I may have milked it a little at the end but I'm so happy with how this came out. And by happy accident in true The Adventure Zone fashion the doc lenth on this story is exactly 69 pages. B)
Enjoy stay safe !
"Other things?! Not 'other food groups'? You all heard the Boy Wonder say Other THINGS there, right?" Taako raged.
"Yeah, what the hell?"
"He said things. Not foods."
" : / "
"Definitely heard things there."
"I have been feeding Angus food." Magnus says in defence. There was a pause before Taako yelled at him again.
"Real weird way to say that and not to specify what food, my man!"
"Well-! … tits."
"Angus? Magnus is feeding you human food, isn't he?" Lucretia asks. He can't tell if she's still goofing or becoming genuinely concerned and entered protective mode. "Like food fit for your consumption? Just because he eats like a garbage disposal doesn't mean you can. Or should!"
"Lucretia-!" Angus whines. But Lucretia startles and momentarily puts herself on mute, as someone comes into her office. Lucretia accepts a big stack of papers and talks to the unseen someone, keeping one concerned eye on the chat.
"Angus, listen to me carefully." Davenport says seriously, as that happens. "If you can't talk, tap once on your stone if all he's giving you is dog food and treats"
"Cap'port, duuuuude." Magnus pouts hand over his heart. "You wound me."
"He isn't Captain. Honest." Angus says but Merle talked over him.
"Oh yeah, thanks for that MAGNUS by the way. Mookie keeps asking for dog biscuits now."
"They taste like Beef!" Mookie inputs off screen.
"They're full of protein." Magnus reports. Merle scowled and grumbled.
"Fucking rock and dick eater."
"I'm eating FINE! And I am having some healthy food as well!" Angus insists.
"Oh yeah? Isn't that what you said about school dinners like a minute ago?" Taako said, leaning in over his desk. "Cos Taako smells a rat, bubba. I know for a fact that the meals at THAT school aren't even up to a regular standard."
"They are too. There're just not up to your standard." Angus pointed out.
"Same thing." Taako shrugs. "Although, speaking of canteen food…"
His tone and posture changed but as the meme saying goes, you get more snakes with honey.
And Taako then asked, very very sweetly. "Hey Cap? Madam D for dicks? How's it going on that old rust bucket and the Wave humper food wise?"
Davenport and Lucretia's reactions could have been rehearsed they were so in sync-
(With exception for Lucretia putting the volume back on and a muffed Brad Bradson's heard to say,
"Did he just call our moon rusty?"
"I think he did." Replied Avi. "did he just call her-?"
"I think he did.")
Davenport and Lucretia's reactions could have been rehearsed they were so in sync. First was face drop. The hard stares. Followed Then by Twin Eye rolls and very very long-suffering sighs down the line, two of them this time.
"That bad huh?" Taako asks.
In sync Twin nods. Double hums. And to finish Two blown raspberries and in unison. All done with that neutral gravitas of captain and director, which of course caused everyone to crack up.
"Jinx." Davenport says over the laughter, still straight faced.
"Dang." Lucretia starts. Then jolts as someone off screen thump her on the arm. "OW! Brad what the -?" Another hand slaps her shoulder. "Ow! Avi stop it!"
"Sorry Madame, but you can't speak when you're jinked." Brad says off camera.
"Oh sweet, no one say you know who's name." Taako cackles. Lucretia huffs and glares at the three of them.
"Woah that's rule of jinx on this planet?" Lup blanches. "you talk and you get punched? Brutal."
"Hey Avi, Bradson! Get in the pic! Taako wants to ask you a question." Taako calls.
Lucretia looks sceptical but shifts her stone so as to show the family the two shuffling around the desk to join her.
"Hey Brad! Hey Avi!"
"Oh er, Hi. Everyone." Brad leans into shot unsure of what's happening.
Avi has no such qualms. He waves and beams and even give Lucretia bunny ears to the Stone while he's speaking. Lucretia is clearly reaching up to do the same to Brad. But her arms aren't quite long enough so from the camera angle it just looks like a weird half hug. Or maybe she is just giving him a half hug. Brad does give good hugs.
"Hey guys, Hope you're all okay! We just came to drop of some paperwork." Avi said.
"Didn't mean to interrupt-." Brad tries.
"Brad do you have to file a complaint against yourself now?" Magnus grins interrupting him. "for punching your boss?"
"Possibly, depends if L- Ma-," Brad said, weary of the jinx. "you know who wants to put a complaint in."
Lucretia gives him what Angus interprets as a 'maybe I will Maybe I won't' shrug.
"Shut up a second you guys. That's not what I wanted to ask them." Taako snaps. "Listen, what do you make of the food fellas? In the BOB canteen."
"well, It's pretty …. okay? Like we have a salad bar now? That's cool." Avi says, confused.
Brad looks at the screen. Then at his boss. She gives him a nod and he relaxed. Like a lot.
"The chips aren't as good as they used to be?" he tries. "they taste really oily now. I liked them with their skins on."
"We could do with more veggie alternatives that's not just cheese and onion? or super spicy." Avi suggests.
"And more vegan and milk alternatives?" Brad agrees.
"Theme nights? Maybe once a month?"
"Maybe more Kosher options too."
To her credit, Lucretia has grabbed a notebook and is writing down their suggestions, nodding.
"And it would be nice if we had more cereal options in the morning?" Brad agrees.
"Mr Bradson, cereal goes in the bowl first, right?" Angus interrupts.
"Avi, do you agree?"
"yeah." Avi nods. "why?"
"Irrelevant." Taako snaps. The kids boo him.
Lucretia tears off a note and hands it to Avi.
"'Say 'But Taako's dinners are better than the current canteen food'." Avi reads aloud. Lucretia facepalms. "Well, they are. Ooh is that what he was after?"
Everyone nods. Taako preens.
"Aaalllright. I'll let you get on, ma'am." Brad grins.
"We all still up Poker at Merle's on Saturday?" Avi asks.
"sure." Merle grins. Then panics. "Oh, shoot yeah, can someone watch the kids Saturday?"
"Bye hope you're all okay! See you later, Director."
Everyone waves and there is a Chorus of byes. And the boys make leave the office.
There is absolutely no-good reason for what happens next.
"Psst! hey-!" Merle hisses, making a turnaround gesture with his wooden hand.
"Guys no!" Mags says.
But Lucretia nodded grinning and pivoting her stone quickly about, so it shows Brad and Avi at the door.
"Man, Magnus what was it you said the other day?" Merle asks.
"I think it was I Hate to See Avi And Bradson Go but The Views Not Half Bad, right?" Taako misquotes. Far too loudly.
Loud enough for Brad to flatter in his step and Avi to almost swings back into the already closing door. Lucretia Suddenly flipped her stone back around so fast to avoid getting caught, pretending she hadn't heard anything out of the ordinary. Even going so far as to pick up a pen and one of the files pretending to write in it. It's only when the door clicks shut does everyone start cooing and wolf whistling.
"Lalalala Not listening!" Angus says, sticking his fingers in his ears to muffle to block the soppiness.
He still catches the tail end of Merle singing "- and Magnus sitting in a tree K – I - s- S -I- N! oh G!"
Magnus is blushing beet red and laughing, muttered. "Pricks."
"and Perverts." Lup agrees slash teases. "You guys are awful at trying to set people up. Taako you're married, don't enable him."
"Madam Dick-ratoer provided him with the eye candy not me." Taako said Battering his eyelashes. Lucretia sports an equally innocent don't know what you mean face.
"That's not sexually harassment is it?" Barry laughed. Lucretia paused and frowns. Then grabs a pen and starts writing something. For real this time taking the cap off the pen and all. "You're his boss for crying out loud, kiddo."
Shit, maybe? Depends. Probably, I guess? Lucretia replies, Holding a note up to the screen. While writing another with the other hand and swapping it. She is comminated to jinx. Although technically I'm no longer Boss of either of them. I do keep telling them that.
"That's a yes then." Davenport says. "Are they both freelance now, then? I know it was in the works."
Yes. Avi's now a consultant engineer. Same job description really but he's his own boss. This just gives him more time to travel and do other projects ...hench why he is free to go to Raven's Roost so much. ;)
"Not like that!" Magnus whines. But Lucretia continues.
And Brad works as therapist, with offices within the Bureau. He's still the Bureau's HR Department as well for now, but only while he helps his replacement settle in.
"I'd sooner him then Dracula." Merle says. "I think her 'Depends' means Depends on if his date with Brad last Friday went well, right Mags?"
"It's not a date, we just hung out. Him, me and Avi work out sometimes. Sweet Flips too." Magnus grins. "And Avi
helps me with the set up down here like repairs and stuff so then we hang out then."
"hang outs and Work out buddies? Sure." Merle nods.
"Lot of repair work at a dog school huh big guy?" Taako says.
"So, who's cuter Magnus? Brad or Avi?" Lup asks bluntly, despite her earlier call outs.
Magnus declines to answer any of that and flips them off instead. The Boy detective comes to his rescue at least.
"captain you didn't answer Mr Taako." Angus needles.
"On what?" Davenport frowns then clicks. "oh! On how the food is, right. Taako?"
"Yeees?" Taako grins.
Davenport cleared his throat. "it is absolute… Utter shit."
" : o "
"Woah Capenport." Magus said. "I wasn't not expecting that."
"Yeah, me either." Lup frowns. "I always thought you were a pretty decent cook?"
"My cooking is fine, Lup but very basic. Well compared to your own cooking and your brothers professional chef skills. and compared to the parcels he sends, It's diabolical. It's much nicer when you're here in the ships galley Taako. See?" Davenport says, with a sweeping gesture of his stone to show them the little ships little kitchen. A pretty okay looking fish filleted on the pot, waiting to go.
"I'm sure you could make that dish much more exciting. There. I said it. Now, Merle, Lup pay him whatever you owe him for this ongoing bet!"
"Can't. I've lost my wallet." Merle says.
"It's by the front door dad!" Mavis said helpfully from across the room.
"Et Tue oh captain My Captain?" Lup pouts fishing some coins out of her pocket. She throws them up in the air through a hole in space and time, and they land neatly on her gleeful brother's desk.
"How did you know there was some form of bet going on?" Angus asked curious.
"Because that is clearly why Taako asked such, isn't it?" Davenport said. "Plus, he was using his butter wouldn't melt voice."
"Dav' my man, you know me so well." Taako beams. "Aaand Lucretia?"
"Ha!" Lucretia smiles.
"Crap, the jinx." Taako remembered.
"Hey, wait a sec, you shut your mouth. I didn't say your full name!"
"Which is?" Luc asks.
"…Mother ff- Trucker." Taako scowls, sulking. Angus can't tell if he's forgotten or just being rude.
Lucretia made to correct him then shrugs.
"huh, yeah that has a nice ring to it."
"That is defiantly going on the door plaque." Merle nods sagely. Then announces grandly spreading his hands wide. "I can see it now. Madaaaame Dick-rater, the honourable Lucretia Mother F Trucker."
For a moment it becomes bullying Madam Director time: Round two. Lucretia rolls her eyes both exasperated and fondly, posing. Everyone laughs.
But then Davenport chuckles under his breath, "Yeah, Lucas's mother."
And not as quietly as he thought he did. This time he is not ignored. There's a beat before pandemonium breaks out.
"What!?" THB yell at the same time as Lucretia let out a squeak.
"You and Nerd Lord's MOM?!"
Lucretia doesn't say anything. Angus checks the connection. Lucretia is still there. it's her who's frozen not her stone. She just looks shocked. And busted. Like hands over her mouth wide eyed busted shocked. Got caught stealing cookies from the jar by the jar biting back sort of shocked and busted.
(Angus hate Taako's Cookie Jar Protection Spell with a passion. He still can't disarm it after five months.)
"As in Miller? Maureen Miller?" Barry gaped.
"Get it Girl!" Lup grins. "When the hell did that happen? And why didn't you tell me?! Be a dear and spill the beans."
"Holy shit." Merle whistled. Magus woops and then realizes…something important. Ah.
"There's a whole building dedicated to Ms Maureen at school." Angus adds. "what's that to do with trucks? Or was that a euphuism."
"Shit- oh shit. No Lucretia I'm so sorry." Captain winces.
"Captain er details?! Don't just leave me hanging."
"No! Ignore that! I didn't say anything."
Captain is cringing and apologising for letting the cat out the bag. Realisation seems to have dawned on two of Tres Horny Boys and they are VERY awkwardly quiet. They get like this, sometimes. The seven birds. A memory or a moment...
Lup however with her wand is writing loud and proud in technicolour sparkles in the air above her. Something Angus doesn't know. It looks like she tried to write Film Club. But spelt film badly, swapping the letters around.
"Babe come on. Too far." Barry warned, wiping away the spell sharpish, "I love you but there's literal a child and two tweenagers on this chat, you guys! We should really watch our language. 'Cretia are you okay?"
Lucretia nods. Kind of.
"Barry's right about the language. It is getting kinda bad actually." She frowned. Then realises she still has her hands over her mouth takes it away and says "I'm mean it was cute when Angus was ten and saying the odd bad word? But Mookie's vocab is going to be so crude at this rate."
"I don't mind you swearing in front of me." Angus said.
"We're still not setting good example, though are we?" Dav sighs. "shouldn't encourage it."
"Nah I think we're fine." merle says. "Oop. Scratch that. I'm getting glared at by my darling daughter so I think she might want me to agree with her Uncle Barry too."
"You two swear worse than most them put together." Mavis puts in. "Aunty, are you okay?"
Lucretia takes a deep inhale. And then surprisingly addresses America's favourite wizard.
"…Taako? Is there a bet on whether I say the food on the moon is rubbish as well?"
"Oh yeah I forgot we were talking about that." Magnus said.
"No, I was just curious." Taako said airily.
"Actually, no that's a lie-! Barry owes me four gold if you bad mouth your base's diner. Also, you could say I'm very curious about the other thing, but I er guess that's a story for another time huh?"
"I never agreed to four gold." Barry grumbled.
"Ten then." Taako shrugs.
"That's not how bartering works."
"Dear why would you be a dingus and bet that much gold." Lup frowns.
"funnily enough Actually I never agreed to any bet at all." Barry said. Well sulks.
Lucretia let out another sigh. then counted off her fingers.
"In that case, the canteen food has always been bogus, nutritious yet quite bland, and at times diabolical if when compared to yours and Lup's cooking." She spoke. "And you know it. Happy?"
"Extremely. Barry, pay up." Taako winks. "Also, Bogus? Who even says bogus?"
"You do, sir." Angus said.
"Did we have a bet on for her saying bogus?" Davenport asks. "I think that's two extra gold Barry."
"who even says diabolical. Oh, wait you did." Barry counted.
"and whatever the B.O.B. canteen has," he continued. "It's gotta be better than whatever magnus is making Angus eat."
"Oh for-!" Magnus looking a bit peeved now. "Piss off Barold."
"Yeah! Piss off Uncle Barold."
"See what I mean?" Lucretia frowned. She looked very much like she was about to summon a large glass of wine despite it being only just one in the afternoon.
"Sirs, Captain, Aunties-!" Angus cuts in. He nearly says, "can I get on with my homework now?" when Kravitz suddenly chimed in on the voice chat.
"Oi! Why are you all-?!"
"Babe!" Taako beams, jolting upright in his seat.
"Work accent, mate." Barry grins.
"Sorry." Kravitz Clears his throat and starts again.
"Why are you all going buck wild over a picture I can't see?" He asks, sounding annoyed, amused and baffled. "Or do I not want to know? I've at least forty messages on my stone from the three of you."
"Bird joke, Bones." Chorused Barry and the twins.
"Also, what is with this group chat name?" Kravitz adds.
"will tell you later." Taako grins.
"Kravieeeee show us that skull, don't be just an audio medium." Magnus pleads.
"Sorry Mr Kravitz I would have sent it to you as well, but it won't send files through to the astral plane." Angus says.
"Fucking Lucas Miller tech." Magnus sighed. Everyone agrees.
"wait," Merle says. "so, who's fucking Lucas Miller?"
"Merle!" Lucretia warns. "Ew, do not go there. I do not want to think about that, thank you!"
"It's not me, if that helps, Lucretia." Magnus offers.
"No, you're flirting and romance options on most of her staff huh?" Davenport teased.
"Why was that the part of the part of the conversation I had to catch?" Lucretia huffs. "Angus, how do I make this loose signal again?"
"Hey, speaking of Nerd lord! Madam Dickrator? Did we ever tell you what else we found in Lucas' bedroom-?" Taako starts. "Ow son of a-!"
There was the screeching, nails on chalkboard sound of a rip through space. And a horrible feedback loop. Kravitz again had forgotten to turn off his stone while going through a rift, much to everyone's annoyance. The corresponding rift appears in Taako office, but Angus can't see it. He only knows it appears in Taako's office because on his screen, Taako delightedly jumps off his seat and out of view. There's a sound of kissing. Lup fakes gag sounds down the line as and Barry yells,
"get a room! We'll tell Ren!"
"Oh, buzz off." Taako yells back.
The chat screen wabbles as his stone is picked up and turned by a mage hand, showing Taako led Handsome Kravitz by the hand to his office couch and coffee table. His boyfriend looked at the picture Taako was showing him. There's a pause.
"Those are dogs. Lup Barry, You two bailed and left me with the paperwork for some dogs." Kravitz says unimpressed.
"Nooo…" Lup tries.
"You ditched me for dogs. Or is that a bear?" Kravitz scowled. "What the ninth hell you two?"
"Someone's in trouble." Magnus and Merle tease in a sing song voices.
"Actually, we bailed to get coffee from home." Barry said.
"Yeah, the pot in the break room has an octopus in it again." Lup said. "And then we got distracted."
"Yeah, dogs were not on us."
"Mango and Ango's fault."
"I didn't do anything!" Angus protested.
"You two used to be such suckers of paperwork." Davenport sighed.
"Cap that a ruse so they could just make out in the lab!" Taako frowned.
"Still got more work done then you lot ever did." Captain said wistfully. Causing at least four cries of indignation.
"With exception to Lucretia." He added.
The four cries are corrected to just three. Tres Horney boys scowled at smug director's face.
"Who do you think was covering for us?" Barry teased, earning himself one of Lucretia's impressions of the Davenport's slash Madam Director Hard stares before she poked her tongue out at him.
Lup winked and added, "Who said we only made out in the Lab-?"
"Oh, Holy Shit and MOTHER OF PAN!"
Merle suddenly yelled so loud it scares everyone and sends them scrambling for their stones. Literally. Both kids freeze in the background and rush to him. Angus near fumbles to save the Smart stone ships out his grip. Lup falls off Barry's lap. Lucretia jolts out of her seat, bashing her knee off the table and scattering everything. Magnus whips about, nearly taking off a finger with the knife he'd been chopping a salad up with. Davenport startled, goes against the motion of the ocean and falls over out of shot.
"Are you okay?"
"what? Oh yeah yeah, I'm fine. It's us!" Merle says excitedly. He's now finally holding the stone at arm's length so it's not an up shot of his nose. "Holy smokes it's us! it's us in in the picture. This is us! Lookie, Mooks Mavis see that-?"
"No this is dogs." Kravitz starts but everyone's cutting him off again. Merle is trying to explain to his kids but there's too much noise for Angus to get any real clues as to what's going on from the explanation.
"Merle don't do that to me!"
"What the hell old man!"
"Did you legit just get the joke!?"
"Do that to me again Merle I swear to Istus-!"
"give me a heart attack why don't you?!"
"Mavis are you still there? Be a dear and Hit your father for me."
"I will, he scared me too."
"I thought something bad had happened."
"Shut up a sec! Merle asks. "Hey boy detective, did you and the big guy set this up?"
"I didn't set it up." Angus repeated. "just found them like that. I still don't get it."
"Wow Merle!" Lup calls. "Took you long enough!"
"Yeah, keep up old fella." Taako said.
"I couldn't get dam picture to open full screen!" Merle complains to another volley of protests. "Yeah, Mavis I know you showed me how to-. But Kravitz was going on about so I opened it again. And. Aw gee."
"To slow!" Magnus laughs from the kitchen. "He finally sees it."
"Hey!" Merle complains. "I only have one eye!"
"Is there a time lag on these things? Is that it? Is Merle just five minutes behind the rest of us?" Lucretia asked.
"Isn't he always?" Lup winked.
"Davenport got it straight away." Taako said.
"Yeah, captain managed." Barry agreed.
"And just what is that supped to mean?" Davenport asks, with a glare.
"Hey guys… I think Merle is actually crying." Kravitz said.
"Am not! Just got something in my eye." Merle grumbles. And sniffs. "Ah who am I kidding yeah I am."
"Wow merle thought we were going mad for random dogs?" Magnus says.
"They are random dogs." Angus tries to argue. Kravitz at least agrees.
"Well, yeah? You mad for random dogs all the time! It's your trademark thing." Merle grumbles. "I'm old. I'm aloud to coo over random rescue dogs. Especially these ones. What's your excuse?"
"Still took you aaaaages to get to the point, you old old man." Taako
Merle waves him off. Or flips him off, hard to tell with the wood hand sometimes.
"Yeah, yeah okay. Tooshie Tomato you got me-!"
"DON'T-!" Barry Lup Taako Magnus and Davenport snap. Lucretia just laughs to herself behind a hand. Like full pearls of laughter not just a titter. Angus wonders if he'll ever find out what's up with that.
"…Touché." Merle corrects himself.
"Mags we love you," Barry says, "but I agree with Merle. If I ask what's up it takes you twenty minutes to stop you talking about dogs and talk about you."
"I do not!"
"You do do that Magnus Sir." Angus said.
"Do you do that with your therapist?" Lup "Dude, if you're spending half the time talking about your dog's rather than life you need to maybe make it a double session. Right?"
"Dogs Is life!"
"right." Lucretia says, ignoring his last stupid comment. "and besides if magnus allowed to send tons of dog pictures and ramble on about puppies, then I think Merle's is allowed time work out which way up his stone is and what the buttons do, right?"
Angus says, "right."
But There's AT LEAST four of the ooohh, hang on and oi variety.
"Whoa. This from Ms never seen an iPod before!" Merle grumbles, "'unfamiliar with this technology' my arse."
"Yeah! Respect your elders, Grandma! "Taako said.
"Grandma?!" Lucretia Squawks, Applaud.
"sorry, do you preferer granny? Great aunt? Nan?" He cackles.
"Nana, nanny? Great aunt?" Lup joins in. "I mean what are you sixty now? That's old. Mind… that's still a baby for an elf."
"physically I'm only like late fifty. Ish." Lucretia flustered.
"gross." Taako says. "still one foot in the grave old."
"that's like the same as Barry!" Lucretia tried. "it's not that old! Even for a human."
"actually, you're older now Kiddo. I haven't actually aged much." Barry grins tugging on his jacket he probably thinks as flashy. "perks of the job."
"Still gorgeous." Lup a smacker on his cheek. Barry goes bright pink all the way up to his round ears and grins love sickeningly at her.
"Double gross." Taako complains. Despite also being sprawled across his spouse.
"it's a good look on both of them!" Lup insists. Barry goes from pink to red, as red as his old robes. Lucretia's face is back in her hands.
"Aw their both blushing! So, Luce, is it a hundred and fifty plus candles on your birthday cake? or are number ones gonna be easier to blow out?" Magus teases. Lucretia shakes her head, but she's laughing at least.
"You three- pardon my crudeness- chuckle fucks, Kravitz and the Captain are still a lot older than me." She complained, the echo crackling.
"Oooh shit; Grandma can curse!" Taako gleefully.
"Such foul language." Kravitz agreed.
"My young innocent ears!" Magnus cries. "these old ladies, man?"
"shit, Mookie, no! Don't say that."
"Told you so."
"Bite me Barry."
"Yeah! bite me, Uncle Barry!"
"Mookie, NO!" Merle admonished. "I mean it. Your mother will have my head if you start that crap."
"Grandma said Chuckle fuck first!" Mookie argued pointing at the screen. Which Everyone found hilarious. Even Angus cracked up.
"Nooo no no no. absolutely not!" Lucretia freaked, Even more horrified than Magnus eating dick on the moon or having her personal life exposed. "okay okay I'm old; but Merle, please! Come on you're like everyone's weird dad on ship, don't let Mookie your actual son call me Granma!"
"Who you calling werid?"
"Yeah yeah easy sister. Mookie c'mer. listen," he says seriously. The camera momentarily tips as Merlre lets do of the stone in favour wresting Mookie into sitting down on his lap.
"we were teasing her before. But if Lucretia don't like that, then we gotta respect that." He says in h most dad impacting wisdom tone. "So no more calling her Grandma, okay?"
"Okay dad. Sorry." Mookie nodded.
"Good lad." And then Merle said, with a pot stirring grin, "Besides, she prefers Granny."
The cackling and shrieking when though the roof to the point even the smart stones' smart speaker couldn't quite handle it.
"Hey! if Granny Dick-ratour is like super old now?" Taako said over the racket. (Lucretia protests and is ignored.) "Does that make Magnus a super baby? Like he was the youngest by lil bit now he's youngest by like decades. "
"Magnus is an adult." Magnus said. He can't quite pull off Taako's speaking in third person.
"Nope taako's right. he is official the baby o the group by years now not a year and a few months." Lup decreed.
"er no Angus is baby now!" Magnus protested. "
"Sir I am actually a teenager now." Angus said. The was cough. Angus corrected himself. "Nearly. Mavis is a teenager. If anything Mookie is baby."
"I'm not a baby! Uncle Magnus is the Baby!" Mookie protested.
"The kids don't count, kid." Merle said.
"first food then unicorns now my age?" Magnus complains. "what is it, pick on Magnus day?"
"You missed out the part where we mercilessly teased you about Avi and Brad." Lucretia pointed out.
"None of that makes me Baby." Magnus said.
"Does too." Lucretia, Lup, and Taako said.
"No, it doesn't!" Magnus pouted. "that's not how age works. Barry, Kravitz tell them."
"Magnus is only just a hundred and thirty to Lucretia's true age of a hundred and thirty-one." Barry said. "Plus, he got a new body same day I did."
"If anything, I'd say he was younger." Kravitz nodded. "He did die a lot more in Century, save for Merle."
"Bruh!?" Magnus complained. "I thought we were buds! Merle, a little help here old man?"
"ooh I dunno big guy, the twins are the oldest out us all and yet I'm the old man." Merle mocks. "so yeah, Magnus is baby now."
"aw yes it does!"
"All votes in favour?" Davenport asked. There were several ayes over the chat. Angus committed the ultimate betrayal and put his hand up in agreement.
"Me!" Magnus putting both hands up to no avail.
"Motion Carried." Captain said seriously. "Magnus is officially Baby of the bunch."
"Big baby boy."
"Big soft galoot."
"Baby bear Dog!"
"wait we're birds now right?" Taako says.
Barry cottons on and Finger guns said, "Baby bird!"
"BABY BIRD!" Agrees Lup.
"Baby dog bear bird" Merle adds.
Magnus makes to argue but agrees instead. "Yeah. I would totally be a DogbearBird."
"furry." Taako jeers. "Baby furry."
"Hey! If my dad is everyone's weird dad? that doesn't make Uncle Magnus my brother as well, does it?" Mavis calls. "One little brother and Angus as younger cousin is enough, thank you."
"Hey!" Mookie, Angus and Magnus squark.
"Amen to that I had enough trouble with Taako." Lup agreed.
"er no I'm now the older twin?" Taako corrected.
"you are not." Lup cuts back.
"You got a new bod, bubba."
"That's not how age works!"
"er It did two seconds ago when you all decided I was baby?" Magnus said.
"Okay so Lup is now the youngest twin but Magnus is still baby." Merle pacified.
"Don't save Grandma Lucretia from the fact she old as fuck now." Taako winked.
"fuck!" Mookie yelled in the background.
And added "Unicorn Dick!" as Mavis tried to grab him. This is followed by several crashing's of the sound Mookie the chased by his sister about the house, Mookie swearing all the way.
"…see?" Captain 'port said.
"Right Sorry sorry my mistake. I mean extreeeemely old." Takko corrected.
"er I know I said Luc is aged more than me but she's not that much older than me." Barry argued.
"Okay chill out grandpa Barold."
"wait, babe. If you're old and I'm old but younger then Taako now, which one of us is the cougar?" Lup asked seriously.
"what's a cougar?" Merle asked.
"I thought we were talking about dogs, not cougars?" Magnus pouted.
"We were. Old dogs." Taako nodded. "But none as old as grann e- rateor."
He held his hand up for a high five. Kravitz left him hanging. They all did.
"You spelt dick wrong." Lup pointed out.
"And you've had better dick jokes." Lucretia said.
"Will you stop saying dick please."
"Sorry Captain. Twiglet?" Lup tries. "Better or worse?"
"Worse. much worse."
"whatever. Merle can't work a Stone of Far speech. Lucretia is old. And Baby Magnus's food sucks. That was my whole bit." Taako huffed.
"Hey!" Magnus and Merle complains.
But Kravitz nods in agreement.
"maybe Lucrecia, you and Paloma should form a club." He suggested. "Isn't that what old ladies do?"
"Oooh, like coffee morning? or more a knit and natter?" Magnus grinned.
"Gossip witchcraft and wine?" Lup cackles. "sign me up when I go grey."
"I can lend you lots of knitting pattens, Luc." Magnus added, "Or is it more a bitch and stich?"
"defiantly a bitch and stich, With old grape juice. Right honey?" Merle beams.
"I thought we were going to tone down the cussing?" Angus said.
"Granny started it. like, old girls at these old women institutes are so rude." Taako sniffed.
"Old ladies like me." Angus said.
"Only because you track down their lost pets and runaway husbands." Magnus teased.
"Not true. They say I'm a fine upstanding citizen and a nice young man."
"Same here!" Merle said. With a wink.
Barry nodded. "See they act and Look sweet. and seem very nice with toffees in their pockets and gingham table clothes. but don't be fooled!"
"it's a ruse. They trick you into thinking their vibe is all Bingo and Horlicks." Lup starts.
"and then my dear -… aw man."
Lucretia is clearly trying to say something in retaliation. or add to the nonsense. And probably has been trying to for a hot minute even. But her connection has other ideas. Lucretia's image jumps, crackling and stalling again the same way as before. Then pop-! She's gone again.
"Every time-!" Taako complained flipping off his stone with twin birds at the smug blue screen that popped back up. Lup scowled and blew a raspberry in agreement.
"Technically speaking the Moon right now is closer to both Millers' labs in Neverwinter and Ravens Roost, right?" Davenport frowned, turning his stone about to show his maps, and all its tracking. Barry was flipping through his notes.
"The relay signal of the far speech Runes, with exception to landmass interruptions is always better if distance is reduced. so, if the moon base is as close to The Academy as it is Raven's Roost, if anything triangulation should be smoother." He agreed.
"and in common that means?" Magnus asked.
"Miller's science is Wack." Taako translated.
"And In other news water is wet." Merle said.
"That's what I keep saying to Professor Miller." Angus complained. Taako complained about calling that nerd lord a professor but only Kravitz acknowledged it. "about the triangulation, not the wacky bit. The Moon should have really good signal. Ugh, and it won't let me add Lucretia back in the chat again! On either of her stones."
"Sucks to be her."
"So, we can have dogs on the moon now but not stone signal?" Davenport asked.
"Some dogs." Magnus corrected.
"Can one of you guys try?" Angus asked.
"Nope you heard the lady," Merle said. "What's the plan, fruit Lup, you getting her this time, or shall I?"
"I will. you can't Parley someone into a stone chat." Lup frowned.
"I could go get her?" Magnus suggested.
"Fight you for the privilege, baby bear." Lup winks. But Barry shakes his head.
"Nah, I'll kidnap slash get Luce. I can get her stones and take a look at them while I'm at it." he said hefting himself up from the squashy couch. "Would be cool to have angus weigh in his findings too if that's okay kid."
"Magnus, message Carey and let her know we're kidnapping her boss." Davenport ordered. Mags saluted with one hand and gave him a thumbs up with the other.
"Lup hold the stone here, would you? You can act as a distraction if she comes back on before I get there." Barry asked as he summons a pen knife scythe.
"Hell yeah Babe!" Lup grins. He draws it up till there's a portal big enough ripped in the air. "Oh, Tell Lucy I said be a dear and come quietly!"
"Bluejeans, stop abusing your sacred portal privileges. Again." Kravitz frowned. But he'd hardly finished speaking when Barry's stepped though the portal.
"Good luck trying to keep them in line Kravitz." Merle jeered.
Davenport agreed. "the very best of luck. I tried for a hundred years."
"He's only gonna go get her earth side so you can keep being rude about her age, home slice." Taako points out. Kravitz scowled.
Lucretia's 'screen' Vanishes. And having indeed kidnapped the madam director, the rift reopens in the Blupjeans lounge. and Barry returns with a resigned to her fate Lucretia under one arm. With her arms crossed. Straight as a plank of wood.
"Sorry, what did you say Krav? I was helping a little old lady cross the road." He grinned.
"Little? Barold you're shorter than me. And older." Lucretia laughed as he righted her. "and I could have walked Oof!"
Lucretia was interrupted as Both she and Barry were Mobbed by a delighted Lup and tackled on to the couch.
A very loud Delighted Lup and the group were again nearly deafened by the sound with her squealing. It
"Hey doofus, my ears!" Taako complained.
"And the dogs." Magus warned.
"Hey, be careful she might break a hip!" Merle teased.
it ends up the three of them on the sofa. Lup whose hair and legs take up most of the space, sat in the middle practically in Barry's lap and Lucretia on her other side under the arms ragdoll style, like Mookie would hold with his teddy bear. Neither seemed to mind.
Once they her held hostage with a fresh cup of coffee Everyone goes back to winding Lucretia up time. Again. And the conversation derails, (again,) into how many candles who had on what cake last year; and how the BOB, the Reapers and the IRPE should get a retirement pension plan started.
Angus meanwhile had missed most of the chat. Deciding he probably wasn't going to get any work done now, looked again at the picture.
Actually, taking a long hard look at the picture. But even projecting it from the crystal screen on to the floor and making the image as big as he can make it go, they were to his eyes, just a bunch of dogs. And he still couldn't understand what was so delightful about it to his family. Metaphorical Detective cap on then. And Angus sits down to think really hard about What he knows about the seven birds, and what he knows about dogs and what Magnus has taught him about different types of dogs. Specifically, what he knows about the dogs in the photo. Because In the photo is while it is a bunch of dogs, it's also a whole bunch of very different dogs.
While Magnus originally specialised in raising Ever Somer Deerhounds and they still make up good seventy percent of the school, he'd taken on different breeds for different types of service dogs. As well as taking in a few waifs and rescues to hopefully rehome. And others that are just staying in the kennels for some training or while their owners are away.
So, in the picture is A bunch of different dogs.
All sprawled on and around the big ex-guard dog.
Bruiser is one of the beefiest dogs on site. He's half deer hound and pure muscle. A beefy dog with a beefy a vets cone at the moment, Because the silly thing had run in to a door so hard it had needed stitches on its forehead. He was meant to be a melisha attack dog but didn't make the grade. Magnus is hoping he can be a family guard dog, as he's fierce and loud but generally a big softie. In the picture he's his tongue lolling out, Flat on his back paws in the centre of the pile, as if he were a big teddy bear. Which was fair given it was almost like a small bear in size.
Close Nearby, an old border collie mongrel (nicknamed Mutt) was on its side, sliding out of a dog bed. Half in half out the bed to be exact. Quite in character for the Half blind three-legged cheeky old bugger. Mutt was to look at old and lazy until he'd go nuts in green spaces, Running the lengths of fields and Digging up trash. When it wasn't trying to round up other dogs and heard them. He'd been retired from herding his flock but still plenty of life in the old dog yet. A dog whose mop of fur Angus knew to quite smooth and light when brushed, was now grass stained and dirt from whatever the scruffy hound had rolled in this time on its walk, prosthetic and all.
Next to Mutt was Whizzard; a fancy ass poodle with a simple but elaborate slightly purple looking fur do, glitter still in its curls. The purple because His past owner a rather flamboyant/extravagant. The glitter because It had mistaken Angus's focus for a dog toy a few days ago and grabbed it out of his hand. It had gone off like a bath bomb in its jaws. But the poodle didn't seem to upset. Even working the look. The poodles had taken a shine to Angus and always made a beeline for him.
Next to it was LadyFlame Snr, the one that had perked up at the camera, its legs and fur taking up most of its space. the long-haired Borzoi had come from the same owner. With a dye job to match her name, Pinks, oranges and red colours still dipped in yet to grow out of her fur. Along with the same glitter effect where she been playing with her brother from another litter. Lady and Whiz stuck to each other like glue, but Lady was more approachable and sociable, hopeful in regard to adoption, they wouldn't be separated anytime soon.
In the picture she was snuggled up to the poodle and curled around with her other unlikely companion, of Hal, a smaller stockier dog. Older looking too with patches of grey in its fur. Some form of Labrador-cross, Angus guessed. Very plain looking except for with a little blue coat and patches around its eyes. Patches almost like glasses. Hal could be a little odd around people. A bit of a bad dog sometimes then a total sweetheart. He'd been a service dog till his owner had passed away and had been struggling with that. Labradors were normally loyal to a fault after all. But he'd made a friend and pack with LadyF.
The head of the pack (despite its size) was a normally very bark-active terrier with a smart bowtie for a collar. Admiral is another older dog, who only came to school every so often when his owner was traveling, now that Admiral was getting a bit old for adventuring. Older and smaller, but instantly demands respect. Other dogs did not argue with him not even the big ones. He had a lot of bark for a small dog Caught between being a solitary pup and Anxious separational anxiety like Mutt he was often herding other dogs up. He'd fallen asleep while chewing and tearing up newspaper again. Admiral was laying little bit separate from the others in the biggest dog bed, but still got a paw in on the pile.
Oh, and the stray that had become part of Hammer and Tails yards. So, Seven dogs. If you counted that as a dog.
It was very odd to have a cat at a Dog School. When Magnus had first spotted the stray, the cat hissed spat and shot out from its hiding place in his wood shop so quick, he'd nearly dropped his axe on his foot in surprise. Poor thing looked been through hell despite barely out of kitten hood. It didn't have a set name. C-for, kit-ten, Mystery Cat, Luna, and Nermal were strong contenders. Magnus made sure bowls of food were left out and got one of twins to cast predissertation and eradicate pests to help clean her up. although they hadn't gotten to examine her yet and get her to a fantasy vet.
It must have been desperate to shelter, given the place was full of dogs. It was certainly doing much better now she'd had a daily meal left out for it, a place to stay and a little TLC, albeit at arm's length. Certainly, looked a lot less scruffy too. Mags joked it had earnt its keep by protecting the kibble stores from mice.
It still hadn't let anyone pet it yet, with exception to one hesitantly excepted hand nudge from Angus before she'd bolted again. But it let humans get close now, instead of shooting away spooked of them. But it let the dogs near.
Well with exceptions. Some dogs weren't bothered at all to have cat in their presence. And Some dogs would bark and try to go for her. But the stray always managed to High enough to avoid get chased. Glare at them Like a boss, flicking her tail.
Most of the time it looked quite elegant and superior, as cats are want to do. Especially when it perched itself on roof tops and in the high beams of the ceilings, some queen looking down on them.
But it was still goofy as any dog it curled up with when it thought no one was looking. Angus had seen the way it had leapt up when he'd woke the others and he had plenty silly pictures and crazy cat videos to go with this picture. Here, she was currently dozing face down like a loaf on top of the dogpile, snuggled up against the back of the big Shepherd dog.
The as yet unnamed stray. Mutt. Admiral. Hal. Lady F snr. Whizard. Bruiser.
The big guard dog and a cat. The Borzoi. A Poodle, A Lab. A terrier. And…whatever kind of dog that was.
Angus still couldn't get what all the fuss was about. What was it about this particular scene that would Spark such a response from the IPRE seven? Make them ask to Get copies, make magnus so emotional.
He looked at the picture scrutinizing it for Any clues. But all he could see were Six dogs. And One cat. Seven
"It's us." Merle had said.
And then… it clicked.
Dogs. And a cat. Birds. Seven dogs if you counted the cat. The Seven birds.
In the time it had taken Angus to solve the mystery, Magnus is calling that lunch is nearly ready and the conversation had moved on. Specifically, onto Lup looking up pensioner deals in newspaper; and winding up The Captain, Merle, Barry and Lucretia with them.
Taako and Kravitz meanwhile were bullying Magnus. Kravitz for Magnus eating the group chat name sake; The elf was insistent he can hear Magnus burning the toast wrong down the line. Sometime interrupting himself with snippets of insulting Kravitz and how his is even more appalling than Merle and Davenport at using modern stone technology.
"Okay I get that; I still don't get what I'm seeing here." The Reaper complained to Taako. "They're just dogs."
"But I saw a brilliant light, playing fetch with seven dogs," Angus cut in in a grave tone. Much to his family's delight. "Running tirelessly from the storm…
"Well… I saw six dogs." He corrected, cuddling up with Johan the Dog. "And a cat. But I saw Seven Dogs..."