Galo, in typical fashion when it came to all things work-related, was running late. He had told himself that he would take a nap after his shift, wake up approximately one hour before the Halloween party, get dressed, then meet Lio at the firehouse to help with any last minute setup problems. In reality, he had passed the fuck out, woke up feeling as if he’d been launched from the engine’s mech cannon directly into a brick wall, and was now 45 minutes late to a party that his partner and coworkers had busted their asses to plan for at least a month. If Galo were a smarter man, he would have known that even his best intentions could not overcome his innate nature as a human calamity. He stumbled out of bed, tripping over his own gear that he’d absently shucked off before his Disaster Nap.
He hurriedly grabbed the clothes nearest to him, stumble-hopped as he pulled his pants up and buttoned them, shoved boots on his feet, and dashed out the door. He made it two flights down the stairs before he realized that he had not, in fact, shut the front door to their apartment and that Lio would certainly have his head on a pike if he left it that way. Sighing deeply and groaning at his own inability to shut a goddamn door, he raced back up the steps, shut and locked the door, and repeated his thundering processional down the staircase and out onto the street. Taking off at a dead sprint, he high-tailed it to the firehouse and arrived at the front door a sweaty, stinky mess right as the clock struck 6:30 PM. He was officially One Hour Late.
As he entered the firehouse, he was greeted by Lucia, who was lounged lazily at the sign in table. Her station was decorated with fake cobwebs and a bucket of candy that was full of off-brand sugar bombs, but that wasn’t what caught Galo’s eye. His eye was caught by the fact that she was dressed as a Pikachu and she was busy playing something that looked like a far more dangerous and potentially explosive version of a Gameboy.
Lucia began jabbering at him in her typical rapid-fire fashion. “HEYYYYY GALO!!!! You’re super late, pal. You’re kind of stinky, do you want some deodorant? You’re gonna get in troooouble when Lio sees you, he’s been so excited about today, I can’t believe you goofed this up so badly! He’s dressed as a wait- where’s your costume? OH! Did I tell you that my costume actually shocks people! Wanna see?” She grinned like a shark, leaning closer, as sparks arced between her hair buns. Galo would have been impressed, if his soul weren’t currently trying to leave his body due to the fact that he’d forgotten to wear a costume. To a Halloween costume party. That Lio, his beloved partner and best friend, a known lover of costumes and dramatic flair, had planned. His life flashed before his eyes, most of it mental images of him doing cool shit in his mech.
“Hey Galo?” Lucia looked vaguely concerned, and poked him in the face with the nose end of a plastic rat. “Galo, did you forget your costume?” Galo, hollowed and ghostly pale, nodded his head slowly. “WELL, let’s see what we can throw together!” Lucia chirped as she began digging through a box of god knows what behind her. A few minutes and a lot of loud clanging and banging sounds later, Lucia surfaced holding a packet of sticky name tags and a frying pan aloft and shouting a triumphant, “I’VE GOT IT!”
She quickly scribbled a name on one of the tags and smacked it against his bare chest. Looking down at it, he saw that it read ‘Hi! My name is Peter!’. She followed it up by smacking another one on the other side of his chest, informing him, “That’s in case you lose one!” as she handed him the frying pan. “Ta-da! Now you’re Peter Pan! Get it?” She looked so pleased with herself that Galo couldn’t help but smile in return.
“That’s a, uh… Bit of a thinker, Lucia,” he replied, scratching his cheek. “But thanks for your help! You’re a lifesaver!”
“Yeah yeah, thank me later,” she said, dismissing him with a wave of her hand. “Go have fun!”
Galo did not have to be told twice. Upon entering the main party room, he realized that he was completely famished, and immediately headed for the buffet table. Piling a plate high with pizza and other assorted goodies, he walked around greeting people with a mouth full of food, looking for Lio. Lio, however, was nowhere to be found. Galo continued on his search for his partner, discarding his empty plate in the trash can. He turned around and was greeted by the two other members of the former Mad Burnish, casually draped across each other and eating from the same plate. Meis was dressed as a cowboy with a plastic sheriff badge, while Guiera wore cat ears and whiskers, drawn in what could only be eyeliner, painted on his face.
“So, what are you supposed to be? A naked firefighter?” Guiera asked sarcastically, chip crumbs spewing from his mouth, a few of which landed in Meis’ hair. Meis brushed them away, eyeing Galo with a wary and tired look.
Galo scowled at him, retorting intelligently with, “NO, dummy, I’m Peter Pan.” He moved to show them his frying pan, and realized that it was nowhere to be found. “Aw, beans. Well, I was SUPPOSED to be Peter Pan. Now I guess I’m just Peter.” He sagged sadly as he lamented, “Lio is absolutely going to kill me.”
Guiera and Meis shared a knowing look, one that read, oh this is gonna be good . Meis looked Galo up and down, raising one manicured eyebrow as he asked, “Aren’t you technically Peter Peter? Considering that you have two name tags?”
“Oh, Lucia gave me two because I’m prone to losing things,” Galo replied, bouncing back from his momentary depression.
“Right, of course. By the way, have you seen the boss yet? He was looking for you earlier,” Guiera asked, picking at Meis’ nail polish while Meis chewed lazily on a celery stick.
“No, but I’m looking for him. Any ideas on where I might find him?” Galo ran a hand through his hair, still feeling bad about his tardiness. His friends shrugged and shook their heads, and Galo took his leave. As he scanned the room again, he noticed a very familiar crop of platinum hair off to the side of the room, talking to Varys, Remi, and Aina. Other people milled about close by, drifting in and out of their conversational circle. Many people that had attended were former Burnish, some just citizens that lived in Burning Rescue’s district.
He made a beeline for Lio, pinching his partner on the ass as he greeted him. “Hey firebug, you sure look cute in your little costu-”
“Galo Thymos, where the HELL have you been?!” Lio exclaimed, whirling on him with one gloved finger pointed angrily at Galo’s face as the other swatted his hands away. It was very difficult to take his anger seriously when he was dressed as a pumpkin, little green hat perched on his head. Lio’s eyebrows furrowed in confusion as he took a second to read Galo’s name tags. Apparently, the other people around them had also taken a moment to read them too, because a hush fell over the small group.
Aina was the first one to break the silence, spluttering in her effort to tamp down on giggles. She sloshed her wine on the floor as her face flushed red, pointing first at each of Galo’s name tags, then at Lio. At a truly ear piercing volume, she screeched, “PETER, PETER… PUMPKIN EATER!” She wheezed as if it was the funniest thing she’d ever heard, and Varys soon joined her in her cackling. Remi, as always, rolled his eyes and muttered a comment about being immature and inappropriate, but even Ignis cracked a small smile as he watched the proceedings.
Lio’s mouth hung open in shock and Galo wished that a hole would open in the ground and swallow him up. Lio blushed and cleared his throat to regain some composure. He addressed the group with, “Well, at least he has other uses for that big mouth of his.” Everyone was silent for a second, before busting up in raucous laughter yet again.
After that, the last that anyone saw of Galo or Lio was Lio dragging Galo home by the ear, giving him a stern talking to about things like “being more punctual” and “putting a shirt on for once in your life” and “being aware of Lucia’s particular brand of ‘helping’”.