A/N: HAPPY HALLOWEEN! (Y'know, in my fanfic at least XD) Thank you guys so much for all the reviews, and this is the chapter lots of you have been waiting for, the party! ENJOY!
Ghosts, ghouls, and goblins. Orange, black, and white. Music that creeped beneath the earth and children's sneakers pounding on the pavement like drums, earning a proud tremble from everyone's drinks. The Syspocalypstar Halloween Block Party (that expanded over half the city) had started the first 31st of October they had lived there, and no one was letting the founding trio off the hook just because their lives were in shambles.
Lights in neat rectangles, shining in neon spotlights from apartments, adorned every roadside the party touched, and a person couldn't run far enough to not hear music screeching about fright and graveyards.
Lucy, unadorned as she had persisted, weaved her way through Sony and Cher/Benny and Sweet Mayhem, slid past Batman and Watevra in matching spy gear, ducked under President Business dressed in King's attire, and said a quick hello to Scribble Cop, who had gone as an artist. Sometimes, when she watched TV or saw citizens out the window who weren't so…eccentric, she believed she needed new friends.
"UNIKITTY!" Though her throat burned with scalding coals, Lucy got Unikitty's attention. The princess turned around, sending her pajama-dinosaur costume's tail spinning. The punch-pink set off the lime scales, and once again, Lucy had to wonder what people with normal friend's lives were like. "Where's Emmet?
For the first time in weeks, Unikitty's mind wasn't curled up in one giant ball of tight, jagged stress, and Lucy's absence for the past hour was a major, happy factor. She looked Lucy up and down. No costume. In years past, she and Emmet, after some coaxing, always went as a couple costume. The pang in her heart was too familiar to hurt anymore. It only ached. "Who?"
"What about him?"
"WHERE IS HE?"
Finally, in a quiet moment in Ghostbusters, Lucy's question made it through. A firework shattered the ebony ink above their heads, and Unikitty shrugged. Venom bit at her eyes, and a familiar, betraying urge trickled with tense bites up through her body. Was her fur red? Could everyone see? Would people judge her?
It was rushing faster.
She bit down on her lip.
Breathe. Like Emmet taught you.
Keeping half her throat in her chest, Unikitty replied, "How should I know? I don't think he came."
There was no reason to care. How could Lucy's mind be so uncaring, hate her so, and despise her enough to stay silent when the rest of the universe shouted at their loudest? Everything she had told him was the truth. They were just friends, going together would have been weird, and yes, Rex had asked her not fifteen minutes later. Lucy had been completely fair and honest. Everyone should have been happy with that.
So why did she feel like the dirt on the bottom of a toddler's sneakers?
No. No, she wouldn't let them win! She wasn't going to get back together with Emmet, this wouldn't be the stupid, childish happy ending everyone assumed it would be!
Lucy just gave Unikitty a 'don't worry' gesture and weaved her way through their blob of the thousand-people crowd. If she could find Rex, if she could find the one part of her life that was new, that was post-Emmet, the one person who didn't try to shoot her with love arrows, then everything would be alright. Her stomach would stop turning inside out, her head would pick up the weight it had lost and sit back on her neck, and the universe would cease spinning.
"Wyldstyle!" his voice came with the creeping, sick, drawing beat of This is Halloween, and something in her heart shifted. She grinned and waved, he caught her smile, and within the minute he had gotten her in a huge hug. She clutched her arms around his neck as he laughed, burying her head in the crook of his neck. Future. Her future.
"Hey, this is great, isn't it?" Emmet froze as she pulled back, but it was a welcome change from shivering and shuddering. This year was unlike the past – the plastic vampire's fangs dripped blood, he couldn't discern which spiders were fake and which were real, and the drinks tasted like cement. Obviously, he had to get in on the planning next year, no matter how his life was falling apart.
The woman before him, unfortunately just as dressed up as he was, smirked. "Are you scared?"
"Scared? Are you kidding? My little sister had scarier decorations. Weren't we going to, uh, get a real guy to turn into a zombie or something?" Rex's voice practically screeched in his head that this was the most awful interpretation, let alone imitation, of him in the universe, and Emmet hissed back that he already knew. When had he begun to talk to Rex in his mind?
Nodding. She was nodding. But not in the sweet, loving way she sometimes did, it was in the way when she had a straight flush in poker, when she wouldn't tell him what she got him for Christmas, and when she had the perfect plan to get back on the cashier who gave her a funny look. "I don't like that look," he gently informed her.
"I was just thinking…"
"That's never good."
"…there's an old, supposedly haunted house over on Cricket Lane…"
Say no. Say it sounds boring. Say you have better things to do. Say you'd rather kiss her.
"Well, I've lived a good life, right?" Emmet broke into a smile, grabbed Lucy's hand in his, and they took off running through the streets, weaving through the dancing crowd, and spilling people's drinks for them. Lucy ran around a corner, swung Rex around by her hand, and when the crowd had thinned out, they spun around each other in a fantastical spinning top, ready to fly in any instant.
Through laughter that kept her lips parted for several seconds, laughter she hadn't felt in ages, Lucy spotted a house, cottage-inspired and dripping with muddy paint. "Wait, Rex, I found it!"
In the confusion, Rex titled too far, Lucy went with him, and they flew into a hill, Emmet-first. Lucy landed on top of him, and despite the furious shade of Halloween blood on his face that went straight down to his toes, Lucy smirked once more. Evilly, Emmet added.
Panting, Lucy grinned. "You ready?"
Emmet shot a look up the lane. The house looked like your classic 'haunted house', distorted. It had one roof, but it soared several stories high. The gates, once iron, had rusted over. Plants had overgrown and tangled their weaving clutches around the home, memories of years past with each one.
"Yeah," he murmured. "Let's go."
The walk up was silent, if you don't count Emmet gazing at Lucy any chance she was distracted. This was all he had ever wanted. He wanted to be with her, to do stupid things by her side, sit in movie theaters by themselves and react as loudly as possible, run in empty school yards and play tag, leave notes in library books, he wanted it all and had it, but that stupid, jittery, aching feeling still scratched at every corner of his stomach.
Sometimes, he hated her.
He couldn't use her name whenever he thought that, because he couldn't believe it was true. But, in some weak moments, he reminded himself that if he had never met her, then he never would have fallen in love, never would have had seven perfect years, and never would have lost her. He never would have had to know how amazing it was to wake up in the morning with her drawing mustache on his face, meet her for lunch in the park, and run in the nighttime rainfall, imitating famous movie characters getting wet. Did he have to remember all of this? Why couldn't he have lost his memory? Then she would be going through heck on earth.
He resented her. Like she had chosen this.
Lucy would have handled this much better.
It was always his problem. He was the lonely one, the one who had to change, the one with the time-traveling clone, the one who had to know everything when the love of his life was ignorant and blissful.
Why not her?!
"Ok, we're here!"
The firestorm ceased. The rain stopped, the thunder rumbled instead of cackled, and lighting shuddered to strike. He stared at Lucy, feet stuck in the muddy grass, who smiled as she ran her hands up and down the gate. "Who do you think lived here?"
"Someone…and his wife," Emmet answered confidently, but with blank stare. Half his mind remained far back in his skull, struggling to catch up with the rest.
"Uh, are you ok?"
"Hm?" He turned to face her, raising an eyebrow. "What?"
From the start, he didn't like how her arms crossed over her chest. The only time he had ever seen her look like that, on the brink of anger, was when Batman had submitted her entry to a modelling contest. The result of that choice was not pretty, and it did not end with Lucy in high heels. Batman couldn't walk straight for a week.
"No, it's just that your voice usually isn't that…high." She held back. Lucy held her throat in her chest to keep it from hollering and losing control before she had to. On some level, she felt good for holding her emotions like that, but the blood-dripping fangs of a lion waited to roar out any second. Every moment she held back would be one worse second if everything went in the gutter. "Are you ok?" She didn't sound like she really cared.
No. Not tonight, not ever. Not ever again. Dropping his voice, again, lower than ever necessary, Emmet channeled every bit of Rex he imagined still lay inside him. "Uh, yeah, of course I am! Heh. what kinda question is that?"
Rex was bold.
Emmet reached forward, tucked his hands around Lucy's waist, and leaned dangerously close to her face. The pounding in his heart spread like a disease until it soaked all his chest. "Come on, what's all this about?"
Momentarily, she grinned back, cupping her hands on the back of his head. "I don't know," she gave as a distracted, non-answer that was perfect for when her mind was in a fritz of haywire emotions and sparking wires.
He was going to kiss her.
Emmet smiled. Not a grin, not a smirk, but a smile.
All the blood drained from her face. Her hands went clammy and shuddered. Silence edged in and put a singular block between them, and Lucy drew back, still clutching his wrist as though she would flip him on his head any second. Emmet's smile fell. Neither spoke.
That stupid smile.
"O-ok, I'm going to do something, and just…don't move." Lucy's form quivered under the coldest rainfall she had ever felt. Emmet froze as she reached up with her sleeve, rubbed at his face, and wiped away everything that made his face Rex.
"You know Lucy. What is she going to say when you tell her?"
"I'm not going to tell her."
Blood washed from his body and fueled the boiling look on her face. "Uh…hi?"
"Look, Lucy, I can explain–"
Trust me, you can't.
The last thing he saw before she ran off was her hand colliding with his face.