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Brother, if you have the chance to pick me up

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Gaz missed her brother.

It was as simple as that, really. She wasn’t sure when exactly it happened, but by the time Gaz was fourteen they had been giving each other the silent treatment long enough that it felt normal. It felt fine. She knew they never really got along, at all, but it was lonely . With Dad out all the time-- not that she could ever, in a million years blame him. He had Important Work To Do. It was alright, she was Fine --and without any other friends… It was depressing, frankly. And usually, she’d take that sadness and convert it into red-hot fury and take it out on, well, Dib, but she didn’t even want to do that. It was awful

This had been on her mind for weeks, now. How through the countless years of living under the same roof, practically alone with how little Dad was home-- not that it’s his fault, he’s trying, he is, she’d have to remind herself -- they’d drifted so, so far apart that she felt like she hardly knew him. And she wanted to, she really did, but it felt too late. She did what any teenager in her situation would do: stare at her ceiling pensively while listening to sad music.



Dib looked up from where he was sitting, and pulled out an earbud, “Do you.. Need something?”

“Your nails look like shit,” Gaz began, “I can fix them, if you want?” she offered. And okay, yes, she could admit that she could’ve worded that better, but she really did not know how. It’s not like she was wrong. Dib had obviously tried to do them himself(with her polish, she’d been looking for that all week), and it showed. It was clumsy, and even from her seat across the  room, she could see the places where he’d fucked up the first layer and just thrown another on top of it. She was pretty sure there was a hair in his thumbnail.

“Uh,” Dib hesitated, only looking slightly ashamed that a) he did that bad , and  b) he’d clearly been caught...borrowing her nail polish, “Yeah.” He settled on, “Thanks.”

“Its nothing,” Gaz said, almost surprised that he’d said yes. “I’ll need my polish back,” She added, standing to get the acetone while he got the polish. She grabbed her phone and put on a playlist of what could only be described as soft indie punk, turning up the volume before sitting criss-cross on the floor. Dib sat down across from her, and she got to work, humming along to herself. As she cleaned off the thick, uneven polish, it struck him that this was probably the longest they’d gone hanging out without fighting, and the first time they’d even acknowledged each other for a long while. He wasn’t sure how to feel.

“What’s this song?” he asked, because he felt the need to say something .

“It’s called Tiny Planets. By Remember Sports.” She punctuated this by expertly swiping a cotton ball over his pinkie finger, then repeating this for good measure. 

“It’s cool.” 

She just nodded in response, doing a quick check to make sure she hadn’t missed a spot before opening up the bottle of polish, mouthing along to the music as she carefully painted his nails, inspecting her own work to make sure the layer of polish was smooth and opaque. “I hope you know I’m gonna make sure you don’t fuck them up this time.” She almost laughed.

Dib rolled his eyes, “Okay, okay.” He  raised his free hand “I’ll try .” He smiled, like they hadn’t spent most of their lives either harassing or ignoring each other. Like they were normal. Gaz smiled back and moved on to his other hand

“Is this just your way of saying you wanna try to be, like, actual siblings instead of awkward room-mates?” He asked as she finished up on the final pinkie finger.

“Yeah.” Gaz said, standing to put up the polish, “I think it is.”

“Cool,” He said, and it felt like healing, just a little. Like neosporin on a papercut. Like trying.