Hello, all! Ioriot (Oriole) here with a new story to share. It's been ages since I've ventured into the world of fanfiction, so I hope my characterization isn't too far off. Also, for those of you who've read my other work, my grammer has improved since then; though there are probably some grammer things I didn't pick up the first revision. I'll fix those as noticed. Anyway, I hope you all enjoy the story.

-Simplification-

A dull, steely gray sky was visible through my window as rain softly tapped the glass, making an understated appearance against the pale pink of my bedroom walls. Why hadn't I ever repainted this room? It had always been rather childish, but now? A girl my age needs something more sophisticated for her bedroom, not the varying pinks of her youth. Those princess tiaras are hideous and make me seem more spoiled than I really am.

I flopped down on my bed, letting my head hang off just slightly so that I can still look out the window. I really should be working. I had a thesis on Midsummer's Night Dream due in two days, reading and vocabulary for AP Bio, and a couple poems to work on for the school's Lit magazine. The thesis was technically completed since I had a rough draft, but it needed revising. AP Bio's been a cinch to date, but Ms. Lewis is known for slacking off until the last few weeks before the exam. As for my poems? Well, I created the magazine three years ago in ninth grade, and I'm still the president and editor. I can be a little late turning those in (like all my other writers and their lousy sense of time management), though that means I'll actually have to pay attention to my speech about promptness at the next meeting.

Damn.

Maybe I should work on those.

Sighing, I rolled over onto my stomach, propping my head up on my right hand. The sky had darkened even more. Across the street a few lights flickered on in Neutron's house. Mine were already on since I had been working at my desk. Silhouette belonging to Mr. and Mrs. Neutron appeared in the living room window before settling down in a dark mass which must have been their couch. I frowned slightly. Nerd-tron must have been out in the lab or at a friend's because his form was absent from the windows.

I closed my eyes, bringing the image of his bright eyes to the front of my mind. Gorgeous, curious, always a glint of smugness. My favorite feature. Though he had grown, his shoulders broadened, and his voice deepened, his eyes would always be my favorite feature. They were the one thing that hadn't changed.

So much else had.

Everyone around them had always taken their relationship at face value. When they were in elementary school they had always fought, therefore they hated each other. When they were in middle school they had always fought, therefore they have crushes on each other and puberty is screwing with their minds. Now, in high school, they always fight, therefore they both must be either sexually frustrated or the sex is angry and amazing.

Why all the simplification? I liked to believe that we were both much more complex people than what everyone boiled us down to be. Even our friends seem to view our relationship at face value, but then, as teenagers, what else would we be doing? I know my parents, awkwardly, cornered me at dinner the other week about my "boyfriend." (I prefer "guy who is a friend.") My dad looked like he wanted to bolt from the house throughout the whole thing.

Neutron and I have always had an interesting relationship. Initially it started out as a rivalry; boy against girl – the good and noble fight of the elementary years. He was the smartest kid in town and I was the former smartest kid in town. Angry child that I was could not let that title go without a fight. And out fighting I went. In fact I'm still trying to reclaim my title. A battle which will not be won, but I enjoy the challenge. Oddly enough, though, by the fifth grade I had started to develop a sort of . . . something on him. I wouldn't call it a crush as much as unwilling puppy love. I loathed the idea of caring about my rival like that, so I "crushed" on Nick Dean instead.

Slowly I had to learn that such feelings could not be denied. Years passed. We had agreed to a civil relationship, meaning I needed to stop belittling him and he needed to stop gloating his brilliance in front of me. We sealed the deal at the Candy Bar with a couple of root beer floats. The non-fighting pact lasted all of two minutes before we got into a tiff about the factual basis on something we were learning in history class that week.

I know that we both care about each other. I also know it runs more deeply than the stereotypical 'high school sweetheart' romance that everyone at school is involved in (sorry Sheen and Libby). We're so much more than that.

I think – know that these fights we have will always occur, no matter what happens between us. It's who we are; we are competitive, stubborn, and intelligent, not to mention a bit egotistical. We rival in each area, enjoying the challenge that a fight with the other brings, though at last dropping the elementary competition between the genders.

Despite this we do have qualities that differ, balancing strengths and weaknesses. I'm brazen, outspoken and tend to act without thinking. He has always been softer spoken than me, which is a quality which has developed more as the years have gone on. He thinks things through when I do not. Depending on the situation, either he stops me from making a stupid mistake, or I give him the kick in the rear he needs to make his move without over thinking it. Also, we're both talented in many areas, though his strengths lie in science and mine lie in the arts.

My mother used to have me watch her shows with her, including a sappy pastoral romance she adored. Though show usually made me gag, there was one statement that stuck with me to this day. Discussing love, and how you know if you love a man, one of the characters asked another questions – Who is the first one you think about when you wake up? When you go to sleep? Who makes your blood boil? Who do you run to for help when something goes wrong? Who are you more like yourself with?

The answers to the first two questions are so utterly sappy and clichéd that I will not dignify them with a response, but the others . . . Undoubtedly, he is the one person that can make my blood boil. There is no one that has ever made me angrier, nor anyone that has made me happier for that matter. He is the reason my emotions take such rollercoaster rides, but even so, he's always the one I think to go to for help. Libby is great to talk through things with, but if I need help, I've always turned to him. And . . .

I'm always myself around him. This is something which astounds me to no end. All my life I'd worked on building up certain walls, putting up a certain front to appear a certain way, whether it is for a teacher, a guy, or even my parents. He knows the best of and the worst of the real me. Unfortunately, it always seems like the worst of me shows through the most, but he cares for me even more because of it.

I opened my eyes as the lights flickered and faded. That was odd. Glancing across the street, I noticed the same had happened at the Neutrons. I shook my head, murmuring his name in exasperation.

He had told me one day, after admitting that to him, that I knew the honest and authentic James Neutron. I knew of his fear of failure, of disappointing his parents, of potentially losing his intelligence, of not being able to help people in need. I knew of his weird and quirky thoughts and interests. Such as his love of chocolate covered potato chips and ability to quote comics from the 80s such as Calvin and Hobbes. I knew what made him angry and what made him sad to the point of tears. I Had been the only one to see him cry, from the cell on that alien planet to holding him close after his grandmother passed away a few years ago. Despite all these faults and weakness, really because of them, I found myself loving him more.

Down below I heard the doorbell chime. An upscale chime with many tones playing Canon in D minor which my mother insisted on buying for the house. The door opened, and muffled voices filled the air, quickly followed by the slamming of the front door.

I still believe that people try to condense the meaning of our relationship. We have depth, understanding; we have affection, friendship. We are rivals and teammates. We complete each other in every sense of the word . . . I know that there's a word for this, but it's slipped my mind . . . maybe . . . ?

I started at a soft knock on the door.

"Come in," I called, breaking the calm of the room. The door opened, he walked in, blue eyes smiling at me. I smiled back. "Did you by any chance have anything to do with the lights earlier?"

"What would make you say that?" he chuckled, coming to sit next to me on the bed. I sat up, dangling my legs off the side of the bed. His surpassed mine in length; thank goodness for growth spurts. After a brief silence I looked up at him. He was smiling down at him, a soft and caring light in his eyes. "You look very pensive today, Vortex."

"Oh, I have been. Didn't feel like working, so I've been staring out at the rain."

"Thesis?"

"Rough draft completed."

"Bio?"

"Not much to do."

"Poems?"

"Eh . . .I'll get back to you on that one."

"You're such a slacker, Vortex. Just this afternoon I finished that stupid thesis, Bio and Chem homework, and I found time to work on my government commissioned fossil fuel replacement . . . which explains the blackout earlier, just incase you were still curious."

"I still have you bested in countless ways, Neutron, you stupid over achiever!" I went to smack him over the head, but he caught my wrist in a firm but gentle grip. Pulling me towards him, his lips touched mine.

As he kissed me, I smiled. Now I remembered that word – soul mates.

Maybe you can simplify it after all.

-Fin-