Subject: Meanwhile, Derik was thinking the same thing.
Posted on: 2019-10-15 16:33:01 UTC

He'd never before realized just how many dangers lurked in a room full of happily partying agents. There were far too many costumes with hard or sharp bits. Too many legs and chairs and tables and other objects to blunder into and grab and tip over. Too many choking hazards on the food tables. Too much noise interfering with his hearing, even with the music cleverly muted away from the dance floor.

As ever, though, Gall's voice managed to come through loud and clear: "We didn't have to come, you know."

He tore his gaze from the room and forced the tell-tale frown from his face. It wasn't too hard. The sight of her with little Gadrik tucked securely in his carrying harness against her chest had a way of making him smile even when he was anxious about the whole business. The boy was awake and alert, his head with its cap of dark, curly hair turning this way and that as he took in the fascinating sights and sounds around him. At seven months old, he was perfectly fearless and eager to explore the world with his newfound crawling ability.

Hence Derik's trepidation. There was no way Gaddie would be content to stay in his harness the whole time. Eventually, they'd have to let him down, and then... Gaddie would be Gaddie. And they would do what they spent most of their time doing these days: trying desperately to keep up.

Derik sighed. "Yes, we did; it's a tradition. It'll be fine. Probably." He made himself smile more.

Gall rolled her eyes, unconvinced. "Of course it will, you big sissy. Come on—I see Jötun, and you are not going to believe this." She cackled and led the way toward their friends.

"Oh?" Derik followed, one hand at her elbow to keep them from being separated as he looked around again, this time scanning over the heads of the crowd.

Thoth was easy to spot, but Derik didn't recognize him at first, with a full head of dark hair long enough to reach his broad, bare shoulders. He was surprised into laughter. "What in the world...?" When they got within calling distance, Derik raised his voice and waved. "Thoth, man! What is that on your head?"

"What's that on your face?" Gall riposted, unable to resist such a shining opportunity to jibe him.

Derik's "costume" was a red plaid shirt he'd scrounged up to go with the beard he hadn't bothered shaving for the past month. Thanks to his scars, the beard was sparse on the right side and some of the hairs that did grow in were white, a stark contrast to the rich black of the rest of it. He looked lopsided at best, mangy at worst.

Gall hadn't done anything out of the ordinary at all. Gadrik was the only one of them they had managed to put in a real costume, and he was quite possibly the most adorable sausage roll of a baby Gronckle there ever was, even if he wouldn't keep the hood up. Gall simply had to dress as her Berkian self to make it work. Derik had adjusted the harness (which he'd made in the first place) to accommodate the extra bulk of the hoodie with its protuberant padding of soft scutes and spines, and they were quite comfortable.

(( Edit: post expanded. That should be better to reply to! ))

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