Warning: Sexual references, cavorting and merrymaking, violence
How can you see into my eyes like open doors?
Leading you down into my core where I’ve become so numb
Without a soul...
My spirit's sleeping somewhere cold
Until you find it there and lead it back home.
“Did you know you have 206 bones in your body? I just did a presentation on that in school. Did I mention I’m pre-med?”
“But I guess what I’m really asking is...”
“Would you like one more?”
“Bonehilda’s date is rather peculiar.”
“What mortal isn’t?” Titania snickered. “Where’s your daughter tonight, Bella?”
“She refused to come.”
“Because I wanted her to.”
“Ah. Getting into that age, mmm? Training must be right on the horizon.”
Bella shook her head. “Oh, not for another year at least. Not with this attitude.”
“You were her age when you started, no?”
“That’s exactly why I’m in no hurry.”
She wagged her finger. “If you do not teach her, love, someone or something else will. And then it’ll be too late for you to teach her anything.”
“How can I teach her when she won’t listen to me?”
“You have to listen as well.”
Bella hesitated. “You don’t predict anything going awry here tonight, do you?”
“I don’t do readings for free, my love.”
“Give her not a moly, Bella,” Jennicor cut in. “Her inner eye can see nothing of this place, as it is shrouded in cold iron.”
“Foiled again,” Titania sighed.
Michael had learned the hard way not to take dates anywhere near his sister, but he felt safer knowing Dina came with her own redheaded bodyguard. Even then, he couldn’t see how Bella could have a problem with her. She was so willing to embrace this world, even without rejecting the other.
It was kind of nice not being alone.
“Greetings, stranger. I know not your face, and yet I feel we’ve perhaps met before?”
“Well it is a masquerade.” His voice was deep and heavy, though his tone was light. “Maybe I’m in disguise.”
“But you wear no mask, sir.”
“As far as you know.” He winked.
“Oh, what an answer! I think I shall be pondering it all evening.”
“Jennicor!” Olive called out, striding across the floor with her child close behind. “Allow me to introduce my fiance, Ichabod Specter.”
“Ahhh, so this is the latest? A little older than the last, but handsomer I think.” Even Olive’s glare could not put a stop to Jennicor’s fluttering. “Specter. What a lovely name.”
“And it’s not even a pun,” he said.
“Junior will be taking it on as well. Ichabod is adopting him.”
Junior peeked his head out from behind Olive’s skirt. “My name is DJ Spectaw!”
“DJ?” Jennicor furrowed her brow ever so slightly. “Whatever does the D stand for?”
Olive crossed her arms, nostrils flaring. “Don’t ask me. I don’t call him that.”
“But you gotta admit it has a nice ring to it.” Ichabod knelt down to take the boy in his arms. “Right DJ?”
“Yes, daddy!” he giggled.
“Do you have other children, Mr. Specter?”
“No. Been married a couple times though.” He grimaced playfully. “Both came to a messy end.”
“Well, surely this one will last a lifetime, Mr. Specter.”
“Surely,” Olive said.
“I know it’s hypocritical of me to say, but is there something odd about Mr. Specter?” Servo asked. “Not bad, just...strange?”
“I kinda know what you mean, but I think that’s just Olive’s type. Tall, dark, and snarky,” she said. “He seems like a nice guy, though.”
“Oh, yes.” He picked her up and spun her around. “He didn’t even look at me funny.”
“Nobody here is looking at you funny.”
“Except for that, er, scruffy fellow over there. He’s been gawking at me for five minutes straight.”
His expression morphed from shock to an aggressively friendly grin. “Nini! Fancy meeting you here of all places! What are the odds that you’d be on a date in the same place where I’m on a date?” He grabbed the skeleton woman and pulled her to his side, hip to hipbone. “This is Hildy. She’s my date.”
“Hi,” said Nina.
Don snapped his head toward Servo. “And this must be the guy!”
“This is Servo, my boyfriend.”
“Servo!” He thrust out his hand, teeth still bared. “Nice to finally meet ya, buddy! I’ve heard a...considerable amount about you!”
Don tore his eyes away from where they’d wandered. “Say, do you mind if I throw your girl around the dance floor for this one song? Just a platonic dance between two old pals?” He finally remembered to breathe, sucking in air through his teeth. “You can dance with Hildy!”
“That’s Nina’s choice, not mine.”
She considered Don’s desperate face for several seconds before giving in. “Okay.”
“We’ll keep far enough apart to fit Ms. Crumplebottom’s Book of Etiquette between us! Haha!”
As soon as Servo was out of earshot his voice switched to a hushed and serious tone. “He’s a robot.”
“I hadn’t noticed.”
“You said he was a vampire!”
They said nothing for a while, letting the music fill the silence.
“Was this a blind date?” she asked, taking his attention back from the violinist’s enormous talents.
“Yeah. Not exactly my usual, but she’s been fun. And a great listener!” He cleared his throat. “By the way, it’s not legally considered necrophilia if they’re reanimated. I looked it up.”
“I’m not judging, Donald,” she said. “And I hope you’re not judging me.”
“No, totally not! Robots are cool. Vampire robots are even cooler.” He bobbed his head from side to side. “I just can’t help but be curious...”
He gulped but covered it with a smile. “How does he...you know?”
“Make love to me?”
Nina raised an eyebrow. “Spectacularly.”
“HEY!” Don released Nina and stomped across the dance floor. “Are you hitting on my girl?”
“I just saw your hands all over her!”
Servo took a step back, hands up like he was under arrest. “I was trying to pry myself free without breaking anything.”
“The only thing getting broken here tonight is you, buddy!”
“Donald, what the hell are you doing?”
“I’m defending your honor, Nini! This man is a cheater!” he shouted, getting the attention of the rest of the party. He turned back to Servo, fists raised. “I know your type. You think you can just swoop in and steal other people’s girls, breaking hearts left and right like some kind of casanova. Well maybe it’s time for someone to swoop in and show your FACE the same disrespect!”
“I’m not sure if I understand, sir?”
“You and me right here, right now, mano y roboto.”
“I don’t think that’s a very good idea, Mr. Lothario.”
“Chicken, huh?” Don scoffed. “Come on, be a man!”
“...Donald, if you hit him —” Nina started, but was cut off by the sound of crunching bone.
Jennicor stepped forward, waving everyone away with her fan. “All right everyone; this demonstration of human frailty is over.” She snapped her fingers at her granddaughter, who was creeping towards Don’s unconscious form. “Gvaudoin, the family rule still stands. If thou dost bite it, thou dost buy it.”
“We can’t leave him here,” Bella said.
“Take him to the basement.”
There was only one way to get the party back on track.
Nina was eager to tend to Servo’s nonexistent wounds, but it was really her that needed tending. “I know it’s hard to believe but there are times when he is not an obnoxious terrible person!”
“You wouldn’t have kept him around so long otherwise.”
“And then he does something like this and it’s like he’s someone else! Or trying to be,” she sighed.
“He was jealous.”
“Where does he get off being jealous of anyone? He doesn’t want to commit but he thinks everyone should be committed to him? If anyone has a right to be jealous, it’s me and I didn’t even try to pick a fight with that skinny maid!”
“I was jealous too, actually.”
“Of Donald?” Nina sputtered, shaking her head. “You have nothing to be jealous of. He’s a clown!”
“He’s human,” Servo said. “It’s not just him, it’s every man I meet. Everyone with flesh and blood and a beating heart.”
Nina blinked away her tears and put her arms around him. “You know I think you’re perfect.”
Their embrace was broken by a gasp from Servo.
“What?” She craned her neck towards the house. “What are you pointing at?”
“You don’t see...him? In the window?”
“Who? There’s no one in there.”
“Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” she said, picking herself up before he could get to her.
A flash of blue and purple in the sky caught her eye.
“Is that Servo?” The redhead trailing after him implied ‘yes’. “Let’s go see what they’re up to.”
She went on ahead of him as he stopped to pick up the mask she’d dropped. Only when they were almost to the door did he see what was standing on the other side.
“Quick, somebody do CPR!” Dina shouted.
“I don’t have lungs!”
“Nina can do it!” she said, turning to her sister. “Nina?”
She didn’t respond.
“Nevermind CPR, defibrillate him with your brain, Servo!”
“You’ve electrocuted people before!”
“Once, and I don’t think that makes me certified for resuscitation!”
Dina grabbed the lapels of his jacket. “You have to save him so little Junior can have a father!”
“You kids could at least check for a pulse before you decide to electrocute a guy.”
“For now. I was just resting these old bones for a spell.”
“In the middle of the floor?”
“Little trick I learned in my fratboy days.” He winked and nodded towards Nina. “You okay, girl? You look paler than a pale horse.”
“I’m fine,” she said weakly.
“She has PTSD.”
“Triggered by dead old guys?” He nodded. “Sorry I scared you, kid.”
“It’s my fault. I’m sorry for this, Nina.” Servo walked with her over to the couch, but kept his touch light when he saw she was shivering. “And for waking you, sir. I just thought I saw something...someone...and I assumed the worst.”
“Can’t say I’ve seen anyone in here besides you fine folks.”
“I didn’t see anything either,” Nina said. “It feels weird, though. Cold. Just like at Bella’s party.”
“The reaper.” Dina remembered Cassandra’s words. “Did you see the Grim Reaper, Servy? Normal - er - non-magical people can’t see him.”
“Not exactly true. Everyone sees him eventually.” Ichabod chuckled. “Come to think of it I did catch a glimpse of a tall bony specter in that mirror over there but I figured it was just my own reflection.”
“Why would I be able to see him?”
“You are technically undead, Servy.”
“But why would it be possible? Does he come for robots?”
Ichabod frowned. “Why wouldn’t he?”
Servo shrugged. “I don’t know. Maybe I’m just malfunctioning. I mean, he was talking on a cellphone. A purple cell phone!” He shook his head. “Probably just glitching.”
“You’re not,” Mike said, reminding the others he was still in the room. He took a deep breath and then another, before clarifying. “I saw him too. Cell phone and all.”
Nobody questioned him. Only Servo looked at him with surprise and even that may have been imagined. Dina was beaming.
“Urgh, great.” Nina slumped back on the couch. “Should we start the search for bodies?”
Ichabod rolled his eyes. “What makes you think someone’s dead?”
“What else would Death himself be doing here?”
“Having a good time?” His deep, hearty laugh was still in the air even after he left the room.
“I need a drink,” Nina said. “And I still don’t get why the hell he was on the floor.”
“Maybe he fainted at the sight of the reaper,” Dina said, not taking her eyes off Mike. “But doesn’t want to out himself as a warlock.”
“I guess that makes a bit more sense. He did seem to know a lot about it.” Servo took Nina’s hands. “I’m sorry it’s been a downer evening for you, Nina. Let me make you a drink; anything you want. Spline Reticulator? Simoleon Sunrise? Woohoo on the Beach?”
“How about a woohoo in the cemetery next door?”
“I’m not familiar with that one,” he said, slipping an arm around her as they headed for the door. “But I imagine I can learn fast enough.”
“So you can see the reaper, hmm?” Even in the dim light she could see his face was red.
“Not because I’m undead.”
“Because you’re a warlock?”
“No.” He gave the room a once over before leaning forward to whisper in her ear. “Because I’m a wizard.”
Cut-text and opening song are “Bring Me to Life” by Evanescence.
In case anyone’s interested in Mr. Specter’s stats:
Taurus (I know the wiki says Aquarius, but I have my reasons for this which I’m sure some of you have already guessed. ^_~)
Neat - 4, Outgoing - 5, Active - 2, Playful - 8, Nice - 6