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Here We Go Again [Venomous Edition]

Chapter Text

He finally felt powerful.

Being able to destroy whatever he wanted, Fink by his side. He had a whole planet to himself.

It was everything he wanted.

Well, that’s what he thought.

Something just felt off; something just wasn’t right.

It wasn’t until he tired himself out that he realized why.

He had never minded being alone before. He actually preferred it. No one to judge him, no one to say that he was weak. He had grown used to the solace before he found Fink. It took a bit of getting used to, but he still managed to have his alone time. He still enjoyed being alone more than anything.

So why was he feeling so alone on this planet?

Well, he got used to being around people.

To being around him.

That’s what was wrong.

He wasn’t with him.

“Boss? What’s wrong?” Fink pulled him out of his thoughts.

He was staring at Earth, the planet being very close by. Fink was standing beside him, having just finished another destruction frenzy. He sighed, putting on a small smile for her. “I’m fine, Fink.”

She was silent for a few moments before saying, in a quiet tone, “I miss him too.”

“I really screwed up, didn’t I?” His let his gaze drop to his hands. They were shaking.

“Gee, you think?” She deadpanned.

He sat down and wrapped his arms around his legs, keeping his eyes on Earth as if it would disappear at any moment. He wondered how he was doing. How were his kids? Was he happy… without him? He sniffled a bit at the thought. He had been an awful boyfriend; he wouldn’t blame the other if he was much happier without him.

“Aw, jeez, boss, don’t cry.” Fink quickly spoke up. “I-I didn’t mean it-”

“No. You’re right.” He tried wiping the tears out of existence but more just replaced them. “I messed up. I don’t deserve him….”

“Don’t say that! I’m sure if you just apologized, he’d take you back!”

“Fink, relationships don’t just work out like that.” He sighed, looking to his minion. “What I did was unforgivable.”

“I forgave you, boss!”

He had to look away, more tears blocking his sight. He had a small, almost disappointed smile. “I couldn’t imagine why.”

“I already told ya.” She laid a hand on his shoulder. “I’ll always be by your side to the very end.”

Fink immediately found herself trapped in a tight hug. In any normal case with anyone else, she would likely try to get out of it, but feeling her boss quiver, quiet sobs he tried to hold back shaking him as he held his death grip on her, she knew she had to return the affection. She had never actually seen him break down like this; he was usually so calm and collected. He really did regret what he had done.

It was a little while before he finally let go of her, drying his tears. He stood, looking once again to Earth.

“Can we go back now? There aren’t any videos game here!”

He laughed. “Yes, we can go back now.”

It was fun while it lasted, but his best life was not going to be spent on this planet.

Chapter Text

He was right in there.

Only a door separated them now.

A lot has changed since he and Fink were put on that planet. For starters, Ernesto, Mikayla, and Jethro now run Boxmore. It was a bit of a shock to walk into his old home and see almost a completely new place. Ernesto had informed him of where he was, but he couldn’t just go there empty handed.

He stared at the crudely made cake in his hands. Fink said that it looked fine, but he couldn’t stop thinking of all of its flaws. Would he even like it? He had tried his best, as he wasn’t really the best when it comes to baking, but would the gesture go unrecognized?

Was this even the right address? Sure, it was the only house within many miles, but was it really the right address? He had to admit that he never thought the other would live so secluded.

He shivered as the snowfall picked up a bit. It was definitely a bad idea to only put on a scarf, but it’s not like he had anything more.

“All you have to do is go over there, knock on the door, and say you’re sorry.” Fink’s voice echoed in his head. That was what she had told him before he left her with Ernesto.

It was easier said than done.

His held his fist just inches from the door, his arm shaking. He wished that he could say it was only from the cold.

It was yet another moment of worried contemplation before he knocked.
He took a deep breath as he waited for the other to answer, holding the cake behind his back.

The door swung open, and it took all he had in him not to start crying again. Lord Boxman stood in the doorway, a confused hum leaving him. Despite the cold, he could feel sweat sliding down his face.

Quickly, he showed the cake, hiding his face behind it almost in shame. With a quick breath, he said, “I’m sorry.”

He peeked out from behind his hiding place, seeing Boxman’s face in shock before his features softened. He shook his head with a small smile. “Here we go again.”

He felt frozen, and not just from the cold. Hearing the other’s voice once again made his heart seem to do flips. He took a deep breath, knowing that this blind feeling would get him nowhere. They would never be like they were, and he had to accept that. Nonetheless, it still felt great to see him again. Of course, his eyes were just staring at the cake.

“You know, you should be wearing more than a scarf.” He noticed movement in front of him, making him look up to Boxman. “Come in.”

Oh. He honestly didn’t expect the other to let him in. Quietly, he stepped inside, seeing Boxman close the door behind him. He saw Mikayla- was that Mikayla? She looked smaller. Anyways, the bot stretched on the floor and walked towards them curiously. He kept his grip on the cake, nervously gnawing at his bottom lip.

“You look frozen; let’s get you warmed up. How long have you been out there?”
He wasn’t going to say that he spent a full hour just staring at his door. He just remained frozen as he watched Boxman walk towards his couch, grabbing a blanket, and walking back to him.

“Please put down the cake, Venomous.” He gulped as he realized that he was still holding onto that thing for dear life. He shook as he set the cake down on a nearby table. Warmth filled his chest as Boxman draped the blanket over his shoulders and lead him to a chair by a fireplace, saying quietly, “Let’s get you a cup of tea.”

Boxman took the cake and walked towards a door, likely leading to his kitchen. He noticed the other glance back at him before walking out of the living room.

He just stared at that door for a moment, mind seeming to go blank. Another shiver wracked his body, and he quickly pulled the blanket tighter around him.

He was right there. He saw him. He had on a cute sweater and looked so cozy.

He took a deep breath once again. He had hurt Boxman; it was likely that they wouldn’t actually get back together, and he couldn’t blame him, really.

He always ended up ruining his life in one way or another.

He could never have a happy ending.

He didn’t deserve one.

He couldn’t just blame Shadowy for all of his problems. He had made that deal. He wanted more power.

He had never felt like he had enough.

And that was his problem. Not anyone else’s. Especially not Boxman’s.
His hands clenched into fists around the blanket as his eyes burned. He wasn’t going to cry. Not in front of Boxman.

Why was he even here again? Boxman seemed happy without him; all he would end up doing is hurting him again.

Maybe he could just sneak out, leave Boxman to his best life.

No. He took a deep breath. He needed to face the things he did, and if Boxman didn’t want to see him again, then he’d make sure that he was out of the other’s way.

The sound of the door opening drew him out of his thoughts. He saw Boxman walk back into the living room. He remained quiet, not really wanting to even meet the others eye. He watched the other set a tray on the table in front of the couch.

He was right there. Right there in front of him with that snuggly looking sweater. He couldn’t read the other’s expression; he could barely even look towards him, but at the same time it felt as if his glances were quickly turning to long stares.

He was right there, and he was speaking to him.

Chapter Text

“How much sugar?” Boxman questioned as he picked up the teapot.

He opened his mouth, but nothing actually came out. He glanced away, feeling the fear flowing through him. He closed his eyes, trying to form the words that he had lost. His voice felt small. “I-I don’t need that much….”

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the other dumping sugar into his glass. He felt himself flush; Boxman really did know him well. Boxman poured the tea into the cup, mixing it before holding the saucer with the cup towards him. Silently, he took it, already sighing as he felt the warmth spread on his hands. He closed his eyes for a moment, just trying to calm himself down before he started shaking again.

‘No, don’t you dare cry.’

He opened his eyes, seeing Boxman stare at him. He tensed slightly, instantly dropping his eyes to his cup, taking a small sip.

“How have you been?” Boxman asked.

Venomous didn’t look at him, only mumbling out, “I’ve been fine. Fink and I just got back to this planet….”

“And how’s Fink?”

He took a deep breath. “She’s been fine as well; she missed her videos game, of course, but I’m sure she’s happier now with them.”

“I’m sure that she was happy without them. She really is happy with you.”

Venomous couldn’t help the small, depressed chuckle that came out. “I couldn’t imagine why.”

Boxman sighed. “She loves you and looks up to you, that’s why.”

He shook, sniffling slightly as he tried to hold back tears. “She shouldn’t; I’m not the best person to look up to.”

“I don’t think she wants a good role model.” Boxman spoke up. “I think she just loves the person who loves her and takes care of her. Your unwavering love for her is more than enough for her to be able to look up to.”

“I hurt her.” He said in a whisper. Don’t cry. Not in front of him.

“People make mistakes; you helped her learn that before you made your own mistakes.” Boxman said softly.

Venomous had to set the saucer and cup down because he was shaking so bad. He tried taking more deep breaths. “It doesn’t make what I did any less acceptable.”

Boxman looked at him. “No, it doesn’t. But… you know what you did was wrong, and you have accepted that. And she knows the loving and caring man you were before you succumbed to power. She knows that you are sorry that you messed up. She knows that now you’re trying to live your best life with yourself.”

He wrapped the blanket around him tighter. His voice cracked a bit as he spoke. “I don’t deserve her.”

“You deserve to be around people who love you.” The other stated, as if it was some kind of fact.

Venomous had to laugh. “That’s the last thing I deserve.”

“It’s what everyone deserves, Venomous.” He looked at Boxman as he spoke. “As long as you make an effort, you deserve someone to be there to help encourage you. There is no helping yourself if you don’t have any support to help you.”

“How-” he stopped as his voice cracked, tears threatening to spill from his eyes. “How can you still sit here after everything I’ve done to you and your kids and say that I deserve any of that?”

He watched as Boxman leaned back, taking a deep breath. “Because part of me growing past what you did was accepting that I was partially responsible for putting myself into a rushed relationship. If I had taken a moment to think to myself and actually act on my own doubts, what happened might not have ever happened. To accept myself and learn to love myself, I had to accept that you were still just a person who wanted love but also had insecurities that lead you to need power in your life to feel any self worth. Your flaws don’t make you a horrible person, and you learned your lesson and resigned yourself to death before the monster you made without even thinking about anything else.”

He felt his heart twist painfully. He had a small, pained smile on his face as he replied. “You seem to have everything worked out.”

Boxman shook his head, sighing. “There is still a lot to work on. Everyone has room for improvement. And, anyways, I sicked Mk.II on a door to door salesman yesterday for knocking because I was half asleep. Not the best move.”

The first real laugh he had experienced in a while left his lips. “It was the salesman’s fault then.”

“I could have at least had the courtesy to threaten him and slam the door in his face first.” Boxman said with a small cheer.

“I’ve missed you.” He blurted out without thinking. He felt his face flush as his eyes widened.

He screwed up.

Boxman was silent, only making Venomous that much more anxious. He was frozen in place, terrified of what the other was thinking. Boxman looked away and he felt his heart drop. He screwed up. Oh no, oh no-

“I’ve missed you as well.”

Chapter Text

Venomous couldn’t stop the tears this time. He quickly buried his face in the blanket, trying his best to hide his face.

“You know, we’ve had a lot of time to be angry at ourselves and each other for what both of us did. I forgive you.”

Venomous’ eyes widened as he looked to Boxman, tears still flowing down his cheeks and makeup blatantly ruined. His voice was once again a whisper, the sobs present in his talking. “Please don’t lie to me. I don’t think I can handle it.”

“I would never lie to you. I’m a villain, not a monster.” He watched as Boxman picked up his cup and took a sip. “You don’t have to worry about me not being genuine, Venomous. Trust me, I’ve learned that lesson.”

Venomous was shaking again. Pure emotion flowed through him, and he couldn’t stop crying. Why couldn’t he stop crying? Oh Cob, please let him stop crying-

The sudden appearance of a slice of cake pulled him out of his downward spiral. He stared at Boxman, sniffling as he tried to calm himself down. His sight was blurry, no matter how many times he tried to blink away the tears. He took the piece, curling up in the chair and not looking back at the other man.

“I’m sorry.” He squeaked out, cursing himself for squeaking.

“I know. You don’t have to be.” Boxman wiped a tear off his cheek before licking a finger and trying to clean off some of the eye liner that was surely streaked down his face. He felt his face heat up as he stared at Boxman.

“You don’t-” He had to clear his throat, as he sounded very high pitched. “You don’t have to do that….”

Boxman smiled softly at him and continued. “I know.”

Well, damn.

He knew for a fact he was blushing now. He didn’t trust his voice, so he remained quiet, his thoughts still swarming. But they weren’t entirely bad. Sure, he still couldn’t stand himself, but he couldn’t ignore the way his heart fluttered feeling Boxman rub away at the mess he made.

“Thank you.” He sniffled out, taking a deep breath. He did feel better.

“You’re welcome.” Boxman pulled his hand away, having finished, and Venomous felt his heart ache. He wanted to feel that touch again.

‘No, stop.’ He had to tell himself. ‘You’re here to make things better, not worse.’

It wouldn’t be right to ask for their relationship back. He had ruined too much for that to be a possibility.

Right?

He stared at Boxman, thoughts spiraling more as he debated. He gulped, feeling more and more conflicted.

He sighed. “I… I don’t want to make you uncomfortable, but I’d like to talk more….”

“What do you want to talk about?” Boxman asked, smiling.

“Well, I visited Boxmore while trying to look for you. What made you give up your company?” It was a question that had been on his mind since he saw Ernesto, Jethro, and Mikayla in charge, but he didn’t want to make him uncomfortable if it was anything bad.

Boxman chuckled a bit before sighing and looking up to the ceiling. “I wanted to take the time to get to know myself and work on projects that I wanted to work on. Ernesto was destined to take over and I thought it was time. I still do work for the company, but I don’t work as the CEO anymore.”

Venomous nodded. “You must be proud.”

“There’s no way I couldn’t be.”

“What about the others?” Venomous questioned. “I didn’t see them there.”

“Oh, you know, Shannon’s working at Boxmore media corp as an executive producer. I started that little side project when she wanted to work in television and there were no opportunities for robots to get into talk television. Raymond started a band, but he still runs that little fashion business he started when he was young. He’s one of the top selling fashion designers still. Darrell got himself a little farm; he’s happy with the simple life, and I don’t blame them.” Boxman said, seeming very proud.

“A lot sure has happened.” Venomous pulled at his sleeves nervously. He had missed so much in the time he was getting all of his anger out of his system; he didn’t even know how many years it had been.

“Yes, but it’s not like the planet completely renewed itself while you were gone.” Boxman chirped.

“It sure does feel that way.” Venomous sighed. “I’m going to have to get used to all of these changes.”

Boxman nodded but didn’t say anything.

Venomous soon found himself standing. “I should probably go get Fink; we have to figure out where we’re living now that we’re back.”

“Are you sure you can go back out in that cold with just a scarf? Where did you leave her anyways?”

“I don’t really have a choice, Boxman.” Venomous looked out the window; it surely was snowing a lot more than when he had arrived. “And Fink is at Boxmore. Ernesto said he’d watch over her while I visited.”

“Well then, I’m calling him.” Boxman crawled across the chair and reached for a nearby phone. “You can’t just walk there in this storm; it’s miles away. I’ll at least get you a car or something.” Boxman started dialing.

“You don’t have to go out of your way for me, Boxman.” Venomous glanced back at the window. No, he did not want to walk in that; he’d freeze to death, but he didn’t want to bother anyone.

He watched Boxman put the phone up to his ear. “Ernesto… Yes, I did get my visitor… Yes, I’m fine-... No, Ernesto, it’s okay; calm down… Okay, yes I know… One thing, I need a favor… I need you to send a car over there is no reason that… Oh, really… Oh, really?... Of course, I’ll call back in the morning… Tell her that she can watch anything in my PG 13 movies if she gets bored… Goodnight, Ernesto…” Boxman put down the phone. Venomous watched him expectantly. “Alright, Boxmore is under enough snow that they can’t send out a car until the snow stops in the morning. If you want to walk all the way back in this storm, go ahead. But you don’t have to.”

Don’t give him a choice between staying with him and leaving in the cold; there was really no contest, but he didn’t want to be a bother. “Boxman, I don’t want to make you uncomfortable by staying here….”

Boxman sighed. “You can stay in the guest room; it’s okay.”

He didn’t trust himself enough to stay, but he’d literally freeze to death if he walked back. Finally, he gave up and sighed, looking anywhere but at Boxman. “Alright, you win.”

Boxman chuckled. “If you’re going to be stubborn about it, fine, but I really don’t mind.”

“Are you sure?” Venomous’ voice was quiet, looking to Boxman with almost pleading eyes.

“Absolutely.” Boxman said before laughing a little. “I don’t get many visitors anymore. Now, get back over here in the blanket; you’re already starting to shake again.”

As Boxman stood from the chair and walked back to the couch, Venomous smiled a bit. He hadn’t realized that he was shaking, but he wasn’t complaining about that command, easily curling back up in the chair with the blanket draped over him. He sighed in relief as he felt warmth spread back to him. He stared at Boxman as he picked up his piece of cake and took a bite. Oh Cob, he didn’t know what he was doing making that. What if he hates it-

“It’s good.” Boxman said, taking another bite.

“Really?” Venomous questioned, feeling his face heat up. “I don’t really bake that much….”

“Baking is kind of hard to mess up if you know how to measure and turn on an oven. You’re a chemist for Cob’s sake.”

This time, his face felt hot with embarrassment. “Well, I mean- I just, um….” Damn it, he was at a loss for words.

“I mean, it’s a good cake, Venomous. You could have made a worse cake. I’ve eaten worse cake. I’ve made worse cake.”

Venomous stared at Boxman for a long moment. “That just sounds like you’re trying to cover up what you said before. You can be honest; I don’t actually like cooking, let alone baking.”

Boxman sighed and put down his plate, pinching the bridge of his nose and inhaling deeply. “No, Venomous, I’m not trying to cover up what I said or take it back. I just have a bad habit of not thinking about what I say. I’m trying to start saying what I mean and not just saying the first thing that comes to my mind. I really like your cake; you did a good job on it.”

“I lived with you for a long time; I know that you say what comes to mind first.” Venomous mumbled, feeling his face heat up once again from the compliment. “But thank you.”

“You’re welcome, and I know that I can be really rude and harsh. I realized that my kids never knew that I loved them because I always just thought they did. I never said it because it was  never the first thing that came to mind because even if I was always thinking about loving them and being proud of them. I never really said it because the newest thought was always what came out first.” Boxman adjusted himself, taking a deep breath. “I guess it’s just something I’ll always have to work on.”

Oh, he knew that Boxman never said any I love yous. He wasn’t going to bring that up, of course. That’d just open up some wounds that didn’t need to be opened. He still felt tense throughout that conversation though.

He watched as Boxman brought his hands up to his face and rubbed at it, taking another calming breath. “I guess it’s also something I have to apologise for.” Boxman took another calming breath. “I’m sorry for never actually telling you how I felt. I don’t know if it would have changed anything, but I want you to know that I never wanted you to feel put down because I had trouble expressing myself.”

Great, and the tears are fighting back with a vengeance. He tried to hold them back once again, voice wavering slightly. “At least you’re learning for your kids. I’m sure they appreciate it.”

“I’m doing this for more than my kids. I’m doing it for me. I don’t want to live the rest of my life not knowing myself. I want to live my life so that I have value in myself and to spread the happiness that makes me feel with the people around me.” Boxman picked up his teacup and leaned back.

He was expressing that same amount of passion that he used to see when they attacked the plaza, Venomous noted. “I’m happy for you, Boxman.” He smiled, feeling a pang in his chest. He sighed; he couldn’t keep living like this. “Boxman. I…” He took a deep breath, looking away from the other man. “I know that I messed up, but I really don’t want you out of my life. I know that we may never be able to be what we were, but my best life can’t exist without you.”

“I’m not the best with my words, you know that.” Boxman took a deep breath, coughing a bit, his face red. “But I would love to start things over between us. No, it won’t be the same, but I think if this time we take things slowly and not get ourselves caught up in the same kind of reckless, head first attitude to our relationship, we can make something better.”

Damn it, why was he crying so much today? He quickly rubbed a few stray tears off his cheek, trying to act like he wasn’t crying. The smile was clear on his face though. “You really want to start over with me?”

“Absolutely. I think before we do any starting over, we need to find you a job and a place to live. I think I can fiddle a job for you at Boxmore if you would like to work under Ernesto.”

“That sounds great.” Venomous really couldn’t keep the smile off his face. Of course, he did blush a bit as he realized. “But, um, you know I don’t really have the strength I used to…. I can’t really do manual labor.”

“There are plenty of bots that can do manual labor in the factory. I’m sure that synthesizing new ways to make those organic parts could be valuable to the company. We really haven’t updated that side of things since I figured out how to do basic compositions. And of course there are always positions in other parts of the company.”

“I could do that. It’s been a while since I worked in a lab.” Venomous nodded. “I miss it, really.”

Boxman laughed a bit. “Good, then I might just have to join you at Boxmore tomorrow!”

“Thank you.” Venomous smiled. “I really do appreciate it.”

“It’s not a problem. I’m not really sure where else you could‘ve gotten a job and be used to your full potential. And some new Boxbot designs have come onto my platter lately. Having some more biological parts integrated would be just the thing for the new models. I can’t even think of anyone else who’s been able to integrate biological parts into my designs as fluidly, even myself.” Boxman took another sip of tea.

Venomous blushed. He laughed a bit. “You really do know how to compliment someone, huh?”

Boxman snorted his tea a bit, coughing a little. He blushed. “Well, I’ve been working on that too.”

“I like it.” Venomous simply said, glancing away from Boxman. Had that been too far? Well, it’s too late now.

Boxman giggled a bit. “I’m glad.”

He glanced back at Boxman, feeling his face heat up. It felt nice to finally be able to casually talk to him. It felt nice just to be around him again. He looked down as his blush grew as the thought of cuddling up beside him on the couch arose in his mind. He didn’t act on it, of course. That could be a little too much a little too fast. He just missed the other’s touch.

“It feels strange being back on this planet.” Venomous commented, trying to steer his thoughts away. “There’s so many different biospheres and plants and animals. The planet Fink and I were on was just so bland. There wasn’t anything on it besides dust and rocks.”

“Weren’t there also buildings?” Boxman chimed.

“Well, yes, but they were empty and-” Venomous cut himself off. “Wait, how did you know that?”

Chapter Text

There was no possible way that he could know that without seeing the planet himself, and why would he want to do that?

Boxman blushed bright red. “Well, uh-” Boxman gulped and took a large drink of tea. “I might have just glanced through a telescope once or twice in interest of the new planet in our solar system.”

Venomous felt himself blush. Had Boxman seen him staring back at Earth longingly? Did he see him taking his anger out? Those were some bad moments. “O-Oh really?”

Boxman laughed awkwardly. “It was just once or twice; I never really saw much more than some buildings or whatever.”

“O-Oh.” He didn’t know why he was disappointed. Wasn’t he just worrying over if he saw him? “Well, I, um. I never really noticed how close Earth was from there.”

Lies

“Oh, well, it’s only about 672,826.5 kilometers away.” Boxman said quickly.

“How did you figure that out from only a few glances?” Venomous tilted his head to the side in curiosity.

Boxman looked away, almost seeming panicked. “I heard it from, uhhhh.”

Venomous arched an eyebrow, quickly catching on to what Boxman was trying to hide. “Did you look through that telescope more than a few times, Boxy-Boxman.” He had to quickly correct himself, blushing at his mistake.

He had to smirk as Boxman flushed. The man was noticeably highly flustered, and he couldn’t help but think that it was adorable despite the guilt he felt for using the nickname.

“You can admit it, Boxman.” Venomous laughed.

“Don’t worry, I tried not to look when it wasn’t day time. I don’t want to invade your privacy or anything. And I never looked for Fink because that’s weird. I mean, what’s that gotta look like! And I did not once look for you, but if I did just happen to find you, I would only watch for a few minutes! And I haven’t really done it recently. Just when you first were there to make sure that you were okay!” Boxman blurted out.

Venomous felt his face heat up. He didn’t expect all of that. “I-I um…” He trailed off, feeling his face grow hotter. “It’s kind of flattering that you cared enough to check up on me after all of that.”

“Well, I was kinda concerned after you didn’t initially come back, and when Fink wasn’t anywhere to be found. When I was told about where you were, I just thought about seeing what the planet was like. So, I pulled out a telescope and just made a small check. I really didn’t want to invade on you; I just wanted to be sure that you were okay.”

Venomous started to cover his face a bit with the blanket due to how hot his face felt. “That was really sweet of you, Boxman.”

Boxman coughed and laughed a bit. “Aw, thanks.”

He glanced to the side. “You know, I sometimes watched Earth, wondering what was going on, and how everyone was. H-How you were doing….”

“I guess we both had our minds on each other, then.”

Venomous blushed. “Yeah, I guess so.” He then said, as quietly as he could. “You were actually the reason I came back….”

“O-Oh.” Boxman blushed. “Do you want more tea? Cake? A sandwich?”

Venomous blinked at the sudden change of topic. He glanced down at his untouched tea and cake. “I think I’m fine.”

“Oh, well alright then.”

Damn how much he wanted to hug him. Instead of following his desires, he quickly picked up his tea and drank it. It was cold.

“Well, ah. It’s getting pretty late." Boxman coughed. One glance at the clock told him that this certainly wasn’t the case, but he was too awkward to refuse this statement.

“Yes, it seems so.”

“Well, do you want me to show you your room?” Boxman asked.

“Yes.” Venomous said bluntly, standing up and hissing slightly at the sudden coldness in comparison to being under a blanket.

“This way!” Boxman said. He noticed Makayla Mk.II following him and smiled a bit. He followed Boxman to a door. “Here. There should be extra blankets in the dresser.”

Venomous nodded, opening the door. “Yes, thank you.”

“Well, make sure you use them. It can get pretty cold.” Boxman started to back away from the door. “Goodnight!” A beat before a small mutter. “PV.”

Venomous felt his face heat up greatly, brain malfunctioning only slightly. “Um, yes, goodnight, um, Boxy.” He then immediately ran inside the room.

He took deep breaths as he leaned on the other side of the closed door, face burning brightly. He sighed. How can Boxman turn him into putty with just one nickname? It was unfair.

He glanced around the room, locating the dresser. He opened it and pulled out the blankets stacking them all on top of each other on the bed. It didn’t seem like it would get cold enough for his cold bloodedness to make him freeze overnight, but he wasn’t taking any chances.

He sat on the bed, staring at the door. Sleeping alone wasn’t new to him. Not anymore, at least. Yet it felt so cold and lonely every time ever since they broke up. He had gotten so used to cuddling up to someone every night that he still felt off going to bed alone years later. Now with Boxman in the same house as him, it felt even worse.

No need to dwell on that now. It would probably be another while before he would ever feel that comfort again anyways.

Sighing, he slipped under the covers and curled up, closing his eyes and trying not to think about how much better he would feel curled up next to Boxman.

Chapter Text

There was a thudding noise. Venomous grunted before throwing the pillow over his head. He heard Boxman’s voice, but wanted sleep more.

“I KNOW YOU HAVEN’T SLEPT IN A BED FOR A LONG TIME, BUT COULD YOU PLEASE GET UP SO THAT WE CAN GET GOING BEFORE NOON!”

Venomous rolled out of bed, rubbing at his eyes sleepily as he opened the door. “Boxy, could you keep it down?” He asked, too asleep to be embarrassed or even think about the nickname.

“I tried that for 10 minutes before I screamed.” Boxman stated bluntly.

Venomous yawned, leaning forward slightly on Boxman. “Boxy….” He whined.

“PV, we have to get you ready for a job interview.”

Job interview? Venomous yawned again, rubbing at his eyes. He started to wake up a bit, realizing what he was doing. He quickly jumped away, face completely red and eyes wide. “Um, yes, right!”

“You’re going to need a suit, and some makeup. I also assume that you haven’t done anything for your resume for a few years, but luckily your future employer already has that on record because you never deleted it from the Boxmore PC back up system.” Boxman said. “But you need to brush your hair and get ready to leave before anything.”

Face still red, Venomous nodded quickly. “Yes, yes! I’ll, uh, do that!” He ran a hand through his hair nervously, it catching immediately in a bunch of tangles, in which he ended up just pulling his head backward, hissing slightly at the pain it caused.

“And let’s add a shower too.” Boxman walked away from the door. “You have a bathroom off your room. Towels free of charge.”

Venomous felt his face grow hotter as he nodded. “Will do!” He then closed the door behind him, groaning at his complete awkwardness. Did he smell that bad that it was noticeable? Was it his hair? Why did he have to make a fool of himself already?

He walked into the bathroom, catching sight of his hair in the mirror. That was actually awful. How in Cob’s name did it get that bad?

He groaned and just got ready for his shower.

After that, he found himself, walking to the living room, yawning. He was still tired. Sure, ever since Shadowy was destroyed, he had gotten much better nights of sleep, but he still did like to sleep in. A lot.

He walked into the living room, stretching as he did so. He noticed Boxman sleeping on the chair, Mikayla Mk.II curled up on his lap. He smiled, walking to Boxman and lightly tapping his cheek. “Boxman?”

“Mmm, yes?” Boxman muttered out, leaning into his hand.

He quickly found himself short circuiting at the gesture, but he didn’t want to move his hand after that. Boxman opened his eyes and quickly stood, Mikayla falling off of his lap. Venomous stepped back slightly, nervously putting his hands behind his back.

“Well, now that we are ready to go, let’s go.” Boxman laughed.

Venomous looked away as he nodded, face feeling as if it was on fire. “Yes, let’s.”

Boxman walked to the door and looked at Venomous. “We need to get you a coat too.”

He pulled at his scarf slightly, following Boxman. “I guess that would be nice….”

Boxman opened the door to the winter wonderland outside, already shoveled with a car waiting outside. An Ernesto stood next to it.

“Hello Father! Professor Venomous! Are you ready to go!?” Ernesto called.

“Of course, Ernesto, but we have a few places to stop before Boxmore!” Boxman called, skipping to the car. Venomous followed behind, shivering and gripping at his arms. Boxman got in the car, Venomous not too far behind.

Ernesto closed the door and skipped to the driver’s seat.

“Fink is doing well, right?” Venomous asked the bot.

“Oh, yes, she played videos game until she dropped last night!” Ernesto called starting to drive.

Venomous chuckled lightly. “She sure did miss those.”

“I can imagine.” Boxman laughed back.

“She needs to get back on a proper sleeping schedule though.” Venomous sighed.

“Well, once we get you back on your feet, you can get her back into a normal life.” Boxman called.

He saw Boxman smile out of the corner of his eyes, flushing slightly. “I probably should’ve considered this on the other planet.”

“You two were having a break. Who needs a bed time on vacation?” Boxman laughed.

“It was too long of a break. Fink is still growing; she needs proper sleep, and I completely slacked on her homeschooling.” Venomous sighed, resting his head in his hands.

There was a small pause before Venomous felt Boxman’s hand on his shoulder. He turned to look at the other. “It’s okay; we all make mistakes.” He could feel the sympathy in Boxman’s stare.

He looked away. “I feel that I may have made too many, and now I don’t know what to do….”

Boxman sighed. “I felt that way too when I got back from space, but I’ve managed to find something in myself. I know you will be able to as well. You just need to start with little steps.”

He couldn’t hold himself back from hugging him. “You make me want to try.”

He felt the other wrap his arms around him, causing him to feel nothing but warmth, despite the cold. “I’m happy to help you.”

He didn’t want to let go, but he ended up pulling himself out of the hug, once again wrapping his arms around himself nervously. “That was too far, wasn’t it?”

“I don’t mind occasional affection. I just don’t want to take it too much farther than that for now.”

Venomous sighed in relief, nodding. He had never usually been that affectionate, but Boxman had changed him in that manner. He craved it, but he was absolutely willing to take it slow. “Alright.”

He saw Boxman smile and nod before looking out the window. “Ernesto, could we stop at this tailor shop?”

There was a ‘yes, father’ as the car pulled into the parking lot. Boxman opened the door to the car when they pulled to a stop. He watched Boxman hop out and he scooted out behind him. Boxman smiled to Ernesto. “Hopefully, it won’t be that long.”

He followed Boxman into the store, not even checking to see what store they even stopped at.

Chapter Text

“Father!” Raymond yelled. Venomous froze as he realized.

“Ray! Could I get a hand with this guy over here?” Boxman called.

Raymond gasped seeing Venomous. He jumped into the air and aimed an arm cannon at him suddenly.

“You-”

“RAYMOND!” Boxman screamed. Venomous waved awkwardly but otherwise remained frozen in place. Boxman stood between them.

“Father, what are you doing?” Raymond questioned.

Boxman sighed. “Can we just get a suit or two please?” Boxman looked at Raymond with absolute petty love and care. Raymond sighed.

“Well, he would look good in a new sport coat.” Raymond strutted off to the back.

Venomous glanced to Boxman awkwardly. “He sure wasn’t happy to see me….” He didn’t really blame him.

“I’m sorry, but I maybe should have given a heads up.”

“It’s fine. I can’t say I blame him.”

Raymond burst out of the back with at least 6 suits. “Alright! What do you need a suit for!?”

“I just need one for a job interview.” Venomous said.

Raymond gasped wildly. “But what company is it for? Who is the interviewer? What’s their favorite color?”

He became quickly flustered with all of the questions being thrown his way. “I’m, uh, doing a job interview for Boxmore….”

Raymond gasped loudly. “I know the perfect suit!” Raymond tossed the suits in his arms and ran back into the back.

Venomous looked to Boxman with slight fear. He only got a thumbs up in return.

Raymond came skipping back. “This sleek sport coat with subtle pinstripes and a full flair collar should pair absolutely wonderful with a vest and a high waisted pair of straight legged, pressed pants. You absolutely need a pair of winged saddle shoes to go with it.” He was presented with that exact suit. “Now please go put it on.” And then the suit was shoved in his arms and he was pointed to the changing room.

Venomous simply nodded and followed where he was pointing, walking into the changing room. He took a deep breath as he changed.

He smoothed the suit jacket out as he looked in the mirror. It didn’t look half bad, but of course he should expect nothing but perfection from Raymond. He combed back his hair a bit with his fingers, wincing as he caught sight of his makeupless face. It really was awful that he ran out.

“He looks like shit by the way.” He heard Raymond say as he walked out.

“You aren’t wrong.” He simply shrugged. “I guess that’s just what spending years on a deserted planet does to you.”

“Both of you stop!” Boxman gasped, his parental instincts bleeding through his voice. “Now, Raymond, what else do you need to do to make him look better for his interview with Ernesto!?”

“He needs a bit of makeup, and to properly shave.”

“I need a lot more than a bit of makeup.” Venomous rolled his eyes. “And I’m just going to ignore that last part.”

“If you insist.” Venomous was pulled to a chair. Raymond got to work as fast as possible on his face. After he was finished, he pulled out a mirror. “How’s this?”

Venomous took a moment to look over his face, simply nodding after he had finished. “This is acceptable.” He then looked to Boxman. “What do you think, Boxman?”

“I think you look like new hire material.” Venomous smiled to Boxman. “Well, thank you, Ray.” Boxman pulled out his wallet and slapped a pile of cash on the counter.

“Father, if you insist on paying, you could at least pay the proper amount.” Raymond huffed.

“It’s a tip.” Boxman squawked. He turned to head to the door. “Let’s get going; we can’t be late!”

Venomous nodded, standing and following behind. He turned to Raymond for a moment before they left. “Thank you, Raymond.”

“If you do anything to even displease father, I hope you know you won’t last more than a day running.” Raymond hissed. “You’re welcome come again!” He cheered as if he hadn’t just threatened him.

“If it came down to that, I wouldn’t be running.” Venomous said quietly with a death wish in his eyes before turning and leaving. Boxman hopped into the car, Venomous entering right behind him.

The car started again.

“You look nice.” Boxman commented quietly.

Venomous felt his face heat up. “Thank you. Your son really does have a talent.”

“Thanks, I like to think he got his style knowledge from me but that’s probably not true at all.” Boxman said honestly.

He chuckled. “I quite like your style.”

“I know that’s a lie.” Boxman shot jokingly, laughing.

“Why do you think I let you go to Billaim’s party dressed in an undershirt?” Venomous laughed, recalling the memories well.

Boxman chuckled. “Because I had already ripped off two terrible options and the gold chains were better than that red jacket.”

Venomous laughed. “You had on so many layers that day; I honestly wonder why.”

Boxman shrugged. “I guess it’s a weird habit.”

“Trust me, if I cared about what you looked like, I would’ve made you change before the party.” Venomous smiled.

“You probably should have, looking back.”

“Since when did you care about what other people thought?” Venomous raised an eyebrow in question.

Boxman gave a small chuckle and looked away. “I would’ve been wearing overalls or suspenders in any other outfit.”

Venomous smiled, laying a hand on his shoulder. “It wasn’t that bad. At least you didn’t ruin a really expensive suit.”

“No, I just ripped three outfits in half.” Boxman shot back, smiling.

“It was cute to see how excited you were.” Venomous chuckled.

Boxman laughed. “I was always excited to spend time with you back then.”

“I could tell.” Venomous’ smile was small as he reflected on that day. “I really liked seeing how excited you would get. It made me feel, I don’t know, important for once, I guess.”

“You were picked as the best of the best of only two heroes under Foxtail for P.O.I.N.T., and I made you feel important?” Boxman sighed.

“Well, yeah.” Venomous glanced away at the mention of his past. “I mean, it’s not like I ever actually felt like part of the team. And besides, look how I turned out.”

“To be fair, none of the original P.O.I.N.T. members worked out.” Boxman said offhandedly.

Venomous burst into laughter. He could hardly form his sentence. “Y-You’re not wrong!”

“Of course I’m not. I’m the only villain who ever actually attacked their base. If anyone has any authority on how much of a failure P.O.I.N.T. was, it’s me! One guy lost his powers, one guy got kicked out for ‘killing’ you, the kangaroo decided they liked books more than punching people, one girl had a kid, and you ran off into the sewers and became a twink snake man! Foxtail has the worst judgement of any hero I’ve ever seen!” Boxman called, gesturing largely.

Venomous could hardly breathe through his laughter. Tears pricked at his eyes due to how much he had been laughing. He wiped them away.

“Oh, calm down. You’re going to smudge your makeup.” Boxman said before bursting out into laughter as well.

“I ran off into the sewers and became a twink snake man!” Venomous laughed. “You’re hilarious, Boxman!”

“Did this just occur to you!” Boxman laughed.

“I guess so! I never thought about it before!” Venomous leaned against Boxman, still laughing.

Boxman leaned back into Venomous as well, holding himself as he laughed with Venomous.

“Aw, they are getting along!” Ernesto called from the front seat, driving perfectly.

Venomous felt himself blush as his laughing died down into chuckles. He looked to Boxman, who was also calming down, feeling a loving smile form on his face. They stared into each other’s eyes for a while, Venomous feeling his face heat up even more.

“Ernesto, please pull into the next department store.” Boxman called.

Venomous looked away from Boxman, face finally cooling down as he looked out the window.

Ernesto pulled into a parking lot. Venomous froze at how many cars were around. He looked to Boxman, a bit of panic in his eyes, but quickly shut that down, putting on a neutral face.

“We just need to get you a coat, shoes, and a folder for your resume.” Boxman said firmly. “And a good pen.”

Venomous gulped slightly but nodded. It had been a while since he had been around so many people, but he was sure that he could handle it.

Boxman opened the door as Ernesto stopped at the door. He jumped out, Venomous following behind.

“Alright, let’s get this over with!” Boxman skipped to the door. Venomous took a deep breath before following, glancing every which way. Boxman slowed down, walking next to Venomous. “So, what kind of coat do you want?”

Venomous glanced to Boxman before shrugging. “I don’t really care. As long as I don’t freeze-sleep, I’m fine.”

Boxman nodded. “Alright, let’s see what they have for mountain climbing.”

When they had entered the store, Venomous tensed. There were way more people than he first thought. He felt his heart beat speed up significantly as he looked around, seeing people in every direction. He was trapped. Would anybody recognize him? Would anybody remember what he did?

Boxman walked over to some winter coats, bulky and heavy. Venomous quickly followed him.

“How about something like this?”

Venomous’ mind was still greatly preoccupied, but he took the time to nod while he was trying to make himself appear smaller. “Yes, something like that is fine.”

Boxman gave him a supportive smile, which did help, but he was still internally dying. “They have one in purple.” He pulled it off the rack. “Try it on.”

He nodded, taking the coat from Boxman and slipping it on. The warmth that he was given from it made him relax slightly. Then he realized where he was and tensed again, glancing around once again.

“Alright, let’s get you those shoes then.” Boxman sighed. Venomous nodded, taking off the coat. Boxman skipped off towards the shoes, staying close to Venomous. He wrapped his arms around himself, seeing that the shoe section was a bit more crowded but followed along.

“Raymond said saddle shoes, right?” Boxman asked.

Venomous took a deep breath, his voice still quiet. “Yes, I believe so.”

“Well, I guess that we should start looking.”

“W-We’re looking together, right?” Venomous quickly asked, the panic inside him growing at the thought of being alone around all of those people.

“Of course.” Boxman replied.

Venomous gave him an appreciative smile, trying to calm himself down by not looking at anyone but Boxman. Boxman took Venomous by the sleeve and started to pull him down the aisle. Venomous felt his face heat up at how close they were to holding hands. He wished that they would, but he wasn’t going to start that, especially not in front of so many people.

Boxman stopped at a pair of saddle shoes. “How do these look?” He let go of Venomous’ sleeve.

He was quick to wrap that arm back around himself as he nodded. Whatever it took to get out of there. “Yes, those are fine.”

Boxman nodded, picking up a box in Venomous’ size. “Alright, time to get the pen and the folder! Maybe leather bound?”

Venomous nodded. “Yes, let’s hurry and do that.” He didn’t know how much more of this he could take.

Venomous followed Boxman to another section of the store, this one thankfully being a little less crowded, but not by much. Were they having a sale or something!? He tried taking deep breaths to calm himself. Boxman wouldn’t intentionally put him in a bad situation, right?

They stopped in front of some professional supplies. “I can’t pick what pen you want.”

“These are a little overpriced, don’t you think?” Venomous questioned. He definitely didn’t have the money for that, and he was not letting Boxman pay for it either.

But the other simply shrugged. “It’s good form to take notes in an interview and meetings, having a high quality pen shows you take value in what the person has to say. You wouldn’t hire someone with no interest and with a cheap broken pen!”

Venomous glanced to the side. “I never really needed a pen for the one job I did have, and I started my own company after that, so I guess I just don’t really know….”

Boxman huffed, giving Venomous a smile. “You’re going to need more coaching than I thought.” He then looked at the pens. “Do you like fountain pens or ballpoint pens?”

“I like using ballpoint more.” Venomous said, catching the glance of a nearby customer and again trying to make himself seem smaller.

“Alright, how about just a simple sleek one, here.” Boxman picked up a random ballpoint pen and handed it to him. He took it, simply nodding. “Then we’ll get it.” He then plucked a folder off a shelf and started walking to the front of the store with Venomous at his side. He sighed in relief as they walked.

They made it to a register, Boxman putting down the items and pulling out his wallet. Venomous gulped as he had passed over his credit card.

“You, um-” He had to take another deep breath. “I feel bad that you’re paying for everything….”

Boxman laughed. “I used to feel the same way. Don’t stress it.”

He was definitely going to stress it, but he didn’t make another comment, only looking down. Boxman took the bag from the cashier and smiled to Venomous. “It’s not like I don’t have any money. Let me just do something to help, okay?” He started towards the door, Venomous rushed to follow him.

He sighed. “Things really have changed, huh?” He kept his arms wrapped around himself as he walked. He used to have money and tell Boxman the same kind of things.

“It’s okay.” Boxman looked at Venomous and handed him the coat. “I think I owe you at least a little spoiling. After all, you bought me an entire company.”

Venomous took the coat, slipping it on quickly. “I don’t want you to think that you have to do that because I bought you your company back.” He did use that to his advantage when they broke up…. What an awful thing to do.

Boxman smiled and put a hand on his arm. “I don’t have to; I want to.”

Venomous looked to Boxman, face heating up exponentially. The warmth was so strong, he probably didn’t even need the coat with it. Boxman smiled and Venomous had to look away; he knew his face was way too red.

“Now, we have an interview to ace.” Boxman chirped, causing Venomous to smile.

“Yeah, let’s do this!” He actually felt confident for once in the past few years. He was pulled to the car, and the two got in.

“Ernesto! On to Boxmore!” Boxman called, passing the bag to Venomous. “And you have to shoes to put on.”

Venomous quickly nodded, taking the shoes out of the bag and switching them out from his favorite, knee high boots.

“Alright, Venomous. What’s your experience with interviews?” Boxman asked.

He quickly searched through his memories. “Uh, I was put through a rigorous training course in my first interview. After that, I was self employed.” He shrugged.

Boxman sighed. “Alright, let’s crash course then. You are applying for a scientist job in Boxmore as a former employee. Try and keep it casual while maintaining professionalism. You should answer honestly and directly with his questions and look out for double edged questions. If he asks you if you have transportation, say yes, if you have a place to live, say yes. He’s trying to bait you into giving details on your current living arrangements, which if they don’t sound good, he won’t hire you. If he asks what you’re five year outlook is, you should absolutely say self fulfilling words that denounce you as being a happy Boxmore employee. Try and bring up facts about Boxmore, and how it’s being run. Boxmore profits have been on the rise and show no plateau. The newest robot announcement was the Mikayla Mk.II and you think it’s a great product.” Boxman was looking directly at him. “You get all that?”

There was some kind of dial up sound effect in his mind, but he nodded.

“Alright, I don’t think Ernesto would try and do anything crazy in the interview, but can you remember any fancy science stuff that you can spit out enough jargon to confuse him into thinking you have an answer?”

“I can hear you!” Ernesto called.

“Shut up.” Boxman hissed.

“I mean, I did make prototypes of bio-robotic combinations back when we were running Boxmore together.” Venomous blinked.

“Bring that up.” Boxman called. Venomous nodded.

“We are here!” Ernesto called.

Boxman looked at his watch. “Good, still early.” He jumped out of the car, Venomous stepping out as well.

His heart stopped at he saw the bodega across the street. Those kids- they looked so much older- were building snowmen outside. He felt frozen as he saw KO.

“Let’s go inside.” Boxman said softly.

Venomous gulped and nodded, forcing himself to turn away from the sight. “Yes, I’m sure Fink is waiting to see me.” He managed to get out.

Boxman walked to the front doors of Boxmore, Venomous right behind him.

They stepped inside.

Chapter Text

“Boss!” Fink called, running and hugging Venomous. He smiled and hugged her back.

“Hey there, Fink. How was your night?”

“It was great! There are so many new videos game!” She was obviously going to go further, but she noticed Boxman and stopped.

“Long time no see, kid.” Boxman chirped.

She pulled Venomous down to her level and whispered in his ear. “How’d it go?”

He smiled and gave her a thumbs up. She then turned to Boxman and smiled. “It’s great to see you again.”

“My how you have grown!” Boxman opened his arms, gesturing at her. “You’re going to be taller than Venomous at this rate.”

“Heck yes I am!” She called.

Venomous laughed. “I’m sure that’s true.”

Boxman laughed. “You’re getting so big that I’m going to have to make something bigger than those trikes for you now.”

Literal stars were in Fink’s eyes. “Really!?”

“Absolutely!” Boxman called.

“See! I told you making up with him would be great!” Fink called to Venomous, too excited to have any tact. Venomous blushed slightly with a small chuckle, not looking at Boxman.

“Well, I’m glad at least someone had their priorities straight.” Boxman called. “We can go to my workshop and look at some little designs while Venomous has his interview.” He winked.

“Interview?” Fink looked to Venomous.

“Yes, hopefully, I will be getting a job here.” Venomous explained. He then looked to Boxman. “But if you’re going to make something for Fink, please just make sure it’s safe.”

“No promises!” Boxman yelled. Once Fink was distracted by yelling in happiness, he gave Venomous a thumbs up. He sighed in relief. He didn’t need to lose her for real this time.

Boxman leaned over the reception desk and stole a legal pad from an Ernesto, who voiced a small ‘hey” but didn’t argue, as he pulled out a new one. He skipped to Venomous and handed it to him.

“Take this and go get ‘em.” Boxman called, pushing Venomous towards the inside of Boxmore. “Put it in your folder!”

Venomous quickly nodded, doing as told before calling out as he walked away. “Fink, be good! And be careful!”

“I’ll be fine!” Fink called.

Venomous walked out of the room, taking a deep breath as he walked to where he was supposed to have his interview. He shook slightly but quickly calmed himself, seeing the room that he had to be in.

He knocked on the door, opening it when he heard a ‘come in’ from the other side.

The room hadn’t really changed too much. There was still just a singular desk with a potted plant in the corner. The large picture that used to hang on the side of the room had changed. It was a family picture of Boxman and all of the bots, them all wearing cowboy hats. It must’ve been taken after he had been put on that planet. They looked so happy….

“Ah, Professor Venomous! Come in!” Ernesto greeted from his spot behind the desk.

Venomous walked in further, standing on the other side of the desk, gripping onto the folder Boxman had got him nervously. Really, Boxman’s interview prep session had made him way more nervous than he was originally.

“Look, I know that you were expecting a full out interview, but I know what you can do. Do you still know how to integrate bio-life into robotic-life?”

“Yes.” Venomous nodded, more confused than anything really.

“Then, you’re hired!” Ernesto went to shake the other’s hand, but the sound of an unauthorized build was going through the production line. “FATHER!”

“What?” Boxman yelled back through the intercom.

Ernesto sighed and pressed the intercom. “We’ve talked about this.”

“What am I supposed to do? Ask permission every time I want to see how a prototype functions?” Boxman huffed.

“Yes!” Ernesto said, completely exasperated.

“Well, I already sent the order!” And Boxman turned off his intercom.

Ernesto sighed and stood. “I should go see what he’s done. You’re still hired though.”

They both walked to where Boxman and Fink were, Fink running to a convertible.

“Well, howdy! How’d it go!” Boxman called, his face brighter than the sun as he stood next to his new piece of work.

“Did you-” Venomous sighed. “Did you make Fink a convertible?”

“Yes.” Boxman said bluntly.

“WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE COMPANY!?” Ernesto yelled. “FATHER, WE TALKED ABOUT THIS!”

“I make all the specks for Cad. We can start development of the lines for it in about two weeks, and its base cost is only about 1053 technos so we can sell it as a car for teens at a low price.” Boxman crossed his arms and huffed. Ernesto put both his hands on his face and sighed. “And I made a version without weapons.”

“Oh, well, I can sell that!” Ernesto called, cheering up.

“Boxman, Fink can’t have a car!” Venomous sighed.

“She’s almost 13 to 17. She’s going to want one eventually.” Boxman informed, looking pleased with himself.

Venomous rubbed his face with his hands in exasperation. “She’s too young.”

“Aw, c’mon, boss! It’s so cool!” Fink called, giving her best begging face. Venomous stared at her for a long while, his resolve breaking with each second.

“It only maxes out at 65, standard highway speed!” Boxman chirped.

Venomous looked at Boxman tiredly. “She’s too young to be driving! You never know what could happen!”

“But you allowed her to drive when she was previously living at Boxmore?” Ernesto called.

“Yes, but that was before-” He cut himself off, feeling unwanted memories pop up as he held back tears.

“Alright, well, when she’s ready, it’ll be here.” Boxman said.

Fink pouted and crossed her arms, but didn’t comment, seeing her boss stress. Venomous sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose and trying to calm down, pushing the memories away. “Alright.”

“Well, now, you better tell me how it went!” Boxman called.

Venomous looked to Boxman. “It went fine; I got the job.”

“Congratulations!” Boxman jumped up and ran over to Venomous, patting his arm.

That attention craving part of him wished it was more than just a pat, but he pushed that desire back as he let a small smile spread on his face. “Thanks.”

Boxman smiled before looking to Fink. “It looks like I’m going to have to make you something else new.”

“Really, Father?” Ernesto called.

“I’ll get it approved this time.” Boxman huffed.

“I doubt it. “Ernesto huffed back.

“I hope you’ll run it through me before as well.” Venomous crossed his arms.

“Well, let’s deal with that now!” Boxman looked at Fink. “What do you want? Anything you want!”

“Oh! There’s this cool weapon from my favorite videos game-”

“No.” Venomous cut her off.

“Aw, you’re no fun anymore!” Fink huffed.

“Fink.” Venomous sighed. “Please.”

“Alright.” Fink groaned, in thought. “Oh, I know! I want a new gaming keyboard!”

“Of course!” Boxman jumped to his computer. He looked back at her. “Do you want any modifications to… help you win?” Boxman smiled widely.

“Heck yeah-”

“No.” Venomous sighed, shutting her down again. “Fink, you don’t even like cheating.”

“Oh, I thought he meant I could shoot people with it.”

Venomous glanced to Boxman with a stern look. “That’s not what you meant, right?”

Boxman gasped offendedly. “I wasn’t going to have it shoot people or cheat. I was going to add an electrocution element.”

Venomous freaked. “What!?”

“I mean, a button to send little shocks through the internet and out the other side. You can’t play when your fingers are on fire.” Boxman grinned. “But, if you don’t want any of that.” Boxman clicked the red button.

“FATHER!” Ernesto yelled. The conveyor belt produced a keyboard.

“Hush, we can copyright her gaming name and sell this for triple the price.” Boxman called over.

Fink quickly grabbed her keyboard. “This is so cool!”

“It’s RGB and fully programmable!” Boxman called, crossing his legs and knitting his fingers together. “I also added a back suspension board so when you press harder on the keys, they counchion out and cause less stress on the stitches. I did double stroke switches that give a smoother full press while still registering at half stroke! It also has a gaming switch that can turn off certain keys to avoid pressing mishaps! And I just threw your cute little logo on there as well, it’s RGB too!”

Fink’s smile was wide as she ran to Boxman and hugged him. “Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!”

Boxman smiled and laughed as she hugged him, petting her hair softly and hugging her back. “It’s no problem, you little rat. Now go and pown some scrubs.”

“Ernesto! Can I use your computer!?” Fink quickly asked, excitement in her eyes.

“Of course, little one!” Ernesto called. Fink quickly ran out, laughing all the way.

Venomous looked to Boxman with a fond smile. “That was really sweet of you.”

“Ah, what can I say. I have a soft spot for bastard children.” Boxman said, turning back to his computer, starting to type again. He pressed the red button.

“Father-”

“It’s for our new employee!” the conveyor belt whirred and popped out a little plaque for a desk.

Venomous walked towards it, picking it up. He read aloud, “Boxmore lead biologist: Professor Venomous.” He smiled to Boxman. “Thanks, Boxman.”

“No problem-o, Venomous!” Boxman finger gunned at Venomous and winked. Venomous blushed slightly before chuckling a bit.

“Well, I’ll let you two get back to… catching up!” Ernesto said, blinking at his father and walking out while finger gunning at Boxman.

“IT’S NOT LIKE THAT YOU BUCKET OF BOLTS!” Boxman yelled. Venomous felt his face heat up significantly, coughing awkwardly.

“Yes, well, I should probably find a place for Fink and I to stay.”

“Well, if you need any help with finding a place, I’m sure I could find a few listings in the area or help you look for an agent.” Boxman informed.

“Thank you, Boxman.” Venomous smiled. “I think I want to find some place a bit secluded. After all, people are going to find out that I’m back; I might as well find a place that’s easy to hide.”

Boxman sighed. “I’m sure, if you want, we can install some security after you find a place.”

“That would be great. Thanks.”

“No problem.” Boxman laughed a little. “I was actually wondering if, once you and Fink were settled in,” he paused for a moment, “I was wondering if you would like to get dinner? Talk about some of what’s changed since you’ve been gone.”

Venomous blushed slightly and smiled. “I’d love to, Boxman.”

Boxman smiled back, a bit of a blush dusting his face. “Wonderful. There’s a new restaurant you’ve never seen before. I’ve not had an excuse to try it, we can go there.”

“That sounds like a plan.” He just hoped he wouldn’t mess it up.

“I’ll be sure to keep in touch until then.”

“Of course.”

Chapter Text

He was darting around his new place, making sure that everything was good for Fink. This was her first time without a babysitter, and he was a little more than scared. Sure, the security measures were amazing, but he was still worried.

He saw himself in the mirror, quickly smoothing his hair back, and rechecking his makeup.

“This is the millionth time you’ve checked the mirror!” Fink quipped. “You look fine.”

“Thanks, Fink.” Venomous sighed, not really believing her. His phone buzzed and he quickly checked it. It was Boxman saying that he was here.

“Okay, I’ll be back soon. Don’t answer the door to strangers, there’s leftovers in the fridge-”

“Yeah, yeah, I know!” Fink rolled her eyes. “Now go have fun!”

It took him another moment to open his door, fear wracking his entire body. He took a deep breath and opened the door, trying his best to push away his nerves. It didn’t work, but there was an attempt.

Oh Cob he hadn’t been out with anyone in a romantic sense since Boxman, and that was years ago. He was going to mess it up somehow; he knew that. They didn’t necessarily go on many dates when they were together previously.

He wouldn’t be the first to admit that they did go a bit too fast when they had first gotten together, but he had always known. They had rushed into something new and wonderful without even really thinking of the consequences. He didn’t even know how he had fallen so head over heels for the other, but he had dived head first into a relationship when he was in a bad place. Arguably, he was in a worse place now, but at least he was working on his problems unlike before.

He hoped that things would go for the better now.

He closed the door behind him, turning to see Boxman in a car. He took a deep breath and walked to the passenger side, opening the door and getting in.

“Hello, Boxman.”

“Hello, Venomous.”

Venomous leaned back slightly, glancing to Boxman. “So, tell me about this new restaurant.”

Boxman nodded, putting the car in first gear and started to drive off. “Well, it just opened in the plaza a few weeks ago. It’s a little cafe. I wanted to see if it was really all the hub-bub that it’s been getting. I heard it had cats as a gimmick. I thought that’d be cute.”

Venomous smiled. “It sounds nice.” Of course, he was worried that he’d be spotted there, especially since it was in the plaza. He trusted Boxman, though.

“Yeah, I just wanted to go someplace casual and chill.” Boxman made a vague gesture and shifted the car as he drove. “You know, no pressure.”

Ah, yes, no pressure while being around people. Venomous bit his lip nervously. If shopping was anything to go by, he would probably have another breakdown, but he wanted to try. After all, Boxman had set this all up, and he was absolutely determined to make him not regret that choice. Boxman had changed him, even if it wasn’t too obvious, and it was definitely for the better. If he somehow screwed up again, then he wouldn’t know what to do without the other. He was ready to make things right; he just hoped he wouldn’t harm his chances.

“We are almost there.” Boxman announced.

Venomous took a deep breath, mentally preparing himself for what was to come. Boxman slowed down and pulled into the parking lot for the plaza. Luckily, it didn’t seem too crowded, but he still worried.

“Well, here we are.” Boxman said, turning off the car after having parked it.

Venomous nodded, pushing any and all nervous thoughts out of his mind. He could manage to be around a few other people if it meant being with Boxman. No one else’s thoughts on him mattered. He could do this.

He got out of the car at the same time Boxman did. He scanned the surroundings, quickly seeing the new addition to the plaza.

“Well, that’s the place.” Boxman called as he straightened out his sweater.

“It’s cute.” Venomous commented.

“Long name.” Boxman added, starting to walk to the cafe. He turned to Venomous. He quickly followed. They walked together towards the small cafe, Venomous again having to metally prep himself. Boxman skipped to the door and held it open for Venomous.

“Thank you.” He smiled as he walked in.

“You’re welcome.” Boxman stepped inside.

A cup was thrown and shattered right beside them. “Dang it!” A voice called.

“Well, that sure is a greeting.” Venomous quipped.

“Are you really going to throw your china at your future father-in-law, you little punk!” Boxman shouted.

“Sorry! It was just a reaction!” Radicles laughed awkwardly.

Venomous choked. “Father-in-law?”

“He decided to move from my daughter to my son.” Boxman said, eyeing Rad. “At least he didn’t try and kidnap Raymond.”

Rad blushed. “That is not what happened!”

Venomous blinked. So, Raymond finally got with Rad? He remembered the bot often talking about his little crush on the alien when they worked a bit on his designs.

“Well, at least you asked before making a big decision with this one, and I guess he won’t shut up about you.” Boxman said, putting his hands on his hips. “Now, can we get a table?”

The alien quickly nodded, glancing at Venomous with suspicion before showing them to a small table.

“Thank you, Rad.” Boxman said, sitting down. Venomous sat down across from him.

“Uh, no problem!” Rad handed them each a menu before going to another table, still glancing at Venomous every now and again.

“When did that happen?” Venomous questioned, growing even more nervous under Rad’s gaze.

“A few months ago when Rad got back from being the captain of the space force.”  Boxman said, putting down his menu. “Nothing could stop those two after Rad got back. I guess that’s for the best; Raymond wouldn’t shut up about being lonely.”

Venomous nodded. He really was happy for them, after how much Raymond talked about him. The space force thing threw him off a bit, but he guessed a lot really did happen when he was gone.

“I think I’m going to get a, oh boy, these names, a ‘kitty cocoa’ and - um, I guess a ‘Tail long cake’ to go with.” Boxman stated to him. “I mean, it can’t be that bad.”

“I think I’ll go with the ‘black catfee-’” he winced slightly at the name, “And the ‘jellybean scone’ doesn’t look completely awful….”

Boxman nodded and put down his menu. Rad came back to them, brandishing a pad of paper and a pen. “Are you two ready to order?”

“I’ll have the cocoa and the tail long cake.” Boxman said, passing the menu to Rad, who collected it along with Venomous’.

“I’ll just have the black coffee and the scone.” He said, not really looking at Rad, who he knew was still trying to figure him out.

“On it.” Rad nodded and left again.

“The cats are a cute touch.” Boxman stated as a cat strutted past them.

Venomous nodded, tensing slightly as a cat jumped onto his lap. The cat was small, gray, and had a small blue bow on top of it’s head. It rubbed it’s head against him, and he gently started to pet it.

“Aw, someone likes you!” Boxman called.

Venomous blushed. “It seems so.”

“So, is there anything you want to know about when you were gone?” Boxman asked.

Venomous glanced up from the kitten. He bit his lip contemplating even asking the question on his mind, but ended up sighing and not looking at the other. “Could you… tell me about KO?”

“I’ve heard he’s leveling up faster than ever. He fused with TKO and accepted that part of himself. He started to have a bit of a freak out a few summers ago when Carol and Gar got married. I think he was just having some trouble with getting used to the idea of growing up. I fought him for a while before I retired. He’s still working at the bodega and I hear he’s happy and getting tall. I try not to bother the plaza too much anymore. Ernesto has that covered.”

Sparks and El-Bow got married? In all honesty, he should’ve expected that. “So I didn’t ruin his entire life.” He sighed a bit in relief, talking more to himself than anything.

“If anything, you helped him find his inner peace with TKO.” Boxman said earnestly.

“The heck he did!” Rad called out defensively.

“He would have never found that stupid song if he never had o go swimming in his own subconcious now would he!?” Boxman yelled back.

“It’s still my fault that TKO even existed in the first place.” Venomous frowned. True, that was Shadowy, but he still felt responsible.

“TKO was the product of Shadowy Figure. You never had control over what he did.” Boxman stated.

“He was still a part of me.” Venomous sighed.

“That doesn’t mean that he was any reflection of what you actually wanted.”

“I’m a terrible father.” Venomous muttered.

“You know, you can always work on what you don’t like about yourself. You already are making an effort; that’s a lot to start out with.” Boxman said.

Venomous felt a small smile grow on his face. “I want to. I really want to.” He looked up to Boxman. “That’s why I came back here.”

“I know, and we are going to help you move past your mistakes and be your best you.” Boxman said softly.

“You sound like a cheesy self help book.” Venomous laughed.

“They do know what they are talking about.” Boxman said.

“Have you read any?” Venomous asked. Did he screw up? He didn’t mean anything bad about it. He just wanted a change of topic.

Boxman sighed, smiling a little. “A few, here and there.”

“Are you kidding me?” Rad laughed as he set their orders down. “You bought out the whole bookstore.”

Venomous watched Boxman go bright red. “I hope you know that I didn’t mean anything bad about it. I’m sure they helped you, and that’s all that matters.”

Boxman smiled. “They didn’t do all the work, but they do help you find the right tools you need to start picking up the pieces and rebuild yourself.”

“Rebuild yourself, huh?” Venomous smiled. “I could probably use a few of those.”

“I could give you a few recommendations.” Boxman suggested.

“That would be nice.” Venomous looked down, noticing the kitten was now asleep on his lap. “Thank you.”

“It’s not a problem.” Boxman sighed, picking up his cocoa and looking at it. “Oh?”

Venomous tilted his head slightly. “Hm?”

“It’s looking at me.” Boxman said blankly.

“What’s looking at you?” Venomous asked, glancing around.

“My cup.”

“Your cup?”

“Yeah.”

Venomous stood up just to look at the other’s cup. “It is looking at you.”

“I know.”

“How?”

“I don’t know.”

“Oh dear Cob.” Rad walked back over to them. “It’s foam.”

“With eyes?” Boxman looked to Rad.

“Well, yeah, I made it myself.”

“I didn’t know you dabbled in bioengineering.” Venomous looked to Rad.

Rad just blinked. “Have you two never been to a coffee shop before?”

“No.” They said at the same time.

Rad sighed. “It’s not real.”

“Then why is it looking at him?” Venomous asked.

Rad facepalmed. “It’s art.”

“It winked!” Boxman threw the cup, it hitting Venomous and exploding.

Venomous winced, feeling a burning sensation. “Why would you give him a living cup of coffee!?”

“The coffee probably just moved the foam!” Rad was very obviously exasperated.

“It winked!” Boxman yelled. He looked at his cake. “Does this have eggs in it?”

“Don’t worry! Ray told me that you don’t eat anything with eggs, so I made a fresh one!” Rad clarified.

“Is this alive as well!?”  Venomous quickly questioned.

“What!? No! None of this is alive!”

“So you killed it!” Boxman yelled, standing.

Rad had to facepalm again. “Ray didn’t warn me for any of this.”

“This is insanity!” Boxman slapped a pile of technos on the table. “I refuse to eat murdered food!”

“And I refuse to eat living food.” The two strutted out.

“I’ve seen you eat a live mouse once!” Rad called as they left.

Boxman huffed, leaning on the trunk of the car. Venomous stood beside the car. His face was still burning as he was soaked with coffee.

“Oh my Cob!” Boxman gasped. “I’m so sorry!”

“It’s fine.” Venomous smiled. He then started to laugh.

Boxman followed suit. They were both just cackling in the parking lot.

“This just might be our best date yet, Boxman.” Venomous gasped out.

“I didn’t know I could do worse than blowing up your house!” Boxman said hysterically.

“You literally paid him a downpayment on his whole house!” Venomous doubled over.

“You threw a cat across the room!” Boxman doubled over as well.

____________

Venomous’ head and sides hurt from how much he had laughed, and he still had a few chuckles left in him. They pulled up to his house, it having been a few hours since they left.

He smiled to Boxman.

“I had an interesting night.” Boxman peeped.

“I really enjoyed myself.” Venomous replied.

“Me too. It was a nice night besides the living cup of coffee.” Boxman sighed, beaming at Venomous.

Venomous thought for a moment before laying a hand on top of one of Boxman’s. “I’d like to do that again sometime.”

Boxman adjusted his hand to squeeze his.

“I’d love to.”

Venomous felt his heart leap at that, face heating up.

“I’ll find a real restaurant that doesn’t serve such weird food.”

“Sounds great.” Venomous smiled.

Boxman let go of his hand and continued to beam at Venomous. “Good night, Venomous.” He blew a kiss at him.

‘Fuck.’ Venomous’ whole face went red, and he could’ve sworn it burned more than the coffee.

“G-Good night, B-Boxman.” He managed to stutter out. He then functioned enough to quickly blow a kiss back.

He saw Boxman also go bright red. He knew that it was time for him to get out, but he couldn’t stop staring at the other.

He finally managed to function enough to open the door, stepping out into the cold air. He turned around as if he was about to say something, but loud music blasting from inside the house stopped him. “Fink!”

He sighed before saying a quick “Goodbye” and running back to his house.

Oh, the noise was much louder by the door. He quickly covered his ears, wincing. How could Fink listen to this so loud; her hearing was better than his!

“FINK!” He shouted once he got into the house. Obviously, the rat couldn’t hear him, so he had to struggle to go to her room, the music just getting painfully louder.

Her door swung open as he entered her room, clutching at his ears.

Fink noticed him and turned the music down. “Boss, you’re back! And… covered with coffee?”

He sighed with relief, hoping his eardrums weren’t too damaged. “Yes, we had a fun night. Now, it’s past your bedtime.”

Chapter Text

He just couldn’t get it to work.

He couldn’t count how many times it had exploded in his face, but he was all covered in soot.

He sighed. He’d just have to try again.

The next try was the fastest explosion he had gotten so far. He coughed, guessing that his lungs were more filled with smoke than air at this point.

“Was that a bio destabilization!?” He jumped at the sudden voice.

“Boxman!?” He quickly started trying to wipe the soot and grime off his face, but that was hard when his sleeve was also covered in it.

Boxman smiled. “I didn’t think that you’d be put in this lab far away from the main factory, but look at you! You look like a real scientist! I like the new lab coat.”

Venomous blushed, though it was probably hard to see with all of the grime. He smiled. “Uh, thanks.” He looked the other up and down. “I never thought I’d see you looking so dapper. I like it.”

“Oh this old thing?” Boxman tossed the jacket off into a pile of soot. “I just wear it for board meetings. This is much more exciting though.”

“That’s going to be hard to get out.” Venomous pouted at the tossed jacket.

“Good. I don’t want to attend another board meeting and if I look bad enough, Ernesto might let me sit them out. Just because I'm a former CEO and he enacted past presidents into the company by laws doesn’t mean I want to do anything.” Boxman ran a hand through his hair, messing it up.

Venomous hummed for a moment. “If you don’t mind messing up the suit, then maybe you could help me?”

Boxman lit up. “Absolutely!”

“Excellent!” Venomous smiled. “I’m having a bit of trouble with bonding the bio-life with the metal. Have you changed anything with the designs?”

Boxman thought for a moment. “Who is this for?”

“It’s for your new little project.” Venomous clarified, trying once again to rub the soot off his face.

Boxman seemed to light up as he pulled a blueprint from thin air. He looked at the design before quickly pushing the soot off of the table. He spread out the large spread, looking at the lines and specs on the page.

“Teagan is going to be a sweet little run about! I am making him an absolutely loveable little guy! He’s gonna have a really good pack bond! I’m also going to make sure that he can protect himself around his older siblings though!”

“I was told this was just going to be a vacuum cleaner.” Venomous raised an eyebrow.

Boxman puffed and huffed, looking at his blueprint. “There is no reason that just because their mainstream job is being a vacuum cleaner, doesn’t mean that I can’t put extra work into making sure my design is absolutely perfect.” Boxman laughed a little. He looked at the blueprint and smiled. “I made him with the ability to be anything the little guy wants to be. Well, at least the promoted unit.” He leaned on his elbows and looked over his blueprint.

Venomous felt his heart swell. “After all these years, I still adore your passion.”

He didn’t mean to say that out loud, but there was no going back now.

Boxman looked at him. He started to sniffle.

Well, he wasn’t expecting that. “Boxman? Are you okay?”

“I’m just so happy!” He then started to sob.

Oh Cob, what should he do?

“Father! You can’t just leave in the middle of a board meeting!” Ernesto called, kicking in the door.

Venomous jumped slightly, not expecting the other’s entrance.

“I’m sorry!” Boxman wailed.

Ernesto put his hands up and scooted towards Boxman slowly. “It’s okay, father. Did you just need a moment to calm down?”

I’m sorry!” Boxman ran to Ernesto, hugging him and burying himself in the bot’s suit jacket.

“It’s okay, father.” Ernesto rubbed Boxman’s back. He looked to Venomous. “He’s been getting a bit emotional when it comes to, you know.” Ernesto gestured to the blueprints.

At first, he was confused, but when it hit him, it hit him hard. Right, he was basically in the process of having a child. Knowing how sensitive Boxman is and how much he loved his children, it made sense. He simply nodded to Ernesto, feeling slightly bad that he didn’t know what to do.

Before anything else could happen, Boxman coughed and pulled away from Ernesto.

“I was just seeing where the explosions I heard were coming from. I thought that’d be more important than sitting through profits.” Boxman walked to the table and collected up the blueprints. He looked to Venomous. “Sorry about that. I get like an eight months pregnant mother when I’m starting to get to the stress of forging the first prototype of a new little one.” He held his blueprints and smiled.

“There’s no need to apologize, I understand.” He didn’t whatsoever, but he still didn’t feel like Boxman had to apologize for it.

Boxman smiled at him almost knowingly. Yeah, it was pretty obvious that he had no clue.

“Well, if you need a hand with the bio components, I should be able to give you a full break down of the metals and synthetics that are going to be used in their framework and exoskeleton!” Boxman chirped.

“That would be great; thank you.” Venomous smiled with appreciation.

“I’ll get right on that!” Boxman chimed, holding his blueprint tight and skipping out of the lab. “I’m going to do a write up on your synthetics! You’re going to have perfect exoskeleton! Yes you are!” He blabbered to the paper.

Once he was out of the lab, Venomous sighed. “Why is he just so gosh darn cute?”

“Uh, that’s nice.” Venomous jumped, whirling to look at Ernesto, face heating up significantly.

“Oh, uh, I didn’t mean-”

“It’s fine.” He quickly assured. “Just, could you please not distract him from his board meetings? It’s honestly his one job.”

“I didn’t even know he was here today.”

“Yeah, but he sure does seem to know how to find you.” The bot finger gunned, blinking on his way out.

Venomous blinked. He sure has gotten braver. A thought occurred to him, and he had to laugh a bit. “Like father, like son.”

Chapter Text

“Boxman has not left his workshop in weeks!” Ernesto paced back and forth.

Venomous sighed as he mixed his chemicals, trying to focus. “Yes, I know.”

“You have to get him out of here!”

“What? Why me?”

“You’re the only one he’ll listen to!”

“That seems like a stretch.” He set his beakers down.

“Not even Jethro could get him out!”

“Yeesh.” Venomous sighed. “What do you want me to do about it?”

“Take him out on a date or something! I don’t care! He just needs to be out!”

Venomous sighed at the begging bot, taking off his gloves. “Alright, fine.”

“Thank you!” The other sighed in relief as Venomous made his way out of the room, hanging his lab coat on a coat rack by the door.

As he made his way to Boxman’s workshop, he thought over places he could take him. He was still getting used to the new world around him, and he knew that there were still people who gave him looks whenever he was outside.

He sighed. Maybe they could just go for a walk. There was a calming forest a little ways away that would definitely get Boxman the fresh air he needed.

He stood in front of the other’s workshop, wondering if this was really a good idea.

Finally, he knocked on the door.

“I told you that I don’t want a sandwich Ernesto!” He heard from the other side.

“Then how about a walk?” Venomous questioned.

“C-Come in!”

The door slid open as Venomous walked in. When he saw Boxman, he couldn’t help but smile. “Ah, I haven’t seen you in weeks.”

Boxman laughed, seeming a bit nervous. “I have been in a moment of inspiration. Not that I’ve been trying to avoid anyone or anything with it. I just needed to get my hands into Teagan.” He put a hand over his face.

“Don’t worry about it.” Venomous  smiled. “I can see that you’ve been busy, but you should probably take a break.”

Venomous patiently waited for Boxman’s answer, seeing the other contemplate it. Of course he hoped that Boxman would say yes, but he’d have to understand if he refused.

“Well, I should take a little pause. I do need to pry my watch off, and I don’t have a crowbar in here.” Boxman stood up straight, pushing his welding mask off. Venomous could imagine all of the work he must’ve done. The power he had wielding his tools-

Nope, stop. Can’t do that now; he had a mission to accomplish. “How’d you melt the watch this time?”

Boxman laughed. “I dropped the welding torch.” He then sighed. “It chipped a tooth on the way out of my mouth and took my watch as a bonus casualty along with the skin around it.”

“And you didn’t get help?” He had felt his gut twist with worry; it could be bad if he didn’t get immediate treatment.

Boxman shrugged. “I stuck my arm in the quenching tank.”

Oh, yes, that totally helped his worry. “Boxman.” He said sternly like he would to Fink. “You shouldn’t do that. You could be seriously hurt!”

“Oh please.” Boxman waved his arms at him in a swift motion. “It’s just a little burn.”

His instincts quickly forced him to grab the man’s arm, checking the burn.

“PV, I’m fine. I’ve had a lot of burns.”

Venomous hissed. “Stop treating this like it isn’t a big deal.”

“Alright, what does the Professor prescribe then?” Boxman said, a laugh lining his voice.

“We have to get the watch off before I can do anything.” Venomous sighed, lightly pressing the edge of the burn. “Does it still hurt?”

“A bit, but not too much.”

Venomous nodded before letting go of him. “Right, we’ll you’re coming with me.” He was already on his way out. He smiled as Boxman followed him.

He lead the other outside of Boxmore and to his new car. He got into the driver’s seat, already putting his driving gloves on. After they were on, he checked to see that Boxman was in the passenger seat before turning the engine on.

He drove towards his house, glancing at Boxman every now and again just to see if he was alright. The other didn’t seem to show any outward signs of pain, but he knew he couldn’t trust that. He drummed his fingertips on the wheel nervously. Boxman was so involved with his work that he didn’t even try to take the watch off. He just hoped that it wasn’t too serious.

“Is there a kink in the steering wheel?” Boxman asked.

Venomous glanced to the other, seeing him squint at him. He sighed, reaching for his sunglasses and handing them to Boxman. “Put these on.”

He returned his hand to the steering wheel once Boxman took them. “Better?”

“Thanks.” Boxman chirped. “I wouldn’t think the snow would be gone in early February.”

“It’s late March.” Venomous glanced to Boxman again. “Did you seriously not come out for all of that time?”

“Teagan was being difficult. I needed to hand build his boards three times. I ended up having to make my own chip boards.” Boxman leaned his elbow on the door and the side of his head on his hand. “And my new rust proof alloy has been nothing but a pain because it’s so strong. I have to do at least three exposures on each piece before it gets soft enough to work with, and if I just leave it in the furness, it explodes because of the materials, so I have to keep it moving the whole time.”

Venomous gripped the steering wheel. “And you didn’t take a single break? I had faith that you were at least taking care of yourself!”

“You’re right. I just get caught up in the work. And with the little one on the way, I think I just sorta spaced out.”

“I was worried when Ernesto said you weren’t eating, but this!?” He felt stress basically consume him.

“I know… I know that I need to stop doing this to myself, but when I get going, I just can’t stop myself. It’s always been a problem, and of all the things I’ve worked on, I don’t think I ever really thought about dealing with this. Cob, I haven’t even exhausted myself like this since I was working on Mikayla and Raymond. Since I was working on… It’s just been a long time.”

Venomous pulled up to his house, turning off the ignition and turning to Boxman. “I don’t care what you say, I’m treating this, and then you’re going to eat and get some rest. No arguing with me.”

Boxman stared into his eyes, causing Venomous to soften slightly. He was still going to hold up what he said, but he felt bad for being so strict with him.

“I won’t. I’m all yours until you say I’m rested.” He gave him a soft and sincere smile that just melted his heart.

Sighing, he looked away. “Thank you. I don’t mean to be so strict, but you really worried me.”

Boxman unbuckled and opened the door. Venomous quickly did the same, stepping out. He closed the door and made his way to his house, already fumbling for the key.

Chapter Text

He quickly unlocked the door, seeing Fink resting on the couch and playing videos game.

“Fink, I told you to work on your piano.” Venomous groaned, no real heart in what he was saying.

They had recently had a talk about her learning, and she had been persistent in still being homeschooled. So, he made a deal with her that if she practiced her piano more often, then he’d let her keep being homeschooled.

“I was just taking a break!” Fink protested.

He sighed. “Please just go get my smaller saw.”

She didn’t even question it, just running off on all fours. Venomous gestured for Boxman to sit on the couch. Once Boxman was seated on the couch, he kneeled in front of him, holding his hands out for Boxman to let him see the burn once again. He gently held the arm, lightly pushing at the watch just to see any kind of reaction.

He noticed Boxman bite his lip and stopped. “I’m sorry.”

“It’s nothing, Venomous.” Boxman said firmly.

“Don’t lie to me.” Venomous held a stern glare towards the other.

“It’s just hard not to. What I mean is, I just. I can’t just go around being in pain at every little burn I get welding. Not around the factory.”

“You’re not in the factory. Be honest with me.” Venomous took a deep breath. “Please.”

“Of course, Venomous.” Boxman said with an obviously forced smiled.

Venomous sighed, slightly disappointed that the other wasn’t actually telling him anything. He decided to just keep his attention on the burn, pushing away the hurt he felt from that.

“I got your saw, boss!” Fink called. Venomous turned to see the young one carrying a large saw.

“I said my smaller one.”

“But this one is so much cooler!” Fink whined.

“I’ll do it.” Venomous stood, letting go of Boxman’s arm. “You stay here. Fink, be nice.”

He took the bigger saw away from Fink and walked out.

He sighed as he walked down his hallway towards his garage, trying not to think about how bad the burn could be underneath the watch. Boxman was obviously in pain when it was even lightly touched, even if he refused to tell him the truth.

Quickly, he grabbed his smaller saw and made his way back, deciding to stop for some burn ointment and bandages on the way back.

He came back to see Fink playing her videos game once again. She seemed to really like this newest one he got her. He was glad. After all, he knew nothing about those videos game.

He walked back to Boxman, kneeling in front of him once again. He set down the ointment and gauze, holding the smaller saw and holding his other hand towards Boxman. Boxman gently passed his burnt arm back to him, Venomous being gentle as he held it.

“Please stay still. I promise I know what I’m doing with this.” Venomous reassured, turning on the saw.

He watched Boxman nod before he lowered the saw onto the watch, ignoring the flares that jumped out. It was simple and quick getting it off, and he soon found himself turning off the saw and laying the messed up watch beside him next to the saw.

That looked bad. He gulped as he examined the uncovered burn, the worry twisting up his gut yet again.

He grabbed the ointment. Swiftly and as gently as he could , he applied it, not wanting to think too much about how much he was hurting Boxman with those gentle movements. He glanced up to Boxman, quickly regretting it when he saw the subtle pain the other was showing. He quickly looked back down, grabbing the bandages and wrapping the burn up. Once he was finished, he still kept his eyes on the now tended to burn. He blushed as he placed a gentle kiss on it, standing up quickly.

“I’m going to get you something to eat.” He didn’t look at Boxman as he quickly made his way to his kitchen.

His face was burning as he wondered if what he did was okay. It had felt right, but he probably made Boxman feel uncomfortable.

He sighed before washing the ointment on his hands off. He wasn’t the best at cooking, but he really didn’t want to go out for something. He checked the fridge and the cabinets, trying to see what he could manage.

He knew how to make spaghetti. It had been a long time, but he was sure he could manage.

He grabbed a pot, new and hardly used, filling it up with water. Once it was filled to the desired amount, he put it on the stove and turned it on.

He leaned against the counter as he waited for it to boil.

He’d have to find a place for Boxman to sleep. The house was small and didn’t have a guest room. He could just sleep on the couch, but that would be rude. In all honesty, Venomous would probably just end up giving his bed to the other and sleep on the couch instead. There was no way he was leaving the other alone at his own house, so that would have to do.

He grabbed another barely used pot, quickly making the marinara sauce before turning the heat down to low as the water in the other pot started to boil. He put the noodles in before grabbing three bowls as well as silverware. He returned to the noodles, stirring them occasionally. Soon enough, they were finished.

He turned off the stovetop and started filling the three bowls. He hummed a bit as he examined his work. It didn’t look absolutely terrible, so there was a win.

“The president of the universe!?” He heard Fink scream.

He frowned. What could they be talking about in there?

He grabbed the bowls, two in each hand and one balancing on one of his arms has he walked out.

“OH MY COB! You fought off another entire villain! What was their score!? Did you know them!? Did they try and take your terf!?”

He paused in the doorway, seeing Fink right up next to Boxman.

“You bet I fought off that villain! They wanted in on the hero I was fighting and I shook them right off! They had to resort to trying to send me to the cornfield in the sky to get in on my prize: one of the original P.O.I.N.T. members!”

Venomous felt his heart stop for a moment.

“NO WAY!” Fink was shaking Boxman.

“Fink.” He snapped sternly. The two snapped their attention to him. “Be careful.”

“Sorry, boss!” Fink quickly sat down, not shaking the other. Venomous sighed as he walked towards the couch, setting the three bowls on the coffee table.

“What were you two even talking about to get you so riled up?”

“Oh, just about some old-”

“It was so cool! He fought off another villain and he got that cool cowl from them because they were trying to fight the hero he was fighting and-”

“Alright, alright.” Venomous held his hands up. “Slow down, Fink. I can hardly understand you when you get so excited.” He then turned to Boxman, arching an eyebrow. “Your prize, by the way?”

“It was my first win against a hero, even if he did run off into the sewers later.” Boxman smirked to Venomous, trying to knit his fingers together but failing, and crossing his legs.

“Well, at least he didn’t need a villain’s help after he got shot.” Venomous fired back, smirking as well.

“Is this some weird kind of flirting or…” Fink trailed off, watching the two just smirking at each other.

“At least I didn’t retreat.” Boxman smirked before laughing.

“You were dying!” Venomous shouted, but he couldn’t suppress the chuckle that came out.

“YOU DEFEATED LASERBLAST!” Fink shouted, jumping up and down on the couch.

“It wasn’t hard!” Boxman chirped, still laughing.

“I could’ve just left you there.” Venomous rolled his eyes, crossing his arms. “If I was so easy, you probably could’ve managed yourself.”

Boxman flipped his wrist and leaned back into the couch. “I was just acting more hurt than I really was to make you feel better about having lost to a pie.”

“I was surprised, okay!?” Venomous laughed. “You don’t usually expect pies in your face when you’re fighting cute villains.”

Boxman snorted. “I guess you were distracted by my good looks back then as well.”

“Perhaps.” Venomous smirked.

Boxman laughed a bit more. “Too bad the cat ears covered your drop dead eyeliner.” He snarked. “You may have been able to distract me enough to stop your defeat.”

Venomous felt his face heat up as he looked away and scoffed. “Oh please. You wouldn’t have batted an eye.”

“I probably would have. A lot.”

Venomous could feel his face get hotter. He was about to snark back when Fink interrupted.

“Ew, you made it all gross and lovey dovey.” She stuck her tongue out.

Venomous laughed, ruffling her hair a bit and grabbing a bowl, handing it to her. Her eyes widened as she immediately sat back down.

“You cooked!?”

“Heh, it has been a while….” Venomous smiled and grabbed another bowl, handing it to Boxman. “But I figured just this once, I’d attempt something.”

He grabbed his own bowl and sat on the other side of Boxman, watching the two of them nervously as they started to eat. He noticed Boxman almost instantaneously finishing his bowl; he really hadn’t eaten much, had he?

“Wow, this is actually pretty good!” Fink piped up.

“Thank you, Fink.” He smiled before looking to Boxman. “Would you like more?”

“It was great, but no thanks.”

He nodded, finally taking a bite himself. He had definitely had better. He once again looked to Boxman. “Maybe you should get changed and get some rest. I’m sure I have something for you to wear. After all, you haven’t changed your clothes for weeks.”

“Nasty!” Fink scooted away from Boxman a bit.

“Fink, that’s not nice.”

“It is true.” Boxman stood, the front of his apron falling down. The shirt underneath was absolutely ruined.

“What did you do?” Venomous felt his stress spike up at the sight.

“Oh, just a minor molten metal explosion.” And Boxman had the nerve to smile as he rubbed the back of his neck.

Venomous swore he was close to fainting from all this stress. Actually, that sounds like a good idea.

Fink shouted as Venomous just flat out fainted.

Chapter Text

“WHAT ARE YOU DOING; YOU COULD DOWN HIM!” He winced at the sudden scream. He felt awfully wet. “HAVE YOU NEVER BEEN TOLD WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE FAINTS!?”

Why was Boxman shouting. He groaned as he sat up. He felt hands on his face, so he opened his eyes to see Boxman.

“Oh good, it’s okay now.” Boxman put his good hand on his shoulder. “Now,” Boxman cleared his throat. “HAVE YOU NEVER TOLD YOUR KID WHAT TO DO WHEN A PERSON FAINTS!? SHE COULD HAVE HURT YOU! OR ANYONE ELSE FOR THAT MATTER!”

“What?” He had to say, he was very confused. Why was he being screamed to about fainting?

Boxman put a hand on his forehead and took a deep breath. “Let’s not over react.” He took a few more deep breaths. “Let’s get you something for your blood sugar. Fink has a towel for you.”

He watched Boxman walk to the kitchen before laying his eyes on Fink, who looked scared out of her mind.

“A-Are you okay, boss?” She asked quietly, handing him the towel.

“I’m fine.” He quickly reassured, taking the towel from her and drying of his face. He still felt a bit woozy after he had apparently fainted.

Wow, okay, he had just fainted. It wasn’t as if that was a new feeling. He thought he had fainting spells before he knew that it was just Shadowy. It did worry him that he had fainted then, though. It was almost as if his body was just use to fainting when too much stress was put on it.

Joy.

His eyes caught Fink once more. She was still staring at him in worry, tears gathering into her eyes. He held open his arms and let her sit on his lap, hugging her tightly.

“I’m okay, I promise.” He whispered to her, petting her hair to try and calm her down.

“I-I was so scared! I didn’t know what to do!” She cried. “A-And then Boxman said that I could’ve drowned you and I just- I-I don’t want to lose you, boss!”

“Hey, hey, you’re not gonna lose me.” He smiled. “I promise, it won’t happen again.”

She looked up to him, tears streaming down her face. He felt his heart twist achingly at the sight, and he hugged her tighter, continuing to pet her hair. He rocked her back and forth, whispering assurances to her.

Once she had finally calmed down, Venomous glanced towards the kitchen. Boxman sure was taking his time. He worried his bottom lip as he looked back to Fink.

“What do you say we check up on Boxman?”

Fink only silently nodded, but as Venomous went to put her down, she stopped him. “Boss? C-Can you pick me up like you used to?”

“I thought you said that it made you feel like a baby?” Venomous rose a brow. Besides, she was getting a bit too big; it wouldn’t be long before he couldn’t hold her at all.

“I-I know. Just this one time?”

And, well, he couldn’t say no. So, he hoisted her up on his hip as he stood, beginning to walk towards the kitchen. That turned into a sprint when he heard a bang.

“Boxman!” The intense worry was back, seeing his fridge pretty much broken and the other man staring at his burned hand.

Boxman looked to him, holding his unarmed hand and smiling. “I-I was just getting something for your blood sugar, but you don’t have juice.”

He set down Fink and ran up to Boxman, putting both hands on his shoulders and looking at him with worry. “Are you okay!?”

A choked laugh left the other, and Venomous felt his heart twist in worry. “I’m fine! Don’t worry!” He could see his smile become even more forced.

He glanced to the fridge, eyes widening even more. “Did you break your hand!?”

“Oh, that!” Boxman laughed. “I can buff that out!”

“I don’t care about the fridge!”

“I’m fine.”

His stare was intense with worry. “Boxman, quit lying to me!”

“My hand has seem worse, Venomous. I am fine.”

Anger boiled inside him with full fledged disappointment. He was obviously not fine. He turned to Fink. “Get in the car; we’re taking him to the hospital.”

Venomous turned back to Boxman. “Come on.”

“I’m… fine….” Boxman said once again.

“Are you kidding me!?” Venomous shouted. He clenched his hands into fists. “I get that you want to lie to me about how you feel, but this!? You need help!”

“I have not once lied to you about how I feel!” Boxman yelled back.

“Not lied to me!? You’ve been lying to me all day! You’re fine! You’re fine!? Sure, yeah, it sure looks like it!” He hissed, feeling his tail materialize in anger.

“I have not once lied to you about any of my feelings!” Boxman screamed back.

He felt helpless in this situation. “You’re not fine.” His voice cracked as he spoke, holding back tears. “Did I do something?”

“It’s all been my fault for being such a useless person and not being able to function! You’ve done nothing! But I’m now fine!” Boxman let out a scream, tears seeming to gather in his eyes.

“You’re not useless.” Venomous sniffled slightly. He was the useless one out of them; it wasn’t right for the other to think otherwise.

“I’m a failure who locked himself in a rom injuring himself over stupid projects for months at a time. Just to bring functionless AI’s into existence to yell at them. I’ve always been useless.” Boxman started to wipe away tears with his claw.

Venomous tugged at his hair. “Stop that! I love how much you care about all of your children, how much care you put into them! You’re better than I am! I hurt both of my children in one go just because I wanted to feel powerful! If anyone has the right to call themselves useless, it’s the one who’s actually useless!”

The tears started falling as he saw Boxman look up to him. “You’ve only hurt them once. I can’t stop myself from hurting them.”

“Shut up! Shut up! Shut up!” He gripped tighter at his hair, tears streaming down his face. He was helpless, useless, powerless.

His vision was so blurry.

“Please stop!” He whimpered before once again fainting to the sound of Fink shouting again.

Chapter Text

He was waiting with Fink in the hospital’s waiting room. He just kept his eyes downward, staring at his hands. He had fainted again. His body just decided that the defense it takes against feelings of stress and helplessness was just going to be fainting. Dumb Shadowy, ruining his body’s coping mechanisms.

Fink was beside him, just playing her videos game. Once he had fainted, she had called an ambulance for the both of them.

Now, they were just waiting for him to get out of surgery.

‘I’m fine. Yeah, right.’ He huffed.

“Do you want to come back to the recovery room?” He looked up to the nurse and simply nodded.

He and Fink followed the nurse back. He tried taking deep breaths. It would do him no good to stress and faint once again.

They had made it to the room. He wanted to see Boxman, but at the same time, he didn’t. It was a weird combination of emotions that he didn’t want to unpack.

They walked into the room. He laid eyes on Boxman, feeling his gut twist painfully just at the sight of him on that hospital bed.

“Ernesto?”

That was an unpleasant feeling. Would he rather Ernesto be here?

“No.” He sighed, walking closer to the other, seeing Fink running to the other side.

Boxman had hazily look at his arm which had an IV. He then shot off the bed. “Thank Cob.” He gasped out.

“Boxman! Lay back down!” He called, but immediately took deep breaths afterwards. Don’t get too stressed.

“PV?” Boxman moaned. “PV.”

“Yes, it’s me.” He replied simply. Maybe if he just gave short replies, they wouldn’t start fighting again. He just wanted the other to be okay.

“Where am I?” He asked

“You’re at the hospital.”

“Great.” Boxman grunted.

“It is great.” He nodded. “You’ll be better in no time.”

Boxman snorted in response. “When am I going home?”

“A few hours at most.”

Boxman sighed and rolled his eye. His cowl was turned off, so, yes, eye.

“How are you feeling?” He had to ask. He was worried, even if he tried not to stress over it.

“Like shit.”

Yeah, that sounded about right. He watched as Boxman sat up, slower this time.

“They could’ve asked for my blueprints before making a new one.”

Venomous blinked. “What?”

“I broke it beyond repair, right?” He spoke bitterly.

Ah, that tone just hit him right in the chest. “They just finished surgery. Your hand will be alright.”

Boxman brought his claw up to his cowl, seeming to search for something. He flipped a small toggle, his mechanical eye lighting back up.

“Father!” Ernesto came bursting in.

“Fuck.” Boxman said bluntly.

“Father are you okay!?” Ernesto called.

“I’m fine; nothing to worry about.” Boxman smiled, obviously forced.

“Of course, father.” Ernesto replied.

Venomous coughed awkwardly, already starting to shield himself a bit. “He had an incident with the fridge….”

He tensed as he saw Ernesto turn to him. “How bad was it?”

“I’m fine!” Boxman snapped.

“How bad was it, Professor?” Ernesto asked pointedly.

“He had to have his hand reconstructed….” That was really about all he knew; he had still been recovering when he was told.

“Looks like someone is going to have to keep an eye on him for a while then.” Ernesto sighed.

“I’m fine, it wasn’t that bad.”

“Boxman, stop saying that.” Venomous snapped before sighing, trying to keep calm.

“Father, we are going to get that hand all healed up. Have you talked with the doctor yet?” Ernesto’s voice was soft.

“It’s all fine, Ernesto. I’m going to be out in a while and then everything will be okay.” Boxman’s voice was firm. Ernesto sighed and Boxman gulped.

“Have you spoken with the doctor? What did they say about care? I assume physical therapy once it’s more healed.” Ernesto said calmly.

“I’m fine!” Boxman shouted. “I’ve never needed physical therapy before and I won’t now. I’ll get the cast off in a few weeks, and I’ll be back to work. It’s okay, Ernesto.”

“Boxman, you should listen to what the doctor says.” Venomous crossed his arms. Boxman looked to him.

“Whatever, I’ll get this thing off in a few weeks and then it will all be back to normal.” He stated firmly.

Ernesto sighed again. “I want to talk to the doctor when he gets here.”

Venomous was taking deep breaths once again at Boxman’s stubbornness. “Yes, of course.”

Boxman huffed, starting to try and scoot more back into the bed. Ernesto almost fell to help him.

“Do you need a pillow, father? Do you want the bed up?” The bot called.

“Whatever.” Boxman huffed. Ernesto sped to get Boxman’s comfort as high as he could. Boxman sighed once Ernesto left him alone.

“There, father, all comfortable, right?” He peeped.

“Of course, Ernesto. Thank you.” Boxman said softly, bringing up his good hand and patted Ernesto’s head, knocking his hat off center.

Ernesto stood and adjusted his hat. “You’re welcome, father.”

Boxman laid back a bit, looking over the room. His eyes stopped at Fink.

“Sorry.” He said, looking directly at her.

Fink huffed and turned away. “Yeah, whatever.”

Venomous frowned. He couldn’t make Fink accept an apology, but he wished that she had a bit more tact.

“I shouldn’t have raised my voice. I’m sorry and I’m sorry that I couldn’t help the second time. You don’t have to forgive me. Bite me if you want to, but I made a mistake. I don’t want you to think that you did anything wrong.”

Fink looked up from her game. She sighed, looking away once again. “I forgive you. But… could you please stop stressin’ my boss out? I don’t like it when he faints.”

“Fink.” Venomous sighed. “I’ll deal with it. I told you that it wouldn’t happen again, and I’m going to make sure it doesn’t.”

"If I ever stress Venomous out again, you have permission to shoot me worse than Ernesto did.”

“Father!” Ernesto gasped.

“Deal!” Fink smirked.

“It won’t happen again.” Venomous affirmed. “I’ll take care of it.”

“Mr. Boxman!” A nurse jumped in. She looked at the people around. “Oh hello! Mr. Boxman, the doctor is coming in a few minutes. Do you need anything to eat or drink?”

“No thank you. I’m fine.” Boxman refused.

“Water, Sprite, Gator-aid, coffee?” The nurse listed.

“No, I am fine.”

“How about some ice chunks? We could get you some Jell-o or crackers!”

“No, really, I am fine.”

“Father, you can’t be released until you have something to eat.” Ernesto reminded.

“I’ll take some Saltines and some water.” Boxman sighed.

“Of course! I’ll be right back!” The nurse skipped out. Boxman groaned.

“I don’t even like Saltines.” Boxman huffed.

“Well, it’ll just be a few and then we can go.” Venomous tried to be positive.

Boxman sighed. The nurse popped back in. “Here you go, Mr. Boxman.”

She walked over, shouldering him and Ernesto out of the way and pulling the table across the bed. She set down a little pile of crackers and a cup of water. Venomous hissed at her without regret.

“The doctor will be right in!” She chimed and skipped out.

Boxman looked at his crackers and water. He picked up a Saltine and ate a nibble of a corner. He put the cracker down.

“Don’t force yourself to eat; it’s okay if you can’t.” Venomous tried to give him a supportive smile.

“I don’t even like Saltines.” Boxman huffed. He picked up the water and took a drink, barely swallowing a tiny sip. He put the water down.

“Hello!” The doctor jumped into the room. “I’m Dr. Steiner.” The doctor walked to the end of the bed and picked up the chart. “Lord?” They looked up at Boxman.

“Uh-”

“Don’t worry my brother was named after a toy company.” The doctor peeped. They looked over the chart. “Whoo, you had a rough hand. But I got those fingers back into place, maybe a little nicer that they were before!”

“So that means I can leave.” Boxman huffed, glaring to the doctor.

“Oh, of course your insurance only approves outpatient surgery.” The doctor called. They started writing in the chart.

“Well, what do I have to do for my father, ma’am?” Ernesto asked, putting his hand on Boxman’s little table. The doctor gave Ernesto a tired look.

“It’s ‘Doctor’ Steiner, and he’s going to have two weeks in the solid cast. Then we will re x-ray his hand and decide if he should move into a less braced cast. If it goes well, he should be able to start physical therapy then” Dr. Steiner said flatly. “The standard should apply. Don’t get the bracing wet, and keep an eye for excessive swelling. Lord, if you could do one thing for me, it takes at least ten minutes a day to wiggle your fingers. I’m prescribing pain meds high enough to make that at least not feel like getting stabbed. It’ll make your PT much better.”

“It don’t need physical therapy.” Boxman hissed.

“Well, then say goodbye to all the finite functions in your hands because you severed several ligaments and tendons and it’s honestly a miracle. I got your hand back together in one piece.” Doctor Steiner said, still writing in the chart.

“Please, Boxman. Just do the physical therapy.” Venomous sighed.

“Listen to the twink.” Dr. Steiner grunted. “You’re also lucky that I didn’t have to take a graft after I removed the worst of the burn ‘cause I would not have made that scar pretty. You will get the stitches in your fingers out when you come back in two weeks.”

“This is stupid. When do I get the darn thing off?” Boxman huffed.

Dr. Steiner laughed a bit. “When your bones refuse together and we are able to take the bracing pins out of your hand. Or you can always take it off tonight with a saw-”

“Please don’t give him ideas.” Ernesto cut over.

Steiner laughed a bit more. “Well, keep your father under close watch then. Unless you want me to give you sedatives for him.”

“Those would definitely be useful.” Venomous quipped. Steiner nodded and pulled out a prescription pad, scribbling out a couple of sheets. Boxman gasped offendedly.

“You won’t even consult-”

“Don’t worry. The pills you don’t use are worth 20 each on the street.” Steiner laughed. “Now, the nurse will be in to test if you can do the rest of your basic functions. Your shirt was thrown out because it was destroyed. The rest of your stuff should be in the little cabinet  over there. I’ll be back with your arm sling before you are released. Enjoy your crackers and water, Lord, and be sure to yell if you need anything.” Steiner put the scripts down on the end of the bed, hung the chart up, and whistled away and out of the room.

“She should be audited for informing patients to sell pills.” Ernesto stated.

“She seems nice!” Boxman called.

“Very straight to the point.” Venomous nodded, feeling that familiar pang of jealousy that he thought he got over years ago.

Boxman snorted, taking another bite of the cracker.

“Well, is someone going to get my clothes?” Boxman sighed.

Venomous nodded.

“If needed I brought father some fresh clothes.” Ernesto called, pulling a very neatly folded pile of clothes out from behind him.

Boxman shook his head, smiling and laughing a little. “Very prepared as always. Now get out.”

“Come on, Fink.” Venomous gestured for the young rat to follow him. She looked up from her game and quickly went to follow him out.

Fink leaned against the wall of the hallway, taking off her headphones and turning off her game. She looked up to Venomous who sighed as he turned to Ernesto.

“I should probably apologize-”

“It’s fine, really.” Ernesto cut him off. “He’s been doing things like this since before I was created.”

He felt a pang in his heart. “Really?”

“Yeah, but he always bounces back!” Ernesto chirped.

Venomous leaned against the wall next to Fink. He found himself sliding down, now sitting on the floor. “I probably could’ve handled that better.”

“You handled it better than I would’ve.” Ernesto quickly said. “I’d still be crying!”

“I yelled at him.” Venomous sighed. “I yelled at him, got stressed, and fainted when I could’ve done something to help him.”

“You tried, boss!” Fink spoke up. “He just didn’t listen.”

“He doesn’t listen to anyone.” Ernesto commented pointedly.

“Maybe I should’ve been listening to him….”

“He might’ve gotten himself more hurt then.” Fink tried to reason.

That possibility had been on his mind, but he still couldn’t help but feel bad for what he did do.

“Oh family!” He heard Boxman chirp flippantly. Ernesto was the first to walk in, Venomous and Fink following close behind.

Chapter Text

“Father! Do you like your clothes?” Ernesto called.

“Of course I do!” Boxman chirped.

“Well then, I’ll have to stop by your house on our way home. That was all I had at the factory.” Ernesto said.

“What?” Boxman sat up. “Why can’t I go home!?”

Ernesto suddenly got stressed.

“Boxman, it’ll be difficult living alone in your state.” Venomous said, trying to help Ernesto out a bit.

“On that point, it’s not really safe for him to be at the factory either.” Ernesto replied.

“That is true.” Venomous sighed. If Boxman was sent back to the factory, it’d be very likely that he’d just lock himself in his workshop again. He thought to himself for a moment. He didn’t have any guest rooms, but he was very willing to take the couch if it meant Boxman was safe. “Well, what if he stayed with Fink and I?”

“Are you sure you have the ability to handle father for a few weeks, maybe even longer?”

Venomous laughed. “I lived with the man; I think I can handle him.”

“Well, if father agrees.”

Venomous looked to Boxman. He wouldn’t admit it, but there was definitely hope in his heart.

“One condition.” Boxman leaned back and crossed his legs. “Mk.II can come with. I bet she’s getting lonely.”

“Of course.” Venomous smiled.

“Well then that’s all set.” Boxman said firmly. Venomous felt joy flood his brain.

The door knocked. “Knock knock.” Dr. Steiner called, leaning back in. She stepped into the room, looking at Boxman on the bed. “I see you’re relaxed. Seems the nerve block hasn’t worn off.” She walked to the bed, a box under her arm. “I have your sling. There are some rules about the sling.”

“Who needs rules.” Boxman snarked. Venomous could stop the chuckle.

“People with kids as large and threatening as yours. Now, sit up.” Steiner huffed.

Boxman rolled his eyes and sat up on the edge of the bed. “You know, he’s not the one with a desire to always carry two switchblades. He’s the one who makes dinner and hugs too tightly.” Steiner opened the box. “He also knits.”

“Nice hobby but my brother knits and I’ve been stabbed with one of those needles.” She said off handedly, pulling the sling out.

“You can stab somebody with those!” Fink’s eyes lit up. Oh Cob.

“You can also strangle them with the yarn.” Steiner informed.

“Boss!”

“No.” Venomous quickly shut her down.

“Alright, rule number one, always keep the strap set to the length I set it at.” She slid the sling over Boxman. “Put your arm through- okay good. Now, rule two, always wear it in public because if you hit your arm on something, you’re gonna wish you did.” She started to fiddle with the length of the strap. “And third: if you don’t just let your arm rest in the sling, your shoulder is going to hurt like heck.” She placed Boxman’s arm in the sling. She kept adjusting it until his arm was at an angle she liked.

“That all?” Boxman huffed.

“You don’t have to wear it around the house. Keep your hand elevated, so pull all the slick moves you want on snake man over there.”

His face was so hot he swore it was gonna melt off.

“Oh I think I can manage that.” Boxman puffed.

“Ice and heat, and take your pain pills unless you don’t think you need them. The suffer.” Steiner backed up and nodded at Boxman. “The nurse will get you for check out. It’s been nice, but I have other losers to sew back together. Nothing as fun as a shattered hand. I’ll see you in two weeks, Lord.” she gave him a very lazy and unfeeling salute and walked out.

His face was still on fire. “How unprofessional.”

"Well, you said I have to listen to the doctor.” Boxman shrugged. He grinned towards Venomous.

It somehow got worse.

Chapter Text

He felt like shit.

He sneezed. Oh no, please Cob no.

Not only was he up with the sun, but he was sniffling and was that a scratchy throat?

Ugh, maybe it was a bad idea to suddenly be surrounded by sick people when he spent years away from illness.

He was tired, that was a give in. He was never up even remotely this early, and that was just a travesty all in itself.

He sneezed again. No, he was not getting sick. He refused.

He had tried going back to sleep again, but the constant sneezing turned into coughing that burned his throat awfully.

He heard knocking on his door. “Yeah?”

Oh Cob his voice sounded stuffy. The door opened and Boxman stepped in.

“I heard you from the living room. Do you want some tea.” Boxman asked, giving him a gentle smile.

He sniffled slightly. Ew. “That would be nice…. But I can get it myself.”

“That won’t be necessary..” Boxman pushed himself into the room, a cup of tea already in his claw. “I already made one.”

He could just feel his heart melt. Boxman walked towards him, passing him the warm cup. Boxman smiled to him. “Do you need anything else?”

“Hey, I’m supposed to be taking care of you.” Venomous laughed slightly, it turning into a bit of a coughing fit.

“Says the man who hasn’t woken up before me ever in his life.” Boxman sighed.

“Maybe I just wanted to try something different?” He was so tired; how did the other do this every day?

“You have snot in your hair.” Boxman turned and started to walk out. “I’ll get you breakfast and Fink too.” He stepped out of the room as Venomous panicked, face going red.

Was there actually snot in his hair? Ew, yes. Absolutely disgusting. He had to take a shower.

Ugh but sleep sounded so much better.

He sighed as he took a sip of his tea. This was certainly not what he had been planning.

He almost forgot sickness existed. After all, he and Fink were on a planet free of disgusting, disease carrying creatures. His immune system must’ve been slacking. He heard another sneeze. And Fink’s too.

Great. Perfect. Absolutely incredible.

He was supposed to be taking care of Boxman, not the other way around.

He leaned back on his headboard, closing his eyes for a moment with a sigh.

Another sneeze. A little bit of tea spilled on his lap. Wonderful.

He set the cup on his bedside table and basically cocooned himself in his blanket. He sniffled again. Ugh, where did he store those tissues.

A string of sneezes left him.

“I have some food if you want.” Boxman’s voice made him shift slightly.

He groaned. “Yes, thank you.” He yawned, coughing immediately afterwards.

Boxman walked towards him, handing him the plate.

“I see you have a little bed mate.” Boxman chimed. Venomous glanced to the end of the bed where Mk.II laid, angry from him making his cocoon.

“It seems so.” Venomous smiled, sniffling a bit.

Boxman walked over and pet Mk.II. “Now, be a good girl and tell me if he starts to die.” He planted a kiss on her head and stood, going to walk out. “I’ll make sure Fink gets some more rest after breakfast.”

“Thank you.” He smiled.

“You’re welcome.” And Boxman was gone.

Venomous curled up a bit more, starting to dig into the oatmeal and toast. Boxman really was sweet for taking care of Fink for him. She could be a bit… much when she was sick.

Ugh, okay, he could’ve sworn he didn’t have a headache before.

He hated being sick.

It rarely happened, but when it did, oh boy.

He finished his food and set it down on his bedside table. He then laid on his side, curling up and sniffling again. He closed his eyes, trying to go back to sleep, but his head was absolutely throbbing.

He sneezed.

He groaned, opening his eyes slightly. He jumped slightly at seeing Boxman.

“Shh I was just dropping off tissues.” He said softly. He picked up the plate and bowl, backing out of the room. “Go back to sleep.”

It was hard to do that with his headache, but he did just go ahead and laid back down, closing his eyes once again.

___________________

Oh, the tissues were everywhere.

He had gotten maybe 30 minutes of sleep before he woke up not being able to breathe through his nose.

Ugh, he swore there was more snot in his hair. He probably should’ve pulled it back.

Every movement absolutely sucked, but he had to so he could blow his nose. And now he was just surrounded by tissues. His head was light.

He had to get out of bed.

Slowly, he stepped out of bed, instantly shivering. He decided to take the blanket with him, wrapping it around his shoulders as he walked out of his room.

He walked into the living room, seeing Boxman on the couch watching some sitcom.

“Hey PV.” Boxman called, looking towards him.

“Hey.” He said, voice sounding hoarse.

“Did you get sick of bed?” Boxman had asked, looking back at the TV.

“I hate being bed ridden.” He replied, coughing a bit.

“I know the feeling.” Boxman said blankly.

He could tell that Boxman was more interested in the TV. “What are you watching?”

“‘Super Sitter,’ it’s about a hero who goes to people’s homes and basically tells them they are terrible parents and then teaches them how to be actual parents.” Boxman explained before patting the spot next to him on the couch, adjusting so that there was room for both of them. “Come and sit.”

Venomous walked over and sat beside him, immediately cocooning again.

“How are you feeling?” Boxman asked.

“Absolutely disgusting.” Venomous groaned.

“You’ve looked worse.” Boxman said.

“Excuse me?” Venomous tensed, pouting.

“I mean, there was the time your skin didn’t shed right, and you were patchy for weeks.” Boxman said bluntly.

Venomous blinked, feeling an embarrassed blush arise.

“Don’t take it to heart, that insult is coming from the man who stained your couch and was in your trash can. That’s still better than I’ve looked.” Boxman laughed.

Venomous sunk more into his cocoon. “I take everything you say to heart….”

Boxman looked at him, sighing and turning the TV down. “You know, I’m just playing around. Even when you’re covered in snot, you still look good. I still like the way you look.” He shifted and took his arm out of the sling, putting his arm over Venomous’ shoulders. “Now, stop being all sick and mopey.”

His face was burning, something he was starting to get used to. “I know, I just- I don’t know- I guess I just feel my looks are all I have left.”

“You have a lot more left than just your looks. You might be drop dead gorgeous, but that’s not what’s important. I wouldn’t deal with your snot if all I liked was your eyeliner and fancy boots.”

He felt himself sink more into his cocoon, leaning a bit towards Boxman. “I know it’s dumb…. I know that I shouldn’t worry about that in front of you. I guess the eyeliner and fancy boots make me feel like I still have a bit of power left. I mean, I’ve seen how people fell over for Laserblast, so, ugh, I don’t know! It’s dumb.”

“It’s not dumb. If looking your best makes you feel better about yourself. Then you are allowed to take time and treat yourself to making yourself feel nice. But you shouldn’t put agency into what you think other people think. If looking like you stepped out of a make over every day makes you feel like you have power, then that’s okay. I’d feel powerful in knee high heeled boots too. But most importantly, don’t feel bad for worrying around me. If you have anyone on your side who you can feel okay to vent to, that should be me.” Boxman leaned his head over and rested it on top of his cocooned self. “It’s alright.”

Venomous sniffled, trying to hold back the tears that decided to just appear. He shifted closer to Boxman, curling up beside him. “Thank you, Boxman. Really.”

“You’re always welcome, Venomous.”

The tears were streaming down his face now. How did he manage to get such a good person to care about him?

Boxman held a box of tissues to him. “You sound a bit stuffed up.” He said softly.

Venomous looked up to him with a small, loving smile, taking the tissue box. “I don’t know what I ever did to deserve you.”

“You existed.” Boxman cuddled more into Venomous, humming.

Ah, yes, there was the heat again. When did this man get so smooth? He could’ve sworn it was the other way around a few years ago.

“I really missed this.” He said, laying his head on Boxman’s chest.

“I did as well.”

He smiled, closing his eyes.

“C-Can I join?” Fink sniffled, also having a blanket wrapped around her.

He opened his eyes and smiled to Fink, feeling Boxman open up his free arm. Fink ran over to them and cuddled up on the other side of Boxman. Venomous smiled and wrapped his free arm around her. She sighed happily as she closed her eyes, quickly falling asleep. Venomous smiled and closed his eyes.

Sleep came much easier.

Chapter Text

Venomous yawned as he walked into the living room. It was past noon, much later than when he was rudely awaken the day before. He blinked.

Something felt off.

It was as if the universe was just wrong.

He surveyed the living room, finding the culprit laying on the couch.

Boxman never sleeps in. Even when he used to beg and plead for Boxman to stay, he got up.

But there the other man was, laying on the couch as if he wasn’t just destroying the universe.

Venomous stepped forward, making his way to Boxman. Lightly, he tapped the other’s cheek. His hand was pinned down as Boxman turned his head and looked up to him.

“Morning.” He grumbled out.

“Morning.” Venomous nodded. “Are you feeling alright, Boxy?”

He saw Boxman glance around the room, huffing. “What time is it?”

“It’s half past noon. Do you feel sick?” He worried.

“The room has been spinning since I took my pills at five.” Boxman admitted.

Venomous frowned and leant down in front of him, lightly caressing his cheek. “Can I get you anything?”

“I’m an hour and a half late for my pills.” He replied.

“I’ll get them for you.” He backed away from Boxman and went to do just that.

Once he grabbed them and a bottle of water, he made his way back to Boxman. He saw the other staring at the ceiling as he sat down beside him, poking his cheek once again.

Boxman turned to look at him. “Hey.”

“Hey.” He smiled, holding out the water bottle for the other. Boxman sat up and took it. He outstretched his hand, holding out the other’s pills for him. Boxman quickly took them and flopped back down on the couch.

“Thanks.” He looked to Venomous. “Did you give me all of them or did you skip the sedative?”

“Did you want the sedative?” Venomous raised an eyebrow in question.

“No, I’m asking if you gave it to me.” Boxman huffed.

Wow, he couldn’t keep anything from him. “Yeah, I did.”

“I need that one with food.”

“I’ll order some now.” Venomous stood.

“You don’t have any food left.” Boxman stated.

“That’s why I said order.” Venomous lightly booped Boxman’s nose. “It’s what I usually do anyways.”

“Alright.” Boxman grumbled.

Venomous smiled before going to grab his phone. He searched his mind for places that he hoped were still running, settling on one that he had ordered from a week ago. He quickly dialed the number and gave his order to the person on the other side. He finished the order, setting his phone down.

“The food will be here soon. Could you call for me when it does? I need to get to my lab and figure out this whole fainting thing.”

“Whatever.” Boxman groaned.

Venomous hummed for a moment, leaning down and pressing a small and quick kiss on the other’s cheek. “Don’t cause too much trouble.” He chuckled a bit before walking out.

He took a deep breath, feeling his face heat up as he made his way to his lab. Was that too fast? It felt right, but he was a bit worried that he might’ve made the other uncomfortable.

He took another deep breath. No need to overthink it. He just had to stay calm.

He walked into his lab, instantly slipping on his lab coat.

Experiments caused Shadowy to be released, so could he do more to get rid of the awful side effects?

He had lost all of his notes for what he even did to himself in the first place to try to undo it. Heck, he didn’t even know if it could be reversed.

Okay, so he was starting from scratch.

Just like the rest of his life.

He grabbed a notepad and pen and started to scribble down ideas as they came to mind. It’s been so many years; did he even remember a single thing he had used?

No, no he didn’t.

“Venomous!” Boxman’s groan pulled him away from his focus. He glanced up, taking a single moment before quickly making his way back to the living room.

Only to find Boxman on the floor on the other side of the table. “Boxman! I told you to call for me; you didn’t have to get up!” He rushed to the other.

“The food’s here.” Boxman stated.

Venomous sighed. “Don’t move. I’ll get the food and then get you back on the couch.” He then made his way to the door, opening it and collecting the food, paying the other before slamming the door in their face and turning back around. He set the food on the table before kneeling down next to Boxman. His voice was soft as he spoke. “Alright, let’s get you back up.”

Boxman looked to him and smiled. “Thanks; I wasn’t thinking when I stood.” He admitted.

“I can see that.” Venomous held a bit of a playful smile as he wrapped his arms around Boxman, lifting him up. He carried him back to the couch, carefully putting him down.

Boxman looked to him, and he could just see the awe in his eyes. The look made his face heat up, even more so as he noticed Boxman’s blush as well.

“Thanks, PV.” Boxman sighed.

“No problem.” He smiled, diverting his attention to the food still sitting on the table. He cleared his voice a bit. “Fink! Food’s here!”

The young rat came running. She always seemed to get a bit more excitable after being sick. Before she could tear into the bag, Venomous unpacked the bag, checking each styrofoam box before handing her one. She quickly ran off into the kitchen.

“She must be hungry.” Boxman said blankly.

“I guess so.” Venomous blinked. Maybe he should stock the kitchen a bit, if not just for a couple snacks. He turned to Boxman. “Do you need help sitting up?”

Boxman sighed and slowly shifted up. “Just don’t let me keel over.”

“Of course.” Venomous nodded. Boxman took a deep breath as he sat up. He looked to Venomous.

“Can I get my food?” He asked. Venomous nodded, grabbing another styrofoam box and handing it to him.

“I special ordered it, so it doesn’t have eggs or chicken.” He explained. Boxman nodded as he opened his box. Venomous grabbed his own and sat down beside him. He noticed Boxman shoveling the food into his mouth. Okay, so he was going grocery shopping soon. He quietly went to eating his own.

“This is good; thank you.” Boxman chirped.

He smiled. “You’re welcome.”

“I feel better, I guess, but the room is still spinning.” Boxman said quietly. Venomous looked to him as he looked to the floor, sighing.

Venomous frowned. He laid a hand on his shoulder. “I’m glad you’re feeling better, but we should probably deal with that whole room spinning thing. What pills do you think could be causing that feeling?”

Boxman shrugged. “The opioid and the sedative might be interacting.”

Venomous nodded. “Then we’ll hold off on the sedative.”

“Yeah, that should help.” Boxman said, leaning back into the couch as he slowed down his eating.

“Good.” Venomous sighed. He didn’t want Boxman to get worse.

Boxman put his box in his lap, closing his eyes. Venomous frowned. He wished that there was some way that he could help, but he couldn’t.

“Maybe you should rest.” He said.

“I’ve been laying down all day.” Boxman sighed.

“You’ve been staring at the ceiling. That’s not rest.”

“That’s a lot of rest for me.”

Venomous sighed. He wasn’t going to argue; he was just worried. He stood. “Just please don’t hurt yourself. I have to go back to the lab. Will you be okay?”

“I’ll be fine.”

“Please call if you need anything.” Venomous said. “And I mean before you do anything.”

“Alright.” Boxman sighed.

Venomous nodded before heading back to his lab, food still in hand. He just wanted to find the solution as fast as possible.

He walked back into his lab, setting his food down and going back to his notepad.

Chapter Text

He was absolutely exhausted.

He had spent the whole night experimenting.

He walked into the kitchen, rubbing at his eyes and yawning. He was definitely in need of some coffee. His eyesight was blurry, but he could still see Boxman sitting at the table.

“Boxman?” He yawned, squinting a bit just to make sure the man was actually there. “What are you doing off the couch?”

“I made a new, uh.” Boxman looked towards the papers on the table. “I made some new parts for the kids.”

“That still doesn’t answer my question.” Venomous claimed, stretching a bit and trying to keep his eyes open. Coffee. Yes, he needed coffee. He made his way towards the Cobsend of a machine.

“I just, I didn’t take my sedative for bed, and I decided to wear myself out with a few scribbles, and… And….”

If he was going to be honest, the sentence just kind of blurred together in his mind. He pushed his hair out of his face, feeling a few petals fall onto his shoulders. Ah, right. That had happened.

“Are those? Posies?”

He sighed. “Yes. Please don’t ask.”

“I know you asked me not to ask, but why?”

He turned his blurry vision to Boxman before picking the flower petals that were on his shoulders off. “If you must know, I’ve been trying to reverse the effect Shadowy had on my psyche. The whole reason I’ve been fainting is because my body got used to relying on Shadowy whenever I got stressed or felt helpless. In my efforts, this happened.”

“Maybe before turning yourself into a garden, you might want to try a therapist.” Boxman said bluntly.

Venomous turned back to the coffee machine, seeing that it was full. He quickly grabbed a mug and poured himself some. “I don’t know, Boxy. I’ve never been too good at talking about these things.”

“Well, if you’re fainting because your brain is relying on Shadowy, that’s not going to be solved with experiments. You know, there might be a breathing exercise to start helping or maybe meditation. I’m not a mental health guru, but I bet I have a book that might help.”

Venomous took a gulp of his coffee, mulling it over for a moment. He usually just tried to solve his problems himself, with science. Even back when he was a hero, he relied on science. He sighed as he noticed Boxman start scribbling and ripping the pages.

“Did you get any sleep last night?” He questioned.

“Did you?” Boxman shot back.

“Touche.” Venomous took another gulp of his coffee.

“My next invention is removing my talons with a saw.” Boxman just said casually.

Venomous almost dropped his mug. “Boxman. No.”

“I tried the making them filed down thing and that went so well.” Boxman shivered. “It’ll probably hurt less to just take them off.”

“Don’t you dare.” Venomous hissed.

“I mean, they can declaw cats.” Boxman said, tossing a page into a pile of other pages.

“Don’t remove your talons, Boxy.”

“Well then they need to find a way to make it not hurt like all heck when you try and smooth them down.” Boxman was working on another piece of paper.

“I like your talons the way they are.” Venomous pouted. “Besides, you’re going to hurt yourself.”

“Trust me, my hands are already cramping up from all the little movements I’ve been trying to make with it.” Boxman looked to him. “It’s supposed to do that, though.”

“Maybe you should take your sedative and sleep today.” He sighed.

“I don’t think that’s going to do anything but make me want to throw up.” Boxman tossed another page, starting a new one.

He was way too tired to deal with this. He took another sip of his coffee, vision finally slightly clearing up. “Just don’t go too crazy. I’m going to get Fink so we can start with her schooling.”

“You’re still trying to homeschool her?” Boxman asked, stopping his scribbling.

Venomous nodded, a few more petals falling. “Yes. Why wouldn’t I?”

Boxman snorted. “Because you work full time. She has a lot to catch up on. And there is no way that you’ve actually been able to teach her anything in the past week.”

He had to be honest; Boxman was right. He still didn’t feel right about it though. “I don’t know. Wouldn’t putting her in school be worse off for her? I mean, she’s not the most social kid, and what if something happens? What if she’s bullied? What if she gets hurt?”

Boxman turned to face him, sighing. “PV, the teachers are there to help her get the fullest of her education. And what kind of social learning is she going to do couped up at home all the time. And what if something happens? Well, she’ll either be able to handle it, or she’s in an environment where she should be able to get help. And if she doesn’t get help, it’s your job as a parent to be able to step in and bring it to the school’s attention.”

Venomous worried the bottom of his lip, staring at the mug in his hands. His tired brain tried to keep up as he thought through everything. Finally, he sighed. “Alright…. I’ll put her in public schooling….” It still felt awful saying that. If something were to happen to her there…. He just didn’t want to lose her again….

He glanced up, seeing Boxman smiling at him. “Trust me, I did months of looking into schooling for the bots at one point. I ultimately couldn’t loophole them into being able to attend, but the benefit is massive. You’re making a good choice, even if it’s hard.”

He took another sip of his coffee. “Yeah, alright…. I’ll… I’ll get in contact with a school. Maybe I’ll do some research for the schools in the surrounding area…. Yeah, I’ll go do that now.” He yawned again.

“Maybe you should get a bit of rest first.” Boxman said softly.

“You first.” Venomous replied, stifling another yawn.

“Fine.” Boxman stood from the table and started sorting his papers into a neat pile. Venomous, the neat freak, had appreciated it. He set his coffee mug down. Boxman slid the pile of papers into a notebook, putting it under his arm.

“I’ll see you in a few hours.” Boxman started to walk into the living room.

Venomous nodded, feeling more petals fall. He’ll clean those up later. He made his way back to his room, face planting into his bed and falling asleep immediately.

Chapter Text

Venomous groaned as he opened his eyes.

What was that smell?

Sitting up, he realized.

Oh….

Oh. He forgot about the petals.

They were all over the bed, bright and purple. He ran a hand through his hair, even more falling out.

So, this is his life now.

Fun?

He sighed, mentally adding cleaning them up to his list of things to do. He got out of bed, stretching and making his way to the living room.

There Boxman was, just staring at the ceiling again.

He walked over to the other, poking his cheek.

Boxman sat up, screaming very unhuman like.

Was-Was that a chicken scream?

He jumped back at the loud noise. Cob, he wasn’t even aware that Boxman could make that noise. He clutched at his heart, breathing deeply to try and calm himself down.

“Uh, sorry.” Boxman croaked out.

Venomous stared at him with wide eyes, still clutching at his heart. He was silent, too shocked to even think of words.

After a moment, he composed himself, running a hand through his hair. Now, even more petals were there and falling. Was it tied to his stress too?

Great.

“I, uh, didn’t know you could do that….” He coughed out.

“Oh, well… I guess it’s just a new weird habit. It started when I moved in on my own. It might be a territorial thing.”

“Well, um, I’m sorry for scaring you.” Venomous took a few more deep breaths, his heart still beating quickly.

“I’m also sorry for giving you a heart attack.” Boxman awkwardly chuckled.

“I-It’s fine!” Venomous tried to reassure, catching a few more petals before they hit the ground.

“No, I really need to not do that. I guess my body is so used to me doing that when I get up it just had to.” He sighed.

“I mean, I still hiss at people without thinking, so I understand.” Venomous chuckled.

“Well, alright then. We can work on that together then.” Boxman chuckled too.

Venomous nodded, glancing downward. He groaned. “I should probably clean these up now.”

“Do you need a hand?” Boxman asked. “I only have one to offer though!”

Venomous chuckled. “I think I can manage cleaning up petals.” He then sighed. “It’s going to be a regular part of my life now, I guess.”

“Have you tried ground killer?” He questioned. “If you wear a mask, you should be safe.”

“I guess I can try it.” He huffed, plucking a couple out of his hair.

“Looks like I don’t have to get you flowers ever again. Boxman chirped.

Venomous felt his face heat up as he chuckled a bit. Boxman giggled a bit as he looked to him.

“You in this light is really making my heart bloom.” Boxman sighed with a smile and a blush.

That was awful. Nonetheless, Venomous still felt his blush grow. “Well aren’t you just ready with the flower themed pick-up lines.”

“I’m a villain; I’m supposed to have bad puns at the ready. Go look in a mirror if you don’t want worse ones.”

Venomous hummed in question, tilting his head slightly. Why? He went ahead and did so anyways, looking to the mirror on the far side of the living room. He felt his face heat up more when he saw a flower crown of posies around his head. “Oh?”

He had thought that they were just reflecting his stress levels, but this? He glanced back to Boxman. Oh, it was more than just his stress.

“It seems your experiment is really budding.”

Venomous chuckled, walking back over to Boxman. “You are awful.”

“I know!” Boxman smiled up to him and laughed a bit.

He smiled back, leaning against the back of the couch. “I guess the flowers show my emotions, hm?”

“I guess so.” Boxman said quickly, blushing.

He could quickly tell that this new discovery was going to embarrass him more than anything. “I guess I’m stuck with these now.” He sighed.

“Well, they are a bit different, but they are pretty. Not as beautiful as you normally are though.” Boxman sighed, resting his chin into his claw.

His entire face felt hot. “Y-You think? You don’t think they, um, make me look soft or something?”

Boxman leaned closer to him. “Nothing makes you look soft or silly. You always look great.” Boxman brushed a few lower hanging flowers out of the way and smiled, pressing a soft kiss onto his forehead. “You always will.”

He swears his heart stopped. Heat consumed his face as he stared at Boxman.

He adored this man.

There was really no question. He couldn’t stop it if he tried. He felt a loving smile spread on his face.

“I love you.” He blurted out without another thought.

Oh, finally saying that felt amazing.

“I love you too.” Boxman beamed back at him.

He had forgotten how hearing those three words made him feel.

He felt powerful, as crazy as that may have sounded. Hearing those words from Boxman made him feel as if he could take on the world and everything it threw at him.

“What’s going on?” Fink’s voice pulled him out of his daze. He looked to the young girl, seeing her eyes widen as she gasped. “Boss! Your hair!”

“Yes, I know.” Venomous chuckled. “It was an accident.”

“Wow! That’s so cool!” She smiled and ran to him. “Can you do that to me!?”

Venomous laughed awkwardly. “No, that, um…” He couldn’t find an excuse.

“Hey, kiddo, you know what? I can do the same thing for you!” Boxman chirped. “Not as permanent but just as pretty!”

Venomous sighed in relief as Fink smiled wide. “Really!?”

“Yeah!” Boxman coasted over the back of the couch and landed in front of them. He looked towards him. “Can I have a flower or two?”

“First of all, don’t you ever do that again with your injured hand.” He then sighed. “But yes.”

He reached up to his hair, wincing slightly as he tugged a few flowers off of his head. After all, he had plenty of them. He handed them to Boxman.

“Thanks!” Boxman peeped, putting the flowers between his lips and got to making a section out of Fink’s hair. He pulled a flower out from his mouth and gently knitted it into her hair. He repeated this until he was out of flowers.

“Look! Now I’m like you, boss!” Fink cheered, looking up to Venomous.

He laughed. “It seems you are.”

‘Please don’t be like me.’

“I learned that trick-oh uh- with Jethro.” Boxman stood.

Venomous glanced away. He knew what the other meant by that. He felt a few of the flowers fall off. “Oh yeah? I’m sure-” A deep breath. “I’m sure that was nice.”

“It was just nothing.” Boxman said. “Hey, PV, don’t we have something to tell Fink?” He nudged him with his elbow.

“Oh?” His mind focused. “Oh, yes! Fink, we have some very big news.”

Fink glanced between them, tail twitching a bit with slight suspicion. “What is it?”

He glanced to Boxman and gulped. Oh Cob, here it comes.

“Well, me and your boss have been talking about doing some things to help improve your future.” Boxman nudged him again.

He felt a few petals fall as he took a deep breath. “Well, um, you see-” He closed his eyes for a moment, taking another breath. “You’re going to a public school!”

“What!?” Fink’s response was immediate. “But boss-”

“Well, your boss was concerned with how your education had been going, considering that you two went and blew up a planet for so long. So, putting you in school should help you catch up on what you’ve missed. And you’ll have plenty of opportunities to meet new friends!” Boxman chirped. “And I heard that it’s pretty easy to blow up the school once you know the ins and outs. And there are plenty of heroes to torture as well!” He winked to Fink.

She was not going to blow up the school; he didn’t know where Boxman pulled that idea from. But he couldn’t complain when Fink’s rebellious stare turned into a wide grin.

He coughed. “Yes, I have already signed you up, and you’ll be starting next week.”

“You’re going to have so much fun!” Boxman peeped. “We need to deck you out and get you ready for the new school year! You’ll need a bag and notebooks, pens, pencils, a good calculator, new clothes-” Boxman continued listing school items.

He nudged Boxman slightly to get him to stop. He looked back to Fink. “Yes, we will be going shopping for those items tomorrow.”

Fink quickly nodded and ran off, probably already thinking of plans on how to blow up the school. Venomous sighed; that was hard.

“You know, you’re going to have to start getting up early and making lunches everyday. And probably breakfast too.”

Venomous groaned.