It had been several months since the events of Weirdmagedon, and Stan’s memory had almost entirely recovered, though occasional lapses still remained. These could happen in one of two ways, both Ford found terrifying to witness for different reasons. From time to time, Stan would forget himself, or who Ford was, where they were, and other major details. Other times, a sound or sensation would trigger a memory that Stan hadn’t recovered yet, and he would be trapped, reliving the memory until Ford could bring him back to the present moment. It was the latter that was happening now.
They had been talking to the children via video call when one of their phones had gone off, playing a brief snippet of a song before it was answered. Normally, they wouldn’t give it any notice, however, the second he had heard the first of the lyrics, Stan had frozen. He sat, early still his eyes taking on a glassy, far-away look. Ford said his goodbyes to the children and promised to call them back when Stan was back to himself before he moved closer to his brother.
“Stan? Can you hear me? Stanley?”
Stan didn’t reply, remaining distant as his eyes seemed to focus on somewhere beyond Ford’s head, though not on anything in particular.
Ford placed a hand on Stan’s shoulder, giving him a gentle shake. “Stan? It’s me, Ford. Can you hear me?”
Stan seemed to rouse slightly at the motion, his eyes beginning to focus more, losing their hazy quality. What happened next utterly baffled Stanford. Stan had begun to laugh near hysterically.
“Stanley?” Ford asked, struggling to understand what Stan found funny at this moment. “Is everything alright? What’s going on?”
Stan began to thump Ford’s shoulder as he continued to laugh, amused tears now streaking down his face. “I can’t believe I forgot, Sixer!”
Relieved that he had seemed to remember something pleasant and was not, in fact, going into hysterics, Ford released a breath he hadn’t realized he had been holding. “Forgot what, Lee?”
“Your dumb tattoo!” Stan wiped his tears off. “Now I get why you didn’t want to remind me of that day! You were hiding it!”
Ford felt his face flush with embarrassment, and he brought a hand up to rub at the spot the tattoo rested. While he hadn’t exactly been hiding the fact of his tattoo, he also hadn’t been including it in any of his retelling of events to Stan.
“When did you even get it?” Stan asked, still chuckling to himself. “Why “All-Star”? Do you really like that stupid song that much ?”
“I, uh, I wasn’t aware of the song when I got it,” Ford mumbled, looking anywhere but his twin’s face. “It happened during my … travels.”
This only seemed to renew Stan’s laughter and he only just managed to choke out his reply. “What was it supposed to mean then?!”
Ford put his head in his hands, releasing a noise of shame. “I’m not sure… I was told it was a sacred symbol to their culture.”
His twin simply raised a skeptical brow. “I think they might have been pulling your leg, Poindexter.”
“That’s certainly a possibility,” Ford sighed, voice tired.
“Anyways, while you sort that out,” Stan stood up suddenly, stretching his arms above his head before grinning widely and snatching the laptop off of the table. “I’ve got an important video call to make!”
Ford almost dismissed what Stan had said, the meaning of his words not fully sinking in until his twin had made it to the doorway. “You’re not telling the children about this Stanley!”
“Like you could stop me, Poindexter!” Stan said with a laugh as he darted out of the room. “You’ll never be able to live this down if I have any say in it!”
Ford was up to follow his brother in moments, already reaching to take back the laptop from him. “Don’t you dare!”
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