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An Ode to Alcohol & Consequences

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"So," Chad bridged, after several beers and at least a quarter of their illicitly obtained liquor [of in-drunk-scribable name]. The normie just buzzed and brave enough to ask something a little bit on the ‘maybe it’s offensive’-side, given how lubricatedly blissful the atmosphere of the room was at that point. 

"S-so like… do you have… I mean, over at your school are there really… bl-blood-suckers, like, walking ar-aroun…d?"

Clair whapped him languidly, “Shhh, can’t ask ques-questi-…things like that, Chad… s’rude!”

The glare’s potency was lost as she couldn’t seem to discern which of the rapidly-moving Chads she was aiming it at. A stern finger-wiggling sufficed, though…

For his part, Jackson screwed up his face a little, trying to think really hard through that second bottle of unpronounceable liquid (and all the other more-easily-pronounceable beers that had come before that)… and eventually returned in a confused tone, “N-no, we don’t have any law…yers at Monster High, jus’ vamps. O-oh, and this one cute leech ghoul from Gho…st…ralia who paints real w-well, but n…o lawyers?”

It might have been the way he delivered it, or simply how utterly befuddled by the question he was, but after a few seconds of lingering silence…

The trio of technical normies collapsed into a fit of giggles,  finally falling asleep as the sun had begun it’s ascent heavenwards…

- - -

…as for Holt, at that point holed up and previously attempting to sleep in the back of their shared mind, well he pretty much gave up on that idea the minute this little drinking party got interesting. Ending up mentally recording the whole thing, for, er… madly scientific reasons of course.

And by mad science, he totally means telling everyone at Monster High about how much fun drunk normies can be the next day at school. 

[Which happens to be the Garfield of Weekdays, a far-too-sunny Monday.]

While Jackson tries to ward off their killer hangover, curled into a metaphorical ball in their mind all day long.

- - -

That is, he was… right up until Mad Science… when Holt not unkindly shoved his counterpart out into a far too loud, far too bright, why-wasn’t-he-dead-again? uncaring universe. 

The DJ now starting to feel the achy hangover sensations leaking through their barrier, and not really sure he wanted to deal with it while in charge of chemicals that could turn them into a newt if the right thing got mixed in the wrong amounts. Besides, Mad Science was Jackson’s happy place… and right now his other half needed at least one less miserable thing in their unlife. 

- - - 

So the crux of the matter was that one rather pale, trying-to-pretend-he’s-not-as-miserable-as-he-looks normie-like monster was forced to stride into class and deal with one very loud Mr Hack for the full period. 

Clearly, their ‘act normal, give nothing away' plan fell flat on it's face… 

From the second they sat down, Frankie began throwing sympathetic expressions his way, and tapping out things into her iCoffin that would have set their own off vibrating across the desk had they not buried it deep in a pencil case because the noise made their skull hurt.

Across the room, Scarah seemed perpetually torn between amusement and annoyance as his discomfort broadcast at her like an air raid siren over the usual hubbub and clamour of the classroom. He did want to think at her an apology, but that required significant cognition they didn’t really have enough of to spare right at the moment, and it might make it worse for the banshee, in all reality. 

- - - 

One of the only upsides is that Heath looks surprised, well no, more likedownright unable to comprehend the concept of why his dorky cousin might be glaring at him like he wanted to feed the elemental a fire extinguisher (cannister and all)  everytime he forgets himself and flares up.

Deuce is a little disapproving, they had a big casketball game tomorrow and practice tonight that it seems Jackson and Holt might need to opt right on out of if they wanted to stay… not dead-dead, going by the looks of them. But after a few moments, the Gorgon just sort of shrugs, because in all reality, he’d been there before… and it was sort of clawsome his friends had apparently had a good time prior to this Hangover of Doom

When Hack isn’t looking, he pulls something out of his bag, and just casually pushes a box of juice across their shared bench to the normie; straw already in it, thank all of Deuce’s gods -because neither side of the Jekyll-Hyde-brid thought they’d be capable of zeroing in on that tiny straw-hole by themselves.

- - -

Internally, Holt -who usually used this time for a quick nap- is laughing so hard the sound just keeps ECHOING and perpetuating their hangover… it’s like being trapped on a military aircraft carrier, and every jet there is scrambling to take off one after the other. Wait, did that analogy make sense? Or did it just make sense to his foggy brain?

Jackson ended up pondering on that one for quite a while, which drew Holt into the whole thing… and they both sort of mused on the whole idea for a while. Well, as best they could, considering. And speaking of which, Holt was now getting a full taste of this perpetual hell the longer Jackson was out and about; his other half no longer wreathing the discomfort about himself in a tiny corner of their mind to leave the Hyde side unhindered. 

The pair were starting to feel unusually unwell. 
Seriously, this was an unprecedented level of hungover for them… usually it was a general headache and the desire to scrub their teeth for all eternity that awaited them after a night out like that, if anything. Not… this stomach-churning confusion.

To be honest… both of them knew vaguely WHY, and HOW… but it didn’t help them now. Why had they decided to opt out of staying home today when the chance was offered? 

Oh yes, Holt had that Art project due in Second Period that he didn’t want to miss… or that’s what the Party-monster alter-ego had told Jackson was the reason. The Mad Scientist-to-be rather suspected it had more to do with the fact that the DJ side of them really wanted to tell everyone about what went down last night. All of it. Which wasn’t good.

Periodically, they braved glancing at their iCoffin, flinching not as imperceptibly as they believed whenever it vibrated angrily. Yet, still no word from either of their other minor party members… it was a concern.

- - -

That lesson… went vaguely well enough in retrospect. 

Jackson doesn’t remember most of it in all honesty, only the parts where they put hands (or any other appendages the monsters had attached) upon chemicals… which wasn’t exactly an uncommon experience, it was Mad Science after all.

But what had happened after that… well, no actually it wasn’t that unusual an occurrence either, but it was still unexpected for the majority of the class.

The result of, not so much Drunk Mad Science, but instead Hungover-and-can-barely-see-straight-Mad Science, was some excitingly chaotic explosions and foams (of almost indescribable colours)… because it seemed like more fun to do that than whatever was scribbled on the big blackboard, situated oh so far away

Okay, so it was about ten feet at most, but squinting made their pounding headache worse… so they avoided that like the ten plagues of Egypt. 
[Which, fun fact, had been caused by Tweenaged Nefera throwing a tantrum, apparently. Cleo had gloated about finding out this information for WEEKS.]

Mr Hack was not, officially, pleased about the whole thing.

Just spent several minutes ranting about the fact he had clearly upset the universe direly if he was forced to teach two separate generations of Jekyll-Hydes Mad Science… 

Which, actually, brought up more questions than it answered really. But did explain the staring competition, nay, OCULAR DEATHMATCH their mothers had held with Mr Hack during Parent-Creature Interviews…

- - -

Still, no detentions came out of it, even if the yelling felt like punishment enough. 

But that was probably a pity thing… 

Which is really saying something when you think about it… because when you’re consistently surrounded by the dead and perpetually decaying, then appearance-based sympathetic glances became cause for concern. 
Did they really look that bad?

- - -

Well, on the upside, right after that was lunch… and then, because Bill Nye the God of Science was a merciful one, they had Study Howl

At least there wasn’t anything like Music next, that might actually kill them, or unkill them… what the hell did they collectively classify as, anyway?

Nevermind.

- - -

Finding the creepateria would have been a challenge if they didn’t have friends. 

You can only fake so much when it came to 'We're okay, no seriously, we're not THAT hungover', especially when you close your locker and immediately vague out to exactly where the hell you are… and why a strangely familiar, fashionable she-werewolf is handing you something from her purse.

- - -

Clawdeen.” She sighs after a minute and hands them the item, or more technically items, plural. 

After a minute of pointed staring at the two tiny white pills, some distant echo of a memory reminds the dual-natured pair that this was not indeed a confusing drug deal going down, but instead an act of mercy. It’s literally just some Painadol, which should kick this hangover in the ass… (and why hadn’t they thought to put some in their locker before this?) 

The amount of times it would have come in handy over the last scaremester alone…

It was then they realised that Clawdeen hadn’t moved, and they’d clearly been staring at their hand -with the Paindol situated innocently unused in their palm-  for what must have been a considerable amount of time already. The fashionista was regarding them with concerned amusement, and just a touch of exasperation…

"C’mon you two… food might wake you up enough to nap through Study Howl. Which is a bit funny when you think about it in that context but hey… weird is what we do here at good old Monster High.
At least we don’t have Coach Igor for it, or he’d make ya run laps until youthrew u-…er, nothing of the sort, because it looks like you two might have done enough of that this morning.”

She just kept chatting, dragging them through the school by their arm not unkindly, and collecting other members of their group along the way. Draculaura and Clawd appeared sometime between their lockers and passing the Biteology lab. Exiting the ghoul’s bathroom and seeing them, Frankie followed immediately.

Ghoulia and Cleo  rounded a corner with a Gorgon between them, rapidly exchanging ideas on various topics. At some point, the [literal] ice-queen Abbey slid into the mass, carrying Heath over a shoulder effortlessly and talking casually to Lagoona. Gil following behind the pair, making awkward confursation with an overly-amused Operetta.

Looks like they were going to need a bigger table today.

- - - 

On the up side, Cleo and Deuce could get whatever they wanted, just about whenever… just by being, well, THEM.

There were perks to being the IT-couple of Monster high, after all.

So it wasn’t hard, per se. Though a few disgruntled freshmen might say a rather expletive-strewn otherwise; scattering to the four winds as Cleo claimed the largest table in the room simply by sitting down at it and making a regal side-glance at those already there.

Holt casually reminded his counterpart that the Creepateria was a fangtastic place to a) get food to kick this whole thing in the ass and b) get something liquid-like to swallow those pills with

Holt was, as always, adamantly against the way Jackson used to dry-swallow headache tablets… it had a little something to with an article he saw on Wickedpedia one night, while aimlessly clicking through random links for the hell of it, about how you can burn a hole in your throat (or worse) if you didn’t wash them down. 

From then on, any attempt to sneak some form of pill without water or similar liquidy substance accompanying it, had been met with loud, internal protest… often resulting in an argument, and the getting of said liquid.

[Hey, Holt was a party-monster… but that didn’t mean he wasn’t all for safety-first. Actually, they did a First Aid course the other month just so they’d know what to do if a monster went down during a party or something… 
If nothing else, the Jekyll-Hyde-brid was a hard creature to pigeonhole.]

- - - 

Heath slams down a tray in front of them, making Jackson jerk backwards slightly and back into reality, mental confursation with Holt ceasing abruptly as all their hard-won attention shifted to a more external focal point. 

"Okay, I have seen the two of you independently drink a keg each, and walk it off… or in Holt’s case, rave it off, but who has time for scare-mantics? What I’m saying is… what the hell did you drink last night to end up like this?” their cousin asked, breaking the tension surrounding the Big Question no one had as yet tried to ask either of them.

One of their hands begins tapping the table of it’s own accord as they think on the a response. Finally settling on, “…good question. It was something Clair had managed to sneak over the border on her last vacation…”

"Are you telling me this stuff might just be illegal and we should know nothing about it?" Clawd probed, eyebrows drawn together, fork halfway to his mouth and maintaining a steady hovering altitude as he stared at the pair.

Deuce noticed, and jabbed him in the side. “Hey, don’t worry about it… not like there’s any lawyers around here, is there?”

How he said that with a straight face was anyone’s guess.

- - -

A spoonful of what looked like mashed potatoes only JUST missed the Gorgon’s now-beaming expression. 

"We hate you." Jackson glared.

"No you don’t." Deuce retorted, airily, knowing that with a certainty that was quite frustrating to the trying-to-insult-him pair of hungover mansters.

- - -

The normie-looking monster sighed in defeat, “…okay, how long have you all been waiting to make a lawyer-related joke?”

Several monsters around the table looked to one another guiltily.

"Oh, since Holt told us all this morning." ventured the Gorgon.

"Oh he did, did he?" frowns the normie, sending certain dark, disapproving emotions inwards, where he knew Holt was watching. He’d been too busy trying to deal with their hangover internally to pay any major attention to what Holt was doing this morning… but now…

The party monster just sort of… shrugged their mental shoulders and gave off the impression that he seemed to be grinning about the whole situation. 

"I will deal with you later…" Jackson muttered just-audibly enough for the others to get worried for their continued well-being. The teen had a knack for chemicals and pyrotechnics…  who wouldn’t be concerned?

- - - 

"Um, was that to us…?" Frankie frowned, sparking nervously and accidentally changing the status of her burger’s meaty filling from ‘medium’ to ‘well done’. 

"Short answer, No. I’ll deal with you all now… and Holt, later on.” he responded, looking down at their plate and then away again. Nope, food was not their friend right now.

"Still a little confusing when you two do the outside-voice thing…" Gil admits, for the group.

"…not as weird as it is to have internal con-fin-sations with someone you’ve never technically met, and is also sort of you… and pretty much shares your entire existence." Shot back almost immediately, said in a factual, bored tone that belied the existential intensity of the topic.

"Um… Touché?" says the freshwater monster, not able to think of a good comeback on the spot. Lagoona pats his arm kindly in support.

- - -

Abbey tapped the table to draw their attention, “Would very much like to know what kind of beverage was involved in shenanigans, if Mad Science-y Onedoes not mind telling. In my village, we have only Yorksfrost… can make temporarily blind first few times you drink, but very tasty and good for strength; so Abbey would love to try out this beverage as well to compare. Anything that affects two-in-one pair, should prove challenge to Yeti biteology.”

"Oh, uh, well I’m pretty sure this isn’t that strong… I mean there’s a high concentration of alcohol but at the same time, none of us went bli-…” he paused, and quickly checked their iCoffin, then put it away. “…-nd. Then again, we’re hardly the best test subjects for that, considering…

Jackson taps his glasses, and Ghoulia snorts in amusement; throwing him an oddly-exasperated, bespectacled glare.

- - -

"They still not up?" Deuce asks, having been right next to them and seen the short messy interchange of ‘seriously guys, are you even still alive?' messages Jackson/Holt had left the normie pair all day long.

"Apparently not in any functional capacity, no. Although I’m pretty sure they’re neither dead nor undead, because there’s some sort of keyboard smash reply about twenty minutes ago. Or maybe it’s a code of some kind…" he said, shrugging and staring down at their tray with a frown.

They were pretty hungry -after all breakfast had been non-existent and spent mostly praying to a porcelain god; but on the other hand, [or however many hands you happened to have, (if any), they revised as Wydowna walked past with a cheery series of waves], their stomach felt a bit like there was a call for a repeat of this morning’s performance if they even dared to think about eating anything.

So for a long moment they just messed about with the tray’s contents and snarked at one another mentally; not maliciously, mind, just really as a distractionary tactic to psyche at least one of them up to eat something. 

Okay, logistically it was going to have to be Jackson, because Holt wasn’t coming out right now… loud music and their pounding headache? Hell No.

- - -

A purple grape shoots across the table and bounces off of his glasses.

"Did you forget I gave you the Painadol, already?” Clawdeen prompts from across the table.

"You-… wait, what?” came the confused response.

"I’ll take that as a strong yes, it’s in your right pocket, genius, I saw you put it there when you sat down for who knows what reason… and you two get better marks than me in everything, how again?" she mutters the last bit, but grins to show it was a jest.

"It is a shame that Neighthan isn’t here today, or you could have asked him to heal your hangover…" Sirena sighs as she ghosts right on through the table unexpectedly.

The hybrid at their own table nearly inhales the Painadol dry in surprise; eliciting concerned mental shouting from Holt. Which is quickly mollified by choking down some blood-orange juice…

- - -

Patting Clawd on the head for no discernible reason other than the werewolf looked super soft today, Sirena then serenely swam away after Avea and Bonita, who were across the room with Spectra [talking about who-knows-what, but it was obviously intense given the way Avea was twirling her riding crop]. 

"Ooookay? Well, that was weird," said the Captain of the Casketball team, ruffling at his hair to try and remove the icy feeling. "But she did have a point."

"Mmm, no. Even if he was here… it’s not fair to treat someone like some sort of commodity you only go to for a thing, so we wouldn’t have asked hi-… Holt no.” The normie seemed to be arguing with Holt, who had apparently suggested some sort of reciprocity that made the other’s eyes go wide. “Ho-… that is NOT how quid pro quo works… I mean, yes, technically bu-… you be quiet or I’m going to lock you out of our EyeTunes when we get home.”

"Um, glad to see you’re communicating and all mates, but that’s still a tad weird for the everyday." Lagoona says in the following silence, her expression seemed to suggest she knew exactly what they were fighting about. The sea monster rather amused by it all.

Abashed, they shoot back, “Uh, Sorry.”

"No, I didn’t mean… it’s just kinda interesting to watch you two talking like that.Like there’s an invisible phone you’re both talking into. Mostly when you talk in your head or however that works, you just sort of look in a certain direction and make a few faces…”

"…because that’s less awkward howPlease tell us that was a joke.” Holt interjected, aloud, through his counterpart’s surprised countenance. 

This wasn’t the first time they’d slipped through while the other was in control, but it still freaked a few boos and ghouls out.

- - -

"No, dudes, she’s totally right. When You're Jackson and you're… doing that internal talking thing, he looks to the left… and when You're Holt and talking, he looks to the right; but you both totally make weird faces sometimes, it's hilarious. Can tell the exact moment someone's said something a little bit wrong…” Deuce grins, nudging the pair. They glare back.

"We take it back, you know. That thing we were talking about just before? You are totally evil enough for Cleo… don’t know what you were worried about,” Jackson casually drops into confursation, and from the other side of Deuce, Cleo glares at her boofriend with something dark and terrifying in her eyes.

"Aw babe, they’re just getting back at us for that comm-… J-Jackson, could you tell her you were kidding?" the normally casual manster stammers, glancing sideways under his visor at his dual-natured friends.

Made your bed, bro…" Holt says with a tinge of amusement to the tone.

- - -

"You do know my mumster will make you two a lawn ornament if Cleo fries us… right?" the Gorgon throws back as the Royal Egyptian scrambles through her bag dramatically for some sort of amulet.

Jackson appears to think about it while stabbing something wiggling on their plate into submission, before sighing a rather put-upon, “We’re totally kidding Cleo, don’t fry him… or do, we’re not sure what’s the moral highground here, right now.”

- - -

"Isn’t that Painadol working yet?" frowns the Alpha shewolf at the table. 

"Sort of. Like Invisibilly, because our monster-types were created by chemicals, we’re not as easily affected by them. Which on one hand is great because it gives you a lot longer to deal with breaking a vial of hydrochloric acid all over yourself -don’t ask. But on the downside… medicines and anaesthetics takewaaaaaay too long to kick in. And we are clearly not drunk enough to tell you how we know that last part…” He lets out a ghost of a laugh at the statement. “Actually, it’s sort of the opposite of the problem right now.”

Heath enters the verbal fray with a mouthful of salad and a loud, “No but seriously, I knew about the whole chemicals and alcohols take forever to kick in thing, so it doesn’t affect either of you much but like… how is this even possible?! You two barely ever get hungover, and now you look like someone’s dropped you in Napisan over-nightmare or something… 
Geddit? Napisan? ‘Makes your whites whiter’?”

- - - 

"Say word and Abbey will freeze loud-talking fire cousin of Mad Science-y One and Party One…" the gore-geous yeti beside the elemental offers. Glancing at her unofficial boofriend; watching, amusedly, as he virtually zips his lips pretty fast afterwards.

"Heath did you not hear us just no-…? You remember that shirt we have?  The one in our room that we rarely ever wear, that says-…" they prompt, trying to help him get the answer on his own.

Heath thinks about it, then responds, “According to Science, Alcohol IS a Solution… yeah, I got it for you tw-…wait, alcohol is a chemical?” 

The glare that they sent back over at their cousin was pretty indescribable, but a little terrifying.

"…if it wouldn’t exacerbate the problem, we’d slam our head into the table. Repeatedly. How do we share genetics with you? How?" they lamented dramatically in a low, hangover-friendly tone.

- - -

"Well excuuuuuuuuuuuse me, not all of us have dual-natured Mad Scientist mumsters…” Heath spat back, with a very mature raspberry at the pair. “Then again, I would not have given up all my gaming time for all that weird studying they used to make you two do… so, it’s sort of win/win, lose/lose, huh?”

"One way to put it." Jackson concedes, fork waving about in the air as if fighting some particularly resistant invisible spaghetti. 

- - -

"So, what you’re saying is that alcohol being a chemically-based solution," Frankie reasoned it out, "then it takes ages to metabolise in you two, which means that getting drunk is really difficult, and the interim allows for the majority to be processed before any effects show? And that means… um… hang on, I’ll get this…"

She was doing remarkably well for a 6 month old with an unlife’s worth of knowledge jammed in her unfairly pretty head.

Oh, I think that because you metabolise chemicals so slowly, like with alcohol, then it means that there would need to be a significant concentration taken in at any one time in order to at the very least create a buzz let alone get drunk. So hypothetically, because of that… by the time you are, the body is already processing the majority of the alcohol and… that’s why you don’t get hungover, because most of it’s already dealt with?” says their favourite ghoul, half-excited, half-curious as to whether she got it right or not.

They don’t leave her hanging, answering, ”Pretty much, yeah… other variables include what type and percentage of alcohol it is, if we mixed drinks, how much water we’ve drunk… that sort of thing. So, thanks to Holt we found out that kegs of general alcohol are not a huge problem to us under normal circumstances. Then again, I’m pretty sure we ignored all of those points last night when it came to whatever the hex it was that Clair had… it was like, 99% proof, or at least something high enough in percentage to never want Heath within a hundred yards of it. We’d all go up in flames.”

- - -

"And you decided to DRINK IT?!” Clawd interjected in a high sort of are-you-serious tone of voice; hands moving in complex patterns to represent how much of a bad idea the alpha werewolf clearly thought this was. 

"To be fair, and could you lower your voice just a bit you’re very loud for our current state of hungover, the handful of bees...” he paused, mouthing 'Bees?'in confusion before shaking his head slowly as if to clear it.. 

"N-no, wait, beers. Beers we’d had prior to drinking it… might have influenced that decision,” he tried to defend, but apparently something on his face gave away the other bit.

"And Holt totally dared you three to drink it, didn’t he?” Operetta said from behind her hand, trying not to openly laugh at them. She’d certainly been there before… Holt was a persuasive little bugger when it came to dares… and the singing ghoul could only imagine what it must be like having him in your head making those were-chicken noises at you if you tried to back out of a direct challenge.

- - -

"It certainly explains the off-key singing coming from your house earlier this morning…" Draculaura said off-handedly, as if struck by an epiphany. "But perhaps next time you two do not try to drive yourselves home… your car is on our front lawn, still."

"O-oh… whoops, our bad. No wonder we couldn’t find it in the garage this morning." Jackson flushed sheepishly, making them look far peakier than before.

"Didn’t you see it on the way outside, sugarplum?  I mean, bit hard to miss a CAR…" Operetta added, making a gesture with her hands to emphasise that yes, cars were indeed big and most often visible.

- - -

"Holt managed to get us here while I was… dealing with this whole nightmareish hangover internally so I don’t know what he did; oh, except that Draculaura gave us a ride this morning, for reasons we are only just now working out. How could we have forgotten our car was on your lawn?" Jackson’s eyes went wide, "We have to move it before our Mumsters find out, or we’re doomed."

"Couldn’t, like, one of my aunts just carry it back to it’s rightful place? If you got one of them mad enough?" Heath questioned with a slight , thoughtful, frown. 

"…if we wanted it in pieces, and to spend all night calming them down… sure. Honestly, we’d probably just let them rage on, at this point, we’re too tired to deal with city-flattening super-strength today." Holt added for Jackson, who made an accompanying gesture to his self-sibling’s statement.

"Oh, yeah, forgot it’s not an on/off thing. Forget I mentioned that. So like, apart from lawyer jokes, what else did you guys get up to last night?" he waggles his fiery eyebrows ridiculously -though Heath would argue it was a valiant attempt at suggestive.

"That… is a good question.” Jackson looks to the left, and scrunches up his nose a little bit like a rabbit would. “Okay, from what Holt says there was a movie or three, and a pillow fight… so much junk food, lots of drinking… and, hang on, did that actually happen or are you making that up?”

Make it up? Not at all, self-twin-bro, not at all. Totally real, totally happened.” shoots out in Holt’s voice, once more.

"Well, we can only wait to see how they take that, if they’re still alive. And I think Holt used our downed mental barriers to draw on us with a permanent marker… because my left hand certainly is not that shade of blue, nor that artistic, under normal circumstances." He looks to the left again, "Yeah, he totally did… but at least he didn’t draw di-…"

"…-but I could have, and I chose not to.” Holt finished. “Instead I put some clawsome designs on the others, and all down us… although I think that last bit was a bad idea because it’s hard to get off of us, the chemical thing.”

- - -

"Soooo, you two are doing a lot of sharing right now?" Frankie frowns, because this actually isn’t normal everyday interactions, not like this -but perhaps it’s a new development that needs a celebratory party thrown.

Jackson thinks about how to phrase it, and finally responds with, “Some things lower the barriers between us totally… like a high level of alcohol, pain, just super-strong emotions, and apparently mega-hangovers. So he can interject verbally, externally, or I could if he was Us right now… ugh, it’s difficult to put into words.” The yellow-clad shoulders shrug, “It makes little enough sense to us, so it’s kind of hard to explain.”

"That’s cool, dude. Can’t really explain how we Gorgons do the petrifying thing in words, we just kind of do it…” Deuce chimes in, supportively. 

- - -

"Excuse repetition of question, but Abbey was wondering exactly what the name of drink was from little party last night… and if there is any left that could be tried?" the icy ghoul adds, freezing her drink and raising an eyebrow.

"W-wait, didn’t we tell you already? I thought we had…" the dual-natured monster said, perplexed, mentally scanning the last few minutes of conversation. "Oh, no… we didn’t. We’re so sorry Abbey…"

"Is not your faults, very distracted by consequences of drinking, and chatty friends." Abbey smiles understandingly. 

"You’re too forgiving… but it does explain how you put up with Heath so well all this time." They ignored the flaring of a certain cousin in outrage, beside them.

 ”It’s this stuff called… VodQuizilla, I think. By the time we got around to trying it, Clair was wearing my glasses… and Chad’s favourite kilt. Which was not a thing we ever knew he possessed until Clair decided to go through this closet and model it for us.”

"That… that’s… I’m going to have nightmares about Chad dancing in a kilt, those boots and that weird shirt of his for the next year, thanks to you two." Clawdeen says, with a shudder. 

"Well, on the upside, it was also plaid, but it would have clashed with his usual green shirt if he’d been wearing it, ‘cause it was all fluro yellows and purples.” Jackson adds helpfully, watching Clawdeen just about convulse at the thought of it. 

"I am going to help that boy fashion-wise, if it’s the last thing he does… and someone else needs to work on his dancing, because damn, he’s dangerous when he gets going!” she eventually laughed.

No one really protested that one, it was true. Chad danced like he had a hand jammed in a light socket… 

Seeing him wade onto the dance floor and really get going was, well it was like watching a car crash in slow-motion, and you couldn’t look away… but for some reason it was still fun enough to join in on. 

[Maybe a better analogy was a clown-car crash, because it was somewhat of a hilarious calamity you couldn’t stop watching no matter what.]

Halloween’s epic post-potential-decapitation-party had seen to that particular fact of unlife.

- - -

"So, is there any more of this drink left? For, you know…research and Mad Science reasons, of corpse?” Clawdeen asked, raising her eyebrow and catching the eyes of those around the table, who nodded. 

Excepting Frankie and Draculaura, who seemed to already be mentally composing their ‘there’s a good reason we are this level of pissed-as-a-newt' speeches to their respective parental unit(s) and were therefore otherwise too occupied to chime in support.

- - -

"Well, I’d ask Clair directly if she and Chad would come out of their hangover comas," sighed the normie-looking monster, feeling the majority of their headache finally subside for good at the insistence of Clawdeen’s Painadol. "On the other hand, she just kept pulling these large heavyset bottles of the stuff out from under the bed, I think there may have been a crate under there… and we only finished two and a half between us." 

Pfft, you mean those weaklings had like half a bottle between them and we finished off the rest… don’t undersell our achievements, selfbro!” Holt crowed, surprising even Jackson. 

"Please stop using me as a megaphone, Holt, we’re just this side of ‘can still hear colours’ so you’re not helping anyone.”

"…sorry. I will stop, right after I tell everyone about the thing…”

"You do that and I will throw us in front of a bus, now shut up and let me stab this wiggling purple carrot thing for a minute."

"Point taken, stab away… just don’t throw up, I don’t think we can take anymore today. Or any time for the next year or twelve… we met that quota around 6am and justkeptgoing.” Holt said, a shudder to his tone. 

Their bathroom might never actually recover… no matter how many air-fresheners they hung in there.

"All attempts will be made, now use your inside voice, because I think we’re freaking the others out.” Jackson concluded, glancing around the table at the others and their odd expressions, as if to prove it to Holt.

Holt must have said something internally, because Jackson then hummed and went back to attempting to skewer the elusive wiggly thing on the plate. 

- - -

"He’s right, you two need to eat something… to at least stop looking like you’re going to fade out of existence if no one’s watching you for a split-second." 
Advised Deuce, glancing at their plate and then stabbing the wiggly thing in apparently just the right spot for it to be an un-wiggly purple carrot thing

Ugh, they knew the name, why was it so hard to work out right now? 

"So, what you’re saying from all that is that there might be quite a bit of this stuff left, and it’s enough to get monsters tanked to the gills… er, eyeballs?" grinned Clawdeen, predatorily. 

- - -

"Guys, there’s a big swim meet tomorrow night…" Gil chimed in, concerned.

To his immediate left, sat Lagoona, her expression pensive; as if trying to work out exactly how they might get around a potential coma-like hangover and still win gold and glory for good old Monster High.

"And a big Casketball game in the afternoon before that, but I think we can swing it if we’re careful and only have a bit of this… Vodkiller or whatever. What’s even in this stuff?” Asked Clawd.

"Going purely from taste alone? Some sort of vague cheap-candy fruit, zesty hot spice and rocket fuel… but officially? Vodka, Tequila and Monsterzilla. Because someone thought, none of those three hard, memory-wiping drinks were strong enough on their own… we need to cram them all together and completely decimate people’s ability to remember who or what they are!" huffed Jackson, grinning a little sarcastically at that, but tone remaining dead serious.

"Dude, we have to try this!" Heath squeaked, excited.

His cousins levelled a glance at him, and pointed somewhat less threateningly than they’d like considering they were sort of pointing just over his left shoulder; hand wavering a tad, while squinting. 

"YOU will be sitting in a shower when we give you any, if we do go through with this… because I refuse to go out in flames after having lived-… unlived-… just plain survived, through today’s hangover.”

- - -

Heath pouted like a child, “Fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiine, spoilsports… hey, can I bring Manny?”

"Depends." Jackson answered truthfully, "Is he going to try and shove us into anything, sober or hella drunk?"

"Um… good question. HEY MANNY, COME HERE!" Heath turns and shouts, while Jackson and both the wolf siblings cover their ears with dark looks at the elemental.

The Minotaur trots over, having to leave Iris Clops and her friends to come see what Heath wanted. “I was in the miiiiiiiddle of something, Heath, whaaaaaaaaaat did you waaaaaaaaaaaant?”

"Er, sorry, but like… theoretically if we were all going to try the strongest alcoholic beverage known to norm- uh, human-kind, to see what it does to regular monsters… would you be likely to be interested in getting in on that?" he asks his bestest bloodie. 

Manny thinks for a second, then nods, “Yeah, sooooooooounds like fun.”

"And would you think you’d feel any compulsion to break any part of our collective person and shove us in something, sober or otherwise?" Jackson asks tiredly, absently chewing on the formerly wiggling purple carrot thing. 

As long as he doesn’t focus on it entirely, they can stomach eating a little… 

- - -

The giant, hulking mino-teen actually manages to look rather embarrassed for a second. “After all that stuff at Halloweeeeeeeeeeen, nah.”

"Ah," huffs the far-too-pale-still yellow-clad boo, "then we’re glad nearly being decapitated was good for something other than a reason to throw a weirdwe’re-pleased-you-weren’t-mutilated-over-false-accusations party over, then.” 

"That’s not what I meaaaaaaaant, and-… what happened to yooooou twoooooooooo?" Manny paused mid-sentence, noticing the fact that the pair looked like they had actually passed away at some point.

"Oh, this is nothing, you should have seen them before Clawdeen managed to get some Painadol into them… and whatever that thing is they’re sort of eating. Those two… have already had like, two bottles of the stuff, not even counting the beer; which has just about floored them apparently… and you know how much it takes to get them vaguely buzzed.” recounted Heath.

- - - 

Manny did know, quite implicitly. 

There’d been a competition to see who could drink the most at a party one night when Holt wasn’t the exclusive DJ of the evening and was therefore free to get in on the whole drinking thing. 

They won, of course.
But it was after the second keg of Monster Brew (the club’s specialty), when Manny was lying under the table watching now-Jackson calmly finish his ‘drink’ from the other keg [having taken over from Holt at the last minute when their ‘have to be home in fifteen minutes’ alarm went off and it was apparent Holt didn’t have a currently-legal licence, as the Sheriff was still bitter but passive-aggressive in his revenge], take out his keys and offer him a ride home, sounding a sober as he’d ever been… that the minotaur realised maybe he’d met his match drinking-wise. 

The rest of that night was a black-smeared blur, but his Mother-taur had let him know that 'some nice boo from his class had dropped him home at 3am, and would he like to explain why he was so drunk, hmmm?'

"Alriiiiiiiiiiiiight, I’m iiiiiiiiiin, send me a message when and wheeeeeeeeeeere to meet you. Gotta go."

- - -

Heath clapped his hands together excitedly. “Another one for the party! Who else can we invite?”

Holt and Jackson’s iCoffin buzzed angrily in their pocket in the second of silence that followed. The latter fished it out and squinted at the screen, sighed and began tapping something back. Seconds later, it buzzed again.

"Well, they’re definitely some sort of not dead, and non-undead… they’ve decided to classify it as ‘alivebut definitely don’t feel that way. Chad’s freaking that they forgot school was a thing, and Clair said there’s a whole three-quarters of a crate left of that stuff if we ‘really want to risk our unlives on trying more of it tonight’. Sounds like a plan to us.”

He was just putting it away when it buzzed again, which elicited a frown; and then a startled yelp noise, at which point the iCoffin nearly went flying across the room.

"Jackson, what’s going on?" asked Frankie, dual-coloured eyes wide in concern.

Clawd had grabbed the phone as it sailed past, werewolf reflexes and all. One glance at the screen sent his ears flat against his head, “What the hex is he doing?”

His sister leaned right on over to take a look and burst out laughing. “NO, it’s worse than you said it was… those clash SO BADLY!”

<”He’s in the kilt isn’t he?”> Ghoulia deadpanned at the rest of the table, unironically.

"Yep." Clawdeen grinned back. "Bigger question is, why is he sending you two pics of himself in that attire?"

Her eyebrows were getting a full waggling workout this lunch period.

- - -

"Clair took that last night before she stole it off of him, I think this is her way of getting back at us for trying to wake them up all day long…" he responded. Eyes widening as the iCoffin went off again, and Clawdeen gasped. 

"Did your parents not teach you two to keep your hands to yourselves or…?” she trailed off ominously as they tried to snatch the phone back through a series of uncoordinated swipes she easily countered.

Clawd was making his trademarked, I’m-not-mad-just-disappointed face; which clashed with the wide toothy grin he was wearing. “Guys… we support you no matter what, but this was a surprise… who even took this?!”

Time to fight fire with fire.

"Please don’t make it sound worse than it is… or no alcohol for you, either of you… which would be a shame as then you’d be the only one who was seen to have… chickened out of this situation." 

Okay, so maybe that was blatant manipulation, but hey, she had her hands on an incriminating photo they needed to get back from her before show and tell time took place. 

With narrowed eyes, the fashionista handed the iCoffin back over, and they swiped the incriminating photo off the screen. “That was cold, you two.”

"Effective, though."

- - -

On the other side of Deuce, Cleo’s face darkened as a trio of her least favourite ghouls strode over.

"What’s this ab-meow-t a challenge of sorts?" purred Toralei.

"None of your business, now you three can leave… this is a con-fin-sation for those of… higher status than yours.” the Daughter of Egypt drolled, glaring daggers at them. “Shoo, go on now.”

"Oh, but if it concerns these two, then we have a right to know… right, Jackson?" Said the Werekitty leader, swiping at his glasses with her tail and nearly dislodging them. 

- - - 

He sighed in response, hoping Cleo didn’t smite him for this. “We are too hungover for this. You three want to get incredibly, can’t-remember-your-name-or-how-your-body-works blitzed tonight?”

Eyebrows raised, but three feline heads nodded in something akin to unison.

"Fangtastic, we’ll text you the details… and Tora, please stop pulling the Prom card to get information out of us. We went as friends, and you’re a great ghoul when you want to be… but enough with the pseudo-concern. Now shoo.” he actually made the gesture at them, which would have been more poignant if he hadn’t still been holding the fork with that formerly-wiggling purple carrot thing on it, mildly chewed.

Toralei pouted, like she was on the verge of saying something, but turned away with an exaggerated, “See you tonight, losers.”

Meowlody and Purrsephone darting along behind like shadow wraiths.

- - -

"I do believe you hurt her feelings, Jackson. Bit cold of you, wasn’t it?" Operetta observed, keenly staring at the boys. Unusual behaviours were all the rage in Jekyll-Hyde fashions today, apparently.

"Mmmaybe, but everytime she wants something from us or about us, she pulls the we-went-to-prom-together card and it’s getting annoying. She didn’t even respect us enough to not try and ruin the night anyway with pranks… not to mention continuously intruding on Operetta’s time with Holt.” he shrugged, “It’s just a weird day.”

- - -

"Well for one am quite displeased.” Cleo said, levelling a glare at the normie-like monster.

"Well I for one don’t really give a damn because that’s your default state.” he shot back, then seemed to realise what he’d said. “U-um Cleo, I’m sorry…”

She glared, her eye twitched… and just when the others were forming mental strategies to steal her amulets away before she could curse the pair, something entirely unexpected happened. Cleo De Nile began to laugh. 
"Ah, no one has dared say something like that to my face in years… true, but I am still annoyed you would invite… them, to this.”

"Well it’s not exactly a party or anything exclusive, and I’m pretty sure even you can put aside your grudges in order to watch those three stumble around blind drunk for your amusement just this one night." Jackson argued right back, revealing their ulterior motive. 

- - -

"Oh… look out Deuce, I might just replace you. They’re devious. I like that in a manster." Cleo grinned, winking rather dramatically at the pair.

Deuce gave them a sympathetic look, and a high five. Which was honestly a confusing series of gestures and meaning to follow… especially right now.

"Um, I believed I called dibs on them?" Frankie said with a smile. 

Maybe Frankie… but you’d have to fight off Clair and Chad for them now…" Clawdeen mutters in a stage-whisper that had everyone glancing curiously at the iCoffin in the Jekyll-Hyde’s hand right now.

They levelled a glance at the Alpha werewolf. “We hate you.”

"Nah."

"That’s not even an answer!"

"Nah."

"We’re not talking to you anymore."

"Good, then actually EAT something, ‘cause we’re halfway through lunch and at most you’ve thrown a spoonful of something and stabbed another… eat the thing, or I’m comin’ over there to force-feed you!” she grinned, expression stating that yes, she would do it too. And she sure as hell would make airplane noises, just to draw it out… 

They’d heard some terrifying things from Howleen about when she was a fussy little pup at meal time, and her siblings were babysitting… 

- - -

Jackson sighs, actually feeling a bit better than before, unclear if it was the Painadol, the lack of their perpetual pounding headache, the semi-gnawed no-longer-wiggly purple carrot thing, or the atmosphere of the creepateria when surrounded by friends, that was doing it. He puts something else on their fork and eats it, not really tasting anything, but seeming to feel a bit better afterwards, all the same.

"This event will of course be held at our Fear-a-mid, where the guards can keep an eye on everyone." Cleo suddenly decided. "And seeing as my Mummy… hmmm, my Daddy, has had to go out of country to go and deal with one of Nefera’s messes… I can see no reason why there should be trouble if I were to invite the two normie friends of yours to come.”

"I’m sure they will be pleased and terrified to hear that," Deuce shoots back quickly, beaming. 

"Mmmm, won’t they just?" she responded, checking her nails and smiling like the cheshire cat.

- - -

Heath taps his fingers alongside some sort of stone-cold lasagna thing that had been hiding on Jackson and Holt’s plate all this time under the formerly-wiggling thing. A few wisps of flame leap across but mostly he emits heat, and warms whatever it is back up. 

"You two don’t get to sleep in Study Howl until you finish half of that, okay?" comes the ultimatum.

He rolls their eyes, “And how are you going to enforce that, Heath? Prod us awake so we’re good and irritable enough to remain sober while everyone else gets blitzed, which leaves us in charge of drunk you…?”

"Oh, n-no… well, my encouragement is better than Clawdeen’s force-feeding thing!" Heath backhands expertly, grinning in triumph.

Okay, match point Fire Elemental.

"Fair point." Jackson concedes, eyes sliding over towards Clawdeen, who is nodding along thoughtfully as she chews on a steak from behind the barrier of her Clawculus folder. Clawd is doing something similar… while Draculaura, at the other end of the table, strikes a very loud and distractionary confinsation with Lagoona and Gil about an upcoming group project in Home Ick.

The Jekyll-Hyde-brid pokes the lasagna thing for a minute, sighs, and finally gathers enough willpower to lump some on their fork. It’s actually pretty good… and their stomach seems to have settled enough for them to maybe finish the entire thing off without having to see it all again… after a frantic pilgrimage to the nearest shrine of the porcelain god. 

Which would be a nice change.

- - -

Confursation flowed around them, keeping the atmosphere pretty unlively and not at all demanding of their attention (thankfully), as they tried to finish the majority of food on the tray. 

Demolishing maybe just shy of three-quarters of whatever that lasagna thing Heath had picked out for them was, and leaving the pair eyeing off a small container of blood pudding warily. Holt and Jackson loved it, even knowing that there was a chance there was human blood in it (willingly given, though, therein lies the difference when it came to such moral quandaries), but right now… it might just be the tipping point. 

Did they dare?

…you know how much I want to say ‘hell yes!’, right?' Holt weighed in sleepily from the back of their mind, giving off the impression of melodramatically sighing, before adding, 'Let’s not chance it. Maybe tonight or something?

They both flinch as their Blood Pudding container suddenly flash-freezes into a large block of ice before their very eyes. 

- - -

"Oh, am sorry… had thought you saw me moving behind you," Abbey apologised from over their shoulder. "Loud Cousin says you two like Blood Pudding very much, but did not think it wise to have it now… you would make like sick yaks if you did. This way you can have treat later on, will not melt much.. yeti ice is very strong; though if you would like it earlier than tonight, parents did send favourite chainsaw to Monster High for me…”

"Um, thank you for this Abbey… but also, if you could maybe not be in possession of a chainsaw when we’re trying the VodQuizilla? It’s not that we don’t trust you…" Jackson explains, grasping for just the right words to explain the situation non-offensively to the Yeti ghoul.

"…but, cannot take chances, yes? Understood, is smart… then again, is what Mad Science-y One is known for, is it not?" she laughs back, grinning tuskily. 

- - -

On their other side, Deuce is casually leaning into Cleo’s space, trying not to get too close to the cool ghoul… what with being cold-blooded and all. Going in for a kiss on the cheek at the last moment, but somehow managing to pull off the movement as if that had been his intention the entire time.
The Mummy princess’s expression showed her blatant royal amusement at the entire scenario… as she deftly tapped away at her iCoffin, surreptitiously sneaking glances over towards where Ghoulia and Frankie were conversing.

Clawd and Clawdeen were having a loud argument with Draculaura and Operetta in regards to the best theme for the upcoming Prom. Well, ‘upcoming’ was a cute way of saying ‘at the end of next scaremester’, but the official prom committee leaders really wanted to get some plans laid in advance… 

If only they could agree on something feasible, at some point… 

Heath was preoccupied trying to flick peas into Gil and Lagoona’s open mouths… to greater or lesser success. Most of the tiny green projectiles were bouncing off scaled flesh and rolling away, or tangling in the seamonster ghoul’s wild (sea)spray of hair…

.

In counterpoint, notably, was their last pair of table companions.

Ghoulia was sighing something to Frankie and tossing covert glances over to Slo-Mo, who was at another table with his bloodies. They were having an off-eternity after that whole ‘intelligence potion: part two’ situation… you think he would have learned the first time around that Ghoulia loved him for who he was, and that there was no need for some overly-elaboorate magical intervention to make him ‘mentally compatible’. 

Well, that ship kind of sailed… and sank, like the Titanic… it was a bit sad, really. When everything went back to ‘normal’ (as normal as it could get in an integrated monster school, that is), Slo-Mo had been seen to be fanging out with another zombie ghoul, more than platonically… and Ghoulia had been rather devastated. 

Frankie was doing her best at consoling her clever, comic-con loving ghoulfriend. It wasn’t as if their unofficial break-up hadn’t lead to bigger and better things… involving a certain It Couple, but hey… the pangs of love-that-was were still there. 

Jackson kind of hoped tonight might help the whole thing, just a little. 

It was unlikely the ghoul genius would get tanked enough to wipe the memory of everything they had together, but certainly it might let her loosen up enough to maybe tell the others how she was really feeling. 

Emotions were always kept close to the chest with Ghoulia, but no one was forcing the issue because they didn’t want to make it worse…

Huh, maybe helping them all get a little bit stitch-faced was actually a good idea… even if there might be a few undead-dead monster boos and ghouls come tomorrow. 

- - -

A cold hand touched the back of their neck, Abbey hummed low in her throat in approval as they only barely flinched at the sudden temperature drop; in all actuality, it felt brilliant. 

Any lingering sense of a headache seemed to just slide right on out into the cosmos… 

Well, Holt chimed in with ‘fucking off to intergalactic ports unknowable' (which Jackson simultaneously found hilarious and took as confirmation that his other half had, indeed, raided his stash of 'Star Battles: The Profane Intergalactic Adventures of Captain Fah Koff' comics). 

"You are now our favourite ghoul, did you know that, Abbey?" he sighed, Holt concurring the sentiment, as she laughed in response.

"Compliment is well-received, should we three run away and have many twinned-together smart-loud yeti children, in mountains?" Abbey grinned back, pointedly ignoring Heath, who was flaring up something fierce. 

Jackson patted her other arm disjointedly, as it was only just in his peripheral vision, “Only if there are enough yaks for all of them to ride… and Heath doesn’t barbecue us first.” 

They both turned to glance at the fire elemental who was both blushing, and blazing, unsure what the appropriate response was to this stitchuation. How many mansters can say their dual-natured dork-slash-party-manster cousins are capable of pseudo-stealing their super-gore-geous yeti ghoulfriends using a combination of death-defying hangovers and sarcasm?

"I… but… you two… three… ugh!”

Abbey moves a step closer to Heath and pets him on the shoulder with her free hand, “Calm down, was not serious… there are not nearly enough yaks for amount of children Abbey would have with Party One and Mad Science-y One.”

Flames petering out, Heath sighs, “Well that’s okay the-… WAIT A MINUTE!” 

The implications of her words sinking in, as the entire table starts to laugh along at the insanity. Truly, it was like a bad daytime soap opera playing out at the table, starring a stunning yeti, two hungover mansters and a fire elemental who hasn’t cottoned on to the fact they’re being trolled just yet…

- - -

"Okay, you got me… and please don’t do that again, my spark just about went out in shock…" the elemental manster sighed, face in hands. This was definitely not how he’d pictured lunch to go, considering how the main goal of this mealtime had been to usher a certain pair of hungover cousins in here and try to alleviate their post-alcohol agony…

Abbey gave him a peck on the cheek, “Not be silly, Heath.”

"I, uh, yeah, okay." he laughs sheepishly, turning to find himself the subject of Jackson’s intense-ish stare, all of a sudden. "WHAT?!"

"You… just proved why you’re not getting your hands on any VodQuizilla unless you’re in a shower, bath or the middle of a non-chlorinated pool." the human-like manster responded after a minute, before grinning. 

"Did you seriously think we could steal Abbey with an off-hand comment? For one, we’re pretty sure if she wanted to, Abbey could literally steal us all by piling everyone at this table on one of her shoulders and jogging off up a mountain…”

Abbey nodded in accord, face quite serious.

Clawdeen let out a snort in the background, trying to keep her composure as best she could; Operetta had a mouthful of some sort of biscuit and gravy mixture that was the only way to stop herself from laughing out loud at the whole stitchuation. 

"And two," continued his cousin, with a gleam in his eye, "I didn’t think you’d have such an aversion to sharing her with Holt, not after that little manster-crush you had on him after the first time you two met…"

So the blushing and blazing were back in full-force now. “I-… but how did you-… YOU WEREN’T EVEN THERE?!”

The words seemed to hit the Fire Elemental, who groaned, “Ugh, yes you were… technically, dammnit. Shut up!”

"Veeeeeeeeeeery mature, Heath."

"Weren’t you two on the verge of keeling over like five minutes ago, because I’d really like it if we could go back to that…" sniped Heath, pouting unintentionally and crossing his arms. For all the world looking like a tiny baby spark who was protesting not getting his way…

The love and affection touches us deeply, cousin, you have no idea…" drawled Holt, apparently half-asleep and full of sarcasm. Jackson’s expression complimented the sentiment nicely.

- - -

"Well actually," Deuce interjects during their verbal stalemate, "he is kind of right, you two dudes both look a lot better than before. Lucky you’ve got Study Howl next to really kick that hangover in the Asp…”

Oh, the endless snake puns you came across when fanging out with Deuce and Cleo… that wasn’t even the worst of them.

"Thanks, we feel a bit better too… although, tomorrow isn’t something we’re looking forwards to." Jackson shuddered, feeling Holt half-heartedly echo the sentiment before ‘turning over’, mumbling something about loud bodymates, and falling asleep. "Aaaaaand, Holt has left the party…"

- - -

Should you ask him later, Jackson maintains the firm stance that he did not make any sort of unmansterly whining sound when Abbey took away her oh-so-very-pleasant icy-cold hand, as the bell for class rang with astounding volume, and shocked them all into action. 

"Wow, that was a really long lunch…" he found himself saying aloud, frowning.

"Hmmm, maybe to you, it kind of slipped by pretty fast by my count," Clawdeen answered, shrugging and snagging their tray. "I got it, you just worry about getting that ice-brick into your locker, and your cute little butt down to Study Howl before the warning bell goes…"

"…we probably owe you our souls for this, but thanks, Clawdeen." He responded, on their behalf, secretly surprised with how nice everyone was being today. Some might find it annoying, to be fussed over, but… well, it was the first time anyone really had done so for Holt and Jackson, so it was nice.

The hazards of having mad scientists and doctors for parents was that they were sometimes overly-clinical in their approach to child-rearing… 

"Nah, I can’t use a soul as a manster-equin… let’s just say that at some point you may have to stand very still while I approach you with some very sharp pins." the fierce fashionista winked over at them, before disappearing from their field of vision.

Frankie immediately filled it, beaming kindly.

"Come on you two! TO STUDY HOWL!" the stitched-up cutie shouted, pointing like some sort of pirate captain in a boovie. Casually dragging the pair right on out of the room and into the corridor… 

Lagoona followed behind, easily hefting their small ice-brick of a blood puddingsicle in one arm, and looping her other through Gil’s. 

- - -

"Mate, what’s the combination to your locker?" the Swim Captain asks as they begin to approach it on the way through.

"It’s-… uh… actually, er-…" and for some reason the numbers elude them.

"Forgot it, huh?" she smiles sympathetically. 

"…would you believe the answer is yes?" he sighed back, remembering fuzzily that they’d somehow gotten the stupid thing open earlier while on undeath’s door. Which begged the question of… why not now?

- - - 

"Heeeeeeeeey Jaaaaaackson," shouted a certain voice… that still, despite posing no actual threat any longer, raised hair on the back of their neck in an automatic fear response.

The small group turned to look at Manny Taur, who had somehow made it to the lockers with Iris Clops, before any of them. Raising an eyebrow, the Minotaur huffed with an air of amusement as his eyes darted between the frozen blood puddingcicle Lagoona carried, Frankie’s hold on Jackson’s arm [that was gentle but firm, like the dual-natured monsters might fracture if she applied more pressure], and the hopeless hexpression the normie-like manster was throwing at his locker.

"Forgot your cooombination, didn’t yooooooooooou?" 

"Please, mock me all you want… just do it at a lower volume and preferably out of earshot… Holt’s asleep, and if you wake him earlier than he wants -no side of the metaphorical bed being the ‘right side to get out of’ when it’s all in your head- then you will probably be flambéd.” 

Rolling his eyes, Manny huffed out a breath through his nose, “I meaaaaaaaant, didja need heeeeeeeeeeelp gettin’ into your lockeeeeeer?”

Startled, and not the only one of the small group to be so, Jackson replied, “Um, yes? Were you paying attention to our combinati-…oh, you meant justchicken-wing it into submission…”

While the other had been speaking, Manny had offhandedly ‘done a Legolas’ by slamming his arm back into the locker without much force or effort, resulting in the lock popping off and the door swinging open. 

"…thank you?"

"Doooooon’t mention it." Manny waved off the thanks dismissively. "See you and Holt toniiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight…"

Iris gave them a cheery wave as the pair walked away.

- - - 

"Do we… go get Cleo to check no one’s hexed him, or…?" asked a minorly shell-shocked Jackson… because that was unusual. 

Sure, since Halloween, Manny hasn’t been hostile or anything to them, but then again, he hadn’t been ANYTHING to them… they existed in the same space and that was about it.

Frankie shocked him gently, “Don’t be silly, he’s just trying to make up for being a bull-y to you… and hey, your locker’s open!”

Lagoona slid the ice brick home, “Well, we’ve got swim practice, but we’ll be seeing you tonight, hey mates!” she beamed, barely giving Gil time to nod before snagging his arm and making a dash for the pool.

"Speaking of which, let’s get you two to Study Howl, because I’ve got Rudimentary Language class in about three minutes… and it’s in the basement." The ghoul flushed, a little embarrassed.

Jackson touched her arm, to make her look at them with those beautifully mismatched eyes. “Hey, Frankie… it’s not a bad thing to take those classes. Just because your parents put a lot of knowledge in your mind when they made you… doesn’t mean it will all make sense without the context to really expand on the infearmation. We had to take rudimentary zombie when we got here, because our translation skills were… well, terrible.”

She laughed, looking a little brighter. Frankie hadn’t really told the others that she was taking these… ‘catch-up’ classes, to get her up to speed with what they’d learned their entire unlives. But to be fair, she was about a year old… and doing remarkably well in every other aspect, this was an academic formality.

"If you wanted to get a headstart to class, you can… we’re a lot better than before lunch, and it’s not like we’d lose our way searching for the Study Howl of all places!" he smiled reassuringly at Frankie, who bit her lip in indecision, then finally nodded.

"Well, if you’re sure…"

"We are, we’ll be fine, Frankie…” 

"Okay then, see you after school… here… in one piece, or enough pieces to stitch back together!" she waved cheerily and dashed off. 

- - -

Now… which was was the Study Howl again…?

- - -

"You just totally forgot where Study Howl is, didn’t you?" whispered a low voice by their ear, sending them mildly skyward.

"B-billy, please don’t do that to us…" the dual-natured monster yelped as their oft-invisible classmate came, well… mostly, into view over just by their right shoulder. 

"Aw, but you two scream so pretty… Scarah’s practically jealous." The other chemically-engineered monster-type teen snarked right back.

 

'Shut up and kiss already, you two… last time there was this much sexual tension in a room it was 'cause I accidentally entered that House of Mirrors at the School Fair…' Holt interjected with a yawn. The DJ was apparently good at dropping beats, and not so much at dropping off to sleep… 

"Holt, you narcissistic ass, NO… even if Billy said yes, Scarah would kill us!” he hissed back aloud, forgetting for that split-second too long that perhaps those in the hallway with no context might be very confused, amused or leaping to some very not-so-abstract-really conclusions.

Billy had phased out of the visual spectrum again, but his eerie laughter came from the same place they had seen him last. A pale hand materialised to grab hold of their shirt sleeve, it shook a little with the force of the other manster trying to regain control over his paroxysms of amusement.

"D-do I even wanna know?!" the suddenly-visible floating head asked, wiping away a tear; expression reading that the little bugger could probably already guess what it was Holt had said. Something about that smug grin said ‘I know’. 

Jackson crossed their arms and tried to work out how long they’d been standing there… the bell hadn’t gone yet, had it?

"Probably not." he eventually admitted, trying to drown out the burst of smug amusement that Holt was… well, exuding, was the only word that seemed to fit the sensation. “All you need to know is that if you’re looking to fix up Holt on a blind date, buy him a hand mirror and stay out of kissing range…”

THAT stopped the other in his tracks.

"Wait, what?"

"Oh, nothing…" the normie-looking manster responded sweetly. 

Billy’s eyebrows shot up into his hairline and disappeared… no, literally, he was still working on visibility when surprised. Still, after a few precious let’s-not-be-tardy seconds had ticked by, the other shrugged, content to leave it for now and pry it out of Holt later. 

The elemental DJ happening to have a big mouth to compensate for a diminished sense of shame (or dignity, if you ask Jackson, who once woke up wearing nothing but a just-barely-covering-everything-vital makeshift-toga of handkerchiefs in a supermarket alongside several hungover monsters with no explanation). 

"Alright man, I respect that you’re keeping it on the downlow… so, wanna walk with me to Study Howl before we get a tardy? I mean, you two could totally continue this whole stand-in-the-middle-of-the-corridor-and-stare-hopelessly-in-all-directions gambit… but I don’t think it’ll get you there any faster.”

One one hand, Billy was right…

…on the other hand, he was being a bit of a twat about it.

On the third hand, tentacle, claw or other appendage you possessed… they didn’t have much dignity or will to unlive left at this point, so they might as well just play Follow the Leader this once. 

"After you, Invisiboy," Jackson shoots back, both he and Holt enjoying the way Billy’s eyes narrowed at them, probably calculating if it was technically a low blow to throttle someone looking as messed-up as they probably did right now (which, though better than they had been that morning, still wasn’t great). 

The other huffed, entertained, and turned left down the corridor. 

Casually throwing over his shoulder, “Sure, follow me, oh Fashionless Wonder…”

'Oooh, low-blow…' Holt winced in sympathy. 

"He won’t be saying that when I throttle him with my bowtie…" Jackson muttered back, and Holt  laughed at the mental image that conjured, as they began to follow the other teen.

- - -

If anyone asked, there was a totally logical explanation as to why Billy had to have such a strong grasp on their wrist those last four corridors… (despite all the cooing and sensationalising it received from Spectra when she caught them two feet from the Study Howl).

It was hard enough to follow a guide that kept phasing out of visibility on a good day… especially with so many other boos and ghouls dashing here and there in a frantic rush to get to class. Only logical that they maintained physical proximity… maybe contact, so they didn’t lose one another, right?

 

"Remind me to crash her blog before she can upload those pictures…" Jackson sighed, fishing in his jean pockets for their iCoffin as they entered the large Study Howl, already filled with a sparse population of monsters researching, writing or generally chilling out. 

"Too late…" the other manster responded, glancing over at the virtual sea of beeping iCoffins, which then became an array of heads swiveling to face them. Invisibilly flushed a deep blue and disappeared, leaving Jackson to deal with all of those curious glances… 

Which he dealt with by feeling exactly three seconds’ worth of blushing embarrassment, before deciding he no longer gave a damn in light of how odd and disjointed the day had been so far… 

Nudging his currently see-through compatriot, in where he assumed the other boo’s side was, and jerking his head to a pair of open seats along the wall, by Scarah.

The Banshee was smiling warmly at them over the top of a mystery novel; she had a thing for them in recent times. As the lovely Dire-ish lass put it, ‘it was always nice to have something that she couldn’t know instantly, when you’re a novice telepath with privacy settings frustratingly stuck on Public’. 

- - -

Well, ‘seats’ was a cute euphemism for a series of long benches that ran along the walls down both sides of the Howl. While desk, chairs, bookshelves and computers cluttered the middle of the room, these benches were generally used for storing bags, taking a nap, or just taking a seat somewhere you were out of the hustle and bustle of the room (and therefore less likely to be clonked in the head by the textbook-heavy back of a frantic student dashing past on their way to the class they forgot they had). 

"Boos, nice to see you… metaphorically of course." Scarah beamed, winking. 

The pressure of a hand on his wrist suddenly evaporated, but given that Scarah giggled and swatted the air by her cheek, it could only be assumed he’d gone in to give her a kiss and failed. Telepathy was like sonar, it could pick you up no matter how stealthy you were…

"Um…"

 

Billy reappeared sitting down beside Scarah, and patted the long empty section of bench to their immediate left (and Jackson’s right). 

Mi bencha… su bencha,” the occasionally-transparent teen invited, practically butchering the saying, and coming off a little bit… Jar Jar Binks, if Jackson was entirely honest with himself. 

Holt snorted in response and sent an affectionate ‘Nerd' at him from the back of their shared mind.

"Oh, and you think I’m the dork…" the future Mad Scientist-to-be sighed, rolling his eyes melodramatically and flopping down onto the bench to sit beside the pair. Eyes ranging the room to see if anyone was paying any particularly close attention to them… especially after Spectra posted, whatever she posted.

Huh, they’d gotten their iCoffin out and forgotten to do anything with it. Actually, where did they even-…?

"I think you two will find Billy has it," Scarah hummed, idly, and turned a page. "You… will probably rest better if you don’t know what she’s put up on there just yet."

"Er…" because a statement like that inspired confidence didn’t it? 

'Thin air' shoved them hard in the right shoulder, sending the Jekyll-Hyde-brid toppling the other direction with, what could only be classified as the exact verbalisation of '????!’

- - -

Said see-through person also managed to catch them before they hit the bench, maintaining a death-grip on their right bicep; a grip rivaled only by Abbey, if they were to rank the gripping ability of their immediate group of friends. 

[The yeti had once accidentally left an exact handprint on their arm the day she yanked them back from nearly being run over by a car full of drunken normie teens swerving violently all over the road. She had tried to apologise to the boys, but they pointed out that if she had not… they’d have had to crawl to school, if they survived at all; which mollified the warrior ghoul.]

"Okay, so maybe actually resist a little when I shove you next time?" Invisibilly admonished in the tone of an exasperated parent, which still didn’t cover that tiny squeak of shock that signified adrenaline was coursing through the other manster like crazy. 

You shoved us out of nowhere and expected us to, what, anticipate it? Dude, all we wanted was to take a nap on this nice soft, hella hard wooden bench thing…" Holt interjected aloud on their behalf, which surprised the hell out of the invisible boo and made Scarah drop her book into her lap. 

"Did.. did Ho-… was that Holt?"

Okay, more than a few heads were looking this way, not as sneakily as they’d previously assumed.

"…actually, yes. That happens sometimes for various reasons that-… ugh, we’re too tired for this. Scarah, would it be terribly inconvenient to ask you to just read our mind for the whole confursation we had about it during Lunch with the others… and then tell Billy about it?" asked Jackson, casually swinging their legs up onto the bench after a swift check about for the location of any teacher who might take offence to ‘feet on the furniture’.  "It was just a lot of infurmation, and we’re just not with it enough for that a second time today."

The Banshee was just looking at them, her brow furrowed as if trapped in moral quandary. “Well, if you’re sure that’s okay…”

And we are…" Holt added in the way of assurance as Jackson slid down the bench to try and get comfortable. 

[If they were Holt right now, he would have bundled up his coat for a make-shift pillow… but the DJ-half silently doubted that Jackson had the inclination to instigate the minor wrestling match required to get out of his weird sweater-vest… thing… right now.]

"Alright… settle you two, and I’ll just poke about a bit… you two are complicated." she says, raising slender hand to forehead in an effort to concentrate her abilities. Her eyes glowed softly as they felt Scarah gently glide in, a  warm mental caress as the Banshee looked through the various recent memories they had on display.

Holt shoved the most relevant one at her, or that’s what it felt like he did to Jackson; their duality was still a little iffy on the specifics, and explaining it was often difficult. After a few seconds, she withdrew as carefully as she came, leaving the lingering thought, “Oh you poor little lambs, whatever possessed you to do that to yourselves?! Go to sleep immediately.

 

A breath afterwards, Billy exhales, “Whoa, heavy. Also, nice job with surviving the major hangover… but what’s this about a drinking party tonight? Can we get an invite, or is it just you and the rest of the Pops…?”

Okay, that pleasant almost-sleep they’d been drifting into despite the bench now began to evaporate. “The Whats?” Jackson mumbled, his alter ego making frustrated noises at the interruption. 

[It was one of those All or Nothing days where he needed his other half to go to sleep so he could too…]

Pops, you know… your group. There’s the IT couple, half the casketball team, the fearleaders, your world-famous fashion designer she-werewolf, the uber-smart pair of geniuses -that’s you and Ghoulia, the musical sensations like Holt and Operetta, the Sports captains… there’s not a person in your group who isn’t like one of the well-known elites of Monster High.” Billy responded.

Jackson tried not to laugh out loud at the very idea of it… because it was a bit absurd, really. Besides, Ghoulia was part of the IT triple at this point, so he was more like lonely-mad-science-nerdling-at-big-kid’s-table-and-very-confused-about-why!

"So there’s some sort of party tonight?" Billy prodded again, earning himself a pap on the leg nearest. The blind swipe was just shy of an actual tap, but the invisible teen monster gave it A for Effort.

"If we say yes… ‘n you two c’n come… will y’lettus sleep?" was mumbled back towards the other two in a mixture of Holt and Jackson. 

"For a chance to fang out with the Pops and watch them all drunk out of their minds, I’d let you use me as a mattress!" Billy hisspered excitedly, hands uncharacteristically flailing about in an attempt to elaborate, without drawing more attention. 

Jackson moved up the bench a fraction and propped their head on his nearest leg, without ever opening their eyes. “Nah… jus’… need… a pillow. Sure y’can come… shhh.”

And with that, Jackson and Holt finally fell asleep on a hard bench and semi-visible pillow. Leaving Billy to sigh, laugh and lean -in turn- on Scarah’s shoulder where she’d resumed reading; shutting his eyes and letting her read to him telepathically. He might not care about the story, but the invisible manster loved the sound of her voice in all it’s glorious forms… and this was great practice for her. Everybody wins.

Though he had a feeling Spectra was going to have a field day when she saw them… 


~)0(~

To Be Continued...