Author's Notes Hello, cats and kids! Mu here with my first real foray in Homestar Runner fanfiction! -unenthusiastic applause- I suppose I should give some notes. I guess the first thing to keep in mind is that the characters are humanized in this story. I'll be giving descriptions as I feel they are necessary. My reasoning for humanizing them is to expand their world a bit. Hopefully, even without this note it will manage to come across in my writing.

My second note is a warning-- this is a slash fanfiction, and therefore contains a romantic pairing of the boy/boy persuasion. If this bothers you, stop reading now. I don't want to offend anyone.

I'm am very open to critique, particularly on characterization and grammar. Don't be shy. I'm also looking for beta readers-- you may PM me if interested!

That all being said, please enjoy!

If you let me I could

I'd show you how to build your fences

Set restrictions

Separate from the world

The constant battle that you hate to fight

Just blame the limelight

-Fences, Paramore

-start chapter-

"Is your girlfriend gonna be on television tonight?"

Strong Bad was eye level with his least favorite of all shapes -- the star. Bright white and shiny against the candy cane red shirt that Homestar always seemed to wear. Why wear a shirt if it's just going to be the same shirt everyday? Sometimes Homestar would mix it up and throw a duck or a lobster his way, but he might as well have that star tattooed to his chest. Shirts were stupid, anyway. Why define yourself by the clothes on your back when you can let your awesome bod do the work for you? This was one of the many reasons Strong Bad shunned most forms of clothing.

Perpetual shirtlessness was a much better alternative as far as he was concerned. The only accessories he required were a pair of boots his dad gave him for his seventeenth birthday, some red leather biker gloves with the fingers snipped off and a mask. He was his own man.

A single man. But still his own man.

"Homestar, I don't have a freakin' girlfriend! And what are you going on about?" Despite his distaste for conversations with Homestar Runner, Strong Bad was intrigued enough to peel his eyes from his laptop's screen. Homestar stood there, grinning ear to ear with what Strong Bad regarded as an all too familiar smile. The lanky intruder always seemed to be somewhere he shouldn't be. In particular, he seemed fond of breaking and entering into Strong Bad's house, namely Strong Bad's computer room.

"Marzipan's gonna be on Free Country Idol tonight," he said proudly, his grin turning smug, He placed a hand on the desk and leaned as nonchalantly as he could. He raised an eyebrow and smirked a bit more. "I'm gonna have a famous, rockstar girlfriend. You're probably jealous right about now."

Strong Bad rolled his eyes. "Oh yeah, real jealous," he muttered as sarcastically as he could. Truth be told, one of his many childhood dreams involved having a rockstar girlfriend, and the very idea that Homestar was going to accomplish this irked him more than he'd like to let on. Homestar seemed to pick up on this, in spite of Strong Bad's best efforts. The masked man glanced at Homestar's hand, eyes narrowed from behind the black vinyl. He swatted the appendage away in disdain.

"You can come to the King of Town's castle tonight and watch her kick butt and take names, if you'd like. Everyone's gonna be there," Homestar said, doing his best to sound generous.

"Homestar, there's only, like, ten people in this stupid hick town. If everyone steps out of their house we're all in one place," Strong Bad replied, visibly irritated. He tapped his chin in thought. "But fine, I'll be there. Just to see blondie crash and burn on national television."

He smiled at the idea. The national humiliation of Marzipan? That was like his birthday and Decemberween, strapped to a rocket and covered in milk chocolate. The smile turned devious.

"Great! I'll see ya there," Homestar giggled and with a wave he was gone. Strong Bad gagged in disgust. It was torture seeing the scrawny little nerd so happy. He returned to his e-mail in the hopes of forgetting all about the event while he weeded out unsuitable e-mails for his almost-sometimes-sort of-weekly update.

Unfortunately, that didn't seem possible. Not only was Homestar giddy about the event, but Strong Bad's own family was excited to see Marzipan, the neighborhood's only female resident, on television that night. Strong Mad spent the bulk of his afternoon making a 'Marzipan' t-shirt in a size that couldn't possibly fit Strong Mad's massive body. Strong Bad just tsked, but it was hard to judge Strong Mad too harshly. Even he had to admit that Marzipan was more than decent to his misunderstood brother, and their relationship wasn't entirely vomit inducing.

Strong Bad's baby brother, however, was practically born to be ridiculed and today was no exception.

"I see you're excited for all this ... hooplah," Strong Bad snorted, propped up against his brother's depressingly purple wall. He tried not to seem excited that he managed to slide the word 'hooplah' into everyday conversation. His desk calender at work would be mighty proud.

"Oh yes, I'm very excited," Strong Sad replied. He didn't sound a nearly as excited as he claimed to be. That was hardly his fault, he never sounded excited. The pale boy turned his computer chair around, almost smiling, his emo-kid haircut falling across his right eye. "I think Marzipan has a good shot at winning. I've been texting my votes in all week."

"Didn't I flush your cellphone down the toilet?" Strong Bad asked. Strong Sad sighed dejectedly. "Yes, but I managed to retrieve it. It still works ... it just smells a little ... off."

Strong Bad snorted and waltzed out of the room. He'd have to think of a better way to get rid of that black and grey piece of plastic eventually, but having Strong Sad text his nerdy art school friends with a smelly cellphone was pretty awesome.

"All this excitement and buzz is just gonna make her failure all that much sweeter," he reasoned aloud to himself as he headed for his basement. He glanced at the clock and then at his brother Strong Mad, who was pacing around and asking The Cheat for the time repeatedly

"It ain't freaking on yet, man, so chill out! We got a few hours," The Cheat replied, his patience with his big buddy growing thinner by the second. The young boy's arms were firmly crossed over his chest, a pout on his freckled face. He jumped at the chance to speak with Strong Bad. "Oh, thank God you're still here. You ain't going, are you?"

Strong Bad smirked. "Yeah, I got a personal invitation from Dorkstar himself," he said. He took a seat on the edge of the couch. "I can't wait to watch Blondilocks make a fool of herself on TV."

The Cheat grimaced. "Guess that means I gotta go, too. Geez. Everyone and their grandma is gonna be there."

"My grandmother will not be making an appearance," Strong Bad assured. At least, he hoped not. Zombie grandmothers, texting their votes in for the next big pop star? No thanks. But that did sound like a movie Strong Bad would totally watch, and he contemplated the idea for a few moments.

The Cheat snapped his fingers in front of Strong Bad's face, bringing him back to reality. "Earth to Strong Bad. Yello? Stop thinking about zombie grandmas."

"We need to stop hanging out so much," Strong Bad muttered, getting more comfortable on the couch. He laid down and propped his head up on his hands. "When's this thing supposed to start, anyway?"

"Eight. Though the way Homestar's been jabbering on about it, you'd think it'd be sooner. Did you know he called me at the crack of dawn this morning just to tell me? I could kill him," The Cheat said, scooting over onto the small space on the couch not occupied by Strong Bad.

Strong Mad interrupted Strong Bad's reply. "WHAT TIME IS IT?"

"It ain't freaking time yet!" The Cheat yelled, left eye twitching. "So just work on your shirt. I'll tell you when we're ready to go!" Strong Bad just chuckled.

A few more outbursts from The Cheat meant the big event was starting. Homestar hadn't been kidding, the entire neighborhood was in The King of Town's castle. The King of Town himself, however, seemed somewhat disoriented by the unannounced guests in his house, and Strong Bad guessed that Homestar hadn't exactly ran the idea past the King prior to inviting everyone.

"Get your Marzipan merchandise here!" Bubs, the neighborhood's local concession stand owner, held up a somewhat unsettling toy replica of the neighborhood's only female occupant. It lacked arms and legs. It didn't have much of a definitive head, either. It was just a long neck with a face scribbled on it. "Two for two ninety-eight! Three for eight ninety-eight!"

"What a deal!" Homestar chirped, and Strong Bad just rolled his eyes. Math was not Homestar's strong point.

He found a decent seat on an arm chair by the television set and propped his feet up on the TV itself.

Strong Bad moodily stared at the television as the other contestants sang their little hearts out. He guffawed a little too loudly at some of the lamer performances, which got him glares from various sources. No one else seemed to pay the television set any mind until Marzipan's name was mentioned as the upcoming singer, and Strong Bad groaned as the party goers gathered around the screen.

Homestar hopped over the couch like it was some sort of hurdle and positioned himself in front of the screen. Pom Pom chuckled and sat beside him, his hopes not too high for Marzipan. But it was hard not to be a little excited when his best friend was a tense ball of energy beside him.

"I think Marzipan has a good--" Strong Sad was silenced by Homestar's hand clapping over his mouth, resulting in a sharp, loud slapping noise. He glared at the youngest Strong brother. "You can talk during commercials."

Strong Bad snorted loudly, and the glare swung from one brother to the next. "Same goes for you."

"Geez..." Strong Bad muttered, kicking the television lightly. It fizzled briefly. He frowned and glared at the television as the familiar blonde girl made her way to center stage. She smiled, all dolled up and giddy and wearing make-up. Strong Bad was tempted to think she was pretty this way, but he knew what she looked like beyond the foundation and eyeliner and thought better of it.

The previous contestant grinned and waved Marzipan along, his eyes lingering at her hips a little too long. She seemed to notice and giggled before starting her song. Homestar was too preoccupied to notice the two making eyes at each other, but Pom Pom, Strong Bad and nearly everyone else in the room had.

Pom Pom shot a nervous look at Coach Z, who merely shrugged and continued to stuff the bowl of pretzels down his pants for future consumption. The Cheat bit down on his nails, and Strong Bad ... well, Strong Bad loved every second of it.

He couldn't have planned it better himself. The lame, pretty boy competition and Marzipan, getting together when her boyfriend back home was throwing a party in her honor? That was the definition of irony. Or at least, it would be once Strong Bad whited out the previous definition in the town's only dictionary and replaced it with this all too perfect scenario.

"...thank you everyone!" The crowd wasn't as excited as they were for some other contestants, but she certainly hadn't been as bad as some of the others. It was a safe bet that Marzipan would be back next week. Before leaving the stage, the host -- Eric, or something equally as uninteresting -- had to read off her number for the week, begging for text votes. Strong Sad had already begun texting before the man had finished his sentence.

"YAY MARZIPAN," Strong Mad grunted loudly, his t-shirt wrapped around his wrist. It was the only body part he had that was narrow enough to fit the garment over.

"Wasn't she great?" Homestar squealed, breaking the silence in the room. Strong Bad laughed, which prompted a curious look from Homestar. "What's so funny?"

"Nothing," Strong Bad replied, biting his lip to keep his grin from getting too wide. Pom Pom's eyes narrowed dangerously at him, and he knew better than to mess with Pom Pom. Homestar, he could handle. He was an idiot.

The idiot's best friend was a completely different matter. Pom Pom was some sort of island dwelling super ninja, and Strong Bad never bothered fighting anything described as being super. Or a ninja.

"She was great, Homestar," Pom Pom assured, patting his friend on the shoulder. He sent a worried glance at the television. Marzipan had left the stage, and now the host just talked on and on about how important everyone's vote was. Pom Pom looked at his friend once again, and quietly hoped that Marzipan would at least have the good sense to be discrete.

"Even the judge with the stick up his butt liked her," The Cheat agreed. Strong Bad pushed himself up from his seat, visibly irritated. If everyone was just going to shoot him a death glare for bringing up Marzipan's supposed infidelity, this party was no longer a party.

"As much fun as it is watching Coach Z stuff food down his pants, I really need to get going," he stated, stretching. He cracked his back loudly. Homestar looked distraught. "Aw, but I wanted to play Typing Tutor!"

"You would. Come on, The Cheat," Strong Bad said, motioning for his young sidekick to head for the door. The Cheat forced down the rest of his soda and hopped up from a beanbag beside the television. "Comin'!"

"There's still a few more minutes left," Strong Sad said, looking over his shoulder at his elder brother.

"Don't care."

Commercials were over just as The Cheat made it to the door, his tiny hand barely large enough to grasp the gold door knob completely.

The host returned to the screen with a huge grin. "Well, ladies and gentlemen in the audience, it seems we're not just a talent competition anymore. Right, Nigel?"

The British judge remained stoic, he eyes narrowing at the host. Strong Bad recognized the look of complete disgust written across the judge's face, having been living with Homestar as his next door neighbor for almost ten years now. Nigel seemed to feel the cameras on him and forced a reply. "That's right."

"It's also a love connection, right?" The host's grin widened, and Pom Pom immediately paled.

Nigel's teeth gritted. "That's right."

"When are they gonna get back to Marzipan?" Homestar asked, bored now that she was off screen. Strong Bad leaned against the back of the couch, his attention recaptured. "Oh, they will."

Pom Pom sent him a withering glare, but Strong Bad paid him little attention. His eyes were glued to Homestar, waiting for the moment that the idiot would realize his girlfriend was two-timing him from a thousand miles away. He wished now that he had brought a camera.

Homestar glanced over his shoulder, a little confused. "Whaddya mean?"

Strong Bad opened his mouth to answer, but Pom Pom's glare grew threatening and he promptly shut it. He cleared his throat and shrugged, choosing not to answer Homestar's question. He'd rather live.

"Let's see a clip from backstage, shall we?" The host said, motioning to the huge screen behind him. The show's flashy logo appeared on the television, and a smartly dressed young woman with a microphone appeared. She smiled her bright red smile and motioned to Marzipan. "Well, folks, I have here with me Marzipan from Free Country after her dazzling performance. Tell me, Marzipan, what inspired your song choice?"

"She looks weird in all that make-up," Coach Z said, pointing his cake covered fork at the television. The King of Town snatched it with his pudgy hands and ate it moodily. He was still rather confused by all these people in his house, and the least they could do was share the food they brought with them.

"Shuuuush," Homestar said, bringing his index finger to his mouth for emphasis. "She's talking."

Strong Bad hopped over the couch and kicked his baby brother in the back of the head, forcing him forward and to the ground. Strong Sad moaned softly when Strong Bad slid into his seat next to Homestar. He opted to use Strong Sad as a footstool, and the youngest of the Brothers Strong just sighed and muttered 'it figures'.

Marzipan tossed a strand of her beach blonde hair over her shoulder and smiled. "Well, I wanted to do something about the dolphins, but I've been a little sidetracked. So I wanted to dedicate this performance to my amazing boyfriend."

"That'd be me," Homestar said smugly, thumbing his chest. Strong Bad could have sworn it was aimed at him, and he fought the urge to punch him in the face for it.

"You and Trent have been getting along rather well, haven't you?" the woman asked, grinning wide. Marzipan turned pink and nodded. "Oh yes, he's been very supportive!"

" name's not Trent," Homestar said slowly, addressing the interviewer. "At least, I'm pretty sure it's not Trent."

"You're right, Homestar, it isn't," Strong Bad replied, slinking his arm around his shoulder. He smirked and drew him in closer, pointing a finger at the television. "Trent would be the guy making the moves on your girlfriend."

Homestar turned his attention back to the television and there he was. Trent. Trent, tall and blonde and handsome. Trent with a goatee. Trent with what had to be a faux leather jacket.

Trent with his arm around Marzipan's waist.

He couldn't even hear them talk. He stared, eyes unblinking, as they got rather cozy in each other's grip. The jealousy and the betrayal welled up from the pit of his stomach and into his throat. It flared behind his eyes until it was nearly impossible to see.

He pulled his stare from the television when Strong Bad grabbed his other arm, a sadistic grin on his face. "But I guess she's your ex-girlfriend now. Aw, don't worry Dorkstar! I'm sure she'll invite you to the wedding. You can even be the maid of honor!"

His grip tightened on his shoulder. "You might even catch the bouquet and find yourself a nice, new girlfriend named Ted to make eyes at all day."

Homestar sneered and elbowed him in the chest sharply, pulling himself up from the couch. "I'm going home."

"I'll walk you," Pom Pom offered quietly, and Homestar didn't object.

The remaining party goers all set their somber sights on Strong Bad, who was laughing much too hard to notice.

-end chapter-