Otto's used to waking up to odd happenings the morning after he's slept over at Awsten's house. There are plenty of times he's opened his eyes blearily to Awsten in a gorilla mask leaning over his prone form, or dancing at him to Cobra Starship, or even just taking pictures of his sleeping face, mouth probably open. But he hadn't expected anything quite this... sci-fi.
"I don't know how you got here, but you need to go the fuck back,” Awsten is saying, irritation clear in his voice.
“It’s not our fault! Maybe you shouldn’t have been fucking around with the Ouija board before bed, douche,” retorts… also Awsten? Otto blinks, sitting up in the top bunk.
The commotion quiets. Otto stares.
Staring back at him are four Awstens, all with a different hair color.
Otto rubs his eyes.
“You didn’t say Otto was sleeping over!” yells the Awsten with brown-blond hair, bead bracelets clattering as he points an accusatory finger at the real Awsten. Er, the Awsten with lavender hair, that is. The only Awsten that was present in the room when Otto fell asleep last night.
Lavender Awsten frowns at his younger(?) self. “Yeah, because it’s none of your business and it doesn’t affect you. Now shut up and get in this salt pentagram, I think it’ll be enough to send you back,” he says, pinching his brow and scrolling through something instructional-looking on his phone.
Otto climbs down the bunk bed ladder with no small amount of trepidation. “Is this still a dream or am I finally losing it?” he asks, addressing the most familiar Awsten.
Lavender Awsten rolls his eyes. “I think we fucked something up when we were playing with the Ouija board last night and left a pathway open, I dunno, they were here when I woke up. Don’t worry, I’m about to send them back where they belong. Hopefully before we open some kind of wormhole and implode the timeline,” he says in that flat voice he uses when he’s trying to hide the fact that he’s freaking out about something. Otto looks over at the other Awstens.
“What the fuck! We win a Rock Sound award?” blue-haired Awsten is yelling, picking up the golden microphone on Awsten’s dresser. “Do we get to meet anybody cool? Do we get to meet Pete Wentz?” He continues to rifle through the music memorabilia on the shelf.
“Stop that! You’re going to screw with causality,” lavender Awsten snaps, pouring more salt on the carpet.
Otto starts as he feels someone press against his arm. He glances over to see the Awsten with brown hair looking right back at him.
“Whoa, I can’t believe Otto gets even more buff,” he says, the cheeky grin in his voice bringing back memories of early band practices. Otto supposes this must be Awsten from the era of the band’s founding, then. He flashes Otto a goofy smile.
The current Awsten stiffens. “Stop it,” he says, tone laced with warning. Beside him, the platinum blond-haired Awsten lifts his head from where he had been adjusting the salt circle, pushing up his glasses (that he used to wear before he got Lasik, Otto recalls) and looking over with interest.
“Stop what?” brown-haired Awsten asks, batting his eyes innocently. He juts his skinny hips forward so they brush against Otto’s leg.
“You know what,” current Awsten says at the same time blond Awsten walks over and says “You haven’t told him yet?”
“Told me what?” Otto asks at the same time current Awsten grits “Stop.”
Blond Awsten sidles up to Otto’s other side. “So when you said he ‘slept over,’ you actually just meant he slept over? Nothing else? Lame,” he chides himself (er, his other self) with a shit-eating grin.
Current Awsten’s jaw tightens, a sure sign he’s getting actually angry. “What’s your deal? It’s not like you have it figured out. How about you can it and worry about your own Otto,” he says savagely, making minute adjustments to the salt circle. It starts to glow a faint purple.
Blue-haired Awsten perks up from the closet he’s been rummaging in, trotting over to Otto. “Are we all macking on future Otto? No fair, don’t leave me out,” he says amiably, coming up behind them. He hooks his chin over Otto’s shoulder, staring at his future self.
Current Awsten looks like he’s on the brink of throwing a punch, the fact that his opponent is his own self be damned.
“Enough, y’all little shitheads,” he snarls, face flushed. “Get in this portal right now before I snap and erase us all from the timeline,” he commands, pointing at the glowing, now-magenta salt circle.
Blonde Awsten smiles beatifically. “Sure,” he says, voice saccharine. “But first, since this won’t affect my timeline…” He turns and plants a sloppy kiss on Otto’s cheek. At current Awsten’s scandalized shout, he grabs the hands of his two other selves and lopes towards the circle.
“Byeee, Otto,” he coos, winking. As he steps over the threshold, he dematerializes in a flash of white light.
“No fair! I wanted to—” brown-haired Awsten whines before vanishing in a similar manner, pulled forward by his future self.
“If you do meet Pete Wentz tell him I said hi and that I—” blue-haired Awsten says in a rush before disappearing too. Behind him, the circle ceases to glow, looking once again like table salt spilled on a bedroom carpet.
Awsten nudges a toe through it, breaking the circle. He’s not looking at Otto.
“Glad, uh. Glad that worked,” he says, pretending to busy himself with something on his desk.
Otto is smiling. “So,” he says. “What was that about?”
Awsten is pink from the nape of his neck to the tips of his ears, contrasting with his lilac hair. “I dunno, they must have been from a slightly alternate timeline or something. I don’t know how dimension-hopping works,” he replies shiftily.
Otto comes up to stand right behind him. “Awsten, look at me,” he says, voice gentle.
Awsten turns around slowly, looking guilty.
Otto kisses him.
Awsten startles, gasping, but quickly recovers and kisses back. His hands find their way to Otto’s shoulders.
Awsten pulls back first, face a comedic mask of shock. “Wait, seriously?”
Otto just laughs and nods.
“For how long?!”
“Probably since you had that bleach-spotted hair,” Otto admits, arms coming around Awsten’s waist.
Awsten looks stunned for a moment before breaking out into a blinding grin. “This is going to be the best ‘getting together’ story ever and nobody’s gonna believe us!” he crows, spinning Otto in a circle.
Otto just returns his smile, leaning in to kiss Awsten, his Awsten, one more time.
Peeking in from behind Awsten’s bedroom door frame, a green-haired boy smiles. Summoned by the accidental spell as well, he remembers being here four times before, having lived through each iteration of his younger selves. He just wanted to see his favorite moment once more, figuring things would be easier if he went undetected. Catching one last glimpse of his own elated face, Otto’s short curls bouncing as they twirl, he steps into the ring of salt he made with the shaker he nabbed from the empty kitchen. In a flash of light, he heads back to his own time, and his own Otto.