Work Header

Outtake #1:The Midnighter's Baking Companion

Work Text:

The icebox explodes on a Sunday evening just after dawn. Cortez is in the kitchen when it happens, and when he shakes Frank awake in his coffin, he has ice in his hair and stuck in his eyebrows.

"It's not natural," Cortez says.

Downstairs, the icebox appears to be in a repeating time loop of explosions. Every twenty-six seconds, the door, which keeps magically reappearing, blows off again and the contents of the icebox, which includes several bags of blood, two bunches of celery, and the beginnings of an onion soup, spray all over the kitchen.

"Someone making a Bloody Mary?" Dewees asks, shambling in with a dust pan in one hand and a trowel in the other.

"I'm taking a vacation," Cortez says, after they watch the icebox explode three times in a row. He catches a spray of blood and celery across the back of his shirt as he turns walks out the servant's entrance.

It turns out that Cortez hasn't taken a single day of vacation in nine years, so he's going to be gone for a long time.

"I'm not hiring his temporary replacement until next week," Schechter says. "I'm busy." The icebox isn't the only thing in the mansion that's exploding. Gerard's wardrobe, the second dining room's china cabinet, and the potting shed (which explained Dewees' trowel), were all exploding, repairing themselves, and exploding all over again.

"You don't mind if I borrow this t-shirt, Frankie?" Gerard asks on his way down the hall with his arms full of what Frank can only imagine is shredded pieces of what was formerly (and possibly still) hanging inside the wardrobe.

"It's fine," Frank says.

"Good, so you can be the cook," Schechter says.

"I was saying 'it's fine' to Gerard," Frank says.

"I don't care," Schechter says.

"What am I supposed to cook?" Frank demands.

"I don't know, go bake some bread."

Frank spends the rest of the afternoon reading cookbooks. Cortez has kept the pantry well-stocked, and as long as Frank remembers to duck under the exploding spray of ice, Frank finds he's actually quite comfortable in the kitchen.

He starts on the first page of The Midnighter's Baking Companion. By sunset, he's made four loaves of bread, two brioches, three batches of muffins, a pan of tiramisu, and he's about to start on a tarte au sucre for an apple galette when Greta comes in.

"You have to stop," she says.

"I just sent Dewees out for more flour," Frank says.

"Have you seen Gerard today?" she asks. Come to think of it, Frank hasn't seen him since this morning. "He's sewing," Greta says.

Frank dusts his floury hands on his apron and heads to the greenhouse, which looks more like a craft room, plant tables draped with fabric, sketches strewn across the floor, three pairs of scissors Frank has never seen before in a mason jar, balanced in a pile of potting dirt.

"Gerard?" Frank calls out.

"Just a second," Gerard says. Frank follows the sound of his voice a few tables down, to where Gerard is typing at a computer.

"Are you - is that Etsy?" Frank says, looking over Gerard's shoulder at the screen.

"You know about it?" Gerard says happily. "Frank, you have to see, I've made all of these things!"

"Bob Bryar is here," Greta's disembodied voice announces. She sounds distressed. "He wants to know if Frank can make cream horns."

"Do you feel like - something's wrong?" Frank says, not quite able to put his finger on it.

"A little," Gerard says. "Can you make cream horns?"

"I think so," Frank says.

"Brian!" Greta bellows, her voice ringing through the house. "You made it worse!"

"What's worse than things exploding?" Brian shouts back.

Someone's rapping at the window of the greenhouse. When Frank looks up, he sees it's Brendon, who is wearing a very, very red jacket and a Stetson.

"Trust me," Greta shouts. "It's worse!"