Title: Hopscotch!

Author: Angel Starbeam

Word Count:

Disclaimer: I do not own rights to Corpse Bride. I'm just a fan with an overactive imagination and no money.

Chapter 2: Ravens from Ink Blots

A raven flew above the mysteriously powerful house and the dancing skeletons. It was an odd creature; it hung in midair, with no particular direction in mind and was lopsided in body as well as fat with misplaced yet graceful wings. Its appearance took attention away from the house and skeletons, but Danny decided that he liked the raven that he made in haste from the ink blot before it bled though the paper.

"Bloody harpy."

Danny looked up from his sketch pad to the sullen commenter. Jackson slumped in the tattered armchair he sat in.

The old cellar where they were in was a storage room; a place filled broken furniture, ancient scrapbooks, and other things that have gone into retirement from being seen in the house. Because the cellar was a place of exile, few people bothered with it. Maids only came there for maybe once a year to clear the excess dust and maybe throw in the latest retiree, and an exterminator would come to check on his traps. Other than that, it was a room empty of living occupants, filled with rejected nonliving ones.

Yet because no one else bothered with it, it served as a hiding place for three downtrodden adolescents.

Enduring through a lecture of what their stations in society require of them and what others expected of them was not what a group of teenagers wanted to spend a summer afternoon. Being told the list of the inappropriate behavior that has been done was also not wanted. It was not wanted, but the three did just that; listening to the snobby drawl of Fergie and condemned brogue of Bea.

After which, they took sanctuary in the cellar, sitting in a semi-circle among the frayed furniture.

"I'm sure they think they doing what they think is best for us," Emma said demurely, sitting up from the hope chest.

The boys looked at their cousin with mutual expressions of Yeah right.

"I meant Auntie Alison and Edwina," Emma clarified, her arms folded.

"You have to admit, this is bordering cruel and unusual," Danny pointed out.

"Danny, we lied to them," Emma said, her tone softened. Emma did not like lying, especially to the aunties. Plus, she is a terrible liar.

"Then next time tell the truth and leave me to be hanged." Jackson got up from the chair and crossed over to Danny's side of the room.

"I agree," Danny turned to him, "Next time Jackson, we're selling you out."

Jackson scowled, Danny smiled.

"Why do you feel the need to start betting pools?" Emma asked.

"I don't need to. I just want to see if I'm right or not." Jackson replied.

"And now we have to go to dinner with Fergie and Bea and whatever lobotomized socialite." Danny groused.

Going to dinner with high classed Norshire snobs, another unwanted activity but they were going to do it. it was their own fault.

Last night, they were at a pub. The place was well liked and respectable, and quite law abiding. Although, some would say it had one fault; it was a place to gamble. A place where people made bets; Ones as conventional as outcomes of sporting events to if the boss's hair was actually a toupee and if it was, how much did it cost him.

Jackson was an excellent gambler in the later category. He had an interesting talent of human observation and correctly predicting their next actions. He gambled on account he wanted to see if he was correct or not. On one particular betting pool, he was not correct. He didn't mind it, it was ten pence lost and he instantly saw his flaw in judgment.

A lad five years his senior, a hundred pounds heavier, and had a large amount of alcohol in his system, saw that since he sided on Jackson's predictions, it was Jackson's fault that he lost. Jackson knew it was not his fault the silly git lost money. He also knew that the git would sock his jaw regardless.

Danny was the one to save the day. He was able to give the git compensation for his losses in the form of two DVDs of Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. The gleeful git left happy and Jackson and Danny relieved.

Unfortunately, word of the incident got out and reached the ears to their family, namely Auntie Alison and Auntie Edwina. They did not please them. Not only was Jackson gambling, a habit they abhorred, but Danny and Emma lied to them about it when they returned home. So when Aunt Bea and Uncle Fergie came along with full intent in addressing the issue, the aunties let them come and talk to the children. And when the "invitation" for the dinner came up, the Aunties made no objections. That was their punishment.

"You still owe me Disc 1 and 2."

A.N. What do you think? The cousins will have more to do. The story might drag on.