Chapter 1: Key
Wolves: Werewolves, obviously. They're not bound to any moon cycle, but there is a necessity to change forms after a while in order to shed their current skin and other body parts. The transformation process isn't painful, despite all of one's bones being broken and reset over and over again. If you've ever seen Hemlock Grove, it's kind of like that. The shed skin, hair, teeth, and eyes, whether it be human or wolf, disintegrates over time. They have longer lower canines, sometimes jutting past their lips. Wolves are most common among Hispanic and Native American people, due to them being there pre-colonization and the gene only being able to be passed down from birth.
Lamia: Just another word for vampire. Sunlight isn't fatal to Lamia, but they do have a higher risk for sunburns and skin cancers. They've got longer upper canines, speed, and flight. They do not need to eat people or drink blood to survive. Lamia originated in Africa, yet are not exclusive to black people. The gene can be passed down from birth or a human can be turned via blood transfusion.
Demons: Absolutely no religious affiliation. Demons are the most similar to human beings except for the horns, black eyes, and scary "true" face, which they can reveal whenever they want. Rumored to also originate from Africa, but it can only be transferred via transformative process.
Wolves: Regina, Papa Fuerte, Wanda, Napoleon
Lamia: Shao, Grandmaster
Hybrids: Zeke, Cadillac
Humans: Ramon, Tanya
Witches: The Kipling's
Other: Thor, Mylene
Chapter 2: Sunlight
Zeke, in all his lanky, dopey-faced glory, was actually in a good place.
Before I get into it, just wanted you to know that I'm queer and black, just in case I use a black or queer slur in the future! Give me your feedback, because every chapter's gonna be from a new perspective.
If there was a hell, the Bronx was it. The demons, monsters, and other ungodly creatures knew it all too well. The wolves were in constant conflict with the lamia, whether it was a turf war or racism, plain and simple. Demons wanted to torment everyone for the fun of it. Some humans had banded together against the subhumans that lived among them for millennia in hopes for some sort of control, while others were just trying to live their lives.
Zeke, in all his lanky, dopey-faced glory, was actually in a good place. He and his butterscotch, sugar sweet boo thang, Mylene, had permanently separated. She wrote him a quickly scribbled letter from the shores of California saying that it was unfair for both of them to wait for each other and he took it well. His internship was starting to pay him, even! Some higher ups at the firm said that it was "the modern era" and there needed to be more diversity. By diversity, they really meant some poster people for the subhuman community, but Ezekiel Figuero wasn't one to turn down money.
He was leaving the skyscraper that was his office and hit the streets, making his way to his favorite place on Earth. He passed dozens of people who looked tired from a long days work, but Zeke was in the face of the sun and looked fucking radiant. His blindingly white canines peeked from past his lips stretched in a content grin; a resting-nice-face of sorts. His time in the sun was short lived when he had to descend the stairs into the subway. The train ride was longer than usual, but it gave the wordsmith time to type up some poetry and potential lyrics on his phone. His clawed hands tapped rhythmically to a song in his head and hummed into the microphone on his headphones, recording the sound and sending it to The Get Down Bruddas group chat. Zeke's phone buzzed obnoxiously with the flood of texts he got in return.
Pretty Dizzee D: That's poppin, are we gonna use that at the next rehearsal??
The Wordsmith: Maybe. Idk. It's a little slow for a TGD performance, but you never know. I might doctor it up.
Sun God: Bet! We're still on for Saturday???
Boo Bear: Mhmm
The Wordsmith: Yep.
Boo Bear: Aight Z we gotta bounce so say hi to your boyfriend for us when you see him!!
Pretty Dizzee D: Facts. See y'all tomorrow
Before Zeke could even reply a ‘fuck you’ or say anything to dispute the Kipling’s claims, he was at his stop. He walked off the platform so flushed that he almost looked like some of the demons in the train station. The poet stepped out in a hurry and immediately made his way onto the sidewalk, still looking angelic, but a little flustered. Zeke slipped past the gentrified indie coffee shops and niche collection stores into one of the last remaining bodegas in the Bronx.
“Ay!¿Quién es? Whatchu want?” An elderly goblin lady yelled from behind the counter. She couldn't really see Zeke, but by the time she got up onto her stool, he had already picked up what he needed and laid it out on the counter for her. He had been going to that store from the jump, so he had a system and a routine.
“Hola, Nena.” Zeke said with a wide smile, showing off his upper and lower canines. “You know what it is. ¿Como está? I haven't been round in a while.”
Nena bagged up Zeke's snacks and took the cash and coins from his hand. She went on a mini rant about her grandkids, but nothing extremely interesting. He made small talk about his own life and went towards the door.
“Adios, perrito! Tell your tia I said 'hi’, okay?”
As soon as the bodega door closed, the wordsmith took a swing of his Diet Dr. Pepper. He kept walking and soon found himself in the presence of no one. Zeke picked up his speed and gradually lifted from the ground. Soon enough, he was at his destination. There were no doors on the first floor of the building in front of him because the only people allowed in were people who could make it to the top. Zeke simply loved the excuse to show off his abilities, even if it's just for himself. The MC planted his feet square on the concrete and with a bend of the knees, jumped the 60-some feet to the opening above. Zeke hovered by the window for a little bit before knocking, suddenly getting anxious. His knuckles rapped on the window in a familiar pattern until he heard the slide of the lock. He backed up a little bit, but he couldn't help but break open a big ass smile for his Rapunzel in the tower.
Chapter 3: Gravity
Didn't Zeke know that they couldn't build their kingdom from under the thumbs of humans and blancitos?
Shao had been anxious for hours. He woke up annoyingly and terrifyingly alone in his room at God-knows-when in the afternoon, plastered to the ceiling. He had a bad habit of floating in his sleep, constantly trying to escape Annie's grasp to the one place she couldn't get him. She always held him down with her body weight and the pressure only added to his asthma. In heaving breaths, he slowly came back to the ground. The carpet was new, replaced after a visit from a canine friend of his. She apologized over and over, but he smiled sweetly and said not to worry.
A quick look in the mirror showed his restlessness. He was in for a long ass day.
Shaolin hated sleeping alone; the bed was too big and there was a Zeke shaped space where a Zeke shaped body should be. They'd get in the bed at the furthest ends and wake up a tangle of too long and too short limbs, Zeke cocooned in the lamia's embrace. Shao grumbled about his counterpart’s dumbass, unnecessary fucking job and hovered around his room, looking for his phone. Didn't Zeke know that they couldn't build their kingdom from under the thumbs of humans and blancitos?
He couldn't find his fucking phone. The DJ's mind immediately went to the worst. There was another attack on subhumans. They're was another queer club shooting. The Get Down Brothers broke up. Annie got to them first. Annie's back. They're dead. They're dead, they're dead, they're dead. Before his anxiety could paralyze him, he heard a faint, yet incessant buzzing coming from the direction of his kitchen.
The Alien: That's poppin, are we gonna use that at the next rehearsal??
Zekey: Maybe. Idk. It's a little slow for a TGD performance, but you never know. I might doctor it up.
Ra: Bet! We're still on for Saturday???
Boob: Aight Z we gotta bounce so say hi to your boyfriend for us when you see him!!
The Alien: Facts. See y'all tomorrow
Shao didn't know what to say, if anything at all. A quick 'go to hell’ would have sufficed, but Shaolin wasn't a liar. He couldn't ignore how antsy he got around Zeke or the how dramatically the hybrid’s slightest touch affected him, resulting in a flood of calm or his traitorous breath catching in his throat. He decided to ignore it. In a repressing fashion, Shaolin abandoned his phone and zipped to the shower. The water was practically scalding, but at least the red heat distracted him from his cool blue Bronx babe, Ezekiel.
Fresh faced and ready to take on the evening, Shao stepped out of his towel and reached for a pair of low riding, red sweatpants from his bedside drawer. As soon as the drawstring was tied, he heard a knock at his window. He opened it and the incoming sunlight sparkled off of his damp chest, making him look like a golden god to the man hovering before him with a megawatt smile.
Chapter 4: Gates
As the sun began its descent over the cityscape’s horizon, Dizzee, Yolanda, Ra, and Boo Boo sat in the order of oldest to youngest. It was time to start.
“Boo, Dizzee, mom said we gotta start soon! Let's finish closing up and- Diz, can you get the sigils I wrote from the kitchen table? Thanks.” Ra rambled on in a hurry, trying to clean up as fast as possible before 6:00. His skin felt tight, like every single part of him was being suctioned out, leaving him with only his magic. The rest of the Kiplings were undoubtedly feeling it too, all of their combined energies were bound to the roof because they were being waited on. Every six years, they had to be on the roof, no matter what. By 5:53, it felt like the air was being sucked from their bodies.
Boo and Dizzee swept up the last of the hair and rushed up the stairs, leaving Ra Ra to lock the door and make sure their salon was completely dark. The Kipling boys made it to the roof in the nick of time, greeting their sister and parents on a rug covered in old, blood-marked sigils. As the sun began its descent over the cityscape’s horizon, Dizzee, Yolanda, Ra, and Boo Boo sat in the order of oldest to youngest. It was time to start.
Their mother, better known as “High Priestess Adele”, raised her hands to the peach and orange skies, casting a translucent, pink, warbling field of energy around the perimeter of their building. Dozens of similar gates shot up through buildings and high rises in the Bronx in shades of red, signifying that the witches of New York were about to begin their sacrifice. Each family donated a bit of their magic to the “bank” of sorts, and in return, everyone got a gift, a new power or a magical item.
Adele lowered her left hand into her waiting husband's open palm and, in a clockwise motion, the High Witches of New York held hands and released a little of their respective magic into the center of the circle they had made. In unison, all of the Bronx's magic sped up the gates and disappeared behind the clouds. Nobody was sure where it went, but the bright pink crackle of lightning and the subsequent downpour of warm, pleasant rain let everyone know that it was over and that the sacrifice was sufficient.
In return, wisps of smoke descended from the raining sky and, without warning or prompting, entered each witch’s body through their eyes and mouths. Power surged through the Kiplings until they each passed out where they sat, blanketed by the storm.
Chapter 5: Heavy
Zeke was too lanky to play sports, but he rushed that nigga like a linebacker. A quick embrace that didn't allow Shao to put his guard up. It quite literally took the wind out of him.
"You know I have fucking asthma, right? Get yo big body ass off of me!" Shao wheezed, fronting like he wasn't melting into his MC's touch. He wiggled out of Books' grip and floated gracefully onto his red satin covers, while it seemed like his canine-lamia counterpart simply flipped the switch on his abilities. He crashed down next to Shao, his weight compressing the springs and making the conductor roll into the depression his body made in the mattress. They were face to face this way. Closer than they'd ever allow themselves to be in public, with the rest of the Get Down Brothers, even in their own thoughts most days. Zeke broke the tension first.
"You just woke up? Your skin's all hot from those showers you take," Zeke mentioned, hands and eyes mindlessly wandering over Shaolin's, frankly, fantastic muscles. "I don't know how you stand that shit, doesn't your skin get dry?"
"Does my skin feel dry to you? Since you keep touchin' up on me."
"I- uh, no. I guess not." The poet took proper stock of Shao's skin in that moment: smooth, dark, deep, rich, cocoa butter scented, covered in scars he wanted to press his lips to-
"Okay, okay, damn! I know I'm gorgeous, but stop staring." Shao scoffed, barely hiding his nerves under the guise of cool amusement. He got up to pick a record to play from the other side of the room. His back was turned to Zeke, so he couldn't see his MC take in his features to memory, couldn't feel his best friend's gaze heavy on him.
If he could, he wouldn't dare mention it.
A Get Down Brothers remix of Pussy Talk flooded the room with a warm, relaxing ambience. Most of "the wackness" had been cut out, spliced, and reapplied to the track in a way that was optimal for the chill-out session they had planned together that night.
The hopeless romantic took no time removing the suffocating button-down, but folded it neatly next to his work shoes, since he only had a few really good pieces. Discomfort is temporary; drip is forever. Shao took his spot flush against his mans body like it was his birthright. Wasn't it? It was definitely his destiny, being by Zeke's side. He held down the button on his dab pen, letting the smoke mask any anxious feeling he may or may not have been ignoring. Just two men basking in each other's radiance in the descending afternoon sun.
"Whatchu got planned, Conductor?"
"Samo, samo. Babysitting yo ass tonight, keeping it pimpin', and we can make breakfast before you have to go be a show pony for those corporate niggas." Shao grated as he watched wisps and billowing clouds float past his lips.
"I'm always here when you wake up, aren't I?" Shao crooned, giving in to his poet's big puppy eyes. He passed the pen through the space between them and waited for the receiving hand. It wasn't electricity when they touched, but a magnetism. When they got too close, they were inseparable, and it was always painful to let go.
Zeke held the tip up to his mouth like he did over a thousand times at that point and took a long, even breath. Memories of every morning spent in that bed flashed behind his eyes and he looked over to Shao. Noses almost touching. Smiling. There, alone. Together.
"Yeah. I guess you have."