A storm was brewing over London.
Dark clouds had rolled in as the afternoon light had waned, darker than the normal dreary rain and grey cloud. They were the kind of dark cloud that promised thunder and lightning and howling wind that would whip through every available nook and cranny, seeking out gaps in man-made structures. Even those most hardened to sever weather and normally unphased by a bit of rain and wind had taken shelter, leaving the streets of the city bustling only with those who had no choice but to go out and were desperately scurrying to get back to the safety or their cars, offices, or homes before the sky opened up on them.
Especially in the suburbs, farther out from the city proper, cars were pulling into driveways, and people were pulling potted plants onto their proches. Pets were called in and shutters were fastened tightly as the weathermen on Tv had their most exciting evening in years.
One particularly impassioned weatherman nearly began crying on air at the idea of a big storm, since it had been so long with such boring weather over their city.
This storm was, while entirely natural, made the perfect distraction. No idiot kids were out lurking in the streets, cops stayed as close to the precinct as they could, and no one dared venture to the tops of buildings where the wind was howling loudly and so strongly that a person might fear being blown off onto the street below.
Even birds seemed to think it was too much. No pigeons or crows crowded het tops of the budding like normal, likely hidden away from the wind, like any rational creature, and left the rooftop barren.
So, when one alien spacecraft blinked into existence over the tallest office buildings in the city, there was no one around to see it, and the cameras were so wet that they may as well have been turned off. The security guards below were too busy watching the weather man shout about storms and flood and all man of natural catastrophe that more than likely wouldn’t happen.
The long, sleek craft was visible for at most thirty seconds, before it settled onto the side of the roof silently, with little more than the quiet hum of the engine, drowned out by the sound of the rain that had just started pouring down. Then, it was gone again, as if it had never been there at all, vanished into the darkness.
It was not truly gone though, simply invisible to everyone but the person inside, who grinned as he peered out of the front glass into the night, over the dimmed lights of the city. His grey-streaked brown hair gleamed in the lights of his ship, as he took his first personal look at Earth.
Several blocks away, a much smaller ship, condensed and pod-like, dropped down into an alley, between two old buildings, with hardly enough roof for a car, and just enough for the small craft.. This one couldn't be seen either, as it was wholly invisible, and made so that the human eye, even if they saw it, would glide right over it, forgetting that it was even there. It was afe in the dead end alley, far behind a dumpster, in a part of town that people hardly dared looked down an alley, let alone ventured into them.
It let out a quiet thump, too quiet to be heard under the clap of thunder, and the quiet shops all around the alley were empty, so even with a second strange craft, no one was any the wiser. Inside the ship, it’s sole occupant didn’t peer out the windows, with excited eyes, rather he let out a long slow sigh and settled back against his chair to wait for day to break and the rain to clear. He pushed loose pink hair back from his face, as a few strands had escaped during atmospheric entry, and settled into a long evening, on a strange planet.
In the streets of a suburb several miles away, there was a brief flash of light, that in the morning, everyone would write off as a particularly close and bright strike of lightning. However, what they didn’t see, because no one wanted to bother to look out their windows, was that a strange child now stood on the street in the pouring rain, standing by a comically large motorcycle, that he seemed much too young to own, let alone drive.
If anyone had bothered to look they would have seen him dash down the street and duck into the nearest alley, bike in hand, to wait out the rain, though they would have seen that he hardly minded, from the large grin threatening to split his face. He turned his face up to the rain, ignoring the storm, and took a deep breath of Earth air.
“You’re an idiot.” Puffy said, rounding on Phil the moment the front door slammed shut behind them, keeping out the pouring rain. “You’re so, so dumb.”
“Hey mate, I was fine.” Phil protested as he kicked his soggy green shoes. Sandals probably weren’t the smartest decision, but they’d dry a hell of a lot faster than his tennis shoes at least. Puffy was making a beeline for the kitchen now. ”You’re the one that decided to go out to get me.”
“Phil, it's the worst storm we’ve seen in five years!’ Puffy exclaimed, tossing her raincoat onto the back of one of Phil’s kitchen chairs. It hadn’t done her much good, Phil thought privately, because her red pajama pants were soaked through, and her grey shirt was only somewhat better. “I already told you not to even put up the damn fliers anyway.”
“You’re not my mother Puffy.” Phil said, crossing his arms as he stood behind where she was dripping water onto his kitchen floor.
“No, you’re not!” Puffy exclaimed, throwing her hands up. “My kid is at home, in his room, doing homework. I didn’t have to go rescue Tubbo from getting stuck by lightening in the fucking streets!”
“Puffy C’mon.” Phil said “I really was fine. A little bit of rain isn’t going to hurt me, and you know that statistically speaking, it is highly unlikely that I wasn’t going to get struck by lightning-”
“Phil Mine-Craft, don’t you bring meteorology into this argument.” Puffy said, pointing a finger at him. Phil groaned. She was worse than his mother! “You barely passed that class!”
“Hey, don’t bring college into this! That was a long time ago!” Phil protested, because rea;; y the class had been bullshit, and he understood the material perfectly fine. The assignments were just fucking stupid and a waste of his time when there were so many other, more interesting projects he could be working on.
“Then stop acting like you’re still in undergrad dumb ass! I had to track your phone, get in my car, and drive halfway into the city, to find you still trying to put up fliers.”
“You didn't have to do- wait, you tracked my phone? How the hell did you do that?” Phil felt a little betrayed, because that was a big fucking breach of privacy, but he was also a little bit impressed she’d amanged to somehow hack his phone, since the only one he carried was work issues and was encrypted to high hell. Puffy was brilliant, but wasn’t much on the coding side of things. He knew that Tubbo was into coding but-
“We put those location share apps on our phones last month, after you got lost in the woods and had to ride back to civilization with an honest to god lumberjack.” Puffy said, and she wasn’t even trying to hide the exasperation in her tone, huh? She glared at him and he offered her what he hoped was an apologetic grin.
“Oh! Marty! He was a very nice guy. Knew lots of interesting shit.Also, did you get lost in the tube system one?” Phil said, hoping that that particularly story, of which Puffy was very embarrassed. It was fucking hilarious though. A woman with three PhDs, considered to be one of the brightest minds in the northern hemisphere, bested by the underground system.
“We aren’t talking about me Phil.” Puffy said, and Phil wasn't sure if the red in her cheeks from irritation, the cold, or embarrassment, Probably all three. “We’re talking about your tendencies to be absolutely reckless and stupid over things that aren’t worth it.”
“You’re not going to change my mind on this.” Phil said and shifted awkwardly. Both of them were soaking wet and it was a little uncomfortable. “Do you want some dry clothes?”
“That doesn't mean I’m not going to give you my opinion on it, Phil.” Puffy said pointedly, then paused. “And yes please.”
“You've already given me your opinion on it. “ Phil said as he turned and headed down the hall to the laundry room. Puffy was over often enough that he had several pair of dry sweat pants in her size. “Loudly. Multiple fucking times. Once involved a small chemical reaction gone wrong!”
“The chemical reaction was an accident, dumbass.” Puffy protested from where she trailed behind him. She thumbed him on the back of the head and ignored his cry of pain. Rude. “And apparently I still haven’t gotten it through your thick skull that this is a bad idea!”
“You think everything I do is a bad idea Puffy.” Phil whined as he dug through the cabinet and tossed a pair of dry sweats and one of his old college t-shirts at him. “I thought you were my friend! Support me!”
“I am your friend, Phil. That’s why I’m telling you this is a mistake.” Puffy explained, and while Phil couldn’t miss the frustration in her tone, he could ignore it. “It’s not a good decision.”
“I just want to rent out some empty rooms, not move to iceland!” Phil protested, forwining. He could understand why she was a little hesitant, but she didn’t have to push back so hard. She wasn’t going to change his mind and if anything, he was more likely to do it as a fuck you, evne if Puffy was his best friend.
“You don’t need to rent out rooms! You don’t need the money-” Puffy started.
“I know I don’t need the money, which is why I rent them so cheap.”Phill cut in, already knowing where she was going. It wasn't like they hadn’t had this argument twenty times already. “Help some struggling folks out, and not trap them any shitty contracts like a real landlord.”
Puffy leveled him with an unimpressed look. “Don’t give me that bullshit. You and I both know that’s not why. You just hate being in this house alone.”
Phil flinched slightly and he didn’t miss Puffy’s wince. She didn’t just ahveto fucking say it like that, and she knew she’d gone a bit too far if the look on her face said anything. Puffy deflated. “I’m sorry Phil. I know.. I know that you hate being lonely. Why don’t you just move in with me and Tubbo?”
Phil made a face. That offer wasn't exactly new either, but she hadn’t mentioned it in months. Of course she brought it up tonight. Fucker. “Puffy, you know I can’t do that-”
“Why not?” she demanded, stepping forward to take his hand in hers. It was warm where his was still clammy. “My house is just as big as this one. We have plenty of space, Tubbo loves having you around, and half of your shit is at my house anyway. You’d only be moving next door. And we could use your place as offices-”
Phil gave Puffy’s hand a reassuring squeeze, before shaking his head. “I can’t do that Puffy, I love you two, but this is my house. I don’t want to move out. I won’t.”
Puffy let out a long sigh “I know. I know. I just worry about you Phil. Inviting strangers into your home… it doesn’t always work out the best. You remember what happened last time and I just don’t want to see that again.”
Phil shook his head “What happened then was a fluke. It’ll be fine this time.”
Puffy didn’t look quite like she believed him. She also looked sad. She didn’t need to be sad. Things had gotten a bit hairy, but they were fine. And this time would be better. He was sure of it!
“For your sake, I hope you’re right.” Puffy said, and released his hand. She grinned a little, breaking the serious air “At least wait a few hours before springing the alien thing on them.”
“Nope.” Phil said, shaking his head. “I’m one of the few scientists who actually believes in aliens, let alone activ;ey searches for them. I’m proud of my work and they can fuck right off. I think trying to keep it a secret made them freak out more last time last time.”
Puffy made a slight face but shrugged “I can’t stop you. But when things go wrong-”
“If! If they go wrong, Which they won’t” Phil interjected. God, why was Puffy so negative. She was just worried, of course, and he loved her for it, but fuck it was annoying. He was an adult. He didn’t need her to mother him. She didn’t even treat Tubbo like this!
“If things go wrong, promise this will be the last time you try this. Either you give up on the roommate thing, or move in with me and Tubbo, hell you could even adopt a cat. but stop trying to bring strangers into your house.” Puffy said.
Phil frowned. “Puffy this is ridiculous I don’t-”
“Promise me Phil.” Puffy said and Phil stopped and sighed.
“Alright, fine. Whatever . I fucking promise. But there’s no point, because it’s going to be fine. You just need to believe , mate.”
Puffy grabbed a sock from his laundry basket and chucked it at his head, and he didn’t even bother to duck, too busy laughing at the look on her face. “Don’t you dare start quoting the X-Files”
Phil just cackled harder.
Puffy and Phil oth changed into decidedly less soaked clothing and Puffy called her son to let him now that she wasn’t going to bother braving the maybe thirty feet that separated their front doors and was sleeping at Phil’s.
That wasn’t an unusual occurrence, especially if they were working on a project, together, or even if they just had a little too much to drink. Puffy and her ‘normal sleep schedule;’ or whatever usually passed out on Phil’s bed, while he continued on with his night, napping on the couch when need be.
This time though, they just had tea (well, Phil had tea. Puffy drank coffee like an american heathen ) and watched two episodes of the X-Files, because for all her protests, Puffy secretly loved the show. She stumbled to bed around two am, grumbling about having work in the morning and Phil settled in for a bit of work. He kept most of his work in the basement, but had a few papers with equations on them he needed to finish up so he didn’t get ‘fired’ or something ridiculous.
The math took his mind off the fliers, which were just advertising his open rooms. He’d managed to get them across most of the nearest part of the city proper, and was headed back into the suburbs when Puffy came to pick him up. He doubted anyone would contact him from the first round, mostly considering he was pretty sure he hadn’t even put a phone number on them, by accident, but he had a few more to put up in the morning after Puffy left.
Phil hoped someone would take him up. While Phil wasn't rich , his house was big, and it was far too empty. He couldn’t bring himself to move, but some company would be nice.
Around four, Phil put the math away, and curled up on the couch. His phone alarm should go off around seven (though, where was his phone? He’d last seen it in the kitchen, and he just hoped it wasn’t in the microwave again) but didn’t want to get up. He’d probably hear it go off anyway and if he didn’t Puffy would wake him up when she came through.
He’d show her, things would be fine. Just like one day he would prove that aliens were real and that he wasn’t crazy, he’d prove to Puffy that he could have normal friends. That he could handle it.
Just because it had been a cluster fuck before didn’t mean it wouldn't this time. She just worried too much. Everything was going to be just fine.
While he dozed, three things happened at once all across the greater London area.
The storm itself calmed as quickly as it came, clouds thinning out and rain turning from a downpour to a drizzle to nothing more than the normal mist that perpetually seemed to hang in the air.
The first involved a tall, thin, pale man, wearing a horribly outdated yellow sweater. He was standing a few hundred meters down from one of the tallest towers in London. He had more bags than someone should reasonably have on them at six in the morning, but his eyes were lit up with curiosity, as he stared at a rain soaked paper, hanging onto a pole by sheer force of will.
“Rooms for rent.” he muttered to himself and something about his voice seemed odd, as if he wasn’t entirely sure how to use it. A smile split his face, and if someone had looked closely, they might have noticed his teeth were just a bit sharper than they should be. However, it was London, and no one really gave a shit about the strange man on the street corner. They’d already seen weirder. “Brilliant! Who knew how easy this would be?” he said, and ripped the paper off the pole.
If anyone had been paying attention, they also would have noticed that the man with all the bags set off in the completely opposite direction of the address listed on the paper.
The second was that a very large man, with long pink hair stood at the edge of an alley, a floral green and yellow patterned duffle bag was slung over one shoulder, an iPhone 4 was in one hand, and he was clutching a soaked piece of paper in his free hand. ROOMS FOR RENT it read in bold letters along with an address.
He squinted as he attempted to type in the address and frowned. Perhaps if everyone hadn’t been certain that he was crazy (the ruffled shirt and facy overcoat did nothing to help this) they’d have walked a little closer, and heard him muttering ‘stupid human technology’ under his breath.
No one did though, and no one paid attention when he smiled in victory when he finally succeeded in conquering google maps and set off in a power walk towards a destination unknown.
The third perhaps was not an event, but a lack of one. A tennager who looked no older than sixteen, maximum, was still curled up sleeping between a corner store and a fence, hidden behind his motorcycle. His blonde hair was damp and he had one single bag, a red backpack clutched to his chest as he slept, oblivious to the world waking around him.
In the end, none of these events were noteworthy. No one would remember this morning any different than any other Thursday morning in London. Commuters went to work, business men yelled at the phones, dogs barked, babies cried and the sun still rose.
No one was yet aware of the aliens converging on a sleepy London suburb- not even the other aliens.