• Donation Drive: We're looking to pull in enough donations to cover the server expenses for August and September ($140). Rest assured that the website will remain paid regardless of whether we meet our goal, but things will be financially tight for us until about mid September. Any donations that come in, in the interim, will really help ease things for us. See donation information for further details as well as information about our donation process. Thank you!

How Green Becomes Wood

"Her train was delayed." He replied, not particularly suspicious of what they were doing. He knew they were up to something, so if their behavior seemed a bit too clean, he couldn't be shocked about it, "but it was nice, we were able to spend a bit more time together. And it is unlikely she will be late, so it does not matter much...I hope you did not worry too much about me," he added the last bit dryly, suspecting they had not worried for a second.


Well-Known Member
"Hmm, mildly concerned is more appropriate," Alec said, closing his book on his finger. "I don't start to actually worry until at least the ten-minute mark."

"I'm good until the twenty-minute mark, but that's because I don't check the clock every two seconds," Xander said.

Alec pulled a face at him before asking Dark, "Do you have any plans for today?"
"Fair enough... And the same thing I do every day." He paused, "Do you know the Animaniacs? It does not matter, no, I have no firm plans, I just need to continue to work on my projects. I have a very pressing deadline."

The thought of not having them ready by the time the baby arrived was extremely concerning. Unlikely, as he had been making good progress, but concerning, "And I have to start breaking down the furniture we already have in the nursery so we can donate it or... something, but we need it out of the way so we can redo the walls and all the rest of it. But I cannot do it today, I need Cooger's help. What about you both?"


Well-Known Member
"We were thinking about seeing if Sloan wants to hang out today," Xander told him. "Peter's at some kind of camp thing and isn't supposed to get back for a couple of days."

"He hates it," Alec told Dark. "He texts me how much he hates it every chance he gets."

"And I wanted to work more on this." Xander gestured to his leather stuff.

"I was thinking of..." Alec paused and frowned. "Do you hear a motorcycle?"
"That would be nice, teenagers are meant to hang out with their friends," Dark replied. It was one thing he, who had been an introverted, traumatized, depressed teenager, was able to say he successfully did regularly. Although one of his friends was his roommate. But, the fact Xander, who loved pushing people away, was the one who mentioned it made him feel even better.

He paused and listened, though, when Alec mentioned the motorcycle, standing up straight and tall. Logically, he knew plenty of people owned motorcycles, but he couldn't help but worry (however impossible it was) that a certain somebody came back. Although, if that person did, he felt he was under no obligation to let that person inside, "I do hear it," he said, and went to look out the window.


Well-Known Member
Alec instantly went to Xander, who stood up and rested on hand on his brother's back, a guard dog ready for action. They tensed, waiting, fearing, like Dark, that it was him.

Outside, a sleek black and grey vintage Indian motorcycle pulled up to the curb, the growl of its engine dropping to a low grumble as the leathered rider brought it down to an idle and eventually silenced it. The rider was not Declan. Even clad in leathers from head to heavy boot, this fellow was easily twice Declan's width and possibly a half a head taller. He removed his helmet and used his fingers to brush out his beard before walking up toward the house. It was Lance Constable of the CPS.
"It is not Declan," Dark replied, and for the first time in human history sighed in relief at it being only CPS, "It is Mr. Constable, from the hospital, do you remember him?" He glanced down at what he was wearing and swore, "I do not think I have time to change. I wish he had called." He grumbled to himself, regretting his decision to workout after dropping Daizi off and not before during the summer. If he had one of the twins answer the door it would probably give him time to change, but it would probably be a bad look to have a teenager answer the front door for CPS.

It was only after he accepted the inevitably of being caught in a t-shirt rather than clothes he felt more like himself in that it occurred to him: CPS was coming to his door. Without warning. Lance Constable was only on a motorcycle, so it was unlikely he was coming to take the twins, but it still filled him with anxiety. Looking over his shoulder at the twins, he said, "Will one of you let Enkidu outside? We both know he is a very friendly dog, but he will bark and I do not want him to stress Mr. Constable out."


Well-Known Member
"I'll do it," Alec blurted and ran to put the dog outside, shooing him along gently and promising to play with him later.

"What's he doing here?" Xander grumbled unhappily, crossing his arms. "I thought we'd seen the last of him."

Lance arrived at the door and rang the bell. Then he took a step back and waited patiently to be let in. He knew they were inside, but he was used to being kept waiting, especially on a surprise inspection. Being kept too long was suspicious, but a brief moment or two was completely understandable.

Alec returned to Xander's side and stood next to him awkwardly, trying not to actually hide behind his brother.
"Who knows," Dark replied, not particularly loving this incursion, but knowing there was nothing he could do about it. So he sighed and went to open the door, "Hello, Mr. Constable. We were not expecting you, is everything alright?"

As he looked at this other man, he wondered to himself it it were better Daizi was at work or not. Her not being here meant she wouldn't have the added stress of CPS showing up with no warning, but also he knew she would prefer to be involved, rather than be told about it later. And he felt more at ease during stressful situations when they could be united, but there was nothing to be done about it now.


Well-Known Member
Lance smiled and offered a hand to Dark. "Good morning, Mr. Dark. Nice to see you again under better circumstances. I'm here to give you a follow-up inspection, and we normally keep those as a surprise because, well, I probably don't have to tell you why. Are the boys home?"

Xander still stood glaring, rooted to the spot. His heart pounded painfully, thudding against his ribs as he watched the intruder. He wasn't giving up his brother! He wasn't leaving here! Not now, not ever! Alec stood a step behind him, watching with cold dread.
"I understand," He nodded, shaking his hand and then standing to the side, "Would you mind taking off your shoes? And so we all know, what exactly do you mean by 'inspection?' An interview like last time, do you need to see the house...?"

He gestured over to where Alec and Xander were, "They are over there, Xander had been working on a project. I hope it will not offend you if you are not greeted warmly."


Well-Known Member
Lance chuckled as he stepped into the house. "Warm greetings are usually a rarity in my line of work." He knelt and undid the laces on his combat boots until they were loose enough to slip off. "Right." He stood and tested his socks on the floor. "This will just be a conversation to see how things are going. Unless there's something that really sets off my spidey sense, this should only take about ten, maybe fifteen minutes." He smiled warmly at Dark, not seeming to mind that his smiles were not returned.

"Do you want something to drink?" Alec asked timidly.

"I'd love that, son. Some water, if that's not too much trouble?" Lance glanced around the house and nodded in approval.

Xander started picking up the leather scraps and putting them in a neat-ish pile while Alec hurried to fetch a cup of water.
"Good." Dark wasn't contemptuous, but him only being there for a short while was better, "My wife is not home. Please touch the salt we have there by the door, she will know if you do not. We can sit in the living room."

It was a strange experience, having Lance there. It was Dark's house, or his and Daizi's, but with this stranger inside, suddenly it felt like he didn't have dominion over it. Now it felt like he had to ask permission about where so sit, whereas in any other situation, he would bring them to where he deemed it best.


Well-Known Member
Lance obliquely backtracked and touched the bowl of salt without hesitation or question. Then he walked into the living room and took up the chair nearest the door. Alec returned with the glass of water, the ripples on the liquid surface giving away his trembling nerves. He and Xander practically sat on top of each other on the couch, leaving Dark plenty of room if he wanted to sit there.

The CPS agent drained the glass in one go and carefully set the cup on a coaster. "Now, then, you lot look a far sight better than you did last time," he said, glancing around at the three of them. "I'm sorry I couldn't make sure to be here when your foster mother was, but it'd hardly be a surprise if I called ahead to make sure, right?" He chuckled good-naturedly.

"Or you could come in the evening when most people are out of work," Xander grumbled testily.

Lance nodded calmly. "I could do that, yeah." He turned his attention to Alec. "How have you been feeling, son?"

"He's not your 'son,' and he's feeling fine!" Xander snapped.

"I'll make a note of that," Lance agreed.
"It is for the best," Dark said as he sat on the other side of Xander, although he didn't believe it. He chose to sit beside Xander, because he knew Alec could go to his brother for comfort, Xander needed someone to cool his temper, "She needs to be avoiding stressful situations."

He swallowed and moved like he was going to adjust his sleeves before remembering he was still in a t-shirt. What would Lance have done in if he was in their quiet basement exercising, like he normally did at this time? If Daizi's train hadn't been delayed, he would have been. He wouldn't have heard the knock, and he doubted the twins would have opened the door after hearing the motorcycle.

"You can answer him, Alec," he murmured, trying to give his kid the courage to speak up for himself. Maybe it would have been better to have sat by him instead.


Well-Known Member
Alec nodded, holding Xander's hand while hiding that fact between their legs. "I'm feeling a lot better now, sir," he said meekly.

"I'm glad to hear that," Lance nodded. "And are you still happy with your foster parents?"

"Of course he's happy! What kind of a question is that?" Xander snapped.

"A pretty standard question that I ask every single kid I deal with," Lance replied calmly. "How about you? Are you happy?"

"Yeah. I said that before," Xander huffed.

Lance smiled and nodded. "Excellent. How about you, Alec?"

"I said," Xander started, but Alec squeezed his hand.

"I'm happy," Alec said softly. "Truly and honestly. I'm happy here."

"Good. You look pretty happy," Lance said. "How about-"

Xander interrupted him. "Look, we're happy, we're doing great, we're not starving to death or getting beaten on a regular basis. We're fine! You've wasted a trip, so, bye."

Lance didn't answer immediately, instead glancing toward Dark to gauge the foster parent's reaction.
"Xander," Dark said in a low, calm tone, "He is only trying to do his job. Take a breath." His eyes focused on Xander for a few moments, seeming to more or less forget that Lance was there at all, "Nothing is going to happen, okay? I promise. But he has to ask his questions." Very gently he lay his hand on Xander's shoulder, only for a moment, and then withdrew his hand before turning his attention back towards their guest, and asking, "Were you going to ask if I am happy? Because I am. And Daizi is too."
Last edited:


Well-Known Member
Xander bit his lip, dropping his gaze, clearly seething, but he responded to Dark and tried to calm down a little.

"I'm glad you're happy," Lance said with a slight smile. "Actually, I was going to ask how the health issues are going. Are you eating well, Alec? Needing any kind of help or anything like that?"

Xander opened his mouth to answer but bit his lip again. Alec glanced worriedly at his brother, feeling confused.

Lance held up a finger. "Hang on, I think I have something for you." He pulled a small metal puzzle game from his vest pocket and held it out to Xander. "When you get that figured out and solved, then you can yell at me all you like. I won't go back on that, but you have to solve it first. You can't interrupt me until then. Deal?"

Xander snorted and took the puzzle. "This is easy." He started moving the pieces around. Then gave Lance a suspicious glare and turned his entire concentration onto the contraption.

Alec swallowed hard before answering, "Yes, sir, I've been eating well. Nothing seems to be wrong, and I'm just... an anti-stress eater? Instead of eating when stressed, I don't eat." He looked down, cheeks going pink in shame.

Lance nodded. "I get it, so- kid. I do. I'd get sick when I was stressed. People thought I was faking it, and that just made it worse. Because it was drawing so much attention."

Alec looked up slowly and nodded. "Yes, like that. I'm sorry that happened to you. Do you still get sicklike that?"

Lance shook his head. "Nope. I got some therapy and managed to change up my life a bit. How about you? You going to do some therapy? Your folks said you were considering it."

Alec nodded. "Yes, sir. I mean, not yet, but we both agreed to go." He glanced at Xander, who was still messing with the metal bits. "Well, I agreed, and I'm supposed to go soon. Xander can't quite make up his mind."

"No shame in that. It's hard to open up to people," Lance said gently. He paused and glanced between the three of them. "I have a really sensitive question I gotta ask you, Alec. It might make people upset. Do you want to talk alone, or are you okay staying here?"

Xander paused and looked at Lance, tensing in suspicion and worry.

Alec glanced between Dark and Xander before turning to Lance again. "I'd... I'd rather stay here. Even if it's embarrassing. I want my family with me."
Dark listened to Alec and Lance speak, fiddling with his wedding ring. He desperately wished Daizi was there. It felt strange to be having this talk without her, and it felt strange she didn't know it was happening. They were married, they took a vow, they were supposed to be together in moments like this. Even though he knew intuition, Lance hadn't come to take them away because of how he rode up, the scrutiny of the situation still made him miss her terribly.

At the mention of some uncomfortable question, Dark raised his head, brows furrowed, and looked at Alec first, then at Lance. That made his heart race a little faster: he was trying to figure out what question Lance could ask that might be better asked in private? Instinctively, Dark grabbed his wrist, not the one he wore the bracelet on, worried both about a question he had, once upon a time, said 'yes' to, and fearing Alec's answer to it. It was the only place his mind went.


Well-Known Member
Lance nodded slowly. "Alright." He leaned forward, resting his elbows on his knees, his eyes peering straight at Alec. "I know what you said at the hospital, son, that what happened was an accident," he said, his voice low and gentle, "but did you ever want to hurt yourself? Seriously?"

Alec dropped his gaze, huddling in on himself a little. He didn't answer at first, sitting quiet and still. Xander sat next to him, practically holding his breath, frozen in fear.

"A little," Alec finally admitted, not looking at anyone. "I wasn't thinking straight that day, and I wasn't feeling good, but I think... if I hadn't dropped the bottle... I don't know. Not for certain, but all I could think about was how it would be better if I wasn't there. That it was my fault Xander left." He put a hand on Xander's leg as he stirred with a little squeak, looking at his brother. "I know it's not, not really, ut it hurt a lot, and I wanted... to make the pain stop. That's all."

"Has it stopped?" Lance asked gently.

Alec looked at him and started to nod but paused. "Mostly. I don't think like that, and I know that what I did was... was wrong, in a way of thinking, and I don't want to anymore, but sometimes it still hurts. I promise I don't ever want to go through with that feeling. Not ever. I Dark and Daizi and... and Xander will always come back."

There was just the slightest hesitation in his voice, and Xander nearly crumpled. Only Lance's presence kept his spine steeled straight.