"And that is why one should always seek to steer clear of golden apples. Seriously, not a good idea… but we eventually got Rome out of the deal so I guess the goddess of discord can be forgiven this one time" lectured Fabian. Glancing up at the clock in the back of the lecture hall, Fabian noticed that he was officially out of time. "All right guys, that's enough for today. Please remember that your final papers are due by Sunday at 11:59 pm. If you have technology issues, please talk to me beforehand. Frantic emails of 'Dr. Rutter my computer died at 11:58' are not approved. Otherwise, have a good break!".
Removing his flash drive from the computer Fabian, now Dr. Rutter the newest classical civilizations and archeology professor, made his way back across campus to his office.
Campus was especially pretty this time of year; the changing leaves blanketed the cobblestone paths filled with happy students excited for the semester break.
Entering the Classics Suite, Fabian cheerfully greeted the department desk manager, Katie, and helped himself to a cup of the steaming pot of coffee she kept by her desk.
"Hey Katie, how's your grad school paper coming"
"Ughh! I hate everything!" she groaned dropping her head miserably onto the open computer before her.
"Yeah, I remember those days. Keep your chin up though, and you will be one of us soon… Horribly in debt but with a doctorate. Yay!" cheered Fabian with sarcastic jazz hands.
His comment worked through and Katie cracked a smile. "Thanks Fabian".
"Any time Katie. Did any mail come for me while I was out?"
"Yes actually, you got a package, so I left it on your desk. Were you expecting it?"
"Yes actually, an old friend of mine periodically sends a newsletter of sorts. How she manages to get all of her information while traveling the world I will never understand…" sighed Fabian. "I should probably pop in and check it before my office hours this afternoon".
Waving goodbye, Fabian headed into his office. True to her word, Katie had placed the thin package on Fabian's desk. After hanging up his coat, Fabian settled into his comfy desk chair and opened what her expected to be this year's Anubis House alumni newsletter.
Pulling out the glossy book he found himself admiring the time and effort Willow always put into keeping them connected, even ten years later.
This year's front-cover featured a photo from Fabian's sophomore year, with Eddie, KT, Joy, and Willow edited in. Fabian felt a deep sadness and nostalgia fill him looking upon the faces of his old family. Unfortunately as the years went on the group began to grow apart, in a way Fabian felt that the first fracture had occurred with Mick and Nina's departures. Try as they might, the Sibuna club never really got over the disappearance of their fearless leader. Being cursed and soulless for most of the year, hadn't helped the remaining original Sibuna trio to move on from their losses.
When graduation came there were grand promises of keeping in touch, and for a little while it seemed like they just might. Mara was the first to stop replying, not surprising given her lack of Sibuna related trauma, but one by one the others followed her lead until only Fabian, Joy, Eddie and Patricia were left.
Fabian credited his continual friendship with Eddie and Patricia to their decision to attend the same university. The trio had an extra four years together, so it wasn't a surprise to anyone when Eddie asked Fabian to be the best man at his wedding.
Flipping to the first article Fabian felt his blood freeze as the angry red letters screamed at him from the page. "Urgent! Rutter Industries has bought the Frobisher Estate and plans to start demolition once the school year ends. Action is needed immediately!"
Rutter Industries, the name was a ghost that would never leave Fabian well enough alone. The father who disowned him for having a daughter out of wedlock and bringing shame upon the family and a mother too focused on her parties to care for her only son.
When Fabian had stormed out of his family's home with all of his belongings and sweet baby Antonia in his arms, he had sworn that he would never go back. He had closed that chapter of his life and hoped to leave his parents, Anubis and all of its mysteries behind; after all he had a daughter to care for now. But picking up his phone Fabian knew… It was finally time to go back home.
*Long Live - Long Live - Long Live*
Three weeks later, Fabian and his daughter Antonia stepped off the train and hopped into their waiting cab. Following Willow's letter, the Anubis house text chain, which had been dead for almost five years at that point, sprung to life flooded with frantic messages. It was decided that an emergency meeting was to be called of the ex-Anubis House residents to try and determine a way to save the place which meant so much to them all.
Driving past the familiar gates and up the winding lanes Fabian felt a rush of memories come over him. As they passed the Great Lawn, Fabian could see in his mind's eye the ghosts of the younger Fabian, Patricia and Joy studying and goofing off. Around every bend lay a memory full of love, fear, friendship, betrayal and most of all family.
The cab finally rolled to a stop outside of Anubis House itself. Willow had somehow swung a deal with Mr. Sweet, who was surprisingly still headmaster, to allow the group to stay in the house. Apparently, Mr. Sweet had stopped placing students in the house, as he no longer wished to deal with the inevitable drama and consequences of another Frobisher-Smythe based mystery.
"Is this it, Daddy?" chirped his beautiful daughter bouncing in her seat trying to get a clear view of the building.
"Yes, this is it Princess. Anubis House". Taking a steadying breath, Fabian paid the cabbie and gathered the pair's belongings.
"Ohhh! It looks scary, daddy! Like Cinderella's house!" whispered Antonia hiding behind Fabian's leg.
"Like Cinderella's house huh? Well there is nothing to worry about in this house. It just looks scary" reassured Fabian. Which, strictly speaking, wasn't true but there was no way he was telling his five-year-old daughter the truth about Anubis house. "Why don't we head inside and see if we can't find some princesses?"
Antonia's eyes lit up at his suggestion and raced ahead of him. 'Last chance to back out Rutter' he thought to himself. Steeling his nerves, Fabian pushed open the door and dove into his past.
*Long Live - Long Live - Long Live*
The atrium of Anubis house hadn't changed even with all the years that had passed since the Sibuna gang had left. A soft smile worked itself onto his face as he noticed Joy and Willow standing at what appeared to be a welcome table.
"Ohhh! Daddy is she the princess?" whispered Antonia loudly pointing at Willow.
"Why yes Toni, those are two of the princesses" answered Fabian. The pair made their way over to the desk where the young women had been watching the father-daughter duo closely. "Ladies, may I present to you Princess Antonia Rutter, Toni – this is Princess Willow, and you remember your godmother, Princess Joy". The red head waved happily while Joy cut around the table to pull Fabian into a tight hug.
"I've missed you Fabes" whispered the petite brunette. "New York just isn't the same without you".
"I've missed you too J. But New York just wasn't an option for us financially when I graduated and wasn't living in student housing anymore".
"I know, I just wish I had been able to see you sometime in the past two years. And of course this little miss".
"Auntie Joy!" squealed Antonia as she was swept up and spun around in a big hug. Once back on the ground Antonia held her arms out wide "I missed you this much".
"I missed you too munchkin! This is so much better than FaceTime".
"Who else is here?" Fabian asked Willow allowing Toni a chance to tell her godmother all about school.
"Eddie, Patricia, and their kids got in last night. Alfie and Amber arrived about half an hour ago and are getting settled in their room. Mara won't be here till tomorrow due to a mix up at her lab. Mick and his daughter arrived this morning and ducked out to grab a bite to eat. Which leaves us just waiting on Nina, Jerome and K.T. who should be arriving this afternoon".
"Awesome! Thank you so much for organizing all of this Wills".
"Of course! I'm just glad that we were all able to get together so quickly. I'm getting seriously bad vibes about what would happen if this place got torn down".
"You and me both" agreed Fabian. He dreaded to think what would happen should anyone found out what lay below the House of Anubis.
"Well I have you and Antonia booked in room three, your old room. We are still waiting on the others so you have a bit of time if you two want to go unpack and settle in" offered Willow passing him the room key.
"Perfect. Hopefully once we get set up, the Miller's tea with old Sweetie will be over" laughed Fabian. Grabbing their bags, Fabian pried Antonia away from Joy with promises to meet up later and headed towards his old room.
I love hearing from y'all! Let me know what you think of the chapter and the story so far in the comments or my Tumblr House-of-Secrets! Have a great week and stay safe! - Xo Evie