How Green Becomes Wood

"That would be nice," Daizi smiled, "I can't remember the last time I had a sleepover either. At least, at someone else's house. A lot of my friends, they show up needing a place to crash, so it's sort of like a sleepover. Most of my friends are really artsy people, some of them flit around... And I think if you asked Xander if he wanted to go to an opera, he would laugh in your face! Those boys..." She shook her head, "Alec and Xander are very different. But," She smirked, "I wouldn't know about them looking the same."
 

BookKnight

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Sally chuckled at that. "There are a lot of surface differences, like how Xander likes to scowl, and that changes the shape of his face a little, and Alec likes to use a bit of makeup, but when they both smile, they look like the exact same person. A bit like coffee mugs that are the same shape but might have a different logo painted on them."

They arrived at Daizi's house, and Sally pulled up in front. "Would you like for me to walk you to the front door? Or do you need a hand out of the car seat?"
 
"I can hear the scowl in his voice, I knew about that... Dark used to scowl all the time, you saw his pictures. But it's interesting that they look so similar when they smile... I'm the only person they'll probably ever meet who 'sees' them fully seperate. I mean, there are some similarities between them that I notice, obviously, but not more than I have between any two siblings or fraternal twins. But, even with that," She blushed slightly and ducked her head, "Lately I've been confusing them for each other, I'll say the wrong name or get tripped up over them... I used to never make that mistake, but lately..." She shrugged, scratching the back of her neck, and then, when they parked, unbuckled her seatbelt, "I'd love some help up, just because the seats are so low. If you need to, you can go up and knock on the door, Dark will rush out."
 

BookKnight

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"I'm sure they are glad that at least one person can see them as more than just twins," Sally said, unbuckling her seatbelt. "And it's not uncommon for a mother to mix up names, especially when pregnant. Pregnancy does tend to muddle the mind, so I wouldn't worry too much about that. Hold on, I'll be right around."

Sally got out of the car and went around to open the door for Daizi. Then she helped her up and out. She wasn't as sturdy as Dark might have been, but she was stable. Then she walked Daizi to the door, just because she could. "Thank you for coming, Daizi, and I hope you can relax the rest of the evening. It was delightful thanks to you!"
 
"I've felt dumber than I ever have," Daizi said blandly, remembering all the stupid things she had been doing lately. Then she took Sally's arm and stood with a grunt, frowing at how much harder little things like standing up were getting. They were still very possible, but she felt that turn coming.

As they stood on her stoop, she said, "I'm glad I helped make it more bearable for you. I had a lot of fun, really I did. I always have a nice time when I'm with you, I don't know what I'll do if you leave. But you're obligated to stick around long enough to meet my baby. And she's been kicking since we got in the car, so she must feel the same."
 

BookKnight

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"Oh, absolutely," Sally agreed without hesitation. "I do not know what the future holds, but I do know that I will be holding that tiny little butterfly of yours at least once before I go anywhere."

In the house, Xander sat on the couch with his feet propped up on the table, Alec laid out with his head on his brother's thigh as they watched the movie fade to black. Xander still had on a headband to keep his hair from getting in the face mask, and it made his hair stick up like an anthropomorphized porcupine. Alec had his hair up in four little pigtails as he kept his longer than Xander did. Both were completely relaxed, though Xander was frowning almost in an idle expression at the movie, one elbow on the arm of the couch as he propped up his head. The other hand kept absently playing with one of Alec's pigtails.

"I don't get it," Xander finally said in a mild tone. "I think I liked it, but I didn't get it."

"I liked the soundtrack," Alec said sleepily.
 
"Hopefully more than once," Daizi said, lingering for a few moments longer. In her mind, she tried to tally up how many nicknames the baby had already acquired, and wondered how many would stick. With great effort, she finally forced herself to say, "You should probably be heading home, you have a bath to draw. But let me know when you get home, okay? I don't know why everyone always makes a fuss about the dark or driving in it, but they do, so you probably want to get home before it becomes so. If it's not already," She gestured vaguely at the sky before finally saying goodbye and stepping inside.

Like Xander, Dark was on the couch with his hair pulled back in a headband so his face mask didn't get into his hair. His beard he had no choice but to just try to skillfully avoid, although he had put a deep conditioning treatment in it 'so it would not feel left out.' He held a pillow in his lap, since he wasn't used to not having his wife to cuddle with while watching a movie, and was very much at ease with them.

At Xander's comment, Dark turned to him and said, "You are not supposed to 'get' Wes Anderson films. They are supposed to be idiosyncratic and the plots are supposed to be a bit odd, but it is about the experience and the visuals. There is a reason I do not watch them with Daizi."
 

BookKnight

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Sally laughed and said her goodbyes before heading back to her car and driving home.

"There was a plot?" Xander muttered. "I must have missed that part. The visuals were cool. I'd watch it again."

"I really liked it, and I enjoyed the experience," Alec told Dark. Then he picked up his head and looked toward the door. "She's home! I hear her at the door!"

"She got home earlier than expected," Xander said, glancing at the clock as Daizi stepped in. "Hey, how was it?"

"Hi! Welcome home!" Alec called, struggling to get out of the hole he'd burrowed for himself in the couch.
 
Dark had just begun to argue with Xander about how the movie certainly had a plot, it was just intentionally contrived, when Daizi came home, prompting him to rise to his feet to greet her.

"Oh hello," she said cheerfully, still holding the ice cream, "it was nice. Tiring, but not too bad. One of the board members from my museum was there, which I was unprepared for, but I think it was handled well."

Dark took a few moments just to savor the sight of her before walking up to kiss her hello, trusting his face mask was dry enough not to transfer onto her, "I am sure you did, darling, you always dazzle."

"And you always flatter. How was it for you all? I hope you didn't miss me too badly."

"I did miss you. But it was nice, we watched The Grand Budapest Hotel and put on face masks," He took a glance towards the twins, "--which are about ready to be washed off, now. And Xander only fought me a little." That time he looked explicitly at the elder boy, knowing the 'fight' was much more hard won than he was making it out to be.
 

BookKnight

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"I missed you," Alec said, coming to hug her, being extra careful not to get his face too close to her dress. "I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. Did you talk to anyone interesting? Did anyone spill their drinks or start a fight? Was there any salacious gossip going around?"

"Sometimes, I wonder about you," Xander said blandly. He turned a critical eye to Daizi. "Do I see only one ice cream? What about the rest of us?"

"Unlike you, she turned hers, mister fairy face," Alec retorted. "I'm going to go wash off my mask, but then you have to tell me all about it!" He turned and rushed away. Xander sauntered casually after him, making a face at Dark as he passed so that the mask cracked and dusted just a little.
 
"No, nothing like that," Daizi laughed, hugging Alec before ushering him off, "I did speak to a nice old couple. Not a couple, but, the two of them, who are always found together. And a couple of racists, and sexists... As for gossip, there was one secretary having an affair with her married boss, and she touched me without permission and got angry when I established boundaries." She shrugged, and then smirked at Xander, leaning down slightly closer to his level, "Habibi, sometimes it is more fun to watch you suffer than it is to bring you home icecream." The she straightened up, laughing, "or maybe I'm just treating my daughter. Either way, you should go wash your face. You too, darling."

"I will," He replied, but didn't move, "You really do look wonderful tonight."

"Thank you... Are you okay?" Daizi asked, stepping closer to him and reaching out for his hand.

Dark thought for a few moments, checking himself as he had learned to do, "Honestly? Yes. It was nice just... spending time with them. I did miss you, though. I wish I could have been in both places. Or you could have been. Or we both could have been. You just look so lovely..."

"We'll go out together sometime soon, somewhere fancy so I can wear this out with you," She replied sweetly, "and soon we have our weekend away, and then it'll be just us. It's good you spent time with the boys, I need to do that. Go hang out with Cooger, let me be with them for once. I love them too. But we can talk about all of that later," she dropped against him, "I have to go change and you need to wash your face. My back hurts."

Dark embraced her warmly and then led her upstairs so they could both get ready to settle in for the rest of the evening.
 

BookKnight

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Alec finished washing off the mask and made faces at himself in the mirror. "Wow, my face looks and feels amazing!" he grinned.

Xander was still trying to get a couple of pieces off that had gotten themselves stuck in the crevices around his nose. Once he finally freed himself, he gingerly rubbed his face. "It does feel pretty good," he mumbled, not wanting to give in. "Does it really have to be so messy?"

"I think there's some that you rub in like lotion or something," Alec offered.

"Nah, I don't like the way lotion feels. It leaves me tacky," Xander complained.

Alec rolled his eyes. "It's not like regular lo- never mind. I'm glad Daizi had a nice time out."

"Yeah, they should both do that more often. She looked like she had a grand time outside of the boundary pushers and sexist blokes," Xander snickered and rubbed off his face gently. "And no ice cream for for us!"

Alec laughed lightly, and they headed to get ready for bed.
 
It was the day before Dark and Daizi were set to leave for their trip away for the weekend. Technically, only a few hours, since they had managed to book an early evening (rather than late afternoon) spa treatment for that Friday, so they could have the rest of the weekend peacefully to themselves in the forest. It had snuck up on both of them so quickly that even Dark, who so carefully planned everything, almost forgot about it, and only remembered Thursday night, which meant after Daizi's long evening out with Sally, they had to pack. Or, Dark packed while Daizi talked about what she wanted to bring, being far too tired to be digging around filling a suitcase.

Uncommonly, Friday morning they both seemed relaxed about it. It was expected of Daizi, who perhaps flitted about more than usual, but otherwise seemed normal, but Dark was by no means anxious, like one would expect him to be. Or, he hadn't been, but only about an hour before Daizi came home (leaving work somewhat early that day), there was a strong and sudden knock at the twins' door, "I need your help with something."
 

BookKnight

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Xander opened the door with an awl and a strap of leather in one hand and what looked like a pair of old swim goggles in the other. Their room stank of old leather even with the door open, so much so that Alec had actually taken refuge out in the garden with Enkidu. He really needed a better place to work.

"Why? What's wrong? What did you break? Do you need someone broken?" Xander demanded.
 
Dark's intensity was broken suddenly by the absolute smell of their room, "Do you even open a window when you work in here?" He asked, "How do you live like this? You are going to die."

Then he shook his head, pushing that aside until later for the moment, "Nothing is broken. And if I needed someone broken--I do not, but if I did--I would do it myself. No, I--I finished the crib. And the cradle, they're finished. So I need help bringing them inside."
 

BookKnight

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[Previous "door" was supposed to be "window." Not sure why I put "door." Sorry.]

Xander stared at Dark. "Oh, is that all? Cool. With the way you were talking, I thought maybe one of them broke and you had to build a new one in the next fifteen minutes. Sure."

He stepped back into his room and set his assortment of items on the small, old table he had claimed as his workspace. Then he followed Dark out, closing the door behind him so the smell wouldn't permeate the whole house. He'd gotten used to it, but he knew that didn't mean everyone else wanted to smell it, too.
 
"No, they are too solid to break. I hope. They should be," He paused for a moment and thought through it all, trying to recall all of the precautions and care he had put into fashioning them. Yes, they were very strong. Normal use would not cause them to fall apart, "The swan cradle is in two parts, but we need to carry the crib in together on its side. I already measured the doors, it is very possible."
 

BookKnight

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"I hope you measured the doors before you built it," Xander said cheerfully. "Otherwise, that might be a bit of a problem."

Alec poked his head up from among the flowers like a red-haired gopher. "What's a problem?"

"The crib and cradle need to come inside, and they are too big for one man to carry," Xander told him.

Alec scrambled to his feet and rushed after them. "I'll help! I can steady things or open doors or carry or whatever help you need!"
 
"On its side it will fit. I wanted to build it so it could be taken apart, but I worried about it falling apart. A lot are split down the middle into two halves but I worried about it. It wanted it to be sturdy. So the crib is heavy. The stand for the cradle is fairly light."

He led them to the shed and opened the door, latching it so it stayed open. He had already moved the crib to the door: it was a dark brown, sturdy wood that had been polished until it shown. For the most part it was fairly simple, but across the top band vines had ivy had been carved in, which trickled down a few of the slats. In the center of one side, similar to the bracelet Xander had made Dark, were a series of symbols. The center was a hummingbird, to the left was a spider and to the right was a carousel horse. Then besides the spider was a book with a music note on it, and besides the horse was a gladiator helmet. Beside those two symbols respectively were a lotus flower and a rose. Beside the lotus was the wedjet, and beside the rose was the Eagle of Saladin.

Dark entered the shed and lightly ran his thumb along these seven signs as he walked towards the back of the crib, "We can roll it, if we need to, but we need to be able to carry it up stairs."
 

BookKnight

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Xander looked first at the sturdiness of the wooden item. "I think you went overboard with the stability just a bit," he said dryly. "She's going to be our age and able to jump up and down with making a crack." He moved closer so he could better see the intricate work. "But... it is kind of pretty," he admitted, running his hand along the top, his expression softening as he took in the symbols. "Not that she's going to be able to appreciate it."

"He means it is gorgeous and well-made," Alec told Dark with a slight smile. "She's going to like it, but someone else is really going to love it. Really, really love it."

Xander cleared his throat and moved to one end. "Right. Enough sentimentality. Ready to move this thing? Where are we going with it? THe nursery?"
 
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