Heads Up: So I didn't take two months, but I took longer than I wanted to. I ran into some issues with my lappy and it being unable to really type things for a while, but I've got a new machine and it's going! Thanks for sticking around.
Clay wasn't exactly sure how he had been conned into it, but come Friday after school, he was pulling into the driveway of the Nelson horse farm. In the passenger seat sat Mike himself, a big grin on his face as the scientist fumed in his seat. He reluctantly turned the engine off and removed his keys, throwing them in his coat pocket as the two piled out.
"Video game par-taaaay," the blonde said in a sing-song way, flinging his backpack onto his shoulders. "Hurry up Forrester, it's freezing out here."
"Shut up Nelson." Clay rummaged through his backseat before finding the object of his search, which he held with trembling hands. It took everything in him not to hurl it into the road and watch in delight as it became soaked with salt and dirt.
"…Haha, you have to give that back to Iris, don't'cha?"
"…Yes. Yes I do. And I have something to give her along with it."
"Please don't tell me it's your fist. ...Wha'd you call it? Mr. Fisty or something?"
"I did, but no, it's not that. Mr. Fisty only gets to interact with males. Dunno about you, but punching girls isn't quite up my alley."
"Good, because for your sake…I'd rather not get that shrimp angry. Jesus Christ she can deck you a solid one."
Mike was grinning like an idiot up until he looked up at the garage and noticed somebody standing here. He stopped dead in his tracks, eyes wide, mouth agape.
"…Eddie…" he murmured before pure white-hot fury sparked in his eyes. Even Clay was taken aback, noting that the gaze…the gaze was familiar. They were the same as that day just two weeks ago.
But Mike didn't respond as he slid his backpack to the ground. He marched forward, shoulders squared, eyes firm, before winding back his arm and firing out a punch. Eddie, however, moved his head out of harm's way in time before he even looked at his younger brother.
The older brother was also tall and imposing, though he stood a solid inch above his younger counterpart. His hair was dark and spiked with a couple of loose strands fell into his eyes. He had a goatee and a mustache that seemed more haggard than planned, and was dressed rather poorly for the weather, donning mere jeans, a t-shirt, and a plaid button-up.
"The hell kind of greeting is that?" he growled, picking the cigarette out from his mouth. "Glad to see you too, Mike."
"Don't say that," Mike seethed darkly, fists clenched. "Why are you here? Second semester's already started and you're supposed to be at school and off living in your own apartment – you know, away from us."
"You need to keep track of time better, little bro," Eddie replied with a smirk, flicking the ashes off the end of his cigarette. "Last semester was my last semester. I'm done."
"But…why are you…"
"Hey man, the economy blows, I've got no cash. Rent ran out, so here I am, back at home sweet home."
"Why didn't you tell Mom or Dad?"
"See now, that's the confusing thing. I actually did – been talking to them for a while now about it. So when my dear little brother comes walking up the driveway with his…his…who the hell are you, anyway?"
"None of your business," Mike snapped. "Answer my question."
"Hey hey, play nice now. I'm just out on a smoking break and I'm freezing my ass off."
"'nother perk of not smoking the deathsticks."
"Shut your face goldilocks, I don't need you lecturing me. Now, where were we? Ah yeah – so I dunno why Mom and Pops didn't tell you, but from what I've heard, you haven't been having the greatest track record lately."
Mike's face became pale. "…So you heard."
"I'm so proud of you little bro, finally snapping and getting in your first brawl. And with three other guys too! But I do see how badly you got it back, so that takes some points off. Oh, and getting the car taken away and getting thrown off the basketball team and being forced to be with those loser techies? Man, you screwed up hardcore."
It took a moment for Mike to respond. "At least I didn't get arrested or thrown out of the house."
Eddie dragged in a long breath from his cigarette before flicking it to the ground. "All in the past, Mikey boy, all in the past." He exhaled the smoke right above his brother's head, smiling. "So then, who's the hippie?"
"Hippie…?" Clay mumbled, trying to think about how the word could possibly relate to him.
"Yeah, nice hair you've got going on."
Oh right, the ponytail.
"What's with the white? You dye it?"
"I was hit by lightning," he offered simply and flatly, plenty bored with the question by this point. He had never had to relay the statement so many times before, but for the past two weeks, it felt as if he had been saying it non-stop.
Mike sighed. "Shut up Eddie…"
"That hasn't worked before and it sure ain't hell going to start working now."
The blonde appeared ready to make a comeback, but he was interrupted when the garage door to the house opened. A middle aged man poked his head out, curious, but not surprised. "Ah, of course Mike's home, I thought I heard arguing."
"Hello Michael." Pause. "So this is the Forrester guy?"
Clay perked to attention as the presumed-Mr. Nelson came into the garage, he himself also not dressed to be outside for very long. Genetics being the way they were, he looked to be the father of the two, standing tall and firm, though the effects of age were starting to appear. Unlike many males his age, he still had hair, brown and somewhat curly, though it was started to recede.
"Uh, yeah…" A quick one-two thought process put Clay back on track. He cleared his throat and squared up his posture. "Hello Mister Nelson."
The man seemed confused but suddenly grinned. "Mikey Mikey, I don't get you at all boy. You should bring your friends home more often!" He paused. "Hey, speaking of bringing people home…can you go pick up Iris?"
"Whaaaat," Mike balked, shoulders slumping. "Why? And why can't you? …Hey, I don't even have a car!"
"Well one, she had that club thing. The…anime stuff. You know what it is. Two, I'm a tired old man who is feeding you and paying for your education. And three…" He paused, looking between his two sons, before grinning. "Three, go with Eddie."
"Wait, what!?" Eddie spat, once again grinding his foot onto his discarded cigarette. "I don't wanna cart around blondie and his hippie friend all to go pick up the shrimp."
Their father smiled a knowing yet also menacing smile. "Edward…I'm a tired old man who also paid for your education and who is also feeding and housing you."
For once, Clay noticed the older brother falter in his expression. "…Okay, fine. Just let me get my jacket so I don't freeze my ass off while doing a good deed for an old man."
"Correction, your old man, the one responsible for creating half of you." He lifted his arms up and wiggled his fingers. "OooooOOOOOooh!"
Eddie forced his way past his father and into the house, leaving Mike and Clay in the garage, the latter thoroughly confused and slightly distraught. "…What's going on?"
Mike sighed. "We're picking up Iris from the middle school…she's in a club…and…C'mon, you heard what my dad said, what the heck." Suddenly, the blonde went from miserable to sociopathic. "HA! You HAVE to see my sister now! That's worth having to put with Eddie for longer than I have to, I promise you this."
"Yeah, worth it to you…"
"And who else would I want it to be worth for?"
Clay sighed, closing his eyes on purpose and allowing his mind room to clear. Within a few moments, the garage door was being slammed shut and the jingle of keys met the scientist's ears.
"Alright numbnuts, into the beast with you…"
With Eddie driving and Mike riding shotgun, Clay found himself in the first of two rows of backseats in "the beast", aka a beat-up black van held high on off-roading tires. He could only assume it was a hand-me-down situation, with the van having been used and abused around the farm, which was backed up by the bits of hay and clumped dirt scattered and smeared into the carpeting.
"How's the no-basketball thing working out for you?" Eddie asked with a malicious grin. Mike sighed and leaned his head against the window.
"Mom and Pops were so looking forward to you playing varsity…the star! Oh, little Mikey, being the star! Finally something non-mediocre was coming from the blonde lump of –"
"Shut up, Eddie."
"But isn't it woefully ironic? He finally gets somewhere and then totally whizzes it down the leg. Excellent my brother, just excellent."
Mike decided not to respond, just pressed his head harder against the window. Clay remained silent, debating as to whether or not he should revel in the torment of the blonde. He decided to take quiet enjoyment while he could.
"I know what you're thinking, too," Eddie continued as the car swung a left turn into the middle school parking lot. "You're trying to turn this argument around and say how I'm a big nothing too, that I've done nothing with my life. Unnnfortunately for you, I am a big lump of nothing who never really had any big ambitions, so your argument falls flat. Anyways, keep an eye out for the shrimpette."
"Dude, she won't be outside. It's too cold."
"You kidding? Man, kids these days are such wusses. Alright, fine, we'll go inside…wonder if any of my teachers remember me…"
"How could they forget," Mike mumbled under his breath, to which Eddie either ignore or didn't hear.
Clay found it rather odd to be back in the premises of the middle school which, although was very close to the high school, was far enough away that he didn't have to interact with it very often. The building seemed so small in comparison to how he remembered it. Of course, things always seemed that way.
The three stood in the slush-covered parking lot uneasily, Eddie's hand waving back and forth to his pocket before he finally took out a cigarette. Mike just sighed and separated himself and, Clay not wanting to be within close proximity to the elder Nelson brother, followed the blonde at half-pace.
"I think the anime group is in the art room, which is…over here?"
"Shouldn't you know?"
"Shouldn't you know?"
Mike sighed before ruffling his hair and looking around the buildings. "I think it's about…forty feet that way…" He pointed off to a part of the building that jutted out into the asphalt, narrowing the parking lot into a driveway. "…I think?"
"Nelson, you are the definition of dumb blonde."
"Yeah well, I at least don't look like a hippie."
"Your argument is weak."
"As is your face."
Clay opened his mouth to retort but instead fumed at just how terrible Nelson's own retort had been. He was then going to say something else, but a rather loud and angry shriek came to their ears.
"LAY OFF HIM!" said a female voice, to which Mike instantly perked to attention.
"Ohhhh crap, that's Iris." He ran off at top speed in the direction he had previously been pointing in, the scientist following, but also hearing a set of heavy footsteps behind him. Glancing back, he saw Eddie, his face dark and…rather pissed off.
"I like how you have to be protected by your girlfriend, Robinson," said a male voice, somewhat deep for being a middle schooler. Both Mike and Clay stopped in their track, their minds racing before coming to the same conclusion in relatively the same amount of time – the boy was talking about Jim, not Joel, Robinson.
"Who said anything about protecting? I just wanna kick your ass."
Eddie rushed past the two before they perked up and joined him, soon coming to a small courtyard surrounded by walls. There on one side was Jim, slouched against bricks, blood smattered on his face, with Iris standing between him and two other boys. She herself had a bloody nose and lip, but had her fists up, ready to attack.
"HEY," Eddie hollered before either Mike or Clay could even think. The four middle schoolers instantly looked over to the three, Iris suddenly beaming in delight before lowering her fists and putting her hands on her hips.
"Hey Eddie, Mike, Clay," she greeted before wiping her nose. "Don't worry, I can take care of these guys."
"Nah, nahhahaha, no," Eddie said with a grin, inhaling his cigarette before flicking it into a snow mound. "You see Iris, I'm rather proud of you here…but I gotta tell you something." He took a few steps forward, his hands in his pockets, his expression calm.
"H-hey, you can't beat us up! You'll get arrested!"
"You think I care? No matter what – nobody makes my sister bleed, punkass," Eddie growled, a tight and sadistic grin on his face.
"Oh? What's to stop me?"
The boys had the look of pure and absolute terror on their faces. Clay could only see the back of his head, but he was sure he never wanted to be on the receiving end of one of those looks from Eddie. He swallowed and just prayed he would never have to see it. Getting that look from Mike was still haunting enough.
"Eddie, you don't have to beat them up," Iris offered. "I can do that really easily myself."
"Hey c'mon, what kind of big brother would I be if I let my sister do that?"
"Well, you've been a pretty crappy one as it is, so I don't see why you should start now."
"Oh, your words, they cut deep."
"Truth hurts, don't it?"
Eddie sighed, shaking his head. "C'mon, get Robinson off the ground and let's blow this joint. You kids are making me nauseous. I'll be over in the beast, let blondie and hippie guide you."
Iris looked over to her brother (the blonde one) before grinning. "Mike, can you help me over here?"
Kuriei: That chapter is VERY close, I promise.
Elven: Oh yes I did! Aviator!Cambot is probably one of the cutest things around. Aviator!Cameron was actually the first version of him that I drew, so it just seemed to fit.
Nehs: HE MAKES YOU SQUEE BECAUSE HE IS A SHOUTA and yeah it's not right BUT OH WELL.
Special thanks to Robyn, Beth, Anchan, Spooky, and Queenie for your cracktastic support and ideas.
And of course, much love to the Best Brains of MST3K!