave any minute if you want too”.
“Okay, let me just grab my bag first”.
She took her bag, put it on her back and then they left the hive complex.
Once out on the streets, Alma again got taken away by how amazing and interesting Alternia looked, and gave smiles as she saw trolls walking around, doing their daily activities, once again pointing and saying things like “that’s a human”.
It was pretty nice, because they ended up meeting a small shy troll who was out with her lusus walking, slowly asking her questions, like how was it to live without horns and what her blood color was.
It was a really charming girl, which Alma added to prongle, she was a really charming yellowblood.
They parted, walked for a bit, and went onto a public transportation, nothing could bring Alma’s mood down. Everything was just so… surreal, but in a good way.
This was her second day on this planet, and yet she couldn't understand it.
But once again in a good way.
This was a good day and nothing could change it, she just knew it. They were after all on their way to a more rural area, to see Therea’s lusus of all people. And another young troll, like technically a younger sibling to Therea, even if trolls didn't see each other as siblings, with their different cultures and all.
“Next stop is ours”, the jadeblood said as they moved down the road in the huge vehicle, spotting a normal (in troll standards) rural neighborhood, with average sized hives.
They got off, and Alma practically ran with Therea (her idea, not Therea’s), all the way to the hive that would belong to them according to the letters Miss Liondeer had sent.
But something was off, the green glass of the windows were cracked, and there were muddy footsteps around, and a club?
The worst, there was a teal and a green liquid on the ground, and according to Therea’s reaction, she think she knew what that fluid was.
And sadly she was right, the walls were painted in teal and green, spelling out “HONK :o)”, and Therea ran up to the body of Miss Liondeer, crying jade tears as she held her former guardian in her arms, as she cursed at the damn subjugglators.
And Alma, she ran up to the poor little troll boy, full with teal, and cried, having him in his arm, like she was his mother, and wildly tried to get his soft body to respond to her motions.
All for nothing.
They stayed there for a while, just crying together, and didn't wanna realize what they just had witnessed.
But once they had called drones to clean it up (after getting the photo album of the young troll, to pay respect and to not forget him). And Alma later asking Therea how she felt, and she found out that she had been through many similar incidents, Alma knew what they said about Alternia being brutal, and even if it was changing, there was still things left to do.

Chapter Text

She didn't know what to think, she hadn't been sure what to think for hours.
Her brain still didn't want to register what had happened, what she had witnessed, even though her clothes were still a little teal after the incident.
“Alma, how are you feeling?”, Therea asked as Alma sat on the couch in their hive stem, tears still drilling down her eyes, as she looked through the photo album of the teal child, whose name had been Evivin. He had been 3 sweeps…
That was about 6 or 7 Earth years, and that thought ate her up from the inside. No child deserved that, human or troll.
It had completely destroyed her, and now as the sun was starting to come up, she felt even worse.
What if they had visited yesterday and been there when it happened?
Could they have stopped it?
This was unfair, and her blood boiled, she was filled with pure hate for those subjugglators. If she ever save them, they were the ones that shouldn't feel safe.
This was more than destroying her vacation, this was about innocent lives for god's sake.
But all this, it made the cavern to Earth project make more sense.
Some lusus were afraid to raise wigglers because of the constant violence they risked to face.
Taking fauna to Earth along with grubs, would mean more grubs got adopted.
And Earth would make them grow up in a more peaceful environments, not becoming as violent as the alternian culture wanted them to be, which in the end, could make the troll race benefit.
Make them more peaceful.
When all this clicked, she felt like she understood everything, and why the trolls wanted to make contact with them too once the raises had met.
It would benefit them not only for money or growth as a species (as many humans said, just taking their space and stealing their money), but it was an effort to become peaceful.
It was so noble, and if she ever met the empress, she would show her her gratitude.
“How do you think I’m feeling? This was the sickest, most fucked up thing I've ever seen. That was inhuman! He was a small child! I wish I could have made it not happen…”.
Next second, she felt the warmth as the troll embraced her in a hug, trying to calm her.
“I remember the first time I witnessed an incident like that, it wasn't pretty at all, but I'm here to talk if you wanna talk about it”.
“T-thanks…”, she answered. The fact that Therea was there calmed her, because she wasn't alone in this, at least it felt like it. “But right now, I just wanna sit here”.
“So be it”, Therea said as she patted her head, before giving her another hug. Once let go of that hug, Alma put her head on her lap, as Therea stroke her back, doing everything she could to calm her.
If felt like Therea’s only priority was her at the moment, and it probably was, but it was something special with thinking about it.
She was calming.
The tears didn't stop, and made the way down her cheeks, wetting Therea’s clothes. The slow patting on her back became even more relaxed, but she heard small whimpers in her breathing, she was probably also crying again, which Alma got an answer to as she looked up, and saw the jade tears.
They were both vulnerable and didn't know what to do in this situation. Here they were, a human and a troll, crying over a child they didn't know, and the lusus of one of them.
But that was a thing about being human, the emotions, and the fact that Therea shared them too.
Trolls were not heartless creatures like her dad said.
They just tried to hide that they were vulnerable to protect themselves, thanks to the prior society.
She sat up, moving her hand over to her face, slowly wiping away the jade tears.
“You’re here for me, so I should do the same for you, or at least try too”.
Therea let out another whimper, as the crying made it hard to breathe, and the next second Alma felt a hug stronger than she had ever received before, this time it was Therea who cried on her shoulders, but who could blame them?
It was completely acceptable to cry.
They stayed like that for a while, just crying and holding each other, hugging, taking turn to have their head on the other’s lap, and crying.
They didn't feel the need to force the other to stop crying, better to cry everything out once they were at it after all.
And the closeness had a calming feeling to it. It helped in a way they couldn't explain in mere words.
But all this, it sure led to a close bond, even the circumstances of why this happened.
Alma didn't know what she would do without that special jadeblood, it was like they had always been together, they made each other calm, Therea always made her happy, and this made her feel like with time, they could overcome everything.
So even after the crying stopped, Alma was practically sleeping on her lap, to tired to move after all those hours crying, Therea now playing with her dark hair, Alma enjoying calming the motion.
The sun stood high on the sky, and the two of them should probably be sleeping, but could you blame the two after that?
And then a thing happened.
“Alma, this is probably the worst timing in the entirety of the universe but after what just happened, I have to tell you this. I think I'm starting to get a flushcrush on you, and I want you to know incase you will take an earlier spaceship home. I just want you to know before I won't see you again. I wouldn't forgive myself for not telling you and then not seeing you”.
“I'm not taking an earlier ship home, I’m staying with you all the way, I'll follow you to the cavern tomorrow, and I'll find out where you will be living on Earth, I would never want to lose you either. I also want you close”.
“So, does that mean?”, she started to ask, and just for a moment the sadness was gone.
“Yes, I feel the same way towards you”.
At first she wasn't sure this was a crush, but now she sure knew it was, so this was what love felt like. But the fact that they confessed after such a day sure was a clique in romance stories. But she just had to answer, the fact that Therea thought she would want to leave, that this would made her hate all of the troll race…
“But, I’m a troll, and you saw what happened”.
“It's not okay to blame an entire species on a thing someone did. I'm not like some humans, and you have done nothing wrong to me. And I don't hate trolls as a species at all”.
“You don't?”.
“No”.
Then another feeling came into her head, how she had cradled the real in her arms, like she had lost one of her owns.
She didn't know when she had decided, but she just said it, “And I want to adopt a grub”.
But once she said it, there was not a single regret in her words.
If she could make one troll live a safe life, that would be a dream.
And she saw Therea grow a smile, as they love again embraced each other, and this time giving each other a shy kiss, which made all Alma’s emotions go up and down.
“So be it…”.

 

Chapter Text

That night, Therea had slept on the couch with Alma, cuddling her tight so none of them would fall off, and it was one of the most calming sleeps Alma had ever had, being so near her new lover. She gave her hope. And once they woke up, Therea just smiled and once again started to cry.
The reason trolls used sopor was so they wouldn't get any nightmares, since they always saw such chaotic things in their lives. Therea had tried to sleep without it a few times, but the nightmares had been to much, and before they fell asleep Alma had said that if it was too much, Therea could go to her recuperacoon, but she had stayed.
She said the closeness of Alma made the nightmares way less scary, and that she didn't remember them.
“You protect me even when we are asleep”, she said, embracing Alma tighter, and Alma just smiled back.
She was just glad about Therea, and that she could help ease those dreams, only for a little.
“I just want you to feel safe, on Earth there may be people who judge you because of prejudice, but I’ll always be there”.
“That makes me glad to hear”, she said, that one pointy tooth becoming visible as she smiled, a jade blush spreading on her cheeks, and also making the tips of her pointy ears the same color.
Oh how she was gorgeous.
She just couldn't resist the urge to document it.
Next second, her phone was up, and she took a few pictures of her and Therea spooning, these would definitely go up on her Instagram, and Stacy would flip out when she saw it once they got on the spaceship and got good intergalactic wifi.
That also reminded her.
Today was the last day on Alternia, the ship would leave at the sunrise.
Which meant…
She would get her grub today. Or well egg.
She was actually doing it.

~Flashback to last chapter before they went to bed~

Therea opened her old husktop, and after a few minutes of going through serves, she managed to contact the chief of the cavern on Earth mission, and they got on the troll (actually bad quality) version of Skype.
“Therea Yehsen here, jadeblood, participant in the Earth cavern project, I’ve got news”.
“Okay we hear you, what are those news?”.
“I've got a human here with me, that wishes to take on the role of a lusus to one of our kind, and she would love to take one of the eggs that are going to be shipped to her planet”.
Silence for a moment.
“Approved, according to our reports humans have spectacular lususing skills, and we have accidently got too many eggs to the number of fauna that is being sent in the first batch. She can come and pick out an egg whenever she wants”.
“Understood”.
And with that, the call ended.

~Back to the present~

She was going to be a mother, she and Therea would leave for the cavern in about an hour or two, and Therea had told her she could either choose an egg, or take a grub that hatched on the way to the ship instead of on Earth.
She hadn't yet decided which method she would use, but she had been warned that trolls may want to take the grub from her if it was of low blood, and make her raise one higher on the hemospectrum because of “blood purity” that many trolls still thought about.
Just because of that she was going to raise a lowblood, no stopping her.
As they got up from the couch, they started to pack everything, changing clothes, and making breakfast.
During all of that, Alma was running names through her head, thinking about the six letter rule. But all the names she thought about was so… earthly…
But as their grubloaf was ready, and they sat down eating, she got a name, it was a regular Earth name from the beginning, but she changed the spelling and a bit of the pronunciation.
Therea liked it at least, so it couldn't be that bad.
She felt warm inside (and not just because of the warm grubloaf), and just thought about how her life would change, but that she wouldn't back down.
Like she was getting an alien child, she had an alien girlfriend, and she couldn't feel better.
Prejudice would never get her.
They spent the last hours in the hive stem together, watching tv, the troll news were really interesting and there was actually a part that informed about the Earth project, right after a commercial that encouraged trolls to join the military, or different but still related branches, now that it was voluntarily of course.
Then everything happened quite fast, they luggage would be taken to the ship in advance by a carrier drone, so they packed everything, and gave it to the drone as it came flying, Alma’s things too, since they would be sent to Therea’s quarters after all, so they wouldn't disappear. But the star bags made Therea able to pack more of her childhood memories, Alma promising to keep them safe for her until she got a house on Earth.
As they saw the drone flying away into the distance, they walked out of the hive stem, Therea closed the door, and their journey started.
A short walk, three transportation vehicles and an introduction to security, and they were in the underground of an old ascension station, just about thirty minutes from where the spaceship would be.
Immediately as she got there, a tealblood took her aside, and immediately made her fill out some paperwork, knowing what she was here for.
It took a while, and they also asked a list of questions about how she would raise the grub, and how she grew up herself.
A smile filled her face when the teal wrote “accepted”, before showing it to two higher ups, a cerulean and a violet, who also accepted, before both giving her a swift handshake and a pat on the back.
“What you are doing is really fucking amazing, you have no idea how much you are contributing to the species. You have guts”, the violet said and smiled, the lack of a few fangs showing.
All these trolls, along with Therea, escorted her to the temporary underground cavern.
Countless of jadebloods took care of eggs, and there was a few newly hatched grubs crawling around, as trolls marked that a few eggs had been hatched a bit early.
They said she could choose whichever one she wanted, and her attention went to a shaking egg, two small legs trying to get out, followed by the shell breaking a bit more, showing two more legs, and the short black hair and the straight horns with curled tops of the half emerged grub.
She quickly went closer, and put her hand beside the egg, waiting for the grub to finish the hatch process.
Ten minutes later, a she was cuddling the newly hatched rustblood.
The higher ups had asked if she didn't want an indigo, purple or violet instead, but she had said no and almost hissed at them.
They said something about that humans really were protective like lusus.
“Are you settled for the name of him, and chosen a name with the appropriate amount of letters?”, the cerulean asked.
“Yes. His name is Dannel. Dannel Harlow. He is my son”.

Chapter Text

Alma walked through corridor after corridor together with multiple trolls, holding her newly hatched grub, scratching his belly so a small yet sweet purr escaped, along with a slight squeak.
Oh he was so sweet.
The jadebloods had put all of the huge white eggs in boxes (unsealed incase some eggs would hatch early, like her son had done), and had the already hatched grubs of all colors in different boxes, they would try to make the fauna who were boarding the ship to adopt grubs now, instead of waiting until they arrived at the caverns on Earth, that would make it way easier for the grubs and their early start in life.
She saw Therea lift up a newly hatched violet blood from one of the egg crates, and put it in one of the grub crates, all while it was hissing constantly while flipping its small tail fin back and forth. The cerulean and violet who watched over everything once again asked if Alma wanted to trade Dannel for the (rather aggressive) violet.

“No”, had her answer been. Just a short and angry no. No way in the universe that she would trade away her son, she felt a strong connection to him, just like she had been the one that gave birth to him. He was her son, she would never trade away him even for all riches in the world.
For her, Dannel was worth more than all the riches in the world, he was her little world.

She continued to lightly tickle her small grub until he got a bit grumpy and started to screech, but that quickly got solved when one of the jadebloods took up something from one of the cargo crates, a bag filled to the brink of alternian bugs and some kind of mushroom too, the typical food for a grub in the caverns, along with the occasional meat when either a predator had broken in and been killed by the guard drones, or the flesh of another grub that didn't make it (she was definitely not giving Dannel any troll flesh, that's for sure).

As she gave her son bug after bug, she could see what appeared to be a smile between the crunching of mauling the insects between his sharp (but not as sharp as the typical troll) teeth. One jadeblood also informed her in more detail about the diet of a young grub, and she realized that for the next 20 months (the time it would take until he pupated) she would have to feed him insects from zoo stores as his main source of food (but he could eat other types of food too, but he should mainly stick to bugs).
Well if her son was happy with the food then so would she be.
If it made him grow up to become big and strong, then it was amazing.

The bag with bugs and mushrooms were soon empty, and a jadeblood took it away, as Alma just held her tiny son in her arms, smiling as she saw his tiny grublegs move around, like if he wanted to touch her, so she put her hand in one of his legs and shaked it carefully, which made the grub let out a happy sounding screech, she guessed that was the grub equivalent of a laugh.
All of that continued as they loaded all boxes onto the transport vehicles that would be driven to the space ascension center.

Alma sat down in one of the vehicles designed for trolls (well people) and cuddled her grub all the way to the ascension terminal, trying to get to know her new son. The personal brownblood driver thought it was a nice act for a human to take in a grub, helping their species and all, and she just smiled back.
Soon the huge space center was seen in the distance, towering high, it's yet black metal contrasting nicely to the purple night sky, and soon the vehicle stayed, so Alma could jump out.

Therea were no nowhere to be seen, but she was probably with the other jadebloods, doing her actual job. She would see her eventually.
She boarded the ship, showed her ID, and the papers that showed she got to take the grub to Earth with her. As she walked to her room to wait for Therea to come with her stuff, she saw a few other humans cuddling grubs of all colors, rust to violet. She was not the only one who had a fondness for the young, and wasn't the only one who had adopted one.

She soon arrived at the room, put Dannel down on her bed, as she connected her phone to the ship’s strong troll wifi, and immediately saw countless of messages from Stacy, about her wanting to see Alternia and get to know literally everything she had done the past days. Before actually writing something back, she just sent a ton of pictures of the amazing night scenery (making sure to get a picture of the two moons), the population, the amazing food, stuff she bought, and a few pictures of her and Therea, even one with them cuddling.
She quickly got an answer on skype.

Stacy: OH
Stacy: MY
Stacy: GOD
Stacy: DO YOU HAVE A TROLL GIRLFRIEND NOW?????!?
Alma: Yes, her name’s Therea. She’s part of the grubs to Earth project and is actually on the same ship as me.
Stacy: Oh my god that’s so cool.
Alma: Yeah. She’s really cute.
Alma: On unrelated notes can you go to the pet shop the day after tomorrow and buy a water bowl, living bugs, mushrooms and stuff like that?
Stacy: Wait what.
Stacy: OMG ARE WE GETTING A PET
Alma: No.
Alma: Not a pet.
Alma: *photo file sent*
Alma: It’s for him, I’m bringing home a son.
Stacy: OMG!!!!!!
Stacy: I’LL BUY THE BEST STUFF FOR HIM, HE’S SO CUTE!!!

Alma logged out of Skype after she sent her newly taken picture of Dannel, who was playing around in the sheets of the bed, crawling under and then emerging again, and lightly biting the fabric (remember to put all easily broken stuff away when you get back to Earth Alma).
Well he sure was lovely for a grub hatched mere hours ago, but he was a troll after all.
She layed down on her bed, being careful to not crush Dannel, and just relaxed for a while, until she heard a knock at the door,
Therea had arrived with her luggage now that her work was done, and she had an excited look on her face, she literally ran up to Alma and gave her a hug, which made her face turn deep red.

“Why all this excitement?”, Alma asked as she smiled at the troll.

“Can't a troll be excited at seeing her girlfriend? But there is a reason, we just got coordinates of where the grub cavern is gonna be, watch!”, she said, pressing her watch, making a holo screen appear. She looked at the scenery, and zoomed out. It was in the US, it was…

“Oh god Therea this is like a forty minute drive away from my town! It’ll be so easy to meet!”, Alma shouted with excitement in her voice.

“I know! And thanks to the new Empress we jadebloods actually get days of, AND paid vacation. This will be fantastic!”.

Another hug happened, and Alma felt happier than ever before.
“I’ll come visit you and Dannel every time it's possible, and I would love to show you the new cavern if you visit it too”.

“Of course I will, this is going to be great”.

Chapter Text

“Attention. The ship is set to arrive down on the Earth terminal in twenty minutes, get ready to leave”, the voice said in Alma’s head, alerting her.

She was currently eating food with Therea in the ship tourist cafeteria (man troll food never stopped to surprise her), and feeding Dannel bugs as he calmly sat on her lap, almost sleeping.

“Well it's time”, Therea said, letting out a sigh. Only twenty minutes together before they would land and part ways, Therea would go to the caverns, and Alma to her apartment together with her son.

They quickly double checked they had each other's Prongle accounts, Skype, Facebook (yes she got Therea to get Facebook), phone numbers (Therea had been given an Earth phone), so that they could easily contact each other.
Because losing contact would be the worst.

“Let's meet one last time before we land, after we have gotten our luggage”, Alma said and Therea nodded, as they went their separate ways (Alma stopped on the way to buy just a few more souvenirs and some more troll food, and then went to her room and got all her stuff).
She walked out of her room with luggage, and Dannel attached to her stomach with a baby carrier.

She walked and walked, and soon saw a pair of familiar spiky long horns (thanks for troll being taller than humans), and reunited with Therea.

“Okay we’ll land in about a minute”, she said, as she took Alma’s hand.
Just as she said that, they entered the orbit and was on their way down, the pressure making the ground lightly shake as they fell down in hyped speed (like this was way light for falling so fast).
The whole way down, they gave each other a hug (a soft one so Dannel wouldn't be crushed), and when the doors to the ship opened, Therea kissed Dannel on the head, before gently kissing Alma on the lips, resulting in their cheeks turning red and jade respectively by blushing.
She wish that the kiss would have lasted forever, but they had to leave the ship. As the got out and went their separate ways, Therea shouted that she would write to her as soon as she could, and Alma smiled as her girlfriend disappeared into the crowd.

“Well Dannel, now it's just us. Stacy is going to pick us up and you’ll get to see your home”.

“Squeak”.

She walked through corridors, and soon she saw her. Stacy stood against a wall waiting, and immediately held her hand up once she saw her, shouting her name before running towards her.

“You need to tell me everything about your trip, everything! And oh my gosh this is the cutest thing I've ever seen”, she said, carefully patting Dannel on the head, which made him let out a small purr.

“Oh my he purrs he’s so cute! AH!”.

Alma let out a smile as she also began scratching Dannel behind the ear.

“You remembered to buy everything I asked for right?”.

“Yes, I set up everything in the apartment for this little fella, oh my god I still can't believe how cute he is. Is this really how troll babies look?”.

“Yes it is, Therea told me he’ll stay like this about 20 months until he pupates, and since he hatched in front of me I've got a pretty ok timetable set up”.

“Wait pupate? Like butterflies?!?”.

“Yes, how do you think he would go from grub to troll?”.

“Well I don't know maybe just lose his middle arms one day or something”.

Alma let out a loud laugh at that comment, it would be hilarious to see Dannel simply walking around and then losing arms out of nowhere.
They continued to walk and got in the car, Alma sat in the backseat and put Dannel in the newly bought baby seat (remember to give Stacy the money back), and he soon fell asleep to the motion of the moving car, letting out purrs as he snored.
She had the cutest son ever this just confirmed it.

“So what have you been up too this week?”, Alma asked.

“Well I started work and got a free ice cream from a truck, but you seem to have had way more fun. You gotta show me everything, right now”.

“But you’re driving”.

“Oh right”.

“I'll show you all the pictures I took once we get home and I've showed Dannel around the apartment”.

“Okay sure that’s nice and… FUCK I DIDN'T BUY A CRIB! I knew I forgot something. God should we stay at IKEA?”.

“No, he’ll be able to crawl out of a crib anyway and it’ll be way too high up for him, let’s get him a nice cozy basket with a few blankets instead, for the night's he’s not sleeping with me per say, he’s been doing it on the ship and he is so cuddly, like you won't believe it. No wonder new parents become obsessed with their babies”.

“Okay, but if you want a basket, should we go to IKEA anyway?”.

“No that's way too big for two things, I don't wanna get lost in the Swedish furniture maze called a store, and I don't wanna bring Dannel into a pet store, it’s weird enough as it is that I need to buy food from there, I don't want anyone to see him like an animal”.

That was true. She feared for what would happen if she brought her son into a pet shop, she didn't want him to be seen as a pet. The times she had to go to the pet shop, she would not bring Dannel, that’s for starters.

“Well then we could go to the thrift shop just a few blocks away from the pet store”.

“Wait there’s a thrift shop there?”.

“Yeah I got lost because my old GPS here wanted to play funny when I was going to the pet store to get his food”.

“Well sure let's go there”.

Stacy nodded and turned left once the light turned to green, and soon they were parked outside of the thrift shop.
Alma carefully unbuckled Dannel and put him in the baby carrier, trying to not wake him up, which she succeeded at.
Damn grubs really were heavy sleepers, at least this one.
They walked in, and got a few looks from the people walking around, because of the sound of bells from the door.
She walked straight up to the cashier.

“Excuse me do you have any baskets and blankets in good condition, they’re for this guy”, she said, pointing at Dannel who let out a tiny squeak, blinking his rust eyes.

“I'm sorry but animals aren't allowed in the store”.

“He’s not a pet, do you have a basket or not?”.

“Yes we have, but wouldn't a pet store be more suited, I’m pretty sure they know more about whatever this kind of animal is?, the cashier asked.

“He’s not a pet”.

“Are you sure, because that sure looks like a pet too me”.

Oh she didn’t…

“What the actual fuck did you say? He’s NOT a pet, he’s a baby troll, he’s my son, and he shall not be treated as an animal or you’ll lose customers. I’ll sue if necessary because he has rights too, he is a person”.

Okay don't make Alma angry okay, right now she was experiencing the feeling countless of lusii on Alternia had before her, the feeling of caring for the grub more than anything and would be willing to do the most ridiculous of tasks for him.

“Squeak”.

“Oh look now you woke him up too, what do you have to say about this? He just went to sleep”

Thankfully the manager had overheard that small conversation and immediately asked for forgiveness, saying that cashier was new, and to make up for that, they actually got free stuff.
So after twenty minutes of apology after apology from the manager (who wasn't the one who should be apologizing but it was better than nothing) they left the store with a beautiful basket of braided tree, and a soft silky pillow sewed onto the the bottom of it, along with a few warm blankets, and a free huge green pillow as an extra apology gift, Alma would put it in the living room by the couch so Dannel would have more places to relax at then the basket.

They left the store, got into their car, and Stacy drove them to their apartment, and quickly went up to their floor, Stacy carrying the basket.
She opened up the door to their apartment, and she put Dannel down into the floor, he immediately began crawling around, taking in his surroundings.

“You like it Dannel?”.

“Squeak”, he said, before starting the chew on the carpet.

“I think that’s a yes Alma”.

“Well let's get everything in order, he can walk around looking around, but first we got to stop him from munching on the carpet, we’ll get him a squeaky toy instead, and I hope you grub proofed everything”.

“I did as good as I can, you’ll have to inspect it later to see if it’s any good”.

“Okay I’m gonna go and unpack my stuff”.

And so she did, the hours went by, they moved stuff around, fed Dannel (Stacy really loved him too, and thought it was cool to feed him), and as night was approaching, right after she had taken a shower (Earth showers sure were refreshing), she heard the tunes of her phone ringing.
She literally ran to her room were her phone was, on the bed, and she squealed when she saw who was calling.
Her girlfriend.

Chapter Text

“HISS.

“Dannel, stop hissing and show your fangs at me, I know you don't like bathing but you must be clean”, Alma said, as she let out a big sigh.

“Squeak?”.

“Dannel you’re covered in strawberry and banana smoothie, this is why we don't crawl up on the kitchen counter and try to get into the mixer. It’ll just end badly, and you’ll just become a sticky little grub like you are now”.

Once again she tried to put him down in the lukewarm water, but her son once again hisses, as he with every fiber of his tiny body tried to get out of the grip of his mother, trying to claw at her.

“Don't you dare Dannel Harlow”.

“HISS!”.

Dannel had only been living with her for two weeks, but she could already see that bathing would be something neither of them looked forward too, this was honestly the only time her grub acted violent at all, and this was to defend himself from the water.

Poor boy. She wish he didn't have to get dirty so often, but kids will be kids, even if they are alien grubs with six legs and the ability to crawl up on the counter like a bug.

Once the dreaded bath time was over, Dannel fell asleep on the couch beside her, and since Alma now had some free time, she got her laptop and drawing tablet. Since she had to stay at home and take care of Dannel, she decided to turn her drawing hobby into work so that Stacy wouldn't have to be the only one paying the bills. It went quite well, she set up her Tumblr two days ago and there was already four prints bought, and she only had one design out.
Once she was finished with this new print (a fandom print) there might be more sales, and if it went pretty well she could make it into other items too.
This was a good start at least, it was not like Stacy’s librarian job (which she was at now), but it was something. She didn't want Stacy to single handily be forced to take care of the rent.
On her fandom print she drew a boy with a green shirt and a blue triangle on it, holding his tshirt up a little, so his golden diamond shaped gem was visible, all while there was a background of space behind him, and his sword that he held with his other hand.

Alma loved this show, The adventure of Gideon Gold, it was about that Gideon who was half alien as he was raised by aliens who were also space rocks. And since the show had a huge (though terrible) fanbase, this would certainly sell. She also considered doing some Crying Breakfast Friends art because fans of Gideon usually also watched that show, but that would be for another day.
If she was lucky she would be finished with his piece around the time Dannel woke up.
And so it was, literally only a minute after the artwork was finished, and posted on her Tumblr, being available as a poster, her little grub opened his eyes and simply jumped down from the couch and started playing with one of his squeaky toys (Stacy had bought it, and he surprisingly liked that more than the infant toys, probably because he needed to chew a lot).
She let out a laugh, smiling at how cute her son was, and snapped a picture of him playing, and then uploading it to Instagram.
Some time passed, until Alma thought it would be a good idea to go and grocery shopping, so that Stacy wouldn't have to do it after work, so she texted her, saying that she would take care of it.
She put Dannel into the stomach baby carrier, locked the door and went down the stairs, meeting one of her neighbors as she walked.

“Hello Alma how are you and what are you and Dannel up too?”.

“Hello Mrs Miller. I’m good, and I’m about to go shopping with my son”.

“Naw he’s so cute”, she said, patting Dannel’s head.

“Thank you”.

“If you ever need any help, you can ask me anything, I’ve raised three child's myself”.

“Well thank you, that's really nice of you. Have a good day”.

“You too”.

And with that she continued walking, with a smile on her face, at least one person didn't see anything weird with her son, that's how it should be. Troll or human, he was simply a child.

After about ten minutes of walking, they walked into the corner store, and she took a small shopping cart, began walking around, putting down some apples, carrots, garlic, potatoes, lemons and pears, and then mushrooms for Dannel.
As she was trying to find the best bread with the longest expiration date, she suddenly saw that a few people stared at her, but she ignored it and continued shopping, putting the bread inside the cart, before she continued to look for her next item.

They probably had just never seen a grub before.
So it went on.
Butter, milk, cereal, meat, ham, cheese, seasoning, some Oreos, a few packages of ramen, some beef jerky (also for Dannel as a special treat some day), some instant meals, and then a small portion of fish and shrimp.
That would be enough for the next few days.
As she walked towards the checkout she noticed a boy, a boy about seven or eight years old, holding his mother's hand and pointing at her.

“Look mom, that lady’s carrying a cool pet!”.

Ugh.
She walked up to the boy carefully.

“Hey I saw that you noticed me and him here, but he’s not a pet, he’s my son”.

“Son? How the heck can that thing be your son?”, the mom asked. Alma could already tell she would get on her nerves.

“Well he’s adopted. He’s a troll”.

“Cool!”, her son shouted.

“Not cool. So you mean you took in one of those gray freaks here, on our precious Earth? They can never be humans and you shouldn't even try taming one”.

Okay now her blood was boiling, she gritted her teeth and wanted to hit her, but of course didn't.

“Well looks like you didn't get tamed when you were an infant, your parents should be do disappointed with someone like you, imagine carrying you for nine months and then raising you, finding out you’re a complete racist”.

The woman was completely speechless, and Alma let her be, as she walked to the checkout and got her items and left the store, walking back to her apartment, and put away the groceries.
Once everything was done, she sat down in the couch, cuddling her son and scratched his belly, which made him purr softly.
They stayed like that for a while, Alma scratching his belly until Dannel once again fell asleep (grubs sure slept a lot), and as she just relaxed, the weight of her grub over her, she heard a sudden vibration from her phone. It was a call, and she began smiling as she saw who was calling.
She answered in less than a second after she found out who it was.
Therea.

“Hello”, she said, smiling as she awaited the soft voice of Therea to answer.

“Hello Alma. I've got good news”.

There it was. And she melted a little at the sound of her voice.

“Oh tell me more. Is it something grub related?”
.
“Actually not, but it's better. I’m getting a four day vacation, starting in two days”.

“Oh my god that’s amazing. I miss you so much. Are you coming up here? We’ve got a place for you here to sleep”.

“That would be wonderful, I’ll take the first Earth vehicle bus as soon as my shift ends”.

“Do you want me to pick you up at the bus central, so that you don't get lost in the city? I could lend my roommates car. Since I know what happened to you when you tried to go on a walk once”.

“I must say me and Iqnane found our way back after about half an hour, but thanks, a ride that would be quite helpful in a larger city”.

“No problem Therea, anything for you”,

~Three hours later~

“I’M GONNA MEET YOUR GIRLFRIEND?!?”, Alma heard Stacy scream so high so she was sure the entire neighborhood heard it.

“Yeah”, she said, blushing slightly.

Chapter Text

Alma woke up by small grub legs pushing her stomach as her son moved them in his sleep, and quickly grew a huge grin on her face.
He was so cute.
But not only that.
Today she would reunite with her loving jadeblood, it felt like she's since they had last seen each other, even if it was just a little over two weeks.
Just the thought of giving her a hug and a kiss, well it made her blush so hard so she felt like she was almost as red as her son’s body.
But that was probably an exaggeration, a human couldn't turn pure rust by blushing, but it surely felt like it.

She turned to her side and got her iPhone from her nightstand, checking the time.
It was still quite early so she just laid there in bed, cuddling her son (who was purring and chirping in his sleep, she wondered what he dreamt about).
He was so cute, so of course she had to take a picture of him and post it on her Instagram, it was too cute not too.

Now she understood all parents of newborns and their obsession with clogging everyone's feed with baby pictures every other minute, because now she was no different.
After she posted it, she just checked her Tumblr and her mail, there were five more orders on posters since the day before (in total, 20 had been sold since she started), one comment about if there would be more art soon, and one request asking if prints could be shipped to other countries (which they could), which was nice.
Slowly and slowly her business was growing, it was a start.

After a few more minutes of relaxing and looking at her son, she quietly got out of bed and went into the kitchen to make breakfast for everyone.
Today it was scrambled eggs and sausages along with sandwiches and fruit on the side, and as she put that food on the table, Stacy emerged from her room.

“I smell food”.

“Sure you do, help yourself. I’m gonna prepare Dannel’s food and then I'll eat with you”.

She got his bowl out and filled with with various bugs and larva that she got from the pet store who were still moving, put down a few pieces of mushrooms and also a few shrimps, mixing it properly so that the shrimps wouldn't only be at the top.
She then put the bowl down on the floor, woke up her little grub by a kiss on the forehead and a “Good morning Dannel” before she carried him to the kitchen.

Two seconds after he was put in the floor he was already at his bowl, wolfing down the food.

“Do all trolls have such an appetite?”, Stacy asked, and Alma shrugged, she honestly didn't know.

She sat down beside Stacy and also began eating, man those scrambled eggs were good, good job there Alma.
She finished the food in like two minutes, also wolfing it down like her son was doing.

“Man you’re eating fast”.

“I can't help it, I’m too excited”, Alma said, smiling as her face turned red, as she thought about Therea.
Her cute troll girlfriend.
Soon they would be reunited, even if it was for only a couple of days.
A few days together was way better than nothing.

She put the dirty plate in the dishwasher, before she went into her room to change, choosing a wavy light blue dress with a white flower pattern, she rarely wore this dress so why not?
And it had a small pocket on the side, which was nice.
It was also too hot for pants today so dress it was.

She sat down on her bed, logging into her Prongle, seeing a message sent two minutes ago, from Therea, her weird typing style making Alma not needing to read her name, it was so recognizable.
Troll typing things she guessed.

-
TY: aLma i jUst gOt oNto tHe eArth buss vEhicle.
AH: Nice. How long is it until you arrive here?
TY: cHecking tHe tImetable iT sAys aBout tHirtyfive mInutes
AH: Okay. I will meet you at the station with Dannel.
TY: tHat’d bE lOvely.
TY: i mIss yOu
AH: I miss you too so it's so exciting that you’ll stay at my place for a few days. I'm gonna get ready and walk to the station so I can meet you.
TY: oKay. sEe yOu iN a bIt.
-

She smiled as she locked her phone and put it in her side pocket, and exited her room, seeing Stacy laying on the floor, playing with Dannel who was crawling over her, squeaking and shyly nibbling her.
From what she had observed, the was typical grub behavior and playing.

And sure it looked amazing.

“Alma your son is tickling me!”, Stacy shouted as she laughed. “These legs”.

Alma also let out a laugh. She completely understood Stacy, because those tiny grublrgs sure were ticklish.

“Well if he crawls over you then he likes you”, she said, as she took up the baby carrier who was laying next to the couch, putting it on herself.

“Stacy can you come over with Dannel?”.

“Sure can”, she answers, and a minute later Dannel was safely secured, and purring as he heard the heartbeat of his mother as he placed his large pointy ears on her chest.

She carefully stroked his face and bent down, kissing the black tufts of hair on his head, before she went to the hall to put her shoes on before she opened the door and left, taking the elevator down to the first floor of the apartment complex, and as she went outside she felt the warmth of the sun shining on her, as well as the fresh summer air.
It was a perfect day for a walk, man how she loved summer.

So with a smile on her face, she began walking and after twenty minutes she was at the bus station, now she only had to wait for Therea.

“Excuse me miss”, she heard a voice ask her from behind, and there she saw a small troll, only five feet, with short nubby horns and a sweater with a candy red symbol on it.

Yes. Candy red like the human color.

“Yes, do you need help with something?”.

“Yeah, my asshole of a boyfriend disappeared to a so called “restroom” but I just realized this place do not provide services for taking naps, do you think you know what he meant, since I’m pretty fucking lost with human things and all”.

“Oh well, a restroom is just another word for toilet, he should be back soon I think”, she said.

“Well fuck, that explains a lot. Why do you humans name your things so weirdly? Like why not just call it toilet or waste disposal chair instead of sugarcoating it?”, he asked, raising an eyebrow as he bit his lower lip a bit.

“We’ll I’ve honestly no idea, and I've lived here all my life, I guess you could ask the people that invented the words, but sadly I think they’re dead. I’m Alma by the way, and this is my grub Dannel. And you?”.

“I’m Karkat Vantas, and I see you’re one of the humans in the grub project then. My boss have been so excited for it even since she proposed the idea to the human government, wishing for it to happen as fast as possible, like that's the only thing she talks about on the ship, even more than her obsession with cuttlefish”.

“Oh, so I guess you work on a spaceship then? With a seadweller as a boss? Since you mentioned a type of fish obsession”.

“Yeah I do, I’m the high guard for the empress Feferi on her personal fleet, but I'm on paid vacation right now so I’m pretty sure I've got a substitute”.

“Wow, you work for the empress? Like the empress of Alternia?”.

“Yeah, I can't believe it myself. She saved my life and I'm so fucking grateful for that, and now I'm a fucking high guard on her personal fleet, nothing I ever could have been with the old empress”, he said, before gesturing to his shirt as he looked up into Alma’s eyes and she saw those bright red eyes, a whole other color than the familiar rust, and it clicked inside Alma’s head that second.

He must be a mutant, with human colored blood

One of those mutants Therea had told her about on Alternia, that got culled if they got found out simply because of their blood color.

But here he was, right in front of her.

“Hey asshole are you annoying strangers again?”, Alma heard someone ask and as she turned around she saw a blond human with shades.

“Fuck off dipshit”, he said, but next second the human gave him a kiss on the cheek.

“No he’s not bothering me, I was just helping him because he got confused over what a restroom was when there’s no beds here at the bus station. And you must be his boyfriend then?”.

“Wait you didn't know the meaning of restroom Karkat?”, he said looking at the troll before looking back at Alma. “And yeah, I’m Dave. And I still have no idea on how I got together with this gremlin but I'm not complaining”, he says, smiling.

“Well, it's just nice to see more human troll relationships, me and my son here are actually waiting for my girlfriend right now, and she’s a troll, so seeing others is pretty nice”, Alma said, thinking about her jadeblood for a split second.

“Nice, another couple, and a gay one too. Or well lesbian, or well trolls are pan and I don't know if you’re lesbian or pan but you know what I mean right, like it's nice to see another same sex couple, and fuck I'm rambling”, Dave said.

“No that's okay, I'm reacting the same way inside my head, and I totally get it”, she said.

The chat continued for five more minutes, and even got the prongle of Karkat, before they had to go on their bus.

She smiled as she saw it disappear into the distance, just feeling happy that she knew there were more couples like her and her girlfriend, and just thinking while looking out in the distance made her almost miss the fact that the bus Therea arrived on was there.

Almost.

The long horns in the distance was pretty easy to see, so she ended up shouting her name, waving, and as she saw her girlfriend in the distance, she began to run.

Soon they embraced each other in a long hug, before kissing each other right in front of all the people, tears running down both of their eyes.

“I've missed you”, Therea said before she wiped away the Jade tears with her arm, as she smiled.

“I've missed you too”, she said, grasping her arm, both of the blushing now that they were reunited.

“C’mon, let’s go home”, she said, and their walk back to Alma’s apartment began, as the lovestruck women held hands the entire time, while the grub in the baby carrier way purring as he felt that his mother was happy.

Chapter Text

The young couple was walking through the city, hand in hand, just enjoying the scenery as they passed small local cafes and clothing shops, street after street.

They got some looks from strangers that passed them, but Alma didn't think about it, and instead just enjoyed the moment, talking to her girlfriend, while using her free hand to pat Dannel’s head, which he began to purr at.

“This city is so lovely”, Therea said, smiling, her pointy tooth being visible. “Earth in general is lovely, the scenery is so bright and unique, so different from Alternia. I never knew walking around when the sun was still up could be so enjoyable”.

“I'm glad you like Earth, it's way different from Alternia, but your planet was also amazing to visit. We should totally go out and eat later, maybe tomorrow or something?”, Alma asked, feeling her face get warmer.

“That would be lovely Alma, I would love going on a red date with you”, was the answer Therea said, before she turned quiet for a while.

“Your whole face is turning jade, you know that?”.

“Oh, I didn't notice, but your face is also shaded, in that pink color”.

“Well that just means we’re enjoying each other’s company I guess”, Alma answered, a little shy, not knowing what to say next to flirt properly.

“Well of course I'm enjoying myself. I'm with you after all”, she said, before her black lips get pressed against Alma’s chin, making butterflies grow in her stomach as her heart began to beat faster. Her son also seemed to notice Alma’s sudden change of heart rhythm, because he began to lightly chirp and squeak, which made both of the women laugh.

Just seconds later, Alma felt her phone vibrate, it being a message to Stacy, her asking if they could go and get a cleaning bucket, but Therea’s horrified expression and talking about it being “too soon” to go sexual when she saw the message made them not too. Alma texted Stacy back and said she had to get one, because of a weird troll thing (and made a mental note about to tell Stacy to NOT bring up buckets near Therea or any troll for that matter).

To ease the atmosphere after the sudden bucket text, Alma began asking about the Earth brooding caverns.

“The caverns are amazing”, Therea said, smiling. “It's a joy just taking care of all those eggs and see them hatch into grubs. And when fauna and humans come to adopt them, it's amazing to know they will be trolls that grew up in a peaceful planet, and that I as a jadeblood made this possible”.

“Wow. That's… amazing Therea”, she said, as she knew how much eggs and grubs meant to most trolls her caste.

“One day in the future you could visit the caverns, but since they’re newly established tourism prohibited for the time being”.

“Well I think I'll manage, after all, I do have a grub here in my baby carrier”, she answered as she carefully stroke the tiny horns of Dannel. “Oh look, that's my apartment building in the distance, we’ll be there in about two or three minutes. Just be prepared, Stacy is dying to meet you, and she can be a bit… well you’ll see”.

“Well I'll manage it, after all she is your moirail and as she is a fellow person that is in a quadrant with you I shall do everything to get on her friendly side”.

They both smiled as they continued to walk, until they finally stood by the door that led into the apartment, Alma unlocked it and let Therea walk in first.

“Hello Alma, hello… damn you're tall”.

Alma heard Therea let out a laugh before she answered.

“I guess you must be Stacy, it's a pleasure to meet you”, she said, shaking her hand.

“It's nice to meet you too, of everything Alma told me you sound really nice”.

“Well the same about you, I’ve heard countless stories about your moirallegiance and I'm happy to get to know you”.

“Therea, you can sit down on the couch while I'll take your suitcase”, Alma said.

“That’d be lovely, do you want me to hold Dannel for you?”.

“Sure”, she answered before handing over the grub to her girlfriend, before she put away Therea’s suitcase, and once she was ready with that, she sat down at the couch beside her, before getting a light peck on the lips, Stacy commenting how cute they were, which made their cheeks light up in red and jade.

“Okay I just got to take some pictures, you are goals”, she said as she took up her samsung and began taking countless of pictures of the two young woman together, before she also sent them all to Alma via text. “This is so going up on my blog”.

“You have a blog?”, Alma asked.

“No, but I will have soon. This is too cute to not document, tiny Alma with a big troll”.

“I'm actually average sized”, was Therea’s response and if looked like Stacy was about to drop her jaw.

“What?”.

“Yeah, on Alternia I saw a few trolls about nine feet I think”.

“How is that possible?”, she asked, looking at Therea, who only shrugged.

“But when I waited for Therea I saw a troll that was actually shorter than me, even counting the horns, he was like five feet”.

“Wow”.

“Well that's rare? What caste was he, since lower castes typically are shorter, but that is extremely short for rust and brownbloods too, like Dannel would probably be 5 foot 7 inches or 170 centimeters depending on which measuring system you use, at minimum, and that not including the horns, shorter would be a bit unusual”.

“Oh no, he’s not on the spectrum”.

“What?”.

“Yeah his name was Karkat and he had a human boyfriend named Dave, he had candy red blood, and he told me something about working for the Empress”.

“You gotta be kidding me… Alma can I borrow your phone? I need to look at troll google”, Therea said and she nodded, handing over the iPhone, and correctly, a minute later there was an article about the Empress and her closest member of her personal troll.
And there was a picture, the empress was in the middle, beside a tall yellowblood and the tiny little redblood dressed in a black space suit with fuchsia and then his candy red sign along with some candy red patterns in the suit that melted together with the fuchsia, that was the troll Alma had seen at the bus station.

“There he is”, she said and pointed.

“Oh troll Jegus he does have a candy red sign, let me read the article”, Therea said and Alma nodded, it was not like she was good at reading the Alternian font anyway.

“It says “Karkat Vantas, a young troll with the rare off color caste of candy red, is the personal guard of the Empress and the high guard of the fuchsia fleet, second in command after the Empress, one of the most prestigious titles in the entire Alternian society” and later down there’s a part where the Empress talks about how she wants to erase hemophobia and that caste has nothing to do with your talents and capabilities… I can’t believe it, this is amazing”, Therea said, jade tears now falling down her cheeks.

“Therea are you okay?”.

“Am I okay? Of course I'm okay, I'm just so confused, but happy, the new Empress is turning our society upside down, but that's the best that ever could have happened. This is incredible”, she said, and Alma comforted her in a hug as she realized a thing, if this empress had taken over sweeps ago, Therea’s moirail might have had a chance to be saved.

She wondered if it was her Therea thought about, or if she only thought about that the strict ruling with an iron fist finally was over.

“The next generation of wigglers can be anything, hemocaste will not stop them from fulfilling their dreams anymore, like little Dannel, it's beautiful”.

The hug between Alma and Therea got tighter as she continued to sob on her shoulder, and Alma let her.
She could cry as much as she wanted, if it made her feel better in the end.

After a few minutes of silence as the couple hugged, and Dannel crawled around on the couch, they heard Stacy.

“So, Therea I don't know if this is a good timing but do you want some snacks or maybe just talk if you wanna thing about something else”.

The troll dried her tears of with her lab coat, giving it a slight jade stain before she nodded.

“Really it's fine, I'm not sad, it's just a change, but a snack would be lovely and really appreciated Stacy”, she said, and Stacy nodded as she left the living from for the kitchen, coming out two minutes later with a bowl of sour cream onion chips and a small bag of peanuts.

“I don't know if you’ve tasted these but I hope you like them”, she said, and Therea nodded, taking a bite, before stealing the bowl from the table, placing it in her arms as she started to wolf things down, way worse than Dannel when he was hungry.

The humans watched as the troll ate chip after chip. Well time to salute those chips because she won't even get a chance to taste them now, but atleast her girlfriend seemed to enjoy the classical junk food, that's always something right? (Okay she really wanted those chips but sadly that probably won't happen).

“Alma your girlfriend just stole all the chips”.

“You can have the nuts”, she said, but Stacy sighed at the answer.

“Oh but I wanted those ships so bad”, Stacy said, before Alma answered her friend.

“I know, but give up on ever getting those back, but that's nothing from when I showed her reality tv”.

Oh no why did she say that.

“Oh you mentioned reality tv? Can you see if “Keeping up with the Kardashians” are on? I wanna know what happens next, it was a real cliffhanger once Kanye and Kim went to dinner and Kylie decided to tag in, everything ending in a fight were Kanye had to act as an auspice to the two sisters”, she asked with tons of chips still in her mouth, making it a bit hard to hear, but they heard, and Stacy looked at Alma with a confused look as Alma remembered Therea’s binging of the show back on the ship, once almost accidently tripping on Dannel as she had refused to let her eyes off the tv.

“Yes I accidently made my girlfriend addicted to trash tv okay”, she said, taking a deep breath as Therea had the remote and began skimming through channels (please don't find TLC for the love of everything holy, Therea finding more bad reality shows would be a nightmare).

“How?”.

“Don't ask okay, just don't ask”.

Chapter Text

Alma woke up by the sun shining through her window and irritated her eyes, forcing her to wake up, and realized she was in the warm arms of her girlfriend, being the little spoon as they had slept together during the night, and Dannel was sleeping near her stomach, probably because most heat was there, or maybe it had to do with the stomach being the safest place near a lusus while sleeping, since they would be guarded with claws and all.

Well she didn't have claws but weren't complaining at the closeness of the rust colored grub, it was like a mother and son bonding time, or whatever you called it.

She yawned and carefully tried to adjust her position to be more comfortable, careful not to wake up her son or girlfriend, because the digital watch on the nightstand said it was only 6 am, she didn't wanna wake either of them up so early, after all Dannel was a grub, and Therea was on vacation, so they should have the luxury to sleep in.

The sound of the adult troll and the tiny grub both purring in unison in different sequences, low and raspy and high, combined with snores made Alma smile for a bit, as she closed her eyes and just relaxed at the unique sound, and slight vibration from the trolls purring bodies, it reminded her of the cat she had used to own when she was a little girl, and it made countless of happy memories appear in her brain, making her feel some nostalgia.

To say, she thought the purring was really nice and cozy.

Man how did she deserve such a cute girlfriend? And such a cute son?

Minute after minute passed were she just enjoyed the peace and quiet, before she carefully reached for her phone, opening the news app and groaned.

There had been a protest where Human wanted trolls to leave Earth.

Again.

Ugh why was her species so stupid?

She couldn't finish the article, it was too much of a racist and plain dumb piece of words, and she hated it with burning passion. How could people possible act that way towards trolls? Just reading this made her sick, no one should be treated like this, haven't the people learned from election bad racist presidents before? Like seriously? That was like only a few years ago.

This was racism but yet humans didn't seem to realize it since they were different species.

The fact that humans said bad stuff about her girlfriend.

The fact that they said bad stuff about her son.

Her blood was boiling, so she immediately googled information about the next peaceful demonstration for troll rights, wishing there would be one, which it actually would be, but it was a five and a half hour drive away, next month. Damn she really wanted to go but she couldn't just travel so far and force Dannel with her, and when she thought about it, what if there would be an incident?

She sighed as she decided to just be a supporter for now, she wanted to do more but that was something atleast, showing the world she was a human who were proud and happy living along trolls.

So why not get a “support troll rights” pin? That would be a good idea, or atleast a small start. She really wanted to show that she cared for the rights of the species.

Well it would unless someone was actually selling those, because apparently they were really hard to find, and the ones she found was in really bad quality, or fake advertised, really being troll hate pins. But as she saw that, she got an idea.

After all, she had an online store, she could design some troll supporting rights pins or maybe tshirts, to show the world where she was standing in this subject. Maybe someone seeing people wearing those things would start questioning things, which was what she wanted. If she could help trolls with their rights on Earth, even only a little, she would do it.

But she would first ask Therea if it was a good idea when she woke up, because she wanted to get to know the viewpoint from an actual troll, and make sure it was something that didn't accidently offend the trolls in some way, because that was the last she wanted to do.

If that was a good thing to do, she would of course donate almost all the money to a troll rights organization, because she keeping it all would be really unfair. She would look to a good donation sure late, but that will be once she’s actually got things for sale.

So put her phone down again on her nightstand as she enjoyed being close to Therea, and her snoring was so cute to listen too.

This continued for about twenty minutes, until Therea opened her eyes and yawned, before sitting up in the bed.

“Morning”, Alma said to her girlfriend, who currently had the biggest bed head ever, some strands of hair being somehow merged with her nightgown? It was stuck either was and she tried her best getting it out, which succeeded after a while, and once that was out of the way, she answered.

“Morning Alma, my hair is such a mess, I’m used to it floating around in the sopor and all”, she said, letting out a yawn.

“Well that does look like a mess, you can borrow my brush if you wanna, and there’s also the shower to make it wet, it might be easier to untangle that way”.

“Well I think I'll manage with the brush, after all, tangled hair shouldn't be my defeat”.

“Okay, I’m gonna go and make some breakfast, I bought some grubloaf in a troll owned grocery store, it’s not like the grubloaf on Alternia, but do you want that?”.

“Yeah that would be nice, together with this Earth cereal, I have taken a liking to Corn Flakes, oh and those peanut butter and jam sandwiches if that's not too much to ask for”.

“Sure I will fix that, can you look after Dannel in case he wakes up while I’m making food?”, she asked and her girlfriend nodded evoke smiling, that one pointy tooth being visible.

“Of course I can”.

Alma kissed her girlfriend on the cheek, making her blush in jade, before she got out of bed, and into the kitchen, spotting a sticky not on the table, which read;

“Took an extra shift at the library at the last minute, will be home later /Stacy.”.

She made a mental note to herself to talk to Stacy later, and make her food too since she was working, and then got to work, getting the grubloaf and put it in the microwave, as she put bowls and spoons on the table along with cereal and milk, before then focusing on filling Dannel’s bowl with food.

Once that finished, she began making the sandwiches, she put on the peanut butter and the jam, but before she could mash the bread together, she heard Therea call her name.

“Alma! Dannel is awake!”.

“I'll be there in a sec!”, was her answer and she put the knife down on the counter, leaving the half finished sandwiches as she walked to her bedroom.

Dannel was currently chewing on the blanket, squeaking random noises, but stopped as he saw Alma and began to purr as he got lifted into the air and cuddled by his mother.

“Well you sure seem hungry, your food is ready in the kitchen, I’ll carry you there”, she said, walked back into the kitchen and put him down in front of his food.
And like usual, he wolfed it down like there was no tomorrow.

She let out a smile as she saw him, before she went back into her bedroom to get some clothes, then going to to bathroom to change, while Therea got to change in her room.

Her red dress was soon on and she got her brush and began combing her hair, before putting it down and just yawning.

She would brush her teeth after breakfast, so she had nothing more to do here at the moments, so back to those half finished sandwiches. She heard the microwave a while ago so the grubloaf must be ready, and well you don't really need to prepare cereal, so the sandwiches were the only thing left.

But as she got into the kitchen, there was a mess.

Dannel’s bowl was empty, and instead of him walking on the floor, he had crawled up on the kitchen counter and… was rolling around on the sandwiches, making the sticky peanut butter and the jam stick to his body, and his hair was an even bigger mess of stickyness. His legs were also sticky and almost like glued together, as he rolled around on his back, a piece of half chewed sandwich between his teeth, that he tried to wolf down.

Oh boy this grub.

He always does stuff like this.

“Dannel Harlow look at the mess you’ve made”, she said, sighing, realizing it would be a pain to clean up everything, and get rid of all the jam and peanut butter from his body.

“We need to bath you”, she said, and at that world, Dannel spit out the bread, and let out a huge hiss along with an angry looking face, and he tried to get away, standing on his tiny legs and preparing to jump down from the counter to run and hide behind the couch or something, because he sure knew what bath meant, and he hated it more than anything hated anyone.

“Don't you sass me, this is your fault for making this mess, you’ll bath whenever you like it or not”, she said, lifting her grub up, as she tried to get free from her grip and moved around like crazy, using all his six legs to try and claw his mother in a desperate attempt to escape the oncoming water torture that was called bathing.

“Therea can you get the bathtub ready?!?”, she shouted at her girlfriend as she groaned, preparing for a huge fight with the tiny grub, looking at all the scratches she already had from the previous bath attempts.

Her son really did not like bathing, that's for sure.

But for not liking to bath, he sure got dirty a lot, and now he destroyed part of her breakfast.

She sighed.

Well he was a child after all.

Chapter Text

Alma felt a tear run down her cheek as and and Therea arrived at the bus station, which was full with countless of humans and trolls who were there either waiting for people or getting on busses themselves, some carrying multiple huge bags and some just holding their bus cards in their hand while using their smartphone with the other, just waiting for time to pass. (She also couldn't help but look for that short troll and his boyfriend she had met four days prior, but no nubby horns or blond hair along with shades were seen and no extreme cursing was heard, so they weren't there. Why would they be anyway? Alma just hoped she would meet them again one day to chat).

“Okay my bus leaves in five minutes”, Therea said and looked down into Alma's eyes with her yellow and jade colored ones. “I'm gonna miss you so much, it's boring without you around, you humans are amazing, especially you”.

“I'm gonna miss you too, just when I got used to having you around again”, she said, feeling her body ache a bit.

“I'll come visit you as often as I can, I promise. I'll get a few days off in a few weeks again”, she said, trying to smile, the pointy tooth visible as usual as she tried to cheer her up. “I'll be here again faster than you can say lime… I mean “yellowgreenbloods”, poor caste by the way but that is another subject”.

Alma decided to brush off the fact that Therea just had named a troll caste she has never heard of, because by Therea’s reaction and her own knowledge about how brutal troll culture could be, it was probably not a pretty story that she did not want to hear, so instead she just answered her girlfriend.

“I know, but it's still feels like such a long time, it's getting boring without you. Well, as boring as it can get with a grub doing shenanigans every other minute. I'm just so happy when you’re around, it's nice”.

“I'm gonna miss you and Dannel too, he has so much personality. And Stacy, your moirail is really nice”, she said, referring to the woman who was currently home at the flat, watching her grub (Alma hoped Dannel hadn't done one of his worst shenanigans. She could only hope, because she did not want to come home to an apartment building on fire or something like that).

“I'm pretty sure he’ll miss you too, he purrs so much when he’s around you”.

“Must be because of my blood color, I do work on a brooding cavern after all”.

“Maybe, but I think it's also because you’ve learned. One can't simply be good with kids in a day, no matter if they're troll or human”.

“Yeah you’re right about that, people always assume jadebloods know how to care for grubs before they have even seen a single one. It took me about half a sweep before I understood everything about my work”, she said, and Alma nodded.

“Yeah, everyone needs to practice. Like you should have seen me when I started drawing, I never believed I would become a digital artist since my drawings were hideous”.

“They’re not hideous. They're interesting to look at. And I've got a few suggestions on things you could draw”.

“No I'm not drawing the Kardashians in an anime style, we’ve already talked about this four times”.

Therea let out a sigh.

“Well it was worth a try”.

Alma couldn't help but let out a laugh while hearing that, her girlfriend really needed help and a lesson on what was a healthy consumption amount of tv, but then gave her girlfriend a quick peck on the cheek, which made her blush, making her gray face get a dark jade color.

“You’re such a dork”, she began. “I love you”.

“I love you too Alma, the flushed way”, Therea answered, and this time it was she who began kissing Alma, carefully on the lips in a sweet and innocent kiss that lasted for a few seconds, and Alma could feel her cheeks getting hot as she was close to her girlfriend.

When they parted they both smiled at each other, and then noticed Therea’s bus just arrived.

“I'm gonna miss you”.

“Me too. I promise I'll text you as soon as I get bs k to the grub caverns”.

“Sounds good”.

They let go of each other’s hands and Alma watched as her girlfriend walked away, and got onto the bus, before it disappeared in the distance, leaving Alma alone at the bus station, still blushing after the goodbye kiss she had gotten, as she smelt the gas from the busses that left.

Well now she was alone again, so she began to walk back to her flat since she had nothing more to do at the bus station. It would be time to feed Dannel any minute, and then she would put him down for a nap, which meant she could relax a bit in front of the tv with Stacy and just hang out, and maybe eat some peanuts or chips or something, things she had to hide when Dannel was near, they were not part of a grub’s diet and she didn't wanna see him in what was a troll’s equivalent of a sugar rush.

Well if Dannel hadn't killed Stacy that’s it. His shenanigans really were out of this world sometimes, even for Therea who had been working with grubs for years.

She walked down street after street, seeing many humans and a few trolls who were out doing their own business, continuing with their own lives, while Alma was deep in thoughts.

She smiled as she saw her apartment in the distance, it was not on fire which was a good sign, and she began speeding of her walking pace for a bit. And as she got close, she put her hand close to her face to scratch it, and she realized there was a trail of small tears running down her cheeks, and she quickly tried to wipe them away, but new tears kept forming anyway.

Gosh how she was missing Therea already, and it hadn't even been thirty minutes since she had seen her last. She wished she still was here so that they could be close and spend time together, just like girlfriends.

She walked into the apartment complex and began walking up the stairs, until she got to the door of her home, took a few breaths to calm herself after the walk up, before she took up the key, and got in, ready to just relax for a bit.

“I'm home!”, she shouted but did not get an answer, not even some growls from Damn like she always got once she returned home, so she carefully took off her shoes and walked into the living room, only to see Stacy and Dannel, both asleep on the couch, Dannel on her head while Stacy lightly snored.

She quickly took up her phone and took a few pictures, this was too cute of an opportunity to pass up.

Once the pictures was taken, she logged into her Instagram and chose the best picture, before posting it and tagging Stacy’s account, and just seconds later she got a like from Therea, she was probably using Instagram while on the bus, and she commented;

“dAnnel aNd yOur mOirail aRe sO cUte!”.

She couldn't wait to see her reaction once she woke up, because that wasn't her best angle, but that along with her grub was the thing that made it so cute.

So she sat down at the couch, a bit from her friend and son, and just relaxed, after all, when Dannel woke up there would just be tons of grub shenanigans.

Chapter Text

Alma was walking through the city, she had been out on a relaxing walk along with Dannel in the baby carrier, enjoying the nice summer weather to its fullest. She was on her way to the store to buy a new phone charger (since Dannel had chewed up her last one), and she would use this opportunity to maybe buy a few new markers for her traditional art, now when she was shopping and all. And she felt more productive and didn't feel like she was doing bad life choices now that she didn't buy just markers, but something else too.

Aka the typical struggle literally all artists face. The fight over the wallet, which usually makes the artist's live on cup noodles because they spent the entire salary on drawing related equipment.

But she was worth this, after all, art was her work, and she considered taking commissions on her site, sending away traditional drawings specifically made for people, at a price of course. That would be a really good idea, and she and Stacy would get a few extra dollars, hopefully more, since her drawings were already quiet popular and all.

About twenty minutes after she had entered the shop, she had left with the phone charger, tins of new drawing material, and she just had to get a cute baby book she had seen. It was about a little girl doing weird shenanigans, it would be a perfect thing to read to Dannel, and once he was big enough to start learning how to read it would be good.

She was also tempted to get the new Gideon Gold fandom book, but that would have to wait. Her internet friend was going to a con later, and if she was lucky she could get an extra copy signed by the creator Simona Flour, and doubles of the same book would be kind of a waste, then she would have less money for new merch.

But back to the subject.

The warm rays of the sun were heating up Alma’s back as she walked down street after street, as Dannel purred as she once in awhile scratched him behind the ears, and soon she found herself in the city park. Green leaves everywhere that painted the view, along with the deep blue water of the small pond, and the countless of colors, yes millions of different shades, that all the flowers were giving away, making the view fantastic.

There were trees here and there, obviously since there were leaves, and lots of bushes of different heights. On the top of a tree she could see a nest, and heard the sound of birds tweeting to each other as they communicated, and more birds filled the sky as she looked up, passing by as they continued their flight.

She’s also pretty sure she saw a squirrel up on a tree.

She walked up towards a bench and sat down, admiring all the families, children playing with each other, tag or hide and seek. Their laughing made Alma smile, and she just observed them for a few minutes until she suddenly realized a tall Hispanic woman with short hair had sat down beside her, and in her arms was a little baby, about a year old.

The baby had slightly curly black hair down to his ears, big brown eyes and olive colored skin, a perfect copy of his mother. And don't forget the smile on his face.

Dannel let out a friendly squeak as he wanted to crawl out of Alma’s arms and inspect the boy.

“Hi, I’m Carmen and this is my son Bobby, we just moved to this town”, she said, before shaking Alma’s free hand.

“I'm Alma, and this is Dannel, my son”.

“Awe, he is so cute. How old is he?”.

“He’s a month old in a few days, time really flies by when you think about it. How old is Bobby?”.

“Woah, only a month? And he already crawls? Bobby was eleven month when he learned it. But well he is a troll so it's normal right? Bobby turned one year old two months ago”, she said, before giving the boy a kiss on his cheek, which he responded to by putting out his tounge.

The boy blinked, before lifting up his hand, and carefully touched one of Dannel’s horns, which made him start squeaking and purr, a sound that made the boy laugh, as he showed of his white teeth in a huge smile.

“Wow they seem to like each other”, Alma said as her son crawled out of her lap, becoming even closer to the boy.

“Yeah, it's so cute! It looks like they could be great friends”.

“Yeah. You said you just moved in?”.

“Yeah, last week actually, still got moving boxes placed around the house and all, you know how moving can be. My husband and I have wanted to move for a while, and last year he got a promotion so now we could finally afford it. This town is amazing”.

“That's nice. What does he work with?”.

“He’s in the navy, so he’s not home much, but right now he is on paid leave. He’s probably grocery shopping together with Maria, our oldest child”.

“Oh, how old is she?”,

“She’s four years old, our little angelita. Do you have another child other than this little cutie here?”, she asked, before carefully rubbing Dannel on his stomach, so he purred louder than before, as a few clicks got mixed with the purring, probably from a place deep in his vocal cords.

“No, it's just me and Dannel, I live with my roommate in an apartment and my girlfriend lives far away so another grub would be a challenge”.

Oh no she let that slip. What of Carmen turned out to be homophobic? Oh god.

“You got a girlfriend?”, she asked in an excited and happy tone, and was that, sparkling eyes? Like if she was really interested in the subject.

Well okay there would probably be no worrying, not about homophobia at least (yay for progressive humans), so she nodded as an answer.

“Yeah, her name is Therea, she is a troll, a jadeblood actually. She’s pretty great, and cute”, she said, blushing about without even realizing it. Therea was way too cute to not think about, at least for Alma. And it was true, she was pretty great.

“That's amazing. My little sister Rocio is married to a Korean woman named Areum. They went to South Korea and adopted a son. His name is Sung and he’s three years old now. Maria loves to play with him, they are such amazing cousins. Sadly Bobby doesn't have a playmate like that. They are considering adopting another child, but if they do they will do it in a few years, and they’ll be to small to play with Bobby by then”.

“Well if I get your number you can hit me up anytime and Dannel could play with Bobby”.

“Really?”.

“Yeah, it’d be nice. I'm also looking for kids his age so he can have some playmates, so it's a good thing. I can write my number into your list right now if you wanna”, Alma said, and Carmen nodded at her, handing her her Samsung (pretty old model, but to be fair, it had a way better camera than the newest models of that brand, and better storage).

She wrote in her number, saved it, and gave the phone back to the fellow mother, and mere seconds later Alma felt her phone vibrate in her pocket as it always did whenever she got a new text message.

She didn't have to check from who it was and just smiled at the woman who shared the bench with her.

“Wanna come over on dinner later tonight?”, Carmen then asked. “Ricardo is gonna do his fajitas and it would be a nice way to get to know each other. Well unless you aren't vegetarian, then I could do a small salad or a stew”.

“Well that isn't necessarily, I’m not vegetarian. Dinner would be awesome, if I can bring Dannel his dinner too”, she said, also making a mental note to bring over a box of chocolate chip cookies as a thanks for the dinner and welcome to the city gift.

Carmen and her family really seemed like nice people after all.

“Of course it's okay. What does the little one eat?”, she asked, before she looked at the rust colored grub in Alma’s arms once again. He turned his head around, and stared at Carmen with his huge rust colored eyes, and let out a small purr again, before losing interest and once again focusing on Bobby.

“He mostly eat bugs and different sorts of mushrooms, and sometimes meat, after pupating he’ll be able to eat more human food”, she said and Carmen nodded slightly as she listened to the young mother.

“Well that's unusual, but seeing how big and strong trolls always look the diet seem to be working”.

Alma nodded in agreement. One day her little son would be a big troll, probably almost twice as talk as her, and with all the opportunities in the world as he lived in a less brutal regime than if he had been born years earlier and on Alternia.

Well he was hatched on Alternia but Alma meant hatched on Alternia before the cooperation and all. It's not because of a plot hole the author got as he cried of stress for not having updated the story in a month because of college stress so now he’s trying to compensate with a long chapter because of guilt towards the readers.

Yeah totally not that.

“So dinner it is later tonight then?”, Carmen asked and Alma nodded in agreement.

“We’ll be heading home soon, let's have the boys play a bit before we split up”.

“Yeah, sounds nice, and the sandbox is empty right now, let's go and build some sand castles with them shall we”.

The two women and their children were soon playing in the sand box, Bobby hammering a plastic bucket with a shovel (thank god there was no adult troll in the park at the moment, they would have had a freak attack if all trolls were so weird around buckets as Therea were), while Dannel was using his small claws to dig in the sand.

In just a few minutes he had been digging a really deep hole, almost like a tunnel, and once he crawled up from it, he was filled with sand, before he laid down and began rolling around in it, becoming dirty as it stuck to his shell.

Yep someone was definitely bathing once they got home.

She heard Carmen laugh at the grub shenanigans and it continued for a few minutes, until they suddenly heard someone shout with an excited voice.

“Oh my god is that a grub?!?”, they heard someone ask and as they turned around, they saw a woman in her late twenties (or early thirties), African American, wearing a blue dress with pockets, black tights and also a pair of round gray glasses on her freckled face. But that was not the outstanding thing.

In her arms was a grub.

A small dark blue grub with curly horns and quiet pointy teeth.

Alma immediately hit grub mother mode and waved the woman over, telling her to sit down there with her and Carmen.

She quickly made her way towards to women, sat down and then let the grub (who was wearing a cute little green beanie with holes in it for her horns to stick it) out of her grip, and she immediately crawled to Dannel, before both let out different sounding screeches, until they well stopped, and began digging a new hole together.

“Oh my god it's so exciting to see someone more raise a grub here. I’m Gemma”, she said, before she shakes hands with Carmen and Alma.

“Nice to meet you”, Carmen began, “I’m Carmen and this is Bobby”, she said, pointing at the baby who now was chewing on the shovel. “Say hi Roberto”.

The baby let out a sound before he continued to chew on the shovel.

“I'm Alma, and this is Dannel. I adopted him a month ago. Tell me, why did you adopt a grub?”, she said, being a bit curious.

“Well I'm asexual but have always wanted children, so I was like, hey let's adopt a troll, because I’d rather adopt a child that already exist then get a donor and all. Better to give one more child a home and all. Little Althea here have loved with me for two whole weeks now”, she said, smiling at the indigo blue grub.

“Wait… Altea? As in the planet in Voltron?”, the nerd part of Alma immediately asked (damn you nerd parts), and a facepalm was her answer.

“You have no idea how many times I've heard that these past two weeks. My mom’s name is actually Althea, with an h in the middle, and I wanted to name her after her. It means “to heal” actually, and after the emotional crying from trolls when they asked what the name meant, it felt like a more good fit too, damn that regime sounds so scary. But the fact that I named my alien daughter a name that is widely know as the name of of an alien planet in a tv show sure is well, fitting I guess?”, she said, before shrugging. “But well it's her name now and I think it's the perfect fit”.

“Wait, you got her on Earth?”.

She received a nod.

“Yeah, in the grub cavern about an hour from here. Didn't you get Dannel there?”.

She shook her head.

“No, I got him on Alternia”.

“Alternia? Really?”.

“Yeah. But like, you said you were on the grub cavern close. Tell me about the one that helped you choose grub”.

“Well, she was tall, but so is all trolls, and a name that started with a T. She was jade, had long hair and long spiky horns…”, she began before Alma cut her off.

“With one pointy tooth sticking out and and a sign that resembled a J a bit? And wearing an oversized lab coat?”.

Well now she looked confused.

“Yeah? How did you know?”.

Oh

My

God.

“Oh my god, that's my girlfriend! My girlfriend was the one helping you adopt Althea!”.

Silence from everyone.

“Are you serious?”, Gemma asked before blinking a few times.

Alma just nodded.

“Yes!”, she screeched (the sound confusing the grubs) before she took up her phone, showing a picture of her loved jade troll, and saw how Gemma started at the picture.

“Oh my god that's her you’re actually right”.

The next few minutes was filled with excited chatting between all the three females, until it was time to leave to go home and bathe the kids, and then going to Carmen for chicken fajitas. Gemma and Althea had been invited too, and Carmen would prepare bean fajitas for the vegetarian Gemma so that everyone could enjoy the cocking and bond a bit more.

As Alma was on her way home thinking about how she was gonna bond with her new friends, she also gave herself a mental note to call Therea and tell her about Gemma and Althea.

It was gonna be a fun phone call for sure.

But first she needed to put her water hating son in the water, so hurray for more grub scratches after this day's bath.

Chapter Text

Alma and Stacy were both standing in the pretty long line at their local Starbucks shop, patiently waiting to order some coffee (she really needed a big cup of warm morning coffee right now, more than anything), and Dannel was chilling out in the baby carrier attached to his mother’s stomach. As she looked around at the shop with his big burgundy colored eyes filled with wonder as he squeaked once, and then twice.

He was such a cute little grub, and Alma let out a small smile as the line began moving, just a few inches forward, but it was still forward. One step forward to her caffeinated heaven (she really should talk to a specialist about her coffee addiction), and before she knew it, it was her time to order, thanks to that music the store played atleast. And all the smells of different types of coffee that made her fantasize about said coffee.

Three minutes later they left the amazing smelling coffee shop and stepped out into the street filled with people going on about their daily activities.

As she took a zip, she felt a buzz coming from her phone, so she took it up. It was a message from her mom…

Mom: Coming for a surprise visit later today along with Sarah. She’s got a surprise she wanna share with her little sister. :)

Alma’s eyes got huge and she began to shake.

Oh god.

“Alma what’s up?”, Stacy asked right after taking a zip.

“I am officially fucked. Fuck my life”, she said and groaned, head aching a bit. Why did this always happen to her?

“Why?”.

“Apparently mom and my sister are visiting today”.

“Oh shit”,

“I know right. Like she’s gonna kill me. She’s gonna kill my son. Dannel could be in serious danger if mom is as racist against trolls like my dad is. Like when we graduated he almost ran over a brownblood for God’s sake! She could scare him to death even, or who knows?”, she said, shaking a bit, just the thought of someone scaring or harming her son making her gulp.

To her relief Dannel let out a calm squeak, and Alma began patting his head to calm herself a little.

“Stacy what are we gonna do?”, she said, dread in her voice.

“Well I have no idea to be honest, but we’ll figure something out. We’ll show her trolls aren’t bad”.

She answered Stacy with a slight nod, once again looking down at Dannel, who had a smile on his face as he hung from the baby carrier. That made her smile a bit.

“Yeah. Once she sees how adorable and amazing Dannel is she will change her mind hopefully. He is her newest grandson after all. And she always told me she wanted grandkids from me soon, so her being mad that I adopted wouldn’t exactly make much sense, am I right or am I right?”.

A nod from Stacy.

“Yeah, her not accepting Dannel would be extremely hypocritical. She wanted grandkids and bam, that is her new grandkid, she should be grateful”.

Stacy leaned forward and patted Dannel behind is long ear, making him purr and close his huge rust colored eyes in excitement, just enjoying the touch from his mother’s best friend.

“And after all, he is too cute to not love. Only a monster wouldn’t think a grub was cute, like heck I think most monsters even would think they were cute”.

Alma smiled at the words of her best friend (or moirail as trolls would call it) and nodded.

“You’re right. I’m gonna show her Dannel. He is my pride and joy, my son. So if she don’t like him that’s her problem. Then she just can leave, and that goes for Sarah too. If she don’t like her new nephew, then there’s no point in socializing with them. Dannel is my treasure and he is the most important person to me”.

Once she finished the sentence, Dannel’s purr grew louder, and into a lighter pitch, like if he had just understood the words his mom had said about him.

Well maybe he did. Grubs are different from human babies after all. And if he did already understand, Alma hoped he also understood exactly how important he was to her. More than words could ever describe. He was her son.

“That’s the spirit Alma”, Stacy said, and then took another sip of her extremely hot coffee, and Alma copied her motion, also feeling the need for some caffeine in her blood at the moment.

Praise Starbucks and their amazing coffee.

The two young women then began to casually walk again, having small talk while drinking their coffee, and also talking a bit on what they would do when Alma’s mom and sister arrived, and things like what food they would serve.

When they arrived at the next block, Alma threw her empty coffee mug in a trash can, and so did Stacy, and then they walked into the small grocery store on the other side of the street.

They had decided to make some fried chicken together with potatoes and some greens. And for Dannel it would be the usual mix of bugs and mushrooms. And she would also make some lemonade, because why not? Lemonade was tasty.

As they walked through the aisles they took the things they needed, including some other things, like some Oreos (for Alma’s slight sugar addiction), some Brie cheese (Stacy had that obsession with cheese) and then a new flowerpot for the small tulip they had on the window break. And no more art supplies this time. Yeah she didn’t wanna go broke.

Yeah, the normal stuff.

Once they were on there way to the checkout, Dannel suddenly squeaked and looked to the left.

Free sushi samples.

Of course.

The squeaking continued and it was extremely clear that Dannel wanted a bit of that salmon sushi, he probably noticed it because of the smell of raw fish.

”Would you two ladies wanna try a free sample?”, and employee asked as they walked past.

“Not me, I’m not too fond of sushi”, Alma said and pointed down at Dannel. “But I’m pretty sure he wants a free sample”.

The employe smiled and handed the piece of sushi to Dannel, which he bit into and ate whole, purring as he swallowed and looked extremely pleased with himself.

“Well I’m sure he liked it, my little gourmet”.

“Oh my god he purrs, he is so cute! Is that a troll grub?”.

“Yeah, and his mommy loves him, even if he always makes a huge mess and eats all the food”.

“Well don’t all children do that?”.

They all laughed, and then Alma thanked the lady for the free sushi sample (she was gonna go broke if Dannel started to crave sushi more than once a week, sushi is real expensive) and then left the grocery store, beginning to walk home to prepare for the visit of Alma’s mother and sister.

A few hours later Alma and Stacy had just finished the food, and put it away to cool down. Dannel was taking a nap in Alma’s room and her mother Bethany and sister Sarah would arrive any minute now.

She was extremely nervous to say the least.

“Don’t worry girl, it’s gonna go fine. I promise you”, Stacy said, trying to calm her friend. And she got a small smile as a reply.

“Thanks Stacy. I hope you’re right about this”.

“Of course I am. And when your mom has seen her new grandkid I’m gonna serve the food and I’ll do all the dishes today, you can sit back and relax, everything is on me”.

“Thanks Stacy”.

“No need to thank me”.

They sat down on their couch, putting on the tv and waited for a couple of minutes, and in the middle of an episode of “Extreme Home Makeover” she heard a light but firm knock on the front door.

“Alma we’re here!”, she heard her mother shout from the other side of the wall as she got up from her seat and unlocked the door.

There was her mother, tall with long brown hair, and her shirt (but not as short as her) big sister with wavy brown hair (basically all the Harlow’s had dark brown hair, well except her dad with black hair that was turning gray).

“Mom, Sarah, it’s so nice to see you. Come in!”, Alma said, welcoming her family. “Take off your shoes and sit down on the couch, I’ll get some lemonade for you”.

“Oh so kind of you, I’m sure your future man will like that independence” her mother said and Alma just groaned a bit.

“Mom you can’t just say that. We’re her guests”, Sarah began. “Nice to see you again anyway lol sis”.

“By one year”.

“It’s still a year”.

Alma got the lemonade, and then sat down at the couch, while Stacy went into her room so she could get that new library book review done, leaving Alma with her fellow Harlows.

“So Alma, how is life as an independent adult?”, Bethany asked.

“Boring right?”, her sister asked.

“Sarah!”.

She shrugged her shoulders.

“It’s normal, the only difference is that I don’t have college classes. But living here is nice. How’s life at home with dad? And Sarah, what was so important so that you also wanted to pay a visit?”.

Her big sister let out a smile as she showed her sister the gold ring on her finger.

“I’m engaged!”.

“What!”.

“Yeah, I hit quiet shocked when I found out myself, but I’ve met him and I’m sure he’ll be a wonderful son in law”, Bethany continued.

“His name is Henrik Andersson and he’s from Sweden. His accent is so cute, it’s like he’s singing when he’s trying to talk”.

“It’s true, he is a charming young man. And so is his daughter”.

“He has a child?”, Alma asked. “How old is he?”.

“He’s 28, and yeah, his daughter is named Maja, she is two years old. Sadly her mom passed away during the birth of her. That’s why Henrik moved to the US, to start over and all that”.

“Oh, that’s sad to hear. How long have you been dating? I haven’t heard anything about a guy”.

“Seven months. I didn’t really wanna involve family until it got serious and all that, but I’m so happy I met him”.

“I can understand that”, Alma said as she smiled and thought of Therea, her beautiful jadeblooded girlfriend.

“Alma you’re smiling!”, her sister noticed, and Alma immediately began to blush.

“Is there a man you like?”, her mother asked, giving her the grin. “I bet he’s real handsome”.

She shook her head.

“No there’s no man”.

“Oh but there gotta be, or else you wouldn’t smile like that. How long have you seen him?”.

“I told you there’s no man”.

“Well what a shame, but you do remember my old friend Annie right? Her son just became single and if you want I could ask for his number”.

“No thanks, I’m good”.

“But Alma isn’t it lonely without a man to call your own? I would die for more grandkids soon”.

“Mom there is no man and there will never be”, she began, before taking a huge breath. “I’ve got a girlfriend. I’m a lesbian, or atleast bisexual, it’s still kind of new”.

She closed her eyes and waited for the worst.

“Lesbian?”, came a surprised tone from her mother.

“Called!”, came the voice of Sarah.

“Yeah, I have a girlfriend, I love her so there’s no need to set me up with a man. I know you may not like it but that’s me alright”.

Her mother just stared at her, but thankfully it looked like a confused stare, and not an angry one.

Silence followed for a bit?

“Are you sure?”.

“Yes I am”.

“Well okay. I didn’t expect it but with three kids one would be bound to be gay. Annie’s youngest son Brad remember? He came out as gay last month and is dating a troll named Lincel now. And since I spent a lot of time with her I got a bit of education on the subjects, both gay and trolls so. Lincel is quite the gentleman, he and his lusus moved here. Sorry if I scared you by being quiet. I was just a bit surprised”.

“So… you’re not mad?”.

“Why would I be? You’re my daughter. Your dad might have a bit harder time to accept it, but I’m gonna do what I can. I’m just happy you have found someone to keep you company”.

“Yeah, mom is right”, Sarah said. “Now we know you aren’t alone atleast, you’ve got company except for Stacy. And the plus side, no accidental babies!”,

Alma smiled as she heard her family members talk to her, and then some silence followed until her mother once again broke it.

“So, who is the name of the young lady that I may call daughter in law in the future”.

“Therea. Her name is Therea”, she said.

“Well, that’s an unusual name. Where is she from?”.

Well her mom just told her she had gotten a better view of trolls, so well, here goes nothing.

“Well, she’s from… Alternia”.

“Alternia?”, both the Harlows asked at the same time.

“Yeah. She’s a troll”.

“Neat”, Sarah said.

“Well that was surprising, guess all my children are dating people with different nationalities. It might be a bit hard for your father to accept but I will do my best. He needs to accept his daughter’s new girlfriend. What blood color is she by the way?”.

“Jade. She works down at the brooding caverns and takes care of grubs, helping them get adopted”.

“Awe, she get to work with babies every day”, Sarah said, smiling.

“Yeah she does. And she loves her job”.

Sarah looked dreamingly into the distance.

“I can’t wait until I get pregnant and have a baby of my own. Looks like you’re having that extra grandchild anyway mom, looks like it will be from me though, and not Alma”.

“Well actually”, Alma began before she stood up. “Come with me”.

She lead her family through the apartment, until they stood outside of her bedroom.

She opened the door slowly, revealing a small burgundy colored grub that was relaxing on the bed. He looked half awake, and curiously blinked as he saw the people peeking into the room along with his mother.

“Mom, Sarah. This is Dannel. My son”.



~ Minutes in the future, but not many ~

“So after seeing what had happened to the poor teal wiggler, I guess my mother instincts awakened. So I got Dannel at the grub cavern right before we got back on the spaceship. I wanted to give atleast one troll a peaceful childhood without any dangers. And that’s wraps it up”, Alma said, finishing her story about her trip to Alternia, tears running down from her mom’s and sister’s medium tanned faces as they listened to the heartbreaking story.

“I take back all the bad things I’ve ever said about trolls”. Her mother began. “Those trolls we assaulted for getting that bigger apartment, those trolls who became scared when they saw a clown and caused havoc at the mall when they tried to protect themselves, all those lowbloods with low self esteem that looked like they waited for a killing blow when me and your father screamed at them. I knew they had a brutal culture, but this. They killed an innocent child”.

“Sis I’m so glad you adopted my new nephew here, with you he won’t be in any danger”.

The family talked about the very sensitive topic of troll brutality and it’s toll on the already adult trolls. And they understood Alma completely when it came to the adoption decision.

“You made the right choice, I’m so proud of you”, Bethany said to her youngest daughter, before taking her glasses, wiping them off tears and then handing them back to Alma.

“I’m with mom here”.

“Thanks for supporting me. I was so worried it would be the opposite and that you would disown me because of Dannel”.

“Alma I would never do that to you”, Bethany said. “Like said before, now I’m educated and won’t be ignorant and base everything because of prejudice. You can thank Annie, Brad and Lincel for that. It may be some work with your father, but I promise, I will do anything in my night to show him just how proud he should be of you, and that he should be lucky that he have gotten such a cute little grandchild. He often said he wanted you to have children as fast as possible so that he could play with his grandkids, and hopefully that thought will make him realize what is important to this family. Just that, family and staying together”.

As Bethany spoke and the salt tears ran down from Alma’s brown eyes, she felt Dannel crawl out of her knee, slowly walking away to it, climbing up to side of his grandmother, before carefully sitting down, making a perfect place for himself.

Bethany scratched him at his neck, which made his ears twitch a bit, as he closed his rust colored eyes and began to purr and the soft sudden though from the (not so anymore) stranger who’s lap he was currently sitting in.

The purr was deep, way deeper than usual, and it had a friendly, relaxed tone too it, like it said “I like you, keep letting me”.

It was like Dannel understood that these people were his family members, because he was so cute and behaved like a champion.

As the purr once again got deeper, he tilted his head too his side, looking up at the brown eyes of his grandmother, who smiled at him.

He let out a soft but excited squeak at her, before once again curling up on her like a ball.

Bethany smiled.

“Welcome to the family Dannel”.

Chapter Text

~ Later that day of the previous chapter ~

Harlow residence.


“What do you mean our daughter adopted a grub? Why the fuck would she adopt a heathen gray thing from space hell? That’s not the way I raised one of my children! And lesbian? This better be a fucking joke”, fifty year old James Harlow shouted at his wife as she had told him the news of Dannel over dinner. As you can see, it did not go that well, not well at all.

“No this is not a joke James”. Bethany said as she let out a groan, glaring at her so called husband. “She adopted a grub. His name is Dannel. And she does have a girlfriend, it is no joke, you hear me?”.

“I told you I didn’t raise any of my children like that. That just can’t be true, I hope this is some crude joke that you somehow thought was funny. No child of mine is to associate with those gray misfits that’s just destroying our beautiful Earth with their blood and poly propaganda. And no child of my shall choose the gay lifestyle, I bet you secretly had her with the mailman or something”.

“James that’s enough! Alma is dating a troll and your new grandson is a troll. Deal with it!”, Bethany shouted, clenching her fist as she felt fury over her husband’s words.

“A troll? She’s dating a fucking troll? And I thought a female was bad enough, it has to be a fucking troll female for god's sake of course it has to be. I think I’m gonna be sick. My flesh and blood fancying a gray poly freak, she’s gonna turn up like a wife of that man with four wives on tv”, he screamed as she threw his plate of food to the side, making it fly through the air until it landed on the floor and broke with a melodic sound, leaving sharp porcelain shards everywhere.

“Troll quadrants is different than that, they talk about trolls on the news every day so atleast you should have picked up something from watching that damn Fox News every single day, like for Christ’s sake have nothing reached your brain? And Therea seems like a nice troll, she treats Alma good and that’s what should be important to you! She is your daughter after all, and your daughter’s happinesses should be your top priority. And the same goes with Dannel, he is your grandson”.

“I don’t have a filthy troll grandson, or a filthy troll dating daughter. I have two children, William and Sarah, both in proper heterosexual relationships with humans. I told you no child of mine shall associate with heathens. It is one man, one woman! The man rules and the woman is there to serve him, that is her duty! With two women, and a troll one for the matter, the rules of marriage are just thrown into the mud to mock God in the face! It thanks to people like her that our Earth is breaking apart! That Annie and her gay son have corrupted you, I knew I should have forbidden you from seeing them long ago”.

“You’re not even religious! You’re just using bible verses to justify your cowardness, and I thought you have already shrunken low. This was a new low even for you James”.

“Alma is not a child of mine”.

“Well then neither William or Sarah are your children if you speak like that! Either you accept your daughter and new grandson or you lose everyone! And I’m not a slave, I can decide who I wanna associate with by myself”.

“...”.

“Pack my bags. I wanna get so far away from people associating with heathens as possible. That includes you. You are no wife of mine”.

“And you’re no husband of mine, you’re a big jerk, so get out of my house, and pack our own god damn bags, I’m not a servant”.

He clenched his fist.

“You disobedient piece of…”.

“Get out of my house James. Now! Or I’m calling the cops, AND my lawyer. You are gonna lose court if you hit me, and you know it. How is your “perfect” reputation between your friends gonna look once you’ve got jail time to serve huh?”.

“Fine”...

And so, James Harlow was out of the house, and Bethany began signing divorce papers.

 

~ Present day, 5th of August ~

”Wait?”, Gemma asked as she put down a bag filled with organic potatoes in her shopping cart. “Did your dad actually do that? For real?”.

Alma nodded.

“Yeah, and he got thrown out off the house after that. He’s currently staying at that motel outside of town, you know which one I mean?”, Alma asked.

She got a slight nod as they pushed their shopping carts forwards through the vegetable aisle.

“Yeah, the one with a broken stop lights and a sign that says “free ice” right? And that terrible diner with overpriced breakfast?”.

“Yeah that’s the one”.

“But like, I can’t understand your dad actually did that.

Alma let out a shrug as they now were in the pasta aisle. She dumped several packages of pasta into her cart, since you could never have enough pasta right?

“He have always been kind of special, but that was not the end. Mom told me that between shooting things about trolls he refereed to me and said that it’s Adam and Eve, and not Eve and Ivana”.

A small laugh from Gemma.

“Well I’ve heard the Adam and Steve one before, but never Eve and Ivana. But well of what I’ve heard it was good that he Adam and leaved if he continued like that”.

“...”.

“Did you just make an Adam and Eve related pun? Because that was genius, I love you. Well platonically”.

“Well thanks, I’ll take that as a compliment”.

The duo continued to talk as their shopping carts gradually got filled with more wares.

“So I saw on your Instagram that you had booked bus tickets online. Is Therea coming?”.

Nod.

“Yeah she is. She comes on Wednesday and stays until Sunday afternoon”.

“Nice, I would really love to meet her someday. Well not on Wednesday because I’ll be visiting my mom, but another day if you have time”.

“Sure, we hadn’t planned anything, so you could come over for a fika anytime you like”.

“What in the world is a fika?”.

“Oh sorry. I Skyped with my sister’s fiancée from Sweden and he taught me that word. It’s like a really Swedish thing, like you just sit down and drink a cup of coffee and eat something like cinnamon buns. In Sweden they even have a paid thirty minutes fika break every day”.

“Wow you gotta be kidding me”.

“Not really, and I’m happy I’m not. That sounds like a good tradition to be added into the family when Henrik marries Sarah. But anyway, would a fika be nice?”.

“Sure, it would be nice to just talk to you all, and eat something sweet. We could talk while the grubs plays”, she said, gesturing to her indigo blue grub, who currently was in the process of chewing on the metal of the shopping cart like a small maniac.

“Althea stop chewing on the cart! You’ll damage the metal”.

Both women let out laughs at how absurd that sentence sounded when it was taken out of context. Because with human children it’s “you’re gonna damage your teeth”, but well in their case, the grubs left bite marks and dents in the hard metal of the shopping cart.

The thing with grubs, they chew on everything. And the most absurd things were their favorite chewing toys.

Hopefully Target wouldn’t notice the damaged carts until after they were gone.

They once again walked in a semi silent state, until conversation once again blossomed.

“I’m thinking about taking Therea to see a romantic movie when she’s here, but I don’t know if Dannel would be able to tag along. He’d probably just be bored and screech like a maniac, or eat up a seat or something. You know the parent struggle. And Stacy is working late so I can’t exactly leave him with her”.

“Well I’ve never actually been there, With the saying I mean. Since I’m asexual and all, I don’t have to worry about the complicated topic of dating while having a baby”.

“Lucky”.

“You know I could babysit Dannel for a few hours if you wanted to bring Therea to that movie”.

“For real?”.

“Sure. Why not? Althea and Dannel do like each other after all, and I’m sure neither would complain about a few extra hours with their playmate of choice”, she said, smiling as she gave Alma a playful hint.

“Gemma you are the best person in the entire world right now. That would mean so much to me”.

“You don’t need to thank me, you deserve to have some alone time with that jadeblood of yours. I’m pretty sure you would have done the same for me and Althea if I dated people”.

“Of course I would. You’re my friend after all, we gotta stick up for each other right?”, she asked, giving Gemma a smile that soon was returned along with a nod.

“The only thing left on my list is milk, what about you?”, Gemma then said as she read through her notes about what to buy and what not to buy (impulse buying we are glaring at you).

“Just a frozen mini pizza for a day when I’m too lazy to make proper dinner for myself. Then I’m also done. Or well I might buy a snickers bar too, sweet tooth and all”.

“Okay neat. Let’s meet at the checkup”.

“Deal”.


~ An hour later, after the women had parted ~

Alma had just finished packing all of her wares into the right places of her kitchen, and let out a proud sigh as she was done.

Now she was done with the typical grocery shopping, now she had another type of shopping to do.

She let out a huge grin.

Toy shopping.

Her mother had given her quite a huge sum of money that she could buy Dannel toys for (that weren’t squeaky toys) because she gave all her grandkids toy money.

Alma had excitedly thanked her for the money, and today was the day they would begin to shop.

So she locked the door to the apartment and put Dannel into the car, and then they drew away.

About ten minutes later they stood outside of a small (small compared to Toys r us atleast, bigger than the stereotypical small you shop) family owned toy store.

She took a cart and put Dannel in it like she had done in the grocery store, and then they walked in.

The cart immediately got filled with different children’s books, some about knights and princesses, some about children becoming friends and acceptance, and one book about these two small girls on an adventure to saw the prince. She made sure the books and the characters were as diverse as possible, and that they all had happy endings. It would be delightful to read Dannel to sleep with these books.

Then came educational books about learning to read and write, and learning to write numbers and do math. It would take a while before those got used, but it was always good to be prepared. They even had a “write in Alternian” book and of course Alma got that one. She would gladly teach her son to write with the letters used on his home planet.

Then came puzzles with different difficulties, and huge building blocks along with some lego duplo (for when Dannel gained actual hands, which he would slightly before he turned two years old). It’s good to be prepared on everything, as said before.

Next were coloring books, and then plushies. Lots and lots of plushies (her mom gave her a lot of money okay). She got all kind of plushies, regular animals, a huge dog pirate, a Darth Vader teddy bear, and a huge pink my little pony with glitter and a bow in the hair. It was extremely fluffy and had huge Pegasus wings. She had to resist the urge to get one for herself too, the material was too cuddly for this world. In the end she also bought Pokémon plushies. One Sylveon and one Umbreon. And of course the standard Pikachu. Once Dannel was old enough she would show him how to play Pokémon, that’s for sure.

And for last, she put a Barbie doll and an Iron Man action figure down in the cart. Dannel would have a chance to play with everything once he got those hands.

And do they paid, left, and half an hour later Dannel was in the middle of playing in his mountain of new toys, enjoying every bit off it.

He of course got a photo taken by Alma, and once it was uploaded on Instagram he only got cute and positive comments.

Alma was so proud over her cute little grub, smiling as she crawled into the mountain, just digging around as he looked at every new toy.

Chapter Text

”So the movie you want to watch is a red romance film with some comedy one the side where the protagonist probably gets together with their love interest in the end? And atleast one romance scene in the rain?”, Therea asked as Alma had told her about the movie that was playing at the theatre. She in response gave her girlfriend a nod to confirm.

“Yeah that’s about it, but I love cheesy movies, they’re nice to watch, something about them and all”.

“I get what you mean by nostalgic movies and feelings, but what does cheese have to do with movies? I’m confused. Is it a human thing?”.

Well.

“Well it doesn’t actually involve cheese. It’s just a thing you say when something is so predictable so it’s funny. You know cliche right?”.

“Yeah”.

“It’s exactly like that. Cliches are so predictable so it’s just funny. Something the best thing is a good cliche that is so predictable so you just laugh”.

“Yes you’re quite right about that. My favorite movie is called “Troll lady with mustard blood and unsymmetrical horns from southern Alternia (Outglut Suburb of Thrashthrust for those who fell asleep during the troll geography schoolfeed) falls in red love with a violet colored seadweller from the east coast (that prefers black romance instead of red) and ends up being culled by highbloods in the end for her caste”, it was quite sad but is what to expect in such a movie. So cliche but it was a good two hours in the troll theatre. Lots of colored tears stained the theatre chairs”.

“Well that was interesting to hear to say the least. Why such a long title? Like it was way too long and confusing That explains everything about the movie? And who puts parentheses in a movie title and starts rambling about geography in the middle of everything?”.

“Alternia ran out of good movie titles centuries ago, there’s no good ones left. The movie title I told you about is actually quiet short by troll standards”.

“Well okay. Another question then. Is seadwellers killing lowbloods really that cliche in movies? Is killing also present in all movies”.

“Yes sadly, but that is about to change now hopefully. I would rather have that happy human romance with a good ending as a cliche instead. Not just movies were the screen fades to black during them mating and then the next seen someone somehow got culled. I like the human way of romance more. I like pitying, it shouldn’t be called pitying. I feel so alive when I’m with you, that’s not pity at all, it’s so much more. It’s an unexplainable feeling. I love feeling red”.

She smiled at Therea before carefully taking her hand in hers and felt a red blush warm her as she saw a jade color appear on the face of her lover along with a smile that exposed that one sharp tooth over her black lips.

“Don’t we all?”.

Their small romantic moment got interrupted by a loud squeak that came from the small rust grub that was currently crawling around on the wooden floor, being a bit restless.

“Calm down Dannel. You’ll see Althea soon, and then you’ll have time to play for hours”.

The grub’s squeak got more excited at the sound of the name of the indigo grub, and a small purr was added as he ran around in circles, the fastest his six small grub legs could bear his chunky body.

That was true excitement right there.

“He really seems to like that grub”, Therea said and Alma nodded.

“Dannel and Althea are practically inseparable. Well along with Bobby of course, but Carmen’s husband is home from the military and wanna spend so much time possible with his family alone until he goes back”.

“Well that’s understandable, but I would have liked to see all three children associate with each other, especially since one is a human grub, oh sorry, toddler I mean, and seeing toddler grub interactions would be a nice study since I work in the brooding caverns and all”.

“Well you have all the time in the world to see them when they all three have a play date, it’s not like time stops tomorrow or anything. And you’re jade, you have a way longer lifespan than me anyway so I’m pretty sure you have time to study toddler grub interactions later”, Alma said.

“Yeah you’re right. Sorry if I got carried away”.

“No need to apologize, you’re cute when you get that look in your eyes. It’s really cute and hard to explain, but in a good way”.

Blushing. Tons of jade colored blushing.

“Thanks. You’re also amazingly pretty”, Therea began, getting a few shades darker on her now green face. That made Alma let out a huge laugh, which made her glasses almost fall off as her head tilted forward.

“You’re the best Therea. Let’s go now”.

The two women got everything necessary for their movie night, they got money, their IDs, napkins, chewing gum, a tiny inflatable first aid kit (troll thing, it’s really weird but practical) and all that, and put it in their respective purses.

As said thousands of time in the last chapter, you could never be too prepared. That statement is extra true about the author breaking the fourth wall when he writes chapters at three am after only eating chocolate chip cookies for three days straight.

But back to the subject.

They walked through the streets as the sundown colored the sky in a bright orange color. Enjoyed the smells of food from all the bakeries, and the happy chattering from all the people around them. All along with that amazing sunset.

She loved the way Therea stared at it. Trolls almost never were out in the sun on Alternia thanks for the rays, or atleast never looked at the sun because it would cause instant blindness (Alma had read an article about a teal legislacerator that got blind thanks to the sun after some sort of fight with her friend and the involvement of psychic abilities). So staring at a sunset was something extremely new for trolls that weren’t rainbow drinkers, and she saw the fascination in Theresa’s jade eyes and also heard a deep purr of enjoyment. It was true that she liked the scenery.

Dannel squeaked as he heard Alma purr, and joined Therea with a more high pitched version of the purr, but in a unison that was hard to describe, like an indirect communication or something similar.

They walked a little bit more, before they entered the apartment complex and took the lift up to the fifth floor, the highest floor. Normally Alma would walk, but hey, that lift sure had a catchy jingle that was constantly playing. Nothing better than a good lift jingle every now and then.

They stood out of the door and Alma lightly knocked. She immediately her a loud grub screech and about ten seconds later Gemma opened the apartment door. And before she even had a chance to let them in Dannel literally jumped out of Alma’s arms and ran towards Althea, and seconds later they were gone, probably planning some shenanigans or something.

“Well that was easy”, Gemma said and all the women began to laugh.

“Yeah. Most small children don’t like leaving their parents but Dannel was like “bye mom, I’ve got a cool friend to replace you” am I right”, Alma said as she laughed, and felt a tear in the corner of her eye after accidentally squeezing her face too tight while laughing.

“I swear they’re either gonna end up dating or they are gonna practically be best friends and live at each other’s houses, going on slumber parties all the time”.

“Sure”, she said, laughing some more.

“You two have fun at the movies, I’ll take care of Dannel, give him dinner and put him to bed”.

“Thanks Gemma”.

The couple left the apartment, holding each other’s hands, once again walking on the street. As they closed in to the movies, Alma looked at Therea, smiled and asked;

“Are you ready to watch a movie?”.

A nod.

“As long as it’s with you, I’m ready for anything”.

Alma blushed, a tomato was less red than her face at the current moment.

“Naw Therea you’re such a flirt. So I’m gonna buy you some popcorn and an extra large soda as a gift. How does that sound?”.

“That would be lovely Alma. Thank you”, she said, blushing in jade.

“Anything for my girlfriend”.

Chapter Text

A month had passed.

The leaves of the trees were slowly turning different shades of orange, red and yellow, even though it was a few weeks left until the color change had happened everywhere.

The fall breeze outside was nice, it was not extremely hot like it had been in August, now it was a few degrees cooler outside. Warm enough to walk around in a T-shirt, but cool enough for you to not die of heatstroke. You know, the perfect weather. It was a fact that all people on Earth loved fall, and Alma certainly was no exception. She was currently on the way home from the park, this peaceful September afternoon. She had been outside with Dannel, picking up some leaves (which had taken longer than it should have thanks to someone munching on the first batch), and her goal was to put some of them in the scrapbook she had started for Dannel, so that when he was bigger he could look back at the day, having memories of his very first fall.

Or well, he could listen to her telling him about it. She didn’t really know how much grubs actually remembered from their grubhood. She would have to ask Therea about that.

Speaking of Therea. Their three months anniversary is coming up soon, and she really wanted to give the troll a really good present that showed that she cared. After all, Therea was well, Therea. She had even gotten the day off work so that she could attend the birthday part of her nephew.

William’s son Alexander had turned two years old and the whole family (except Alma’s dad) has showed up. It was really nice to meet all her siblings at once, and to chat with their beloved people. Everyone at the part had loved Therea, complimenting her about how nice she looked, and that she already was a part of the Harlow family from now on. And they had loved Dannel too. He had practically been overthrown with hugs and kisses, and he played nicely with his cousins. Almost all party quests were interested in the two trolls that showed up.

Alma was delighted over the fact that her family liked her girlfriend and adored her son. Her mom had proudly held her rust blooded grandson and told everyone about how much she loved her new grandson, and that she was happy for Alma. That she would be the best grandma Dannel could have, and that Therea also already was a Harlow in her heart. She had turned a deep shade of jade, and Alma had smiled to herself. That moment had really warmed her heart, but enough of the sidetracking.

As she walked towards her apartment complex, she smiled as she remembered that the pictures they had taken from the part soon would arrive if everything went well. One thing with using normal cameras instead of printing it out yourself, the service was real fast in her town for that. There was countless of pictures of all children from the party playing, random pictures of the adults talking, and one picture from when Dannel had tried to jump onto the birthday cake but Therea stopped him at the last second. That picture was definitely going to be framed, that’s for sure.

She got to the door that led into the apartment complex and quickly walked up the stairs. She unlocked her door and put Dannel down on the floor, and saw how he quickly ran away as fast as his six legs could carry him. He was probably going to relax at his favorite spot, under the living room couch.

She herself walked to her room and got her tablet and then walked back out to the living room and put it on the couch. No Dannel in sight, but she heard him chirp, so he definitely under the couch again. Then she went to the kitchen and made herself a cup of coffee, before she once again walked to the living room. She was gonna draw.

As she opened her drawing program, she was greeted with a half finished project of someone’s OC for the Gideon Gold fandom. It was a Silver Ore person from the Homeworld, and the character’s backstory was actually quite interesting. The deadline for completing them was in a month though, so Alma opened up a new file and began drawing a T-shirt design that she had planned to put up online. It was gonna he aimed for people that have adopted grubs, so there was gonna be a picture of a cute looking brownblood with forked horns, and in a rainbow colored text it would say “Grub Parent” on the back of it.

There was lots of people who had adopted grubs, they were everywhere on social media, so they deserved some clothes that showed how proud they all were of their children. Like how Alma was with Dannel. She was gonna get one of her designs herself, maybe even a custom one with a grub that matched Dannel’s appearance. Yes that was something.

Speaking of Dannel. He had crawled out from the couch, and now sat on Alma’s stomach, curled into a small purring ball. Alma couldn’t resist his cuteness, so she took up her phone and carefully snapped a picture of him. Yes he was way cuter than anything else, and this perfectly taking picture definitely proved it.

As she scratched him behind one of his long gray ears, she opened up Instagram and posted the picture without hesitation. Her Instagram feed was basically only pictures of Dannel, but he was so cute.

And now that she already was on the app, she could take a five minute break from drawing and see what everyone wise were up too.

Gemma and Althea had been to the pool, and she slammed the like button when she saw the picture of the tiny indigo grub relaxing on a dinosaur floaty, while wearing funny glasses.

Her brother William had posted a picture of his wife Amanda and their two children Alicia and Alexander. Their two children both touched the belly of their mother in the photo, since Amanda was six months pregnant. She liked the picture, and smiled as she knew she would be an aunt to yet another child.

The came a picture from Carmen’s Instagram account. It was Rocio, Bobby and Ellie in the picture, all smiling. For the short story of Ellie, two weeks ago they had found a child on the street, and had taken her in, and would until a family decided to adopt her (although Carmen said she considered it herself). Alma atleast was proud that the Sanchezes had helped a child, and as she saw the girl in a buzz cut wearing a pink fluffy dress on the picture she smiled. Just thinking about the whole story (that the author might write a spinoff about) she felt a tear starting to take form.

She looked down at Dannel, smiled at how safe and happy he looked. As he safely purred, a sign that he was comfortable with her, she carefully scratched his back a little, enjoying the fact that she was his mother.

Chapter Text

Alma braided the dark hair of Maria, as Carmen was in the kitchen making some tea for them to enjoy. The four year old girl smiled and happily chatted about how nice it was for them to visit. Once she finished the braid, she thanked Alma and then ran off to her room to play with something.

Her younger brother Bobby was playing on the floor along with Dannel, who was chewing on one of the baby toys that Bobby tried to put into a blue box. It would probably leave marks, and Alma had gotten a bit worried, but Carmen had reassured her that it was fine. Kids are kids after all, and all human babies would probably do the same if they had as sharp teeth as trolls did. Atleast that’s what she thought. Maria had made some nasty looking marks in the furniture herself, with those human teeth.

Little Ellie was sitting beside the small boys, kind of having an eye on them, while now and then looking at Carmen’s tablet for clothes they might order, since she didn’t have that much. Alma saw as she ran one of her cocoa colored hands through her short black spiky hair, and she let out a sad groan.

“Don’t worry sweetie”, Carmen said. “It’s gonna grow out soon, and I won’t force you to cut it if you don’t want too. Just play with the boys there and relax a bit, okay?”.

She nodded, and then took one of the toys, and put it right in front of Dannel, who of course saw it as a new and interesting thing to chew on. To say, all of them broke out into laughter.

“He’s biting everything”, Ellie said and Alma nodded as she saw her smile.

“Yeah, I’ve kind of noticed that, but he’s way too cute to blame. And grubs need to bite much more than humans according to Therea thanks to most of them teething several times, so I guess it’s normal”.

“He really is cute. It’s so cool that you adopted him. He’s so sweet”.

The twelve year old let her white teeth show, and at the row of white teeth, one was missing, probably one of her last milk teeth to fall out. And as she smiled, Dannel began to walk on his tiny little grublegs, and seconds later he and climbed into the knee of Ellie, before just putting his head down, closing his rust eyes, and fell asleep. A mix of snoring and deep purrs as Dannel waved with his front legs in his sleep was the only thing being heard at the moment

Alma smiled as she saw how proud the girl was as the rust grub had chosen her as a resting place, like if she had been chosen. In reality, Dannel climbed up on everyone because he liked the heat and close contact, but she wouldn’t tell Ellie that. She was the special child that Dannel wanted to be close too, it made her happy and that’s what was important after all that poor girl had been through. Let her just be a happy young girl for a while.

“I think he likes me Carmen, do you think so too?”, she asked the latina mother. She smiled but shrugged.

“Why don’t ask Alma about that, she is his mother after all”.

Alma nodded.

“Yes that’s a sign that he really likes you, he thinks you’re sweet, and I can see that too. Once Dannel is a bit bigger you can babysit him if you wanna, if it’s okay with Carmen of course”.

Ellie’s eyes were shining, they were suddenly filled with happiness and joy. She couldn’t believe it. But this isn’t a story from her point of view, so we won’t go into detail.

“Can I Carmen, can I?”, the girl asked and got a nod for an answer.

“Sounds like everyone agrees, so sure”.

“Yeah”, Alma said. “Once December comes and I do some last minute Christmas shopping I would be really happy if you babysat Dannel, you will of course get paid too”.

“Yes! Then I can buy that game!”, she said smiling. Alma had no idea which game, but she knew Ellie really liked Nintendo games like Animal Crossing and Pokémon, so it was probably something similar. She should ask her though, since she obviously too liked video games.

Some silence followed and Alma scrolled through her Instagram app, liking almost everything she saw. Because, why not? The pictures were nice so they deserved likes, except those sponsored marketing pictures, they were just annoying. Especially when it was pictures that sponsored mean politicians. Like, that shouldn’t be allowed. They already did wrong in the presidential election because some people were just mean, so please don’t sponsor them anymore. This is way more than the author being angry at who won, this is a real serious issue that has affected all of the world, his country too. And he lives in Europe.
Okay enough of the author breaking the fourth wall again, I promise.

She closed the app and let out a small groan out of tiredness, raising a grub sure made you tired, but she wasn’t complaining a single bit. Seeing Dannel’s smiles and hear his soft purrs was a reward that she wouldn’t wanna live without, it was like a reward to know that she took care of him in a good way. She would never trade it for anything else in the world.

“So Alma, are you doing anything on Saturday?”, Carmen then asked.

“Therea is coming over this weekend again, but we don’t really have any plans. Not yet atleast. Any special occasions?”.

“Yes actually. My sister Rocio and her wife Areum are going away for the night, they’re celebrating their five year marriage anniversary, so I’m gonna babysit Sung for them, and I thought it would be fun for my nephew to have some more playmates. I’ve asked Gemma and Althea if they wanted to come and they will. I think it would be really funny for all the kids to get to know each other”.

Alma nodded.

“That sounds amazing! It would be amazing for all the kids to play together, of course me and Dannel are coming. And Therea would be just as thrilled, so it’s a yes”.

She smirked as she thought about how obsessed Therea was with children and wanted to know everything about them, sometimes talking excitedly for so long periods of time that her whole face had turned jade since she had forgotten to breathe. It was quite humorous to say to least. So yes, Therea would love to meet Sung, that’s for sure. She worked in a brooding cavern for a reason, now jadebloods weren’t forced to work there, but she was still as thrilled as she had been the first day of the job (her words, not Alma’s). And even if Therea still had some weird ideas of how to take care of human children, it would be great with an extra pair of arms that helped everyone.

“You mean it? Wow Alma, it will be so fun. Sung is a bit shy, but I’m sure he’ll love you. And it’s good that he’ll be able to interact with other adopted kids, and grubs too. Learning that diversity is good is important for adopted children to non stereotypical couples”.

Alma nodded at Carmen’s words and remembered that Sung was from South Korea, and therefore also was adopted, like her own son was. And sadly she knew some kids bullied different kids, or those kids thought there was something wrong with them. So of course she was gonna let that little boy meet Dannel, so that he could see that all types of difference was good in this world.

“Of course we’re coming. What you just said is part of it. I want him to know how great he is”.

Carmen’s smile grew.

“Thanks Alma, I’m sure Rocio and Areum will be delighted to hear about you”.

Soon the smalltalk continued, until a sudden high pitched squeak came from the lap of Ellie. Dannel and woken up and he stood high on his six tiny legs and screeched with all the capacity that his little lungs had. Every screech more high pitched than the last one. He jumped out of Ellie lap, ran towards Alma on his six legs, crawled up the sofa and then began to use his sharp teeth to bite into the fabric of Alma’s shirt, leaving vaguely rust tinted saliva on it.

“Well looks like someone is hungry, aren’t you lil guy?”, she asked him, and at the word hungry the screech was silenced, and he looked at her with those big rust colored eyes, whining.

Yep, definitely hungry.

“Ellie, could you please do me a favor?”, Alma asked as she scratched Dannel behind one of his long ears. “My handbag is in the hallway. Could you please grab it for me? I’ve got a plastic bag with some dried insects just incase he gets hungry when we’re away”.

The girl jumped up faster than lightning, and ran away happily.

“OKAY ALMA!”.

She was back with the bad ten seconds later, and as Alma took up the plastic bag and Dannel saw the dried insects, he squeaked in delight.

“Do you wanna feed him?”, she asked and got a nod for an answer.

And so, Dannel once again was in Ellie’s lap, and she happily fed him insect after insect as the rust colored grub munched and purred of happiness, and then once again fell asleep on her when he was full. A happy Dannel to say the least, and a happy Ellie.

“Looks like you found yourself a babysitter”, Carmen jokingly said and Alma smiled back.

“Yes, looks like it”.

And so, the rest of the day followed like usual, with coffee, smalltalk, lots of joke telling, planning for activities that would happen soon and of course lots and lots of grub shenanigans and laughs. Alma sure had a weird and busy life.
She didn’t want to have it any other way, this was the life of a Harlow, and she was proud of that.

Everything had went perfect.

Well except when Dannel has climbed up a shelf and managed to push a picture of Rafael in his navy uniform (he was currently away on military duty) down to the ground, cracking the screen. That had led to some real embarrassment on her behalf, that got even more embarrassing when Dannel decided the picture frame was a short of litter box.

Chapter Text

Alma carefully put Dannel into the small baby carrier that was strapped on to her stomach and patted his messy black hair (it was so messy so you barely could see his tiny little horns), making him purr. That made a soft small grow on her face as she began to pay attention to her outdoor clothes that would be used for the walk over to Carmen and her family. It was the date of the play date between all the kids after all, but back to the clothes for a second. It won’t be a long description I promise.

She had on her new shining black boots and red bomber jacket on (she and Therea had been shopping together a while ago), smiling as she was ready for today. So ready. Yes a huge child play date would be amazing to attend, Dannel absolutely adored all of his friends and seemed to have lots of fun when meeting up with them. All the kids, just bring kids.

Therea was beside her, trying to put on her newly bought shoes (with heels! Tall heels for the matter! She got almost three inches taller! As if she wasn’t tall enough already, now Alma looked even more like a gremlin beside her). She wore blue denim jeans (that Alma didn’t wanna tell her were “mom jeans” even though they obviously were), a cute bow on one of her long horns, (in the color of jade of course) and a dark blue knitted sweater perfect for the coming fall. Alma had helped her pick out, though the sweater had a weird backstory. The thought of wearing something other than her blood color had been scandalous at first and kind of terrified Therea a little, but with a bit of comfort and reassuring that it wasn’t illegal had made her pick it out in the store. Therea definitely looked good in it, but being without a sigh was empty so she had bought some thread and needles and then herself embroidered it on the side, in less than thirty minutes too. Damn is there anything that Therea can’t do? Alma wasn’t even sure about that anymore, but to not spend hours thinking about that subject, she decided it was best to just remember what they were actually going to do.

“So are you excited about meeting all the kids today”, she asked the tall (and very fashionable) troll and got a huge nod as a response before she leaned down and gave Alma a small peck on the forehead. The smile on Therea’s night black lips made her one extra pointy tooth really noticeable at the moment, not that she cared. It was rather cute. And Alma herself was walking on air after that quick peck from her girlfriend.

“I’m quite positive about that. Multiple grubs and toddlers on the same place interacting, and with an older human child too, not just children the same age. Oh I’m so interested in seeing how they all get along so well”, she said, her eyes sparkling in excitement as a happy purr escaped her throat.

For years (or sweeps depending on who’s talking) trolls had believed that letting two grubs near each other was a bad idea and would usually end with a fight to the death or battle for dominance and an extremely wounded grub set for culling anyway, but that wasn’t true at all. She was currently documenting grubs being raised in violent free environment and was gonna send it to the empress once she got enough data. This would be so good for trollkind to see, and all the troll haters here on Earth too who insisted that the only thing trolls were good at was violence. Grubs weren’t hardwired to be violent, the alternian once were because their survival instincts kicked in thanks to the harsh trials of the brooding caverns. Grubs that didn’t have to fight for their lives at every instant of the day (or night) were not violent at all, expect that occasional anger tantrum, but humans had those too. They were the sweetest creatures known to the world.

They left the apartment and Alma locked the door as both had stepped out. Then they listened to the sound of clicking as their shoes touched each step of the old stairs of the apartment complex. Soon they were on the first floor, opened the huge door to the outside and were on their way, enjoying the outdoor. Alma felt the wind on her face, causing her dark brown hair to slightly get in her face. Not that she minded, it was way worse for Therea who had black hair down to her waist. The jungle of hair was already covering her gray face. She just laughed and then they both continued to walk like normally, when Alma felt her stomach growl a little. Yes she had definitely forgotten to eat, or was she merely hungry because the author wants to show in a reference to something?

We may never know.

“Man I just got a bit hungry”, Alma said to Therea. “Wanna get a hotdog? There’s a place nearby, man I really crave a warm hotdog right now”.

Therea looked at her with extremely confused yellow and jade eyes, raising one eyebrow to show the confusion even more. Her gray ears also moved in a weird way, first back and then down, until they went upwards again. Yes her ear language showed that she indeed was confused. Man those ears could tell more emotions than most humans.

“Why do you wanna get a dog when you’re hungry? Do you eat them? For what I’ve read humans don’t eat their pets, that would almost be an equivalent of a troll eating their lusii, except that the lusii is a parent and is more sentient than a human animal”.

Oh right troll girlfriend.

“No of course we don’t eat dogs. And it’s not a real dog, it’s not a dog at all. It’s just a name that we came up with for some weird reason. You must have heard of them, everyone eats hotdogs on Earth”.

She shook her head, ears pointing downwards again.

“Negative I’m afraid Alma, I’ve never heard of a thing called hotdog in my entire life, and I’ve both lived in an Alternian city, a colony and now I have been on Earth for a few months. Of those three planets I’ve never heard of that kind of food. And a name that includes a human pet animal seems a little off putting too, even if there’s no actual dogs in it. Sure we trolls eat weird thing but we’d never eat a lusii for instant”.

Hmm… troll words, maybe she had heard of hotdogs but she called it another word?

Let’s try this…

“Well, what about a hotdogi then?”.

“What is that supposed to mean?”.

“Well back when we are pizza you said the Alternian term was pizzi, so I thought it was similar”.

Therea began to look a little less shocked.

“Oh no, it’s not like that at all. Some Alternian words have two words, one word more commonly used by the cold part of the spectrum, and the other the warm part. The cold word for pizza is pizzi yes, but the warmer word is flavor disc”.

“Flavor disc…?”.

Nod.

“Yes exactly like that, it’s a warm word. If Dannel for example grew up on Alternia that would most likely be the version of the word that he used, because he’s of a warmer blood caste. We have a lot of words like that, like plates and nutrition plateau, tea and scalding leaf fluid and cans of food and nutrition cylinders. There’s almost always two different words for the same thing, sometimes even three, but I’ve never heard of something called a hotdog, so maybe it doesn’t have a cold word”, she said, and Alma saw that she bit her black lip and put one of her gray hands on her forehead as she began to think. “Try being extremely descriptive okay”.

Alma nodded, after all, Therea had to know about the glory of hotdogs.

“Well it’s made out of meat, usually pork, but it can be made of like soya or chicken as well, because some people don’t eat pork, and some are vegetarian. It’s in a bun and it’s long. Usually served warm with a topping like ketchup”.

Theresa’s eyes lit up like a child who just figured out it was Christmas.

“OBLONG MEAT PRODUCT!”, she shouted so loud so the passing strangers looked strangely at her as they walked past the two women, having no idea what in the world an oblong meat product was, and why a seven feet tall troll with heels were shouting about it. “You mean an oblong meat product! That’s definitely an oblong meat product. Here let me show you one”.

Therea took up her phone and clicked at the troll google up and typed in “oblong meat product” and clicked on the search button. The engine worked hard, and a second later lots of pictures came up. And wow, that looked EXACTLY like an Earth hotdog, the only difference being tiny legs sticking out from the brown meat, and the bun being an olive green color. And the topping was a type of mustard… or mind honey?

One of these.

“Yes it’s exactly one of those. Just change the colors of the bun and get rid of the legs and it’s an identical copy”, she said, happy to have found the answer to what in the world both a hotdog and an oblong meat product was.

“Well then I’ll gladly go and buy some oblong meat products, or well hotdogs with you Alma, I really love them”.

She nodded.

“Then it’s settled, first some food and then we’ll go to Carmen’s place”.

“Sounds delightful”.


~ At Carmen’s house ~


“Hello”, Alma said as she into the living room of the Sanchezes. “Sorry that we’re a bit late, we got hotdogs”.

The same second she finished her sentence, Dannel let out an extremely loud burp, followed by a pleased smile on his cute little face. Seeing the hotdogs in person had made him hungry too, so they had bought an extra to the extremely hungry little grub. He already ate like who knows what, but he looked so cute when he ate that hotdog, and now ketchup was smeared on his face. He also purred happily like he always did after a meal, showing that he was currently full (for the moment atleast).

Carmen laughed as she sat on the floor, playing with Bobby and a Korean boy she assumed was Sung.

“No need to apologize Alma, when kids get hungry they get hungry”.

Yeah, the kid got hungry.

Sure.

She let out a smile, and a few seconds later Maria came running out from her room, followed by the indigo blue grub that ran as fast as her tiny grublegs could bear her as she simultaneously let out a loud war cry screech. They were obviously playing some sort of tag, and man Althea was fast. How had she not tagged Maria yet?

No time to think, the exact same second the rust colored grub in the baby carrier saw the indigo grub he began to screech, twist and turn. He obviously wanted to break free from the carrier so that he could run around and happily play with the other grub.

Therea smiled as she watched the interactions between the grubs.

“It’s so fascinating, they have really formed a strong bond and have missed each other, even though they haven’t even gotten through pupation yet. And they are not fighting like grubs in the old style brooding caverns are”, she said and Alma saw the pride in her eyes as she took up her phone and began to film it all. “The empress is going to love this. Alma my red heart could you please put Dannel in the ground so that he can interact with the indigo… I mean Althea?”.

She nodded to her girlfriend.

“Already on it. Even if I didn’t want him to get out he would have broken free eventually, man he’s strong and stubborn”.

So took him in her arms, and before she even had the chance to put him on the floor, he jumped out of her arms, making a sound as he hit the tree floor, but he did not let that stop it, he just ran and jumped on top of her, both screeching happily as they smiled each other.

“Auntie Carmen look”, Sung said as he pointed at the grubs. “It looks like they’re trying to hug, or something”. It sure did, because both rolled around on the gray carpet like two kittens carefully playing with each other, stomach against stomach. They were basically a two colored ball at the moment. It sure was cute to say the least, but come on they were grubs. There was nothing bad about grubs, not a single thing.

Seconds later all they could see was one rust red and one indigo blue thing running around the room so fast so that it was only a shadow. Running and wrestling for fun, and then Althea carefully bit Dannel’s horn, as a simple play game. Or well not bit as in BITING. It was more of a nibble, not to hard, there was no pain at all, rather the opposite it seemed. He had let out a purr at the bite and had returned it to her, biting softly into her own candy corn colored horns. That continued for god knows how long, and everyone soon got tired of watching them (except for the filming Therea of course, jadebloods you know, and well, actually giving trolls accurate information about grubs. Don’t just throw the jadeblood stereotype around) and instead went back to their normal activities.

Bobby was once again playing patty cake with Sung, and Alma smiled as she fantasized about the day her own little boy would be so big, and have four limbs instead of six along with a humanoid body. And the ability to speak, an ability to call her mom. Oh how she looked forward to it. And one day it would happen.

Carmen shackled, breaking Alma out of her train of thoughts.

“Well these two are just as lively as ever, they are so cute. I get that when they grow up they’ll be the best of friends, or well moirails maybe. Troll terminology is still a bit weird”.

Alma nodded in agreement. She could definitely see Dannel and Althea because really close, either as best friends or moirails, whenever they chose the human or Alternian approach of close friendship and definitions of romance.

“I really hope so, Dannel really looks happy with her”, she answered. “And it’s nice to have contact with others humans that are raising grubs themselves you know”, she said, thinking about Gemma that was… (where was Gemma anyway? The author is screaming because two thousands words in he just realized that he forgot to write her into this chapter, but more on that another day).

Now Sung looked up at her once again, clear confusion in his big brown eyes. Yes that was the questioning look of a small child.

“Miss Alma, what is a moirail? Is that a troll thing?”.

Oh boy.

Faster than humanly possible Therea was in front of him, smiling. Her jade eyes were literally glowing and all of her shaked in happiness and she held… a scrapbook? WHERE DID SHE EVEN GET A SCRAPBOOK?.

“Little Sung, I’ll happily tell you about the troll quadrants, there’s a lot to mention and talk about. It’s a big subject but so interesting and I’m sure that you’re going to love it, in more than one way. Diamonds, hearts, spades and clovers, or ashen depending on your region on Alternia. Other names may occur on other colonies but since we’re not in any of them, and since you are living on Earth we’ll use the standard term if that’s okay with you. You asked about moirallegiance so that is what we’re gonna start with. Then we’ll begin with the other red quadrant, the flushed one. I’m in that quadrant with Alma, and that's the quadrant or mothers share as well. And then finally we will go through the two black ones, kismesitude first of course. Before we start you’ll need some information and backstory of our troll culture, from even before the pre celestial era or our species, because our old traditions is what started our types of romances. Okay everything behind with...”.

Alma let out a laugh before turning to Carmen who had a surprised (and mildly worried) look on her face.

“He’s three and a half. How does she think he’s gonna understand everything?”.

“Just let her be happy, she’s having fun okay. You can see her excitement, her ears are twitching upwards and they have a more jade tint than usual. And think of the positive side of it all. Looks like Sung has a new babysitter for atleast a week, you can go and do something else now. I am serious she won’t be finished even when his moms come to pick him up”.

And as everyone happily laughed about the excited Therea, no one noticed when the two small grubs crawled up onto a shelf, throwing down the picture that Dannel had destroyed days prior.

Carmen immediately jumped up in the air.

“OH DIOS MÍO! I JUST REFRAMED THAT PICTURE LIKE TWO DAYS AGO WHY, WHAT DO YOU KIDS HAVE AGAINST RAFAEL IN HIS NAVY UNIFORM?”.

Oh.

Alma felt her cheeks get red with embarrassment as she saw the two grubs bite on the frame of the now broken photo, thinking it was a chew toy or something, one part of the simple tree frame literally being torn off by Dannel. He chewed on it like if it was a piece of gum or something, and his action made Althea too rip off a piece. Why did grubs have to mimic each other so much?

And as she thought it couldn’t be worse, Dannel decided that it was a good time to relieve himself on the frame.

Oh no.

Not again.

This was the second time this week, oh Dannel.

She felt a hand hardly hit her face and then realized it was her own hand, she had facepalmed so hard and let out a sigh, like if she had given up.

Kids.

“I’m so sorry Carmen, two times in the same week too. I’m really really sorry”.

She took out her wallet from the pocket of her jacket, taking out a twenty dollar bill from it and then handed it to Carmen.

“Here’s money for a new frame, I have no idea why they like to break pictures, that particular one too”. (It wouldn’t be the last time).

Carmen just smiled, small tears being seen in her eyes after laughing so hard at the entire thing.

Yes this was the glorious life of being a parent and raising an extremely hyperactive alien that could climb up almost anything. And the fact that this wouldn’t be the last time Dannel broke a picture frame wouldn’t exactly make it any better.

But kids are kids, and she can’t really blame him for being curious, or for needing to relieve himself. It was just a bad coincidence that both of these things involved the picture frame in some weird way.

But as she thought back, she remembered that her mom used to tell her about all kinds of weird memories from when she herself was a baby, and how she always caused havoc in the house of her childhood, so like mother like son she guessed.

And the thought of her little rust grub taking after her made her smile, even if it was in such a strange and weird way.

Parents kind of got blind when they were proud of their children and ecstatic of they acted in a similar way to themselves, Alma was certainly no exception. She just had to make sure to help Carmen grubproof her house so that she would get ready for all their coming visits to her and her family.

Chapter Text

Alma sat on the bus with Dannel in her lap, he was gently biting on a newly bought chew toy that was already beginning to get pretty damaged by the grub’s sharp teeth, even though it was less than a week old. It was late October, the orange leaves were beginning to fall down from the trees and many families were beginning to carve pumpkins and make jack o'lanterns. She too would begin with Halloween decorations, but that would begin tomorrow, because today she had important things to attend. Today she would be on her way to a very interesting location that she had never been to before. So no, it wasn’t as interesting as going to Alternia again, but it certainly would be interesting since the place had to do with trolls. The bus drive was long, and once she got off she would have to take yet another bus, and then a taxi (that would be paid for) to finally be at her destination.

But it would be worth it, yes it would certainly be, because it had to do with Dannel.

Let’s give you the short version (still kind of long anyway) of the story, because man this chapter will probably be kind of long anyway, atleast if this pace is kept all the way through it.


~ Last week ~


Alma got all the mail for today and looked through it. The usual bills, the things she or Stacy had bought online, papers filled with coupons and so on, but the last letter was weird and got her attention. Really weird. She raised one of her eyebrows and made a questionable look at said letter.

The paper was firmer than the average Earth mail paper, had a more beige color, and one the front was a symbol made of the colors burgundy, bronze and mustard. The colors were like “molded” together and also had the sign of the Alternian flag on it. Under the symbol there were alternian letters in a lime color, along with (was that the Alternian special sign or extinct?). Thanks to Therea, she was a bit better at reading, so she translated it.

It said “The Now Legal Scienterrorist Lowblood Institution Of Now Legal Hemospectrum Related Science”, or TNLSLIONLHRS for short. Wow what a mouthful. Couldn’t they have a shorter acronym than that? Seriously? And wouldn’t it be easier to call it “Lowblood Science Institution” instead? Well she shouldn’t be one to judge.

It was not addressed only to Alma, but to Dannel as well, his name was written in the rust color of his blood and… was that a sign beside it? Did Dannel already have a troll zodiac sign? How? When? And how did they know about it anyway? Was there some sort of mind reader that had figured it out all the way in the brooding cavern on Alternia when she adopted him? Or was this some weird troll witchcraft thing she didn’t understand? Like fortune telling or something similar.

She quickly looked in the HUGE sign book for rust blooded trolls and found out it was called Argo. So apparently Dannel’s sign was Argo then. (He was also Prospit bound and a space player? Whatever that means. Why is that information even in the book, those things don’t even exist in this universe). She would have to order him some Argo themed clothes later, and probably find a way so the author stops putting references to things outside of this universe. But back to the letter, if ever. But the ordering clothing thing was definitely happening though.

She opened it, and there was a formal letter, thankfully in English so that she wouldn’t need to decipher it again. And she began to read.

Dear Ms Alma Harlow of the Human race, blood color red.

We have been informed that You have adopted a grub from one of the many brooding caverns, and that it is of a rust colored hue on the hemospectrum.

We would like you meet You and Your grub of the rust tone, to do some tests on him and similar.

Our institution have been illegal for centuries but now when the New Empress has changed it, we are now legal and are available to talk about our research in trying to give lowblooded grubs more alternatives in life, and trying to make them a bit more equal to the highblooded grubs in both life expectancy and strength. By lowblood we mean trolls with following blood colors; rust, bronze, mustard and lime/yellowgreen (if a certain mutation occurs and that blood caste becomes available again).

We would therefore like You and Your grub to visit us in the near future, so that Your grub can get a better chance at life.

Signed: Iptenn Qaltry of the Alternian race of trolls, head of TNLSLIONLHRS, blood color mustard.

~ Back to present ~

As you can see, Alma has been invited to a troll science institution that researching the partial difference between the blood castes of Alternia, and tried to find ways to make all trolls more equal. Something that was extremely illegal during the old times, but now finally could become public.

Alma had been ecstatic when she had read the letter, she had even cried lots of tears of joy that made both Dannel and Stacy give her weird looks. Not that she minded, she had been way too happy, and still was.

The average lifespan of a rustblood was around sixty human years while highbloods could live for ten of thousands of years, even longer. She had known it when she adopted Dannel, but a part of her always had anxiety over the coming future, and the high possibility of her son dying before her, something no parent ever wanted for their children.

This could change it, Dannel might be able to live for a few more years. No way near as long as the higher up spectrum trolls, but maybe he would be able to have the lifespan of a human instead. No one should die at sixty, just the thought made Alma uneasy. She wouldn’t be ready at sixty, and some trolls dying of old age at sixty...

So thinking about the idea that her son might get close to forty extra years of life was amazing to her to say to least, and she was sure that when Dannel was big enough to understand he would be too. Because even if he had been okay with sixty years of life, Alma would have not been.

When she had phoned Therea (which was immediately after having re read the letter like five times) and told her about the great news, she too had cried. Cried about how the spectrum finally may be a bit more equal and that maybe, just maybe, some of all the hemophobia and prejudice against the lower bloods would disappear.

She hoped so.

And the idea of a secret lowblood science organization that had been running for centuries without being spotted was so fascinating for Therea too, since a lowblood could be killed for something so simple as sneezing in public. She had no idea how they were able to hide from all the high blood authority and the culling drones, but she was not complaining at all, and happy the the organization could finally go public.

Like imagine all good things that will come from this!

For goodness sake they already had a facility here on Earth, and wrote to grub parents and asked if they wanted to do these tests on the grub. For free even, because “all trolls deserve a fair chance at life”. This was truly awesome in more than one way.

Must we say that when the conversation was over, Therea had ran around the entire brooding caverns facility, screaming about the great news, making all the workers, especially the lower blood cargo carriers and so on cry out in happiness, signing old Alternian songs to make the mood even better. The highbloods hadn’t been as ecstatic, but they were happy nonetheless for the trolls with a lower blood color than themselves, because the high blood trolls on Earth were way less hemophobic than those that still were on Alternia or similar only troll colonies were the old ways still were dominant. And the fact that most trolls with the blood color cerulean and higher had been growing up with racist lusii and racist highblood quadrant mates or friends was also a thing to take into consideration.

Yes, apparently racist lusii was a thing, but that’s a topic for another day, maybe even a fic.

The mom and her son were still on the bus, and Alma smiled as she looked out of the bus window, seeing all the amazingly colored trees pass as the buss drew by them. She also heard a teen on the bus have their headphones on the max volume (please let their ears be okay, they’re still just a child and should know better than playing music so loud), so she too hear the music. And to hear the music and watching the ever changing view at the same time made her feel like she was in a music video.

A good music video, because her little rust colored grub was relaxing on her lap, sleeping a bit and purred in his sleep. His legs were also moving a bit, he waved them as he was dreaming about something, probably food. Or cuddling, or wrecking havoc over the house. All things he loved to do.

So she let out a happy sigh and enjoyed the rest of the first bus ride with him, until they were at the bus station.

She carefully stood up and put Dannel into one of her arms, carefully so that she wouldn’t wake him up now when he was sleeping so peacefully. And it actually was a success, he was sleeping so deep that little guy.

She got off and then saw how that bus disappeared in the distance, on the way to another stop. She herself walked up to yet another stop, filled with random people that too were waiting for the same bus as her. And according the the big clock beside the timetable, it would arrive in about five minutes. She would be on that bus an hour, and then she would take a twenty minute taxi ride. Oh how this was getting exciting, she could barely contain her excitement, and if humans had tails, she would have probably wagged it off by now, twice.

Everything was perfect until a middle aged white woman with a knitted Christmas sweater (IT WAS OCTOBER FOR GODS SAKE, STOP PREMATURE CHRISTMAS THINGS, HALLOWEEN WASN’T UNTIL ONE AND A HALF WEEK) and a “Make America Great Again” cap over her badly blonde dyed hair got her attention.

“Excuse me, pets, or whatever that thing is aren’t allowed on these kinds of busses, can’t you read?”, she asked and then pointed to a tiny sign with a picture of a dog and written with big letters “NO PETS ALLOWED”.

She just let out a sigh. Here we go again.

“He’s not a pet, he’s my son”, she said, trying to not get angry at the stranger for her comment of Dannel.

She looked even more confused.

“He’s your WHAT? That can’t be a creature made by the Lord. That looks like a living heathen creature sent from the underground itself. The Lord will not like this creature filled with sin, he probably put this here to punish the homosexuals, and those weird Alternian things that have come to try to destroy our planet and our beliefs in God. They certainly were created by Satan himself to mislead us from the true faith”.

Oh god one of those people. No wonder most Christians had a bad reputation, it was because of these few people like acted they knew everything and spit on everyone that believes differently. She bet her name was Susan. Yes definitely Susan. An invisible source of the universe decided it was Susan.

“For the record, yes you are allowed to have your own belief, but my son here is not a thing. He is a baby troll and has done nothing wrong, he is the sweetest child there ever is. And if God really exist I think he would class you as a heathen for degrading different people and calling them sinners and bad just because they’re different from you, like you just talked about gay people. God would definitely not like someone talking about another human, or troll that way. Also for the record, I’m offended because I’m not only a mother to this grub here, but a lesbian as well, and I’m a very happy relationship with a troll lady. So please keep your mouth shut in public if the only thing coming out from it is such hate speech”.

She saw how the woman looked at her with wide eyes, like if she had entered a standby mode as everyone else on the bus station began cheering about what a good roast Alma just had given that woman.

Seconds later, her bus arrived so she jumped aboard with a huge smile stuck on her face.

She got a seat and soon the bus began to roll, soon being on a new highway.

She took up her phone to waste some time with a mobile game, or two depending on how quickly she got bored with the first one. She really wanted the time to go a bit faster because man there’s nothing worse than a slow bus ride. She was way too eager to get to the facility and to see everything there, and even though the bus was going 70 miles per hour it still felt way too slow. Why did everything have to be so far away from her town? Well nothing to do, so she opened up candy crush to waste some of the time. And thankfully Dannel stayed asleep, so the bus drive was even more calm than she had accepted, no climbing around, squeaking or chewing at all. She couldn’t believe it herself, he was so fast asleep so he didn’t even hear any car honks when they passed by a small town when they were halfway there.

Like a miracle, he literally woke up when the bus was driving into the bus station, preparing to stay so that people could get off. Like there couldn’t have been any better timing in the entire world, that’s one thing for sure.

As she got off, she saw that several taxis stood parked further up, different drivers just relaxing.

As she walked closer, a brown haired man with vitiligo raised his hand. He wore a cool shirt with some game character on it, along with a background of numbers.

“Are you Alma Harlow?”, he asked her and she nodded. “It is okay if you aren’t, but I’ve been hired to pick up a woman with a grub here today”.

“Yes I am”.

He nodded.

“Okay, do you wanna sit in the front of the taxi, or do you wanna sit in the back beside the baby seat?”.

“The back please, I’d like to keep Dannel close. He just woke up and he can get really cranky when he just woke up”.

The man let out a laugh.

“Kids am I right? Me and my girlfriend have twin boys ourselves, and boy how they got cranky wafted having taken a nap. They’re five now”, he said and Alma nodded. Always fun to hear about other parents and their kids.

She opened the backseat to the car and jumped in, and quickly buckled up, before beginning to fasten the seatbelt in the tiny car seat for Dannel. He was hissing a bit.

“Okay Dannel why are you hissing?”, she asked before one hand went down into her purse, and she took up a tiny bag with some worms. “Are you hungry sweetie?”.

The answer was obviously yes, because the whole taxi was filled with extremely loud and high pitched screeches from the happy grub as he wanted the food this instant. This led to the driver telling a funny story of how his sons always threw a fit when they were hungry, and never had patience to wait even a second. Once that short (and cute yet extremely relatable) story had ended, the plastic bag that had once contained Dannel’s lunch, was now as empty as it could get. Not a single trace or clue that it had ever been packed with anything.

The rustblood let out a burp and had such a delighted smile on his face.

After that there was no more hissing, just soft putts and smiled as she carefully scratched the top of his head beside his candy corn colored horns. He also let out a squeak once in awhile for no certain purpose, but he kept purring all the time. That was a sign that he was happy, pleased and felt safe with the people around him. That purr was a melody of happiness for Alma, because she felt like an extremely happy mother.

They drew on a small dirt road, both sides of it surrounded by trees, trees as long as you could see. It was like they drew away from civilization, even though they weren’t, because after a few minutes they saw a huge building in the distance. It was an Alternian styler facility with black walls, and green colored windows in the usual twelve smaller pieces, along with curved edges, unsymmetrical corners and several stories high, even a few towers and other points. The exact opposite of what an Earth facility looked like, and that gave Alma a thrill. This really was a troll organization she was visiting.

“This is it”, said the taxi driver as he parked the car. “Have a nice day”.

She smiled as she gave him a nod.

“Thank you”, she said as she unfastened the baby seat and took Dannel into her arms, and then left.

She felt so small as she walked on the gravel road, each step making her closer to the entrance of the building. It was so huge and she was so tiny, but she was ready.

So she took a deep breath and went inside.

The first thing that happened was that she was greeted by a troll with tiny yet extremely sharp horns and an extreme overbite, fangs being visible more than usual. He had a bronze colored sign on his lab coat and stood behind a reception desk that had papers and an Alternian husktop on it.

“Greetings, I guess that you’re here for the grub project. State your name and I’ll give you directions to the waiting room”, he said and she nodded.

“Alma Harlow”, she said and he nodded.

“Follow the long corridor here, take left and then left again, go straight for three intersectional corridors and then turn left. Then you should have arrived in the waiting room if you have followed the instructions that I’ve given you clearly. If you haven’t, there are signs up every twenty meters or so”.

She nodded and thanked him and then began walking through the dark halls of the facility, seeing trolls in lab coats (all with lowblood signs) being in the middle of their daily activities.

After a few minutes (man this place was huge) she finally reached the waiting room that was already filled with a few other people and grubs.

First was a young married couple, an African American woman and a Latino man, they held a tiny rust grub with so much hair so that you could barely see the horns.

Then was a single parent. The parent had a buzz cut and a cool Lolita dress on, and they had a huge smile on their face as they petted a yellowblooded grub, that obviously was their child.

Beside her sat a lusus, with fur white as snow, a catlike shape and a pair of antlers. It looked like a deercat. And at his antlers, TWO identical bronzeblooded trolls were climbing around, happily chewing on said antlers.

The lusus looked at Alma with a happy expression, before it raised one paw into the air and waved it as a hello. She waved back, because c’mon, a lusus.

The lusus then took the paw and placed it on the bag he carried around his neck, and then let out a sound.

“You want me to… open it?”, she asked and immediately got a nod from him. So she did. Inside the bag was a HUGE block of paper and a huge pencil inside. It also had a sort of thing that you didn’t know what it was, like a stick in the opposite direction.

He snatched the thing from her and put it in his mouth, and then began to write. Yes wrote with his mouth, fast too, and in English.

He handed the paper to her and she began to read.

“Hi there human, it is so nice to meet a follow lusus. My name is Grim the Cuspidated Grimalkin lusus and these are my charges, Aliase and Belias”, the note said.

“Hey Grim, nice to meet you. I’m Alma and this is Dannel. Your grubs are so cute”, she said, and he immediately began to write another note, wagging his hug white tail like a dog.

“Thank you so much Alma. They are my everything. I’m a young lusus and they’re just my third charge ever. You should have seen my confusion when their egg hatched and two grubs popped out instead of one, but I wouldn’t be happier. My bronze twins are the best children you could have. Don’t say that to my two other grown up children though”.

“Wow, I’ve heard about twin trolls and that they are so rare. You must be really lucky, even though it’s a bit handful I bet”.

The lusus nodded, and got another piece of paper.

“Yes they are a handful for sure, much more than my two older charges. But that’s probably because they were extremely in control of the bronzeblood abilities to control fauna. They got to do a lot of things thanks to that. Have your grub showed any abilities yet?”.

Hm so this troll has only raised bronze grubs, interesting. She then shook her head to answer the lusus.

“No he hasn’t shown anything yet, he’s still young though, so maybe he will soon”.

The lusus nodded again, but before he was able I write a new note he was called in with his grubs into one of the rooms. He waved happily with one paw before disappearing into the distance. As she once again was alone with him, she started to think. Dannel might get psychic abilities, she hadn’t even thought about that. And the most common rustblood abilities are telekinesis and communicating with the dead. So weird. She imagined a little older Dannel who moved the cookie jar with his mind from the tallest shelf just to sneak a cookie or something different. Or telling the neighbor how her old cat is saying hello. Yes it was so weird to think of.

A few minutes later the couple was called, and then the single parent. By the time they had went in, a young man with a yellow grub that was literally flying beside him (strong psychic abilities for sure) entered the room and sat down, but before she could talk to him she herself was (finally) called into the examination room.

She stood up and walked into a huge room with Dannel, a tall troll with two pair of back curled horns with sharp points told them to sit down on a really large chair as he gave them a smile, filled with uneven teeth. He also had a pair of neon yellow glasses on, and a bleached lab coat with a yellow sign on it that reminded Alma of Therea’s own coat.

“Greetings Alma, I’m Iptenn Qualtry, the troll who sent you the invitation to come here a few days ago”.

“Hello”, she said before she shaked his hand, his sharp yellow claws accidentally poking into her skin a bit. It wasn’t painful at all, just a bit surprising. “Nice to meet you”.

“Pleasure is all mine, we at this organization is thrilled to do test on yet another lowblood grub and give him a dose of the life serum that prolongs life. Lowblooded grubs are our target subjects, because well this is a research organization for just grubs and trolls with low blood and not higher, because there is another organization for that. Oh I’m rambling again, excuse me that is a thing I do because well I ramble. Pleasure to meet you once again”.

Alma nodded.

“So, what kind of tests are you gonna do?”.

“Well first of we are going to listen to his heartbeat, she how he reacts to sounds, look at his eyesight and then X-ray him to see if there is any anomaly. After that we’ll take a tiny blood test to save, and then he’ll get the serum. And we’ve been asked this a lot, yes the serum actually works. It had been tested in secret for centuries by thousands of lowbloods, me included and it is effective at a one hundred perfect rate. When it was first created lowblood only got an extra sweep or two, but now they can get up to around eighteen more sweeps, or forty human years as you call it. A yellowblood like me usually live to be 60 solar sweeps. Right now I’m 65, and still got about fifteen sweeps left thanks to the serum”.

Alma just stared at him in awe.

“That’s is unbelievable, and amazing”, she said and the troll nodded.

“It certainly is, and something that will make lowbloods ecstatic, so, before we begin, may I ask why you decided to adopt a grub?”.

“Well, I went on a trip to Alternia after I graduated college. I met a troll on the ship that would become my girlfriend, or matesprit as you put it. I got to stay at her place and we were going to visit her old lusus and her new charge”.

He nodded.

“And?”.

She gulped as she thought of the tiny little troll boy that she had held in her arms. The teal blood on the floor, and the jade blood from the lusus. Tears began forming as she thought about it.

“Subjugglators, we were too late. Everything was jade and teal, the little boy wasn’t breathing. There was a bloody club on the floor, windows were broken. Teal and jade spelled “Honk” on the walls. I couldn’t watch it, it was too brutal”.

Iptenn nodded at her, giving her an understanding look, he had lived on Alternia and knew some of horrors of it, he had been raised there.

“So I guess you decided to adopt a grub and take it to Earth after that?”.

She nodded.

“I couldn’t just leave, I had to take one grub with me, so I knew atleast one was raised on Earth and didn’t have to fear things like that. That’s also one of the reasons I chose a grub low on the hemospectrum”.

He nodded and then the tests began.

Dannel was perfectly healthy, had a good heartbeat, fantastic hearing and vision, and the x- ray showed nothing wrong either. Alma was extremely pleased to hear that. And that was the easy part.

As it was time for the blood test and Dannel saw the sharp needle he let out a chirp and rolled into a little ball, shaking in fear. He growled, as he tried to protect his tiny body. Alma felt so bad for him, and when she tried to pick him up he roared and scratched her hand, making candy red blood ooze out. She bit her lips, trying to ignore the pain, and instead cradled Dannel tighter, kisses his head and began to calm him.

“Miss Alma are you okay?”, Iptenn asked, clearly worried as he stared at the candy red blood on her hand, he held a hand over his face Incase he needed to protect himself.

She nodded.

“Yes I’m okay, literally all children are afraid of needles, it’s nothing. When I was three years old I bit a doctor that was going to vaccinate me”.

Iptenn began to write something down on his notepad, about humans, survival instincts against needles and that they are extremely patient to wounds, didn’t get angry at the person that caused the wounds, and had a high pain tolerance. And that they were good at pacifying their charges even when they were wounded.

After a minute, Iptenn took the needle again and carefully put it inside of Dannel’s body. It was hard to break the gray skin since it was tougher than human skin, but it was possible. Dannel however let out a squeak and translucent rusty tears began to appear.

Alma kissed his tiny forehead as Iptenn screwed something at the end of the needle, and then pressed a button. Rust red blood was slowly filling up a tiny tube that the organization would keep.

As they had taken enough blood the removed the tube and the thing, and then began screwing another thing to the needle. This was so that they only had to use one needle, and not too. There was a greenish liquid inside of the needle, and Iptenn slowly began to inject it.

It took three minutes, and she could see the happy expression in Dannel’s face as the needle was removed and a cute band aid with hearts was placed on the small wound.

She was so proud of him.

“Dannel you were so good, when we get home you’re gonna get a new toy, AND some treats”.

Just hearing those words he began to purr.

Iptenn opened a small box and labeled Dannel’s blood. In the box was a few tubes in the colors of rust, bronze and yellow, and Dannel’s blood joined the tubes.

“He certainly was well behaved, and no one was injured”.

She nodded, and then handed Dannel over to him, which made him turn yellow, electric sparks being shown over his horns. He was clearly confused.

“Why… why are you letting me hold it? I mean him”.

She didn’t really understand what he meant.

“I’m just gonna put on my jacket, I can’t really do that while holding him and I don’t want him accidentally destroying anything. You could hold him a minute right?”.

His body was just shaking, biting his lip.

“But I’m a yellowblood, not a jade, grubs hate adult trolls he’s going to attack”, he said so fast so Alma barely heard what he said, but she did, and let out a laugh in the process over how silly that sounded.

“Does he look angry to you”, she asked and pointed at Dannel, who had a sweet little smile on his face.

“No… but he’s going to be. I’m not a jade”.

“Who told you only jadeblooded trolls could take care of grubs?”.

“No one… it had always been that way. It’s common sense”.

She just shook her head, smiling.

“It’s new days now. He likes you, you can hear that by the purrs. He’s as far from hating you as it is. The things about grubs hating trolls is just a blatant lie, can’t you see? It’s like when highbloods thought they had the right to kill anyone they desired too because of a birthright, that was simply just blood. It’s like the belief that literally anything except trolls can raise grubs. You just came up with that because the empire didn’t want you attached to them, so they made up that they were dangerous. Have a grub ever even tried to attack you or someone you know? You are an equally fine lusus as anyone else, species or blood color has nothing to do with it”.

She saw how that spark in his yellow eyes, as the information hit him like a slap to the face.

“You’re right…”, he said, a smile quickly grew on his face. “You’re right”.

For a few minutes, Iptenn sat on the floor and played with Dannel now that he knew he wouldn’t attack and claw him yellow. He enjoyed it, and Alma heard how they purred in unison, a light purr for Dannel and a deep one for Iptenn. He was currently overwhelmed by the information.

Then it was the end of the appointment and Alma happily took the older troll’s hand again to say goodbye.

“Thank you so much”, she said, thanking him for the serum.

He smiled.

“The pleasure is all mine”.

And so they left the facility, and started their long ride home. As soon as Therea got off her shift Alma would call her and tell her exactly everything that just had happened.

And only a week later a big letter arrived in her mailbox, addressed to Alma Harlow.

Inside was a note and a picture.

On the picture was Iptenn, and in his arms he cradled a cute little yellowblood with big yellow eyes, backbent horns and a huge smile on her gray face. She also had a cute yellow bow tied to one of the horns.

She took the note and read it, and what she read made her tear up.

“Thank you for making me realize that everyone can be a lusus and that troll grubs deserve all the love in the universe. She is my legacy”.

Chapter Text

“Alma are all the things packed”, Stacy asked as she gave her best friend a nod. Showing her the full suitcase. Way too full for such a small occasion. She could barely even close it, but no, she was convinced she still would bring way too little and felt a little anxious about it. What if she forgot something important? She had triple checked so everything was there, but still had those feeling like literally everyone had before they left their house.

What was happening you may wonder?

She was going on a two day trip to her mother’s house, all her siblings and their spouses (fiancé in Sarah’s case and girlfriend in Alma’s) and children would be there, like a small little family gathering. Alma had been looking forward to it for a long time, and today it was finally time. She loved spending time with her siblings, and adored all her nephews and nieces more than words could describe. She was also excited about seeing the daughter of Henrik, Sarah’s Swedish fiancé.

“Are you sure you don’t need the car when I’m away? We could take the bus, it would only be an hour and then a walk. Really sure you don’t need it?”, she asked Stacy for the hundredth time, and she once again nodded, getting a bit tired of having to repeat the same answer over and over again to her roommate and best friend.

“Of course, take it. You and Therea shouldn’t need to take the bus up there, it’s fine. I’m not gonna do something special, just go down to the mall and buy Christmas presents”, she said, and took the car keys out of her pocket and handed them to Alma.

“But how will you carry the presents home from the mall?”.

“Alma the mall is literally around the corner, I think I’ll manage one day without a car. It’s not like I’m gonna run across the entire country or entering a cardio contest or something similar”. The young woman let out a laugh at what she just had said.

“Thanks, we’ll take it then. Remember that I’ve put fifty dollars on the counter, so you can buy something for Dannel”.

Nod.

She had already begun to buy lots of things for the rust colored grub, it would be his first Christmas in a month, and as all new parents, she bought loads of gifts. She had ran out of ideas on what to buy more, so that’s why she gave some money to Stacy.

“Sure, I’ll find some good presents for this little guy”, she said as she lifted up Dannel from the floor and gave him a kiss on the forehead, which caused him to purr. Yes Dannel really liked Stacy, and she could see the love Stacy felt for him. It was in the eyes. No one could look at Dannel and then say they didn’t like him. Grubs were way too cute for that. Especially this one that always seemed to smile and purr.

“Thanks Stacy, you’re the best”, Alma said as she put her jacket on and then sat down on the couch. She had gotten a few messages from Therea, she would be there any minute now and then they would take the car. So in the meantime she was wasting some time with Candy Crush while Stacy sat on the floor with Dannel and played with him. Lots of squeaks and purring showed that the tiny boy was happy, his ears were moved upwards in a relaxed tone to prove it even more. Oh how expressive trolls were with their body language, especially when it came to those huge ears. They were so cute when they moved around like that.

As she lost another life at Candy Crush she let out a tired sigh, but before she could press the retry button and realized she had to ask her Facebook friends of extra lives, she heard the doorbell ring it’s familiar tune.

Dannel immediately bolted away like a small dog, squeaking happily as he knew who was coming. Therea, he absolutely adored Therea by now. He ran around in circles before he sat down beside the door, so that he wouldn’t block it, but so that he would be the first to have a chance to meet the jade troll.

As Alma opened the door, Dannel began to climb her, and mere seconds later he was sitting on the top of her head, between her two horns. He was biting on some of the hair, but it looked like he had made a cozy nest on top of the jadeblood. She took out her phone immediately and snapped a few pictures of them. Instagram material for later, that’s for sure. Okay not later, it was Instagram material NOW. She was already inside the app, well now the picture was posted. Had there ever been a time without that picture posted? She was so fast so it hadn’t been like more than five seconds.

Everyone in the room began to laugh, smiling at how adorable and cute Dannel was, Therea’s face even turned to a shade of pale jade, like she did when she was happy, and her ears were shyly bent down, them too getting a green shade on them, but not too much. Her face was way greener.

“Hello Dannel, I’ve missed you too”, she said and let the grub stay in her hair. A purr emerged from the back of her throat, and a high pitched purr soon joined the darker one. It was the cutest thing ever seen, trolls were basically huge cats. For some reason this kind of purr was even more cute than usual, and that said something because troll purrs are the cutest, you never got tired of them. It was like when a cat purred, you never got tired of seeing a happy cat and just continued to pet them so they wouldn’t stop purring, but this story wasn’t about cats.

“So, are you ready to meet my relatives”, she asked and the troll nodded, carefully so she wouldn’t drop Dannel. Her ears also went right up out of excitement and she saw a twinkle in her yellow and jade eyes.

“Yes it’s going to be fantastic. Seeing a huge clan of more than two generations at one place, such a huge bloodline. It’s going to be nice to see your blood relatives and how extended family interacts with each other”.

Alma nodded. Therea had gotten used to families, but not extended ones like cousins, in laws, nephews and nieces and all that. This would be a dream come true for the jadeblood, that’s for sure. Alma was used to trolls, but sometimes they still were weird, but in the cutest way ever. Like how Therea wanted to know everything about Earth families, you could see that it was her passion. Just wanted good lives for all the grubs, and building good relationships with the humans. She was so excited in fact, so she was afraid to mention that her sister in law was pregnant. She imagined Therea running around and asking all questions in existence about human pregnancy and how weird it was that humans came out live, no eggs, never pupated, and were so weak at birth.

Yes she would probably talk to Amanda (her sister in law) for hours until she fell asleep. Maybe even talk so that the baby is born before the conversation is over.

Okay that was an exaggeration but you know when people have a passion they forget all about time, just happiness.

“I’m glad you’re excited. My family has been dying to meet you, especially my big sister. Like, not literally, it’s a thing we say”.

“I’m really excited about meeting your clutchmates too, there were two of them right? I’m so … wait, you weren’t from the same clutch right? Single clutches?”.

She shook her head to answer her.

“No, just call them siblings okay, it’s rare for humans to have more than one baby per pregnancy”.

Nod.

“Got it”, she said and Alma was sure Therea was currently writing down a mental note in her brain, or well think pan if you were a troll,

The couple took each other’s hands, said goodbye to Stacy and then left the apartment, walking towards their car. Alma carefully put Dannel in his little baby seat, and Therea decided to sit back with him, playing with him (mostly tickling his small rusty stomach and messing with his dark tangled up hair), and Alma smiled as she saw the two most important people in her life interact the way they did. She couldn’t explain it, there was too much emotions. The feeling had no name it seemed, but she shrugged it off and started the car.

Now they were on their way to her mom’s house to meet all of her family (minus her dad who had been kicked out a long time ago, it was a dad free zone, which was nice), oh how exciting this would be. Meeting everyone and seeing the children play together. Yes Alma was an adult now, with a child, and seeing her siblings with their own children, and spouses. It would be an incredible two days filled with chatting, playing and just hanging out, catching up since they didn’t live together anymore.

Well that had been the plan, but less than five minutes later they realized that they had forgot to pack water if some of them would get thirsty. Alma groaned and was about to turn when Therea fit her attention and pointed to a mini mart on the other side of the street. Yeah, that was way easier, there was even a free parking spot outside of it. It’s like the author wants this to happen because of plot. Wait what author? There is no author? Who said anything about an author? And what pumpkin?

“Wanna follow me inside?”, Alma asked her gray girlfriend, who nodded in agreement as she unbuckled seatbelts, first her own and then the one of Dannel.

“Why not? I like the atmosphere of small businesses like mini marts like this, and then I can choose the brand of bottled carbonated water we buy with troll coins caegars, I mean dollars”.

She put the tiny grub in her hair again, and as before, he clinged to her horns and made a nest, lightly biting them. Not like they made any damage to the orange and yellow horns, Alma just laughed so much so she thought she would fall down on the hard gray pavement in surprise. Thankfully she didn’t. It was way too cute.

Alma opened the door, hearing the sound of a bell, and then let all of them walk in. Yes that was the stuff, small businesses were always the coziest, and the staff was usually super friendly towards the customers unlike other places (looking at you Walmart during Black Friday). She immediately went and grabbed two bottles of mineral water (lemon flavored of course. With a tint of mint (not really but that made it sell more because it sounded fancier then just lemon flavored)).

But as they walked towards the checkout she walked into someone without noticing, and when she looked up she was sure that there was something wrong with her glasses, because how in the world did she not notice that? Like for real, perfect vision Alma, you would do great. What even is glasses good for? Throw them away. (Sarcastically of course, the author himself would die without glasses).

The person she had accidentally pumped into was a seven feet tall troll (maybe an inch taller than Therea), with huge spiky horns with multiple points. Almost like a fork, but meaner ends on it, if that explains it good enough. He wore black ripped jeans, a black long sleeved sweater with a violet symbol on. His eyes were yellow and violet, and on his face were fins, both pierced three times each with gold jewelry in them. He looked punk rock or emo, but had big muscles filled with scars, probably from being in the Alternian military. He looked so sure, like he was the center of attention and that they should all worship him for even being in the same room as them. He looked down at them with a look of… what was that look?

“Excuse me, why did you think you had the right to bump into me, human?”, he asked, looking at Alma with dead cold eyes. She had no idea what was going on.

“Excuse me, it wasn’t with any intention. I wasn’t paying attention”.

Sigh.

“Well that won’t do it you miscolored lowblood scum. Candy red blood, it makes me puke. You should be culled for even speaking to a highblood like me. I swear I wish the old Empress was alive, then you would know your place, being culled as the lowblood you are, or become a personal slave at best, dirtblood”.

“Excuse me, but humans only have one blood color unlike trolls, the hemospectrum doesn’t affect us. And, I don’t know where you have been before, but slavery is illegal, and so is killing people. I don’t know how you supported the old Alternian ways of living, I’ve been there and seen them, nothing I want to see again for sure. Let’s change it up, let’s say rusts had all the rights to hunt down seadwellers for fun? Not something you want to experience right”.

“Well, it won't happen, because rust is the dirtiest, most sinful blood color there is, those who bear it doesn't even deserve life. They aren’t real trolls. And I still certainly wouldn’t want a thing like you to touch me, your species is nowhere near as superior as trolls. Even the fucking dirtbloods are higher than you, you’re not worth a thing. I am worth more than you, and as a seadweller, I’m more worth than any troll with a shit common hued bloodtone like the unpure burden of our race. All trolls with the color olive or lower should be culled at hatching, like they did with the dirty little limebloods, the troll race would be so much purer and better off, it would have been so much better for trollkind, and helped us in the colonization of the galaxy when less highbloods die due to the lack of lusus. No pathetic animals who die after only a dozen sweeps or two, they slow us down, especially the puny little rusts”.

She gripped her fist and felt her blood boil over how this troll was speaking. What he said was definitely not okay on the slightest, and she was gonna show him that, her inner mother activated in a click. She would punch him if necessary.

“Excuse me? What did you say?”. You could her the anger in Alma’s voice, ugh this guy was just… he was the reason some people didn’t like Alternians. Just because of people like him there, this was plain racism. It was 2017 dammit, people should know better than this. He probably grew up with a close minded lusus, probably a seahorse, she had read that those were some of the most racist lusii, even promoting genocide to some. Totally not an Eridan reference. What even is an Eridan! Well Eridan is much better off in this universe at least.

“I don’t know if you have noticed sir, but you’re on Earth now, not on Alternia, blood color doesn’t matter here, neither does skin color, and if you insult us, or trolls with lower blood then you’ll be in huge trouble. I won’t let you insult the color that is flowing through the veins of my son!”, she practically shouted at and pointed at Dannel who looked curious at the scene from his place in Therea’s bushy hair, just a second, before he tried to hide his tiny face in the black hair. He was clearly intimidated by the seadweller..

The violet blood looked towards Therea, and screamed when he saw Dannel.

“Get that ugly lowlife away from me! That is living garbage, unpure and useless! A burden to the troll race, that disgusting red hue, that dirty little thing! That dumb thing isn’t even a real troll, it’s a waste of precious resources with its short life span. Why do you wanna lusus a thing like that”.

Then he looked at Therea, and realized that Dannel was in her hair, the hair of a troll. He growled a bit before continuing to scream.

“And you, a highblood is letting that parasite sit in your hair? You deserve to be culled! Maybe I should cull you right now. I thought better about indigos! You’re a disgrace to your blood caste”.

Indigo?

Therea wasn’t indigo, she was jade. Why did he think she was… Oh she was wearing blue, and not her signature shirt or lab coat with jade signs in them.

She looked up into the troll’s eyes, growling and hissing, ears pointed backwards as she got her yellow claws ready. Her jade eyes were burning with hatred before she slapped him right across the face and drew her yellow claws across the gray flesh, leaving marks that drew blood.

“I’M A JADE YOU FUCKING IDIOT! JUST BECAUSE I WEAR BLUE DOESN’T MEAN I AM BLUE! YOU CAN WEAR WHATEVER YOU WANT ON EARTH! AND GET YOUR SORRY HEMOPHOBIC ASS AWAY FROM ME, MY MATESPRIT, HER CHARGE AND FROM THIS PLANET YOU FUCKING FISHMUTANT! OR I’LL SLAP YOU AGAIN AND MAKE YOU INTO SOME VIOLET GRUBLOAF!”.

Silence, everything went silent except the growling from deep within Therea’s throat, like an animal ready to kill, protecting her young (jadeblood instinct?). She looked so intimidating, so scary. If Alma didn’t know her she would have been slightly taken aback by the scene. It looked like she could kill a man with just those slightly violet hands, and that was a good thing because the seadweller dropped the maxi pack of kitkats and the extra large bottle of Sunny D he was about to buy, and just left the store shaking, practically running, cursing something Alma don’t want to repeat, because this is a G rated story. It has some swearing, but not too much, keep it kids friendly. Wow the author needs to stop interrupting the story, stop writing chapters at two AM after crying okay.

The cashier just stared in shock, and Therea just shaked without saying a single word, pupils so small you barely could see them, no black, just jade. And the yellow sclera surrounding it, which was a bit orange now. Dannel was trying to calm her by licking her head and purr. Not a happy purr, it sounded different, like a comforting type of purr. Trolls had lots of different types of purrs. A drop of violet blood dropped from one of her long yellow nails to the white floor. And then another, a small violet puddle soon starting to form underneath her, still shaking.

“Ma’am are you okay”, the cashier suddenly asked, a clearly worried expression on zirs face. And ze wasn’t the only one that looked worried, So was Alma too.

“Therea, are you okay?”.

It was like if she was in a sort of trance, but after a few more seconds she saw her black pupils slowly dilate, and she got a more frequent breathing as she nodded (carefully so she wouldn’t drop Dannel). That made Alma flinch because had she even been breathing at all when she was stressed? She hadn’t seen breathing at all, yet she HEARD her heart overwork itself with all the beating it did.

“I… think I went into a blood rage”, was all she said, she sat down on the floor, one hand against her face as she began to laugh, while staring at her bloody hand, slowly realizing what just had happened to her. “I… went into a blood rage!”.

Both Alma and the cashier looked confused at the jade troll, when they saw translucent tears beginning to form.

“What is a bloodrage?”, ze asked and Alma shrugged, because she had no idea, even if she knew lot about trolls.

“I’m the reason people are scared of trolls… jegus what have I done? What have I done?”.

“Therea, what is a bloodrage?”.

She looked over at her girlfriend.

“That, was a bloodrage. It’s a fight response most trolls have, when it’s triggered, we will do anything to murder anyone in our way, even if they’ve done something or not. It is usually activated when you’re badly damaged or tortured. But I, for a split second I was prepared to murder the troll, all I could think about was to spill as much violet blood as possible with my own claws… i wanted death, the smell of blood is all I can smell right now, my body screams that I must go after the troll. I’m a monster”.

The tears began, and Alma looked extremely shocked. She wanted to lean in for a hug and comfort her, but didn’t know how Therea would react to being touched at the moment.

“Therea, why did you go into a bloodrage?”.

“I… I don’t know. I think it was… he insulted Dannel. He looked at him with those eyes of spite. Highbloods often go around and cull lowbloods for fun, my blood pushed began to beat fast and then it just happened”, she said, looking down at the ground. “I’m unsafe for the public”.

“Therea, you’re not unsafe! You’re the opposite!”.

“What do you mean?”.

“You said all trolls have this instincts? And it’s activated in self defense, your body wants to survive! It’s like the fight or flight response in humans! Nothing is wrong there”.

“But he just looked at Dannel and I did it. He just looked, but those eyes, those violet eyes, the way they looked at the grub. It looked like culling eyes, it was those eyes I saw when I saw that one troll kill my moirail sweeps ago”,

“Therea… there’s nothing wrong with you. That is a response many people get when they think their children might be hurt, we protect them with our own lives, no matter what. And what you just told me about your moirail, now it makes more sense”.

“What makes sense?”.

“Therea, do you know what PTSD is?”.

“PTS… what?”.

Alma nodded.

“Yes, it’s a thing you get after being in a traumatic experience. It’s really hard to explain if you haven’t had it, but there are people here on Earth whose jobs are to help people who suffers from it, hoping that they can cure it”,

“That’s… an illness? A legitimate illness. I thought I was weak for a troll, a troll that can’t stomach seeing cullings and therefor wasn’t fit for the empire. Trolls shouldn’t feel scared when it comes to violence”.

“Therea, you’re not weak, you’re the opposite. Just admitting these feelings is the first step to recovery, you shouldn’t need to feel scared like that. Once we’re at my mom’s house I’m gonna google around and find an appointment meeting for you, because I don’t want you to feel this way. I heard about a therapist named Doctor Lalonde, she’s apparently really good with PTSD”.

Therea nodded and stood up, still looking at the blood.

“It got worse after… my mother, Miss Liondeer. I can’t stand blood anymore”.

She nodded.

“I understand that, and you will get the help you need, and I will be with you every step of the way on the recovery”.

“Alma… that’s a moirails work”.

“Well I’m human and you’re my girlfriend, everyone who cares should help you, it’s common sense. It’s the most human thing to do, it’s normal”.

Laugh.

“No wonder I thought literally all humans I’ve met have been pale flirting with me”.

“Can I give you a hug?”.

Slight nod.

She gave her girlfriend a hug, getting caught up in the moment before some sobs caught their attention, it was the cashier, sobbing so hard so zirs eyes were already a bit read.

“Sorry, that was just beautiful”, ze said before she took up the two water bottles they had planned to buy, and handed them to Alma. “Here, it’s on me”.

“But you can’t just give it away”, Alma began.

“Yes I can”, ze interrupted. “And it’s not so I can go home and be like “Oh Cole is proud of zirself, ze gave someone water”. It was so cute, and healthy. I just hope the rest of your trip is going to be nice. And don’t worry about the blood, I’ll clean it up for you, I work here after all. I’ll just be happy if you can calm down”.

They thanked zir and then left the store, and went back to the car. Alma helped Therea into the car and even buckled her seatbelt for her, and then gave her one of the bottles before she fixed Dannel into his seat. Then she went to her own seat and started the car.

“Is everything okay Therea? Are you ready to go by car, or do you want to relax here a few minutes first? Do you want something to eat if you feel bad? That always helps me, and the water, drink the water”.

Therea nodded at her.

“Yes I’m fine, thanks Alma”.

“Okay, but remember, as soon as something comes to your mind you can talk to me, and if necessary we can find a place to stop. And remember to talk, these things are not shameful to talk about, you’re brave if you wanna share them with someone. We just want to help you too feel as good as you deserve, because you do deserve to feel good”.

She moved her hand towards the small storage place in the car and took out a CD, the first one of many albums to come by “The Grubbles”. They were Therea’s favorite band, so Alma thought it might cheer her gray space girlfriend up a bit. She hoped, so she put the CD in and pressed play.

A song named Broom Temperature began to play, and she heard how Therea quirky began to sing the lyrics as the song proceeded. She had no idea how she did it, because in her ears it only sounded like some high pitched autotune. But Therea was happy for the moment and that, was what mattered. Especially when she heard her girlfriend’s laugh when Dannel decided to howl along to the song.

The one out car ride proceeded with songs, sing alongs, chatting and supportive and encouraging talks with one another, to make her feel as comfortable as she could.

When they arrived at the Harlow residence, Therea had calmed down enough and felt ready and strong enough to meet everyone, so she put a smile on her face when Alma carefully opened her door for her and helped her out.

These were gonna be two very interesting days.

Chapter Text

Alma opened the car door and gently helped Therea out of her seat and then the car. She saw how the jadeblood took some deep breaths and enjoyed the fresh air of the suburban neighborhood, air was calming after all. Therea wasn’t shaking anymore, and Alma was extremely grateful for that, she didn’t want to see her like that again. She didn’t deserve to feel scared and confused, no one did, no matter their species. It’s not her fault the Alternian government had been as brutal as it had been, and she should not have to feel bad, or embarrassed that she couldn’t “stomach it like a real troll” as she said. She was a real troll and there was nothing wrong with her, it was not weak to ask for help. Asking for help made you stronger, and she hoped Therea understood that, no one would think lesser of her for trying to overcome fears and trying to live healthy. She should be praised for that, recovery is a long and complicated road.

She then opened the back door and unbuckled Dannel’s seatbelt. He let out a happy steak and purr at his mother holding him before he looked over at Therea with those big rust eyes filled with wonder. Yes he was definitely looking at Therea’s hair.

She saw how the jadeblood smiled as she bent down, so that her head was easily reached, and Alma placed Dannel on there like if he was a little hat. He was so cute and turned around in circles like a dog before carefully sitting down, clearly relaxed. A grub using a troll as a sort of bird nest was not something you saw every day, well except if you’re Alma or anyone close to her. Oh and all you readers.

They walked towards the front door and Alma rang the doorbell. She heard laughs from the other side, and the shrieks of happy children. Her nieces and nephews were still too small to do the whole “raise you to the door” thing but she bet they soon would.

The door opened and the person to answer was Bethany Harlow, Alma’s mom. She had a huge smile on her face and her graying yet still dark brown hair was in a messy bun. She also wore normal clothes combined with her yellow bunny slippers she ALWAYS wore indoors. You could see her excitement as she looked at Alma, and then the extremely tall jade troll beside her who’s hair also had turned into a nest for her youngest grandson. She leaned into a hug.

“Alma it’s so great to see you again, and little Dannel too. He’s so cute my little grandson”, she then turned over to Therea and smiled as she tilted her head upwards so that she properly could look Therea in her yellow and jade eyes. “You must be Therea. I’ve been looking forward to meet you in person for quite some time now, from what Alma has told me you’re a fantastic person”.

Therea’s face turned a bit jade (okay, really jade) as Bethany took a few steps back, letting them enter the house. They took of their shoes (because reasonable people take of shoes, everyone in Europe knows that it gets less dirty that way, even if this story takes places in the US) and the two women hung up their outdoor coats before Alma showed Therea the way to the living room, her mother had already disappeared into it.

Being in her childhood home once again after so long felt strange, but also good. On the cream colored walls were countless of pictures of her and her two siblings from birthdays, random activities and graduations and so on. Alma’s favorite was a picture of her and her siblings playing in a ball pit at the local Chuck E Cheese, her then long hair had been in pigtails and for some reason she had a bandaid on her nose even though she hasn’t been injured. She used to always have a thing for putting bandaids on random places when there was no need for them. She smiled. There was also a few pictures of Alicia and Alexander, Bethany’s two first grandchildren.

She turned her head and saw some familiar faces. Her big brother William was sitting on the floor and was currently trying to since a puzzle with his two year old son Alexander. His pregnant wife Amanda was laying on the couch just relaxing, with the their three year old daughter Alicia carefully touched her heavily pregnant belly, trying to feel the kicks from the babies (yes! Babies! A few months ago they found out they were expecting twins! Alma was so excited to meet them, she was supposed to be the godmother to one of them) and let out laughs every time she felt some movement. She was really excited about her new siblings, and Alma smiled as she knew they wouldn’t be the last. Amanda was an only child whose parents also were only children, so she always said she wanted a big family, at around like six kids.

On the other side of the cough sat Sarah, she was texting while having a small child in her lap that was playing with her hair. She was extremely pale and had the lightest blonde hair she had ever seen, you could also literally see that her eyes were sky blue from there. Typically Scandinavian, that must be Maja.

Yes, because beside them say a tall man with extremely pale skin, blonde hair and blue eyes. They were identical, and there was no doubt that Henrik was Swedish. Sarah’s fiancé looked really nice, he had a smile on his face that just made him look extra nice, and he had some slight stubble along with the beginning of a mustache. Alma wasn’t interested in men but she knew he was an attractive one.

She saw how everyone turned to look at her.

“Alma it’s so good to see you!”, she heard Amanda say from her comfortable place on the couch. She would have gotten up and hugged her, but well, she was heavily pregnant after all.

“You too Amanda. How’s it going?”.

“Good, babies will be here in a month, it’ll be nice to finally meet them while they stop draining my energy like that, but that’s not important. Now come closer with the newest member of the Harlow family! I wanna see my new nephew”.

Alma took Dannel out of Therea’s hair and carefully carried him over to Amanda. Alícia looked questioning at the troll grub.

“Awe he’s so cute!”, Amanda said and squished his cheek, and Dannel seemed to take a liking since he carefully sat down on her big belly and began to purr. He stroke his cheek against it as he did when he was comfortable and happy. Then he jumped up surprised, one of the babies had kicked in the place he was relaxing. Alma couldn’t help to laugh, Dannel and his confused look was so cute.

“That’s your cousins Dannel”, Alma said happily and looked up at Amanda.

Alicia just pointed at him, still clearly confused. She had definitely seen trolls, but had she ever seen a troll grub before? That would explain it.

“Mom, is that a bug? It looks like a really big bug”, she asked in her toddlerly voice. She still had difficulties pronouncing some things (like b’s and r’s became v’s), but it was good for someone her age.

Amanda shook her head.

“No sweetie, he isn’t a bug. This is your newest cousin”, she said as she lightly scratched Dannel on his head, which caused his long ears to peak upwards and got a rust tone as he relaxed and enjoyed it.

“Cousin?”.

“That’s right”, Alma said, beaming with pride. “He’s my son”.

Silence for a few seconds as the girl’s gaze went from Dannel to Alma over and over again.

“But he’s gray? And have candy corn horns. Why don’t I have candy corn horns?”, the child said a bit confused. Okay the remark about the candy corn was fun, even though Dannel's horns were shaped nothing like them, just shared the color. But that isn’t the main subject right now, we can come back to the color of troll horns later.

“Yes he’s gray, but he’s still my son. His name is Dannel and he’s part of our family now, I adopted him back in June”.

“So.. he’s really my cousin?”.

Alma nodded.

“Yes he is”.

“COOL!”, she shouted and then smiled at him. “Can we play?”.

She nodded again.

“Sure, but be careful, he is quite strong for his age, and he can climb on everything. So if he wants to climb then don’t follow”.

Now Amanda looked at Alicia.

“You heard aunt Alma? Don’t climb on stuff or you might hurt yourself. We don’t want some ouch ouch again do we?”.

She shook her head, and then next second she jumped down of the couch.

“Come Dannel, lets play!”.

As he heard the name, the tiny rust colored grub quickly jumped down from his comfortable resting place so that he could follow his cousin. And they disappeared into another room, Alma heard how Alicia happily chatted with him while he responded in loud squeaks.

“What about ouch ouch again?”, Alma asked her sister in law.

“Well, little Alicia just found out about the wonders of climbing things she’s not allowed too. I bet you’re familiar with that too”.

Alma nodded.

“Sure am, but thankfully Dannel is a good climber that never falls. He can literally climb walls. It is a mess grubproofing everything home too, he loves to chew on the weirdest things, and his fangs are sharp. Be happy that babies have no teeth, my house is a small disaster”.

She heard all the adults in the room begin to laugh at the comment.

“It’s true!”, Therea said with a jade tinted face. “Dannel here, along with other grubs are amazing climbers. After our pupation though we lose that climbing ability, but that is because we no longer live in brooding chambers but actual hives. But our teeth is a different story”.

She saw how Henrik looked at her and smiled, putting his hand out, waiting for her to shake it.

“It looks like you know a lot about grubs. Therea was it?”.

Therea nodded as she took her gray hand in his pale one and shook it.

“Yes I do, I work in the Earth brooding cavern, grubs have always been my passion, not just because I’m of a jade hue. Giving the next generation of our species a good start in life is critical. I always knew that the brooding cavern would be my work of choice”.

Alma smiled at her girlfriend’s story and took her hand in hers before tilting her head onto her strong shoulders.

“So Alma”, she then heard Amanda said. “How did you and Therea meet?”.

“I went to Alternia after I graduated, and on the ship’s cafeteria I sat at the same table as a certain jade here, and things just happened. I stayed in her hive, followed her there and the romance just came. I was a huge pile of blushing and only blushing”.

Therea nodded.

“She indeed was. I knew humans have a candy red blood color, but all her blushing was extremely surprising for me, her cheek got pinkish even though her blood is red! The fact that her blush wasn’t in her exact blood color amused me”.

The mention of her blushing just turned Alma more red, or well, pink if you were Therea and explained it all. Humans sure worked in a weird way, no arguing there.

“Shush sweetie, you only say that because your blush is literally almost the same jade tone as your blood”.

She quickly gave Therea a peck on the cheek to demonstrate, causing the troll to turn jade while her ears perked backwards in a happily surprise before the happily yet relaxed stood up a bit. Her pointy tooth on her black lips were extra visible as she smiled.

“Perhaps my darling, but a blush is a blush, and you still fell for my flushed flirting”.

She booped her nose as a joke.

“You’re so silly, you know that right?”.

The two women had forgotten about the other people in the room, they had no idea about their smiles as they pointed at them and so on. They probably shouldn’t have noticed of like ten more people entered the room, they were in such a cute and innocent lovestruck moment.

“Oh my god they’re so cute!”, Sarah screeches before she quickly held up her phone.

Alma felt the white flash momentarily blind her eyes as she heard the customary “snap” sound after a picture had been taken on an iPhone (Sarah ALWAYS had it in normal mode so it emitted sound literally like once every minute).

“That’s going up on my Facebook”, she continued.

Alma heard her mother laugh.

“I’ll be the first to share it my dears”.

“Sarah, mom, remember to give the pictures to me too okay. I need something to frame except my rust colored cannonball of a child. Do you know how hard it even is to capture a hyperactive grub on picture and make it look good?”.

She saw how the parents froze up for a second, and then she heard William speak to his sister.

“And i thought photographing human children is hard enough. Kudos to my little sister everyone”.

“Yeah!”, Sarah said. “Kudos to Alma!”.

“KUDOS!”, said the small blonde child in Sarah’s arms as she clapped her tiny hands faster than usual and Alma could only smile at Maja, that toddler was so cute, extremely cute. Like if you didn’t smile at her you didn’t have a heart. No, scratch that. Even the heartless couldn’t resist smiling to such a cute child as her, refusing to smile was literally impossible. It’s settled, everyone smiled at Maja. It was law now.

Henrik leaned in closer and gave his daughter a kiss on the forehead and then tickled her belly a bit.

“Maja, du är så duktig, min lilla tjej” (Maja, you’re so good, my little girl).

The child let out a laugh and gave her father a hug, while literally everyone else in the room had no idea about what Henrik had just said. How had he even pronounced some of the words?

Alma looked around, Therea looked as shocked as her, so did her mom, William and Amanda. Only Sarah looked a little less shocked then the majority of people in the room. Because well, dating a Swedish man should make her know a few things right? Especially when that man had a daughter he talked with in said language,

Therea sighed before she began to speak, breaking the silence.

“Excuse me you all, but do any of you understand what Henrik just said? I don’t know if you did or not, or if it’s just me who don’t understand, being a troll and all and not knowing all human languages. Is that a subtype of English that you know? Could someone please fill me in?”, the gray troll asked, you could clearly hear that extreme confusion in her voice, and her ears were pointed in a way they always were when she was confused, the tips being tinted in jade. She probably felt a little bit embarrassed because she didn’t understand that sentence,

“It’s fine Therea”, Sarah said. “It’s a different language, not a subtype of English and almost no people know it. It’s spoken in a small country at another continent, I only know a bit thanks to Henrik. You’re not the only one wondering what he said, I think I’m the only one here who isn’t a native speaker who actually knows what he said”.

The troll nodded, a little to fast so her long pointy horns almost touched Alma as she sat beside her.

“Okay thanks for clearing that up. I may be as curious as a grub, but what does it mean? It’s interesting that he can talk to his offspring in a different language than what is spoken in this part of your planet”.

Henrik nodded.

“Sure I’ll tell you, I only told her how good she was for behaving and complimenting with kudos. The exact words were “Maja, you are such a good girl” if you translate it literally”.

Therea nodded and Alma saw how Bethany, her mother, took a sip out of her cup of tea (when had she gotten tea?).

“Well well, the family reunion has been in motion for less than twenty minutes and we’re already learning Swedish here”, she said with a smile on her face along with the cheerful and caring voice of hers. “My house is turning into a language school! Not what I expected, but I’m not complaining”.

Everyone turned to Henrik and saw how he blushed.

“Well guys. You’re making me blush, I was just talking to my daughter a bit”.

“Teach us some more”, Amanda said before she hiccuped, probably because of a strong punch from one of the babies inside of her. “I’d love to learn more Swedish words. And then some Alternian words, if Therea is up for it of course”.

Alma’s sister in law looked at Therea Which such a nice smile and she nodded.

“Of course, I’d be delighted to teach you about my heritage. Alternian is extremely similar to English but we do have some unique words too, some might be a bit hard for you to pronounce since you humans lack the ability to purr and click with the back of your throat, but I’ll gladly show you some words within your vocal range”.

“Nice”, William said. “Learning new words is always nice, and a bit on how to act. We’ve got a troll at the office and I wanna become friends with him but I’m afraid I’ll do something wrong because he’s always screaming something about pale flirting and me being to “high on the caste” for him. Could you please explain?”.

Oh boy, Alma grinned at the thought of troll quadrants and pale flirting. No wonder poor William was confused, Alma had too been too confused for any words to describe.

Well she was still confused about things, but that was about being a mother, not troll quadrants and romance. Being a mother to a sassy little grub was way more confusing (but totally worth it any day of the week).

“Well first of, let me check your eyes”.

“What?”.

Therea leaned in closer to William and checked his eyes.

“Brown, just brown. So, it can’t be your eyes then, unless he is a rust. But rust and brownbloods don’t care about the spectrum because they’re both at the bottom, so he must think you’re higher than rust for reacting like that.”.

Literally everyone in the room except Alma had no idea what Therea was doing. If Alma hadn’t known Therea she too probably wouldn’t have known in the first place.

“What does eyes have to do with it?”, Amanda asked.

“When trolls turn into adults their gray irises fills in with their blood color, as you can see Therea’s eyes are yellow and jade. Dannel’s eyes are completely rust colored but that is because he’s a grub. When he pupates his eyes will be yellow and gray, and when he’s a teen they will become rust again. It’s similar to how newborn babies can change eye color the first few months”, Alma said, explaining the biology of troll eyes and how they changed with time. It really was fascinating in its own strange way.

“Wha… how?!?”, shrieked Henrik. “Eyes can’t just change color like that, that should be impossible”.

“And creatures with candy red blood or creatures without a blood caste system shouldn’t exist according to the empire, but still we found humans. The universe sure is weird. For what we know we could find an alien lifeform that bleeds purple carbonated tea”, Therea said and yawned, baring her fangs a bit.

“Purple carbonated tea…?”.

“Correct”.

“Well, the universe sure is weird”, Amanda said. “Therea you’ve been to space, what is the weirdest thing you’ve seen?”.

“I’ve seen a purple and green five headed fauna as big as a small early interstellar spaceship. It bled black, can you believe it? Black of all colors, like His Honorable Tyranny! And it birthed live youth that it had created itself with no other bearer! It was so strange to me before I met humans”.

“Giving live birth is strange? How is that strange? That’s the most common way to give birth. Almost all mammals do it, except like a platypus. What do you trolls do? Give birth to eggs?”, Henrik asked.

“Both yes and no”, Therea said blushing. “We give our genetic material to drones that collect them in… buckets… (she shivers at the word) and then takes it to a brooding cavern and given to a mother grub. Then all of the slurry mixes and she lays the eggs for us. Then we jades care for them until they hatch. Then the grubs are chosen by lusii and are on their own, it’s the first part of becoming a troll. Pupatation is the hardest stage to survive thanks to all the predators on Alternia, and the former cannibalism in our species, so I’m the old regime you were not considered a troll until after, you more or less had the potential to become a troll one day”.

You could see that the humans looked interested and yet disturbed. Right they probably didn’t knew that trolls used to eat grubs from time to time. The thought horrified Alma and just the thought of anyone trying to hurt Dannel made her blood boil. Therea could feel the awkward silence grow so she quickly changed the subject before it got too dark for them to handle.

“But, it wasn’t this we talked about in the beginning. William, do you know what blood caste that troll at your office is?”.

“Lime”.

Both Therea and Alma froze at that word.

“Lime? That can’t be. Lime or yellowgreen, is a caste that has been killed off, extinct thanks to hunting, there shouldn’t be any… unless, oh jegus”.

“Unless what?”.

“A mutation. We met a troll with candy red blood a few months ago, candy red like a human, so meeting a mutated lime wouldn’t be impossible. There’s still lusii who only takes limes that are still having charges. They are extremely few but I just thought they began taking other castes, like maybe olive since they’re close to lime. Like how my lusus used to take in olives, jades and teals. They must have posed as olive, yellow or hemoanon instead of their actual caste to try and blend in and avoid culling… They probably were olive since lime and olive almost never have psychic abilities while most yellowbloods have them. Yes, olive or hemoanon would be a lot easier to pass as. William, what do you know about this lime? What do they look like? Tell me everything”.

“Well he has lots of scars all over his body and a part of his right ear is missing. He is extremely shy and looks down at the ground a lot, and he whines when he hears new sounds. He either whispers or yells, no in between. And he plays with one of his hands a lot because he looks stressed. He also eats lunch by himself because he’s afraid to be around people with knives. He also never speaks of Alternia, just that he has “escaped” from somewhere”.

Silence.

“A gladiator… he must have been a gladiator”, Therea whispered, you could clearly hear the dread in her voice. “Subjugglators jobs is to go around and cull, but sometimes instead of culling they capture trolls them deem interesting and then forces them to fight in gladiatorial arenas while they bet money on them… If they were going to cull him but found out he was a lime… he would have been a special show for them…”.

Oh no.

“That’s… terrible”.

Therea sadly nodded as her ears pointed downwards.

“Yes it is. He probably was captured as a young wiggler, therefore his attitude towards higher castes is out of fear. William what color is your work attire if you don’t mind me asking? This information could be useful”.

“I usually wear a purple suit, what about it?”.

Bingo.

“That explains a lot”, Alma said. “If he hasn’t learned that humans only have one blood color yet, he might believe you’re a purpleblood. That’s the color of a subjugglator. He might associate you with being a gladiator”.

Silence.

“Oh god, I’m never wearing purple at work again, I don’t want to scare him. I hope he’ll understand it wasn’t with intention when I tell him”.

Therea nodded.

“It might take time, trust me. Alternia was extremely brutal, but one day he’ll feel better. Earth is a safe planet, and the new empress has banned any form of culling, no matter if it’s blood caste, disability, disagreement or mutation. We are far from perfect but one day I hope we’ll be peaceful to all we meet. Our brutal past is sadly why some people are scared of trolls”.

Bethany stepped in, tears in her eyes.

“People shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, it’s not your fault your species has been brutal. It’s not fair to judge an entire species that was FORCED into a brutal way of life because some of you thought it was a good idea. It’s like if I should judge everyone with blond hair because this one dude with blond hair robbed me on the street. You should judge a person based on how they act, not what they are. Sadly some people don’t think like that, my ex husband included. But I hope more people will understand the truth and be more accepting. I must confess that a few months ago I was extremely prejudiced against trolls, I had never met one personally and only had heard the bad things. I’m ashamed of the way I acted than, because now I know that is no way to act. Therea you’re a fine example. People saying trolls aren’t capable of feelings like humans are wrong, you are smart and kind and sweet and I’m honored that you’re together with my daughter”.

Therea stood up, jade tears in her eyes and walked towards Bethany and gave her a hug.

“Thank you for accepting me Mrs Harlow, and thank you for believing in giving trolls a second chance”.

“No problem love, everyone deserves a second chance. It’s not your fault, it’s not the other trolls fault, it’s your old Empire’s”.

“Okay”, Sarah said. “I know this is touching and all, but William, you said your office worker was lime. Therea, you mentioned someone about disgusting yourself to another blood caste. If this adds up, could there possibly more than just that one limeblood out there?”.

The gray troll nodded immediately.

“I’m positive about that, we trolls are a race of billions of individuals after all, there can’t be just one lime. Some are probably still in hiding since the new empire is still, well new. And they don’t want to take any chances in being found. Soon there might be a lime or two at the brooding caverns again, and slowly the caste will have more individuals again when less limes get culled for being well, lime. Some are probably not that lucky, there’s probably tones of adult trolls and wigglers of lime blood as gladiators somewhere (totally not foreshadowing to a spinoff about a tiny lime troll child gladiator that’s coming soon). Those trolls must be freed”.

Everyone nodded.

“Is there any way to contact troll authority about this?”, Bethany asked.

“I could take it up with my boss and she could send it forward until it came to empress. She would definitely help those trolls”, Therea said. “Also William, that lime is probably suffering from PDTS, no wait, PTSD, was that right Alma?”

Alma nodded and continued.

“You could recommend him doctor Rose Lalonde, I hear she’s a really good therapist out there”.

“I’m gonna be a client there soon myself and I want other trolls to also be able to overcome to past regime that scarred us all”, she said.

William nodded.

“Yes I’ll tell him next time at work, along with that apology for accidentally having scared him all this time. I really hope he can get some help, feeling stressed all the time and scared because something like that, I can’t even imagine it. No one should have to live through that”.

Then it becomes quite for a bit until Sarah finally spoke up.

“Well this gave us quite the mood, everything is sad. I know it IS sad, but could we try to brighten it up a bit? This is a family reunion after all and I wanna bond with you all, I don’t see you that often”.

“Yeah”, Amanda said. “These things are important but so are family, we need to be there for each other through everything”.

“So”, Bethany said. “Any of you know a way to cheer us up?”.

Therea immediately raises her hand and her cheeks turned jade in excitement.

“Tell us Therea”, Alma said.

Her blush became stronger.

“Well it is kind of silly, but there was this song that I loved with all my bloodpusher as a wiggler. Back then it was autotuned of course, because it was a song from the Grubbles and they were for rebellion. Yet everyone knew the lyrics, me included. I used to sing them when I was alone. They just released an album with actual vocals instead of autotune. The song itself is far from a happy one, it as a dark tone, but in a good way. For me it symbolizes the fight for freedom during the old empress reign, and that fills me with strength, even if the lyrics is a bit weird”.

Alma smiled and saw how everyone else did too.

“Sing it for us”, Sarah said. “The song doesn’t need to be happy go lucky, it’s the meaning behind it and how you feel about it that matters. If this is a song that feels free, go for it”.

“Yay, sing!”, Alma heard Alexander shout from the floor. “Sing! Sing! Sing!”.

Therea was no longer gray, only read.

“Are you sure? As I said the song had a dark tone”.

“Forget about that life, as my daughter said it’s what you associate it with. And now that we know what you associate it with it will make sense for us”.

The adult troll nodded.

“Okay, if you’re sure”.

And so, she began singing a song called Frondly Warning.


“You pose, all gold and gleaming

A ten dressed to the nines

Spongeclots deaf to our screaming

And to the changing times

Stay swimming in your mentions

Too cool to see what’s coming

Why do we mask intentions?

All you hear is drumming, drumming

Drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming
Drumming, drumming, drumming
Drumming, drumming, drumming, drumming
Drumming, drumming, drumming

Don’t bother looking for us

As if you ever would

Just jam out to the chorus

As if you understood

We sing a song of freedom

The best track is the last

Liner notes, hey did you read that?

We sang your epitaph

Blood boils, blood boils
Blood boils, blood boils
Blood boils, blood boils
Blood boils, blood boils

Baby queen of Calamari

Gonna fry and dip you

Way too late to say you’re sorry.

Way too late to fix you”


So was Therea finished the song and all the adults clapped and smiled at her.

“Therea, you have an amazing singing voice”, Henrik said and gave her a thumbs up, she got even more jade (how was that possible in the first place?) and just nodded, a thankful smile on her face.

“Thanks. I don’t sing very often”.

Don’t sing very often?

Alma thought Therea’s dining voice had been GORGEOUS. It was so amazing and she had turned red the entire song, Therea’s soft voice practically casting her in a spell. She had been so pretty, so talent and just so perfect in her way. She was Therea, and she adored her so much that words couldn’t describe it. It was like if she was about to melt the second her soothing voice hit her ears, and she wished the song had been longer. Even if it had been by only a second or two, it would have been worth it. Therea had the voice of an angel.

“Therea, that was amazing”, was all she could say, because she knew she would just start rambling if she tried to explain everything she currently felt word by word, they would be stuck there fir eternity, and her fast words probably wouldn’t have made any sense either. Love worked in extremely mysterious ways.

“I’m glad you liked it Alma. If my singing voice can give you such a flushed smile, I guess it gives you a quadrant reaction. So perhaps you’d like to hear it more often?”.

Yes.

Just yes.

Alma closed her eyes and shyly nodded as Sarah awed.

“Can you guys get any cuter? You get cuter by the second, how is this possible? Alma you found yourself a keeper here”.

“Agreed”, said Bethany and William in unison as they looked at the happy yet a tad confused Therea. She probably didn’t know what a “keeper” was when you talked about it in relationship terms. She could ask her later.

And before the conversation could continue Alma heard a scream and a screech, one human one troll, and the fast and hard footsteps that grew louder by the second. Alicia and Dannel entered the living room again after having been god knows were (probably in the room filled of toys her mom had set up for grandchild visits), but one of them, Alicia to be exact, ran with a large object in her arms.

As she got closer, Alma figured out it was a camera.

“Alicia why are you having a camera?”, William asked. “STOP RUNNING WITH THE CAMERA, IT’S NOT YOURS”.

“Where did she even get a camera?”, Henrik asked and Bethany looked as shocked as the rest.

“I don’t know! It was up on the third shelf! You can’t reach it without some help. It’s way to high up for kids”.

Way to high up for kids, shelves.

Bingo (again).

“It was a team mission”, Alma said and looked at Dannel who tried to play innocent with those extremely cute eyes and a smile as the ears were turned back in a tiny of rust. And he was purring, it couldn’t get any cuter, you couldn’t be mad at him; especially right now. “I bet Alicia asked Dannel to crawl to there and get it for her. Oh yes he’s such a climber”.

She facepalmed as the adults laughed.

“Well Alma, when you said grubs could crawl well I didn’t think that well. I thought you and Therea were joking when you said they could crawl on walls”, was Amanda’s answer.

“Nope. They crawl ALL the time”.

“And by all the time, she means ALL the time”, Therea said before laughing, hitting a purr at the same time.

“Well, what do you all say about taking a family portrait now that everyone are here? It would be perfect, and I could make as many copies as you want so that all of you can have it framed in your houses”, Bethany said.

A family portrait!

What a wonderful idea.

“Let’s do it!”.

“Yes, that’s the best idea ever mom”.

“I’m just gonna comb Alicia’s hair a bit first”.

“And I’m gonna give Alexander matching socks”.

Bethany smiled.

“Take your time everyone, you’re all staying the weekend, no need to stress”.

Alma took up her phone and put it into selfie mode and checked her hair, it was combed enough, except for that one cowlick she never could get rid off no matter how much hairspray she used. Yeah she was good to go for the picture.

Therea was too (and she was gorgeous) and so was Dannel.

The other children got their clothes fixed, but since Dannel didn’t wear any Alma didn’t have to worry about that. A con of having a grub, they never start temper tantrums because of clothes, unlike some other kids when they don’t get to wear their favorite thing (the only thing they’ve worn in like two weeks).

“Are you guys ready?”, Bethany asked and everyone nodded.

“Okay, so all often just stand up and smile, I’ll put the camera on timer and then join you, I promise to do a longer timer than three seconds this time around”.

They listened and so they began.

They were in position.

She pressed.

She quickly ran to join them in the picture before it got snapped (please don’t take a toner that’s too short like last family photo. You only saw her back as she ran to the rest, making only half of the family visible).

And done.

Everyone gathered around her to check the result on the tiny camera, and it was truly astonishing!

No, astonishing was only the beginning.

William and Amanda stood together, Alexander was in William’s arms while Alicia stood on the floor and had one hand on Amanda’s he ily pregnant belly. Then came Sarah and Henrik, they held hand while Maja sat on Henrik’s shoulder, he held her with his free arm so that she wouldn’t fall off. Bethany also stood beside Sarah and had her arm around them, they were so alike lining, clearly mother and daughter.

The last group was Alma beside Therea, who towards over everyone else in the photo because of her size (even though she was normal sized fjr a troll) and some of her long pointy horns even were out of frame. She held one of her arms around Alma’s waste and you saw her jade blush along with Alma’s red one. Dannel sat on Alma’s shoulder, looking right into the camera with his cute little eyes.

“Best family photo ever!”.

“I’m gonna go and ask for four huge copies this instant, one for me and one for each of my children so you can have it framed where you are. It will be so nice to look at it and see how much our family has grown this past year. We’ve got twins on the way, Henrik and Maja joined, and so did Therea and Dannel. You’re the best children, grandchildren children in law or soon to be children in law (Alma blushed as she realized she was talking about Therea as a future daughter in law, because that meant Bethany already saw them as a couple that would marry one day, not that she minded. The thought of marrying Therea one day was a really nice thought) a woman could ever ask for. I’ve been blessed with this amazing family”.

Bethany’s speech made Alma’s smile grow even bigger as she scratched Dannel behind his ear, he purred. That caused Therea to also begin to purr, but in a deeper frequency, so she just gave her a peck on the cheek before putting her head on her shoulder, enjoying her body temperature that was slightly lower than that of a human.

Yes, this would definitely be the best family reunion ever, she knew it with all her heart. And it had only just begun.

Chapter Text

Alma groaned as she heard the familiar tone of her phone ringing, phone shaking as the standard marimba iPhone signal played and hit every part of the room with its catchy yet annoying tone. Alma was so tired at the moment so she currently despised xylophones and all the other instruments and music programs that was the reason this very tune existed.

Yes, Alma was certainly not a morning person, especially when a tiny little rust grub had kept her up half the night (again). She just wanted some sleep.

But a more important question.

Why was her phone ringing in the first place? It was not her alarm clock because that one had a different signal so that she wouldn’t mix those too up. But she was so tired so she didn’t realize that until she reached for her phone to press snooze. But there was no snooze.

Carmen was calling.

Why was Carmen calling?

Alma had nothing planned today so she thought she could just relax and sleep, but she saw that the clock was 6:58 AM. No wonder she was tired. Thank god that Dannel was still sleeping, she had no idea what she would do if he woke up again when she had spent so much time trying to get him to sleep in the first place. Then she would have been so mad at Carmen for calling, she herself had children and understood the struggle and allow deprivation that was trying to get them to sleep in time when they clearly didn’t want too. Kids these days never appreciated naps, they had no idea what a privilege a nap was, but once they reached high school and constantly were tired they would think back about the old days and how they never fully had enjoyed and appreciated all those naps. Kids, appreciate your naps please, you never know when you will lose them. And don’t try to grow up, it’s just weirdness and taxes.

The phone continued to ring as Carmen’s picture was show on the screen. She clicked on answer and put the phone against her ear while she let out a loud yawn, yes she was so tired. She hoped this was important and not just Maria playing with Carmen’s phone and calling her on accident really early, again.

But no, it wasn’t Maria. She relaxed a bit as she heard Carmen’s voice coming through her smartphone, then it wasn’t a mistake call atleast and that was something.

“Hey Alma sorry to call you this early, I hope I didn’t wake up Dannel”.

Alma turned her head to the left and saw the cute little rust grub sleep curled up into a ball on a pillow beside her. She could hear his weird snoring around with the occasional click from deep in his throat while his legs slightly twitched, a sign that he was dreaming, and it was a good dream too.

Yes, her cute little bundle of joy was thankfully sleeping.

“Yeah it’s fine, he’s sleeping like a log. I’ve trying to get him to sleep for half the night so I’m kinda tired though”.

“Oh I’m so sorry Alma, I didn’t know you were that tired, if I knew I would have called someone else. I feel so bad now, you deserve to sleep”.

Alma smiled even though she knew Carmen wasn’t able to see it through the phone (unless they FaceTimed, but at the moment they didn’t). She was tired but Carmen didn’t need to feel bad at all.

“Take it easy Carmen, I’m not mad. And I’m awake now, is there something you wanted?”.

“Yeah, but you just said you were tired and all…”.

“Carmen I said it’s fine, go on”.

She heard Carmen sigh heavily, a sign that she was a bit nervous.

“Well my job called and they want me to take an extra shift today, and I can’t exactly say no, you know that they’re cutting staff and if I don’t do extra work I might get fired. I was so scared when they called, I thought they were going to tell me that they were going to let me go”.

Alma nodded even though she was on the phone. She remembered Carmen’s job and that they were going to cut the staff in half. No wonder Carmen was nervous, Alma would be too if she was in her situation, anyone would be, because in this world you needed money to survive. Thankfully her art commission job was extremely successful now when she was home with her son, not as much as a regular paid job but it was enough.

“Yeah I know. I hope you get to keep the job. So what more is your calm about?”.

“Well, I’m wondering if you’d like to babysit Ellie for me?”.

“Babysit Ellie?”.

“Yeah. Bobby and Maria are going to daycare today, but Ellie’s school is closed today because of teacher conferences and so on. I know it seems silly that a twelve year old can’t be home alone for a few hours but you know what had happened to her and I would like her to have some company to reassure her that there’s always someone around that cares for her and all. She constantly asks me such weird things like if she’s good enough. And two weeks ago when we went to court and I legally adopted her she had a breakdown when she saw her biological parents. She’s had them once in awhile after that and I don’t want her to go through one alone, she’s only twelve and needs reassurance”.

Alma nodded even though she was on the phone.

“Sure, of course I’ll babysit her. What time shall I come?”, she asked as she used one hand to scratch her neck slightly while she blinked, trying to get the last tiredness out from her eyes.

“Well my shift starts at 8 am so what about 7:30? If that’s not too early per say. I’m sorry if it is, they called me literally five minutes ago”.

Alma looked at the clock, 7:01 pm.

Well.

She had 29 minutes on her. Better get ready real fast.

“Sure it’s fine, I’m already up and all, I’ll put on some clothes and make a fast breakfast and then me and Dannel will be on our way”.

“No need for breakfast, I’ve got some pancake mix right here that you and Ellie can eat. I’ll make it now if that means you’re here a bit earlier”.

“Sure, pancakes seems nice. I’ll be there as fast as I can”.

“Thank you so much Alma, you’re such a kind friend”.

“No need to thank me, we’re both mothers and understand these kinds of things. You would have done the same for me and Dannel if I was in your place”, Alma said. Yes she truly believes it, Carmen was such an amazing friend and she also was an excellent mother towards her kids, she could see that from miles. All three of them (she is counting Ellie) adored her for a good reason. “See you soon”.

She hung up and quickly jumped out of bed and stretched her arms as she always did in the morning. It was an easy way to get the muscles to realize that it was time to wake up because a new day was beginning. She put on her slippers and quickly went to the kitchen and put on the coffee machine. Because even if she would eat breakfast at the Sanchezes she still needed her coffee before doing something like literally every human adult ever. Yes, coffee was the powerhouse of energy for adults, much like of the mitochondria is the powerhouse of a cell. She smiled as the machine began working and then went back into her bedroom and looked out of her window.

Some snow were on the streets, not much, but some, and the air and become significantly chiller this past month. The sky was filled with gray clouds, you couldn’t see a single bit of blue. Probably snow clouds, it would probably begin to fall small flakes later today. It was the end of November after all.

She quickly dressed herself in some warm clothes and then walked back to the kitchen. Her coffee was finished so she quickly poured a hot cup, smiling as the steam flew towards the ceiling. Yes, nothing like a good old cup of coffee. She took a sip, and then another one. The entire cup was finished in about a two minutes, and she smiled as the warmth of the liquid ran through her body and made her less tired.

Okay, coffee was done. She put the cup in the dishwasher. She left the rest of the coffee that had even brewd, Stacy would surely appreciate that the coffee was already made when she too one up (she was lucky to get to sleep in).

She looked at the clock on the wall, it was 7:07. Still time, but time to wake up Dannel.

She carefully entered her bedroom and smiled as she saw her cute ball of rust still sleeping in her bed, you could clearly see how part of his body was raising and lowering as he was breathing. He was so cute, like how could a grub even be that cute? It should be literally impossible to be that cute, Alma felt like her heart was literally melting as she looked at her extremely adorable troll son. He got cuter each day, and Alma was extremely proud of her little rust colored bundle.

She planted a kiss on his forehead which caused his tiny ears to flap, and Alma carefully sang the nice (yet annoying) song that her mother always had woken her up too.

“Good morning, good morning. Oh what a lovely day, good morning, good morning to youuuu”.

Dannel let out a squeak as he opened his eyes a bit carefully and looked up at his mother as he yawned and carefully stood up on his six legs and shook himself, causing the tuft of hair on his head to go in all directions. Much like how a dog does when it wants to get water out of its fur.

He was so cute.

“Morning Dannel, we’re going to Carmen’s”, she said before she opened the drawer and took out a tiny grub sweater that her mother had knitted during the family reunion. Since normal clothes didn’t really fit him, he had gotten this sweater so that he wouldn’t have to freeze during the winter.

She carefully unbuttoned the black and red sweater and put in all of his six legs in the holes before she buttoned it up again. He was so cute in the sweater, but Dannel seemed to think differently since he immediately tried to chew on it.

“Dannel, we’re going out in the cold. You got to have it. I’ll take it off as soon as we get to Carmen’s, okay love?”, she asked and her soon immediately stopped chewing and let out a few clicking sounds from the back of his throat along with a somewhat annoyed yet tolerating squeak.

She went and out on her own jacket and then took the baby carrier before placing Dannel in it, so that he carefully could relax next to her chest. Which was cute, even though he had begun to hit her chest with his horns for fun from time to time, man those things hurt it they hit you with enough power. She was thankful that his horns were somewhat blunt, more blunt than Therea’s atleast, they looked like they were sharp as spikes on the top because of the point on them.

Alma opened the door to her apartment and was about to leave when she realized…

“Dang it”.

She ran back into the kitchen while taking comically large steps, and quickly got a bag of dead bugs and put it in her handbag, she had almost forgotten to bring breakfast for Dannel. Because even if she would it breakfast at the Sanchezes, she doubted that they would have bugs in a bag in the cupboard. Bugs is not usually something you have in your house with the intent of consuming them if you’re human, only if you had a hungry grub to feed. And Carmen didn’t have a grub, only three human children, and she doubted they would want bugs for breakfast.

Well, now she had the bugs and she could get going. If she walked with a steady pace she would be there at around 7:25.

She walked through the light snow on the streets and enjoyed the cool, chilly air. Christmas was in a month, and this weather really got you into the spirit, especially when the amazing smell of food was in the air every time someone walked into a food place like Subway, which made her crave a spicy tuna sandwich with some onion and lettuce, and garlic sauce. All the scents just came at you, and it made Alma’s stomach let out a huge growl, like that type you usually hear in movies. Yes, this proved that she was extremely hungry, she couldn’t wait for those warm and soft pancakes over at Carmen’s. With some maple syrup and some butter on top, along with a fresh glass of orange juice. Oh how she loved breakfast, her stomach basically demanded food, because it let out a second growl. Never underestimate a hungry woman, that’s for sure, because Alma sped up that walking pace (and almost slipped thanks to some ice) because of her hunger. Pancakes, oh the pancakes. She let out a sigh as she thought of them, the cool air making it so that slight steam flew upwards.

Here she comes!

Several minutes passed and then she finally stood outside of the apartment building that was her destination.

She walked up a few stairs and then she was there, she rang and Carmen immediately opened. She had her winter coat on and she could see that both Bobby and Maria were dressed for the outdoors.

“Hey Carmen”.

“Hey Alma, thanks again so much for coming on such a short notice. I’ll have to leave so these two get to daycare on time. The pancakes are ready, and there’s some money on the counter if you and Ellie wanna go shopping or buy some pizza. There’s also an extra house key there”.

Alma saw his Carmen swung her handbag and put it into place. Bobby and Maria walked out of the door.

“Can you lock the door please?”.

Alma nodded.

“Sure”.

“Thanks, I owe you one for this. You’re the best friend a mom could have. Make sure to have fun, and try to stop Dannel if he tries to break the framed picture of Rafael again, okay”.

“Sure, I’ll try”, she said and thought back on how Dannel previously had broken a framed picture I’d Carmen’s husband, twice. She really hoped he wouldn’t do it again, because man, she knew Dannel liked to climb but this wasn’t their house, and it wasn’t grubproofed like her own apartment. Because grubs were funny little rascals who loved to climb, explore, chew on questionable items, and take things that weren’t theirs.

“Thanks, see you”.

Carmen lifted up Bobby in her arms and she and Maria immediately began to walk down the stairs with a quick pace. Alma closed the door and locked. She put down Dannel and removed his sweater (to his delight) and he disappeared. She heard the sound of his tiny legs against the floor as he walked around, he was heading towards the kitchen.

She took off her own jacket and took out the bugs from her bag, carefully so that some wouldn’t accidentally end up in it again. Ew, just thinking about accidentally finding a worm wiggling in there again made her whole body shiver..

As she walked into the kitchen, Ellie sat at the table, eating a huge mountain of pancakes with lots of syrup.

“Hey Alma!”, she said and smiled, with a mouth full of food.

“Hey Ellie, I’m just going to feed Dannel and then I’ll sit down with you”.

She opened one of the cupboards and took out a soup bowl, opened the bag and poured the bugs into it before putting the bowl on the floor. Dannel was over his breakfast in an instant, so now when he was occupied and soon well fed, she could finally eat something herself.

Oh those sweet pancakes, the smell of them was in the air and it made her mouth water in delight as she thought about the taste and texture of pancakes, along with that sweet yet sticky syrup. Yes, she loved pancakes. She’s pretty sure everyone loved pancakes, it’s a huge breakfast classic all over the country. Because where you even a real person if you didn’t like pancakes? Okay probably, but you sure missed out on something.

No offense to the people who actually don’t like pancakes, her mind usually was pretty weird when she was hungry.

“Isn’t it weird to go and carry around bags of bugs for when you feed him?”, the cocoa skinned girl asked before taking another bite of her food. “Bugs are gross”.

“Well it was weird in the beginning, but that’s what he eats. I’m used to it now so it’s not as gross as before. But yes you’re right, bugs are gross. I would never touch some if they weren’t good for Dannel”.

She put a tower of three pancakes on her plate, watched in delight as she held the dark maple syrup over it, and then added a click of butter. Yes, the perfect breakfast was right here, guys, gals and nonbinary pals.

“Yeah guess that makes sense, he gotta eat something. But troll food is weird”.

“Well, grub food is weird yes. But troll food is actually really good. I loved the food I ate when I was on Alternia, and when Therea is over she usually brings ingredients from the Alternian grocery store and makes food. It’s so different from Earth food, it’s a thrill”.

“There’s an Alternian grocery store?”.

Alma nodded.

“Yeah. There’s only a few ones around the world so far, with import and all, but since Therea works in the Earth brooding caverns there’s almost only trolls living there, so they opened a troll grocery store beside the local Walmart. It really sticks out next to the store”.

“How?”.

“Well, the store is made of the usual black metal and has purple colored window in sets of twelve. It has a different type of look than the rest of the places. Wait a sec”. She took out her iPhone and looked through her folders with picture until she found the right one. It was a picture she had taken of the grocery store with its black walls and sale prices on posters in alternian. You could also see some trolls in the distance of the picture, one was walking with bags, and another one had somehow got one of their horns stuck in the shopping cart and it looked like they got help with jamming it out from another troll. “This is how it looks. Therea sent this to me once she told me about it”.

“Nice, that looks so cool!”.

“I know right! You should have seen Alternia, whole cities with buildings like this. Some were super tall, and the colored windows glew in a way. Streets filled with trolls and lusii, cars that had spider legs instead of tires and traffic lights with eleven different colors, rust to fuschia. Street stands with cool exotic food. I fell in love with a yellow blooded scorpion thing on a stick, it was so tasty. All was amazing. And the purple night sky with two moons, one pink and one green, it was so beautiful”.

She smiled as she thought back to her vacation, all the days she had spent on the gray planet. All those wonderful thing she had experienced, all those new people she had met, all souvenirs she had bought, and everything she had learned. I’d really was out of those world, and you could see that on Alma’s look as her smile grew and her eyes clearly gave away that she was daydreaming about that amazing vacation.

Ellie looked at her with awe in her eyes.

“Wow. That sounds amazing”.

“It was. Best trip I’ve ever been on. I’ve got some pictures on my phone if you wanna see them”.

“YES!”, she said and jumped up from her chair, and Alma let out a laugh as she saw the smile on the girl’s face, that was true excitement. But that excitement could wait a few minutes, she was still starving and the pancakes looked so tempting and delicious, just waiting for her to eat them. Her stomach growled again

“Ellie, let’s eat some breakfast first, okay? Then I’ll show you all the pictures”.

“Okay Alma”.

She nodded and went back to eating her food.

Alma was about to take a huge bite of her own pancakes when she heard a loud burp and a chirp, yes, Dannel was finished with his bugs and now clearly wanted some attention and cuddling from his mother.

Yes he was so cute and amazing, she loved her son more than words could describe, but why? Why when she was about to eat?

She let out a sigh and clapped her knee, signalizing her son. He sprinted on his six legs with his chubby little body and then crawled up her leg and sat down in her lap, relaxing. Ellie laughed at seeing that.

“He’s so cute!”.

Alma smiled.

“I know, mommy loves him. Babies are so cute”.

The girl nodded.

“Yeah, I remember my little brother when he was newborn. Not Bobby, my real brother. He was so tiny”, she said and Alma immediately began to listen since Ellie mentioned her birth family.

“All babies are, if you don’t mind, would you like to tell me about him?”.

“Sure. His name is Travis, he was born two months too early and the doctors didn’t know if he would make it, but he did. He’s six years old now, I missed his birthday last month since I’m living here now. He was sweet to me when the rest weren’t. Along with the cat, I loved the cat”.

“When the rest weren’t?”.

“Yeah, mom, dad and my big brother Tyler. He’s sixteen. They made fun of me for not being manly enough, called me a girl”. She looked down at the floor. “But when they found out that I actually was a girl and not a boy, then things changed. They used girl as an insult, and then began calling me a boy when they knew I wasn’t one. Dad wanted me to become manly so he cut my hair into a buzz cut and threw away all my favorite clothes. He had planned to make me go to an all boys catholic school as well to “fix” me. They didn’t want to realize that I didn’t need fixing. They said I never can be a girl when I already am one. It’s not my fault I was born with a weird body”.

Oh poor child. She felt so sorry for her. Being trans must be so hard on its own, feeling all the dysphoria and feeling like you don’t belong in your own body, and on such a time when puberty just had begun. A transgender child deserved all the love and comfort they needed, especially if the wrong puberty was about to start and they didn’t yet have access to blockers or the right hormones. (Thankfully Carmen had taken Ellie to a gender clinic and if everything went well she could get puberty blockers in a few months).

Alma thought at the trolls, who had a much looser way of looking at gender. They all looked fairly the same, and no one batted an eye on you being trans. “So you’re a girl? Sure”, “So you wanna go by they/them now? Great, tell me if I accidentally mess up”, “I go by he. Sure, I still hate you but I'll use your new pronounce when mocking you since misgendering is an all time low for anyone”. She wished all humans looked at gender is such a way as trolls did, because for them gender didn’t really matter on many things, and they understood that you, and you alone could know what your gender was.

“Ellie, do you want to talk about it? All of this I mean?”.

“My gender or my family?”.

“Both”.

“Sure, it’s nice to talk about this with someone other than Carmen for a change”.

Alma nodded.

“Okay so, I heard most of your family was bad, but do you want to see your little brother again if you have the chance?”.

“Yeah, I love Travis. He’s the best little brother a girl could ask for. When we’re older I hope that we can meet and begin to talk again, since we’re siblings and all. I just hope my parents just hasn’t filled him with all these things, prejudice. Like Tyler, he was almost worse than my parents”.

“Really?”.

“Yeah, he told his friends and they started to tease and try to beat me to make me more manly. He always insulted me in public and even wrote insults on my locker at school. Everyone began to look at me in a funny way after that. I got to sit alone in the cafeteria”.

“That’s… terrible”.

“Yeah, but now I live here and has changed school. No one knows I’m trans there so it’s nice. The girls are so kind to me and never say rude things.”.

“I’m glad to hear that, you deserve friends”.

“Thanks, they really feel like friends. The only thing that was annoying was that the first weeks everyone commented on why a girl had so short hair, but they’ve stopped with that now. I just said I did cut it because I “wanted” to so they would stop asking. But when it grows out I’ll never cut it again”.

“Never? Not even to trim it? It’s gonna get a bit strained after a while”.

“Well okay, I’ll trim it to keep it fresh AFTER it has reached my shoulders”.

“Fair enough. But Ellie, tell me more about school”, she said, because she saw the slight smile on the young girl’s face. She wanted to make her happy by letting her talk about things she obviously enjoyed now when she briefly had brought up something that obviously was a tough thing and all.

“It’s nice. Mrs Fern is the best teacher, I have her in English. She makes the lessons so much fun. And my friends are amazing. They’re named Naomi, Avery and Taylor. Taylor is really cute”.

“Oh, are they?”, Alma asked, using gender neutral pronounce since she didn’t know what Taylor was. But Ellie nodded.

“Yeah she is, I really want to ask her out but I’m a bit shy. I’m not really sure that she’s into girls. And I haven’t exactly had the best luck with people”.

“Why’s that?”.

“I used to have a boyfriend in secret before I came out, his name was Max, but he broke up with me because he was scared of what would happen if someone found out about us”.

“Well, that’s sad”.

She nodded.

“Yeah, because he was really nice, but I guess he was scared about what people would think. That’s kinda me and Taylor now, since we’re both girls. But seeing you and Therea and everyone in this house treating is as normally is really nice to see, you’re cute together”.

“Aww”, Alma said and smiled at the girl. “Just keep being yourself and love whoever your heart tells you to love, boy or girl”.

“Thanks, it’s nice to hear that. Before coming here I didn’t even know you could crush on more than one gender. From what I had heard from my family there was gay and straight, so when I went to Carmen and told her I was confused about liking Taylor when I had dated a boy and she gave me a name for it, it was nice. Nice to know that I wasn’t the only person that loved not only one gender”.

Alma nodded, she knew what a roller coaster being young was, with all the feelings and emotions as you tried to figure out who exactly you were. Gender identity and sexuality as well, it was the age of exploration. But sadly many people just stayed confused because they didn’t know what they were actually had a word for it, and that they weren’t alone.

“Your far from the only one being bisexual. Trolls are pansexual for example, they can fall in love with any person regardless of gender. So they don’t have a gender preference, they can date a girl, boy or a nonbinary person all the same”, Alma said. “So you’re far from the only one, there’s always people like you out there to talk to, remember that”.

“Thanks Alma, you’re the best”.

Alma smiled at the girl before suddenly jumping in surprise, Dannel had began to chew on her pants a bit, for no particular reason whatsoever. He fastly chewed with his sharp teeth and just seconds later there was a small hole in the fabric along with a wet chew stain. Yes, this was a grub and or baby in a nutshell, all that chewing. Only chewing, so much chewing.

But that caused Alma to get out of her train of thoughts for a bit.

“Well, this certainly began to sound a lot like an episode of Dr Phil”, she said. “Let’s do something else instead, something funny to think about something else”.

She got a nod from the girl as she let out a happily smile, baring her teeth.

“Sure”.

Chapter Text

The two of them finished their breakfast and Alma put Dannel in Ellie’s lap as she took her plate and put it in the dishwasher along with her own plate. She closed it and let out a yawn before she pulled her arms a bit backwards for a slight stretch.

“So Ellie, did you want to see some pictures from Alternia?”.

She saw how the preteen’s eyes lit up as she smiled and nodded.

“Yes I want too. It sounded so exciting when you told me about it”,

Alma nodded.

“Okay, go sit in the couch and I’ll be there in a minute”.

The girl nodded as she stood up, carefully cradling Dannel in her arms as she walked into the living room. You could hear all of Dannel’s purrs as he was carried. Yes he definitely liked Ellie, that grub liked almost everyone. Ellie would be the perfect babysitter, that’s a fact. She had held Dannel perfectly and gently in her arms so that he wouldn’t be able to jump out, yet still being held comfortably. She wouldn’t trust anyone with babysitting her son, she’s heard of all the stories of uninterested teens just wanting the money and doesn’t even check on the baby once at half day long sittings. She would personally fight someone if Dannel ever got a babysitter like that, but she knew Ellie wouldn’t be one of those. She liked Ellie, she was a really nice girl, and she was extremely responsible.

Alma let out a sigh and also walked into the living room and sat down on the comfy red couch, iphone in hand. As she sat down, Dannel tried to nibble it but as she said no, he listened and moved on to nibbling on her shirt instead.

She opened her phone album where she had put all pictures related to her space trip, 1941 pictures for 4 days in space an 3 days on a planet. Yes, looking back at it now, seeing so many identical photographs she realized she might have went w little overboard with all the pictures, but it had been space. You couldn’t really blame her. She was sure everyone would use up so much of their phone memory with vacation pictures if they were in space.

She clicked on a picture and showed Ellie the gigantic night black spaceship with purple bug legs and purple windows. Looking at how the sun reflected on the metal, it made her feel as excited when she had seen the spaceship for the first time. Even a picture was astonishing, literally out of this world. And not in a pun way.

“Wow”, Ellie said. “There’s no way that’s the spaceship. It’s huge and spaceships don’t look like that”.

“That is the spaceship, but you’re right. It was literally massive, I couldn’t believe it myself. And the troll that guided me then, Walita, she told me this was small for troll standards”.

“You got to be kidding me”.

“Nope. Twenty stories tall is nothing for Alternian spaceships”.

The young girl’s jaw dropped as she started at the picture, for such a long time so that the iPhone locked itself, leaving Alma’s lockscreen (a picture of Dannel being cute of course) visible for a second when she reopened it.

Alma scrolled through her phone and then took up a video, her walking through the corridors of ever changing colors, from red to fuschia in the matter of a few second. You could also hear all the humans and troll talking in the background, and saw countless of other people walk through the corridor in that short clip.

“Wow, that looks so cool”.

“Yeah it was. Wait until you see the room”.

She took up a picture of her small room.

“Where are the windows?”.

“They’re right there, I didn’t realize it until I touched the wall. I have no idea how it’s purple on the other side though”.

“Nice. Also, don’t mkat trolls sleep in those pod thingies with slime?”.

“Yeah, a recuperacoon”.

“Why wasn’t there one in your room?”.

“They probably assigned me a tourist room for non trolls, so it had a bed instead. Therea’s room had a recuperacoon”.

“Oh right you met her on the ship”.

She nodded.

She showed a selfie of her in bed and a holoscreen in the distance.

“That looks neat, like a sci-fi movie!”.

“Yeah. I almost freaked out when we were taking off, out of nowhere there was this voice inside of my mind that told me we were taking off. And lifting from Earth wasn’t any worse than going on a roller coaster”.

“You got to be joking, in class we’ve read that going to space is one of the hardest things your body can ever experience, and not everyone is able to undergo it. It should feel way worse”.

“You do realize that was an alien ship and not a human one? Because I bet that if it was as difficult for a human to go into space as it was in human rockets, the government definitely wouldn’t have allowed space tourism without proper training”.

“Yeah, when you say it like that, it makes sense”.

She showed Ellie a picture of the black void that was space, and then showed her more pictures from when she had walked around the ship. Then the grubloaf she had eaten that day, and then the best. A picture of a tall jadeblood with pointy horns, a lab coat with a huge smile on her face. A troll she knew so well by now, someone who she would never leave.

Therea.

“This was the first time I met Therea. We ate food together”.

She remembered the chat they had had, and how they had hit it off right away. She had been so kind, so amazing. Never would she have guessed that this gorgeous troll would end up becoming her girlfriend, or matesprit depending on if you asked Alma or Therea what they were.

“Nice, so you met on the ship?”.

Nod.

“Yeah. We had two really fun days at the ship and I got to know so much about her, it was amazing. But that’s not the best part”, Alma said and looked through her phone album for another good picture to show the girl. A picture of the gray planet known as Alternia, seen from the distance as the spaceship had begun to approach it.

“That’s Alternia? It’s so gray”.

Alma nodded again.

“I know, but it’s gorgeous down there. So many colors, and the sky is amazing. Oh and wait”. She changed picture, showing countless of green communal hivestems “This is Therea’s childhood home, she lived on the twenty second floor”.

“Nice. Everything looks so different from here, I have to go there one day”.

“You totally should, trust me”,

For the next twenty minutes, Alma continued to show picture after picture from her Alternia trip to Ellie, who clearly was excited and see more. Alma got to know that Ellie had never left the state, and really wanted to travel. Alma would definitely tell Carmen about that once she came home from work. Because she knew Carmen sometimes went on trips with her family to different places, and she would tell her what Ellie seemed interested in. Which was Alternia, but who wouldn’t be interested in an alien planet filled with cool things and cool inhabitants, all with a different culture than here on Earth.

The girl really seemed to like everything she saw, and Alma couldn’t blame her.

Finally, Alma had ran out of pictures of her vacation to show Ellie, so it was time to move on. As Alma looked at the clock at the wall, she saw that it was still pretty early, so why not cartoons? If she remember the schedule right…

“Hey Ellie, do you watch cartoons?”.

She nodded.

“Yeah sometimes. I really like Train of Infinity, Radical Time for Adventures I’m the land of Mooh, and Gideon Gold”.

“You like Gideon Gold? That’s neat!”, Alma said. “If I remember correctly I think an episode will start soon on the tv, so we could waste some time with that if you want”.

“Sure, why not? It’s been a while since I saw some of those, it’s mostly Sesame Street here when everyone’s at home”.

Alma nodded, clearly understanding that. When you had small children at home, all of your free will automatically disappeared out of the window. Everything you enjoyed or used to do got replaced with Sesame Street (no wonder so many parents and legal guardians out there hated Elmo so much) and accidently stepping on baby toys that had been missing for weeks to suddenly just reappear.

She got the remote and turned on the TG, quickly switching to the right channel. She has been right, there was currently a commercial break, with a picture of Gideon and his guardians in the corner with the word “up next” under them. Alma hoped it was one of the newer episodes. Everything got way better and more intense after the first season. Everything after that had so much plot, so much character development and so many new characters to fangirl about. And don’t forget to tough subjects that were discussed in such a good and well planned manner.

No wonder she was obsessed with this show, it was simply amazing if you had to put her thoughts on it into words, even though no words could ever truly describe her love for this show, or any other cartoon that so happened to peak her interest.

The commercial ended and the theme song rolled, which thrilled Alma. It was the theme song the season 3, her a absolutely favorite season of all time when it came to the show. There was not a single episode in that season that she disliked, the writing had been absolutely top notch according to her. Yes it still had some hate, but everyone had their own opinion. For Alma, this was the absolutely best season, and she happened to be lucky in another way, her ship had become canon in that season and she had remembered all of the neverending shipping wars.

“Nice, this season is so good!”, Ellie said, slightly dancing along to the theme song while remaining in the couch.

That peaked the interest of Dannel who let out a confused yet interested chirp as he looked up at her with his big rust colored eyes. His ears were also pointed slightly upwards in a relaxing manner, twitching once in a while.

“I know right! Gideon is my favorite character ever, he has got so much developed since the show started, the crew has written him so well”, she said. “Sadly far too many shows don’t know how to write in such detail while still keeping it real and relatable. Their problems are totally out of this world, yet the way they write it, we relate because Gideon reacts and she’s things a regular human should have done”.

“Yeah, human stuff, even though he’s half rock alien”.

Laugh.

“Yeah, for being part rock. But remember, even if someone is not a human, or fully human in this case, there’s no way to think their emotions work differently than ours, or think that they lack them as well. Gideon is raised on Earth, so obviously he reacts how people in his area has raised him too. Had that human rick hybrid been raised on the Rock Homeworld, or on Alternia or one of its colonies, Gideon would have grown up completely different and gotten a different personality because of how people around him reacted. That is like the norm, the new normal”, she said. “It’s fascinating when you think about it. You can think aliens are weird and different, but they think exactly the same thing about us. For them, we are the odd ones out that act completely of chart, not knowing how to properly act, react, feel, and so on. Like, a lion have no idea why an antelope eats grass and leaves instead of meat, that for them is clearly the healthiest and best opinion, and vice versa Do you get what I mean?

Ellie nodded.

“Yeah, when you say it like that. It’s so strange, but kind of cool when you think about it in that way. Our normal may be the complete opposite of what ninety percent of the universe think is normal, the real way to act. They would probably think we are the lunatics while we think they are the weird ones”, she said. “Damn, now I got so much to think about”.

Alma let out a laugh, she guessed she had accidently given Ellie a sort of psychology lesson about the different meanings of normal between all known species.

“Sorry about that, I got a bit carried away again”.

“Yeah I can see that”, Ellie said, stretching her arms up into the air. “We’ve missed the two first minutes of the show thanks to all this talking. Good for you it’s a rerun”.

Yes, that sentence confirmed it all.

Alma definitely liked Ellie, she was such a sweet and nice girl, but also filled with humor and great comebacks. If Carmen hadn’t already adopted her, Alma would have. Ellie was so sweet and made everyone smile even on the saddest days you might have, no matter if that smile is from being cute, or telling a great joke or one liner. Both were equally good.

For the next few hours (they got kind of sucked in, because they played a rerun of an entire character arc filled with intense off planet plot, one of Alma’s favorite arcs from that season even), they looked at cartoons while Dannel crawled around on the couch, sometimes changing from sitting on Alma’s lap to Ellie’s, and vice versa.

As the arc finally ended, Alma was confused. How much time had actually passed?

She reached for her iPhone, which was a bit hard since a certain rust colored grub sat on it (but thankfully not biting or scratching on it atleast) and refused to let go of it.

Once she finally had it, she almost jumped backwards.

“Wow”, she said. “It’s almost lunchtime”.

“It is?”.

“Yeah, look”.

She showed Ellie the time and she nodded.

“So food then?”.

“Yeah, Carmen left us some money before she left. Do you want to order takeout or go out and eat? You get to choose”, Alma said. She had no problem with food, and Dannel could eat literally almost anything and everything.

“I get to choose?”.

“Sure. It’s your day off school”.

“Then I want to go to the mall, the one where they have a Pizza Hut, I love their pizzas, especially the only cheese one, oh and the pepperoni one as well! And it’s so nice and cozy to sit in one of their actual stores instead of just ordering pizza, you know. And on week days they’ve got this lunch buffet”.

Alma nodded at the girl. Pizza was one of her guilty pleasures, especially when it came from that establishment. And an all you can eat pizza buffet made everything even better.

“Nice, I love Pizza Hut, let’s do that”.

She took Dannel in a good grip and stood up, preparing to leave.

And as she got to the counter, she looked at all the money Carmen had left. It was way more than pizza money, and she had said they could spend it at whatever they wanted, so, she got an idea.

“Ellie, before we eat, would you like to go clothes shopping?”.

“Clothes shopping? For real? I’d love to Alma”.

As a smile grew on the girl’s face, Alma felt happy for her, Ellie must appreciate every new pair of clothing she got at the moment, building a new wardrobe from scratch was definitely not an easy task at all. She hoped that she could help Ellie a bit, even if it was just helping her choose one more thing for her wardrobe.

“Sure. Is there anything special you’d like to look at?”.

“Well, there is this really cute blue dress at H & M, every time we pass the store I wanna buy it, but I’ve never asked Carmen for it before.

“Then we’ll get that one for you. Let’s go and shop before we eat”.

“You’re the best ever Alma”.

Chapter Text

Alma quickly drew through the interstate, going almost fifteen over the speed limit. Her heart was aching and all of her body screamed for her to drive faster, that she had to get there in time. The desire was so strong, it was the only thing in her mind at the moment. She had to get to William and Amanda’s house even if it meant a speeding ticket, this was way too important.

William and Amanda had called at 6 am and needed an emergency babysitter, and since Alma lived the closest she just put Dannel in his baby carrier and began to drive.

Why did Alicia and Alexander need a babysitter on such short notice?

Well, Amanda had gone into labor, and had to get to the hospital as fast as possible, but she and William couldn’t leave the kids home alone like that, Alma had to get there first. They were only three and two years old.

To be honest, her heart hadn’t beaten this fast in months! Her adrenaline level was up in the roof, and it felt like it was impossible so get even more stressed. This was so important, her sister in law was finally having the twins, everyone were so excited, and today it would happen. She would babysit her cute nephew and niece, and later today her brother and his wife would show her their two new small bundles of joy.

She turned and drew into a few smaller streets, but got stopped by a red light. She let out a sigh, and then heard someone honk at her, but she didn’t really care, it wasn’t her fault exactly. Like if she could magically turn the light red just to annoy the person in the car behind her. But after what felt like thousands of unending hours (it probably really was around forty seconds though, but being anxious did strange things to the human body) the light finally turned green, and she could drive away from the constantly honking driver behind of her. She would reach her brother’s house in about three or four minutes. These suburban roads didn’t have nearly as much traffic as in the middle of the city were Alma and Stacy’s apartment were located. This was your typical rural suburbs filled with houses, nuclear families with either one or two kids, and a dog or a cat as a pet family pet. That or old couples living out their retired day by playing golf.

She heard Dannel squeak in the back, he was probably hungry and grumpy, you don’t wake up a grub this early if you’re sane, but she had too. Once she got inside she’d put him back to bed and then give him an extra big breakfast of bugs and all that stuff he liked.

She saw the two story house in the distance, and quickly parked her car before getting Dannel.

As she lightly knocked on the door, William opened it only about two seconds later. His hair was a big mess on his head, his eyes were bloodshot and he was shaking. His morning stubble was also there, he had clearly not shaved. To simplify it, it looked like he had just seen someone die and forgot how to take care of himself. Having a wife on labor must really scare someone.

“A-Alma Thanks g-g-g-goodness”, he said, shaking as he said every word. “I’m so gra-ateful”.

“William relax, you seem to need it”.

“MY WIFE IS GONNA PUSH TWO HUMANS OUT OF HER, SHE’S IN PAIN AND WILL LOSE A LOT OF BLOOD, AND YOU WANT ME TO BE CALM?!?”, he screamed, the house practically shaked at his words.

Wow, he’s already done this previously, two times to be exact, but a father never stopped being nervous, he would have been the same train wreck even if this had been Amanda’s twenty eight baby.

“Sweetie, you’re gonna wake the children”, Amanda said as she walked into view. She was holding a hand on her belly and had her coat on, and she let out a few whimpers from the pain. “Also I’m fine, it’s just a little pain”.

“WHAT YOU’RE DOING SHOULDN’T BE POSSIBLE BY HUMAN STANDARDS! WHAT HAVE I DONE TO YOU?!?”.

Alma saw how Amanda let out a sigh.

“William. Richard. Harlow. Now you listen the fuck up and stop acting like you’re the one in pain. Yes it fucking hurts but I’m not gonna die. Your sister is here now and will look after the children, and you are gonna drive me to the hospital so I can get these kids out of me, unless you want a repeat of last time”, she said, calm yet strict. Two years ago when Alexander had been born, William had been to scared and accidentally got them lost (should be impossible) while driving and Alexander hadn’t been a very patient baby. Amanda gave birth to him in the car, halfway to the hospital. It had been the biggest news at the family reunion, a lot of laughs, but Alma understood if Amanda didn’t want that to happen again. Especially now when she was carrying twins. A normal birth was hard enough, (Alma secretly thanks the gods for her being gay and having an adopted son, she had the worst pain tolerance ever and would surely never survive childbirth when it came to just pain. Adopted children for the win).

William nodded at his wife, he had beads of sweat all over his forehead.

“Okay sweetie, will try”, he said before looking at Alma “The kids are sleeping in their room, they’ll probably want pancakes for breakfast. Don’t wake them up unless we call and tell you. Tell them mommy and daddy are at the hospital and that we’ll be home soon. Oh god I’m so nervous”.

Alma nodded at the instructions her brother had given her, and Amanda walked up to her and gave her a hug.

“Thanks so much for helping us Alma. We’ll call you if something happens”, she said and Alma smiled.

“Don’t worry, I’ll handle this. Now go and have those babies, auntie Alma can’t wait until they’re here”.

They quickly left the house and Alma saw how they drew away from the street (in their new mini van they’d bought) and soon disappeared into the distance. She hoped everything would turn out alright. And she prayed William wouldn’t faint on the interstate.

Once they were gone, Alma walked inside and carefully put Dannel on the couch, kissing his forehead while scratching his back, something that always calmed him when he was tired. He let out a purr, closed his sleepy eyes, his ears pointed down as he let out a yawn, showing all of his semi pointy teeth. He fell asleep in under a minute, and once he did, Alma smiled at her cute son before she took a picture of him and then went into the kitchen and took the pancake mix from the pantry, better make the food now so that two hungry kids wouldn’t attack her, they probably wanted food as soon as they woke up. That’s atleast what Alma thought after raising Dannel. She had the bag of bugs in her bag from when he finished his nap, which probably would be when everything turned noisy.

She made the pancake batter and then took out a frying pan. Soon the sweet smell of pancakes filled the air, Alma’s mouth watered. Once all pancakes were done, she put a kitchen blanket over them so they could be protected from the germs in the air, they would also cool a lot slower. She got the maple syrup and put it on the table, along with three plates. Now everything left we’re the children, who still slept peacefully, it was only 7 am after all.

Since she had nothing left to do, she walked into the living room and sat down beside her sleeping son before turning on the tv, lowering the volume just enough so she wouldn’t wake him. There was currently a news broadcast with both international and galactic news. Two countries had signed a peace treaty about oil import, a town in Alternia had gotten blown up when a greenblood built a bomb to get rid of the city, since most trolls there watched dubbed anime instead of subbed. The death toll was around twenty thousand, mostly other olive bloods and jades. What people could do for anime. Then there was a short news clip about a few human who had begun working at Empress Feferi’s personal ship. Alma smiled as she saw the blond man she had met months ago at that bus stop. Dave smiled as he stood beside the short mutantblood Karkat. Alma was really happy that everything was fine and that they were happy with their jobs. After that the news anchor talked about a hurricane that might hit Florida, and that Walmart would have a nation while sale on Nutella next week. They also talked about being careful, so that no one would get hurt while fighting over it (it had happened in France, people had got Nutella jars thrown in their faces and fought for them).

Then the news ended and a bad reality show began playing. Not that interesting, but it passed some time. Several episodes played in a row, and before she knew it the clock was 8:45, and her phone rang, waking Dannel up from his comfy spot. He hissed as he squinted before he realized where the sound was coming from, then just looked plain grumpy, a frown on his face and ears pointed backwards. He bared his teeth for a few seconds. Don’t wake up that grub from his naps is rule number one of parenthood.

As Alma took her phone, she saw that William was calling. Could the babies already be there?

She answered instantly, excited for what her brother would tell her.

“Hello”, Alma said. “How it going?”.

“Fucking horrible!”, William screamed, you heard how tired he was, he wa probably shaking as he spoke. “Amanda has lost so much blood and even though she’s dilated, there’s complications! When of the babies is turned wrong and is blocking the way out, she’s lost lots of blood”.

“Oh fuck, is she gonna be okay? And the babies?”, Alma asked. Her heart began to beat as fast as if she just had completed a five mile jog and done fifty pushups. She really didn’t want anything bad to happen. Dannel too could feel how she began to worry, let out a whine and crawled up into her lap to comfort her.

“Yeah, they’re preparing for an emergency c-section. They’re going in in about ten”.

“Okay, that’s good. I hope all goes well”.

“Thanks Alma, it means a lot. Could you please wake the kids up and give all of them breakfast? I promised them they would be allowed to visit as soon as their siblings are born. So once this is done we’ll just call you and you can drive here”.

Alma nodded, even though no one saw it, since well, phone.

“Okay got it”, she said. “Good luck you two!”.

“Thanks”.

The call ended and Alma put her phone into her back pocket, took Dannel into her arms and walked to the kitchen. She put his bugs in a bowl and he began to eat, wolfing it down like crazy. And as he ate, Alma carefully tiptoed to the second floor and opened the door to the children’s room.

It was fairly big, had lots of toys of all kinds, dolls, raced cars, blocks, play books, and stuffed animals, and two tiny beds for the siblings, yet, one was empty. Alexander was laying curled up against Alicia, they almost always shared the same bed, and Alma thought it was the cutest.

“Morning”, Alma said as she walked closer, carefully touching their shoulders. They opened their eyes and looked a bit confused.

“Where mommy?”, Alexander asked. “And daddy?”.

“They’re at the hospital”.

“ ‘ospital?”, he asked. “Sibwings?”.

Alma nodded.

“Yes. They’ll be born soon, so we’ll get some breakfast and then you’ll get to meet them”.

“Yay!”, Alícia said. “Is it boys or girls?”.

Alma smiled at the question. Of course the children wondered. William and Amanda had never asked the genders at the ultrasounds, they wanted it to be a surprise. If they knew the genders they would probably only buy stereotypical stuff, so instead they had bought tons of clothes and toys in all colors, blue, pink, yellow, red, green, purple, orange, and so on. Then the babies would get to wear a bit of everything, and once they got old enough they would freely get to choose exactly what they wanted to wear from a huge variety. Also, knowing the genders kinda ruined the surprise, Amanda said. She really wanted it to be a surprise, because you never knew, that was the best part of pregnancy. Waiting and being happy, and being amazed when you finally got to meet your baby.

“We don’t know yet sweetie, but let’s go down, I’ve made pancakes”.

“Yay! Pwancakes!”.

“Auntie Alma is the best! Is Dannel here?”.

She nodded.

“Yes, he’s downstairs. He’ll be happy to see you”.

“Pway?”, Alexander asked.

Alma nodded.

“Yes you will be able to play after the breakfast, but once mommy and daddy calls, we’re going to the hospital to meet your siblings. Now, let’s go down. Do you two want syrup on your pancakes or not?”.

“Yay syrup!”.

They all walked downstairs, and Alma heated the now cold pancakes in the microwave for a bit and then put them on the childrens plates, along with the syrup. She cut their food into smaller pieces, and they finally began to eat, happy smiles on their faces. Once they had begun, Alma saw that Dannel’s bowl was empty, so she put it in the dishwasher, and then she too took a plate with a few pancakes, enjoying the breakfast.

Breakfast went fairly fast, and the children weren’t sticky at all from the syrup (a miracle in itself). They jumped out from the table and walked upstairs with Alma, who quickly dressed them in cute matching blue sweatpants and Pokémon sweaters. Alicia’s was green, and had a Bulbasaur on the front, while Alexander’s was blue with a Squirtle. They were going through their Pokémon phase together.

“Okay guys. Now when you’re finished you can play with…”.

Before she finished the sentence, her phone rung. She had never answered a single call in her life like this, and of course it was William.

“How’s it going?!?”, she shouted. She heard William cry, but it was not a sad or nervous cry, but a happy one. She could basically feel his happiness and see his smile through the phone.

“It’s done. The surgery was tough, Amanda won’t be able to have any more children, but the birth went okay. They’re resting now. Both of them are next to her, they’re so beautiful Alma. Two beautiful little boys, they’re identical, so precious. I love them so much”.

Alma could feel William’s pride through the phone, and she understood what he must be feeling. The day Alma had adopted Dannel and been magical, out of this world. It was so hard to describe how it felt, getting your own little bundle of joy, someone you would run to the end of the world for to protect, someone you would give your life for. It’s an unexplainable bond, of true love and care, a bond between parent and child. But she also felt sad over the fact that this would be Amanda’s last children. She knew Amanda wanted a huge family since she grew up as an only child whose parents also were only children. She had told Alma she wanted atleast five children, so this must be hard news. But she thanked the gods that Amanda and the babies were fine after the labor.

“Congratulations! We’ll be there right away!”.

“Please, I want the kids to meet their new brothers”.

“Okay, we’ll be there in twenty”.

“Okay, I’ll tell Amanda. See you”.

William hung up and Alma looked over at the children,

“Was that daddy?”.

She nodded.

“Yes, and do you know what? You’ve got two beautiful little brothers!”.

“Bwothers? Cool!”, Alexander said, showing off his white teeth in a large smile.

“Yay! I wanna name one Alexander”, Alicia said. “Because they’ll be as great as my brother”.

Alma chuckled.

“Well Alicia, wouldn’t three Alexanders be a bit confusing? I’m sure mommy and daddy already picked names too. C’mon, let’s go to the car”.

As the all went outside, Alma quickly installed Teo extra baby carriers, one for each seat in the back. She put the children inside, Dannel in the middle. All of the looked pleased at being huddled together like this. She carefully pet their belts on and doubled checked everything before finally jumping into the front and starting the car.

The fifteen minute long journey to the hospital felt like an eternity. The traffic on the interstate felt painfully slow, and all she wanted to was to get there faster, even though she knew she couldn’t. But time still passed, so after that unending eternity they finally drew into the hospital parking lot. She parked, quickly got a ticket and then unbuckled all of the children. She put Dannel into the baby carrier on her stomach, and let the human children hold her hands.

They carefully walked across the parking lot and entered the hospital. They took the elevator up to the correct floor, and as the doors opened, she saw William. He looked exhausted, like he hadn’t slept in weeks, but he looked like he also was overflowing with joy.

“Daddy!”.

Alexander and Alicia immediately let go of Alma and ran to William. He embraced both of them and gave them kisses on the foreheads.

“Hey my angels, how have you been?”.

“Bwothers”.

“Yes yes, follow me. Mom’s room is right around the corner”.

Time felt like it stopped, and soon they were outside of the door. William opened it and Alma smiled. Amanda was laying on the bed, two babies on her chest, sleeping. She saw that both of them had tufts of brown hair.

“Hey kids. Come meet your new brothers, Aaron and Anthony Harlow”, Amanda said.

“William, they’re beautiful”, Alma told her brother as the children ran up to their mother and new brothers, carefully looking at them with eyes full of wonder and joy,

“I know Alma. They’re my everything”, he answered. “But sis, there’s a thing I want to ask you”.

“Oh? And that is?”.

“Well”, Amanda said. “We’ve been talking, and we wondered if you want to be the twins godmother”.

Godmother.

Alma’s works stopped.

Joy was overwhelming her, a smile grew on her face.

“I’d love too”.

Chapter Text

Alma smiled as she walked into the small bakery near her house, it was owned by family who made delicious pastries and cakes. The smell of newly baked things almost overthrowing her into a state of delight, oh this place sure was her favorite, she always went here for pastries. Frankly, they made the best pastries she’d ever tasted, but she wouldn’t really tell that to her mother for obvious reasons.

By the cash register, a friendly old lady with short curly hair and glasses sat, smiling as she entered. She had been the founder of this place, now her children helped out with the family business, it was pretty sweet she admitted.

“Hello Alma, you’re early”, she said and pointed at the clock on the wall, it was only five minutes past six in the morning, and the bakery had just opened, she was pretty sure she was the first customer. “Picking up your order this early huh? You always come around ten when you’ve ordered something, and you didn’t bring your little cute son, he would have gotten a pastry to chew on”.

“Aww, thanks Amelia, that’s so sweet of you. But he’s home sleeping right now along with Therea, the cake is a surprise so I got to he early you know”, she said as she took her wallet out of her purse, ready to pay once Amelia had gotten the birthday cake.

“That’s so cute of you. Young love is the best, me and Harvey are still together after forty five years and the love never dies. Cherish your girl okay, promise me that”.

“I do”.

“Okay, I’ll get the cake now. Do you want to look at it before I package it my dear?”.

Alma nodded.

“Yes please, that’d be really nice of you Amelia”.

“No problem, I’ll be back in a minute”.

As Amelia dissapeared, Alma quickly took up her phone and smiled at her lockscreen, her, Therea and Dannel. Oh how she would be surprised! She knew trolls didn’t really celebrate birthdays, or wriggling days as they call it, and that she saw her age in sweeps instead of years, but she deserves a birthday party because she was so great.

So once Alma had asked about her birthday and exact age in sweeps (today Therea was 12.46 sweeps old), she had calculated it into human terms, and today, the 21th of January, Therea turned 27 Earth years old! That feat should be celebrated, Alma had waited so long for this moment. She wanted to show Therea everything amazing with birthdays on her planet, along with showing her extra love and affection.

Amelia entered the room once again, carrying a huge cake with dark blue icing, Therea’s favorite color. There were white marzipan roses in the corner, and in green icing the words “Happy 27th Birthday Therea” was written in the middle. The cake was absolutely gorgeous, one of the best cakes Alma had ever seen. She hoped Therea would appreciate it, and that Dannel wouldn’t just jump into the cake and destroy it like on Amanda’s late birthday party. Two jade green candles with white patterns on the sides were placed on it, one in the shape of the number two, and the other with number five.

“Oh Amelia, it’s beautiful. You’ve outdone yourself”, Alma said as she got the money from her wallet and gave it to her. “Thank you so much”.

“No problem dear. I’m gonna put it in a box and then you’re good to go”.

Five minutes later, Alma left the bakery with a smile on her face as she carefully carried the box the cake was on, walking through street after street, enjoying the cold bit fresh morning air. Some snow had disappeared, as you would expect in this part of the country at the end of January, it was a few degrees over freezing. It was pretty quite, you heard the birds sing and heard the sound of their songs flapping as the flew from one place to another, the soft sound of car engines in the distance, and once in a while Alma saw a few people walking, probably on their way to work. But for being this early, it was extremely relaxing, and she was outside of her apartment complex before she knew it. A small walk like this was a perfect way to start the morning, she had smelled the fresh air and felt way less tired than before, she had so much energy now.

She walked towards the elevator and let it take her to the right floor. She didn’t really trust herself with stairs when she was walking around with a cake, she didn’t want any accidents after all, especially now. Her mother had always warned her about the stairs when she grew up, and she did not want to hear another “I warned you about the stairs” inside of her head again.

As the elevator reached her floor and the doors opened with a small sound, she quickly fidgeted with her keys, unlocked her apartment door and closed it behind her. Alma carefully took off her shoes and tiptoed into the kitchen where she put the box down on the counter, and then she walked back into the hallway to take her jacket and beanie off.

It was still a bit early to wake Therea up, so she put the cake carefully into the fridge and then jumped onto the couch to relax a bit, candy crush time an all.

Two hours and seven cleared levels later it was time, it was about half past eight, and Therea had probably gotten enough sleep by now and would wake up soon anyway. She had to make her day special, so… breakfast in bed!

Alma rushed to the kitchen, got a frying pan and made some bacon and eggs. A classic breakfast that she knew Therea liked, along with a glass of orange juice with two spoons of oregano (don’t ask, all jades did it where she worked for some reason, and she wouldn’t question in).

Alma got her tray, began to balance everything delicately as she walked towards her bedroom and opened the door, seeing Therea and Dannel both sleeping, the grub cuddled up beside Therea’s face. Both had heavy breaths, still sleeping of course. But now it was time.

“Happy birthday to you”, Alma carefully began to sing as she slowly walked inside. “Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday Therea, happy birthday to you”.

The troll opened her sleepy eyes in surprise, flapping her ears curiously at the scene happening in front of her, before Alma placed the tray of food in her knees.

“Morning sweetie, happy birthday. I made you breakfast in bed”.

“Awe Alma, that’s so sweet. But why were you singing? And birthday?”.

“Well, waking someone up with singing is kind of a birthday tradition here. I know you use sweeps and wriggling days, but I used some math and you’re 27 years old today! I know trolls don’t celebrate, but I thought you’d like a birthday, this is Earth after all and for us humans it’s a pretty important part of our lives, you’re celebrating getting older after all. And I didn’t have patience to wait until your thirteenth wiggling day either. I hope you don’t mind”, she said, blushing slightly as she looked down at the ground. She really hoped Therea liked her gesture, and that she hadn’t just actually done something too extreme for the troll, they were from different planets after all, and troll culture still confused her sometimes (seriously, they call syrup for “boiled tree blood” when it’s clearly just syrup. What kind of brownblood with a border collie Lassie copy lusus and a ranch came up with that?).

Instead of more confusion, a smile spread across Therea’s face as she bared her pointy tooth, her ears poked upwards with a jade hue on them, that also painted her face, she was blushing hard at Alma.

“It’s amazing. Thank you so much. Birthdays are a bit new to me, but if it makes you happy I’ll gladly celebrate it with you, it seems way more fun than a wriggling day after all. And thanks for the breakfast as well, you even got the oregano for my orange juice, you’re the most kind and caring matesprit a jade could ever ask for”.

Now it was Alma’s time to blush.

“It was nothing, I’m just glad you’re enjoying it. But oregano in orange juice? What is the deal with that, it’s disgusting”.

“Well, troll thing I suppose”.

By the end of the sentence, both of them were laughing, and Alma carefully planted a kiss on Therea’s cheek before she got into the bed beside her, Dannel being the only thing between the young couple. She kissed her son on the forehead and ran her hand through his big mess of black hair, and then looked back at Therea who had started eating. She had already eaten half an egg and bit into the bacon with her slightly sharper than human fangs, chewing loudly with a smile on her face.

“Alma, this is delicious, thank you so much. An Earth breakfast like this is way more interesting then some morning grubloaf, grubcakes with boiled tree blood or something else”.

“But isn’t grubcakes exactly the same as pancakes?”.

“It’s complicated, now all grubcakes on Alternia are vegetarian, before they had bits of meat in it. I never really liked old grubcakes though, as a jadeblood I never saw the appeal in eating them, it’s my job to protect them after all”, she said, and then quickly changed the topic so that she wouldn’t have to talk about the cannibalism that had occurred in the troll species mere years ago. Many trolls just wanted to forget about that, and Alma understood. As a mother of a grub, she really didn’t like that topic either.

Instead, she watched as Therea took another bite of one of the fried eggs. The troll finished her plate pretty fast, smiling at her girlfriend.

“Thank you Alma, this was really nice of you, you’re the best”.

“No. You’re the best. I love you and you deserve to feel as special as you are”.

“Awe you’re making me all jade with these flushed feelings”.

Before more could be said, Alma felt how Dannel carefully nodded at her with his forehead, he yawned and flapped his ears before slowly starting to crawl over his mother, and then sat down on her stomach, still a bit tired. He had probably woken up by the smalltalk and smell of food, he was probably hungry. He was always hungry, and the guess was probably right since he tried to lightly chew on Alma’s sweater. She would have to feed him soon, if she didn’t want him to ruin the cake after somehow opening the fridge again, (yes, again).

“You haven’t seen nothing yet. I’ve got a few presents for you that I hope you’ll like”.

“You got me presents?”.

“Of course, those are a big part of someone’s birthday. You show someone how much you appreciate them while congratulating them on becoming older by giving them gifs. You’ll get to open them after the cake”.

“Cake?”.

“Of course! There’s always a cake on birthdays, it’s tradition. It even has some candles you’ll get to blow out, you’ll get to make a secret wish when blowing them out, and you’ll get the first piece of the cake. It’s fresh and newly made so it probably tastes amazing. I got up early and picked it up from the bakery, Amelia made it herself, you remember Amelia right? It’s your favorite color, and I hope you’ll like the taste! I’m just so excited, I’ve wanted you to experience a birthday for so long, you deserve it”.

“You mean it’s indigo blue?”, she asked happily, ears peeking upwards, and Alma nodded, smiling once again. The face and expression that Therea had when she was happy were so pure, so precious and all. Her gorgeous girlfriend deserves all the happiness she could get.

“Yes, it’s almost exactly that blue color that you have on most of your clothes, along with some white and jade of course, it’s a real masterpiece”, Alma said before giving her a kiss on the cheek. “You’ve already eaten your breakfast, so let’s wand Stacy up and we’ll all eat some cake! Congratulations again sweetie”.

“Alma, you’re the best”.

“Thanks Therea, but this day is about you, not me. But before we get the cake I should probably feed Dannel, he’s already ruined a cake once, it wasn’t pretty”.

“Wait really? When did that happen?”.

“At Amanda’s birthday. She got into labor on her birthday, so after spending a few hours at the hospital with the boys William drew home and got the cake, just for Dannel to jump into it and making a mess in the hospital room”.

Laugh.

“That’s so sweet”.

“I know”.