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Puppies and Rainbows

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"Sinitzin, what the hell is this crap?" Ilya said, flipping through Andrei's Chemistry notebook.

Andrei resisted the urge to hang his head in shame. "It's my little cousin. They're staying with us this week and she found my school stuff over the weekend. My parents bought her colored pencils."

Ilya turned another page and burst out laughing in earnest. "Rainbows and unicorns and… is that supposed to be a frog?"

"I... think it's a puppy," Andrei said, totally defeated. He didn't even bother trying to snatch back the notebook.

Ilya shook his head, still studying the desecrated pages. "At the orphanage you'd be living this kind of thing down for years." He closed the notebook decisively and looked at Andrei.

Ilya's face went from its usual guarded expression to something softer. Andrei held his breath without realizing it. Ilya looked down at his shoes for a moment, his posture losing its casual aggressiveness.

"Relax," he said in a voice softer than Andrei was used to. "Just burn it behind the dorms." He tossed the notebook back on the bed next to Andrei. "Come on, I'll distract Trofimov