"I cannot believe Mr. Harris gave you a D on that paper," a sixteen year old Mar'i spat as she nearly kicked open her bedroom door, Lian, seventeen, close behind her.

"Believe me, I know," the red head rolled her eyes and closed the door, the essay in question clutched in her left hand.

"His reasoning was so convoluted too!" Mar'i grabbed the paper from her friend and read the near-illegible comments from the teacher in a mock alto. "'Your grammar and structure were solid, but the context was unfounded. Not all of us can be superheroes, Lian..' Who does this guy think he is? The assignment was called A Day in the Life of You. What did he expect you to write? Normal things?"

Lian shrugged half heartedly. "Maybe I should've written about a more neutral day, not one where the Fearsome Five was trying to kill us."

"But they're always trying to kill us. It's not an irregular thing," the half alien shook her head. "And now look at you. You're depressed. You know I hate it when you're depressed. It makes me depressed."

"You shouldn't worry so much about me," Lian sighed heavily. "I'm just kind of…accepting the D."

"No! Don't accept it! You have to fight the grade, Li. If you let Mr. Harris think you're less than you really are, then you're just screwing yourself up the ass."

Lian's face contorted. "Don't say that. It's weird."

"And physically impossible," Mar'i went for a smile, but her friend barely responded. "See now, usually that would've made you laugh."

"I'm not really in a laughing mood. I'm good at English, Mar. I've never gotten anything below a B+ on an essay," Lian sat down on Mar'i's bed and kicked her backpack hostilely.

"…Okay. Move over," the black haired girl dove under her bed as Lian shifted to the left, and soon Mar'i had surfaced with what she had been looking for, a large basket brimming with every color of nail polish imaginable. "Emergency manicure time. And when we're done, we're going to the Tower and making use of that DVD library. You know you can't resist a large dose of crappy chick flicks, and your dad and my parents won't be back until around midnight because of that emergency Watchtower meeting with the League, remember?"

"What? Mar'i, no. Not right now-"

"Resistance is futile, and I have three of your favorite colors in my palm," the Tamaranian breathed a sigh of relief when her friend cracked a small smile. "Good girl. Left hand." Before Lian could react, her hand was in Mar'i's care and her nails were being painted crimson red. "So, it's almost Christmas. What are you getting everybody?"

Lian arched an eyebrow, "Um, where did that come from?"

"It's a question to distract you. C'mon, spill the gifts."

"I don't know…"

"C'mon. Think of anyone." A pause. "What're you getting Robert?"

"Robert Long?"

"No," Mar'i droned sarcastically, moving to Lian's right hand. "The other Robert we know who you're completely enamored with."

"Oh, shut up. I really don't know what I'm getting anyone. Especially him."

"Well you've at least been considering things, haven't you?"

"I seriously don't-"

"Lian, just think of a damn gift. It doesn't even have to be good. Just get your mind off of Mr. Harris and that stupid grade."

"Fine, fine. Um…how about soap?"

Mar'i gave her friend an odd look. "Soap?"

"You said it didn't have to be good."

Lian watched the thoughtful look on her friend's face as she finished her nails and chose three different shades of purple and blue for her own. "Well…I guess he'll be thinking of you when he's in the shower, which is always a plus."

There was a short, awkward silence as Mar'i's implications sunk in, and suddenly Lian was laughing, laughing so hard that she was almost crying. It got Mar'i laughing too, and the two girls sat on the bed together and laughed until their sides hurt. All the tension from the bad grade was gone, and the only thing Lian felt the need to worry about now was not messing up her nails while they were still wet, and maybe what she'd be getting Robert Long for Christmas.

That was one of the things she loved the most about her best friend; she had an unexpected response to everything. Because like her nail polish, Mar'i was colorful.


(Chapter by SushiChica)