“Do you remember?” Ford asks him. Stan slowly shakes his head.
“Sorry,” he says gruffly. Ford sounds like he shrugs, though Stan isn’t looking at him; he’s looking at the small screen with its pristine images. He watches the tiny Ford “interview” the smaller, younger man.
“That’s unfortunate,” Ford leans into Stan’s space, close enough that Stan can smell the sourness of his unwashed mouth. “Not anything?”
“Nope,” Stan replies. “Poor kid.”
“He’ll be fine,” Ford says. “Nothing worse, I imagine, than your own adventures.”
“Wouldn’t know,” Stan shrugs. “Damn shame though. All that for nothin’.”
“Hm,” Ford straightens and turns the screen off when the video loops back to the beginning. “Not for nothing, Stan. Remember, even if they can’t help us, we can help them.” Stan frowns but nods.
“You found the other one?”
“In California, no less,” Ford says. “Now, come on. No good in moping. We’ve altered this timeline enough as it is.”
“Sure, sure,” Stan stands and stretches until his back pops. “Ugh, damn. You can’t make these little chats shorter? My ass is numb.” Stan almost jumps out of his skin when Ford leans against him, both hands groping Stan’s ass. “Jesus!”
“Do you need help?” Stan feels Ford’s smirk against his ear.
“Ah, fuck off. Cocky little shit,” Stan nudges Ford with his elbow until his brother lets him go with a final, rough squeeze. “Weren't you in a hurry?”
“Well,” Ford grumbles. “I suppose.”
“Besides, the kid’ll be up soon. We wanna be gone by then.”
“You’d think I wouldn’t miss them, after all of this time,” Ford says wistfully.
“You’d think,” Stan agrees. “Where are we goin’ next?”
“Chk’3$1,” Ford does something complicated with his throat that makes Stan’s own fucked-up throat hurt. “Glass Shards Beach.”
The kid, like the last one and the one before that, is shaking. Stan doesn’t blame him; one minute the kid’s dragging his exhausted, cold, hungry body to his car (home), and the next he’s doped out of his mind and chained to a bed in a shitty motel, miles inland. (Stan knows both feelings pretty intimately.)
Stan doesn’t blame the kid, but he does blame Ford for impulsively grabbing the kid without telling him and not giving Stan the chance to actually plan and prepare. (“Did you even get food, Ford? What if we didn't have the extra bed? Did you restock?”) Fortunately, it’s been a week since an incident, so the first aid kit has everything they need.
“It’s only sprained,” Ford grouses as Stan carefully wraps the kid’s wrist. Stan isn’t sure what Ford keeps the fluorescent, sci-fi syringe he tucks back into his coat, but the kid looks the way running in a nightmare feels. Scared shitless and struggling, but he can’t move.
“If you’d waited for me, he’d be fine,” Stan snaps back. The kid flinches and Stan tries not to squeeze the kid too hard. “Hold still.”
“He seemed agreeable,” Ford says as he moves closer to Stan. The kid’s body jerks as his breaths hitches and Stan curses when the bandage slips and bunches. “You’re unpredictable when sedated, though.”
“Back up,” Stan shoves his brother back with his elbow. “You're freakin’ him out.” Ford grumbles, but he backs away enough to let the kid to relax again. “So,” Stan smiles at the kid, hoping he looks friendly and charming. “How old are you?”
“I already scanned his teeth,” Ford says. “He’s seventeen.”
“Shut up, Ford,” Stan glares over his shoulder where Ford’s settled at the cheap motel desk. He’s facing them with one of his journals open in his lap. “I’m talking to the kid.”
“257, I think,” Ford flips a few pages back in his journal. “Ah, 259.”
“You go by Stan or Stanley?” Stan asks the kid.
“Wake up,” the kid says when Stan releases his bandaged wrist with a pat. “Th’s stupid. Wake up, stupid.”
“Geez, Pointdexter,” Stan huffs and starts to gather the unused bandages to put away. “What did you do to him?”
“A mild hypnotic,” Ford says flippantly. “How are his pupils?”
“Even I know that’s a bad idea,” Stan says and tries to get a look at the kid’s face. “High as hell, Ford.”
“Stan,” Ford whines.
“Pretty big,” Stan amends. “Should probably let the kid sleep.” Ford hums irritably.
“So long as you watch him,” Ford says. “He hit his head on the desk earlier.”
“Damn it,” Stan sighs and opens the first aid kit again.
Stan doesn’t know if he prefers to keep the kids drugged or not. They’re harder to wrangle when they're sober, and they fight a hell of a lot more, but that makes it easier to cuff them or hold them down. Ford’s new experimentation with drugs makes the kids a lot less violent, but sad. They’re either sniffling and crying or dead-eyed and Stan hates it.
“You were the one complaining about being too rough with them,” Ford says when Stan brings it up.
“I said we could be gentler,” Stan grumbles as he unwraps the kid’s healed wrist. It’s been a few days and the kid is still in denial about his new home. They’ve only caught him trying to run twice and with this wrist healed up Stan can actually cuff the kid to something and get some sleep. “It’s a bitch tryin’ to figure out how hurt someone is if they can’t feel anything.”
“Hm,” Ford hums thoughtfully as if Stan has said something worth listening to. “You might have a point.”
“Yeah, and the sleeping pills,” Stan pushes. “Think those are giving the kid nightmares.”
“Disturbed sleep is unhealthy,” Ford agrees with some sympathy and bends to look the kid in the eye. When Ford sets a hand against the kid’s face, the kid jerks away with a shout and winds up sprawled on the floor, hyperventilating.
“Ford!” Stan snaps at his brother and shoves him away. “Hey, kid, relax,” Stan soothes. The kid looks at him, eyes wide and bloodshot, while he scrambles backward.
“No!” He shouts again. Stan’s always had a gravelly voice, but this kid just sounds rough. “Get away!”
“Easy, kid, I'm not gonna hurt ya. I've been patchin’ you up, right?” Stan gets a little closer. The kid squeezes his eyes shut and shakes his head.
“Wake up,” he frantically whispers to himself. “Please, come on, stupid!”
“You're not sleeping,” Ford says.
“Ford!” Stan snaps over his shoulder. The kid's eyes snap open. They land on Ford and then Stan.
“Ford?” The kid asks, eyes kinda feverish. His hands are balled against his head and he looks like he's seven years old and hiding from a storm.
“Uh,” Stan looks at the kid and then Ford. Ford shrugs. “Yeah?”
“Where’s he?” The kid demands as he sits up.
“Kid,” Stan starts but the kid rolls and lunges more smoothly than a stoned teenager should be able to. Stan manages to knock the kid to the side, but the kid grabs the sleeve of his shirt and drags them both down to the filthy carpet.
“Where's Ford?” The kid shouts. “What’d you do to him!?”
“Get off!” Stan shoves at the kid, but the kid won't let go.
“I'll kill you!” The kid screams. “If you hurt him, I'll-- agh !” Stan's shirt rips loudly as the kid is yanked backward by his hair. Ford barely flinches as the kid's hands fly up to claw at his arm, trying to dislodge him.
“Easy, Ford,” Stan cautions as he pushes himself up. “Just fixed him.”
“Stanley, my jacket,” Ford says. The kid shouts when Ford shakes him like a scruffed puppy. “Quickly.” Stan grunts as he stands and limps over to the struggling kid and his brother. “Right pocket."
“Yeah, yeah,” Stan grumbles before he shoves his hand into his brother's jacket and comes out with a thin, zippered kit. “Which one?”
“Hm,” Ford hums thoughtfully. “The tranquilizer,” he says. “The blue one.”
“I know which one it is,” Stan grouses and uncaps the measured syringe. “We need more of these.”
“No! Wait, I'm sorry!” The kid realizes what’s happening too late and starts to thrash enough that Ford’s other arm snakes around his throat and pulls up. “Ple-- hck !”
“I said: ‘easy’!” Stan snaps at his brother while he pulls the kid's shirt up to reveal the sparse, soft hair over the needle-bruised stomach. “Sorry, kid.” Stan quickly injects the lid with practiced ease. “See? Not to ba--" The kid kicks out and catches Stan in the knee. “Fuck!” Stan falls and the syringe goes flying.
“Be careful!” Ford snaps at him. He loosens his hold so that the kid slumps against him.
“No,” the kid slurs roughly. “I don't--I wan’...” Stan pulls himself to his feet in time to help Ford catch the kid's dead weight as he loses consciousness.
“Jesus,” Stan grunts under the weight.
“I'm not so sure about removing the medication,” Ford rearranges the kid so that they can drag him to the bed.
“Well,” Stan tucks a dangling leg onto the bed. “Not completely .”
“Find the syringe,” Ford says. “Like you said, we’ll need more.” Stan grumbles, but he finds the syringe and the needle is only slightly bent.
“Good news, we just gotta replace the needle,” Stan says. He turns to show Ford and stops.
Ford is sitting on the bed next to the kid and stroking the hair back from the kid's sweating face. He's smiling softly as he traces the pad of his thumb over the kid's cheek and his fingers down the kid's reddened throat.
“Ford,” Stan says quietly.
“I know,” Ford sighs wistfully. His broad hand splays over the kid's chest and dips under the scrunched edge of the kid's shirt. “You love me, don't you?”
“Of course,” Stan answers without thinking. Ford nods.
“Of course,” he repeats. They both watch Ford's hand slide lower, over the dirty, bruised stomach and teasing the pubes peeking out from behind dirty jeans.
“Hey,” Stan says and grabs Ford's shoulder. Ford sighs again and leans into Stan's arm. Stan gives Ford's shoulder a squeeze and lets go. “I'm gonna get some ice.” Stan curses when his knee twinges. “ Shit .”
“Stanley,” Ford whispers. Stan waits before he realizes Ford isn't talking to him.
Ford wants to start the questions right away, but Stan always makes him wait until the kid gets used to them. (No one's been punched or kicked in a week.)
“What’s your first memory?”
It's Ford's favorite question during these interview sessions. First anythings. First day of school, first passing grade, first time crying, first fight. Ford's obsessed with firsts.
They’ve arranged the room for the interview. The kid is sitting on the edge of the bed, scratching the inside of his elbow until it’s bright pink and marked with tiny red specks like he's been stabbed with a bunch of ballpoint pens. Ford is sitting across from him in the motel’s shitty desk chair and has finally stopped messing with the ancient looking camera set up next to him. Stan isn’t sure why it looks like the kind of monstrosity Ma Pines would chase her boys with during holidays and summer days on the beach. The footage it captures is perfect and precise, even if it’s recorded on honest to God tape.
“What?” The kid’s looking at Ford, the journal Ford has open in his lap, the camera. The kid looks at Stan and the door. Stan clears his throat and crosses his arms pointedly.
“You didn't hear me?” Ford makes a note in the book.
“I, uh,” the kid licks his lips and swallows. “No, I just. I don’t remember.”
“Is that a recent development?” Ford looks up with feverish eyes bright with eager curiosity.
“Is it something you’ve forgotten recently?” Ford prompts. “Or are you not trying?”
“I dunno,” the kid licks his lips again and crosses his arms. “It’s a dumb question.”
“It’s not,” Ford frowns at the kid, then his journal as he writes. The kid shrugs and looks at the floor.
“I wanna go home,” he says. Ford makes a noise like an annoyed dog.
“You’ve said. Just answer the question,” Ford says. “The first thing you can remember. No matter how small or incomplete.” The kid is quiet long enough to make Ford start tapping the tip of his pen against the journal page loudly. “Anything.” Ford prompts again.
“Yes,” Ford leans eagerly forward again. “Anything.”
“...the beach,” the kid says. Ford beams and begins writing.
“Sand,” the kid nods to himself. “And it was sunny.”
“Were you alone? How old were you?” Ford’s pen is flying across the page even though the kid isn’t saying much.
“Yeah,” the kid lies. “Dunno, but,” the kid looks nervously at Stan and then down. “But I was alone.”
The rest of the interview goes like that, with Ford pulling answers out of the kid like rotten teeth, and Stan stays quiet until:
“When did you first masturbate?”
The kid jerks himself awake from a doze and Stan watches the blood drain from the kid's face before rushing back in a panicked flush.
“Okay, Pointdexter,” Stan yawns and pushes off from the wall with a grunt. “Time to call it a night.”
“Kid’s worn out,” Stan says. The kid’s gone a bit green now and Stan wonders how many colors the kid can get in under a minute. “And I haven’t eaten since lunch.” Ford frowns.
“It’s only,” he looks down at his fancy, space-watch and blinks. “Oh.”
“Yeah,” Stan clicks the camera off as he passes and the sudden lack of background noise is jarring. “Come on, kid.” Stan slaps the kid on the back and feels a little bad when he shouts and almost falls to the floor. “Take a shower or somethin’ so you don’t pass out at the table.”
“Get bent,” The kid mumbles but hurries to the bathroom all the same.
“And leave your clothes out, I’m doin’ laundry!” He calls after him. The kid doesn’t say anything, but a minute after the water starts the door to the bathroom cracks open and a dirty shirt and pair of jeans appear. “Underwear, kid, we ain’t animals!” Ford snorts behind him. “Don’t start; you’re a walking petri dish.” After a moment, threadbare boxers join the pile.
Stan quietly gathers up the clothes, wrinkling his nose at the teenage stench.
“Did it help?” Ford asks quietly. He's terribly carefully as he breaks down the camera. “Do you remember? Anything?”
“Well,” Stan (has a feeling like tar and skid marks in his throat that tastes like panic). Stan sighs and finds the trash bag they've been using for laundry. It isn't full, but it's rank. “He's lying.”
“I thought so,” Ford says. “But did it help at all?”
“Don't worry about it,” Stan (just wants to be alone; he feels dirty) heaves the laundry bag over his shoulder. “Anything you need washed?” Ford frowns and shakes his head.
“Stanley.” Ford starts with that face with the big eyes.
“Well, I'm, uh, gonna wash some clothes,” Stan says loudly. “And it's not ‘cause I don't wanna have this conversation.” He pauses. “Well, bye!”
The kid gets used to them. It helps that he can't seem to settle at night without a little bit of something and that Ford and Stan have just what the kid needs. The track marks are upsetting and the kid keeps scratching them, so they give the kid little tablets after dinner or whenever the kid seems five seconds from falling apart. The pills take longer, but after an hour and some careful listening, Stan is sure the kid's knocked out. Which is good, because Ford doesn't seem like he's going to stop.
“Fuck,” Stan hisses when Ford bites his shoulder.
“Roll over,” Ford says and Stan complies, rolling on his back so that Ford can start grinding their hips together. “God,” Ford groans.
“ Sh !” Stan shushes his brother, but he moans when Ford grabs his hips.
“How long has it been?” Ford asks and tugs, forcing Stan to push up into Ford as Ford pushes down.
“A minute,” Stan answers, grabbing Ford's ass for leverage.
“ Ah ,” Ford's face pinches and then he laughs. “Should I fuck you tonight?” Ford laughs again when Stan shudders.
“The kid,” Stan whines. He glances over to the quiet lump of blankets in the other bed.
“The boy,” Ford agrees with a happy sigh. “Do you think he's a virgin?” Ford's breath is hot against Stan's face and smells like alcohol and mint. “Do you remember?”
“Ford,” Stan complains before Ford presses their lips together.
Kissing is something Stan likes. It's wet and messy and hot and Ford is really into it, licking and sucking and biting Stan's lips. Stan likes grabbing Ford by his stupidly thick hair and holding him still so that Stan can give as good as he gets.
“Damn,” Stan gasps when Ford grinds their hips together and he’s forced to breathe. “Get your boxers off.”
“They're briefs,” Ford sniffs like he's offended, but he stops humping Stan long enough to start pulling them down.
“And they're ridiculous,” Stan says affectionately and grabs Ford's ass once it's bare to the room.
“You, too,” Ford mumbles as he arches back into Stan's hands. He's almost drunkenly uncoordinated as he pulls at Stan's boxers until he can get a hand on Stan's junk. Stan sighs at the touch and the fingers that brush over the head of his dick. Ford's other hand appears in front of Stan's face. He opens his mouth and lets Ford press his fingers into Stan's tongue while Ford presses their dicks together. The contact makes the fingers in Stan’s mouth spasm and Stan moans despite the discomfort of Ford's nails digging into his tongue. “You could fuck him,” Ford whispers and Stan groans this time in annoyance and pulls off of Ford's fingers.
“Ford,” Stan warns. Ford's thumb smears the spit where Stan has been drooling over his chin.
“I like watching you,” Ford brings his wet hand down to line up their dicks and squeeze. “You're amazing.” Stan throws his head back and moans loudly. Ford isn't delicate or fancy as he jacks them off. He's fast and rough and Stan can't help how noisy he's getting, not with Ford saying these things and panting above him.
It doesn't take long before Stan’s gut is clenching and he's gritting his teeth and coming on Ford's hand and their stomachs. He hears Ford chuckle breathlessly and speeds up until Stan's gasping around the overstimulation. He tosses his head and eventually, he opens his eyes when Ford groans and cums and collapses on him.
“I love you,” Ford sighs. Stan wraps his arms around Ford's shoulder, letting his brother catch his breath before Stan is going to kick him out of bed for a towel or something.
“Whatever, nerd,” Stan whispers back. Ford mumbles something else that Stan doesn't hear. Instead, Stan is looking into the dark space of the room and at the slight gleam of eyes.
Stan wonders how long the kid has been watching them.
“Why’s he doin’ this?” The kid asks while he helps Stan unload the Diablo. Stan’s been waiting for the question and he’s had a lot of practice answering it, but that doesn’t make it easy.
“It’s Ford,” Stan says as he shoves one more bag on his arms to avoid the second trip. “It’s for science.”
“Not my Ford,” the kid says. “My Ford isn’t like that.” Stan snorts and slams the trunk closed, making the kid flinch.
“Sure, kid,” Stan says and gestures at the kid to walk ahead of him. It feels like the kind of day the kid might try to run.
The kid is slow on the stairs and when they finally make it to the room, the kid looks like he might fall over. Stan thinks that he’ll have to get Ford to let the kid out more.
The kid’s instantly nervous when they get inside and Stan locks the door behind them. The kid looks around the room and tenses when he sees Ford bent over his desk, fiddling with some gadget.
“No, thanks, we got it,” Stan drawls. Ford waves a hand at him but fails to respond otherwise. Stan rolls his eyes. “Come on, kid.” Stan drops the bags on the table more loudly than he needs to. He looks over to see if he's annoying Ford but sucks in a breath when he sees what his brother is working on. “Oh.”
Ford looks at him mildly and sets down the tiny screwdriver in his hand before carefully pushing the camera to the side.
“You got everything?” Ford asks with his bright, intense gaze boring into the bags on the table.
“Yeah, but,” Stan clears his throat. “Thought it was for us.” Stan grabs one of the smaller bags with a crinkled pharmacy logo on it and tosses it to Ford.
“Careful!” Ford hisses as he sets the bag on the table and pulls out the contents.
“Put the beans and shit away, okay?” Stan tells the kid. The kid doesn't move, just stares at the items Ford is pulling out of the bag and humming over. “Hey, kid,” Stan snaps his fingers inches from the kid's face and he snaps back.
“Don't!” The kid swipes at the air where Stan’s hand was.
“Easy, just put the groceries away,” Stan points at the peeling cabinet over the sink. The kid rolls his shoulders up to his ears and starts to sullenly unpack the bags. Stan sighs to himself. “Look, kid, you did good today.” The kid looks at him suspiciously.
“Whatever,” the kid says and turns away.
Stan grunts and leaves the kid to it. Ford is muttering under his breath at the bench and scribbling away in his journal.
“Are you drawin’ the lube?” Stan asks flatly. Ford smiles at him.
“It's different,” he says. “And this is the same brand? The ingredients are the same.”
“Dunno,” Stan shrugs. “I thought it was for us.” Ford's brows crinkle.
“We can still use it,” Ford says. “I asked you to get the same brand.”
“I couldn't remember which one it was,” Stan says. “You know my memory is shitty.” Stan isn't proud of the satisfaction he gets when Ford has the decency to look guilty.
“Yes, well,” Ford clears his throat. “The ingredients are the same, so I suppose it’ll work.” Ford puts the tube to the side and picks up the box. “Why did you get condoms?” He raises an eyebrow. “You know I don't like them.”
Stan shrugs. Ford shakes his head.
“You got the camera out,” Stan gestures to the machine.
“I need your help setting it up,” Ford says. “I'm not sure where to put it.”
“Bed’d be nice,” Stan looks over the cluttered desk. “No way we can clean the desk up.” Ford huffs.
“It's not that bad. The bed might work but it's unsteady.” Ford places a palm flat against the desk. “I like the desk.”
“Then we're pullin’ it away from the wall,” Stan gestures to the meager open space in the room. “Why don't we ever get a nice place?”
“You pick the rooms,” Ford stands and stretches. His back pops loudly and he groans. Ford looks at the mess of his desk a moment, as if he's lost, before he starts to gather up his tools and shove them into the mysterious pockets of his jacket. His gaze drifts over Stan's shoulder and he pales. “No!”
Stan turns at Ford's shout to see the kid has upended a bottle of pills and seems to be struggling to swallow the whole damn thing.
“Damn it!” Stan curses as Ford shoves past him.
The kid starts choking, of course he does, and Ford immediately grabs him around the stomach and pulls. The kid gags and keeps gagging as he tries to swallow while Ford tries to force the pills out.
“Ford, stop!” Stan grabs Ford's shoulder, but Ford shakes him off. “Damn it!”
“Come on, come on!” Ford mutters as the kid starts to wheeze.
“You're not helping!” Stan shouts, but Ford only gets more frantic.
“Not again, come on, not again!”
“Ford, come on,” Stan tries to grab Ford’s shoulder, his sleeve. Ford’s impossible like this, as volatile as liquor by an open flame. A few slurry-like pills fall wetly to the floor and stick to the kid’s face. Ford sucks in a rough breath before he shoves the kid at Stan.
“Hold him,” Ford says and jumps up to rifle through his pockets, tossing science shit everywhere. “Where is it; where is it!?” Stan balks at the size of the violently colored syringe Ford finds. In an instant, Ford has returned and pulled the kid's shirt back to reveal his healing stomach. He plunges the needle in and depresses the plunger so that the vivid solution disappears under the kid's skin.
“Ford, I don’t,” Stan starts, still nervous of the manic gleam in Ford’s eyes. “What?”
“On his side,” Ford grabs the kid and Stan helps him prop the body on its side. “Open his mouth.” Stan thinks about arguing, but doesn’t. Instead, he forces his gnarled fingers between the kid’s teeth and opens his jaws. Ford shoves his hand into the kid’s mouth and deeper until Stan wonders if Ford is trying to grab the kid’s soul to keep it from escaping.
Then the body shudders violently and when Ford pulls his hand free a stream of vomit follows.
Stan jerks back as the kid’s body convulses and pulse after pulse pale bile spews onto the floor. Ford keeps a filthy, firm hand on the kid’s shoulder to keep him from falling face first into a puddle of his own vomit. Eventually, the kid calms down until he’s just a shuddering mess. At that point, Ford shrugs off his jacket and lays it over the kid.
“Get a bath,” Ford says roughly. Stan ignores the way Ford rubs at his eyes. “A hot one.”
“Okay,” Stan says. Ford nods and rubs his hands up and down the prone body on the ground.
“Tired,” the kid says after Ford does his battery of tests and asks how he’s feeling. Ford nods and taps his journal.
“It wouldn't have killed you,” Ford says abruptly. “Even if you had managed to swallow the whole bottle.” Stan grimaces and shakes his head while the kid tries to roll away from Ford. He can’t get far. “What were you thinking?” Ford asks. “How could you--”
“Ford,” Stan cuts Ford off before his brother can work himself up too much. Ford’s hands are already trembling.
“...I just want to go home,” the kid says after a long, quiet moment. “Please, I...I miss my ma,” he curls tighter around himself. “I want Ma,” the kid’s voice cracks like he’s trying not to cry. “I want For--” The kid chokes on a sob.
“I don’t,” Ford’s face is twisting with the effort of trying to understand. “I’m right--”
“Ford,” Stan warns. The kid is shaking as he quietly cries. “I think he needs to be alone.”
“No!” Stan jumps at the force of Ford’s shout. “He can’t--you can’t--”
“Hey, relax,” Stan holds up his hands like he’s trying to calm a spooked animal. “I’m just sayin’ to give him a little space. I’ll be here.” Ford’s face pinches severely, but he nods and eventually stands.
“You’ll tell me?” Ford asks. “If anything?”
“Yeah,” Stan nods and pats his brother gently on the shoulder. “Now, get a shower or something,” Stan wrinkles his nose with an exaggerated grimace. “I think you still got puke on you.” Ford rolls his eyes and makes a show of wiping his hand on the front of Stan’s shirt while Stan protests. Even though Ford’s eyes are tight at the edges he still manages a cocky smirk before he disappears into the bathroom.
The room is quiet with only the noise of the shower and the kid's muffled crying.
Stan sighs and sags on the bed.
“I'm not gonna lecture you,” Stan says. “I get it.” The kid wetly mumbles something into the mattress. “What?”
“Said: go away,” the kid barely lifts his head to speak before he collapses again.
“Come on,” Stan reaches out to pat the kid.
“I know what he wants to do,” the kid says. “I'm not stupid.”
“Ford?” Stan pulls his hand back as the kid nods.
“He,” the kid shudders and gags, but he doesn't puke again. “It's sick,” the kid says. “He's fuckin’ sick.”
“Oh,” Stan taps the mattress as he thinks.
“I saw you,” the kid says with a bit of heat in his worn voice. “I heard him.” Stan doesn't say anything to that; he keeps tapping. “You!” The kid sits up so that he can turn to glare at Stan, but the sudden movement screws with whatever his body is dealing with and he collapses to curl into a miserable, groaning ball. Stan takes the time that the kid spends whimpering to grab a glass of water. He looks at the bathroom door before adding a very generous splash of whiskey. It tastes like watered down shit.
“Here,” Stan taps the kid's head with the glass. The kid groans and shakes his head. “Shut up,” Stan taps the kid again until the kid glares up at him. “I'm being generous.” Stan's face twists into a smile. “You and I both know that's somethin’ special.” The kid squints at him but pushes his unsteady way up to sitting. The kid takes the glass into his shaky hands and takes a careful sip. “It's whiskey,” Stan says when the kid's eyes widen with panic. “And don't say nothin’ or Ford's gonna kill me.” The kid glares at him but drinks. “I'm not gonna lie, kid,” Stan stops when the kid grunts and then coughs. “I get it. I do. And I'm gonna share with you a little secret,” Stan pauses for drama. “You can't go home if you're dead.” Stan let's that sink in. The kid pulls the glass away from his mouth. Before he can say anything, Stan continues. “Might not sound like much, but that got me through five hours of chewing my way outta a car,” Stan pushes the kid's hand until he lifts the glass to his mouth again. “Hurry up or I'll take it back. Yeah, a car. Made some bad deals, wound up in a car in the middle of nowhere, and wasted an hour feelin’ sorry for my dumbass before I realized I'd never get home if I was dead. Now you? We don't want that. No bad deals for you. Or your egghead brother.
You wanna go home, kid. I want that for you, and so does Ford. You just gotta,” Stan scratches at his neck, thinking. “Just do this one thing. And we'll get you home. Won't even hurt,” Stan can't help the bitter smile that takes over his face. “I can guarantee that's a better deal than you get out there.”
The kid looks at his empty glass, watches the last remaining drops cling to the bottom.
“That wouldn't have happened,” the kid says at last. “I'm not that stupid.” Stan grabs the empty glass as the water from the shower shuts off.
“No, you're not,” Stan says. “Not anymore.”
Ford helps move the desk away from the wall by bitching at Stan where to move it until Stan considers throwing the whole damn thing out of the window. When he threatens to do just that, Ford scoffs and makes a snide comment about Stan’s back.
“Fine,” Stan snaps, “desk ain't the problem anyway.” Ford squawks when Stan throws his brother over his shoulder.
“What are you doing!?” Ford wriggles, to confused and curious to actually fight.
“You're a hell of a lot lighter than a desk,” Stan says.
“Are you defenestrating me?” Ford asks, filthy boots pausing in their kicking enough for Stan to get a better hold.
“Already popped your cherry,” Stan drops his brother on the bed and falls on top of him, muffling Ford's furious yelp.
“What are you--? Stanley, we have work to do!”
“No,” Stan grunts and squirms until he's sure he's completely pinned his brother. “Too old. Back’s too shit.”
Stan asks Ford if a blow job is good enough. Ford says no. Stan offers to let the kid fuck him and Ford's face gets red and his eyes narrow thoughtfully before he shakes his head.
“Later,” he says and Stan lets out a long and heavy sigh.
“Alright,” Stan scratches his hairy stomach. “Come on, kid. We gotta deal.”
The kid has been sitting on the bed, arms hugged around himself to hide how naked he is. Stan can't remember ever being as hairless as the kid is, though the kid is hairy for his age. It makes the kid look older than he is and Stan wonders if that's how he managed to con his way into so many bars.
“Come on,” Stan pats the old motel desk. “Not gonna hurt ya. Promise.” The kid watches him and gulps.
“I'm thirsty,” the kid says.
“Sure,” Stan walks his shamelessly naked way to the kitchenette for a glass of water and watches the kid's eyes look anywhere but Stan when he walks back. The kid takes the glass and sips nervously. “Quit stalling,” Stan mutters low enough that he hopes it feels private. “Whatever you're tellin’ yourself is worse than reality.” The kid chews his lip before lifting the glass to his mouth and gulping. “It's just sex, kid,” Stan takes the unfinished glass from the kid before it slips from the kid's shaking hands. “I ain't gonna kill you.” The kid snorts at that and rolls his eyes.
“I'm not scared,” he says and pushes himself to stand. “You're just ugly and fat.” Stan hears the choking cough of Ford swallowing a laugh. Stan glares at him.
“We’re twins, asshole,” Stan says. “If I'm ugly, so are you.”
“Of course,” Ford says indulgently.
“Assholes,” Stan grumbles. “Alright, kid. Bend over.”
This is the part that usually goes one of two ways: the kids panic and do something stupid or they get so full of bravado that Stan worries they'll pop the moment he sticks his dick in.
“Right,” the kid says. “Just sex.”
“Right.” They stand an awkward moment as the kid stares at the desk. The camera turns on with a loud click and a muted thrum starts to fill the silence.
“Stanley, could you bend over?” Ford interrupts with the tact of a boulder. “Your face isn't on camera.”
“Me or him?” Stan puts a hand to the kid's shoulder and gently pushes. The kid tenses before he sets his elbows to the desk.
“Hm,” Ford scrutinizes the camera and makes an adjustment. “Yes, that will work.”
“Okay,” Stan says. He can't see the kid's face but he can feel the muscles of his back and ass tense up to a point that must be painful. “Easy, kid. Not gonna hurt you.” The kid snorts again but it sounds choked.
“Could you finger him open? One finger.” Ford says. And this is how it goes. Ford tells him what to do.
“Sure,” Stan says and grabs the lube. The kid tenses harder and Stan wishes he could give the kid whiskey or something to make him loosen up, but Ford wants them aware and sober. “ Relax , kid. I don't want to hurt you, but you gotta relax.”
“First times hurt anyway,” the kid mutters and definitely doesn't loosen up.
“Doesn't have to,” Stan lubes up his hand, he’ll be using most of it, and presses his thumb against the kid's asshole. “Relax.”
“Shut up,” the kid snaps and Stan pushes slowly but firmly against the tightness until he's in and the kid shudders and clenches. Stan runs a hand up the kid's back, against the grain of thin, soft hair.
“Easy,” Stan says softly. “You're doin’ good.” The kid makes a noise like a grunt and a hum, but he doesn't relax. Stan moves his thumb, gently thrusting in and out and rubbing at the tight ring of muscle.
“Is he ready for two?” Ford asks. He's speaking softly, too.
“Slow down a little, will you?” Stan rubs at the kid's back some more when he spams again. “Easy, relax.” Stan lightly scratches his blunt nails at the nape of the kid's neck. It's something Stan likes and it works on the kid. “Just take a deep breath.” Stan pulls his thumb free and watches the kid's hole twitch and then clench again when Stan comes back with his first two fingers. “Breathe, kid.” Stan doesn't wait this time; he forces his fingers into the first knuckle. He hears the kid's breath hitch and the small noise Ford makes. “Easy,” Stan says again. Stan keeps going until he can't go deeper.
“Look at the camera,” Ford says. “I can't see your face.”
“Go on,” Stan scratches the kid's nape again when he hesitates. “You can close your eyes if it helps.” Ford makes a disapproving noise but Stan shoots him a warning look. The kid tilts his head up. “There you go,” Stan pulls his finger out to the second knuckle before pushing them back in and settles into a slow rhythm that has Ford and the kid getting restless.
“Stan,” Ford almost whines.
“Yeah?” Stan pulls out enough to just rub at the kid's hole; it's just enough to get him to twitch.
“His prostate,” Ford says. Stan snorts.
“G-spot,” Stan says as he pulls free to get more lube on his fingers. “Save your doctor talk for later.” Stan leers at his brother, biting his own lip when the kid muffles a noise into his arms. “Chin up.”
The kid tenses, from his ass to his shoulders when Stan’s fingers bottom out.
“I can't see your face,” Ford says. His voice is getting rougher, more breathless.
“Relax,” Stan says softly. “Deep breath, chin up.” The kid doesn't move; he just winds tighter. Stan grimaces at the wall before catching Ford's eyes and jerking his head. “Ford?” Ford sighs, between relief and resignation, when he tangles his hand in the kid's short hair.
“Just look at the camera,” Ford mumbles. The kid shouts when Ford forces his head up. Ford slides his other hand down to cradle the kid's throat and hold him in place
Stan waits for Ford to steady the kid's head before he starts to poke around with gentle, sweeping brushes of his fingertips. He smirks when the kid's whole body clenches and he cries out.
“Beautiful,” Ford breathes.
“Don’t!” The kid chokes out as he shudders and moans. Stan brushes against that spot again.
“Sh,” Stan ignores the kid’s words and his brother, choosing to focus instead on the kid’s body and winding the kid up enough to make this good. “Trust me,” Stan says and feels a little high when the kid spasms around him again. “You'll like it.”
The kid trembles under Stan’s hands and in Ford's grasp.
“Pl--" the kid tries. “Nnn-ah!” Stan bites his lip and uses the hand that's been clamped around the kid's waist to palm his dick. Stan is hard. He's not rock hard like Ford gets him, but his cock is definitely interested in the soft ass his fingers are knuckle deep in.
“Ford,” Stan groans like a warning. Ford's hand untangles itself from the kid's hair to stroke the kid's back, down and up.
“No condom,” Ford says. Stan groans; he doesn't know if he's horny or annoyed.
What Stan does know is that the young body beneath them is tense again and the kid is breathing like a trapped bird.
“Breathe, kid,” Stan rumbles with a gentle wiggle of his fingers. “You're doing so great.”
“Hah,” the kid's shoulders hunch under Ford's touch. “I--" the kid gasps quietly and breathes hard enough that Stan can watch Ford's hand rise and fall.
“You'll like it,” Stan says and pulls his fingers free. They're cramped from being shoved in the kid's hot ass, but that doesn't matter as Stan squirts lube into his hand to slick up his cock.
Stan groans deep on his throat. His dry hand rests on the kid's ass, thumb teasing the loose hole while Stan gets himself wet and hard.
“Stan,” Ford says. Stan looks up and finds Ford staring over his shoulder, face red and shiny with sweat and his lip swollen from where he's nearly chewed through it. Stan reaches out and grabs Ford's free hand in his relatively clean one. Ford watches him with pupils blown so wide Stan worries for a moment. Then he mouths at Ford's fingers and sucks what he can into his mouth.
The noise Ford makes is small and devastated and that gets Stan going more than anything else ever could.
“Stan,” Ford says desperately.
“Yeah,” Stan pulls off and lets the drool slip down his chin. “I know.” Stan gets another glob of lube on his hand and smears it over the kid's ass and pushes his fingers back inside. The kid tries not to squirm, but Stan can feel the urge in the poorly repressed tremors along the kid's back. “Okay,” Stan catches Ford's eyes and nods. Ford moans softly and nods back before gently tangling his hand in the kid's hair.
“Just look at the camera,” Ford says.
“Just take a deep breath,” Stan says and lines himself up.
“Shu-- ugh! ” The kid gags loudly when Stan pulls the kid's as open as he can and pushes in. There's resistance and then there isn't when Stan snaps his hips too hard and deep.
“Shit!” Stan grits his teeth when the kid cries out and clenches hard around him. “Sorry!”
“Ah,” the kid's breath hitches. “Uh, uh!”
“Sh,” Stan shushes the kid and rubs his hands apologetically up the kid's back and over his ribs. “I know. Just breathe. Deep breaths, come on.” And, miraculously, the kid takes his advice and tries to steady his erratic breathing. Each deep breath stutters like a sob and Stan has to reach between his legs and squeeze his balls to keep himself hard; he does the kid a favor, too, rolling the kid’s sack gently and trying not to think about how much softer the hair is there. It doesn't really help, but it keeps him busy long enough for the kid to adjust and relax.
“I'm gonna move,” Stan warns. “Just remember to breathe, okay? And relax.” Stan rocks his hips slowly, barely moving at all. “It's just sex.”
It goes like that: Stan gritting his teeth and slowly moving deeper and faster. Each thrust has the kid trying to swallow a whimper or groan.
“God,” Ford shudders violently when the kid can't suppress a throaty moan. “You're,” Ford shakes his head and leans to shove his nose into the kid’s hair. The kid whines and tries to jerks away, but between the hand cupping his throat and the one in his hair, all the kid can do is flail his arms and try to grab Ford. It makes his back arch as both hands leave the desk and that changes the angle enough that Stan's next thrust has the kid screaming. His body tenses like he's been electrocuted; his chest heaves in shallow, uneven gasps.
“ Ah, ah,” the kid's fingers form claws against the desk. Stan pulls back and considers stopping long enough to get the kid's breath back, but that almost seems crueler to drag it out.
“Yeah,” Stan says. He can't help how low his voice has gone. “Breathe. I'll make it good, swear, but you gotta breathe.” Stan forces his hips to move slowly again and it's getting a hell of a lot harder.
“Fu-- uh, uh, ” the kid shudders again. He's given up the pretense of stupid, stoic quiet and is groaning and whimpering loudly.
“Oh,” Ford's hand leaves the kid's hair to run down his back. “Stanley,” Ford's voice is reverently quiet under the kid's noise and Stan’s own grunts.
“Fuck!” Stan shouts, hands clenching unkindly around the kid's hips. “You can't do that, I'm close enough already.” Which, he wasn't, but he is now with Ford reaching to feel where Stan is fucking into the kid.
“Not yet,” Ford's fingers are getting wet and shiny as they brush against Stan’s dick every time he pulls out and pushes back in. “You can touch him,” Ford says. “You should touch him.”
“God,” Stan pants and bows over the kid for a moment to collect himself. “Shit.”
When he looks back up, Ford has two of his wet fingers in his mouth. “Ford,” Stan whines at how unfair it is to have Ford tease him.
“Come on,” Ford’s smiles makes Stan’s coiling insides melt a little. “You said you'd make it good.” It a dig; Ford is goading him, but Stan doesn't care, because, yeah. He did say that.
Stan’s always been aware he has large hands, but they feel bigger and rough when he cups the kid's dick.
“Do-- ooh,” the kid moans. “ Nnn. ”
It feels soft and vulnerable when Stan lets the kid's cock rest in his palm.
He forms a ring around the base of the kid's cock and drags it up in a way he likes himself. It's dry, even with the sweat and Stan's disappointed to find very little wetness at the tip when he runs his thumb over it.
The lube on Stan’s hand is drying but he still fumbles the bottle.
“Ford,” Stan whines. Ford chuckles like an asshole but pops the cap open and squirts a good amount into Stan's open palm.
“Come on,” Ford urges as he tosses the lube aside. “Touch him, come on.”
Stan wants to rub his hands together and warm the lube up, but he's busy holding the kid's hip while he rocks into him, so he mutters an apology and grabs the kid's cock all at once. The kid jumps and yelps at the cold, but the sound trails off into a moan as Stan gets to work, pumping and twisting his hand until the kid is hard and hot in his hand.
“That's it,” Stan says lowly. “Yeah, like that.” He leaves the kid’s dick to fondle his balls and then to trail up his stomach to give the kid's hard nipples a pinch.
“Ah!” The kid bucks against Stan, making Stan curse and his hips stutter before finding his rhythm again. “ Sh-shit !”
“Like that?” Stan does it again, for science, and the kid shudders and twitches. “Yeah, me, too.” Stan continues to rub until a soft, desperate hand clumsily wraps around his wrist and pushes. The kid stutters but can't get much out but: “ uh, uh, uh !”
“Alright,” Stan grabs the kid's dick again. “You'll like this, too.” He alternates between milking precum out of the kid's cock and rolling and groping his balls until the kid is trembling and Stan isn't doing much better.
“Are you close?” Stan bends over the kid again to get closer. “Gonna cum?”
“Shut,” the kid grunts like he's been punched. “ Ugh. ”
“Not yet,” Ford says firmly. “Stan.”
“Sorry, can’t-- shit ,” Stan’s hips have picked up without him noticing. He's close, too.
“You first,” Ford says. “You, cum inside him first.” Stan shudders and switches up from tugging on the kid's dick to squeezing the base of his cock. It makes the kid squirm and whine, and that makes Stan swear.
“God, kid,” Stan chews his bottom lip again and groans.
“Don't,” the kid whines, “I don't--”
“Sh,” Ford shushes the kid gently. “God, you're so,” Ford's hands loosen enough for the kid's head to slump between his shoulders. Ford bends at an odd angle to kiss the right kid's shoulder (where a brand would be). He sighs into the kid's skin, humming when the soft body under him shivers. The kid makes a small noise at Ford mouthing at his skin, like he's afraid to make a sound. Stan screws his eyes shut and just focuses on getting off; he focuses on fucking into the kid while keeping a gentle but firm grasp on the kid's dick and it's a lot harder than it should be when he's so close already. “Stan.” The kid is still whimpering when Stan blinks his eyes open. Ford is looking at him, lips slightly wet and eyes hungry. “Stan, he’s been waiting long enough,” Ford turns to face the camera again and slides his hand to cup the kid's neck. “Give him what he wants.” The kid makes a noise like he disagrees, but Ford is right. This should be over.
So Stan watches Ford's hands, his long, thick fingers that curl around the kid's throat and card the short, sweaty strands of hair away from the kid's eyes. He watches the wondrous adoration on Ford's face grow until it hurts to look at and Stan pretends that Ford is looking at him like that. Not the shivering, scared, confused “him” that Stan is about to come in, but that Ford, any Ford, would look at an old, chewed-up-and-spat-out mistake like him .
“Ford,” he asks. “Ford, do you love me?” Stan hates how pitiful it sounds, but it's amazing what a dose of horny pre-cum-brain will do to you. The things Stan would do.
“What?” Ford looks up at him, puzzled. “Stan, why? Of course.” Ford's hand is still around the kid's throat, still in the kid's hair.
“Look at me,” Stan barely hears the choked shout that becomes a strangled whine from the kid. He's too busy holding Ford's gaze and fucking. “ Ford, just, please,” Stan groans and pants as his gut tightens dangerously. “Just this once, shit ,” Stan swears violently. “F- oh -rd,” Stan grits his teeth. “Fuck! I love you,” Stan swears again and claws into the soft hips under his hand while the other tightens in what must be a painful way around the kid's still hard dick. “I love you.” And he stutters and his hips jerk before he grunts and pushes as deep as he can go.
There's a sound the kids make when Stan comes inside them. A kind of surprised noise. Sometimes a gasp, a whine. The kid under him gags and his ass spasms around Stan in an erotic and too-much way.
“Don't,” Ford says when Stan tries to pull out. “Just, wait.”
“Ford,” Stan snaps at his brother.
“Just,” Ford looks at Stan before sighing.
“Fine,” he grumbles. “But he cums first.” Stan groans, definitely annoyed.
“Okay,” he says. “Okay, kid.” Stan loosens his hold and strokes the kid's dick. Stan rocks his hip, just enough, he hopes, to rub the kid's sweet spot. He wants to hurry this up. “Come on.” Stan swipes his thumb over the head and brings his other hand, the hand that's been digging into the kid's hip, down to fondle his balls. “You're doin’ so good, kid. Just cum for me.” The kid jerks with a shout when Stan gets both his g-spot and balls just right. “Just like that, kid, come on. I know you want to.” Stan picks up his pace, works the kid's cock, balls, and ass until the kid is a mess of high, desperate moans. “So good,” Stan grunts. “Such a good kid.”
The kid cries out and Stan bites his tongue when the kid's ass spasms around his over sensitive and softening dick. The kid cums in hot, ropey strings over Stan's hand as Stan stokes him through it, pulling everything he can out of the kid until they are both panting and exhausted.
After a moment, Stan slowly releases the kid and pulls out. The kid barely makes a sound, but his whole body sags when Ford finally lets him go.
“Okay,” Stan says after the silence drags and the sight of his own cum in the kid's ass makes him queasy. “Shower.”
Ford hums and stands with a final caress of the kid's sweaty shoulders.
“Yes, I'll review the footage.” Ford immediately begins to fiddle with the camera. Stan snorts, but he doesn't say anything about the obvious tent in Ford's pants.
“Sure, yeah,” Stan stretches as he stands and grunts when his back pops. “Jesus.” The kid cautiously pushes himself up, making his own strained noises. “Come on,” Stan steadies the kid when he stumbles, even if he gets a lethal, panicked glare for his trouble.
“Off!” The kid stumbles again and winces before Stan tightens his grip.
“Kid, relax,” Stan rumbles soothingly. “You'll want a shower.” He hesitates. “You need a shower.” The kid glares at him, but he’s unsure. Vulnerable.
Stan hates it.
Ford is too engrossed in his camera to respond at all as Stan helps the kid to the bathroom. The kid stands there, awkwardly glaring at Stan as he turns on the shower and waits for the water to warm up.
“You,” Stan clears his throat and breaks the quiet. “You did good.” The kid makes a sound between a grunt and a laugh.
“Yeah,” he says. “Fuck.” The kid winces when he shifts from one foot to the other. Stan doesn't think he fucked the kid that hard, but, it's been a while since Stan’s been a virgin.
“Better than mine,” Stan says. “Hop in.” The kid makes another disbelieving noise.
“I'm bleeding,” he accuses, hands unconsciously moving to his ass, as if looking for damage.
“You're not bleeding,” Stan rolls his eyes as the kid begins to step under the spray of water. “You're leaking .” The kid pauses and looks over his shoulder, one hand braced against the wall.
“Bleeding,” the kid repeats.
“No,” Stan sits on the toilet, grumbling at the cold lid against his ass. “It's jizz. Someone cums inside you, sometimes a little gets out.” Stan shrugs. “I'm almost insulted you think I'd be that much of an amateur.” Stan watches as the blood drains out of the kid's face. “Woah, kid,” Stan stands, ready to catch the kid if he faints, but he isn't prepared for the kid to open his mouth and puke over the both of them. “Shit!” Stan tries to jump back but the kid grabs hold of him desperately and wretches.
“Ugh,” the kid screws his eyes shut and tries to straighten before he doubles over again.
“Easy,” Stan lets the kid lean on him, accepting the disgusting vomit sticking to his arms and stomach. “Let it out,” Stan runs up and down the kid's back, soothing him until the kid stops shuddering. Stan has enough decency to ignore the tears.
The kid is quiet after that and doesn't fight Stan when Stan gets them both into the shower.
It's a bitch getting the vomit out of his body hair. The kid is easier to wash, and Stan gets nervous when the kid actually lets Stan lather him up with soap.
“No!” The kid's hands fly around to grab and push at Stan.
“Easy,” Stan doesn't move his hand from the kid's ass. “Just cleaning up, unless you want to.” The kid trembles a little and pulls away, shooting a wet-eyed glare over his shoulder. “Alright,” Stan shrugs and hands him the soap. “Oh, if you're gonna fart, do it now. Or take a shit. Learned that the hard way.” Stan steps out of the shower. “Shit’s messy.”
“That's gross,” the kid says hoarsely. “You're gross.”
“And fat and ugly,” Stan agrees.
It’s Stan’s idea to give the kid one last pill to calm his nerves before they hop through some kind of wormhole that spits them out in California. Stan scopes out the shady alley behind an equally shady diner while Ford punches words into the memory gun.
The gun fires while Stan isn’t looking.
“Stanford!” Stan rounds on his brother, who is carefully tucking the gun away. “What the hell!?”
“What?” Ford dusts his hands off and has the nerve to look confused.
“You can’t just do that!”
“Why not? We always do it this way!”
“Yeah!” Stan tugs at his hair while the kid starts to look around like a drunk. “But, not like this!”
“What’s so different?” Ford snaps.
Nothing much is actually different. They usually get the kids closer to the college or where ever an in-universe Stanford Pines is, because dragging a semi-lucid kid across town gets some strange looks.
“He’s,” vulnerable , Stan doesn’t say. “We can’t move him like this!” Ford frowns down at the kid.
It turns Stan’s stomach to watch the kid blink unevenly up at them from where he’s fallen to the filthy cement.
“What?” The kid mumbles and grabs Ford’s pant leg. “Uh.” Ford purses his lips in annoyance.
“Go call,” Ford says.
“And what am I gonna say, huh? ‘Hey, kid, come pick up your stoned brother.’” Stan scoffs. “Yeah, like that’ll work.”
“Well, ‘we can’t move him like this.’” Ford throws Stan’s words back at him like a pissy asshole. Stan fumes a moment but he has to admit that they need to do something. Stoned or not, the kid’s already getting agitated.
“Yeah, yeah.” Stan grumbles and trots off with his 21st century quarters that somehow work in the 20th century payphone. It takes some smooth talking and cajoling, but Stan manages to get ahold of Stanford Filbrick Pines.
“Hello?” Stan leans heavily against the glass when he hears the young voice that brings back feelings and a sense of vertigo. “This is Stanford Pines.”
“Ford?” Stan asks hoarsely before he can recall himself. “Pines.” He says more firmly and slips into character.
“Yes,” the younger Stanford says “Speaking?”
“You got a brother?”
“What? Who is this?” Stanford sounds suspicious and, honestly, that’s fair.
“A concerned citizen,” Stan answers dryly.
“That’s none of your business,” Stanford says. “And, no. As far as I’m concerned I don’t have a brother.” A pause. “Except for Sherman.”
“Really? Doughy kid, looks just like you, but with a pizza face and five fingers?” The line goes quiet for a long moment.
“Why,” Stanford clears his throat. “No.”
“Yeesh,” Stan whistles lowly. “That's cold.” Stan sees Ford glance around the corner of the diner. Stan looks around, it's dark enough out, and gestures for Ford to bring the kid over. “Kid knows you .”
“Wait,” the kid stumbles over the curb and squints suspiciously up at Ford when he catches him. “Who are you?”
“Good Samaritans,” Stan says to the kid. “Say hi.”
“What the hell?” The kid jerks back when Stan shoves the receiver into his face. “Get away from me!”
“Stanley?” Stanford’s voice sounds tinny before Stan can get the phone back to his ears.
“So you do know him?” Stan jerks his head at Ford. Ford stares at him blankly. “Take him back.” Stan hisses.
“What--who are you?” Alarm is leaking into Stanford’s voice, finally.
“Your brother,” Stan ignores the young Stanford on the other end of the phone to glare at the Ford in front of him. “I wouldn’t say he’s in trouble --”
Both twins ask at the same time. It’s almost endearing.
“Wait, wait!” The kid starts to back away before Ford’s hand snaps out to grab his arm. “Let go!” The kid pulls uselessly against Ford’s hold and stumbles again. “I don’t want trouble.”
“What are you doing!?” Stanford's not quite shouting but Stan can hear the start of concerned muttering in the background.
“Relax, kid,” Stan says to the phone. “And you, too.” He says to the kid breathing heavily in the middle of a poorly lit street.
“Where is my brother!?” Stanford demands shrilly.
“Glad you asked,” Stan says. He wishes his Ford had asked the same question years ago. “Behind the diner on 12th, if he hasn't wandered off. He's not doin’ too hot.”
“What did you do to him?” Stan hears a muffled curse and something heavy falling.
“Nothin’” Stan shrugs even though no one can see it but buzzing moths. “Diner on 12th. Don't call the cops.”
Stan slams the phone back into its cradle a bit harder than he has to.
He feels odd. Defensive and nostalgic. He wants to punch something.
“What the hell!?” Stan shouts when he rounds the corner into the alley again and finds the kid in Ford's lap, eyes glazed and mouth slack. “Ford, what the fuck?”
“He was going to run,” Ford says calmly while he strokes a hand through the kid's hair.
“What did you use?” Stan strides over and grits his teeth against turning the alley into a crime scene. Ford shrugs.
“Nothing--his brother in on his way here right now , Stanford.” Stan pulls at his hair, straining for the sound of police sirens even though he warned the young Stanford not to call the cops.
“Well, that's good,” Ford looks up at Stan and something about this feels. Familiar in an awful way. Like, Ford's found something better than Stan. (Like, he's going to leave Stan behind in this backwater, go-nowhere town because Ford has something he actually has a future with instead of his deadbeat, useless, stupid brother.)
Stan wants to break something.
“Silver lining,” Stan says absently as he stares at the ground to the right of Ford and the kid.
“...Stan?” Ford shifts so that the kid is sitting on the ground, leaning against a dumpster. “Stanley?” The worry in Ford's voice and face snap Stan back to reality.
“Yeah.” Stan sighs when he feels Ford's broad hand settle on his face.
“Did you remember something?” There's something cautious and hopeful in Ford's voice.
“I think,” Stan hesitates. “I think I don't like being dumped in alleys.” Ford blinks at him in surprise before his mouth quirks into a smile.
“No,” Ford looks over his shoulder at the kid. He's hugging his knees to his chest and shivering like he's cold. “It isn't fun at all.”
“Let's go,” Stan says because standing here with Ford being so tender while the kid tripping miserably in garbage water is making his gut do crazy things.
“And leave him?” Ford's hand leaves Stan’s face so that he can turn to look fully at the kid.
“...his brother’s coming,” Stan says. He shoves his hands deep into his pockets until he can pick at the inner seams. “That's more than a lot of kids get.” Stan doesn't miss the way Ford flinches, but he doesn't comment on it. Ford nods.
They leave the kid with Stan's jacket tucked around him. (Ford's jacket has wormholes and science bullshit in it.) They don't go too far. Stan almost asks to stop for a burger or whatever the diner is selling as food, but they don't. Just in case.
A horribly rusted hippie van screams to a halt in front of the diner ten minutes later. (And that, too, makes Stan want to punch something.) A smaller Stanford Pines bursts out of the passenger side of the car and trips over his own feet before scrambling to run into the alley, shouting. The kid is followed with a weedy guy that's more legs and arms than anything else. Stan chuckles and elbows Ford playfully. Ford rolls his eyes, but he smiles back.
They watch until pipsqueak Stanford and weed guy walk slowly out from the alley with a staggering kid between them.
“Okay,” Stan says.
“Did it work?” Ford asks and pulls up some science nonsense from his future-watch.
“You know?” Stan chews his lip and thinks about all the shitty feeling twisting around inside of him, just waiting for pictures and sounds to go with them. “I think it did.”
“You remembered something?” Ford sounds painfully hopeful.
“Yeah,” Stan admits. (It feels like a mistake; it feels like he’s breaking.) “Where to next?” He asks. Ford smiles at him and tears open the fabric of reality with a neon flash of blue light (it tastes like ozone and terror). Ford burns in the light, teeth gleaming when he says:
“Glass Shards Beach.”