True Love has Bad Posture

AN: Alright, Other Wybie's had his fun--now it's Real Wybie's time to shine, haha!

Disclaimer: I don't own Coraline: talk to Neil Gaiman/Laika Studios.


Wybie Lovat had known he liked Coraline Jones since he was eleven years old.

He didn't realize he was in love with her until he was fifteen years old.

The pair had been inseparable for years, the very best of friends. The terrifying events of that night four years before had solidified the bond between girl and geek, and although they never discussed the monster in the walls of the Pink Palace the two would occasionally check up on the old well together, satisfied to see that nothing had come sneaking out of it. Now, as young adulthood began to melt away the baby fat of youth, Wybie was seeing his favorite slug-hunting buddy in a whole new light.

'When did she get so pretty…?' He sighed inwardly for the hundredth time.

She still wore a banana-yellow raincoat and boots whenever the weather was bad (which was often), still had a penchant for all shades of blue, still had a knack for punching his arm exactly where it would sting the most. But somewhere along the line the freckle-faced girl, who'd defeated an evil witch that would've had most kids wetting their beds with fear, had become a willowy beauty whose delicate features belied the firecracker within.

He, on the other hand, had remained very much the quintessential oddball inside and out. Several newly-grown inches of height appeared to be far less because of his perpetual slouch, and his head flopped from side to side as if his neck was too weak to keep it upright. His wild, thick hair attracted leaves and debris like a magnet, and whenever he got nervous his old stutter would rear its embarrassing head. Long and lanky, Wybie had yet to grow completely into his hands and feet; the result being he felt like a shaggy, stumbling puppy with a crush on a graceful (and rather domineering) swan.

Walking beside her through the halls at school-- 'Jail,' he grumped, thinking of his garage and the half-built motorcycle in it-- was both thrilling and excruciating; to be on the arm of the local looker earned him a lot of stares of the shocked and disgusted variety, and no small amount of the jealous kind too. Still, they were best friends--and besides, everyone knew that whoever tried to pick on Wybie would end up trying to pick up all the teeth Coraline knocked out of them with her powerful punch.

At the end of the day Coraline took up her customary position on the backseat of Wybie's motorbike, which he'd added for her when their adventuring began taking them to places not easily reached on foot. Wrapping her arms around his middle, Coraline remained oblivious to Wybie's rust-colored cheeks, bright with a rosy blush, and let out an amused snort. "Whatcha waiting for, Wybourne? Let's get going!"

Giving himself a little shake, Wybie swung his skull mask over his burning face and kicked the bike into gear, Coraline's delighted laughter chasing them the whole way home.


Later, Wybie sat in his beloved garage workshop, sifting through a pile of old parts he'd gathered over years of hunting through mountains of junkyard scrap. Finding a side panel about the size he needed, he hefted it out of the pile only to pause as he noticed the slightly faded and chipped paint: 'Dark blue…like Coraline's hair.'

Wincing and giving himself a mental smack, he propped the panel against his workbench to look at later and reached for a box full of shiny new screws he'd picked up from the hardware store. Holding up a screw to examine it, the light caught and glittered off its ridged sides: 'Coraline's eyes, sparkling with mirth as she punched him in the arm…'

Growling, he dropped the screw back in the box and twisted himself toward the wall, where an ancient transistor radio with a bent antenna sat, perched on a shelf littered with old motorcycle enthusiast magazines. 'Music,' he thought desperately, 'some tunes will help me get focused.' Fiddling with the dials, Wybie zeroed in on a signal.

"When a maaaaan loves a wo-maan--"

Jerking the dial sharply to the left, Wybie tried another frequency.

"Kiss me agaaain, 'cause only you can stop this stu-stu-stu-stutterin'--"

Whimpering with frustration, he gave it one more shot.

"--my brown-eyed girl--"

Shutting the radio off with a sharp snap, Wybie dropped his head into his hands and gripped his hair tightly, uncaring of his blackened and oily fingers. "This can't go on," he grumbled to himself.

The feeling of something furry brushing against his leg had Wybie raising his head to see Cat, who flicked his luminous eyes over the teen's hunched form and swished his tail as if to say 'Huh. Look at you.'

"What would you know," Wybie sighed heavily. "If you like a girl, you can just bring her little dead things. I don't have anything to offer Coraline. I mean, look at me," he said, gesturing to his overall geeky grunginess.

Cat eyed him coolly. 'I Am.'

"She sees me as her goofy childhood pal, not as viable…boyfriend material," he spat.

Cat seemed to contemplate this, watching as Wybie stood and dusted himself off.

"Obviously the design I'm working from is outdated. I'll just give myself an upgrade-- it's about time I stopped acting like such a kid anyways. Don't you think?" He turned to Cat, questioning.

But Cat seemed to scoff at him, licking his paw and dragging it slowly across his ear as if to say 'I don't see what's wrong with you as you are.'

Wybie left Cat to find his own dinner that night, curly head abuzz with ideas for self-improvement.


The next morning saw Coraline bounding down the front steps of the Pink Palace, having heard the noisy whine-and-whir of Wybie's motorbike as he made his way over from his house. She noticed immediately the missing skull mask; she was further surprised at the distinct lack of black trench coat flapping in the breeze. Wybie pulled up to stop in front of her, but Coraline barely heard his jaunty greeting of "Heya, Jonesy." Her eyes traveled slowly as she took in all the missing pieces of the Wybie she knew--no beat up old shoes well-worn from exploring, no motor oil stains on his jeans, fingers that looked oddly bare without their usual glove coverings, hair devoid of even one stray leaf. She felt something in her chest twinge unpleasantly.

Meanwhile, Wybie was mentally preening over his obviously successful plan. 'Look at her staring,' he crowed. 'She's positively checking me out!'

Straightening his crisply ironed button-up shirt, Wybie patted the backseat of his bike. "Well? Off to school, Jonesy. Or aren't you coming?" Remembering all the practicing he'd done in the mirror last night, he gave her his most alluring smile, head centered straight over his neck.

Coraline was completely taken aback by this bizarre behavior, and as she climbed aboard she found herself hesitating before winding her arms around Wybie's waist for the first time ever. As they rode, avoiding all the little bumps and puddles they usually careened over just for the fun of it, she felt truly bereft. 'Who is this guy, and what has he done with Wybie?'


The rest of the day was more of the same. Walking along the halls together, Coraline felt herself craning her head back to see Wybie's face; with a start she realized it was because he was standing up ramrod straight, neck uncurled and wearing that weird smirk he'd adopted from God-knew-where. She could feel her mood deteriorating as the hours dragged on, and watching Wybie as he strutted along and talked in an unusually loud voice, as if he wanted everyone's attention on them, was making it exponentially worse.

As the time to head home approached, Coraline found she could no longer stand it; stopping dead in the middle of the abandoned hallway with a scowl twisting her pretty face, she waited for Wybie to notice she wasn't beside him anymore.

He noticed right away, being as highly aware of her as he was. Turning around, he furrowed his brow and began to tilt his head into his usual 'puzzled' expression, before catching himself and straightening up.

Coraline caught the misstep, and her scowl deepened. 'He's making himself do this. Why?'

"What's the prob, Jonesy?" He said, smiling lightly as though nothing was amiss.

She outright flinched at the foreign word, face dark with anger. "'Prob?' There's no 'prob,' Wybourne, but we definitely have a problem."

He felt his breath catch and his heart splutter; he'd done everything he'd ever seen all the popular, attractive guys at school do: ideal-boyfriend-type guys. He'd thought everything was going well, so what was this now about a problem? Wybie could feel himself becoming more and more flustered. "I-I don't--"

"The hell you don't!" Coraline hollered, startling him so badly he jumped. "What's going on with you today?!" Marching up to him, she jabbed her finger into his chest. "What's with this outfit? You look ridiculous! And you're walking and talking all funny, and where'd that annoying smirk come from anyway? Huh?"

Wybie felt his ears burning with humiliation and anger. He'd done all this for her, and it still wasn't good enough. 'I should have known. Of course she'd never like me that way, doesn't matter what I do…'

Coraline punched him in the arm, hard. "Answer me!"

Unable to stop himself, Wybie's hands snapped forward to grab her by the arms, shaking her a little. "I just--!"

Her wide-eyed look of shock had him releasing her slowly, feeling deeply sorry. He took a step back, looking away from her hurt expression. "I-I--I didn't m-mean to…"

More upset than he'd ever been in his life, he turned to make an escape; her parents could drive her, and he'd go stick his head under the blowtorch in the garage for being such an idiot--

Her hand gripping the back of his shirt stopped him from getting far. Head bowed, Wybie closed his eyes and waited for her to say it: say that they were through being best friends, that she never wanted to see him again…


He twitched but didn't move to turn around.

"Wybie, please look at me. Please."

Heart writhing in his chest, Wybie turned and looked at her. He knew he had a 'kicked puppy' expression all over his face, and he felt pathetic, but there was no helping it. She always pulled the truth out of him.

To his surprise, Coraline was smiling up at him, eyes bright. "There you are. There's the Wybie I know and love. You had me worried, moron…"

But his mind had ground to a halt--did she say she loved him? 'Love?' His battered little heart began to pound so hard he thought the 'thump-thump-thump' of it must be audible to her.

Coraline's smile grew bigger, her cheeks pink with a touch of uncharacteristic bashfulness. Leaning back a bit, she reached her arms up to plant her hands on his shoulders. "You're too tall like that. Come down here," she ordered as she tugged on him, pulling him back into his classic slouch.

His heart skipped a beat and started up again, pounding harder than ever.

Her hands crept up along his throat, fingers tunneling into his curly mop. Raking her hands gently through his hair and pulling it out of its nicely styled shape, she laughed lightly. "Your hair's too neat. It should look more like this. Too bad I haven't got any leaves on me.."

He felt the butterflies in his stomach force their way into his face, lifting his mouth into a shy smile. "I'm not that bad, am I?"

She pulled him closer, grinning ear-to-ear. "Oh, you're worse, Wy-bourne…"

He felt his eyes drifting shut, his head lowering as he was inexorably drawn to her--

Only to stop short when their noses bumped together.

Laughing again, Coraline grabbed hold of his right ear. "And what's your face doing over here? It's supposed to be like this…" She pulled gently, forcing his head back into its regular bent-necked tilt. Their lips were a hairsbreadth away from touching.

"Coraline Jones," he whispered, "I love you."

She rolled her eyes at him and pressed her mouth to his, as if to say 'I know.'


Later, his sore arm and swollen lips would remind him that no, it hadn't been a dream and yes, he was in love with the greatest girl the world had ever known (even if she was kind of bossy sometimes).

He didn't even mind when Cat hopped up on his windowsill and stared in, eyes glinting smugly as if to say 'Told you so.'


AN: I can see Wybie being the gentle, shy one in the relationship--he's just too cute. Songs used are "When a Man loves a Woman" by Percy Sledge, "Stuttering" by Ben's Brother, and "Brown-Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison (as far as I can tell, Coraline has brown eyes…) This is loaded with cheese and clichés, but I can't help it when it comes to these two. Try not to mind the horrible title, I've never been much good at naming things! XD

Please read & review, and I hope you enjoyed it.