A Brother's Nightmare
Location: Winnipeg, Manitoba • Date: October 31, 1992
Jace was in a terrible mood. He had been volun-told as the oldest kid to take his two younger siblings out trick-or-treating, since his parents were both out at some kind of adult Halloween party. That sucked. He had wanted to go out trick or treating with some of his friends, but instead he was stuck with the kids. He couldn’t believe his parents had done that to him.
So, dressed as Batman, Jace had grabbed a bag and joined his two siblings. Blair, drawing inspiration from Tempest (or told to by Tempest, it was a little foggy), had demanded to be dressed as a Snake Queen. Her face was painted green with scales, and she was wearing a snakeskin dress with a crown perched on her head and a cowl decorated to look like a viper’s hood. She was also wearing vampire teeth. Jared, on the other hand, had opted to dress as a lion. Jace arched an eyebrow at his two siblings, sweeping his Batman cape around him.
“Let’s go,” he said, a little more harshly than he meant to.
“Jaaaace, you’re forgetting your mask!” Blair piped up, bouncing on her feet. Jace glanced over at her, and only then did he notice the snake wrapped around her shoulders.
“Oh, yeah. Thanks,” he mumbled, reaching into his pocket and pulling out a Batman mask. Then he put it on. “You can’t bring Tempest with you,” he added, staring her down with the mask on.
“Why not?!?” she asked, whining.
“Because,” Jace started, rubbing the back of his neck, “you’ll scare the other kids.”
“But Halloween’s all about being scared!” Blair retorted, stamping her feet. Thankfully, Jared interfered then.
“Mom and Dad always tell us we can’t bring them out,” he said, nodding his head. Jace nodded as well, staring Blair down still. Finally, the youngest Rutherford pouted and muttered an insult in Parseltongue before lifting Tempest off her shoulders. Jace wasn’t surprised when the snake insulted him too before slithering off to join Gertrude and Jinx in the terrarium room.
“Can we go now?” Jace asked, already done with the evening. This was going to be the worst Halloween ever at this rate. His siblings both agreed, although Blair looked as angry as Jace felt, and the trio left the Rutherford Manor with bags in stow to head down the street to collect candy.
Most of the evening passed without incident, although Jace sulked most of the way. The worst part was that his siblings seemed to get more candy than him at every house. He had always been a bit tall for his age, so he blamed that. Blair was getting compliment after compliment on her costume, and Jared seemed to be having the time of his life. Jace, however, was glum and half-hearted with every passing “trick or treat” he had to say.
He was lagging behind his siblings a bit when he heard his name. Jace stopped in his tracks, turning around only to see one of his friends from school.
“Hey!” he said, smiling behind his mask. His friend, dressed as Spiderman, beamed.
“I thought it was you. We were wondering what happened. Sucks you couldn’t come around with us,” his friend said, shaking his head. Jace groaned.
“Don’t remind me. Got stuck with the kids,” he said, rolling his eyes.
“Jaaaaaaace!!!! Jared and I are going to the next house! You coming?” Blair called back at him. Jace groaned once again, waving his hand at her.
“I’ll catch up,” he said dismissively before turning to talk to his friend. At least he could take a bit of time to have some kind of fun. Blair ran off, followed by Jared. His brother was mature, right? He could keep an eye on Blair, right?
After a long chat, Jace finally tore himself away just in time for Jared to run up to him, wide-eyed under his lion makeup and breathless.
“Have you seen Blair?” Jared blurted out, panicked. Jace shook his head.
“I’ve been here the whole time, and I haven’t seen her at all. Wasn’t she with you?” he asked.
“She was, but there was this big group of kids and she went one way and I was forced to go the other and—”
“You lost her?!?” Jace cut him off sharply. Jared nodded, clearly terrified. Jace didn’t blame him. Blair was… interesting. If she was out somewhere on her own… he didn’t want to think about what might happen to her.
“Let’s go,” he said, taking off at a brisk walk. As he walked, he cupped his hands around his mouth. “Blair!” Jared joined in, and they searched through the crowds of kids. He couldn’t believe they had lost their sister. What a way to ruin Halloween, especially if their parents found out, since Blair was the apple of their eye.
“I don’t know where she went,” Jared said, his voice now wobbling. Jace wanted to kick himself.
“You look on this side of the road, I’ll take the other side, and we’ll meet up at the end,” he instructed, waiting for Jared to nod his understanding before dashing across the street.
“Blair! Blair, where are you!” he called, weaving his way through the crowd of children. He grew increasingly panicked until, close to the end of the street, he finally saw a familiar head of brown hair crouched down next to some trees. “Blair!” he shouted, running the last few feet to her.
“Oh, hey,” came her small voice. It took Jace a moment to realize she was speaking in Parseltongue. “I found these garter snakes near one of the houses, so I brought them to the trees so they could be safe.”
“We were worried sick,” Jace replied in the snake language, exasperated. He glanced up, over his shoulder, spying the familiar mane of Jared’s costume approaching them. Jared looked as relieved as he felt.
“I’m sorry. You were with your friend, so I thought I’d take care of this and then come back. But then they wanted to talk to me, and I couldn’t say no, and we’ve been talking about the weather,” Blair explained, standing up straight. The weirdest part was that Jace completely understood her explanation. Coming from Blair, that was pretty normal.
“Blair…” Jace said slowly, swiping his forehead with the back of his hand. “Come on. Let’s go.” He held out his other hand to her. Blair happily took his hand just as Jared got to their side.
“More candy?” Blair asked hopefully. Jace nodded, and Jared beamed.
They spent the rest of Halloween together, and once they got home, they combined their bags of candy just like they did every year.