Thunderhawk was the first who was up this morning. He wished that he could have slept over the whole day but unfortunately the hammering pain in his head had ripped him out of his sweet numbing sleep. Living with the Brotherhood made him long for a bottle of alcohol often enough but why the heck did he have to give in to that desire the day before? Whatever else he had done as long as he still had been drunk, he was sure that now the other Guardians would never let him live it down again. Slowly he walked into the bathroom and searched for a headache pill - or even better, enough headache pills to kill him.
Thunderhawk groaned in pain and held his head. With a hangover even a doorbell from afar sounded as loud as if he was standing right under a church bell. Wait, a doorbell?
"Ohhh, I'll kill that Locke for reinstalling the bell", the lavender Guardian murmured and slowly got on his way to the door. The other Brotherhood members still seemed to be dead for the world and he was the only one left to stop that noise.
"Hello, I'm looking for Kragok. Have you seen him?" he was greeted by Dimitri.
Thunderhawk only stared at him in bewilderment for a few seconds before he answered, "I have no damn clue why Kragok should be in Haven. Go away."
He carefully tried to close the door - slamming it shut would have been too painful for his head - but Dimitri quickly blocked it with his foot and pushed it open again.
"Well, last time some Legionnaires had seen him he had headed for Haven but since then he hadn't returned to the Legion base and so I wondered if ... Good grief, you are looking awful. What in Aurora's name happened to you?"
"I guess yesterday..." Thunderhawk started but then he hesitated. If he really told his ancestor that he had been binge drinking the day before he could prepare for a very long lecture and that was the least he could need right now so he quickly continued, "I think I caught a cold when I was running around outside yesterday. You know, it's still a bit freezing outside and the perfect time for getting ill."
Dimitri turned around and gave the summerly landscape and the bright warming sun a confused look.
"Yeah, right..." he slowly said and started wondering what drugs some of his relatives actually were taking.
"Anyways", he quickly changed the theme and turned around again, "Can I still come in and look for Kragok myself? I am sure he hasn't left yet and probably he's hiding well enough so that not even you have noticed him. I'm sure he hasn't planned to invade the Brotherhood all alone or else at least someone from the Legion would know about it so I'm wondering what else he's doing in here."
Thunderhawk simply shrugged and stepped aside. The pills he had taken were slowly showing an effect but they also left a numbing feeling in his head. He couldn't think of anything to say to prevent Dimitri from entering and felt too weakened for wrestling with a door.
Thunderhawk was only partly correct by assuming the rest of the Brotherhood was still asleep. Sojourner had sneaked out of Haven earlier that morning. He had a few things to buy and a few places to visit - things he didn't necessarily want the whole Brotherhood to know - and hoped he could be back before anyone was awake or noticed that Sojourner had gone missing. At least that had been the plan. Unfortunately it got cancelled when Athair (since when was that lunatic up so early?) noticed him leaving, decided to follow him and now was happily bouncing around beside him.
"Where do we go? Are we going shopping? Can I get some ice cream? Why didn't you wake up the others to come along too?"
Sojourner deeply sighed. "There's a reason I left without telling them and actually you shouldn't have come either. Can't you just go back to Haven and stop annoying me?"
"Aw, but going shopping together is more fun. Why does no one ever want to have me with them when they go somewhere? I also promise not to get on your nerves so please don't send me away. Pretty pwweeeeease!" He gave Sojourner a puppy-eyed look.
The older Guardian closed his eyes and rubbed the bridge of his nose. He wasn't sure if he should feel annoyed or amused.
"Alright, alright, you can go with me", he finally answered. Did he even have another choice? If he sent Athair back to Haven the ex-Guardian would probably whine about it the whole time, the other Brotherhood members would find out that Sojourner had been in the city and would be able to figure out what he was doing there very easily. No one sneaked out early in the morning without leaving a note if he only wanted to buy a bag of apples and some cigarettes - unless he was living in a family of militantly non-smokers and apple-haters.
But where should they go now? He couldn't take Athair to a brothel that was for sure. Athair might have known what to do in there - Sabre hadn't come to existence thanks to cell division after all - there was also the little chance that he would love it but it was awkward to go there together with relatives nevertheless. The shops would be better in that case. He already had shown Locke one of them and it wouldn't be wrong if Athair learned a thing or two as well.
"Morning, Dimitri!" Locke yawned when he entered his lab that morning. His pigeons had left Haven again - after he had set the birds on Athair and Sojourner and hunted them throughout Haven Spectre thought it might have been better - for the pigeons and for Locke's sanity - and so he had a lot of time for his inventions again.
"Hey Locke", the Dark Legion leader answered. "Don't mind me. I'm only quickly looking if Kragok is here and then I will leave again."
"That's okay", Locke said but then he hesitated. It needed a few more seconds until he fully realised what was going on. Quickly he jumped back a few steps and made sure the door was still open. He still remembered too well what had started after he had been locked in his lab with Dimitri the last time and while he surely had loved the heavenly time with the female Legionnaires most of it just had been embarrassing.
"Why in Edmund's name should Kragok be in my lab? And who let you into Haven the first place?"
"I'm sure my dear brother has nothing to do with that unless dead Guardians are known for kidnapping living Grandmasters. And Thunderhawk had been so friendly to let me in. He couldn't accompany though because he wanted to go to the kitchen. Said he was longing for a tomato juice with cucumber and Worcester sauce. I don't think he should drink something like that in his condition but then again it's not my taste buds that will be destroyed. Do you have a clue why he looks as if the cat just barfed him out?"
"Uhm ... he ..." It probably wasn't the best idea to tell Dimitri the truth. At least not if Locke still wanted to have a few silent minutes today. "He caught a cold. You know, it's that time of the year again that's just perfect for catching colds."
"That's so true..." Dimitri nodded understandingly and made the mental note to also search Haven for drugs. Or rather kick the Guardians out of Haven more often since they didn't even know anymore what season they had. "So, do you want to help me search for Kragok instead of Thunderhawk?"
"Of course", Locke quickly answered. It was better to keep an eye on Dimitri as long as he was in Haven.
DING DONG! DING DONG!
Thunderhawk stumbled to the door another time. Did no one in this damn building feel responsible for opening a ringing door beside him? His headache was better but now his stomach didn't feel too well. Maybe he shouldn't have added the herring and the extra chilli to his cucumber-tomato drink.
He dragged the door open. Lien-Da stood in front of it and impatiently tapped her foot. She grimaced when she saw him.
"Ew, if it already took you that long to open couldn't you have made sure you didn't look like a drunken hobo?"
"Thanks, you're looking great as well", Thunderhawk grumbled. "What do you want?"
"I have heard that Sojourner opened up a brothel on one of your toilets and wanted to check out some sexy ladies too", she dryly answered.
"R-Really?" the Guardian sputtered. He knew about his son's obsessions and that he already had several stupid ideas but that was something new.
Lien-Da sighed. "No, I'm here for my great-grandfather. I have heard that he is here and I wanted to prevent him from stupid ideas."
"Ugh, whatever, just come in but don't await that I'm accompanying you. I have something more urgent to take care of."
"Oh, I think I will be able to find my way in Haven", Lien-Da said and unbelievingly shook her head when she watched Thunderhawk stumbling away through the corridor. Dimitri had called them "sick bastards" quite often but who could have guessed that he meant the "sick" literally?
"What's up in Haven?"
Sabre winced when he heard Spectre's voice behind him. Slowly he turned around and opened and closed his mouth a few times, unsure what he should say now.
Spectre's question actually was meant to be rhetorical only but his great-grandson's nervousness and wide opened eyes made him suspicious.
"Tell me what's wrong. I promise not to chop your head off."
'For other heads I can't guarantee', he silently added.
Sabre laughed nervously. "Well, where do I start? Lien-Da just stormed my room searching for some sexy ladies and her grandfather. That's why I left my room in first place."
Spectre raised an eyebrow. He had given up wondering about Lien-Da's sexual preferences long time ago but if she was searching for ladies and her grandfather the same time - that was a bit odd. Furthermore, what was she even doing in Haven?
"Locke and Dimitri are searching for Kragok in the bathroom", Sabre quickly continued. It sounded as if he wanted to finish his news as fast as possible. "Thunderhawk has vomited on the corridor. Sojourner and Athair are missing completely."
Spectre closed his eyes and rubbed his temples. This was not a great way to start the day.
"Tell me, what have I missed? Do we have open Haven today or why else are all these Grandmasters here? Please, go and collect all the Guardians, Grandmasters, demigods or whatever else you find walking through Haven and drag them to the meeting room. Maybe I will have a talk with them but most of all I want to have them where I can see them."
Sabre quickly nodded and ran away.
Spectre deeply sighed. Just one day... He would even join the Dark Legion if he could just have one day of peace and silence. But on second thought, no, the Legion also had too many insane relatives. Maybe Robotnik still needed recruits.
"What's this? Can you inflate this stuff? Can you use that as toy in a pool? Hehe, this humming thing tickles. What are these beads good for? Now that has an interesting form. Hey, look, I'm a unicorn."
Sojourner covered his face in embarrassment while Athair raged through the sex shop like a hyperactive child. This definitely was the worst idea ever. At least not too many people would be able to tell they were Guardians since Sojourner had his vest zipped up and covered his birth mark and Athair at least had taken his beads off his spines.
Finally he was able to grab the raving lunatic's arm.
"Come on, I guess we have wrecked enough havoc in here."
"Where are we going next?" Athair asked excitedly and bounced up and down beside him.
"Best would be someplace where they have a playing area for kids", Sojourner sighed. Was it just his imagination or had he really seen the shopkeeper sending a thankful prayer to Aurora when they left the shop?
But where should they really go to now? Sojourner leaned against the entrance of an apartment building. All the places he had wanted to go to he now couldn't visit thanks to Athair and he had nothing else to do in the city. Next time he should probably get up in the middle of the night and sneak out through the ventilation system to prevent anyone from following him.
"Maybe we should go home and..." Sojourner started. He nearly lost balance when the door behind him was opened.
"Oh, I'm sorry", the young female he had nearly stumbled into apologized. "Uhm..." She started feeling a bit awkward since the guy in front of her did nothing else but stare at her as if he never had seen a woman before his whole life. "Uh ... Are you by any chance the furniture movers I ordered? You know, I have to get some stuff out of my apartment but I can't carry it all on my own."
Athair just opened his mouth to deny but Sojourner quickly said, "Of course we are here to help a lovely little lady like you."
"Oh, that's good." She smiled and turned around. "Please follow me. I'm living on the sixth floor but I think most of it can be transported down with the elevator."
"Why did you say yes?" Athair whispered and pulled a sulky face. "Moving furniture around is no fun at all. Do you really always have to play Casanova as soon as you see a female figure?"
"Oh come on", Sojourner replied. "What's the problem with helping a beautiful lady? You have heard there's an elevator and it's not like we would have to move a heavy piano or something like that."
"Guess I should have known that fate has black humour", Sojourner growled when they shoved the heavy piano through the corridor. "That thing will never fit into the elevator. How the heck are we supposed to get that downstairs?"
Athair knocked at the wooden surface. "Sounds and looks pretty sturdy. I think we can let it go on a sledge ride."
The older Guardian raised an eyebrow. "Wait, you don't mean that we now should simply push it down the staircase, do you?"
"Why not? It looks as if it would survive a tornado ride through a canyon - no matter how many rocks it gets crashed against it would still look like new when it lands again. I'm pretty sure it will be able to find its own way down and we can pick it up when it reached the ground floor."
Normally Sojourner would have protested but he was already tired and this actually sounded like a fast idea.
"Okay, then let it roll."
They watched it rumble down the stairs for a while until it disappeared out of sight. Both winced when they heard screams and calls from the floors below.
"Oops, I haven't considered that there could be other people on the stairs as well", Athair meekly said.
Sojourner closed his eyes when he heard a loud crash. It sounded as if the piano had taken a shortcut through the handrails.
"Well, at least our lady leaves a staying impression in this house."
"You mean aside of the scratches and stains on the walls?"
"Just imagine someone pays this house a visit. How would the people explain the awful mess in their staircase?"
"Probably with something like 'Oh, that was just the lady from the sixth floor. She had a piano'."
They exchanged horrified gazes when they heard screeching car brakes and the sound of metal crashing against metal.
"Looks like the main door was open", Athair commented
"I think it's time to disappear from here", Sojourner said soundlessly. "And we should better do it fast."
Spectre entered the conference room and stopped dead in bewilderment. Knuckles and Kragok were sitting at a table loaded with porn magazines and obviously had fun browsing through them.
"What the heck are you two doing here?" the dark Guardian asked.
Knuckles only blushed but Kragok smiled sheepishly and answered for him, "Sojourner's room was too small if we wanted to have a good look over all of them so we moved them to a bigger room. Don't worry; we will carry them back again once we've finished them."
Now the other Guardians and Grandmasters had come into the room as well and exchanged puzzled gazes.
"So you mean you only came here because you heard someone of us collected porn?" Sabre asked and dragged Thunderhawk whom he had found passed out on a corridor over to a chair.
"No, because I wanted to see the Playboy in the glass case", Kragok replied. "During our little tea party Knuckles told me that one of his relatives stored the first Playboy ever in a glass case in his room and I wanted to see the proof."
"Your tea party was yesterday", Dimitri said. "Why did looking at an exhibited smut magazine took you so long?"
Kragok shrugged. "Well, we used the time Sojourner was still hunted over the hills by pigeons to borrow some more of his magazines, completely forgot time over them and since it was already late then I decided to stay and sleep with Knuckles."
"No, no, no, he only stayed in my room over night", the young Guardian quickly tried to explain when he saw the others' gazes, "He didn't mean to say we..." But to no avail - the others minus Thunderhawk already had burst into roaring laughter.
"I always somehow knew that my brother would come out of the closet one day", Lien-Da brought out between her chuckles.
"Well, let's just say I wasn't able to stand the thought anymore that my sister was the only homo in the family", Kragok snapped.
"I'm sorry to interrupt you", someone suddenly said.
All heads turned to the door.
Remington stood in the door frame. He gave the Grandmasters and the porn collection at the table a sceptic look but then decided to simply ignore it. The Brotherhood he knew was capable of doing much stranger things than inviting Grandmasters over just to look at smut together with them.
"Your communication screens are still turned off and I also couldn't reach Sojourner on his phone and so I had to come here in person. I would have ringed the doorbell but the door was already opened and so I just came in."
Spectre took a deep breath. "So what awful news do you have for us this time?"
"A piano was running amuck in Echidnaopolis and as far as I can see Athair isn't here. I hope he has nothing to do with it but ... just in case ..."
"Why do people always think that the Brotherhood has something to do with it when strange things happen on Angel Island?" Sabre asked but then he hesitated. "Wait... A WHAT is running amuck?"
Remington scratched the back of his head. "You know, the Sunset Street is mainly going downhill. A piano rolled out of one of the houses and continued its way down the street. It caused a massive traffic jam, crashed through several fences and I'm just glad that no people were injured too badly."
Spectre closed his eyes and clenched his fists. A vein pulsed on his temple. "I don't even want to know who's responsible for all this."
That moment Sojourner and Athair ran into the conference room. They froze on the spot when they saw nearly their whole family gathered in one room.
"Uhm ... i-it's just a rhetoric question", Sojourner stuttered and laughed nervously, "b-but do we have a good insurance?"
"An insurance for damages done by a piano would be best", Athair added.
Spectre slowly stepped closer. A menacing grin wandered over his face. "Whatever you have done, you will regret it for the rest of your life", he silently said, "Both seconds of it."
Sojourner spun around, quickly grabbed Athair's wrist since the younger Guardian still stood like a rabbit before a snake and dragged him with him when he ran out of the room. Spectre let out a cry of fury and persuaded them.
"Has someone ever noticed how often Sojourner gets hunted over the hills?" Locke asked. "With all that training he had so far we should really sign him up at some race. If he wins he was finally good for something after all."
Remington buried his face in his hands. "Thank goodness I'm not part of this family", he groaned.
Sabre only gave him a mild smile. The boy had no idea.