The sound of a high pitched whistle screamed through the room.
"Shit, shit, shit!" Ink rushed to pull the kettle off of the stove. He was squinching his eyesockets shut because of the high pitched. He moved the kettle to the back burner. Thankfully, it instantly killed the noise. Ink went to the far end of the cabinets and pulled out three medium cups. One black with blue stripes, another with skittles thrown across it, and the last cup was a plain white.
After all the chaos that had ensued earlier, Ink had laid Pj down in his room. He didn't expected the small child to stay asleep for long, so he had left the light on and the door open. Stories just knocked him out whenever he was read too. Much like his father tended to do. (Ink discovered Error did this when he tried to annoy fuck and read out loud. Only to turn to see his husband cocked out beside him.) After he had laid the child to bed, Ink had made his way back to the kitchen to make some tea. Which is where he was now.
He went to the cabinet to get the tea bags. Already going through the motion, knowing exactly what he wanted and where it was. He opened the cabinet and reached the boxes near the top when his arm bumped into something. He felt it rock in place, only for it to fall before he could stop it. Ink freaked out and nearly let the object fall to the ground until he recognized the shape. A mask. Shit. Ink squeaked and barely caught it in time.
It was the mask he had yet to give to Geno. The mask was very similar to Geno’s current one. Just this time, it was a replica of the mask mortals use in a theater called ‘tragedy’. The mortal one had slanted eye holes and a long frown. It was overly dramatic but got the point across. It was sad, anguished and filled with despair. It reminded Ink of something from a nightmare. So he made this one with a less exaggerated expression. The smile wasn't as long and eye holes were larger, big enough for Geno to able to see through. A thin red outlining the eye holes and the reem of the mask. With a sparkle in the reem, to give the mask a more stage performance feeling but still be subtle.
Paperjam must have hidden it when they weren't paying attention. The godling had taken joy in hiding things from his parents. He didn’t see it as mean and forgot about it if neither Ink or Error question him. How the child got it up the cabinet, Ink didn’t know. Nonetheless, it didn’t surprise him. Paperjam had hidden things in stranger areas. He could have easily pushed a chair over to the counter and climbed on top. Something Ink had caught his son doing multiple times before.
Ink sighed and placed the mask on the counter. He was beyond thankful it didn’t break or shatter. He probably should start locking up his art room. This was the third time this month PJ took something from in there. He gave the gift one last look before turning to get the tea bags. He grabbed the peppermint and wildberry boxes at the top.
Both brother's loved peppermint tea to the point they had to keep multiple boxes. Ink himself didn’t have a favorite brand but favored many of the berry kinds. So there were about eight different types of berry teas lost in the cabinet. Ink opened the boxes and tore open their packets. He plopped the teabags into three cups and pushed them out of the way.
Ink grabbed the kettle and proceeded to pour the steaming water into the cups. He waited the next few minutes for the tea to set in before adding the rest of the ingredients. The plain white cup got honey, milk, and sugar. The next two cups, milk and two teaspoons of sugar. Ink stirred the cups. Putting one of the peppermint ones in the fridge and the first two on the counter.
His eyelights once again darted to the mask. He had finished it a few days prior. Which was faster then he thought he would. Ink wanted to reach for it and look for any imperfections. There could be an edge that was too sharp or wasn’t sanded down enough. Maybe there were streaks in some of the details. Some sparkle out of place- Ink shook his head and sighed. He had double-checked multiple times before. He knew it was perfect, but maybe… Ink chewed on the tip of his fingers.
No! No. Ink ran his hands over his eyesockets. He blew out a puff of air and turned back to the cups of tea. He should tell the others the tea was ready. Error will have to wait a minute for his but at least Geno and Ink could enjoy theirs.
“Is that tea?”
Ink looked over his shoulder. Geno stood at the kitchen’s entranceway. His clothes were wrinkled from the pillow fight. A few pieces of cotton from the pillows stuck to his shirt and scarf. He reminded Ink as a plushie that was worn down by time. Ink flashed his friend a smile and nodded his head. “What kind?”
“You’re favorite, Peppermint with honey, sugar, and milk.” Ink lifted the white cup as he said that. Geno eyelight snapped into a star. The excitement being bright on his face. “Take a seat,”
Geno pulled out a chair and sat down, facing Ink. Geno genuinely looked giddy. It was downright cute and sweet to see the other like that. His eyelight remained that star and twinkled. Ink made his way to the table and placed his tea on the table while handing Geno's his.
“I still don’t get how Error likes his cold,” Geno mumbled and took his steaming cup of joy. Pure glee in his eyelight. Ink shrugged his shoulders. The Creator himself didn’t care what temperature his tea was. Geno took a sip and sighed in pure bliss. His head rolled to the side and closed his eyesockets.
Ink pouted, watching him with slumped shoulders. “Why does the tea get special treatment?” He cried playfully but Geno shot him a glare. With a raised eyebrow bone, the shorter god took a slow sip of his tea. Ink just gave the other a cocky grin and wiggled his eyebrow bones at the other. Which earned him a roll of the eyes and a discreet smile. Ink snickered at the other’s blatant attempt to seem annoyed by his antics.
He grabbed his cup of tea and sighed at the taste. He took another large gulp before he took a seat beside Geno. He drew lazy designs on the table and kept glancing over his cup to his friend.
Geno had set his cup on the table and tapped his leg. He was leaning on his hand and nipping his fingertips. Ink watched his movement and knew the other was restless. Ink bit his tongue, unsure if he should ask the other what was wrong or not. He didn’t want to cause any negative memories to resurface. However, -Geno’s leg bounced harder- sometimes people need to talk about things.
“How are you feeling?” Ink referred to the day before. Geno blinked in confusion at Ink. His expression turned to grim and pained when he realized what Ink meant.
“Better, but…” Geno trailed off. A dark shadow going over his face. His face reluctantly twisted into a scowl. Ink noticed the way he kept a deadly grip on his cup. Ink expected to see it shatter under his grip. He could see tears pricking in the corners of Geno’s eyesockets. His arms shaking as he tried to get the words out. Chest heaving with each syllable that he got out. “I can still hear their cries.”
Ink’s soul broke. “Was Dea-”
“Yes,” Ink didn’t miss the relieved tone in Geno’s voice. It was small, almost nonexistent but there nonetheless. Even apart, Geno missed and yearned for his husband’s presence. Yet dreaded it greatly.
“I got there before Reaper. They-” Geno’s hand shook around the cup before he sat it down a little roughly. Ink knelt beside him. Hands going to hold Geno’s shaking ones. The God of Tragedy twisted his hands, successfully intertwined their fingers; Holding Ink with a death grip. “The baby wasn’t even old enough to hold their head up.”
“They were crying, wanting help but no one stopped.” Geno’s voice wavered. His grip got even tighter. Ink stayed silent. He didn’t want to interrupt Geno or make him feel like he was rambling. Ink rubbed circles on the back of Geno’s hand. “Ink, hundreds of people heard the baby but never stopped.”
“Sweetie,” Ink cooed sympathetically. The god of tragedy blinked and shook his head. He tried to give a smile but it didn’t reach his eyesockets. Ink could see right through it and that fact alone made his soul break further. “Oh, Rose…”
Geno wiped away the tears on his sleeve. “I’ll be fine. It’s just-” He cut himself off with a sob. His eyelight was wavering and his voice watery. Choking on his words. “Fuck, mortals are so heartless.”
Ink's frown grew. He untangled one hand and grabbed Geno’s chin. “Not all mortals. You’re one of the nicest gods I know.”
A breathless laugh left Geno, his eyelight watched the wall. Ink winced at the emptiness in his voice. The hand he held tightened to a deadly grip. “I don’t think I count for a testament to mortals anymore.”
“Maybe not, but you were one. And trust me when I say you have a good soul.” Geno didn’t say anything, he probably degraded himself in his head. The God of Tragedy chose not to believe anything Ink said about him. “Hey,” Geno meets his gaze, barely able to hold it. “It wasn't your fault, okay?”
Reluctantly, Geno nodded his head. He knew Ink was right, but it was hard to not see it that way. Not to see the dead look in each child’s eyes. To see the torture and pain they are feeling. Not to see the pain and how they begged for someone, anyone, to help them. It was soul-wrenching each time and it would forever haunt Geno. No matter what happened, Geno couldn’t escape those moments. It’s hard not seeing it not being his fault. Especially-
“Rose,” Arms circled Geno and brought the other in close. He froze in Ink's arms. He sniffled and his body gave a twitch. Fingers flexed before the tears finally fell down his cheeks.
He shook in the other’s arms. His breathing slowly grew harsher and elevated. Geno shoved his head into Ink’s shoulder. He threw his arms around the other and held Ink close as he cried. His fingers twisting in Ink's shirt and clung on tight. His cries of anguish muffled by Ink's chest.
Ink face was pinched in pain. He didn’t like hearing the other crying. He didn’t like Geno hurt in any way. Fuck, this wasn’t fair. Geno didn't deserve it. He didn't deserve it, he didn't fucking deserve it! Ink held in a growl from his internal frustration. His grip on the sobbing god tightened. Ink nuzzled his head down on Geno’s and closed his eyesockets.
For several minutes, Ink refused to let go of the other. He had his head buried into the other’s neck. The soft fabric of Geno’s scarf pressed against his face. It nearly suffocated him but he didn’t care. He rubbed his hand in small circles on the other's back.
Geno ended up pulling back, his tears had come to a stop. He didn’t pull away fully. Just enough to move his head and lay his cheek on Ink’s shoulder. He took comfort in Ink’s touch and smell. It made him feel better. It made him feel safe and okay. So, when Ink pulled away, Geno wanted to grab the other and pull him in close again.
Ink didn’t go far, thankfully. He laid his hands on Geno’s shoulders. He rubbed his thumb across the other’s collar bone. Geno did lean his skull to the side, laying his cheek on the other's hand.
“Want me to help with their tombstone?” Ink offered, moving his thumb to rub against the other's cheek. Geno shook his head. Part of him refusing to even allow to taint Ink with the haunting memory of his job. Ink dropped his hands and stood up. “Well, my offer still stands if you ever want my help.”
“Thanks, but no. I already have it done anyways.”
Ink nodded his head sadly. He wiped away Geno’s tears. Not commenting on when Geno leaned into his touch or nuzzled his hand. Not feeling the time would be even in the slightest appropriate to flirt or push the other away. Geno needed him.
“Ink, can we change the subject?” Geno whispered, eyelights darting to the side. His gloved fingers twiddling with Ink’s scarf; He gave it a small tug every couple of words. “I already have enough time thinking about this when I’m alone. I rather not think about it now.”
“Yeah, of course, Gen,” Ink pressed a kiss to Geno’s head. Allowing himself to linger before pulling back fully. He slid his hands down to his hands and kissed the other’s fingertips. He leaned back and flashed an overly bright smile to Geno. “So, how about this weather.”
“You’re a dork.” Geno sighed, but a smile perked on his face. It didn’t reach his eyesockets but it felt more genuine than the previous smiles. “But thanks.”
Geno did something that shocked both of them. He grabbed Ink’s scarf and pulled him down, pressing a kiss to his smudged cheek. Ink’s face erupted in pastel rainbow and it was his turn to feel flustered in the other’s presence. Geno’s face was a breathtaking shade of red.
“Heh,” Ink melted as he stared at the shorter. Geno avoided his stare, grabbed his cup of tea and took a large gulp. Ink blinked at the other and let out a chuckle, enamored completely.
Well, that was the wrong thing to do. Geno’s blush had got even worse and his eyesocket twitched. He didn’t say anything but he did grab his now empty cup and stood up. He tried to smile at Ink. One the god of creation saw through easily. Ink gave an apologetic smile.
“Are you done with that?” Geno politely nodded to Ink’s almost empty cup. Ink knew the other wasn't trying to be rude. Truly wanted to change the subject once again and have Ink forget what he did.
Ink held up a finger and swallowed the rest. When done, he handed the cup over to his friend. Geno took it and brought the two empty cups to the sink. Desperate to get away from the conversation and Ink.
Nonetheless, his movement was slow and sluggish. Probably emotionally tired and yearning for a nap. Ink watched the other with a hint of grief. He didn’t want this for the other. He didn’t want to be the reason Geno was distant and he didn’t want the other to be forced as a god with a horrific job.
'Geno had to go home at some point,' Ink thought with dread. He had none of his things here. No clothes, no books, nothing of his. Maybe Ink should ask the other to move in. That way he wouldn’t be forced to go to an empty house after a tough job. They had enough rooms for him to have his own. Geno deserved to be happy and not be alone when he had a rough time.
Geno would never go for it. He was too stubborn for his own good. Probably roll his eyelight and push himself further away emotionally to prove a point. Something he did before. Ink had offered their spare guest room back when Geno was still very new to the upper realm. Determined to prove he was fine on his own, Geno didn’t stop by for a few weeks.
When Paperjam was conceived, they turned the spare room into a nursery. They still had another room but it was filled with art supplies, strings, Paperjam’s baby clothes, and toys. Stuff that could be easily moved to the attic if need be.
Ink sighed and closed his eyesockets. He loves that stubborn skeleton. He just wishes he could help Geno without accidentally pushing the other away. Ink couldn’t force Geno to leave his home and live here. If the other didn’t want to, he didn’t have to. Ink could make sure that he knew that he would always have a place here though.
“What is that?”
Geno brought Ink from his thoughts. He turned his head to his friend and looked at him confused. The shorter skeleton nodded his head towards something on the counter. He was referencing to the mask on the counter.
Ink’s face lit up like a colorful flame. His eyesockets widened as he stared at the mask. Fuck, he forgot about that! The curious stare of Geno’s had him wanting to hide the poorly concealed gift. Ink had wanted to give the porcelain mask to Geno on his birthday. He could lie and shrug it off, but Geno already saw it!
Yet, maybe the mask could cheer him up. Ink glanced over to Geno. Still seeing the redness beneath his eyesockets from crying. Slowly, he glanced between his friend and the mask. He finally flashed a wide smile and made his way to the counter. Ink felt excitement surge through him and glee.
He grabbed the mask and presented it to his Rose. Feeling a slight nervousness but pride. All in all, it made him want to hurl. He could feel the bile in his throat but he swallowed it down. “Here! I made you this!”
Geno stared at the mask with furrowed eyebrow bones. He could see the confusion in the other’s expression and Ink began to sweat. Did he mess up on it? Was it insulting? Fuck, he knew he should have checked it again. However, Geno’s stare quickly softened; His head tilted to the side and flushed.
“Thank you,” Geno mumbled. A soft and rare smile on his face. His head leaning against his shoulder, eyelight glowed softly in appreciation and something else Geno wasn’t ready to admit to any of them. “You’re sweet,”
“Anytime,” Ink chimed, happily handed the mask over to Geno. The shorter ran his hands over the mask. A smile making it's home on his face. He traced the reem of the mask.
Geno looked back up at him. Fondness and warmth in his eyelight. It made Ink’s nonexistent stomach feel fuzzy and do knots. ‘Ink, whatever you do, don’t fuck this up. Don’t say anything to fuck this up. Do- ’ “Since you already know that I am sweet, you should let me have a taste of you.” Fuck.
Geno blinked, confused before his face contorted into an annoyed scowl. “How many times do I have to tell you to shut up?”
“How many times does it take before you punish me?”
Geno just blatantly stared at Ink before he snorted. His eyesocket clenched shut as he tried to stifle his laughter. His hand slapping across his mouth. He opened his eyesocket, meeting Ink's. Stars, Geno was adorable. Ink didn’t fight the blush that spread across his cheeks. Geno's eyelight twinkled in laughter. “You’re terrible.”
“You’re mouth says that, but your eyelights say otherwise.” Geno shook his head no, ready to deny it. The laughter stopped any words that were going to rise out of his mouth. Ink closed the gap between them. A shit-eating grin plastered to his face as he watched Geno laugh.
Fuck, he is cute.
Ink placed his hands around Geno’s waist. Ink waited and looked for any sign of objection. When none came, he pulled the other close to him. Geno’s hand fell from his mouth, no longer trying to stifle his laughter. His hands fell onto Ink’s chest, forehead pressing into Ink’s ribcage. His shoulders shook with giggles.
Ink laid his head against his Rose's. He watched the happiness in Geno’s expression. It relaxed him. It was wholeheartedly pure in a way Ink could never describe. It willed Ink to do anything to keep that smile on his friend’s face. And he did mean anything. The brightness from Geno’s smile put the sun to shame.
Speaking of that smile…
Ink leaned down. Their mouths inches apart. He could hear Geno’s breathing hitch. Geno clenched Ink’s sash, accidentally pulling Ink closer and- A hand covered his mouth.
Ink opened his eyesockets. Geno looked at him with a downtrodden stare. The hand that remained on his chest pushed him away. Ink’s sash was never released from Geno.
“You know I can’t…” Geno whispered, pain in his voice. Ink’s smile fell grim but remained. “I’m still married to Reaper and-” ‘I still love him.’ Geno didn’t say it. He didn’t need to for Ink to know that that was what he was going to say.
Ink nodded his head. “I know. Doesn’t mean I can’t wait.”
“You’ll probably be waiting for a long time…” He tried to change Ink’s mind. Geno held the mask close to his chest.
Ink closed the distance between them. Ink tilted his head to the side, refused to take his eyes off of Geno. Ink trailed his hand up to Geno’s face and cupped his cheek. Ink pulled his friend close and pressed a kiss into Geno’s forehead. Lingering long enough to whisper:
“You are worth it.”