Trouble is in love and it's not with Holly.
Disclaimer: Grub and Trouble Kelp and the Underground belong to either themselves or Eoin Colfer. Take your pick depending on your personal level of obsession/depravity.
Author's Note: Kitty Rainbow made me write this! No, The Book of Jude made me write this, and Kitty only made me post it. Blame them.
Please note that this fic contains slash incest. That is a kissy-kissy relationship between Grub and Trouble Kelp. If you really want to you can flame me for that. Please note that I only have two slash fics on ff.net, so reading any of my other fics, apart from My Queer Young Mind, will be more than safe. You can't judge an author by one (or two) pieces of slash. Three maybe…
Grub shuffled his feet as he stood outside his brother's bedroom door. Trouble was on the telephone, drawing a picture of a young elf girl - Grub recognised her as Tamarind, Trouble's girlfriend of almost a month. He nodded once, even though the person on the other end of the phone couldn't hear him, then hung up.
His attention focused even more on the artwork before him. He slowly dragged his pencil across, darkening the outline of her lips.
"Um... do you know when Mummy's shift ends? I just..."
Trouble twisted the paper around slightly and drew another line as a highlight in Tamarind's hair.
"That all? Don't you have homework to do?"
"I finished it. I managed to get all my maths done at school so I didn't have to bring any of it home."
Trouble finally looked up. "That's great, Grub. Fantastic. I knew you'd get the hang of maths sooner or later."
Grub blushed. "Thanks. And you know Cherie? You know, she's that girl with--"
"I know her, Grub, she had a crush on me at one point. Remember?"
"Oh. Yeah. Well, I said hi to her in history and then she let me sit next to her."
Grub came even further into the room, sitting down on his brother's beanbag. He poked at the bag and looked up at the photos and magazine cutouts that lined Trouble's walls. There was a pile of Guns and Ammo beside the desk.
"Isn't that a Mud Man mag?" he said, gestured. "Where did you get it, Trub?"
"Oh. You weren't meant to see that. Johnson's brother can ... get things."
"Is there anything you wanted, Grub? Do you want to see that picture I drew of Mrs Slack? It shows her true nature according to Gregory."
"Yeah. Yeah, I'll have a look at that one."
Trouble pulled a inked cartoon-like drawing of the teacher out of his folio. Grub stared at it for a moment, smiled slightly and then rubbed a hand through his sandy hair.
"Something's up? What is it? Are you being bullied again? I swear I'll--"
"Not the bullies."
"Well," Trouble was impatient now; he wanted to get back to his picture, "what is it then?"
"I... I just wanted to ask you something?"
Trouble put down the pencil and swiveled his chair around so that he was facing his brother, who was still picking at the beanbag. He always took Grub's questions seriously.
"Um... Nar, I don't need to ask you it. Not really. I'll just--" He tried to pull himself out of the bag but fell down again as it sunk in strange places.
"Come on. I won't laugh at you or anything, Grub, you know that."
"Um... What's kissing like?"
"Oh. Oh. Grub that's a... Damn." He ran a hand over his shaved head - he'd need to shave it again soon. "It's... well, it's hard to explain.
"Oh, okay. That's okay. I'll go and read my book then. It's okay. Thanks, Trubs."
"Don't go, Grub. I ... I can explain it. It's special. It ... well, it's ... good. Even if the girl has braces or bad breath it can be all right. And if it's someone special, someone who you really, really like, it's even better. It..." Trouble looked down at the picture he'd been drawing. The most completed elements of the drawing were Tamarind's eyes and lips - the rest of her was just composed of bare outlines. He... "It can be amazing. And... Well, only sometimes is it bad. Sometimes it can be a really bad kiss really. But life's like that. There are always things that are bad even when they should be brilliant. And pixies are the best kissers."
"Uh... thanks, Trub."
"Sorry, Grub. I ... It's ... different. I can't explain it. Sorry."
"Hey, that's okay. I'll just wait. I bet it's not all that great anyway."
Grub was at the door, once again leaning against the frame awkwardly; leaning didn't suit him, he was usually supporting himself against gravity only by willpower and the image of leaning against a doorframe was an intensely Alpha Male look. He wasn't it.
Trouble got up from his chair, twirling a coloured pencil through his fingers. "I'm sorry I couldn't help you."
Grub turned to go. He turned back.
Trouble stopped him. "You're worried that you'll never get a girlfriend?" Grub nodded, eyes focused on a spaghetti stain on the carpet. "Don't be. I've heard the girls talk about you and they all think you're gorgeous."
"Of course they do. They all talk about how cute you are."
"Right. Okay then. Trub..."
"But… You'll want to have a bit of practice before you kiss Cherie."
"Like, on my hand or something?"
"Something like that." And Trouble stepped forward, touched the side of Grub's face lightly with a fingertip and brushed his lips across his brothers. It could barely be felt at all, and the echo was simply a brush of air…
Trouble took half a step back. Grub was … surprised. Shocked. Questioning. Revolted. Curious. "I'm sorry, Grub. I shouldn't have—" Pouncing forward on tip-toes and planting his lips over his brother's in a frenzy, awkwardly, not knowing what to do at all.
A moment later, he fell back onto flat feet. And blushed. He hid his face behind small hands, so that only his forehead and teeth biting his lower lip were visible.
"Grub." Trouble said, reaching out his hand to touch the hunched shoulder.
"Sorry. I'm so sorry, Trouble. I ... I'm sorry. I just ... I just ... I never meant--"
"Hey, it's okay. It's fine, Grub."
"Did you like it?"
Grub looked down at the floor yet again. This time he found an inkblot from when one of Trouble's paints had spilt the year before. He nodded, even as he wanted himself to do nothing.
"Good. Even if it was too slobbery."
Grub looked up, incredulous.
Trouble wasn't very far away. Not very far at all. And he was being kissed. Again. And it wasn't very slobbery at all.
* * * * *
Trouble lent back in his chair and twisted his neck from side to side, feeling the bones click. The picture was perfect. It was the best thing he had ever done. Well, not the best thing ever, but it was his best drawing.
Grub grinned up at him from the paper, a long strand of hair falling over his huge brown eyes.