Nick's jaw is clenched tight, in the specifically-angry-about-something-specific way, not the usual vaguely-angry-about-nothing-in-particular way, and he's drumming his fingers against his locker so hard he's leaving dents. Kevin tries to think about anything he's done to get Nick this annoyed, but he tends to forget stuff after a few hours, plus Joe might've done something he blamed on Kevin, which Kevin obviously wouldn't remember. But Nick's locker is next to his and he needs his books, because he's got math next and that notebook has an otter on it, so it's kind of important.
"Look," Nick says, but he doesn't point or anything. His eyes aren't aimed at anything Kevin might have done, though, just at a few new students surrounded by girls near the stairs. Which isn't anything unusual, new students always get a whole bunch of attention. Except, huh, are they signing autographs? That's new.
"They're a band," Joe says, close enough behind Kevin it's kind of startling, because wow, when did Joe ever learn to move that quietly? And he says "band" like it's a bad thing, like he's calling them poop, which, um, if being in a band is a bad thing maybe they should stop doing it.
"That kid's a jerk," Nick says, jaw still so tight his voice sounds kind of funny. It's almost his Kevin-why-is-there-cat-poop-in-my-bed voice, and he only used that the one time (it was totally an accident, okay, just, the cat liked it under the drum riser). "The girly one."
There's one who's girly as in he's wearing a pretty pink shirt under his blazer and carrying a sparkly pink notebook, and one who's girly as in he kind of looks like a girl, and one who's girly as in he kind of looks like a girl but he has better hips than the other one. Kevin's pretty sure he can rule out the guy with the beard, at least.
Joe and Nick are making matching angry-faces, which is kind of weird because even when Joe's, like, Kevin-why-is-all-my-fancy-shampoo-gone angry he doesn't ever look as mad as Nick. And it doesn't make any sense, 'cause all Kevin knows is they're a band and Nick thinks one of them's a jerk (Nick thinks everyone's a jerk, though).
"What," Kevin hears a girl say, one of the JONASheads, he thinks, "is your favorite comedic animal?"
There's a weird hot clench in Kevin's gut, which is kind of weird, because he just had lunch so he's definitely not hungry. But Kevin's the school expert on funny animals (also baby animals, fuzzy animals, endangered animals, and just animals, all of them), and why would anyone want to know what anyone else thinks?
The guy with the pink shirt and sparkly notebook's grinning, big and dopey. "That's easy," he says, "juggling tiger on a unicycle."
Wrong. So, so wrong. Kevin frowns and turns back to Joe and Nick. "Those guys are jerks."
At breakfast, Nick passes out folders stuffed full of paper; Kevin's has a cat on it, which means this is serious - Nick never indulges Kevin's love of adorable animals on his school supplies unless he really wants Kevin to pay attention.
"I did some research," he says, and whoa, why would he put something as dumb as homework in a cat folder, that's totally abusing its power.
Except when he opens it, the big writing at the top says "Losers! At Our School", and there's a picture of those jerks from yesterday. And, okay, Kevin totally agrees that they're losers, exclamation-point level losers, even, but that's a weird way to write it. Especially for Nick, who doesn't usually forget where commas and stuff go.
When he opens his mouth to ask about it, someone kicks him really hard under the table. Jerk.
"Are you doing a project together?" Mom asks, in that voice like she's only asking that question 'cause she doesn't wanna say "what the heck are you doing, because I'm pretty sure it's not good".
"Our English classes are reading the same book, so we're collaborating," Nick says, which gets him that look from Mom like she wants to say "does collaborating mean you do Kevin and Joe's homework?" but not out loud.
"Teamwork!" Dad says. "Fantastic."
The first page is all about their band, which turns out to be called Panic! At The Disco, so Nick's weird title makes sense. Actually it's kind of funny now. There are pages for each member, a picture and a name at the top followed by a list of offenses. Brendon Urie, the page with the animal guy's picture says. Offenses: Thinks he likes animals more than Kevin. Fell down the stairs after lunch and said 'ta-da' when he got up, which is totally a Kevin thing.
Apparently Ryan Ross' only offense was making a sarcastic-but-super-smart observation about the book in Nick's Advanced English class, and it was more sarcastic and a little smarter (but not much, it says) than Nick's planned sarcastic observation. Spencer Smith (can they make a "Pros" list? Kevin really likes these guys' names, wow) took Stella shoe shopping without Joe. Jon Walker hasn't, apparently, done anything to anyone.
It's not 'til Kevin loses a button off his blazer he realizes he hasn't seen Stella all day. Whatever, she's easy enough to find, she's always at her locker. Um, but usually she's not feeling up Spencer Smith when she's at her locker.
"You have great thighs," she's saying, running her fingers down the outside seam on those (okay, they are kind of great) thighs.
Kevin's probably gonna have to tell Nick about this so it can go on Spencer's list of offenses. Except it's actually Stella doing the offense, or whatever, so maybe it doesn't count for him. Against him. Whatever.
"I lost a button!" he says, too loud and too fast, because Stella's moving her hands up to his (also pretty great) hips, and he totally doesn't need to see that.
Stella sighs and takes her hands off Spencer's hips so she can reach out for the blazer. "Lost like it fell off and you still have it?" The way she's grinning at him is super-hopeful, and he kind of wishes he could tell her yes. Mostly so she won't hit him.
"I'm gonna run out of buttons," she says, but she has an entire locker full, so that's probably not gonna happen. At least not soon. Also, Stella is sewing magic and can totally make buttons appear out of thin air, probably. "Oh, check it out," she says, "Spencer's totally wearing my pants."
Spencer looks kind of pissed off, but Kevin can't tell if it's because he interrupted Stella or because Stella said he's wearing lady pants or because he doesn't like Kevin. Maybe he really hates when people lose buttons. Kevin's totally not supposed to be looking at his face, though, just his lady pants.
"He has, like, the best thighs on the planet, wow."
Okay, that has to go on his list of offenses, 'cause Stella's supposed to be saying that about Joe. Possibly Kevin. But mostly Joe. And definitely not this guy. This guy who still looks pissed off, which, wow, you just got a compliment, okay, smile or something.
"Neat," Kevin says again.
Brendon Urie, whose list of offenses was shortened to cheap rip-off of Kevin with weird hair, because listing all the times he fell down and made a Kevin-y joke about it would have taken six pages, is in all Kevin's classes. So it's not really Kevin's fault he notices Brendon's really awesome collection of notebooks.
He already liked the pink sparkly one, which Brendon has with him all the time, but there's an awesome princess one for math class, and another sparkly one (silver) with stickers all over it for English, and - the one Kevin absolutely can't ignore - an otter for science.
Brendon's doodling instead of taking notes when Kevin leans over to, um, gather important information they can use in their Losers! plot, he's totally not just being friendly. "I like your notebook," he says, and Brendon grins up at him, teeth so white Kevin's pretty sure they're sparkling.
"Thanks! I like your cat folder."
The cat folder full of reasons Brendon and his friends are awful, whoops. Brendon pushes his notebook across the table so Kevin can see his doodle - an otter. An otter playing the trumpet, heck yes.
Kevin takes Brendon's pen when it's offered, and adds a top hat. And a monocle.
"Dude," Brendon says, grinning even wider. "Hardcore."
By the end of class, Jeeves the Otter is part of a whole band, and Kevin knows absolutely nothing about science (of course, that part's normal).
There's a sheet of paper in the back of Kevin's cat folder that isn't in anyone else's Losers! project folder, a list of "Not-Offenses". Jon Walker's awesome beard, Ryan and Spencer's awesome names, Brendon's awesome notebooks. Also, now, Brendon's good taste in doodle subjects, and his sparkly smile, and how super-nice it was of him to invite Kevin over to study later.
People have to stop sneaking up behind him, wow, or he's gonna have a heart attack, or something. When he turns around Macy's beaming at him from under her football helmet.
"Big game today?"
"No, just, one of the new kids is really clumsy, and I can't risk a concussion. Big game tomorrow," she says.
Macy Misa complaining about someone else being so clumsy it's dangerous, okay, Kevin has now seen everything in the entire world, and no longer believes in the impossible.
"Actually, that's what I wanted to talk to you about? The new kid - "
"Oh no, not you, too."
Macy blinks at him, tilts her head, opens and closes her mouth without saying anything. "Uh?"
"Everyone thinks they're cooler than we are."
"What, no, ew, as president of your fan club I'm not even allowed to think anyone's cooler than you. No, I just saw you talking to the new kid and are you, like, hanging out with them?"
"No, absolutely not, definitely no, not even a little, never ever." That was probably convincing enough she wouldn't guess about the study date, right?
"Oh, um, okay. So you don't really know anything about them?"
Well, nothing that's not in the cat folder. "Not really."
"Because that bearded one's been, like, following me around. And. Just. I was curious."
Awesome-beard Jon is the one with no actual offenses (Nick added "hangs out with those other jerks" to the offense list, last night, but that doesn't really count), and Kevin's pretty sure Joe and Nick have forgotten he exists.
"Can't help you," he says. "Sorry."
Cheap rip-off of Kevin None
Un-Offenses: Awesome notebooks
Doodles awesome animals
Sparkly awesome smile
Super nice and awesome
Really awesome kisser
"Kevin," Joe says, hands the profile Kevin had given them back. Nick's jaw is clenched so tightly Kevin thinks it might break. "I think, maybe, you should leave the planning to me and Nick from now on."
Nick and Joe are leaning back against their lockers, glaring across the hall at Ryan and Spencer (who are glaring right back). They'd probably be more menacing if Joe could stop playing with his hair for a few seconds. But it's okay, 'cause Spencer's not menacing at all now that Kevin knows the pissed-off face is just how his face is all the time, and Jon's kind of ruining the mood by staring a little ways down the hall at Macy, humming something cheerful.
Kevin's just trying to figure out how likely it is one of them will move so he can get to his locker when Brendon lets go of Kevin's hand and presses against Ryan, pushing him flat against the lockers so he can get into his own.
"Thanks, Rossy," he says, smacks a kiss on Ryan's cheek. "We can share," he says, and takes Kevin's hand again.
"She dressed her last boyfriend up like Nick," Stella's saying when Kevin sits down next to her. "It was kind of - well, no, it was really creepy."
Jon frowns a little, more thoughtful than sad. "I'm not sure I could pull off the hair."
"Wow, because that was totally my point."
Kevin can feel the heat of an angry stare at the back of his head; when he turns, Joe's glaring at Stella way more viciously than he'd been glaring at Spencer that morning. Also with worse aim, because hey, Kevin isn't part of the Joe-Stella-Spencer thing, like, at all.
"Um, why aren't you sitting with Nick and Joe?" He can ask, at least. Joe's glare's kind of painful.
"Joe's acting weird. And the lovesick puppy needed some advice." Stella pats Jon's hand, and huh, he kind of does look like a puppy sometimes. Brendon's friends are awesome. "Why aren't you?"
"I think they have Evil Plan things to talk about, and I'm not allowed anymore."
"He gets to be Juliet," Brendon says, sits down and hands Kevin the fruit cup off his tray. "But less dead."
"Aw, that's the first time I've ever heard someone compare himself to Romeo without being kind of stuck-up about it."
Brendon blinks at her like she's said something ridiculous. "No, I'm Maria."
"She dresses better."
Stella frowns a little, looks over her shoulder to where Joe's now hiding behind an apple so it's less obvious he's watching them. "I can't believe I'm saying this, but even that's not weird enough to get me to sit with Joe right now."
It's ten minutes before Kevin's alarm goes off when his phone starts singing that song about birds; the text is from Brendon, and all it says is OMG LOL six times. He gets three more of those between then and when he gets to school, and Brendon's giggling when he meets Kevin at the door.
Brendon doesn't answer, probably can't stop giggling long enough to talk. And, wow, he's kind of adorable like this. Well. More adorable.
Jon Walker's standing next to Kevin's locker when he turns the corner, and oh my gosh that's why Brendon's laughing.
"The um. He's a."
"He joined the JONASheads," Brendon says in a rush, and then goes right back to giggling.
"Shut him up," Jon says, looking over Kevin's shoulder. When his eyes light up, he shifts a little, looks at Kevin instead. "Pretend I'm doing something a really dedicated fan would do, okay?"
Kevin blinks, but shrugs. "Sure," he says, a little too loud, "you can have a lock of my hair. Just don't tell everyone I did this."
Joe and Nick should totally let him back on the Evil Plan committee, because they'd probably really like the way Jon's trying super hard not to look horrified or grossed out or whatever. Kevin gets his scissors out of his locker and snips off a curl, the one behind his left ear that won't behave and always tickles.
"What," Jon says, through his teeth, "am I supposed to do with this?"
"Cherish it forever," Brendon says.
"I think it might be a nice gesture if you give it to another really dedicated JONAS fan."
Jon's eyes light up, and some of the horror/grossed-out-ness leaves his face. Sweet, this is totally Kevin's good deed for the morning.
(Brendon doesn't stop giggling for another hour and a half.)
Joe and Nick drop their bags at Kevin's table before Brendon can get there from the lunch line; Brendon just shrugs and goes to sit with Ryan and Spencer. Joe doesn't have to glare at anyone, 'cause Stella's sitting with Macy, so everything feels kind of normal.
Well. Until Nick talks.
"You can't give them Macy."
"You can make out with Brendon all you want, whatever, it's not like you were helping much with The Plan anyway, and if they have one less person to plot with, awesome."
"Um, thank you?" Kevin's pretty sure he didn't ask for permission, but maybe he was supposed to? It's nice of Nick to approve, anyway, even if he's being really Nick-y about it.
"But they can't have Macy. She's valuable."
"Yes." Macy totally is valuable, she's, like, funny and cool and awesome and when she's not being creepy, Kevin really likes hanging out with her.
"Because if she turns into a Panic fan, the JONASheads might follow her."
"Ye - wait, no, that's not why."
Nick rolls his eyes, as if Kevin's being the stupid one. And for once, no, he's not, so Nick can just keep his eyes un-rolled, okay. "It's why they can't have her."
"Have you seen what Jon Walker's wearing?" He's pretty sure they have, it's kind of hard to miss the bright yellow JONAS shirt, or the hat with their faces on it, or all the pins all over his blazer. "I'm, uh, pretty sure Macy took him, not the other way around."
Nick just frowns; Kevin eats the rest of his lunch quietly while Nick and Joe whisper about The Plan, passing their folders back and forth to share notes. Brendon waves at him from across the cafeteria, where it looks like Ryan and Spencer are doing the same thing.
Maybe it's time for this to be over.
"Why would you wanna sleep in a bunk when you don't have to?"
"Just get in," Kevin says, holds the curtain open for Brendon. Brendon frowns a little, but climbs in.
"Oh, hey, it's big," he says, but tucks right next to Kevin anyway, radiating body heat. Super-good cuddler, Kevin mentally adds to the "awesome things about Brendon" list he's not actually updating on paper anymore. Kevin's totally tempted to forget making a Counter-Evil Plan and just cuddle for a while. Maybe nap, a nap would be good.
(Maybe this is why Joe and Nick didn't care whether he was helping them or not.)
"Spencer," Brendon says, muffled a little in Kevin's neck where he's nuzzled in, "only doesn't like Joe 'cause he's weird. And glares at him a lot."
"Oh, then that one's easy," Kevin says, pulls out his phone and fires off a text.
"Um, okay. Nick thinks Ryan thinks he's smarter than Nick."
"Ryan does. And he thinks Nick thinks he's smarter than Ryan."
"Um, Nick does."
Brendon sighs, breath tickling Kevin's neck. Joe and Nick are gonna be gone for a while, so if they can solve this one as quickly as the Spencer vs. Joe one, they can totally kiss for a while. Because Brendon's a really good kisser. It's even on his profile.
"Maybe," Brendon says, "we won't be able to think of an answer unless we take our minds off it."
Great minds totally think alike, wow, because before Kevin asks how they can distract themselves, Brendon's kissing him. And he doesn't stop until they hear Joe and Nick's voices downstairs, which means they don't come up with a solution at all, but with his lips tingling and the way he can't stop smiling, Kevin doesn't really care that much.
Joe doesn't come home right after school that day, says something about plans with Stella. Nick looks exactly as suspicious as he should.
When Joe stumbles through the door carrying about a billion shopping bags and stops just long enough to tell them "Spencer Smith is some kind of crazy shoe shopping genius," before locking himself in the Stellavator, Nick doesn't look so much suspicious as really, really betrayed.
Kevin tries to look innocent while he texts Mission "Joe hearts Spencer": accomplished to Brendon. Nick's too busy staring after Joe to notice.
"It's over, Jonas," Ryan says, from his usual lean-against-the-locker-and-glare-at-Nick-between-classes spot. "You've been abandoned. Which means I'm not just smarter, and wittier, and better-looking, I'm better at plotting, too."
Nick snorts. "Look around, Ross, you don't have anyone left either."
"I have Jon, so - oh for the love of God."
Jon isn't in his usual lean-against-the-locker-and-gaze-lovingly-at-Macy position, because he's leaning against Macy's locker to gaze lovingly at her. And she's gazing right back, although the "lovingly" might be because she's talking about Nick's new shirt.
"My friends are idiots," Ryan says, runs one hand through his hair. "Seriously."
Maybe Kevin should say something, defend Brendon's totally-not-idiot self, but Brendon doesn't seem to care, so whatever.
"My brothers are bigger idiots," Nick says.
"Shut up, Kevin," Nick says, at the same time Ryan tells Brendon to be quiet.
And then it's like light bulbs appear over their heads, and they're staring at each other again, except not all angry this time.
"You know who else is an idiot?" Ryan asks, and Nick actually smiles at him, whoa. Well, it's not exactly a smile, but since Nick was about ten years old Joe and Kevin started calling it "smiling" any time he didn't look actively angry, so it counts.
"You can tell me on the way to English," Nick says, and they walk off together.
"So, that was easy," Brendon says.
"Almost too easy." Kevin's been watching a lot of movies about evil plots. That was actually probably exactly the right amount of easy.
They're halfway to class when Brendon stops, looks a little panicked. "Wait, wait, oh my gosh, wait."
"Does this mean I'm not Maria anymore?"