A/n: Hey guys, long time no see. I'm back with a new story, and for the record, I have not abandoned Well It All Started With A Hat. I just haven't had any inspiration for it yet. It'll come someday, just give it time. If you're here because of an author alert, I still encourage you to read this story anyway. Psychonauts is an excellent game with a unique storyline and hilarious moments. If you haven't played it and would like to read up on it, I recommend looking at the Psychopedia on Double Fine's website. For those of you who have played Psychonauts, sit back, relax, and enjoy this story.
Warning: Mild language, some suggestive humor, and eventual SLASH. The rating may or may or may not go up as this story progresses, so keep that in mind.
Disclaimer: I do not own Psychonauts or any of its affiliates, and do not make any money off of writing this story.
Chapter One: Of Nail Guns and Fire
Maloof Canola sighed, staring up at the ceiling of his dorm room. How Bobby Zilch smuggled a nail gun into his cave of death evaded him completely. What he did know was that Bobby was intent on using it to his full advantage. By sending a never-ending hailstorm of thunks directly his way.
What bothered Maloof even more was that Bobby strategically placed the nails to optimize irritability, even changing up the rhythm and succession in which they came. The only thing Bobby put that much brain power into was struggling to comb his hair in the morning.
Maloof groaned and offered a weak plea for ceasefire. It failed to go over well.
A muffled but clearly distinct voice immediately replied.
"WHAT DID YOU SAY TO ME, PUNK?"
"Yeah, what did you say to boss, uhm, punk!"
"DAMMIT BENNY! What did I tell you?"
"Sorry, boss. Hey, hey, why are you pointing that at me? Boss? Boss, put it down. Put that down. Oh god I'm sor-"
"YOU." Thunk. "STUPID." Thunk. "STUPID." Thunk. "STUPID." Thunk. "PIECE OF SHIT." Thunkthunkthunkthunkthunk.
Mild screaming and sobbing pleas to be removed from the wall ensued.
Maloof let out a burst of frustration, throwing the book he was trying to read across the room. It was useless trying to study. He knew there was no point in going to the library. Bobby would follow him anyway, and with enough prodding and antagonizing, would reduce Maloof into a teary-eyed pathetic lump in front of everyone. Like usual.
He grabbed his iPod and threw himself on his bed. Seconds later Benny's screaming was drowned out and replaced by melodic wailing that Maloof could actually tolerate.
All he wanted was for Mikhail to come back. Mikhail's insistence on an evening romp with the psychic bears often left Maloof alone for at least a couple hours. And more importantly, at his most vulnerable. Maloof didn't like depending on Mikhail for everything, especially since he needed to become independent now more than ever.
It had been six years since Raz had recranialised him and his peers. Word had gotten around four years ago, he and the other agents managed to save Lili's father, head of the Psychonauts. Who had kidnapped him and any other information about the rescue was strictly denied by the school faculty.
Maloof let a smile ghost over his lips for a few seconds. That was back when Whispering Rock Summer Camp still existed. Right around the time of the rescue, the kids were told they would not be coming back to camp. Instead, about a year and a half later, the same kids from camp, plus a few new ones received letters inviting them to Whispering Rock Academy: a "prestigious new psychic boarding school that melds general education and psychic abilities together to successfully equip you for a mentally-secure future." Maloof knew that was really just pompous jargon for "this is what we threw together with some funding at the last minute, but it looks pretty, doesn't it?" He wasn't in the mood to vent about that right now. All he knew was that the government wanted these kids transformed into full-blown Psychonauts as soon as possible. For what reason, Maloof didn't know, but it left him nauseated at night. Especially since he started having visions…
The door suddenly flung open and a dark figure stood in the doorway. Maloof, startled, screamed and threw his iPod across the room before hiding under the covers. He really needed to stop doing that.
The figure drew closer into the room and revealed itself to be a rather tall young man.
"Boss! Boss? Is Misha. Come out from under covers."
Maloof threw the covers off and sat up on the bed.
"Thank god, Mikhail. Do you know how long I had to sit here and listen to Mr. 'I'm really cool 'cause I have a gun' nail Benny to a wall?"
Mikhail, chuckling slightly, picked up the abused iPod and sat down next to him.
"Well, for record, iPod will not stop big bully. It bounce off, like this," Mikhail explained, repeating Maloof's previous actions on himself.
Maloof blushed and looked at his hands, slightly embarrassed. His iPod had more of a chance of harming a foe than his small, weak fists did. At least there was still the off-chance his tears corroded skin, or his high-pitched wails of distress shattered ear drums or…
"What? Oh, sorry. I guess I spaced out a little. Hey, your hand," Maloof noticed a small gash on Mikhail's left palm.
Mikhail waved him off. "Is nothing."
"No it's not. You're bleeding. You don't have to be a tough-guy all the time, you know."
Maloof leaned over the side of the bed and dug out a small first-aid kit from underneath. It came in handy when Bobby felt that verbal abuse wasn't enough.
"Well, I am tough-guy, you know. Only wimps would cry over cut like this."
Maloof grabbed some gauze and began to wrap Mikhail's hand.
"I'd cry over a cut like this…"
"Exactly, only wimps."
"Be quiet. You've come back with bruises before, but never cuts. The bears never wanted to actually hurt you right? So what's up?"
"It is true. The bears are my brothers. They wish me no real harm, however, there was strange occurrence today in woods."
"Yes, near GPC, while wrestling bear, I feel vibration from underneath the ground. Almost as if there is some sort of psychic power behind it. Vibration becomes so great, bear becomes frightened."
"So basically there was an earthquake, right?"
"Yes, basically. Nothing to worry about, I guess."
The Italian finished wrapping his friend's hand and put the kit away.
The taller boy flexed his hand experimentally. "Excellent job, tiny boss. You will make good housewife someday."
Maloof flared red and elbowed the laughing Russian in the side.
"Geez, way to exploit my femininity there."
"Nevermind, I'm thirsty. Let's hit the lounge."
On the way out, the pair heard a faint crying noise.
"Oh god, someone get me down. My underwear is so far up my ass crack…Bobby? Is that you?"
"We should probably get him down…"
Mikhail was hesitant, but guided the giant hand of telekinesis to un-nail the small boy from the wall. They heard a loud thud as Benny hit the ground. More sobbing ensued moments later.
"Why, tiny boss? He laughs while you cry."
"I don't know. Sometimes I think I empathize with him. I mean, we're both big cry-babies, and Bobby doesn't exactly treat either of us well. Benny just doesn't have anyone else to follow around. Bobby's the only who doesn't tell him to get lost, even if he does treat him like crap. You have to admire Benny's determination for Bobby's approval. All he's looking for is someone that cares about him. And I think on some level, nailing Benny to a wall is just Bobby's way of showing affection."
Mikhail simply nodded.
"Misha learns new things about you every day."
"W-What's that supposed to mean? Is this a Russian thing?"
Mikhail simply smirked.
The Whispering Rock Student Lounge was just about the only interesting thing at the academy thus far. It had spirit and décor that would have made Mia Vodello proud, and a color scheme that would drive Sasha Nein to manly tears. Kids grouped around chatting under the colorful light displays and gently swayed their hips to the bass-heavy mixtapes provided by the musical styling of The Firestarters. Bean bag chairs levitated while soda cans floated aimlessly around the room, begging to be picked up.
Maloof reached up and grabbed the can of orange soda hovering above him and took the usual spot on the pink sofa in the corner. Mikhail followed suit.
"Why such girly color?" He asked.
Maloof opened his can and glared at Mikhail.
"It's not cause of the color, it's just the farthest away from everybody else," he replied before taking a gulp.
That statement was only half-true. Maloof actually did like pink. Not that he would tell anyone else that.
"Enjoying the music, guys?"
Leaning over the back of the couch was Phoebe Love. Maloof genuinely liked Phoebe. She was kind to just about everyone. Her appearance changed a lot in the last six years. Two years ago she started getting into the Cyber-Goth scene. As her love for the music grew, so did her eccentric fashion tastes. She grew out her black hair and dreaded it, adding in some neon green here and there. Gone were her trademark headphones, replaced with green goggles that sat atop of her head. When she and Quentin started dating, he gifted her these. Costing him just about everything he had, they were made with pure Psitanium and contained most of Phoebe's pyromaniacal tendencies. It was important to include "most". Dressing nowhere near as drastically as she used to, she took to wearing jeans and t-shirts of her favorite music groups. But no matter how much her appearance changed, Maloof knew that she'd always be the sweet, pyromaniacal drummer that wanted you to tell her your problems.
Mikhail shrugged, obviously not impressed.
"Not like music in Russia. Is alright. What do you call this music here in America?
"EBM. Electronic Body Music, the best of the best. Haven't you ever heard of Diffuzion where you're from? Anyway, I wanted to tell you guys I'm hosting a group tomorrow in Katz's room where people can come in and talk about their problems and stuff. I've been learning new techniques with psychic healing and I wanted to try them out, I mean, if that's cool with you guys."
Mikhail snorted. "Problem? I have no problem. Why you think I have problem? Is because I am drink too much? I am alcoholic to you?"
Maloof kneaded his temple, clearly embarrassed. "I'm sorry about him, Phoebe. It's just-"
Phoebe let out a small shriek as Nils Lutefisk strolled by and slapped her on the ass.
"Hey Phoebe, looking pretty hot today, babe, if I do say so myself or maybe, smokin' if you prefer." He called, making his way over to a small circle of girls.
"What's that smell?" One of them asked.
"Oh my god, Nils! Your hair is on fire!"
Nils frantically bat at his hair, flames growing rapidly from his misuse of hairspray and gel.
A soda can was opened and dumped on his head. The flames went out with an audible tsss. Defeated, Nils retreated out of the lounge.
Maloof found the scene incredibly amusing. Phoebe winked at him, then turned to Mikhail.
"Anyway, maybe I could help with the fact that you dropkick everyone that even looks at you or Maloof the wrong way. And maybe I could help this little sweetheart here," She turned back to Maloof, "not to break down into tears every time someone picks on him."
He blushed again, thinking he could have broken down into tears right then and there. Did everyone really think of him as just a big crybaby?
"I try same thing. Every day, I say, 'Maloof, I teach you way of the bear. You spill blood of ingrates that bother you.' He just look at me stupidly."
"I don't wanna kill them! I just want them to leave me alone. That's all," He scoffed.
Phoebe ruffled the mess of brown curls on his head.
"Look, just come in tomorrow after your classes, okay? I want to help you. I want to help everyone. It's in their best interest. I mean, I keep having these visions of war. A psychic disaster. If all hell breaks loose, then it's probably best we don't have a war of our own going on in here," She said, finger pointed to her head.
With that, she took off into the crowd to find Quentin.
Mikhail simply shook his head.
"Wow, and I thought American girl stupid."
"Whatever. I am bear wrestler, not scholar."
Phoebe was right, thought. Like Maloof, she saw the approach of something bigger. Something that would involve them directly and force them to use all of their psychic strength and concentration, should it ever approach. How would Maloof be able to fight if he couldn't even look his worst enemy in the face without sobbing?
He felt himself crush the empty soda can in his hands.
"Mikhail, we're going to see Phoebe tomorrow. I'm done being a coward."
"Good, good. I make you Russian protein shake for breakfast and take you to gym. You like rat intestines?" Mikhail asked, before breaking down into hysterical laughter.
"…I'm going to bed."
"So that's a yes, then?"
Maloof walked back the dorm room by himself, high on adrenaline and anger. He was tired of looking like a gigantic wuss in front of everybody. And he was sick of everyone offering sympathies and the tears that stained his clothes. But most of all, it cut him inside knowing that he would never be anything more than a weak, pathetic loser in his best friend's eyes.
So caught up in his thoughts and the sounds of his angry footsteps, he didn't realize the door fly open.
"HEY STUPID! You wanna keep it-Oh, well look what the stupid dragged in, stupid."
Did that even make any sense?
"I'm not in the mood, Bobby."
Bobby drew out of his room, nail gun in hand.
"You think I care if you're in the mood or not, stupid? I'll show you how to get in the mood, you stupid-"
Anger from before flared into rage.
There was a sharp slap and and a swish, and suddenly Maloof held the nail gun in his small hands.
"Y-You slapped me…"
Maloof smiled to himself. Maybe he should try this 'angry' thing out more often.
"I'm gonna MURDER you, you stupid mother f-"
He slept soundly for the first time in months.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed. Constructive criticism is always welcomed with open arms.