Stan attempts to shift into a more comfortable in the back seat of his car, only to find himself unable to. He was pinned down by something atop him. Fear seized his systems, believing it could be someone he'd pissed off during his time on the streets or some joker who decided to break in on him.
His eyes shot open, adrenaline pumping as he prepared to throw the person off of him. That was until he saw a mop of fluffy, brown hair resting on his chest. Stan studied the figure for a moment before catching sight of an all too familiar six fingered hand grasping tightly into his shirt.
It was Ford.
Stan glanced around the room they were in, now realizing he wasn't in his car, and realized it was Ford's shack. They were in the living room currently, curled up together on the couch. He remembered what had happened.
They had been in the basement, fighting. It was stupid. Ford had shoved him back into something hot. It hurt like hell, burning through his coat and into his skin, branding him. He'd collapsed on the ground and his brother freaked out.
Stanford had rolled him on his side when he hadn't replied to the call of his name. He was a babbling mess, apologizing to Stanley in a torrent of incoherent words as tears streaked down his face. He'd taken him upstairs after regaining some of his composure, bandaging up his wound before they'd dropped on the couch.
His shoulder still hurt, but he was used to pain. Right now, the only thing Stan felt the warmth in his heart from his brother's love and compassion towards him that he thought he'd never get to feel again.
His brother shifted above him, whimpering. Stanley smiled tiredly, running a soothing hand through the other's matted locks to silence him. Ford quieted down, movements ceasing atop his twin's body, nuzzling his head against Stan's chest.
Stan chuckled at the other's cuteness, wrapping his arms securely around him. It had been years since he had felt safe and loved and warm. It was great. He closed his eyes to catch some more z's, but his eyes cracked back open when he felt the world shift beneath him.
"The hell?" He whispered.
Glancing around the room, he quickly took notice to everything swaying and sliding from side to side. Was it an earthquake? In thinking so, Stan grabbed onto Ford's shoulders and flipped their positions so that he would be covering his brother's body from potential debris.
At the rather ruff treatment, Stanford awoke with a jump. His gaze caught on the younger, expression turning from terror, to surprise, to happy, then finally stopping on confused.
"Wha-Stanley? W-what's going on?" Ford questioned, voice hoarse.
Now able to see his glasses-free face more clearly, Stan could see that his eyes were red and puffy with bags under them, dried tear tracks that covered his cheeks, and unkept whiskers. Ford looked terrible.
"Some sort of earthquake, that's what!" Stan growled, continuing to tower over the elder.
"Yeah, genius! Can't you feel the ground shaking?!"
Stanford looked really confused at that moment, staring at the other as if he'd gone mad. How could he not feel it?
"Oh..." Ford gasped, as if just realizing he had a brother. "Ley, it's not an earthquake."
"What do ya mean?"
"...it's just the waves."
Now Stan was the one confused. Waves? Hesitating a second, he crawled off the top of Ford, he slowly stumbled over to the window to the shack. Glancing out, his eyes widened.
Outside, there was nothing, but a body of blue, frothy water as far as the eye could see.
"W-What the hell?!" Stan screeched, stumble back onto the couch beside his brother.
"Stan! Easy, easy." Ford calmed, placing one hand on Stan's shoulder and rubbing his arm with the other. "It's okay."
"W-wh-how? W-where are we? H-how did the shack get into the sea?" Stan stammered, body shaking.
"...We're-how much do you remember?" Ford asked.
"What do you remember last?"
Stan stayed silent for a moment. Why would what he remembered matter? Swallowing the lump in his throat, he replied, "We were in the basement, fighting. We ended up in your control room? Then you..."
"What, Stanley?" Ford asked, squeezing his shoulder comfortingly.
"...you kicked me into something hot and metal. It branded into my shoulder and I collapsed."
Ford watched his twin for a moment. He went to say something when he'd thought Stan was finished, but was interrupted.
"You were freaking out, apologizing and crying. Carried me upstairs, bandaged it, then we laid down on the couch ta rest." Stan finished, looking up at his twin.
"Wait-that never happened." Ford said worriedly.
"Never happened?" Stan questioned.
Stanford looked into his brother's eyes, searching desperately for something. He drew in a steading breath.
"I apologized when I hurt you, but you...punched me..." Ford explained. "I fell through the portal, Stanley. It's been thirty years since that day."
"N-no..." Stan whispered in disbelief. "Nononono. That's not true. I-I would've remembered."
"It is true. I wouldn't lie to you about this. You're having a memory lapse from an injury you sustained to your head." Ford explained, delicately running his fingers through Stan's light grey hair, feeling the wound beneath.
"Th-then why are we still young? W-why are we in the shack?"
"Stan, look at me." Ford said lightly.
Stanley did as told, looking up to his brother's face which was full of worry lines. The other didn't say anything further, so he didn't know what he was supposed to do. He was already upset and confused enough as it was. He didn't need to add uneasiness to the list, so he allowed his gaze to drift away.
"I said look at me, Ley." Ford said, gently cupping Stan's cheeks in his hands to turn his gaze back on him.
"I am, Sixer." Stan whined.
"Look harder." Ford begged.
Stan hated when his brother begged like that. It reminded him all to much of their childhood. Crampelter and his cronies would taunt or beat him black and blue. Ford would cower, begging them to stop.
So Stan relented, studying his face, trying to seek out what his twin wanted him to find. He looked from his bangs to his chin, examining every detail of his face before returning to his eyes. They were ocean blue, just as they had been when they were little. He remembered staring into those comforting endless ocean every night after they'd have nightmares until their eyes drooped shut and drifted off into the gentle lull of sleep.
Now they were bloodshot, restless, fearful. It seemt as if their light was gradually fading out. They seemed...old. With the wrinkles that (he now noticed) covered his face and the grey hair...oh.
Slowly, his brother aged before his eyes from a paranoid 28 year old nerd to a restless 58 year old man. The smooth hands against his face became calloused and worn. He also noticed that the room was changing too. The couch turned into a single bed and the living room turned into a bedroom of a boat.
Stanley became a bit overwhelmed as he clasped his hands over the other's six fingered ones on his face to help ground himself. He closed his eyes and took deep breaths as tears slowly began flooding down his face. Ford pulled him closer, resting their foreheads against one another in hopes of helping to calm his little brother.
The elder wiped away Stanley's tears as the fell, pressing a chaste kiss to the space between his eyes.
"Shh, it's okay. It's okay." Ford reassured, though for Stan or himself, he didn't know.
It took a little while, but Stan eventually was able to calm down, slumping back against the wall, Ford following suit.
"Do you remember what happened a few days ago?"
///2 days before///
"Urgh, I cant believe this! Stanley, why the hell did you lock the door?"
"How do you know if it was me?!"
"Because you were the last one out!"
The Stan twins were on the front deck of their boat, in the middle of the ocean, locked out of their cabin. They had been pulling up their fish nets for the night before they head back in when they found out.
"Why do you always have to play the blame game with me?" Stan asked.
"Well, what do you expect when we get locked out of our cabin while we're not in port, at night, in the arctic cold, freezing our asses off?" Ford raged.
"GRR. Whatever." Stan growled, turning to lean against the railing. "This is bullshit."
"You shouldn't have locked the door then."
"I didn't know it was locked, asshole! If I had, I woulda unlocked it!"
"Why didn't you check?!"
Stanley didn't reply, hands gripping tightly onto the railing till his knuckles turned ghost white. He breathed deeply through his nose and out his mouth, trying to cool his rising temper before it boiled over. Ford took notice to this and decided to back off, turning away and leaning against the opposite rails.
Why did he have to be such a jerk? Stan thought they'd promised no more petty fights over dumb things. Apparently not. But Stan did blame himself for their current predicament. Admittedly, he shouldn't have shut the door without check. Huh, guess he's just become more forgetful these days.
Stan's thoughts came to a halt when he heard a rather loud his from behind. He turned his head to the side and caught sight of his brother. He was shivering quite profusely where he stood. What do you expect when it's almost 0?
"I'm freezing, Stanley!"
"Wanna...warm up?" Stan asked awkwardly, pulling back the lapels of his coat in a welcoming gesture.
Ford glanced back at him silently, unmoving.
"Look, I know this is stupid and-"
Stan was cut off before he could start fighting at his own defense as his twin took the few short steps over to him. Ford wordlessly slipped his arms inside his brother's coat and around his waist, burying his face against the other's chest.
"Hmm." Stan hummed.
He returned the embrace, encircling his own burly arms loosely around Ford's shoulders, pulling him closer. Stan huffed a bit when his twin nuzzled his forehead against his collar bone.
Ford let out a sigh as his shivering continued, tightening his hold on the younger. He was so warm compared to his own frigid skin. Lucky Stan. He was his own furnace.
"You weren't kidding about being cold." Stan quipped, rubbing a hand up and down his twin's arm.
His brother didn't reply, not even an annoyed groan. He felt Stanford's arms move from around his waist, which he just took to assume he was fixing to pull away. He was proven wrong, however, when two freezing, six fingered hands ran up under his shirt and rested on his lower back.
"SHIT!" Stan gasped, back trying to arch away from the touch. "What the heck, Sixer?!"
"Your fault." Ford mumbled, tucking his nose under Stan's chin, causing him to again shiver from his cold skin.
"Jerk." Stan grumbled, tightening his hold around Ford's shoulders.
"Knucklehead." Ford retorted, resting his frigid hands against Stan's waist.
Stanley rolled his eyes, letting out a gruff chuckle. "We really are a pair."
"Yeah." Ford huffed.
The stood there quietly for a while, soaking in each other's body heat to keep warm. They always enjoyed these rare moments. Nothing too crazy going on, lounging about, enjoying one another's company. It was nice, peaceful.
Though, there was a pressing matter at hand.
"So, how're we gonna get into the cabin?" Stan asked.
"I don't know. How?" Ford retorted.
Stan pulled back a bit from the hug to smack the palm of his hand against Ford's forehead. "Smart ass."
"Hehe." Ford chuckled, keeping his arms wrapped around the other. "Well, we could try picking the lo-"
Suddenly, Stanford's words were cut off by a flash of lightning struck close to the boat. That was the only warning the twins got before the calm waters became large, creating waves that slammed into the boat.
"W-what the hell?!" Stanley yelled, stumbling around the deck as he continued to hold onto Ford.
Rain pelted their faces, water from the sea splashing up to soak them to the bone. Thunder rolled above as lightning bolts continued to strike worryingly close to the Stan 'O War ll. How could the weather change so drastically?
"Uh, Ford?! Is that a woman?!"
Ford gripped his brother's shoulders to help right himself as he looked up to the sky. Sure enough, their was a woman-shaped figure hovering hundreds of feet overhead, formed by the clouds with lightning erupting from her form. She glared down at them mincingly.
"She must be a some sort of elemental anomaly, able to control the weather!" Ford yelled over the howling winds.
"No shit! We need ta get outta here!"
They immediately set to work, rushing around the deck. They first tied down the sail so it wouldn't get ripped. Ford ran over to the wheel, trying desperately to steer them away. Stan, on the other hand, was shooting at the treacherous elemental devil above with Ford's gun that he'd acquired at some point.
Stanley hit her multiple times, causing her to growl in anger, the storm growing more hazardous. The waves got bigger, the lightning drew closer, and it became more difficult for them to stand properly upright.
"Stanley, come help me!" Ford called as it became increasingly difficult for him to steer.
His brother tried wobbling over to him, being careful not to slip. But then, a powerful wave struck the side of the boat in time with the bolt of lightning that nearly struck the deck. The Stan 'O War ll tilted, almost going completely sideways and Ford held onto the steering wheel for dear life.
Stan wasn't so lucky, however. With nothing in reach for him hold onto, he was thrown across the deck. He cried out in pain as his head cracked against the railing before he fell into the ocean.
Cold, disoriented, and in pain, Stan was unable to paddle to the surface of the choppy waves as his body way twisted this way and that. He was running low on oxygen, he began to turn blue, fighting against the urge to draw in a breath.
The edges of his vision became spotted and blurry as he lost the fight, water entering his lungs unwontedly. His body convulsed as the water flowed through his airways.
Just before he fell unconscious, he caught sight of a blurred figure diving into the water and faintly felt a six fingered hand grab him.
Stan blinked away the memory as he now remembered the incident.
"Well, that's why my head hurts." Stan grumbled, rubbing the back of his head, where the injury was. "Did you stitch it?"
"Yeah, while you were out." Ford replied, placing his hand over Stan's bare shoulder. "I meant to put you in a sweater after you'd dried off, but I never...got around to it."
Ford spaced out afterwards, eyes heavy and distant. Stan took notice.
"When's the last time you slept?" Stan asked skeptically.
Ford's lack of response gave him the answer.
"Ford...I probably already know the answer to this one too, but when's the last you ate?"
Just at that moment, Ford's stomach growled, as if in response to the mention of food. Stan sighed.
"Look, I understand you were worried, but you can't just treat yourself like this, Sixer." Stan said, gesturing to his brother's disheveled form.
"I couldn't just leave you. Something could have happened!" Ford tried arguing.
"What? I was unconscious, here safe in the cabin, in bed. What could have happened?"
"Nothing. Nothing would have happened. And it didn't. I'm fine." Stan said. "But if something were to have happened, you wouldn't've been able to do anything when you're starving yourself and not sleeping."
Ford flinched a bit at his brother's firm words, but did nothing to interrupt him.
"You need to take care of yourself so that when things like this happen, you'll be ready."
"B-but how am I supposed to watch you when I'm doing all that?"
"All you have do is cook something real quick or just grab a bag of chips. Something. And sleeping? You literally have a bed on the other side of the room. Heck, if it makes you feel better, you coulda just slept in my bed so you'd be right next ta me." Stan grumbled.
Ford let out a quiet whimper as he slid to the edge of the bed, figure Stan would possibly want him to leave after being such an idiot.
"...I would say any of this if I didn't care. I just don't want you to deprive your body of what it needs to work." Stan sighed. "Now, um, go get something to eat."
So Stanford did, leaving the room without another word and heading straight to the kitchen. He searched through the cabinet for something quick. Inside, he found a few cans of Venn Wieners and a large bag of Doritos. He snatched the bag and a few cans up, along with some water from the fridge before heading back to his and Stan's joined bedroom.
"Here." he murmured, handing Stan a can of the Venn Wieners and a bottle of water before sitting back beside him.
The two sat silently together, eating their (breakfast? lunch? dinner?) food. Stan watched his brother, who was eating more sluggishly. Ford really looked awful and it hurt him to see his twin this way. Deciding to break the silence and his own thoughts, he bumped their shoulders together.
"So, what happened after I was knocked overboard?"
Stanford stopped mid-chomp, looking taken aback by the question. Slowly, he placed his food back in its can and gazed emptily at the floor. Stan wandered if he should have just not asked.
///Two days before///
His heart wrenched at hearing his brother's pained yell before the sound of something hitting the water cut him off. Oh no. He went overboard!
When the boat righted itself again, Stanford was slammed into the deck mercilessly, the breath in his lungs being knocked out. He jumped back to his feet and ran over to the edge of the boat. His eyes scanned the waters for Stan, desperately praying he'd catch sight of him. And he did.
Just below the surface, he saw Stan being slung back and forth as the waves crashed above. With little thought, Ford jumped over the railing and plunged into the deep blue.
Stanford swam downward to his brother. His heart sped a bit faster as he realized that Stanley's body was convulsing from having breathed in the salty sea water. He had to get him, fast.
With a final kick, he was able to reach out and grab ahold of Stan's arm. Ford pulled him close and wrapped his arm around his waist, propelling them upwards to the surface.
Breaching the surface, he took in a deep breath, to which Stan didn't. That was bad.
At some point, the storm made by the elemental had calmed to just a gentle rain and small waves, making it a bit easier for Ford to swim back to their boat. He grunted from the work out, struggling to keep both of them afloat.
Though it was difficult, he was able to make it back to the Stan 'O War ll, dragging the both of them aboard. Laying Stan on his back, Ford tried getting him to stir.
"Stanley?! Ley, wake up!" Ford yelled, shaking his brother's shoulders, only to get no response.
Ford rested his head against the other's chest, trying to hear his heartbeat. It took a moment to find one through his own panic, but he found one. Stan's heartbeat was slow and quiet, but there. The only thing was that he still wasn't breathing. Setting to work, Stanford immediately began compressions.
"One two three-come on, Stan-seven eight nine-you can't do this to me-fifteen sixteen seventeen." Ford said, placing his lips over Stan's to give him two breaths.
"Please don't leave me!" Ford cried out, eyes burning
He went to do another round of compressions when Stan started coughing up water, gasping for air. Ford rolled him on his side so he'd be able to hack up the foreign fluid, rubbing his back soothingly.
Once Stan had gotten everything up, he went silent. If it hadn't been for the fact that he was shaking violently, Ford would've thought he was dead.
"Stan? Stan, wake up." Ford whispered, sliding his hand up Stan's back to his neck.
Ford frowned when he felt his fingers brush over something thick and sticky. Slowly, he pulled his hand back and his eyes widened.
There was blood coating his hand.
God no. That's why he was still unconscious. Ford really needed to get him out of this weather and patch him up. He got up, a chill running down his spine from the cold air, and ran over to the cabin door.
"Come on, come on." Ford muttered as he pulled on the doorknob.
The door wouldn't budge one bit to Stanford's force. He cursed, looking back at his shivering twin. It made him sick. With a growl of anger, he drew back his right leg and kicked the door with all his might. And to his bewilderment, the locking mechanism broke, door swinging open from the impact.
He swiftly hefted Stan into his arms bridal style, carrying him indoors. By now, the blood from his wound had soaked through the back of his clothes, so ford took him to the bathroom.
"Mmh." Stan moaned in pain.
"Shh. I've got you." Ford assured as he laid Stanley in the tub.
He peeled off his brother's clothes for him, diguardinh them into a pile on the floor. Once Stan's boxer were off, Ford chunked his own soaked clothes off, leaving his boxers as the only article of clothing left covering his body.
Stanford stood, fetching a clean wash cloth and clasped it over his twin's bleeding wound before turning on the shower head. The water sprinkled out cold at first, gradually turning warm.
"A-alright." Ford murmured, taking down the shower head and spraying it over Stan.
His brother whined, shifting unconsciously. Ford spoke reassuringly to his brother, driving him into silence. He only hoped that this would help warm him after falling into the frigid water.
Ford spent about five minutes showering Stan, getting any blood coating his neck and back. Turning it off, he put the shower head back in place and grabbed a towel. He dried off the other quickly before picking him up again to tote him into their bedroom.
"Okay. Now your clothes."
Laying Stan on his bed, he rifled through the clothes draws and pulled out a pair of his brother's boxers, undershirt, pants, and a sweater. Ford set to work, first working the other into his boxers.
It was a slow process, having to stick his limp legs through and lift his hips to slide them on. Then, sitting him up, he slid the undershirt over Stan's head and laced his arms through. Ford was already feeling exhausted.
His eyes glimpsed down at Stan's pillow and so happened to see blood dripping onto it. "Shit."
The rest of his brother's clothes would have to wait. He laid Stan down on his side and retrieved the first aid kit, popping the box open and reaching inside. Pulling out the gauze, he soaked it in peroxide and placed it against the other's cranium.
Stan hissed at the pain, flinching slightly from the touch. Ford kept it pressed there as he dug out a needle and thread, lacing said thread through the needle which he held with his teeth.
Pulling back the now red gauze, he laid it atop the med kit and readied himself to sew up the gash. Now that he could see it more clearly, Ford could tell it was a fourth of an inch deep and two inches long. Oh boy.
He stitched the wound shut, having to stop every so often when Stan would shift. With it all cleaned up and stitched, Stanford wrapped a bandage around his brother's head, took the bloody pillow to replace with his own cleaner one, put away the first aid kit, and went to retrieve a pair of clothes for himself.
Ford pulled on a blue sweater that Mabel had made with the Stan 'O War ll stitched into it and a pair of black pants. He proceeded on, slipping into bed beside Stan, pulling the covers up over them both before snuggling up against him.
Both he and Stan were shivering from their plunge, but hopefully sharing their body head will help to warm them up faster.
"Please be okay." Ford whispered sadly, burying his face against Stan's chest for comfort.
"Oh..." Stan murmured. "Sorry I scared you, Poindexter."
"It wasn't you fault. It was...more mine than anything." Ford sighed, rolling up their empty bag of chips.
"What're you talking about? This wasn't your fault." Stan said incredulously.
"Maybe if I hadn't went off on you for locking the door, which that clearly you didn't mean to do, then we could have gotten back into the cabin faster and that elemental wouldn't have attacked us."
"Stanford..." Stan growled. "That had nothing to do with what happened after and you know it."
"But maybe things would've been different." Ford said quietly.
"Maybe it could have better. But it could have also turned out worse." Stan explained. "I mean, things could've been worse. I could have died, you could've. I mean, the world out hear is cruel, but-hey..."
Stanley stopped his talking when he'd heard a sniffle. He looked over to find that Ford was shaking, tears gathering in his eyes as he curled in on himself. He looked so depressing.
"What's with the tears?" Stan asked softly.
"I-I could've lo-ost you." Ford stuttered out brokenly.
"Hey, hey. Look at me." Stan said, cupping a hand under Ford's chin so he could turn his gaze towards him and rest their foreheads together. "I'm still here, safe and sound. See?"
Stan placed both of his hands over the other's cheeks, lightly tapping their heads together a few times. He smiled, using his thumbs to wipe away Ford's tears.
"I'm real. Ain't nothing's gonna take me away. Yer stuck with me for life, brother. Bonk!" Stan chuckled, bumping their heads together one more time.
"Heheh." Ford chuckled in response, smiling.
Stan let his hands fall back to the mattress so he could better hold himself up, allowing his twin to rest his head against his shoulder. He smiled upon feeling Ford's hand rest atop his, tangling their fingers together. They sat that way for a while, relishing in each other's company.
They nearly jumped off the bed when the clock across the room rung, alerting them that it was 12:00 am.
"Well, guess you'd better get some sleep. Alright?" Stan inquired, ruffling his brother's greasy locks playfully.
"Only if you'll stay." Ford mumbled, pressing his head closer to the touch.
So Stan did. They laid down, Ford cuddling up against him, purring softly as Stan ran his fingers through his hair and smiled.
They were gonna be alright.