Set two and a bit/three ish years post SAS.
Chapter 1: Lads Lads Lads
"I'm not saying don't have a party. I mean, come on party points to spare here!" Merle, ever the peace maker, says. "Like I of all people have the right to tell anyone 'hey don't have a party!'"
"Heck we even know a party god," Magnus remined him. "We could put in a good word and get him to bless it so it doesn't back fire on you guys."
"So, wait. Is the party? Or the birthday that you all think is a bad idea?" Avi frowns. "I'm confused."
"It's not a bad idea." Merle explains, trying to smooth things over. "But yeah it's both. The party to some extent, and the birthday bits. Mostly the birthday. I'm just saying ...they're kinda complex things for us."
"Tell me about it." Taako grumbled, not looking up from the pasta he's rolling out. Davenport agreed. Merle for once held his tongue; but only because Davenport didn't like celebrating his own birthday anymore.
"Yeah I can't speak for the whole of team human," Magnus shrugs, unaware. "But personally, it was a bit weird even having actual birthdays again after not aging in forever. Barry? What do you think?"
"Well I know I'm an undead lich… And haven't physically aged much normally even since landing here and all," Barry said thoughtfully. "But yeah, it's weird."
"Yeah. You died a butt load of times here too." Mags added. "and I mean technically I am only, what three? Two and a bit? 'Cos I had a pod bod and all."
"You ever find out why Garfield was growing you a body?" Avi asked. Magnus scowled and shook his head.
"By that dumb Magus logic, I'm centuries older than Lup." Taako said, "You know, my sister. Twin sister." He then went from dough to chopping spring onions. And points out with his knife, "Heck it makes you older than your wife, Barold."
"And makes you the youngest reaper." Kravitz added sipping his coffee. "very tragic."
Barry frowned. "What?"
"Wait no babe, because then Lup would be six months younger than Barry?" Taako corrected.
"Oh. Yeah. Huh." Kravitz frowned at his goof. "Sorry, it's still a bit odd to me to be on this plane's time."
"Does that mean you and Magnus share a birthday now?" Angus asked Bluejeans.
"…Shit." Barry said. "I guess if we're going off how old these bodies are, then yeah? Hadn't thought about it like that."
"Twinsies!" Merle grinned.
"No thank you. One set on ship was enough thanks." Davenport sighed.
"Excuse me, we were a delight. But yeah no I agree with the captain there. Me and Lup hold 'The Twins' title thanks. That's our brand to milk find your own." Taako said. "And you don't get two birthdays either, Mags! Pick one and stick with it."
"Well, tits." You could almost see Magnus weigh up the options then shook his head.
"Nah i'll stick to my original date. If our birthday is both Kilian and Carey's wedding anniversary AND the Story Song Day anniversary, then I would never have another present again ever." Magnus grinned.
Then changing the topic-
Or going back to the original topic of conversation. –he asked,
"Cap'enport, are you going?"
"To the party?" Davenport frowned looking up from his cards. "I-I'm not sure yet. I mean- If it's on the Moon and for…ahem, who else is going?"
Taako was a hard pass. Kravitz was unsure. He'd already said it would feel weird and even disloyal to go without Taako; even though Krav was family now, he'd been invited and Taako said it was cool etc. Barry privately felt the same in regard to it being weird but had already said to Lup he would be there. But the other lads and Angus were going for definite. Seemed like everyone was up for it.
Including Merle's kids.
"We're keeping it a secret from Mookie though or he'll let it slip. He tells Lucretia all sorts." Merle explained. Then scowled. "Wish we'd done the same and kept it from Magnus here."
"Hey, what did I do?!" Magnus said, offended.
"You keep being too loud. More so than normal. Lucretia knows something's up." Angus said. Taako's eye twitched but agreed.
"You do. You do do that. She can read you like a book." Taako said not looking up. Taako had developed of not saying Lucretia's actual name in his house unless absolutely necessary. And even then, the elf wasn't kind about it.
"For a multiclass in rogue, you are awful at stealth." Angus continued counting off on his fingers. "You are also dodging conversations with her and rubbing the back of your neck."
"So do you!" Magnus argued. Angus ignored him and continued.
"You keep mentioning birthdays and party related things without saying those two words. Plus your anxiety around the subject makes any dog nearby you nervous. All your classic tells."
"You keep stammering and being EXTRA chipper around her." Magnus pointed out, nearly taking several mugs out at the same time. "and Merle keeps nearly asking if she has any plans? and making jokes about being old-!"
"I do that anyway!" Merle huffed.
"you nearly the B word to her last Saturday." Angus frowned at him.
"…Bastard? Butt?" Merle tried. "Bitch? Wait no I wouldn't say that that would be kinda out of character."
"Birthday!" Everyone snapped.
"You better not be." Avi complained. "Any of you! If any of your three ruin the surprise you'll undo all are hard work to keep it a secret, Team Sweet flips will, well, flip out!"
"I can't lie. I'm a cleric!" Merle whined.
"Bull shit." Magnus said.
"Merle, you lie like all the time." Kravitz said.
"Oh yeah? Who ate the last bag of Lup's fantasy Doritos?" Barry challenged.
"er…Magnus?" Merle tried.
"For once, I did not." Manus said smugly.
"Yeah, you can lie, old man. You just also suck at it." Taako said.
"I'm a cleric. And my charisma's not great." Merle insisted and rounded on Angus. "What's your excuse?"
"I'm a detective and believe that truth is a very important." Angus said. It's sounds worryingly rehearsed. And probably was. "Plus, I am only fourteen, and you guys are adults."
"When has that ever stopped you?" Kravitz teased.
"It hasn't yet but I want it taken into account again." Angus said. "And I can't lie to Aunt Luc. She and Auntie Lup's perception and intelligence modifiers are crazy good compared to everyone else's here, even mine. 'Cept the captain maybe?"
"Hmm. Doesn't m-make up for common sense unfortunately." Davenport sighed.
"Tell me about it." Barry chuckled. Kravitz scowled. Lup had blown up one too many dungeons in luie of trying to open the door.
"Well there you are see? These two," Magnus said, gesturing at the team so called healer and special boy. "Suck more at lying then me. So Angus or Merle are more likely to let the cat out of the bag way before I do."
"Bet he won't." Avi said.
"My money's on Merle." Barry joked.
"Have I reminded you you're a douchebag recently?" Merle replied. "Nah Mine's on the kid."
"Sirs? Please don't place bets on me." Angus sighed.
But too late. Kravitz was already involved the moment Avi said anything related to any gambling games. And suddenly there was odds and a pool. Not a big one mind. In all it only added up to three gold, a beer and an accidental dog biscuit.
Johann the dog, who'd been snuffling at pockets in search of said treat or head pats, sat back on his haunches very confused as to what on earth was going on. Which was fair. Most of them were.
Out of the blue, Taako had phoned them all on a stone group chat. Saying how he was making lunch and it was mandatorily hanging out time with him, Kravitz, and Barry. Which was a bit odd in itself, because everyone hung out a lot nowadays, it didn't need a formal invitation. Most of the time one could just show up to the house if they were in town and someone would likely be around.
But the gang rolled with it, and with Barry and Kravitz abusing workplace privileges, everyone was portal'ed in for lunch. It seeeeeemed pretty normal. The only weird thing was a chalk board in the kitchen. And the amount of paper scattered about at Barry's end of the table. Board and papers, two things Taako normally wouldn't allow in the kitchen. Privately Angus had his suspicions, but the other four either didn't notice, or assumed maybe Taako was working on a dish. Or actual schoolwork.
However, Taako had something bigger was in the works.