A/N: Because I needed a story of their childhood, and someone had to write it.
Also the very beginning is basically plagiarized from an interview with Dylan O'Brien.
You met Scott in a sandbox when you were four years old, and you've been best friends ever since.
You didn't really see a reason to make many other friends. It's been just you and Scott since preschool.
Then kindergarten came, and a new school, and your parents made sure you were in the same class. You had to talk to a bunch of other kids, but center time was usually just you and Scott at the car centre or animal centre.
Then grade one came, and sentences and full days and packed lunches. You and Scott managed to still be in the same class, and you sat beside each other in the third row and went to each other's houses every Thursday.
In grade two it was the second row and Fridays.
In grade three the teacher separated you for talking too much and distracting each other, and she placed you behind Lydia Martin -who'd been going to your school this whole time but had never been in your class until now. You had to stare at the back of her head every day. Her hair was bright orange and always perfectly brushed, even though most of the other girls wore pigtails or had knots. You fell in love with the way she tilted her head when she was concentrating and how fast her hand shot in the air at math time.
In grade four, Scott was in another class and you sat two rows behind Lydia. You and Scott always met up at recess and lunch, and would sometimes get in trouble to sit in the hall together. You'd always sit with him at assemblies, even though you were supposed to sit with your class.
You missed sitting right behind Lydia, but you could still see her orange hair and her hand in the air during math while everyone else was struggling. You'd sit next to her in the library and look at whatever book she was reading. She liked nonfiction and books about giraffes. She read about math and science a lot, so sometimes you took out math and science books to see if she'd say anything.
She didn't, but she'd glance at the cover and smirk.
Sometimes you wondered if she knew how bad he was with numbers.
In grade five you and Scott were back together. Lydia wasn't in your class, though, and your dad couldn't figure out why you were sad after your first day of school. Scott cheered you up, though, even though the next seating change separated you before the one after that put him behind you.
Grade five was also the year you were officially diagnosed with ADHD after testing in grade four, and you've been taking adderall and trying harder to focus ever since.
Which got so much harder in sixth grade when you sat beside Lydia.
That's right; beside. As in, partners. As in, you actually have to talk to her, beside.
As in, good grades in math whenever it's partners time, which is good because your ADHD brain has trouble with math. Too many numbers to juggle around and misplace, and it's so much harder to focus when no people or animals or facts are involved.
Facts are the air you breathe.
They're so easy to pull from nowhere, so easy to change topics. Your ADHD loves facts.
Lydia likes facts too.
"Gravity happens because of the materials in Earth's core."
"Worms have pockets that fill up with water when it rains, that's why they're always on the sidewalk."
"Wolves can control how many pups they have."
"Silver is Argentum in Latin."
"It's 'argent' in French." You respond.
After weeks of building up the bravery to talk to her, this was your witty comeback. Lydia gave you a funny look, an "I know that" look that makes you feel stupid (a look you're all too used to now). That look makes you realize your mistake. You learned that in French last week. Of course she knows.
You don't hang out with Scott after school. You go home and research until your brain is so full of facts you think you'll explode if you don't tell someone.
"Pi is an irrational number."
"Green eyes aren't always passed down, sometimes they pop up in families."
"You can be allergic to the sun."
"Heterochromia is when you're born with eyes that are different colours."
"New Orleans has more murders than any other state."
After weeks of mastering the art of talking to Lydia Martin, your conversations are mostly fact battles or proving each other wrong (she proves you wrong most of the time). The teacher threatens to separate you for talking too much, but doesn't because -despite your ADHD- the two of your are miles ahead of the rest of the class and she doesn't have enough extra work to keep you occupied.
"Synesthesia is when your senses blend together. Like seeing music."
You've never heard of Synesthesia before, so you go home and research it and it fills you with colours. Numbers and letters with their own colours, and a fourth primary colour almost no one can see.
"Have you heard of ultraviolet?" You say the next day, sliding into your seat next to Lydia.
She finishes lining up her pens before turning to look at you, lips pursed. Her hair swishes over her shoulder. "No,"
It takes you a little longer to respond than you'd thought, because you got distracted by her hair. It's not actually orange, you've learned this year, it's strawberry blonde. You've also learned that she has the greenest eyes you've ever seen, and they're staring into you and-
You drum your fingers on your desk rapidly, excited about this again. "It's a fourth primary colour, but not very many people can see it."
She raises an eyebrow -a look you'll remember years later when she's forgotten about you but you're in her bedroom. "A fourth primary colour." She's skeptic, like usual.
You nod excitedly, fingers still drumming. "Which means more colours from that, and hardly anyone can see them."
Lydia's other eyebrow moves closer to the raised one. She opens her mouth, but the teacher interrupts.
"Sit down, everyone, the bell rang."
"So I looked up ultraviolet," She states the day after when you sit down.
You're surprised. You thought you were the only one doing the research in this relationship.
Your stomach flip-flops at the word 'relationship' and you pretend you don't notice.
"Mmhmm," She nods, adjusting one of her pens and then fixing her gaze on you. "It doesn't exist."
"Yes it does!"
"There is no information on it anywhere! Just stuff about UV rays and sunburns," She rolls her eyes because she knows they'll learn about it later on, but it's already beneath her. Lydia purses her lips. "Where did you hear about it?"
"Um..." One of the websites on synesthesia had a link to it, but you scrolled through so many without bookmarking that you doubt you'll find it again. "On the Internet, somewhere."
She's skeptic. "Right." Lydia turns to face the front of the class and you know you've disappointed her.
You're surprised it took this long.
You plop a Caramilk bar on Lydia's desk. "I'm sorry."
She looks at you critically. "I don't eat Caramilk. Too sticky."
Your stomach sinks. You thought everyone liked Caramilk. And you saw her eating those caramel squares one time.
"They taste okay," she consoles, the closest you'll get to a 'they're delicious'. "I just can't have them messing up my lipgloss." Lydia is the only girl that wears it.
Even at twelve she cared what people thought of her, how she looked.
"How'd you do?" You ask, leaning over to peer at her report card.
"Straight As." She flips her strawberry blonde hair over her shoulder.
There's a beat of silence.
"Um, what about you?"
"Uh, not so good," you say, holding out your card of As and Bs with behavioral issues. There's a C, too. If you hadn't sat next to Lydia, there'd probably be another one.
"Not terrible, either," she responds, and it's the nicest thing she'd ever said to you at that point. Lydia smiles softly. It's a smile that takes years to come back, the one that you usually see when she's hurting, but you've comforted her.
You swallow thickly and that smile makes it a little hard to breathe.
In grade seven you're in middle school and you have one class with her but you don't talk.
You don't talk because in middle school she's popular and you're not, and you think maybe she wouldn't respond if you did.
You catalogue her smile in your brain and you pretend you'll see it again, and that it'll be for you.
She smiles for Jackson Whittemore and pretends she's dumb, but you see through it because no one changes that quickly. You see through it because you know she still knows about synesthesia and gravity and silver and maybe even ultraviolet.
She surrounds herself with pretty girls who wear lipgloss and short skirts and look like less beautiful, less vibrant versions of her.
And you miss the old Lydia -the one who would talk about worms without flinching, and recite Pi to sixteen digits because that's as far as her calculator showed her. You miss the Lydia who laughed at a joke you made once and didn't treat you like ADHD made you any different.
In grade eight she's still popular and you're still not. You have more classes with her because it's a small school. You have a lot with Scott, too, and the two of you get in more trouble than you should.
You sit behind her in Science but she doesn't raise her hand when you learn about UV rays and wavelengths and things you know she knows. You sit behind her and stare at her strawberry blonde hair and feel like you're moving backwards.
You write her a poem for Valentine's Day.
Olive green eyes
That look at all the wrong guys
And when I look at you
It's like the stars come out
You lurk around her locker, waiting for the perfect opportunity to give it to her. You don't see Lydia all day, so you just tape it to her locker.
When you walk by later with Scott, Jackson and some other popular guys are reading it and laughing.
Lydia isn't there.
You swallow your embarrassment and you choke on your tears, as you put your head down and pretend it didn't happen.
Lydia has a birthday party ("the biggest party of the year"). You're not invited and neither is Scott, so you sleep over at his house and pretend you didn't buy her flowers.
In grade nine it's your first year of high school and this year is going to be different.
You sit behind her and one spot to the right in English. You try and ask her if she can help you with the difference between assonance and consonance (because you know she knows the difference -she spent a whole day talking about poetry once in the sixth grade when it was raining). But Lydia twirls her hair and plays dumb, and you're coming to the realization that maybe this is how it will always be.
You see her take an advanced math book out of the library and you smile because maybe she's not all gone.
You get your second term report cards during English. You ask her how she did and she doesn't ignore you.
"Straight As," Lydia flips her hair over her shoulder and then pauses because she said the wrong thing. There goes her image.
"Just like usual, then." You say, smiling, and she lets you see that smile from three years ago.
Scott assumes you did well on your report card because you grin all the way to his house after school.
In grade ten you say hi to her whenever you see her and she ignores you. You blame Scott.
You sit behind her in Biology and damn, she's good at every science, not just the math ones.
You find her alone at the hospital and you ramble on about unspoken connections and make an attempt to ask her out, even though she has a boyfriend.
And of course Lydia doesn't hear you.
You tell her you're going to sit and wow, she responds.
That's what you'd like to call progress.
Terrible, slow, weak, and basically useless progress.
Lydia isn't at school and you're worried. Danny doesn't know where she is, and you'd like to think they're pretty close.
You take a huge step and go to her house and act like she remembers you. And somehow her mom lets you in. Her mom lets you into her room to see her, which you think is pretty huge.
Of course, Lydia actually touching you is a way bigger deal.
Even if she's pretty heavily medicated.
And you see her in her (pretty revealing, if you're perfectly honest) pajamas and actually hold a conversation.
A conversation where she's pretty heavily medicated (and thinks you're Jackson near the end), but whatever.
She touches your arm and asks why you were worried and gives you that raised eyebrow look you remember from four years ago.
When you go home, there's a chorus of "Stay"s running through your head and you can't stop smiling.
Scott tells you Lydia's into you and you let yourself believe it.
It makes it hurt that much more, after.
Scott kisses Lydia (more like makes out with, but you try not to think about that) and you've never felt more betrayed in your entire life.
You chain him to his heater and pretend that it's just because of the full moon, but it's not -you know it's not.
And you tell him so.
"She kissed me."
"She would've done a lot more, too."
"You should've seen the way she had her hands all over me."
You slide down the wall and try to shut it out and Scott is the worst friend ever.
But you can't shut out the pain in your chest.
In grade ten you take Lydia to the winter formal and you're suddenly so, so glad Scott is dating Allison.
Thank you, Allison.
You open the door for Lydia and tell her she looks beautiful even though she says she doesn't want compliments. You tell her she looks beautiful because to you she always has been, since that first day you sat behind her in the third grade.
You ask her to dance and she passes. You switch tactics and suddenly this feels like a fact war from grade six.
Lydia looks slightly startled behind her mask when you mention her making out with Scott, but you keep going. You tell her everything.
You tell her about liking her since the third grade and seeing who she really is when no one else can. You tell her about Noble prizes and math and she corrects you, proves you wrong.
This is a fact battle and she won, but she dances with you anyway.
She dances with you anyway.
She leads you to the dance floor for three and a half fast songs. A slow song comes on. Lydia wraps her arms around you without hesitating and you think your heart might explode because she's so close.
But by the second slow song, she's distant.
Lydia looks a little shaken, like no one's asked her that in a long time.
You let her go find Jackson, but she doesn't, and then you're running across a lacrosse field to save her.
"Don't kill her. Please."
"I'm not just letting you leave her here."
You have no choice.
You sleep over in the hospital for a weekend, waiting to see her.
You find her naked in the woods two days later.
(More like she finds you.)
You find her in her car, crying. You talk to her enough that she rolls down her window, and with Lydia that's like her pulling a wall down.
And then you abandon her and it tears you apart inside.
You're in grade ten and you're finally invited to Lydia's birthday party.
Of course, not a lot of people come because they think she's crazy -but still, progress.
Lydia cheers for you at your game and it almost makes being beat up and kidnapped worth it.
It is worth it when you open your bedroom and she's there.
You and Lydia grow closer over the summer, and maybe you're going forwards after all. She has your number in her phone and it's safe to say you're friends.
The two of you even organize a double date to get Allison and Scott back together, and somehow it fails and works at the same time.
Lydia chooses to sit next to you in English and it's not just to make Scott and Allison sit near each other.
She calls you when she's sick and you rant to her about mythical monsters and dead babies.
She follows you and Scott on the cross country trip and she's a terrible liar.
She saves your life.
(Lydia's not the selfish person you were scared she'd actually become. She's a lot less than 60% coldblooded.)
In grade eleven, Lydia Martin kisses you and you hold your breath.