As Un-Human As We Are - Chapter 18 - FlowerChildShawn (2024)

Chapter Text

Bdubs had woken up that morning in misery. He felt hungry, in the same way he had every morning since he had changed. Hungry in a way that he knows for a fact is not fixable by a Bdubs Certified© breakfast.

He could not stop the tears from falling as he felt the alien feeling grip at his chest again. He can smell the sweet and salty flavor of stress lingering in his room, a nauseating delicious smell left over from the fight it was to fall asleep last night. Both his and Cub's stress mixed together like a horribly delectable soup, making Bdubs' mouth water with hunger against his will. Bdubs shutters with a tearful whine, sitting up and pulling his pillow around in front of himself, hugging it tightly.

It had not been that long since the meeting that put everyone in their groups, leaving Bdubs in Cub and Scar’s care, but it felt like months already to Bdubs' exhausted mind. Bdubs is a perfect sleeper, thank you, but the stupid code seems to time it perfectly to force his instincts into overdrive every time he was supposed to be sleeping!! And while Cub was not really a night person, he was tasked with getting Bdubs to sleep because he was definitely not a morning person. Bdubs clutches his pillow tighter as he recalls the near bloody fight between him and Scar when the cat tried to put him to bed the first night. Scar's own instincts pushing him to attack the phan-

Bile rose in Bdubs’ throat, and he harshly swallowed it and the memory down. Cub was pinned to be the one to help wrestle Bdubs into bed every night against his triggering instincts. Bdubs could smell Cub’s leftover stress from needing to practically hog tie him into bed yet again last night before Bdubs’ own sleeping habits forced him to pass out as soon as he laid his head down on the pillow. The lingering smell, coupled with the rising smell of Bdubs’ own stress wrapped around and curled into his stomach, making it roll with nauseating hunger. Soon, Scar would come get him and work to transfer Cub's stress from the fight last night to him during breakfast. Then he would try to pretend everything was fine.

Bdubs' claws clenched into the pillow as his eyes filled with tears and bile filled his mouth. But it was NOT fine!! Scar and Cub were assigned to Bdubs like guard dogs. Chained to his side 24/7 to keep Bdubs from hurting everyone he loved. He was trying so hard to be good, and it just was not working! He tried eating snacks every time he felt ‘hungry’, but all that did was make him nauseous from over eating and he bit Cub anyway when the vex tried to help him with said nausea. He tried drinking water with the same effect, actually throwing up on Scar when he tried to drink the ‘hunger’ away when they had passed by a very frustrated Doc on his way to buy iron bars from Tango’s shop. He even tried staying away from everyone, but the loneliness just made him spiral into a horrible depression, turns out ph-, his race is a pack type and Bdubs was not one to isolate for too long before... this anyway.

Bdubs felt the tears that had been welling up in his eyes begin to fall as he smothered his face into his pillow. He hated this! He just wanted to build without Scar and Cub having to stay at his side to make sure he did not run off, watching him like a criminal. He wanted to hang out with his friends without his thoughts being flooded with how they were all such easy prey. He wanted to sleep without a fight that could end with Cub hurt. He wanted to eat regular food again without vomiting it up. He did not want this.

_______________________

Scar woke up that morning in a great mood! Nothing hurt, his breathing was clear, and he was walking steady with his new legs! With all the things happening because of this update, he was grateful that his transformation had not made his condition worse, in fact it had seemed to almost cure it! Sure, sometimes he needed his inhaler, he still had asthma after everything, but it was nowhere near the level of severity he had before the update.

He hums happily as he makes breakfast for himself, tail swishing behind him as he sways along to the loud pop song in his head. He would make breakfast for himself, as Bdubs preferred to make his own, then go wake the phantom up. Scar frowned, the song shifting to something softer in his mind as he thought of Bdubs and his cooking.

Bdubs always made his own food, except at gatherings, he had done so for as long as Scar knew the man. It was not something of distrust, he was just picky and it was better for everyone if he made his own food. And he was always happy to! Even offering to make some for others while he did. He was an amazing chef, so all of his food tasted amazing! But with the update...

Scar sighed as he took his food over to the table, pulling out the seating blanket Doc had gifted him a few days after everyone left the Healing Hotel. The creeper apologized that it had taken him so long to bring it over, he had been caught up in his instincts about the fabric choice and just could not give it to him until it was perfect. Scar smiled at the memory as he settled his centaur half down on it, purring lightly as his paws felt the soft floral fabric under them. And as he watched his claws gently peak out as he made the instinctual motions, sipping at his drink, the frown came back and the music in his head began to become more melancholy.

Bdubs has been looking so sad as he cooked for himself since the update, when before all of this, he always had a look of experienced ease. A slight smile to his face as he counted the exact amount of rosemary and measured the salt with his heart. He hummed when he stirred, using the words of songs to time his motions. He tapped as he looked for plates and shifted side to side as he poured drinks. He was happy, content, bouncing to a rhythm that fed into the food as flavor and care.

Scar looked down at his plate, at the still newer addition of cod and more familiar bowl of mixed greens and fruit. His diet had changed just like a lot of the hermits, he just happened to luck out with how his hybridization balanced out his diet. As an elf, while he could eat meat then, it had to have been in small amounts and only every few days as too often would hurt him from a form of fat or protein sensitivity. Now that he had the cat side unlocked, Scar still had no idea where being a cat centaur came from, he could eat more meat as his new body required it. For a moment his mind drifts, to wonder if having the cat side locked away had hurt him in the long run of growing up

He shook his head, returning to his original thoughts as he grabbed some fruit and absent-mindedly began to eat it. While the change was slim, he was already having to jump through dietary hoops. Chocolate, onions, garlic; anything he could not feed Jellie he could no longer eat as well. That left him missing what food was like before, seasonings had to be minimum and sweet treats were now a very rare delicacy that he could only take a couple bites of. If he was feeling upset about his relatively small diet change, he could not imagine how much it hurt Bdubs.

Bdubs loved balance, an order and a count for everything. He rose and set with the sun, ate the same amount of a meal that he would desert, counted stacks to sit exactly full and never an item more. Now he had to consume more meat than anything else, his claws did not allow him to hold things the same way, and he overheated easily in the sun. Things that used to bring comfort now hurt his ears to hear tick, warmed him too much to wear, or caused his instincts to think were trapping him. And as Scar thought about it more, the more he realized how miserable Bdubs must be.

He was not thinking about anything but Bdubs as he abandoned his breakfast on the table, his large paws quiet on the carpeted floors. Yet another thing that they put in because of Bdubs, who hated carpet. His wings gave off an ash-like powder when they moved that quickly accumulated on solid floors. The carpet made the ash despawn like it was supposed to, and helped Scar at first when he was trying to walk better on slick surfaces. Scar frowns and moves a little faster, ears lowering in concern as a funny feeling builds in his chest. Just before he reaches the door, he hears the faint sound of crying, his ears perking up at the soft sound. He stops and put his ear to the door, trying to see if it was just a sappy romance movie or Bdubs, who was a fan of said sappy romance movies.

Scar can clearly hear that there is not anything other than Bdubs sobbing, his breath coming in hiccups as he cried, fabric tearing, and heavy swallowing. The sounds are muffled, as if he stuffed his face into his pillow to try and remain quiet, but Scar can still hear his deep anguish, his claws probably tearing the fabric of his pillow. He opens the door, heart hurting as Bdubs is too deep in his upset to notice him. His face was buried in his pillow that looked like it had been ripped at by Bdubs’ claws like this before, his bone tail wrapped around his leg in his distress. Scar can see that Bdubs did not have his laptop anywhere near him, the computer still sitting closed on the desk, meaning that something had genuinely upset Bdubs. Scar enters the room as quietly as he can, already having an unfortunate idea for what had started the poor phantom’s spiral. He left the door open behind himself, Scar padding closer. When Bdubs sat up from his pillow a moment later, swallowing as he clutches the pillow in what looks like pain, he screamed in fear as Scar pulled him into a tight hug.

"SCAR! WHAT ARE YOU-"

"Bdubs." Scar interrupts quietly, causing the shorter man to quiet down quickly. "Why didn’t you tell us how much you’ve been struggling?"

"Struggling? No, no! I was just watching one of my romance movies!" Bdubs lied immediately, pushing at Scar enough to be heard normally as he pulled his face from Scar’s chest. "They really getcha! Tasha really can’t catch a break!”

He tries to laugh it off, pull away, but Scar holds tight. "Bdubs please don't lie, I saw you crying, you’re swallowing like you do when you’re-”

"It doesn't matter.” Bdubs interrupts sharply with a flinch, immediately giving up the lie with another sharp swallow as he picks at the stuffing of his battered pillow. “Please stop asking."

"It does matter!" Scar says softly, his tail flicking with distress behind him as he tries to look into the other’s eyes. "It's upsetting you! I want to help! Maybe there’s some-"

"You are helping! I wish you didn't have to!" Bdubs shouts, shoving Scar away successfully due to his unintentional jump at the shouting right next to his sensitive ears. "I hate that you and Cub are stuck with me! I know how much you'd rather be working on that new zoo idea you were talking about! How Cub would rather be doing literally anything else than trying to help me sleep and getting bit for his troubles!”

Bdubs lets out a strangled growl, throwing himself away from Scar, his pillow being abandoned onto the floor as he paces. Scar can fully see the deep bags under Bdubs’ eyes, see faint marks where claws had caught flesh, see how a shirt that used to fit Bdubs’ frame well now hung around the noticeably scrawny hermit. Bdubs starts sobbing again in absolute frustration and pain, dropping down to sit on the edge of the bed, his claws tear into his arms as he clenches them in his grip.

"I hate being a monster!!"

Scar looks at Bdubs with disbelief and moves closer, Bdubs trying to shoo him away, but he moves forward anyway. "Stop! I don't want to hurt anyone anymore!" Bdubs desperately begs, his voice cracking with his tears, looking at Scar in what could only be fear.

"Then let me hold you."

Scar orders and Bdubs stops fighting his approach, his breathing becoming rapid and shallow as he begins to panic instead. Scar quickly removes Bdubs' claws from his own arms and wraps his around himself as he hugs the phantom. Bdubs quickly clings to him, hugging him tightly as he sobs his heart out. Scar elects to ignore that as Bdubs clings to him, his claws dig into his skin, clearly puncturing the skin. Instead he holds the phantom just as tightly, gently pulling the phantom against him as he lowers the two down to the floor.

"I'm here Bdubs, I’ve got you.” Scar soothes, petting Bdubs hair and noting how flat and oily it is. He must have stopped caring for himself too, Scar notes with sadness. "You're not a monster, you're our friend. The code makes you fall into your instincts, you know that. You would never hurt us on pur- pour- for real. You're an amazing person, and one of my best friends."

"But I don't want to be this!" Bdubs sobs, clinging tightly and Scar suppresses a flinch as he feels the claws dig in even more. "Phantoms are nothing but useless monsters that hurt those who are already hurting!"

Scar's heart breaks as he realizes it was not just the instincts, the diet changes, or even the inability to be fully independent Bdubs was upset about. "Bdubs, why didn't you say anything before?" He asked softly, swallowing down the growing feeling of something far too familiar happening.

“Because I'm supposed to be happy, clock having, perfect sleeper Bdubs!" He cries, clinging closer, his small frame shaking with how heavily he was crying. "Keralis' nickname for me is Bubbles for void's sake! If I let anyone see me as anything but happy, it makes me feel like I'm failing them! I'm supposed to be the one comforting people, not making them hurt worse! Phantoms are horrible monsters, I don’t want to be a monster!"

Scar holds Bdubs even closer, unsure of what to say as the feeling of a horrible familiarity kept nagging at him. He was not sure what was causing the feeling, or even what sort of memory was being tugged at with this feeling, only that it was bad. Then, if Scar's heart was broken at what Bdubs had already said, it shatters into irreplaceable pieces at what he says next, spoken softly so that the elf barely catches it.

"I'd rather kill myself than keep hurting my friends."

Scar barely felt tears fill his eyes as he recognizes the words and tone as ones he himself had used before.

======

"I'd rather kill myself than hurt anymore of my friends."

Scar waved his hand at his friends worry, playing it off as something to scare the Vex. They still questioned him, Cub glancing his way as he reassured them he was okay. Cub tried to talk to him later, to get the truth as he felt the lie through the pack bond of the vex magic between them. Cub had always had more control over the vex’s ties, it was not too surprising to Scar when he turned out to be a vex. But that meant he had no idea how much pain and torment Scar was under at all times as an elf.

Scar could not stand the agony of being forced to stand and walk on days he was in level eight pain. Feeling his lungs forced to take every breath without medicinal assistance. The laughter was constant as they used their magic to force him to move and breathe, driving him to near insanity. Cub thought it was all a fun joke, not in pain or being forced to do much more than evil pranks. Scar could not tell him otherwise, the vex forcing Scar’s voice to break into laughter, to twist his words and make them feel truthful as Scar lied to Cub that he was fine.

Sure, Scar had been trying to call for help, to beg and plead he needed help, but his attempt the next day was very real as multiple days of seven and higher pain finally came together into something so unbearable that the vex were fighting so hard to keep him even breathing that they could not stop him from taking an old weapon from before Hermitcraft and trying to-

======

He squeezes Bdubs even tighter, starting to sob as the suppressed memory resurfaces. "Please don’t, please please please please please please-" His own voice cuts off with his hiccuping sobs as he breaks down, clinging to Bdubs tightly.

“H-hey, n-no, I promise I wasn't gonna-" Bdubs tries to say but Scar shakes his head violently.

"I said the same thing Bdubs, they believed me and I tried to kill myself the next week, please Bdubs." Scar sobs loudly, not letting him go as the phantom freezes. "Don't do it, please, it doesn't matter what you had planned, it will hurt, it's dark, and everyone will cry, thinking it was their fault. Please Bdubs...please please please-"

Scar keeps sobbing, keeps talking as Bdubs falls silent. "I don't want to lose my friend, I don't care if I sound selfish, I don't want you to die and leave me! I want you to stay here and be Bdubs, phantom hybrid or not! Let us help you! You can ask for help! You can tell us the truth! Please-"

_______________________

Cub woke up that morning to Bdubs' shrill scream. He jumped out of bed, his glasses left behind as he flew through the halls, his wings flapping behind him to boost his speed. He was just about to shout for Scar or Bdubs when he heard the phantom speak sharply.

“It doesn’t matter.” His sharp hearing catches Bdubs swallowing like he does when he needs to feed. “Please stop asking.

“It dose matter! It’s upsetting you! I wanna help! Maybe there’s some-”

“You are helping! I wish you didn’t have to!” Bdubs shouts back, and Cub’s heart falls as he walks closer to the door, peaking in to watch as Bdubs shoves away Scar. “I hate that you and Cub are stuck with me! I know how you’d rather be working on that zoo idea you were talking about! How Cub would rather do anything else than trying to help me sleep and getting bit for his troubles!”

Cub frowns with full blown worry as he pulls away from the doorway to lean against the wall, his mind pulling inward. He had been worried about Bdubs for as long as the phantom had been, well, a phantom. Bdubs always did things a specific way, all things learned in different ways from before he’d even met the rest of his buddies in the NHO. He counted rosemary leaves to not hurt the plant by taking too much, measured salt with his heart because recipes never wrote down enough or too much. He hummed music to time stirring with the words so he did not let anything burn at the bottom of the pot, he tapped to help him remember what amount of dishes he needed and shifted side to side as he poured drinks to stabilize his arms with heavier bottles.

It was not about things being exactly the same for Bdubs, it was about things having their purpose and Bdubs letting them keep that purpose. He loved desert, but the main meal had its purpose to keep him healthy so he ate them in even amounts to make himself happy on both sides. He counted stacks to not only help himself remember how much he had on hand, but to also make sure every item was settled snugly and would not fall or break. He counted things to be exactly what he needed and no more from years of the inability to carry more than a chest-full on him at a time.

Cub knew the sudden imbalance and removal of traditions Bdubs had been holding onto for years was hurting him. The vex had been trying to help him as much as he could, keeping a clock on him wrapped in cloth so thick it was hard for even him to hear it, offering the idea or Bdubs to use his moss coat as a blanket, and helping him tie his bandanna to his shoes so he could keep it on him. But there was only so much Cub could do to try and help. Bdubs was clearly only getting worse, his stress from the events of the code only creating a feedback loop that made him hungry more and more.

“Phantoms are nothing but useless monsters that hurts those who are already hurting!”

And there, as Cub snapped back to the present, was the biggest problem. Bdubs used to rise with the sun and sleep with the moon, the sun in his mind was to be energy and awake, while the moon was to rest and recover. That meant Bdubs despised phantoms, a monster that was awake during the resting time was bad enough to the man, same as zombies, skeletons, and creepers. But then the phantom had the gall to hurt those recovering, eating players that were suffering from a lack of sleep or were overly stressed. No, to Bdubs, phantoms pushed the line of the balance of the world too far into one side.

“Because I’m supposed to be happy, clock having, perfect sleeper Bdubs!” Bdubs cried, snapping Cub back yet again. “Keralis’ nickname for me is ‘Bubbles’ for void’s sake! If I let anyone see me as anything but happy, it makes me feel like I’m failing them! I'm supposed to be the one comforting people, not making them hurt worse! Phantoms are horrible monsters, I don’t want to be a monster!"

Cub sighs sadly and stands up from his lean against the wall. He turned, just about to walk into the room, seeing Scar and Bdubs on the floor. Scar holding Bdubs close as the phantom clung to him so tightly that his claws were drawing blood from Scar’s back, staining his green shirt. Then his sensitive ears perfectly caught Bdubs’ whispered words, as did Scar when the elf froze.

“I’d rather kill myself than continue to hurt my friends.”

Cub’s face paled, the horrible line he had heard from Scar’s mouth way back in season five, repeated by another friend. Cub’s mind whirled with horrible guilt, the vex’s laughter as he had tried to stop Scar’s bleeding, Scar’s vacant expression as Xisuma arrived too late. Cub would never, EVER, forgive himself for not doing more to help his friend. Flashes of Scar covered in his own blood, the deal he made with someone he did not remember, all of it haunted him still to this day. He understood Bdubs’ hate of his own race, the vex had caused all the pain Scar had felt, caused Scar to take his own life.

"I said the same thing Bdubs, they believed me and I tried to kill myself the next week, please Bdubs." Scar sobs loudly, snapping Cub out of the horrible spiral he was falling into. "Don't do it, please, it doesn't matter what you had planned, it will hurt, it's dark, and everyone will cry, thinking it was their fault. Please Bdubs...please please please-"

Scar is sobbing heavily, hugging Bdubs so close as the phantom seems slightly limp in the cat-taur’s arms, just gently rubbing at Scar’s back. Cub can see his face is dark with memories of what he must have been told of what happened in season five. "I don't want to lose my friend, I don't care if I sound selfish, I don't want you to die and leave me! I want you to stay here and be Bdubs, phantom hybrid or not! Let us help you! You can ask for help! You can tell us the truth! Please-"

Scar choked on a sob and Cub took that moment to walk in, Bdubs catching him out of the edge of his vision and looking up to him. “Bdubs, you, I-” Bdubs searched Cub’s face as the vex searched for words through watery eyes.

“I want you to stay, I- I f*cked up once, and I don’t want to f*ck up again. We’re still looking for things to help, just let us keep looking, please. If-” Cub swallows a choking cough, tears falling as he does, “if you’re in pain, we want to try and make it better. You’re our friend, we want to do things but we mostly want you to be alright first.”

“I know it’s hard,” Scar sobs, “but hold on for us, okay? Please Bdubs.”

Bdubs’ eyes filled with tears and he nodded, hugging Scar tightly again as the elf sobbed into his shoulder. “Okay, I love you guys.”

Cub moved in, joining the hug as his tears continued to fall. “We love you too Bdubs, so so so much.”

_______________________

Doc was watering his tomatoes out in the garden, enjoying the early morning sun. His fur was fluffed out to accept the rays, feeling himself begin to slightly wake up more and more as he went about his early morning chores. He paused for a moment, setting down his watering can and taking a deep breath. The air was fresh and cool, something in his chest settling as he did. He smiled at that, the uneasy feeling he had been feeling for the last while finally falling away. He has only a moment to wonder if the air was what he had needed before he hears a loud shriek. An ear lifts towards the sound before he feels himself become heavy with exhaustion, an after-image of Xb curled in on himself floating across his vision.

Worry clicks into his chest as he makes his way towards Xb’s room as fast as he can under the effects of Xb’s exhaustive shriek. Xb usually only screamed if startled or stressed, but with Doc seeing him curled in on himself, it had to be bad no matter the reason. Finally he was inside the house the three had built up, large hallways and open doorways were for both Doc and Mumbo’s convenience, but had been built by Xb’s experienced hands. He was very good at building large things that still felt cozy, something Doc usually did not even attempt, leaning into the scale of things instead. Mumbo had designed compact redstone doors so that there was still privacy where it was needed, something that made Doc feel proud as the door to their private quarters automatically opened to Doc’s code input.

"Xb? What happened?" He called out as he padded down the hall, his ears perking up at muffled noises coming from Xb’s room specifically. "Xb?"

He pads down that way quickly, his heart beating faster when he realizes the sounds he are hearing were sobs. He finally feels the exhaustion fade away just as he rushes down to Xb's room. He punches in the emergency opening code, the door opening to reveal that in a mess of blankets on the floor, is Xb crying his heart out. He had clearly fallen off the bed while tangled in the blankets, his hands on his webbed ears and his breathing too fast to be healthy.

"Xb!" Doc calls as he rushes over, maneuvering himself to lay on the ground with Xb as he takes him in his arms. "Hey, breathe, follow my breathing, okay?”

Doc exaggerates his breathing, trying to get Xb to follow him. "Come on Xb, I'm here, you're safe, everything is okay."

It takes a few moments, but when Xb starts following Doc's exaggerated breathing, beginning to calm his breath and his tears slow down until they finally stop, Doc can feel the tension in his shoulders release. Doc continues to hold the guardian, moving Xb's hand to pet the green fur of his flanks to help calm and ground him. He watches Xb slowly pet over the odd fur, his webbed fingers not catching with the careful motions he kept even in his unstable state. When Doc's sensor finally notes that Xb is as normal as he can be so soon after such an episode, he carefully moves the guardian hybrid to look at him.

"Hey, are you doing better?" Xb nods quietly, still petting the fur on Doc's flank. "Can you tell me what happened?"

Xb looks away, down to the fur that he was still petting. "Your fur is very different from everyone else." He says quietly.

Doc frowns with worry but nods. "Yes, goats have very short bristly coats, and creepers have more of a dead moss texture, something akin to human afros, it leads me to having a very odd coat."

"It's very nice." Xb mutters quietly, rolling his shoulders to shake off the blanket still stuck on him. "Feels soft in a weird way, like it's so coarse that it wraps back around to being soft."

Doc chuckles. "I never thought about it that way." Xb nods and Doc has to stop himself from pulling away in surprise when Xb puts his face into Doc's chest.

"I had a nightmare..." He whispers and Doc thanks his mechanical ear that he can hear him. "I was trying so hard to protect the swarm, but people kept being taken. Killed. Everyone kept chanting for help, being me to save them, to be a good guard and help them.”

Xb starts to cry again, and Doc just holds him, the size difference between the two making it almost like he was holding a child rather than his friend. “Doc, I watched them kill you. There was so much blood and-” Xb cried again as Doc held him close, gently rubbing his back.

"Xb?" Doc speaks quietly, trying to not startle his friend as he holds him. "When's the last time you remember not being in your instincts?"

Xb pulls his face out of Doc's chest, his face full of confusion and tears. "What?"

"You're in your instincts." Doc explains softly. "You're referring to the Hermits as 'swarm' and calling yourself 'guard'."

Xb looks like he is trying to think, his tail flicking under the tussled blankets. "I.. I don't think I've NOT referred to everyone like that since my shift..."

Doc frowns with knowing. "Have you felt overly stressed or scared?" It was an obvious question, but he hoped Xb would use it to vent.

"Well yeah!" Xb says as the obvious answer it is. "The update, the new limbs, the new self-care requirements, the new dietary restrictions, the new dietary requirements! Doc, I am so sick of fish, and I miss apples!" Xb begins to get angry, his tail thrashing behind him in the blankets.

"I can't eat fruit, like, at all! My organs just make me vomit it up! I'm sorry I look and act so picky when you make dinner, but I just can't eat half the things on the plate! Like, bread? Perfectly fine. Pasta? I'm in the bathroom with an instantly empty belly. Eggs?! If I cook them, I get sick, but raw with the shell is perfectly fine!?" Xb growls with frustration and anger, then puts his face back into Doc's chest. "I hate this so much! I really just want an Alfredo chicken pasta dinner with a peach cobbler dessert with so much whipped cream on top you can't see the damn dessert!"

Doc sighs and pets Xb's hair, gently cleaning it out of knots. "I know what you mean, did you know that creeper hybrids can't have spicy foods like peppers or hot sauce?"

Xb shrugs his shoulders, still fuming from the flippant movements of his tail. "Never heard of it, but it makes sense."

“Did you know I used to eat food with my hot sauce?"

Xb pauses for a moment then pulls his face out, completely forgetting to be angry at the confusing statement. "What?"

"Yeah." Doc smiles with a chuckle, shifting to look at Xb better. "I used to put hot sauce on everything, it used to be a joke that I would put hot sauce with my hot sauce. It was a wonderful flavor since I didn't have a taste of spice."

"Wait, no, but you're a creeper hybrid, you just said creepers can't have that!" Xb points out.

"How do you think I found out?" Doc points out with amusem*nt.

"But weren't you always a creeper goat hybrid?" Xb asks in bewilderment, looking up at Doc as the man’s ears flick in a conscious attempt to not flinch.

"No." Doc answered honestly, his ears pinning back as he thought of the nonfunctional machine that had caused his change. "I used to be fully human. I used to be crazy back then when I was young, I was one of the first to invent charged creepers using scientific methods, but in the process, I turned myself into a creeper hybrid. It took a couple months to figure out why I blew up at every meal."

He does not mention the years of hybrid aggression he suffered after, all the long nights where he cried himself to sleep, nursing his good arm with a broken mechanical arm. "Wait, wait, then what about all this goat stuff?” Xb questions and Doc chuckles a little more light-heartedly, remembering silly times with Ren.

"Remember in season seven when I began that GOAT mentality?" Xb nods. "I kept up that mentality during season eight, and ...it- altered me for a lack of a word at the moment. It made me a goat hybrid in addition to this whole mess of dna."

Doc chuckles, shaking out his head for a moment as he relaxes. "It's partly why I'm so invested in tomatoes now, something both hybrid parts can eat without issue." Xb goes quiet and puts his face back into Doc's chest. Doc could only sigh and let him, petting his hair and holding him close.

"All I'm saying is that I understand those frustrations, my fuse was very short back then because of it, it took a lot of work to make myself comfortable with myself again." Doc whispers, still petting Xb’s hair as he speaks.

"You'll get there eventually, it won't happen anytime soon, you'll still have days where you're frustrated with how things are now, but that's okay. You just need to keep going, keep trying to work things out with yourself, if that means that you have to work on different accommodations for yourself to do what you used to then so be it. I used to be able to crawl under my redstone, then when I became a creeper hybrid, I had to start using a wheeled board to get under there. When I lost my eye, I had to start eating redstone to make it function, and when DinnerBone took my arm, I had to relearn how to use that hand. I've been through a lot of drastic changes in my life, I'm here to help you through yours like how I wish I had someone to help me."

Doc looks down and sees that Xb has fallen asleep, his whole body curling up against him, a hand clinging to his lab coat like he was afraid he would leave. His breathing was steady and calm, his face no longer full of frustration and tears, now only smooth with sleep. Doc softly chuckles, holding him closer like a father would his child.

“It's okay kid, I've got you.” He says softly, his chest beginning to rumble with a purr. "I'll be here to help you through this mess."

As Un-Human As We Are - Chapter 18 - FlowerChildShawn (2024)
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