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true love in these most dangerous of days

Chapter Text

"Ghoul."

Ghoul doesn't respond, too focused on the task at hand. He's underneath the Trans Am, poking around and trying to repair a few things that got busted up yesterday during a particularly intense clap.

"Ghoul."

He sighs. "What," he asks, picking up his socket wrench. "'M kinda busy, Kobes."

There's the sound of something scraping across the sand, the car shifting slightly above him. Ghoul ignores all of this, frowning up at the undercarriage. "Go 'way," he grumbles.

"You need to take a break."

Ghoul glances to the side to see that Kobra's crawled halfway under the car. He rolls his eyes and turns back to what he was doing. "I'm almost done. Just gotta do a couple more things."

"You've been under here for two hours," Kobra says. "It's hot as fuck. Y'need to drink somethin', cool off a bit."

Ghoul ignores him.

It's quiet for a moment, the only sounds those of metal scraping against metal as Ghoul works. A bead of sweat rolls into his eye, and he swipes at it with one hand. Kobra sighs.

"Kobes, seriously, I'm fine, just--"

His view of his work is suddenly blocked by Kobra's face, and before he can even cuss him out, Kobra's lips are on his. It's a quick kiss, just a peck, and then he's pulling away again. And, fuck if this guy doesn't know the perfect way to distract Ghoul, because now Ghoul wants more contact, more kisses, and Kobra's pulling away, sliding out from underneath the car.

"Fuck you!" Ghoul calls. He tosses his tools aside and crawls out from underneath the car. "That's a dirty trick!"

Kobra snorts out a tiny laugh, reaching down to help Ghoul stand up. "And it works every time," he says, and kisses him again. "Now, seriously, go cool off for a while, the car'll still be here when you get back."

"Asshole," Ghoul mutters, but he follows Kobra into the diner.

Chapter Text

Jet Star opens his eyes to a faint light filtering in through the window. It's morning, early enough that the light is blue rather than yellow, early enough that the room hasn't yet begun to heat up from the freezing temperatures of the night.

Shivering, he pulls the blankets back up over his head, shifting and turning to press his cold nose into the warmth of Kobra's throat.

The action forces Kobra to awaken, and he groans, tugging at the blankets and pulling away from Jet. "Fuck off," he murmurs. "Your nose is like a fuckin icicle."

Jet chuckles, reaching over to wrap his arm around Kobra's torso and tug him closer to himself. "Gotta warm it up somehow," he says, nuzzling into the crook of Kobra's neck.

Kobra squirms. "Fuckin'...too early for this."

"We should get up before it gets too hot to function," Jet tells him, pulling him close against him and tugging the blankets tight around them. "After we've warmed up more."

"If it's too early for the sun," Kobra says, finally relaxing a bit, "it's too early for people."

"The sun is up, though."

"Bullshit."

"No, seriously, look. It's light out."

Kobra opens his eyes, shifting just enough to peek out of the blankets, and then he glares at Jet, his mouth set in a frown and his nose wrinkled up. "It's barely dawn!" he complains. "Go back to sleep."

Jet laughs, careful to keep his voice down and avoid waking the other three inhabitants of the room. "You're cute," he says, leaning in and pressing a kiss to the crease between Kobra's eyes.

Kobra relaxes again, eyes falling shut. "Whatever," he mumbles. "Just...gimme a few minutes."

"Just a few," Jet agrees, and they lay quietly together as the sun inches its way above the horizon.

Chapter Text

Kobra Kid can't sleep.

It's not that he isn't tired, it's not that he's having trouble sleeping, it's just that Jet hasn't come to bed yet, and Kobra refuses to sleep until Jet's at least horizontal beside him.

With a sigh, he crawls out from beneath the blankets and opens up the bedroom door, stepping quietly out into the main area of the diner. It's dark, of course, but there's a single candle lit in the room, and he follows its light

Jet Star's seated in one of the booths, his elbows propped up on the table in front of him and his face buried in his hands, his long curly hair obscuring his expression from view.

"You need to get to bed," Kobra tells him, sliding into the booth beside him.

Jet sighs, picking his head up and leaning against Kobra's shoulder. "I know, he says, "but I can't...."

He trails off, and after a moment, Kobra picks up where he knows Jet's going, having had this type of conversation with him many times. "Can't get your brain to shut off?" he offers, wrapping his arm around Jet's shoulders.

Jet sighs again, louder. "Yeah. There's just so much to worry about. Every time I manage to push something to the back of my brain, I think of two more things, and they just keep circling around and around in my brain, and...." he groans, shifting to press his face into Kobra's shoulder.

"I get it," Kobra says. And he does. There's always something to worry about in the zones, hiding away from BL/ind and trying to keep themselves alive, but in recent weeks there's been just that much more added on top of everything: the drought, the lack of food, the Girl outgrowing everything seemingly just as she's finally grown into it. Car problems, supply problems, et cetera, et cetera.

Still, worrying about everything instead of sleeping won't help anyone.

Kobra turns in his seat, shifting so that his knee knocks into Jet's. "Can't sit here an' think about everythin' all night," he says. 'C'mon, let's getcha to bed."

Jet looks up at him, and Kobra's stricken by the way Jet wears his worry so visibly, etched into his face as lines stretching the width of his forehead. Jet should never look this way, Kobra thinks, but these lines have been appearing more and more often as of late.

Leaning forward, Kobra presses a kiss to Jet's forehead, soft and sweet, and he doesn't pull back until he feels Jet's forehead relax. "C'mon," he says again. "Lay down for a bit, we'll talk about our favorite fuckin'...music, or whatever, 'til we fall asleep."

Jet lets out a breathy little chuckle, and manages a smile. "Yeah," he says. "Yeah, I think I can manage that."

Kobra kisses him again, quickly, and then leads him back to their room.

Chapter Text

Fun Ghoul’s kinda pissed.

Some tall-ass motherfucker (probably Kobra, that asshat, he thinks to himself) put all the Power-Pup on the top shelf, knowing full fuckin’ well that Ghoul isn’t able to reach it.

He glances to the left. Glances to the right. Checks over his shoulder. ...No one else is around right now.

Ghoul stands up on his tiptoes and streeeeeeetches, his hand grasping at nothing as his fingers wave a bare inch too low. With a sigh, he settles back onto his heels. Asshole. There’s no way Ghoul’s asking for help for this, and he knows that’s what Kobra wants him to do. Or Jet. Whoever the hell put all the food up there.

Ghoul checks around again. The coast is still clear.

He grabs onto the highest shelf he can reach and pulls himself up, placing his feet on another shelf. He smirks to himself. This is too easy.

He climbs up the shelf, nudging aside empty cans and balled-up pieces of paper with his toes as he goes, hoisting himself up until he can reach the shelf. He grabs a can of Power-Pup and drops triumphantly back to the floor. (Ha! he thinks to himself. Those fuckers think they can best me, huh? Idiots.)

“Wow,” says a voice from behind him. “You scurried up that thing like a goddamn squirrel, Ghoul. Color me fuckin’ impessed.”

Ghoul whirls around, nearly dropping his prize in the process, and comes face-to-face--well, face-to-chest--with Party Poison.

“Fuck off!” he says, glaring.

Party laughs. “You’re not exactly intimidatin’, Ghoul,” they say.

Ghoul bares his teeth and flips them off. Party just rolls their eyes, the fucker.

“You the one that put ‘em up there?” Ghoul accuses. He turns away and picks the can opener up off the counter.

“No,” Party says, “but I did tell Kobes to do it.” They sound so fuckin’ smug when they say that.

Ghoul spins to face them again, thrusting the can opener at them. “I knew it!” he says. “You tall motherfuckers get off on this kinda thing, don’tcha?”

“Maybe.” Party smirks at him, stepping closer. They push the can opener aside and wraps their arms around him. Bending down, they press their lips to the top of his head, and Ghoul absolutely does not melt. “Or maybe I just like lookin’ at your ass while ya scale the shelves,” they murmur into his hair.

Ghoul hisses and smacks them with the can opener.

Chapter Text

“You’re home.”

Ghoul barely has a chance to process these words before Party’s flinging themself at him, pulling him into their arms and burying their face in the crook of his neck.

“Thought you were never comin’ home!” they accuse, and Ghoul can feel them shake. Gingerly, he puts his own arms around Party’s waist, holding them close.

Ghoul’s been gone for weeks. He didn’t intend to be gone for so long--had only meant to leave for a day or two at most--but he’d gotten caught up in a turf war between BL/ind and a couple gangs of killjoys and had felt the need to stay and help. One night had turned to two, had turned to a week, and before he knew it, Ghoul had been gone for almost a month.

Still, he was expecting more of a scolding or shouting match than a heartfelt hug when he came back home.

“Sorry,” he says quietly. He’s almost afraid to move, doesn’t want to break whatever spell it is that’s set Party to hugging him.

“Yeah,” Party says, pulling away to look him in the eye. “You better be sorry. I was so...so fuckin’ worried, Ghoul.”

They stare at each other for a moment, eyes searching each other’s expressions, and then Party’s leaning down and Ghoul’s leaning up, and their lips meet.

It’s soft, just a gentle brushing of lips, and then they pull away. Look at each other again. Ghoul thinks that maybe that’s all he’ll get, thinks that maybe he’ll have to hold this memory of this single kiss in his mind forever, but then their lips touch again, their lips part, they’re clinging to each other and kissing like their lives depend on it.

And this time, when they pull apart, breathing heavier and watching each other, when Ghoul sees that little smile flick across Party’s kiss-reddened lips, he knows this is far from the last kiss they’ll share.

Chapter Text

“Have you ever really looked at the stars?” Ghoul asks.

Jet turns his head to look at him, his features barely visible in the darkness, lit only by the faint starlight from above. The sight of him, laying on his back on the roof, staring up at the sky with his eyes so wide, so in awe of the sky above them, makes Jet’s heart flutter.

He turns away, looking back up at the sky. “Of course,” he says. “I know most of the constellations. Look--there’s Orion.” He points up at the sky, but Ghoul doesn’t turn to look at him, doesn’t follow the gesture.

“No, not like that,” he says, words coming out on a sigh. “I mean, like... looked at ‘em. Just...looked at the stars, the sky. They’re so bright, y’know?”

Jet stares at the sky, gaze flicking from star to star. He sees the patterns, the shapes, knows the stories of most of the constellations. He doesn’t know what Ghoul means, but he wants to know. Wants to know everything Ghoul means, wants to understand.

“Couldn’t see the stars in the city,” Ghoul continues. “Too much light, all the time. Even when I’d go up on the roof at night and look up, I couldn’t see anything.”

And, well, Jet at least knows this. Remembers his first night out of the city, out in the desert. Remembers looking up at the black void of the sky and seeing lights, seeing colors and patterns he knows couldn’t possibly have been there before. Remembers the feeling, in his chest, in his soul, of absolute wonder at the sight of it all.

Maybe he does understand what Ghoul means, a little.

Jet sits up and shifts, leaning toward Ghoul, looking down at him.

Ghoul looks away from the stars, and his eyes meet Jet’s. He smiles at him, his eyes soft in the starlight, and Jet feels himself melt at the sight.

Before he can think it through, he’s leaning down, pressing his lips to Ghoul’s.

It’s gentle, sweet, and and oh-so-wonderful. Jet presses closer, bracing himself over Ghoul with one arm, and Ghoul’s kissing back, his hand tangling in Jet’s hair, and--

Jet abruptly pulls back, his thoughts finally catching up to him. “Sorry,” he whispers. Swallows. “I--are you sure you want to, I didn’t even ask--”

He’s cut off by Ghoul’s mouth against his, the fingers in his hair tightening and pulling him closer, and Jet lets himself collapse on Ghoul’s chest, his own chest warm and light and his head full of that same wonder he felt that first night in the desert.

Chapter Text

Blue's standing at the window again.

She's been doing that a lot more lately, Red's noticed. Not that she can blame her; the world outside the tiny home they share together is far more interesting, more *lively* than anything in here.

Carefully, Red gets to her feet, joints creaking, and moves across the small room to Blue's side. Walking is difficult, but with her new battery it isn't the monumental chore it once was.

She places her hand on Blue's shoulder, drawing the other droid's attention. Blue smiles at her, beams, really, and Red gives her the widest smile she can in return, feels her scarred synthetic skin tug awkwardly with the movement. "Should we go outside today?" she asks.

Blue glances out the window again, no doubt taking in the wide blue sky and the vast expanse of sand, dotted with rocks and desert-plants. It's so different from the stark white of the city, different from the crowded streets of the Lobby, different from everything either of them have ever known.

She looks at Red again. "Do you feel up to it?" she asks, the tilt of her eyebrows and the softness of her voice demonstrating her concern.

Red huffs out a little laugh, placing her other hand on Blue's opposite shoulder and turning them both to face each other. "You shouldn't worry about me so much," she says, lifting her right hand to place it against Blue's cheek. "I'm feeling better every day, thank Destroya."

"I'm glad," Blue says, leaning into her touch. "I just don't want you to push yourself too hard."

"Going out and sitting in the sun for a bit won't kill me," Red says. She strokes her thumb over Blue's cheek, moves her hand to cup her chin. "Just an hour or two, to enjoy the sunlight on your skin, the wind in your hair, hm?"

"There's no wind today," Blue tells her. "But the sunlight would be nice."

"Then let's go." Red drops her hand from Blue's cheek, takes her hand in her own instead and gives it a squeeze.

Blue shakes her head at her, but gives her another blinding smile and helps her cross the room to the door. Together, they step out of the little shack they've claimed as their home and walk out onto the sand.

They sit down together, and Red finds that she loves the feeling of hot sand beneath her and hot air around her. She tilts her head back, face to the sun, and closes her eyes.

Blue leans her head against her shoulder. "It's amazing," she murmurs. "Just being here, with you."

Red shifts, presses her nose into Blue's hair. "I think so, too," she says. "Thank you, for risking so much for me."

"You've done the same for me, countless times," Blue says. "It's only fair."

"No. It isn't the same. Taking a homeless droid in off the streets isn't the same as stealing batteries and breaking out of the city," Red corrects her. She shifts again, forcing her joints to bend, her skin to stretch, and moves to straddle Blue's lap. Her leg drags heavily through the sand, and now she and Blue are both dusty, but neither of them mind, she knows.

Blue's hands go to her waist, holding her in place, and Red's hands move to Blue's cheeks, cupping her face gently in both hands. "You're amazing," Red tells her, honestly.

Blue smiles at her, and if she could blush, she would be, Red knows. "We're both amazing," she says.

Red laughs. "Alright, I'll accept that," she says. Tilting her head, she leans in close and presses her lips to Blue's, kissing her softly. Blue sighs into her mouth, and Red smiles against her lips.

When they pull apart, Blue, radiating happiness, says, "I love you."

Red holds her tighter, leans in to kiss her again. "And I love you."

Chapter Text

Doctor Death-Defying is sorting through papers and fiddling with the knobs on one of his little radios when Cherri walks into the station.

It's almost time for his show, Cherri knows, and usually he's gotten everything figured out by now, but it looks like today's heavy on news. Cherri crosses the room the pulls out a chair, sitting down and scooting closer to Dr. D. "Hey," he says, reaching for a pile of paper scraps and leaning in close.

Dr. D doesn't look at him, just tilts his cheek toward him without tearing his eyes from whatever he's reading through.

Cherri presses his lips to Dr. D's cheek in a dry kiss. "Anything big?" he asks. He looks down at the papers in his hand and starts reading through them himself.

"Nothin' too bad," Dr. D says. "Just a lot. And a buncha repeat news stories, looks like there was a big cloud'a Dracs spotted out in Zone 3. Haven't heard anythin' about 'em doin' anythin' more than just ridin' around in the desert, though, so we'll see if anythin' new turns up in the next couple hours."

Cherri hums in acknowledgement, sifting through the papers. Most of them are, indeed, reports of Draculoids in Zone 3, with little difference between one report and another. He sets aside those pieces of repeat information or news of inconsequence and hands the rest back to Dr. D.

"I'm gonna go make sure everything's transmitting properly," he says, and Dr. D looks up this time, grins at him.

"Thanks, Cherri," he says. "Just gotta finish up a few things and I'll be ready to start.

Cherri nods, leans down and kisses him again, on the mouth this time, Dr. D's moustache tickling his lip. "Have fun," he says, turning away.

"Always do," Dr. D replies, getting back to work.

Cherri Cola smiles to himself as he walks back outside.

Chapter Text

"Where the hell are my goddamn boots?!" Party yells from the bedroom, and Jet Star sighs.

"Did you check in the kitchen?" he calls back.

Party stomps out into the living area, their feet clothed in only mismatched socks. "Why the hell would my boots be in the kitchen, Jet?" they say, rolling their eyes.

Jet snorts. "I don't know, I'm not the one who kicked them off in there to climb up on the counter and screech show tunes at 2 AM, am I?"

Party stares at him. "...And just what are you accusin' me of, Jet Star?" they ask, turning on their heel and marching into the kitchen. "I'll have you know I have never, not once in my entire life, screeched anything. I sing, and it is a talent of mine, a gift from Destroya!" They pick their boots up off the floor, right where Jet had thought they'd be, and carry them over to the booth Jet's sitting at.

"And here I thought singin' was supposed to sound good," Jet teases. He stands up, glancing down at himself to make sure he hasn't forgotten anything important again, like shoes or pants or whatever.

"Jet," Party says, tucking their boots under their arm and wagging a finger at him, "If you ever accuse me of singin' bad or bein' forgetful or anything rude ever again, when I die I'm gonna haunt your ass for the rest of eternity."

"Oh no," Jet deadpans. "Whatever will I do, being forced to hang out with my best friend for the rest of my life. Oh, the horror."

"Shut the fuck up." Party drops both their boots on the floor and bends down to put them on their feet. "It won't be a fun haunting. I'll work hard to make your life miserable." They look up at him, scowling, and Jet can't help but laugh and lean down to press a kiss to their forehead.

"Dumbass," he says fondly. "You couldn't make me miserable if you tried."

Party swats at him, straightening back up. "Shut up! You're gonna make me blush, you asshole."

Jet just winks at them.

Chapter Text

When Kobra comes back to the diner that night, they look almost dead on their feet.

Jet stands when he sees them, hurries over to wrap an arm around their shoulders. “Kobes,” he murmurs, helping them across the room to their favorite diner booth, “you look like shit. Need anythin’?”

Kobra just groans, leaning on him as they walk and then dropping heavily into the booth Jet leads them to. They lay sideways, pulling their legs up onto the seat and planting their feet against the wall. “Sleep,” they say, closing their eyes.

Jet sighs, reaching down to run his fingers through their hair. “Then you should sleep in your actual bed, Kobes.”

“You’re the one that brought me here,” they mumble accusingly.

“Because I thought maybe you just needed to sit for a minute, drink some water, eat some goddamn spaghetti or somethin’.”

They crack open an eye. “Do we have spaghetti?”

“Ghoul got a can of it as partial payment for one of his projects. It’s not even a year past date, still edible and everythin’.”

Kobra shifts, stretches both their arms out and makes grabby hands at Jet with more vigor than he’d been expecting. He laughs.

“Alright, alright, I’ll get you some fuckin’ spaghetti.” He leans down and buries his nose in Kobra’s hair, kisses the top of their head, lingering for just a moment before straightening back up.

Kobra gives him a soft smile, and Jet sends one back at them before heading into the kitchen.

Chapter Text

Sometimes things happen, and Kobra has to remind themself that Jet’s here, that he’s here beside them, that they can touch him and kiss him and hold him, that no one’s going to take them away from each other, not for long.

Sometimes nothing happens, and Kobra just wants to know he’s there, wants to be held and loved, because those things are fuckin’ great and sometimes it’s just nice to spend time with someone you love.

And that’s how Jet ends up with his back pressed against the wall, Kobra’s fingers tangled up in his hair, their knee wedged in between his thighs.

Jet’s kissing a trail along Kobra’s neck, from their collarbone up to their lips and back down again, his hands pushing at the fabric of Kobra’s shirt, fingers slipping up and across the skin of their back.

Kobra gasps into his mouth, arching their back, and they feel Jet grin against their lips. Their fingers tighten in his hair for just a moment, and then they disentangle them from it and grab Jet’s shoulders, pulling them both away from the wall and attempting to maneuver him across the room to their bed.

Jet’s mouth is on theirs again, nipping lightly at their lower lip, and it’s really distracting. So distracting, in fact, that they only make it about halfway across the room before they trip over something on the floor and end up crashing down on top of Jet.

Jet lets out a soft little “Oof,” and Kobra groans into Jet’s shoulder, knows they’re going to have matching bruises.

After a moment, Jet laughs, wrapping his arms around Kobra and squeezing them. “Maybe we should start at the bed next time. Less safety hazards that way.”

“Not as much fun,” Kobra says, lifting their head and ignoring the dull pain in their jaw.

“Whatever.” Jet shifts, stretching his neck to kiss at their jaw, where there’s no doubt a bruise already forming. “You’re a disaster.”
“Shut the fuck up,” Kobra says, turning their head to kiss Jet on the mouth again.

“Love you.”

“Love you, too. Asshole.”

Jet chuckles into the crook of their neck.

Chapter Text

Show Pony’s rambling on about something. Party’s honestly got no idea what they’re talkin’ about, but that’s fine, because sometimes Pony just needs someone to let them talk and make appropriately sympathetic noises.

And it’s a really good thing that “sympathetic noises” don’t require very much brainpower, because Party doesn’t have much left to spare with how distracted they are by Pony’s lips.

They’re just really nice lips, okay? Soft (and how does Pony manage to keep their lips fuckin’ moisturized out here?), pink and plump, and Party can see there’s still some flakes of glitter stuck on the corner of their mouth from the sparkly lipstick they’d worn yesterday. As their lips move, Party can see the light flash off those glittery particles.

Their mouth is just really fuckin’ pretty, okay?

And that’s just a fact!! Jet Star thinks their mouth is pretty, too! Party knows because they asked him, like, last week what his thoughts on Pony were, and the first thing he’d said after “Dramatic, handy in a fight” was “really pretty lips, y’know?”

And then maybe Party had teased their boyfriend about wanting to smooch Pony and then Jet had teased them about wanting to smooch Pony, and they’d both just kind of agreed that okay, maybe they both really wanted to smooch Show Pony, and not just because of how pretty they are, although that fact is definitely a bonus.

And, okay, so maybe Party hasn’t been able to stop thinkin’ about kissin’ Pony and holdin’ their hand and holdin’ Jet’s hand and collapsing into a big cuddle puddle on their bed with both of them.

Fuck, Party’s got it bad.

“--and then I said--Party? Party, are you even listening to me?”

Party blinks, sitting up ramrod straight and tearing their eyes away from Pony’s lips. “Huh?” they say. “Uhh...yeah! Yeah, ‘course I am, Dr. D said--”

Pony scoffs and rolls their eyes. “I haven’t mentioned Dr. D in at least three minutes,” they inform Party. “How long have you been zoning out and staring at my lips, hmm?” They quirk an eyebrow at them.

“Uh.” Party feels their face start to heat up. Fuck, they’ve been caught! “I have no idea what you’re talkin’ about,” they state firmly.

Pony rolls their eyes again, stepping forward until they’re toe-to-toe with Party. “I’m not an idiot, Party,” they say. “If you want to kiss me, you should just say so. I’m not going to turn you down, you know.”

“Oh,” Party squeaks. Okay, well, this certainly isn’t how Party had pictured their afternoon going, but they aren’t exactly complaining.

Show Pony’s staring at them expectantly. Party stares back.

After a few long moments, Pony groans, tipping their head back, and says, “Good god, you’re hopeless, aren’t you?”

“Wha--” that’s all Party gets out, because Pony’s grabbed them by the shoulders and hoisted them up, and they’re kissing Party, and holy fuck their lips are just as goddamn soft as they look, how the hell is that possible?

And Party discovers that Pony’s really goddamn good at kissing, and that kissing them is just as nice as they’d hoped it would be, and they find themself grabbing onto them, wrapping their arms around Pony’s neck and kissing them back just as fervently, their whole body arching into Show Pony’s as they press closer together.

It’s unclear exactly how long this goes on, but when they break apart, panting a little and looking into each other’s eyes, Party can only let out a breathy little “Wow.”

Pony laughs, leaning in to give them a peck on the lips. “Wow is right,” they say. “I’ve been hoping you or Jet Star would ask me out for a while, but you’re both so fucking shy and stubborn.”

“I’m not shy!” Party protests.

Pony snorts. “You’re also a bad liar.”

“Fuck off.”

Pony kisses them again.

Chapter Text

Party and Kobra have always had each other.

When they were kids, before they left the city, they told each other anything and everything, things they couldn’t tell anyone else, things that could get them punished, put on a watchlist, sent to corrections. They knew the dangers, but they always trusted each other with everything.

When Kobra decided he wanted to, needed to leave the city, Party wasn’t going to let him go by himself. They needed to keep him safe, and there was nothing holding them to the city, anyway. Leaving wasn’t a hard decision; it was one of the easiest decisions in the world.

It was difficult, at first, living in the desert, fending for themselves. Food and water were both hard to come by, in those early days, but they made do. They wouldn’t have survived, Party thinks, without each other to rely on.

And now they have a home, they have a family. Other people to rely on, other people to trust, to love, and even still, the two of them remain close. Clos er, maybe, than before.

It’s hot enough outside to melt the window panes, Party’s pretty sure, and inside the diner it’s barely cooler.

Still, Party and Kobra are curled up on the couch together, Kobra seated on one end and Party laying on the sofa, their head in his lap as they absently flip through a magazine.

“Party,” Kobra says, reaching down with one hand to pet their hair, “you should read to me.”

Party snorts, turning a page. “Why?” they ask. “You’ve got your own readin’ material, you’ve got eyes.”

“Things just sound better when you read ‘em out loud.”

“Then why don’t you read to me?” Party suggests, but they’re only teasing. They toss their own magazine onto the floor and hold out their hand for Kobra’s. “Gimme.”

Kobra hands it over, smiling softly, and Party sticks their tongue out at him before turning their attention to the reading material in their hands.

“Okay,” they say. “Where d’ya want me to start? This article on the latest BL/ind-sanctioned music groups, or the interview with Exterminator Korse on why he’s definitely gonna catch the Killjoys next time?”

Kobra snorts. “Yeah, let’s hear Korse’s plans. If he says anything dumb we can yell some quotes at him durin’ the next clap.”

“Kobes, everything Korse says is dumb. We’d have to yell the whole article at ‘im.”

“I’m okay with this.”

“‘Course ya are,” Party chuckles, and then they start to read, enjoying the feeling of their brother playing with their hair and doing their best to ignore the heat, so they can enjoy themself all the longer.

Chapter Text

Party’s wearing green lipstick tonight.

It wouldn’t be that jarring to see, because Party wears lipstick and other makeup all the time, and they’ve always got weird colors if they can help it, but tonight they’re wearing green lipstick, which is Ghoul’s color, and Ghoul knows it’s not because of him- -can’t be because of him--but he can’t stop staring at Party’s lips.

And that’s probably really weird, because they’re at the flea market, trying to find some parts for Ghoul and Kobra’s latest robotics project, and they’re walking side-by-side, so Ghoul keeps having to look up at Party and hope he’s being at least twice as sneaky as he feels, because he feels like he’s being pretty damn obvious.

Party hasn’t said anything, though, so maybe he’s doing okay.

“Think I can talk ‘er down to twenty,” Party’s saying. “Prob’ly gonna have to give ‘er somethin’ too, though. Ya think she’ll take scrap metal as partial payment?”

Ghoul shakes himself, forces himself to focus on Party’s eyes instead of their neon green mouth. “Uh,” he says. “Uh, yeah. I mean, I’ve traded with her before, she’s always lookin’ for copper.”

“Sweet.” Party nods, then glances around. “Ugh, I need to sit for a minute, this bag is heavy and my feet are killin’ me.”

“Right.” Ghoul follows them to a shady area beside one of the few buildings here. They sit down beside each other in the sand, and Ghoul wipes some sweat off his forehead.

Party drops their bag in between their knees with a groan. “Least we got most’a what we came here for,” they say, turning their head to look at him.

Ghoul nods in agreement, but he’s distracted again, watching their lips. That green looks really good on them. Just...really fuckin’ nice.

Okay, he really wants to kiss them, but he can’t kiss them, because that would be fuckin’ weird, right? Like, to just go and kiss Party, like, that would just--

It would be weird.

But Ghoul’s body doesn’t seem to get the memo, because he leans in and captures their lips with his own, and, oh fuck, it’s really nice.

He pulls back after a moment. “Um,” he says. “Oops?”

Party laughs, reaching out to cup his cheek. “I knew the green lipstick would do the trick!”

“Um,” he says. “Wait, what?!”

“Fuckin’ dumbass,” Party says. “Just shut up and kiss me again.”

And he does.

Chapter Text

It’s been...a day.

They’ve been out since sunup, driving around and helping out with the flooding wherever and however they could, picking people up and taking them to high ground, delivering supplies, whatever.

They’ve done all they can today, and tomorrow they’ll go out and do it all again, but tonight’s their own.

Ghoul collapses on their shared mattress first, groaning, and Party follows his lead, falling onto it and immediately burying their face in their pillow. “Fuck,” they say. “I’m fuckin’ dead.”

“Me too,” Ghoul says, his voice muffled. “Ugh. Stupid fuckin’... rain.”

“Why can’t it just rain, like, a normal amount,” Party says. They turn to lay on their side, facing Ghoul. “Least we got most’a the people outta the flood zone.”

“Yeah.”

They’re both quiet for a long minute, and Party thinks Ghoul’s fallen asleep, is just starting to drift off themself, when Ghoul scoots closer and throws his arm over Party.

Party grins, shifting closer to Ghoul, shoving blankets and pillows out of the way until they can bury their face in the crook of his neck. They hum quietly, a tuneless sound, and press a quick kiss to his shoulder.

Ghoul tightens his grip on Party, holding them close, and ducks his head. Party lifts their eyes to his, smiles, and kisses him.

It’s a soft, chaste kiss, lazy and sleepy. Party reaches up with one hand to comb their fingers through Ghoul’s hair, and Ghoul breaks the kiss, but he doesn’t go far.

“Love you,” he murmurs, and the vibration of his lips against Party’s makes them giggle.

“Love you too,” they reply, and kiss him again.

It’s not much longer after that they both drift off to sleep, finally getting their much-needed rest.

Chapter Text

Jet laughs, waving his spoon through the air. “That doesn’t even make sense, ” he says to Ghoul, who’s seated across from him.

“Yeah it does. You just can’t wrap your head around it. It makes sense to everyone else!”

“Just because Kobra says it makes sense doesn’t mean it makes sense. It just means he doesn’t want you to feel bad for sayin’ somethin’ completely batshit.” He finishes off his Power-Pup and sets the can and spoon aside.

Ghoul scoffs at him. “Whatever,” he says, and stands up. “I’m gonna go find him an’ make him prove that’s not what it is. Just to spite you.”

“Uh huh,” Jet says, shaking his head. “Whatever you say, Ghoul.”

Ghoul leaves the diner then, and Jet finds himself alone.

Or, at least, he thinks he’s alone, until someone suddenly plops themself sideways in his lap.

Jet jumps, startled, and meets Show Pony’s eyes. “Uh,” he says, willing himself not to blush. “Uh, hi, um, Pony. Can I...help you?”

Pony grins at him, situating themself more comfortably in his lap, and sling an arm around his neck. “Can’t I stop by just to see my favorite killjoy?” they practically purr, leaning in close with half-lidded eyes.

Jet swallows, knows he’s definitely blushing now, and holds very, very still. “Um, uh, no, I guess not, but, uh, I--um,” he says.

Pony’s grin widens, and they shift again, turning in his lap to face him more fully, putting one hand on his cheek. “Ooh,” they say. “Nervous, are we?”

“Uh.” Jet really doesn’t think he can take much more of Pony’s teasing without combusting, and he knows that’s all it is, just Pony teasing him for being so easily flustered, but it’s not like he’s flustered by just anyone! Pretty people like Pony just literally dropping into his lap are gonna make him flustered! That’s just what happens when you have a raging crush!

Pony rubs their hand against his cheek, and he feels his face heat up even more, feels his heart beat faster, and hopes to and god listening that Pony can’t hear it. Or feel it. Oh god.

“There’s no need to be so nervous, Jet,” Pony says, leaning in closer. Jet’s gonna die. He fists his hands at his sides, very carefully doesn’t touch Pony because that would definitely be a disaster. Pony hums quietly, lifts their hand from his cheek to his hair. “Such gorgeous hair,” they murmur. “Perfect for a beautiful man like you.”

Jet stammers something out, he’s not sure what, and Pony laughs lightly.

“Jet,” they say. “I’m going to kiss you now.”

“You’re what--” is all he gets out before Pony’s lips are on his.

And now he’s more than a little confused, and more than a lot kind of in heaven, because yeah he’s definitely thought about kissing Pony before but he’d never thought they would kiss him, because they flirt with everybody , right? So why would they be serious about him?

But here they are, kissing him, and he’s kissing back, and this time he lets his hands move up to Pony’s waist, holding them in place, and Pony smiles against his lips.

They pull back a few moments later and lick their lips. Jet’s heart skips a beat. “Finally,” they say. “If I’d known how bad you were at taking hints, I’d have climbed into your lap and kissed the hell out of you months ago.”

“Uh,” says Jet, his brain struggling to process everything. “You--wait, you--for months?”

“Oh, Jet,” they say, rolling their eyes. “You’re as stupid as you are beautiful.”

They kiss him again before he can reply.

Chapter Text

It’s raining.

The fact that it’s raining--that there’s water falling from the sky-- is unusual in and of itself, but when you add to that the fact that it’s raining hard enough that each drop rings out against the roof, and the fact that they’re actually at home with nothing pressing to do while it’s raining, it’s practically a miracle.

Jet’s sitting on the sofa, one foot planted on the floor and his other leg stretched out across the entire length, his arm over the back of the sofa and his head tipped back, his eyes closed as he listens to the music of the rain.

It’s relaxing, and something he’s in dire need of after the last few weeks.

He’s almost drifted off to sleep when he hears footsteps approaching, quiet, uncertain.

He cracks open an eye, tilting his head forward to see Ghoul standing in front of him, shifting from foot to foot, eyes darting around, never quite settling anywhere.

Jet smiles at him and lifts his arms, opening them. “C’mere,” he says, a little groggily.

Ghoul steps forward and immediately drops into Jet’s arms, curling up into a little ball and burying his face in Jet’s chest.

“Nervous?” Jet asks, tightening his hold on him and resting his cheek against the top of Ghoul’s head.

Ghoul nods, his hair tickling Jet’s nose.

“The rain’s a good thing, y’know,” he says quietly, rubbing his hand over Ghoul’s back in soothing circles.
“Loud,” Ghoul murmurs. “Don’t like it.”

“I know. D’you want me to talk for a while? Drown it out? Or are you okay just layin’ here?”

There’s a pause. Then, “Think I’ll be okay,” Ghoul says. “Long’s you’re hear.”

“I’m not goin’ anywhere, Ghoul.”

“Kay.”

They lay there quietly, Jet keeping his hand moving on Ghoul’s back, listening to the rain and to the sound of himself and Ghoul breathing. It’s relaxing, and comfortable, and eventually, as the raindrops begin to quiet, Ghoul’s breathing evens out as he drops off to sleep.

Chapter Text

“Ow, fuck, why are your legs so long and pointy?”

“Why are yours so short and stubby?”

Ghoul kicks him, or tries to, because currently he and Kobra are stuck in the trunk of the car with a bunch of cans and boxes and neither of them can move much. He ends up just sort of gently kneeing Kobra in the calf.

Kobra snorts. He twists slightly, stretching out an arm, and ends up smacking Ghoul in the face. Ghoul smacks him back.

Kobra groans, tossing his head back just as the car hits a bump, sending a can slamming into the back of his head. “Fuck,” he says, jerking back.

Ghoul shifts, turning onto his stomach and propping himself up on his elbows. “There’s gotta be a way to get comfortable in here, right? I mean, it can’t take that long to get to where we’re goin’, right?”

Kobra’s quiet for a moment. Then he says, “We prob’ly wouldn’t jangle around so much if we…”

Ghoul waits for him to finish his sentence, but the silence stretches on too long, and Ghoul sighs, dropping onto his face. “If we what, ” he asks.

The silence continues on unbroken for a few minutes more before Kobra says, quietly, “I could, uh. Hold you.”

Ghoul laughs, turning his head toward Kobra and immediately getting slammed into the bare metal at the back of the runk. “Mother fuck!” he exclaims. “Fuck, yeah, okay, just don’t let me get bounced around and you can do basically whatever, I don’t care.”

“Uh,” Kobra says, and nothing else.

Ghoul sighs again, shuffling closer. He feels Kobra’s arms come up and wrap around him, pulling him tight against his chest, and he’s kind of surprised by how nice it feels. Plus, with Ghoul tucked up against Kobra, his face pressed into Kobra’s shoulder, he’s not moving around so much and he feels a lot less likely to crack his skull open on a Power-Pup can.

“Is this...okay?” Kobra asks, and Ghoul laughs because he sounds so fuckin’ nervous. Why the hell is he nervous?

“Yeah,” Ghoul says. “Just don’t toss me at the wall or slam your face into mine or somethin’.”

He feels Kobra tense up around him for just a moment. “Why would I...have my face anywhere near yours?” he asks.

Ghoul snorts. “I dunno, man, just don’t do it, skulls don’t feel good bouncin’ into each other.”

“Right.”

It’s quiet for a few moments more, and then the car hits another bump, and Kobra’s hand flies up to cradle the back of Ghoul’s head just before it can slam into the lid of the trunk.

“Oh shit,” Ghoul says. “Close one. Thanks, man.”

“Anytime,” Kobra says. He doesn’t move his hand from the back of Ghoul’s hand, and Ghoul finds that he actually doesn’t mind. It’s kind of...nice, actually.

They don’t talk much for the rest of the trip, but Ghoul’s never been more comfortable in his entire life.

Maybe he’ll have to cuddle with Kobra again sometime, he thinks.

Chapter Text

“Kobes, pass me that brush!”

Kobra glances up at his sibling, then shrugs, going back to his work. “You can reach,” he says, focusing intently on the ray gun in his hand, tongue poking out the side of his mouth as he tries to keep his own brush steady.

“Yeah,” Party gripes, “but you’re closer!”

“I’m also busy, if ya hadn’t noticed,” Kobra mutters. His ray gun’s almost entirely red now, save the spots he’s deliberately left white, and it looks fuckin’ cool.

Party sighs, loudly and pointedly, then reaches over and grabs the paintbrush by their brother’s elbow and dips it in a pot of hot pink paint. “You’re the worst brother in the world,” Party tells him.

“Uh-huh.” Kobra sets his paintbrush down and carefully lays the bright red gun on the table. “What other colors should I add when it’s dry?” he asks.

Party looks over at it, squints. They hum, tapping their paintbrush against their cheek as they think. Their cheek is wet now. And probably pink. Oops.

“I dunno, I think it looks cool red an’ white like that,” they say, wiping at the paint on their cheek.

“Y’don’t think it looks lame?” Kobra frowns down at his ray gun, and Party shakes their head, going back to their own painting.

“Nah,” they say. “Looks cool. Striking. You should keep it like that, it’ll look badass when it’s dry.” They carefully apply the paint to their own gun, pink over the yellow. They look good together.

“Okay,” Kobra says, and he sounds pretty pleased.

It’s quiet for a while, and then Kobra scoots closer, tilting his head to better see Party’s work. “Speakin’ of badass,” he says, “those neons’ll definitely piss off BL/ind next time we get in a firefight.”

“Hell yeah they will!” Party shoots a grin at him. “Can you imagine their faces? When Party Poison an’ the Kobra Kid jump out and start firin’ on ‘em with fuckin’ bright red an’ neon yellow ray guns? They’ll piss themselves!”

Kobra huffs out a little laugh and sits back up. “They’ll freak the fuck out,” he agrees. “We make a good team, Party.”

Party’s grin widens, and they lean over to bump their shoulder against his. “Hell yeah we do, li’l bro. We make the best team.”

Chapter Text

Kobra rolls over with a groan, curling himself into a ball. When that does nothing for the pain, he rolls back into his previous position, and twists his torso just slightly to the other side. This, at least, makes him feel like he’s not about to die at any second.

The door to his room opens slowly, light from the main part of the diner streaming in. Kobra squeezes his eyes shut, but doesn’t dare move, even just to hide his face in a nice dark pillow. Thankfully, the light’s gone quickly enough, the door shutting with a soft click , followed by footsteps coming closer.

“Hey,” Jet says quietly. Kobra cracks open an eye and turns his head just enough to look at Jet. “You feeling any better yet?”

“Fuck off,” Kobra says, closing his eye again. “Ugh. Fuck.” Kobra only gets his period once every few months, which is, in his opinion, much better than getting it every goddamn month, but it also means that when he does get it, it’s also way fuckin’ worse than it would be otherwise.

“That bad, huh?” Jet says. Kobra feels him brush a few sweaty strands of hair from Kobra’s forehead, which actually feels pretty nice. “Here. Brought you some water.” There’s a little clink sound, presumably Jet setting a glass of water on the makeshift nightstand.

“Thanks,” Kobra says. He opens his eyes again, looking up at Jet--or, as much of Jet as he can see in the darkness. “I’ll be okay. Just gotta...deal with it.”

“Well, let me know if you need anything else,” Jet says. “Sorry we don’t have any pain meds right now.” He pauses, then continues, “Maybe a hot drink? I mean, I know it’s fuckin’ broiling, but maybe it would help?”

And that actually sounds pretty good. Especially if…. “Can you put honey in it?” Kobra asks. “Like, extra honey. A shit ton of honey.”

Jet chuckles. “Yeah, we just restocked, so there’s plenty. Gimme a minute.” He reaches over and fluffs up Kobra’s pillow, and then he’s gone again.

Kobra smiles softly to himself, eyes falling closed again. He may be dealing with probably the shittiest part of his life right now, but he’s also got Jet around, always wanting to help. It’s nice.

Jet’s back a few minutes later, and this time Kobra forces himself to sit up a bit, leaning against the wall behind his bed and reaching for the mug Jet holds out to him. He takes a sip; it’s hot lemon water with, as promised, a shit ton of honey. He smiles again, takes another sip. “Thanks, Jet,” he says, and pats the empty space beside him on the bed. “C’mere.”

“You sure?” Jet asks, but he’s already lowering himself onto the mattress, movements careful.

“Yeah,” Kobra says. Once Jet’s situated, Kobra leans against him, shifting around until he doesn’t feel like he’s about to die again. “Get lonely sometimes. ‘Specially times like this.”

“I get it,” Jet says. He reaches over and puts his arm around Kobra’s shoulders, and even though it’s hot and stuffy in this room, the comfort of another person--of Jet Star--here with him makes the added heat worth it.

They sit there quietly for a few minutes, Kobra sipping periodically on his honey-laden drink, and then Jet makes a little “oh” sound.

“Here,” he says, and hands Kobra a little paper packet. “Picked some of these up yesterday. Thought you’d like some, a little pick-me-up.”

Kobra opens the packet curiously and peers inside, only to find that it’s full of chocolates. Actual fuckin’ chocolates! “Holy shit,” he says, and looks up at Jet. “This is like a goddamn gold mine, Jet.”

Jet grins at him, teeth shining faintly in the darkness. “Thought you’d like ‘em,” he says. “Hopefully they’ll help you feel better.”

And Kobra huffs out a little laugh, laying his head against Jet’s shoulder. “Think you’ve already got that covered,” he says.

Jet plans a kiss on the top of his head, and, yeah. Kobra’s gonna be okay.