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Sock was honestly kind of hoping that he wasn’t a monster at this point. He was 17 and he still hadn’t manifested yet. Based on all of the stories he had heard before, late blooming manifestations are infinitely worse than if they occur when the individual is around 12 or 13 years old. He had just been hoping to be human at this point just to avoid it all, however this wasn’t the case.

 

While at a party, he was enjoying himself until he felt a sudden, sharp pain in his mouth. He rushed to the bathroom to inspect the sore and was horrified by his findings; his teeth had been slowly being replaced by much sharper ones. He covered his mouth as he ducked out of the bathroom, finding a good spot to hide. He immediately sat under a table that was near the back of the room where there was another boy standing there, leaning against the wall and nursing a cup of punch. The teenager considered talking to him since he didn’t really have any friends at the party. He cleared his throat and rubbed both sides of his jaw before speaking, “Hey there.”

 

He watched the other as he turned his head, disregarding the sound of stone moving against stone as the boy turned to him. “Oh, hey?” the gargoyle greeted cautiously, looking the other over. “I’m Sock,” he greeted from under the table, “At least, that’s what my friend calls me.” The stone teenager smiled ever so slightly, “Jonathan.” “Well, it’s great to meet you, Jonathan. I would look you in the eye more under normal circumstances, but given the fact that I’d rather not be seen in my current condition, these are absolutely not normal circumstances,” the manifesting monster rambled. Jonathan responded with an apathetic snort and turned his head away from the teen, to which Sock frowned at. “I thought we were bonding here!” he exclaimed, almost overdramatically, “This is a bonding moment, Jon!” “A bonding moment, huh?” the other hummed, staring at him. “Yeah,” he huffed and started pouting.

 

Jonathan hummed in thought, “How about this, we hang out sometime outside this party, just to get to know each other better.” “Oh, yeah, for sure,” the shorter boy said with a grin. The two sat together and chatted for the rest of the party, finding out that they had a similar taste in movies. As the party ended and everyone else started to head out, Sock took a deep breath and asked, “So I’ll see you again, right?” “Yeah, you will,” the gargoyle smiled a bit, flicking the other’s nose. He made a small displeased noise and frowned at him, holding onto his nose. “Later,” he said and Sock watched as he left.

 

There he was, alone at the party yet again, but he had a promise of someone to hang out with at school other than Jojo, especially since she was busy spending time with her girlfriend nowadays, so that was nice. It was lunch and Sock quickly noticed Jonathan sitting alone so he rushed to sit by him. “Hiya, Jon,” the manifesting monster said which pulled a smile out of the other. “Oh, it’s you,” the stone teenager chuckled a bit and smiled a bit. “Heck yeah it’s me, who did you expect?” The gargoyle shrugged slightly and went back to his sandwich, rolling his eyes with a smile.

 

“Anyway, where’s the snakehead girl who usually sits with you?” Sock asked with a wide grin, showing off his mismatched array of human and cat-like teeth. “She’s off with her girlfriend,” Jonathan said with a light snicker. “Oh, really? My friend is off with her girlfriend too actually,” he said and the other teen chuckled a bit. “What a fun coincidence!” Sock added excitedly, “I wonder if they know each other's girlfriends.” “Or maybe they are each other's girlfriends,” the gargoyle suggested. “Oh, I can’t believe I didn’t think of that!” the manifesting cat monster said, his mouth agape. The stone teenager nodded slowly and smiled a bit at him. The two continued to joke before soon it was the end of lunch.

 

As lunch and class ended, Sock met back up with Jonathan and greeted him with a wide grin and patting him on the shoulder. They held up some idle chatter as they made their ways to their respective homes. Sock smiled to himself, leaning against the door after closing it. He blushed deeply and covered his face, chuckling to himself weakly.

 

He then looked at the mirror in the next room over and shakily stood up, walking to it. He stuck his index finger in his mouth, curling it and pulling on his cheek to expose his mismatched teeth. He took back his finger and stared at his reflection, his pale going pale as he ran a hand down his face. His features were soft and he hated that. He wished his face could be sharper, a more defined jawline, anything that would designate him as more masculine. He bit his lip as he looked at his shoulder, narrow; he hated his shoulders and his hips especially, they were one of the few features that made passing a difficult thing for him to do.

 

After having to deal with his little burst of dysphoria, Sock took a deep breath and patted both of his cheeks to help him calm down. He grinned widely at himself in the mirror, “Not so shabby Sowachowski. For a late bloomer that is.” The partially manifested cat monster walked out of the room, adjusting his binder a bit as he did. “Okay, you made a new friend at that party, granted your manifestation also started but you made a new friend nonetheless!” he reminded himself, “You never met a gargoyle before now! This is exciting, Sock, it’s supposed to be exciting!”

 

After hyping himself up, Sock started to get ready for school. He proceeded to get changed for bed, nearly getting his binder stuck over his head while taking it off. “Sometimes I hate this damn thing,” he mumbled to himself and then successfully pulled the article of clothing over his head. He threw it across the room into a basket in a slam-dunk kind of way. He stretched out his arms and bent forward to stretch out his back. He put his hand on his chest as he took deep breaths.

 

“All right, ready for bed!” he said and smiled to himself, “Tomorrow is going to be a great day, Napoleon. Nothing can stop that.”

 

He washed his face and then headed off to bed. He cuddled up into his giant mass of blankets and pillows, burying his face into a body pillow as he drifted off into a deep sleep.

 

He woke up slowly the next morning, rubbing his head. He quickly rolled out of bed and got dressed just as quickly, excited to see the gargoyle. He got his stuff all together and made his way to school, arriving early.

 

He met up with Jonathan and they maintained a pleasant conversation before they left for their classes. They met up a few more times throughout the day and repeated this for the next few weeks, growing closer to the stone teenager. Eventually, Sock started developing actual romantic feelings towards the other and it was killing him. Now it became awkward for Sock to eat lunch with the other teen and he knew he won’t admit to his feelings anytime soon at all. He had to struggle through though, he just had to.

 

As time went on and his feelings soon grew stronger to point of where they were solidifying as a legitimate crush on the other, that's when it hit Sock in the face. He was in love with Jonathan and he was probably going to ruin their friendship, either through confessing or avoiding him. So he just started trying to suppress his feelings instead, which wasn't the best course of action. It felt like it started to physically choke him every time he was standing next to the gargoyle and he could feel a fuzzy sensation in his stomach that would crawl up into his throat, almost like static. It was terrible and distracting; he despised the feeling. He would always swallow to get rid of the sensation and would give the other a shaky grin.

 

On one occasion, he was eating lunch with Jojo, Lil, Zach, and Jonathan. He watched Jojo and Lil cuddle with each other, occasionally feeding one another, while Zach and Jonathan were being affectionate casually in their own way. That was normal for the werewolf though, who was a generally very affectionate person. Sock was watching all of this and felt the static crawl up his throat again, making him sick to his stomach. This was starting to become a living hell for the manifesting werecat so he knew he had to act on his feelings, somehow.

 

After school, Sock approached Jonathan and was panting heavily due to running over to him. “Hey! Jonathan, I was wondering if you would like to come over to my place to hang out,” the shorter teen said in ragged breaths, occasionally stopping to try and catch his breath. “Oh, sure, that sounds like it could be fun,” the gargoyle said plainly as he watched the manifesting cat monster hunch over while dry heaving to catch a breath. “Great, just follow me there,” Sock said in a wheezy voice. When he said that, he started to lead Jonathan to his place of residence.

 

The two walked in total, honestly incredibly uncomfortable, silence before they reached Sock's place of residence. He spent a moment or two to fiddle around in his vest pocket, looking for his key, before he found it and unlocked the door for him and Jonathan. He opened it wide and the pair of monsters walked inside, the shorter of the two locking it behind them.

 

Sock led Jonathan up to his room and flopped onto the bed immediately. “This is where I crash,” he said as he showed off his chaotic room. It was a mess and not even in an aesthetically pleasing sort of way; it was a total maelstrom of plushies and socks. His bed was unkempt with the cover riding up, exposing several pillows thrown carelessly onto the bed and various extra blankets hanging off the edges or just bunched up into corners. Despite all of this, it was cozy to the short cat monster and he enjoyed his selfmade nest, regardless of  what another monster's opinion on it would be. “I know it's a total mess but I honestly enjoy it,” he explained to the other, sitting up in a cross-legged fashion.

 

He watched as the gargoyle surveyed his room and took it all in. “It suits you,” he finally said as he smiled at Sock, who felt like his heart stopped right then and there. “Awe, shucks, thank you,” he said with a large mismatched grin, chuckling to himself while he blushed horribly. He quickly tried to hide his beet red face which resulted in the other raising a brow at him. “S-sorry, you just kind of caught me off guard with that, I'm not used to people being okay with my chaotic mess of a room, honestly?” Sock said in an attempt to save his own skin while not exactly lying either, Jonathan did catch him off guard with his comment after all. “Oh, well it's true,” the other said plainly as he stared at him, “Come on, we should find something to do.”

 

With that, Sock and Jonathan went off to find something to occupy themselves with and pass the time. They settled on playing video games together on the partially manifested cat monster’s bed. It eventually reached a point where it was more of Jonathan was playing the video game while Sock watched him, completely enamoured with the stone teen.

 

Sock smiled at Jonathan as he continued to watch him, feeling that same odd scratching sensation he had grown used to crawl up his throat. Seeing as he was in the comfort of his own home and it seemed to be worse, the manifesting werecat excused himself and went to the bathroom, which was thankfully close by. He quickly was thrown into a coughing fit, hunching over the toilet. He blinked slowly as he looked down at it, noticing light pink rose petals scattered in the bowl and stained with small splatters of blood. His breath hitched sharply and he threw himself backwards.

 

Sock had heard stories of this in middle school from girls in his classes about if you have romantic feelings towards someone and they don’t return them then you cough up flower petals. He didn’t expect it to be this painful and scratchy as well as emotionally draining. He was thrown into another violent coughing fit as he momentarily gagged on the bunch of petals before hacking them up, feeling weaker as crimson slowly dripped from the corner of his mouth. He got up slowly and tried to flush the petals down, trying to hide his condition the best he could from the other teenager. He wiped the blood from his mouth before leaving the bathroom while mumbling idly to himself.

 

“Is everything okay?” Jonathan asked him as he watched Sock leave the bathroom. “I-yeah, everything's fine,” Sock said with a forced smile, lying straight through his mismatched teeth. “Really?” the gargoyle questioned skeptically, raising a stone brow. “Really really,” the other said, feeling that oh so very familiar scratching sensation crawl its way up his throat. He swallowed roughly to try and push it down, despite knowing that was a horrible idea, “Just a bit sick, I probably ate something bad or something like that.”

 

Oh, how that was a total lie and Sock could tell from the other teen’s face that he knew it was a lie, but he wasn't going to push it any further. “You should probably head home, I'm going to rest up so I can feel better for school,” the cat monster explained, continuing to lie straight through his teeth. He was definitely on some sort of roll, considering how often he was lying right now and straight to the other's face too. “All right…” Jonathan said as he started to leave the room, “You better feel better soon, got it? Don't stay out for too long.” Sock nodded in response and watched as the other left his house, which he quickly ran down to lock the door behind him.

 

Sock ran back upstairs, opening the door so fast and aggressively that he was scared he would rip it straight off of its hinges. He immediately hunched over the toilet as he started hacking up bloodied rose petals into the bowl. He gripped tighter onto the rim as he gagged, nearly choking as he coughed up an entire rose bud. He stared down at it and felt his stomach churn at the sight. The symbolism behind this newly acquired disease of his made it even worse since he knew it meant that Jonathan didn't return whatever romantic feelings he had developed towards the gargoyle. He was really starting to feel like it would be better if he just choked to death on one of these roses so he wouldn't have to deal with these unrequited feelings any longer.

 

Just as he thought he was over this random fit, he felt more rose petals crawl their way back up his throat and he coughed up a whole flurry of them that were quickly followed by several spots of blood. He started to hack as an almost whole rose made its way from out of his lungs and scratched them up along the way. “God, that's disgusting,” he mumbled under his breath to himself, staring at the mass of petals and blood. “Gotta love choking on flowers while going through monster puberty,” he chuckled weakly as he wiped some stray blood from the corner of his mouth.

 

He stood up shakily as he felt his knees wobble and he ran a hand through his hair to calm himself down, which only worked slightly. “You got this Sock, it's all going to be okay, you're just experiencing hormonal teenage stuff,” he said to try and further calm himself down, which helped a bit as well. He brushed himself off and then chose to take a hot bath, just to treat himself because he was honestly going through what felt like total and utter hell at the moment.

 

After his bath, the half manifested cat monster pulled on some warm pyjamas and got comfortable in his chaotic bed. He wrapped himself up in a blanket cocoon, slowly drifting off into a deep sleep as he tried his best to not think about Jonathan as he did in order to avoid triggering another major fit.

 

This was a pattern that repeated for a week and a half, nearly reaching two full weeks out of school.

 

As morning that Sock decided he was definitely going back quickly arrived, he was rolling himself out of bed and trying to prepare for the day, all while trying to avoid an attack. He pulled on his outfit for the day, brushed off all the crumbs on it, and went to brush his teeth. Sock was especially careful when he was brushing his more cat-like teeth, since they were a lot more sensitive at this time. He made time to cough up any and all rose petals that were threatening to creep their way up his windpipe. He fixed his sweater and grinned widely into a mirror, feeling oddly good about himself today.

 

He ran a comb through his hair when noticed a new patch of fur on his lower back with a tail poking out from underneath his skirt. He jumped in mix of fear and surprise, grinning widely to himself. His manifestation was starting to grow closer to its end and he was so excited, these past few months or so since it began at that party have been quite the doozy! Now he just had to worry about the roses growing within his lungs, something he could probably fix with the help of a certain gargoyle or even the werewolf who seemed to be super close with him.

 

Sock hit himself on the chest a couple of times to fill himself back up with confidence and then made his way to school, intent on spending some time with Jonathan and hopefully the night. He immediately made a beeline for where Jonathan sat with his duo of friends, the gorgon (who Sock was already familiar with sort of since his own best friend was dating her) and the werewolf. He waved excitedly at the three of them and received a slight wave from the gargoyle in return; he would take that anyday.

 

He was greeted by a rather strong hug, given by none other than Zack himself. Zack was known for his incredible physical strength, which he of course used on hugging people. Jonathan chuckled a bit as he watched them, “Cute. So, hey, haven’t seen you around, Sock.” The seemingly innocuous comment sent chills down Sock’s spine and tied his stomach into a knot. Honestly at this point of his little crush though, Jonathan’s voice was enough to put butterflies into the pit of the werecat’s belly.

 

He grinned at him and chuckled weakly to himself as he tried to think of how he was going to lie to the man of his affections today. “Well you see, Jonathan,” he began, “I had caught some sort of stomach bug that didn’t really start manifesting itself until you were over and I believe that since I’m going through a late manifestation then I’m probably more vulnerable to that sort of thing!” Oh how was Sock so very aware that he was bullshitting this all right now but he was sure hoping that the gargoyle would buy it all. Said gargoyle raised a brow in intrigue but just snorted, “All right, sorry to hear that you were sick. Hope you’re feeling better.” Oh my god, he bought it was all Sock could think right now because was certain it was clear that he just came up with that whole excuse on the fly. I mean, of course he wasn’t going to just say oh I’ve been choking on roses because I’m super gay for you ; no one ever wants to admit to something as easily as that.

 

“Anyway, Jonathan, I was wondering if I could go over to your place after school or something,” he asked, clearing his throat and grinning widely at the other teenager. “Sounds good to me,” Jonathan said plainly and shrugged a bit. The response made Sock ecstatic and he was grinning from ear to ear to the point where you could almost count all of his teeth and pinpoint exactly which were cat-like and which were more humanish. “I’ll meet up with you after I get out of my last period class, see you then!” Sock exclaimed before he rushed off to his first period class, too excited to notice the flowers that were threatening to erupt from his throat.

 

Once he arrived at his first class, Sock slid into his chair and sighed deeply before he stared up at the ceiling tiles. He debated counting them in order to pass the time but that was beyond boring so he dumped that idea. He opted for just leaning back and zoning out, seeing as thinking of nothing generally keeps the rose petals in his lungs at bay. That is until his thoughts start to wander to Jonathan which is the exact opposite of what he wanted right now.

 

After probably hours, Sock was getting close to his last class of the day and he was pretty excited if he was totally honest with himself. He was going to get to hang out with one of his best friends/the guy he’s had a huge thing for for around 2 weeks now, so of course he was excited, why wouldn’t he be? He was staring at the clock, watching it intently with fully dilated eyes. He purred to himself and flicked the tip of his plumed tail in anticipation, watching as each hour passed by ever so slowly. He swore that this waiting was going to kill him at some point, probably soon, not that it even really mattered.

 

Just as the clock hit the hour and the school bell rang loudly into the ears of the teenage monsters that inhabited the classroom, Sock leaped out from his chair. Just out of reach, he could hear a quiet “the bell doesn’t dismiss you, I do” but he was already a long way out of the room by the time he heard that and he was soon joined by a large mob of other students. Even though the hallways were as packed as a tin of sardines, Sock located Jonathan and quickly joined his side.

 

“Hey dude!” the werecat greeted with the biggest grin on his face, ignoring the scratching in his throat because he just wanted to spend time with the other in peace. “Oh, hey,” Jonathan said with the warmest smile Sock could swear he’s ever seen grace the gargoyle’s stone face, “Ready to go?” The werecat nodded furiously, incredibly excited to see the other’s place. “Cool, let’s go then,” the other said as he began to lead him to his house, chuckling to himself as he did.

 

It took a little while but the duo eventually reached Jonathan’s house and he let them both in, humming some song to himself as he unlocked the door. “Are you hungry?” he asked Sock as they walked inside. “I am a bit hungry actually, yeah!” Sock said with a sheepish grin, feeling his face heat up slightly from embarrassment. “Nah, it’s cool dude, I was feeling kind of hungry myself so that’s why I asked. I’ll make sandwiches for the both of us,” the gargoyle explained as he turned for the kitchen, so the other monster of course followed him.

 

Sock watched with large eyes from on top of the counter as Jonathan prepared a couple of sandwiches for them both. He waved tail from side to side and when he was offered the finished sandwich, he eagerly accepted it and ate it quickly in a ravenous fashion seeing as he was pretty hungry, the school lunch generally wasn’t very filling after all.

 

“You really were hungry, huh?” Jonathan chuckled, smirking to himself as he looked over at the werecat as he devoured his meal. “O-oh! Yeah, well, you know,” he explained in an unsatisfactory way and his face lit up in total embarrassment. Man, he definitely looked like a total animal right now. No matter, he was at Jonathan’s place and he was spending time with him! That’s all that mattered to the werecat at this point and it made him happy. “Don’t be embarrassed, man, I didn’t mean that as a bad thing,” the gargoyle explained in an effort to reassure Sock.

 

“Hey, I’m going to go upstairs and smoke some weed while playing video games, you’re welcome to come join me if you’d like,” Jonathan offered with a small chuckle and began walking up to his room. Still blushing from his moment of embarrassment, Sock scrambled up the stairs to follow him to his room. “Oh, cool, make yourself comfortable,” the stone teenager said as he flopped onto his bed.

 

Jonathan’s room was definitely neater than Sock’s own room, things were organised and his bed was made. On the other hand, there were so many band posters on the walls that they were their own wallpaper entirely at this point. It wasn’t a bad room, no not at all, just different. Different is good, Sock likes different, it’s nice and refreshing.

 

“Actually, I was think I could join you, like I could smoke with you,” Sock admitted in a voice that was quieter than his was usually. “Rad, do you have any sort of experience smoking anything?” Jonathan said casually as he dug for his papers and the marijuana itself, along with a lighter of course. “No, actually,” the werecat chuckled nervously, “I was thinking that you could hopefully teach me how and stuff, if that makes sense.” The other snorted, “Well, let’s see if you can figure it out first.”



Sock tilted his head and watched Jonathan as he rolled up a joint for them to share. He put his tail into his lap as he leaned over to watch him closer. He continued to watch as the stone teenager brought the newly rolled joint to his lips and lit it, inhaling the smoke slowly and holding it for a couple of seconds before exhaling it. He handed it to the werecat who made a small mewl of confusion before putting it to his own lips and inhaled it much quicker than Jonathan did, resulting in him coughing up a storm. He laughed a bit at that before taking back the joint from Sock, “Here, I have an idea on something that might help you out a bit.”

 

He felt his face flush as he watched the other monster inhale the smoke slowly and pulled him closer. He pushed the other teenager’s face close enough to wear their lips could brush together with ease while he rested a hand on the back of Sock’s head, whose face was definitely at least as pink as the roses growing in his lungs. He parted his lips a bit as he started to purr quietly, blushing horribly. Jonathan nudged him closer and pressed his lips to Sock’s, exhaling the smoke into his mouth slowly and pulled away with a smile. The manifesting teenager quickly covered his scarlet face, blowing out the smoke just as slowly as Jonathan did before.

 

That’s when he fell into a coughing fit which persisted on until Sock coughed up almost a whole tea rose blossom with copious amounts of blood spatter on and around it. He wiped his mouth and grimaced at it while Jonathan stared at him in clear concern.

 

“What the fuck…?” Jonathan mumbled as he stared down at the blossom. “Sorry, I just-sorry,” Sock stammered and looked down at his thighs. “Is that really why you’ve been out for so long?” The other asked him in a soft voice and he nodded slightly. He was pulled into a tight hug and when he looked up, he saw that he was in the gargoyle’s embrace. He started to purr quietly to himself as he leaned into him more, nestling his face into the crook of his neck as he slowly returned the affection. “Thank you,” he murmured and clung tighter to him.

 

“Who even is it that you’re into anyway?” Jonathan asked after pulling away from the hug while Sock was still clinging tightly to his chest. “Oh, uh, actually-it’s you, actually,” he admitted just above a whisper as he said the last part. The werecat started to try to curl in on himself in attempt to hide himself, but the other stared at him. The weed really should have started kicking in by now but coughing up a rose probably would reasonably kill the buzz.

 

“Sock,” Jonathan said, “I want you to fully admit your feelings.” Sock felt like he was going to melt, those feelings were a lot nicer to his ears than they should be. He was so weak for the other monster, god. Regardless, Jonathan wanted him to admit his feelings and say them out loud nonetheless! Sock’s face was a terrible ruby hue and he was stuttering like crazy as he stared into the stone monster’s eyes. This is when he started to notice that the flowers with their accompanying ever present scratching in his lungs and windpipe were gone. That could only mean one thing and Sock was surely going to risk it all.

 

“Jonathan, I love you, I’m in love with you,” Sock nervously said, “I realised it probably around the same time the whole flower thing started but who knows how long I’ve been harbouring these feelings. You’re just so...wonderful and I feel all warm and fuzzy when you smile or talk to me. I love you so much, Jon.” Jonathan chuckled a bit as he ruffled up the cat monster’s hair, “I actually love you too, that rose you hacked up from your lungs helped come to terms with the fact.”

 

The stone monster pulled the other into a tight embrace which caused him to purr with contentment, nuzzling him a bit before he nestled his head into his chest. They both began to drift into a peaceful and mutual slee once Jonathan leaned against the headboard of his bed; a sleep that Sock was grateful to have in the arms of the other and be able to come back from with his life.