Written for the 1sentence community on Livejournal. This is my favorite crack pairing for this fandom, and I wanted to write something for it, as well as the alpha theme set at the Livejournal community. Therefore, I wrote this. Two birds with one stone, eh?
Nothing here belongs to me, just the writing. Any and all comments, be they flames, critiques, or compliments, are encouraged, because feedback makes for a really happy Kasey, and a really happy Kasey means more fanfic for the internet.
Maloof knows not all the kids at camp are mean-just the ones he personally knows-but the rumors about the pyrokinetic drummer keep him away from her, anyway.
He meets her, anyway, the morning after the brain-stealing incident; he, Mikhail and Benny are looking over a list of potential clients when the wind snatches it away, and when they chase it, they find it clutched in her hand.
A smile is on her face as she hands the paper to him, and it isn't until she runs off toward her mother's car that he realizes he's smiling, too.
He meets her officially when his father takes him with to the Psychonauts' American headquarters; as the adults get to talking, she introduces herself to him as Phoebe Love.
"Didn't I see you at Whispering Rock?" she casually asks as she leads him to the vending machines; Maloof has to wonder why she seems so 'at home' here, but doesn't want to ask.
She's shown no sign of wanting to cause him harm, but he treads softly around her, anyway, giving one-word answers when necessary.
He lets that change, though, when she gives him half of her vending machine chocolate bar.
The entire trip passes quickly, but when Maloof returns home and calls Phoebe's number, each ring feels like eternity.
Phoebe's voice sounds different in his ear as it says "Hey, Maloof, what's shakin'?" but since the speech pattern is exactly the same, he doesn't mind.
There are more visits to Psychonauts HQ, and plenty of phone-calls to and from Mikhail, Benny, Raz and Phoebe, but it still takes forever for summer to roll around so he can see them all again.
There are enthusiastic greetings to go around when the bus comes to pick the kids up for summer camp, and Phoebe is no exception; she barely gets him in her sight before he tackles her in a hug.
She laughs, saying "You've got a lotta strength for such a little guy, you know that?" and Maloof beams, because not even Mikhail has told him this.
The kids all immediately pair up for bus seating arrangements; Maloof goes with Mikhail, just as they planned, but seeing Phoebe and Quentin sitting together, arguing and laughing like an old married couple, makes him almost want to reconsider.
"What is wrong, Tiny Boss?" Mikhail asks, and Maloof can't give his friend a proper answer, because he honestly doesn't know.
Nils catches Maloof staring at the back of Phoebe's head, and casually asks, "Pretty hot, huh?" to which Maloof responds, "Uh, yes, I hear she's quite experienced with pyrokinetics," and Nils just chuckles, muttering something along the lines of, "Totally fair game."
It's still bright out when the bus reaches Whispering Rock, and it is announced that luggage will be unloaded after lunch in the main cabin; as he and Mikhail exit the parking lot, he can't help but look back at Phoebe and Quentin eyeing the bus wistfully.
He quickly realizes why when he enters the main cabin, and notices that the stage does not have the turntables or the drum set; even with the background noise of children's chatter and of Ford's muttering, lunch feels too eerily quiet without their music.
Things are slightly better at night, though, around the campfire; Benny engages Mikhail in conversation in a desperate attempt to ditch solitude, and Quentin actually manages to gain and maintain Kitty's interest, so he sits next to Phoebe, who looks cold despite the fire's heat.
"It's like a star, isn't it?" she asks, staring at the fire; Maloof nods dumbly, more distracted by pinpricks of the "star's" light in her eyes.
They talk while they wait for Milla and Coach Oleander (Sasha is the only one who is always right on time), mostly about their families; when he tells her about his, he asks why she seems so shocked, and she shyly admits, "It's just…my mom gives me freedom with my future, you know?"
The first time he came to Whispering Rock, the coach's speech cut through him like thunder; now, his new friends seem to shield him from it, the grey-eyed girl next to him taking the brunt of it.
The skies stay clear the first night, allowing the campers a good view of the actual stars, and Maloof wonders if he should have told Phoebe about the stars he'd seen in her eyes as they walk to their cabins.
The rest of the week, though, the weather is terrible, so classes are held indoors, which affects the moods of all the children; Maloof and Mikhail are no different, since Deadly Nelsons can't be performed in such close proximity of teachers.
Still, there is a bright side to that rainy week-Phoebe and Quentin get quality time with their instruments, and while the children are all stuck in the main lodge, Maloof hears the amount of practice they've put into their routine.
The fact that the campers have to spend so much time together begins to rub on all their nerves, which means that the normally nice children grow irritable, and the not-so-nice ones grow unbearable; Maloof feels lucky that he has Mikhail, especially when Phoebe storms away from a snickering Franke and Kitty, muttering, "the one time I leave the girls' cabin without a scrunchy," with both hands in her poofy hair.
Maloof's cabin fever begins to cloud his frame of mind, and almost makes him consider asking Phoebe about the other feverish feelings he's been getting around her lately.
Maloof decides that he has never felt happier in his life than when Sunday rolls around, and he realizes that he can see sunlight peeking through the window next to his bunk.
Maloof has often wondered what Heaven is really like; as he descends the cabin steps before any of the other boys have even woken up, jumps on the muddy camp trail, and bounds onto the wet grass, he decides that he wouldn't mind if this were it.
"Hey, Maloof, where's the fire?" calls a familiar voice, and he grins upon seeing Phoebe exiting the main lodge, though only after marveling at her own speed in reaching her drums.
He tells her about Mikhail, his first-ever real friend, but when she gets an odd look on her face at the mention of their protection business, he quickly changes the subject to Quentin; Phoebe explains to him that, no matter what the other kids say, she and Quentin are just best buds, like brother and sister, and Maloof lets loose a breath he didn't know he'd been holding.
Breakfast comes entirely too soon, and the main lodge is soon crowded; Quentin passes by Maloof in line with a tray of fried potatoes and cheerfully says, "What's hangin', lil' bro?" and despite his earlier talk with Phoebe, Maloof mutters "Don't call me little," in a dark voice.
A bitter taste fills his mouth when he realizes that Phoebe and Quentin's table is full, though finding a spot next to Mikhail lessens it a bit.
"I believe I have discovered source of problem, Tiny Boss," says Mikhail, gesturing to Phoebe; "Drummer girl is girl you would like to wrestle, da?" and Maloof has no idea what he means, so begins shoveling potatoes into his mouth, grateful when Mikhail drops the subject.
The first time Maloof sees Phoebe's pyrokinesis in action is an accident; his only warning is seeing Nils lift up one of her headphones to whisper something in her ear.
"What!?" she screeches, and suddenly, Nils's perfectly-kempt hair goes up in an explosion of orange flame; oddly, that isn't half as terrifying as the look on either of their faces.
For a moment, Maloof can only stare at her in shock; then, when she turns to him and drops his name from her lips, he runs, desperate to hide his tears.
She finds him crouching near the river running near the GPC, and he doesn't look up, even though he feels the calm, melancholy energy flowing from her in waves.
"Listen, Maloof," she begins, scratching the back of her head, "back there…See, my headphones have a block that keeps my flare-ups under control, and when Nils screwed with 'em…"
Maloof cautiously looks up from his arms around his knees, and sees that Phoebe is biting her lip; "Nils just made me mad, that's all...I didn't mean to hurt anyone…I'm sorry," she finishes, and when Maloof sees her hands shaking, he knows she's telling the truth.
Without thinking, he tackles her in another hug, unsure of why he's still crying, but not caring as he buries his head in her shoulder; she returns the hug, murmuring things he can't really hear, and he would really love to stay that way for a while, but at that moment the rain catches them.
With a shriek, Phoebe yanks them under the ledge over the river; when Maloof gives her a questioning look, she smiles sheepishly and admits, "Me and rain never liked each other."
Between Maloof's tears and the raindrops, it feels too much like someone's died, so Maloof stops and nestles himself into Phoebe's side, actually smiling.
"This is Hell," Phoebe groans, staring miserably at the rain; "my hair's probably soakin' that up like a sponge!"
Maloof wonders what Nils said that made her so angry, but first feels he has to point out, "I like your hair," because he does, even if she doesn't; she giggles,"You are so sweet-Nils doesn't stand a chance with you around!", so Maloof decides that whatever Nils said wasn't important.
A silence ensues before he finally mutters, "Well...I do kinda sorta like you…in a weird way…" because he doesn't know what else to call it, until he feels her breath in his hair, and her lips on the top of his head; he looks up, into her grey eyes and at her flushed cheeks and at her full lips, which he finally realizes are as pretty as the rest of her, and gingerly returns the gesture.
Mikhail finds them like this when the rain stops-Maloof with a crick in his neck from bending it at an uncomfortable angle, Phoebe with a sore thigh where Maloof's elbow sort of dug in, and Maloof is certain that his friend doesn't understand why they're both so happy, but he doesn't care.
The way Mikhail looks at Phoebe suggests that he would like nothing more than bloodshed, but a look from Maloof ensures none, and so his friend leaves without a word; Maloof follows him, but not until after giving Phoebe a quick hug.
A few days before camp lets out, Maloof walks with Mikhail, informing him that Phoebe and Quentin are to be left out of their business, when his mind cuts to the camp shop, and before he knows it, Maloof's short legs are carrying him to the Main Lodge.
He gives the chocolate bar to her in the parking lot, and her eyes widen a bit before she gives him that same smile he remembers, and asks if he would like to sit with her on the ride back.
He slips his hand into hers, and she smiles; Maloof looks around, sees Mikhail tolerating a chatting Benny in one seat and Quentin and Kitty sharing a scarf in another, and decides that life is good.