Today would be the day Rich and Jeremy go to school. Their first day of school and boy are they excited.
"What if they don't like me?" Jeremy mumbled as he clung onto his brother's shirt. Rich rolled his eyes, taking Jeremy's hand of his red shirt and into his.
"Relax, Jer! You'll be fine even if they don't. You got me and Michael!" Rich stated confidently, grinning at his lil' bro. Well, maybe not so little bro because they're the same height now at 12 but Rich is still older by two months so his title still stands.
Jeremy grinned at that. Yeah, his brother was right. It sucks to be disliked but not liking someone didn't necessarily meant dislike and Jeremy was fine with that so long as Michael liked him. Oh, and he had Rich too.
Rich, who had a keen sense of people's thoughts, narrowed his eyes as he stared at Jeremy, feeling like Jeremy just thought of something a little rude of him. Jeremy looked away sheepishly from his brother's hard stare. Jeremy was silently sending out help signals with his brain when they heard the familiar low chuckle of a certain moon stone.
"First thing in the morning and you two already found something to fight about," Dustin snickered, ruffling the young boys' hairs, earning a groan from both boys. He laughed loudly as the brothers tried to fix their hair. They glared up at him accusingly.
"Did someone say fight?" Christine, rounding the corner, asked with a concerned frown.
"Yes." Sang Dustin Kropp.
""No."" Chirped the hybrid siblings.
Christine quirked a brow at this but decided to let it go with a "Play nice." Both boys, mostly Rich, grinned up at her, a message hidden between colorful eyes.
The gems snorted at the fake-innocent smiles of their care. Troublesome brats.
"Okay, that's enough diddle-daddle! Let's go before you two are late for your first day!" Christine clapped her hands once, the two boys giggling hand-in-hand when she said diddle daddle. Dustin rolled his eyes, grabbing the kids' coats from the hanger and giving it to them. He took Rich's hand and went out the door, the boys letting go of each other's hand when they wore their coats. Christine took Jeremy's and off they went.
"And remember, no fighting with the other kids. I heard that if kids were being naughty, teachers would call their guardians and I, for one, absolutely detest using the telephone so I would appreciate if you two didn't give your teachers a reason to call home," Christine dutifully instructed the young gems/human boys. Dustin smirked.
"While I, for one, do like using the telephone but I also don't want to hear from your teachers you got into a fight," he playfully chided, "Especially if it's one you lost." He cackled when Christine slapped his shoulder. She huffed, crossing her arms as the moon stone gem continued to laugh still. She rolled her eyes before turning to the siblings.
"I mean it, you two. I don't want you two getting into trouble," she said seriously. The boys nodded and crossed their hearts.
""We promise we won't get into trouble," they sang together with wide doe eyes. Rich mumbled under his breath, "Much."
Dustin, who had stopped laughing awhile ago, started cackling again, hands on his stomach as he doubled over. Rich whistled, looking away from Christine's scolding glare, Jeremy snickering beside him.
Rich was wild and energetic. Jeremy was nervous and skittish. They were both equally polite children and well behaved individually but together they brought out a couple of bad from within and were pranksters. Nothing too big, just things that would surprise and confuse someone. Christine blamed it on Dustin. Dustin, when together with one of them, was an okay and semi-decent influence and generally very chill guy. But when he was with both kids, he tended to be a little childish. Basically the summary was: the duo was troublesome, the trio was chaotic.
The amethyst rolled her eyes but a smile was present even though.
Soon enough, they had to leave, Christine was hesitant to go but Dustin(quite literally) pulled her away. Out of earshot, she begged Dustin if she could stay behind and watch over them from behind a tree or something. Dustin, having more common sense about human norms, immediately said no, fearing for his boys' dignity in having their guardian spy on them. He wouldn't say that he had a tiny drone he had planted inside school to watch his boys for him, in case something big happened, something gem related, but that was only because if he said that to Christine, she'd get his hand-made tablet and watch their every move. One small scuffle and she'd go running, embarrassing the prepubescent boys. He sometimes wondered how the overprotective gem was an amethyst but thinking about how restless and energetic and dramatic she was, he thought she was just restless with taking care of half-human kids.
Dustin silently hoped he could prevent Christine from rushing over to the boys' school.
Back to the boys, they went to their class together happily, or well Rich was. Jeremy clung to Rich's bag strap as he glanced around nervously and in wonder. Mostly nervously though. As soon as they entered their classroom, the room was bursting with life and they instantly found a familiar brown hair and red hoodie at the back. The turquoise hybrid let go of his sunstone half-brother's bag strap and waved to his friend.
"Michael!" Jeremy called out loudly, quickly shrinking when people started looking at him. He clung on his brother again, this time on his shirt. Rich glanced at his brother who hid behind him, hunched over to hide himself better. His brother's pale face was flushed, embarrassed. He snickered, hearing rushing steps so he turned and saw Michael walking to them with a wide smile.
"Jeremy! Buddy! You made it!" Michael chirped happily as he stared at the light brown haired boy with blue eyes, seeing only him as if the red eyed Rich wasn't hiding the lanky frame of his half-brother. Rich, although it hurt at first, was used to this by now and teased the four-eyes for it every chance he got.
"Yeah, of course we made it! Our house isn't that far from school, Mell," Rich said, smirking when he saw Michael jump and glance at him surprised, like he had appeared out of thin air. He snickered, "What? Surprised to see me?" He wiggled his eyebrows to Michael's chagrin. He stuttered and spluttered with a red face. Rich laughed. Michael might be the only person he can tease, aside from Jeremy, despite his speech defect. It was kinda hard to tease others when they can tease you for just talking. The whole reason Christine was reluctant to enroll the boys to school was because kids could be quite mean and even outside of school, there were instances. But that's just part of life. Not everyone is nice and at the same time not everyone is mean. Kids should grow to see all parts of that, and they'll never see it from within house walls. Or at least, that's what Dustin said. The biggest reason why they're in school. Jeremy and Rich pouting and sulking teary-eyed was a small part of it.
Under Jeremy's whiny protesting, Rich decided to ease up on his teasing and they got into an easy conversation. They had moved to somewhere at the back, where Michael was previously standing before and to their surprise a friend was there waiting. They weren't trying to be rude but they thought Michael had no other friends since he always hung out with Jeremy.
"Hey, Michael! Who're they?" A blonde girl in a messy braid asked intrigued when she saw Michael come back with the two boys in tow. She was a cute girl with pale blue eyes in a teal dress and a golden bow that held her braid together, she looked fun to be with, with her energetic looking self and Rich could feel how less tense Jeremy was behind him in her presence. All in all, she was pretty alright but Rich just couldn't help but focus on her messy braid. He'd have to fix that but he couldn't just go up to her and ask her if he could braid her her cause he thought it was messy and ugly. Dustin raised him better than that.
He tried to fight the impulse but it was a futile battle. He balled his fists, lips in a thin line as Michael introduced them to the girl, Brooke she said her name was, and Jeremy quickly said hi. She ignored the silent and frowning Rich, opting to talk-slash-chase Jeremy, who quickly ran from her, instead. Each time he saw her braided hair flow in front of him as they ran in circles at him, he felt his resolve to not be impulsive wither quickly.
God had mercy, however, as just as he was about to bark for her to sit so he could fix her hair, the teacher came and told them to take a seat. He huffed, easing up his tense shoulders. He glanced around as everybody shuffled to take their seats. Brooke quickly went someways from them to a brunette girl and boy. The boy was tall, easily the tallest in the room while the girl was taller than Brooke and from what Rich could see had her nails painted. His eyes widened slightly at the colored nails, thinking to himself to befriend her just to ask he how she did that and that Jeremy and Christine would like that. He so wanted to find out what she did with her nails.
As he stared at their general direction, orange-red eyes caught blue-green ones. Rich jumped as blood rushed to his face. The tall boy smiled and nodded at him. Rich pursed his lips and nodded back. The tall boy turned to his friends but before he could even think, Michael called out to Rich.
"Rich, you can take the seat in front of Jeremy. It's free." Rich turned to him and nodded. He placed his bag, a red galaxy print backpack courtesy of Dustin Kropp, and took his seat. The teacher introduced herself as Ms. Lani Lee and instructed the students to stand and introduce themselves one by one starting at the front. Vaguely, he heard Jeremy mutter, "Oh, god," but let Michael calm him down in his stead. Him and his family were good at calming down the turquoise but Michael was the next level thing. He snickered when he heard Michael whisper calming words to his brother.
"Hey," a voice beside Rich called out. Rich turned and-oh my god-it was the tall dude from before, "I'm Jake. What's your name?"
"Richard. But everyone just calls me Rich," introduced Rich, smiling back, inwardly cheering that his speech defect wasn't so obvious this time 'round. Jake grinned, a mischievous glint hidden behind polite eyes, mischievous eyes that he couldn't hide from Rich.
"Richard? Shouldn't they call you..." Jake trailed off slowly, a smirk working its way on Rich's face."D-"
"Jake!" Ms. Lee shouted, shocking the two boys, Jake so surprised he hit his knee on the bottom of his table and shot up, yelling, "Dillinger!" The class erupted and laughter, Rich laughing the loudest, a cackle that made Jeremy faintly think of a certain moon stone. Jake blushed, smiling sheepishly at the glare of their teacher. Jake sat down instantly, planting his butt on his chair without so much a peep, face a crimson red. Still chuckling, Rich wiped a tear that had escaped is eye. Glancing at Jake, he felt a little guilty for laughing so much. He sighed before standing up.
"I'm Richard. People call me Rich." Simple and nice and no S's. He sat back down and glanced at Jake, still quiet. He leaned over his table on his forearms as he stared at the silent, tall boy. He could hear Jeremy's timid voice, trying hard not to stutter as he introduced himself.
"So," Rich started, Jake glancing at him, "You were saying how I should be called a... Dillinger or something?" Jake blushed and Rich tried to hide a smile. Soon enough, Jake's shoulders sagged and he chuckled. Scratching his head, Jake looked down abashed.
"No, uh. Dillinger's my last name and uh, you can just forget what I was going to say before. So uh," Jake murmured, fumbling with his thumbs. Rich raised a brow. Jake glanced at him, "You have a lisp?"
Rich frowned and for a second, Jake panicked and thought maybe he had upset the shorter boy. He was about to apologize when Rich cut him off. "A what?" Jake blinked once and then twice. He stared at Rich and noticed that Rich's frown was not an angry one but a confused one.
"Lisp. It's uh, with the S's and stuff," Jake heard himself say and then wanting to slap himself for the totally half-witted explanation.
'Oh, you mean my speech defect! So that's what it was called? A lisp?" Rich scrunched his face up. Bad enough he had a speech defect where he couldn't say S properly, and now they're telling him that it was called Lisp... with an S?
Jake chuckled seeing Rich's face all scrunched up. Jake only gave a soft-yet somehow teasing-smile when Rich pouted. Rich was about to complain but jumped when someone poked him from behind. He turned to glare at his brother, an accusing hard stare. Jeremy should know full well how ticklish Rich's back was!
Jeremy had the decency to look guilty, "Sorry." Rich raised a brow, prompting his brother to speak. Jeremy leaned in to whisper, "Michael said we could eat with him for recess. Can we go?" Rich pondered. There was no loss and he likes food and really, he was just making a pondering face to mess with his little brother. Heaven knows Rich would do anything for his brother. Then he thought of something.
"Is Brooke coming?" He asked, a little louder so Michael could hear too. Michael raised his brows at that but nodded nonetheless, "Yeah, I guess. She usually spends recess with us then lunch with Valentine." Rich narrowed his eyes in confusion.
"Brunette in short red skirt," Jeremy answered bluntly. Rich snickered, "Well, look at you, getting to know people's names and stuff." Jeremy blushed but glared defiantly, pouting and mumbling, "Well, one of us has to." Rich snorted, agreeing silently.
"So..." Jeremy looked up at Rich with hopeful eyes. Rich stared at him for a minute before he grinned and ruffled Jeremy's light brown hair. Rich chuckled at Jeremy's disgruntled groan. He turned back and saw Jake's stare already on him. He blushed.
"What?" Rich shrunk under Jake's watchful eyes.
"So, Brooke, huh?" Jake questioned, a question that was more of an answer in its own self. Rich furrowed his brows. "You got a crush on her." Jake stated more than asked. Rich spluttered in shock before bursting out laughing.
"W-what!? A crush? On Brooke!? I barely know her!" Rich laughed, covering his mouth to silence his snorts so he wouldn't disrupt class so much. Not much was happening in class, it being the first day and all, but he'd rather not disrupt class to be glared at by the teacher. He was still laughing as Jake stared at him confuzzled.
"Y-you don't?" Jake heaved a breath when Rich shook his head no. "Then why... did you ask about Brooke?" Now, Jake knew eavesdropping was bad, but he couldn't really help if he overhears. He sits behind Rich, who he's starting to know isn't one for subtlety.
Rich stopped laughing at that, scratching his head with a blush. "Um, well. It's... Her hair."
"Her hair? What about it?" Rich blushed even more. Jake thought it was cute but he chose to ignore that thought. Rich stared playing with her fingers.
"I..." Rich looked down at his table, "I wanted to fix her hair! I just saw how messy her braid was and it's so simple and I could totally do better and I was hoping I could do her hair for her and I'm rambling and I should really stop but I-"
"You know how to braid hair?" Jake cut Rich off, effectively sawing Rich from his unending blabber. Rich blushed even more, nodding.
"Yeah, I learned after the numerous times I had to braid Dustin and Christine's hairs," Rich chuckled nervously, rubbing the back of his neck.
"Dustin and Christine?" Jake asked. Rich nodded.
"Our guardians-my brother and mine."
"You have a brother?" Jake asked, unexpected and with wide eyed. Rich giggled. Yes, giggled. Both Jeremy and him did that. Blame Christine
and not the author who is god.
Rich pointed at Jeremy with his thumb, "Yup," he said, popping the p. Jeremy, who was passing messages with Michael because he didn't want to get caught talking like his brother was bound to, looked up shocked. "Jake, meet my brother. Jeremy, Jake."
Jake glanced at Jeremy and noticed a lot of things different about the two brothers. Jeremy was pale and had no freckles, if he did they were barely noticeable and unlike Rich's that covered his whole face. He was lanky while Rich was on the more meaty side. Jeremy's face was more angular, from what he could tell in their young age, while Rich had a more circular shape. He noticed but thought nothing of it. Just friendly observation on a possible friend and his brother. Jake smiled politely and nodded in greeting. Jeremy nodded back, face flushed and shy. Another difference, Jake thought absentmindedly.
Jake turned to Rich. "You're brother's shy. It's cute," Jake stated, making Jeremy yelp in embarrassment. No one noticed Michael's glare. Rich grinned, looking proud.
"Isn't he?" Rich boasted a little, to Jeremy's chagrin, "But I'm cuter!" He boasted a lot. Jake snickered.
"Whatever you say, Rich. Whatever you say." Jake sang, not really disagreeing but not agreeing either. Out loud, anyway.