AN: Alright, so this is my next multi-chapter fic. This month has been pretty crazy, so I should warn readers that I will not be able to upload a chapter every single day like I was able to with the last one. But I do promise to update at least once a week (more often than that, if possible) until the story is complete.
There may be some angst involved, but this should be significantly more light-hearted than the Between Brothers/Ghosts in the Deep story.
It IS Malcolm/Reese slash, so if you don't like that, then don't read. Simple concept. As for those of you who DO like that sort of thing, enjoy!
Malcolm should have known right away that he was making a mistake, but for all his academic brightness, he had as much common sense as any average adolescent boy.
So when he stumbled upon the ratty black notebook with the chicken-scratch title Reese's Diary, he immediately proceeded to thank every possible god in existence for bestowing such a magnificent gift unto his lowly self.
He didn't intend to find it, of course. He hadn't been snooping. He'd been lying on his bed studying chemistry, and when he'd dropped his textbook and leaned down to pick it up, he couldn't help but notice it: the tiny corner poking out from beneath Reese's mattress.
"No way," he murmured delightedly, flipping through the pages. It was at least half full. "No. Way." He felt a chuckle rising in his throat as he stared at the cover. "He calls it his diary. He actually wrote that out." He covered his mouth to stifle his laughter. "Oh god, that's amazing..."
He jumped at the muffled shout from the kitchen. "Yes, Mom?" he called back, shoving the diary back under the mattress.
"Dinner's almost ready! Come set the table!"
"Okay, just a second!" He spared a gleeful glance at the book's hiding spot, then went out to eat.
As stupid as it was, he couldn't help but feel a little worried that the diary would be gone when he went back to the room that night; as though fate would be so cruel as to whisk away the most potentially entertaining thing he'd come across in months before he had a chance to enjoy it. Or maybe it really was too good to be true, and he'd simply imagined the whole thing. Or perhaps Reese would somehow notice that the little book was tucked under the mattress at a different angle and get suspicious.
But of course, none of those things happened, and when Malcolm excused himself from the table and slipped off to the bedroom, the holy grail was still there: Reese'sDiary.
Hal and Lois had to get up early in the morning, so they were already getting ready for bed. Dewey was busy watching TV and (most importantly) Reese was working late, so Malcolm had the room all to himself for the time being.
After cracking the door briefly to make sure Dewey was still sprawled out on the couch, he eagerly opened the diary to page one and started reading:
("Oh god!" Malcolm was laughing already. "Day 1! He wrote Day 1! That's brilliant...")
I saw a caterpillar today. He was trying to climb up the bench at the park. He wasn't doing it very well, so I picked it up and put it on the top. He looked happy until a bird flew down and took him away. When we went to the lake, I threw a rock at a goose as revenge for the caterpillar, but it chased me and pecked me on the ass. It hurt a lot.
Shoulders shaking with laughter, Malcolm rubbed tears out of his eyes, giggling uncontrollably. That was the only thing written on the first page, so he flipped over to the next entry.
Mom punished me today for drinking the orange juice out of the bottle. She said I should use a glass because no one wants to swallow the bacteria in my mouth. I asked if that was true, then why doesn't she punish great-aunt Helen when she kisses me at family reunions? She made me stand in the corner for thirty minutes.
Malcolm snorted into his sleeve, flipping the page again.
I think it would be fun to go to Australia. The man at the zoo says that's where the kangaroos come from. They seem like they would be a fun gang to hang out with. Maybe if we become really good friends, I could ride in one's pouch? I found a quarter on the floor at school, but the vending machine didn't take it. I pushed the button to get the quarter back, but the machine just beeped at me. I hate school.
"I'm gonna die," Malcolm giggled to himself in between bouts of laughter. "I'm seriously gonna die. This is such shit! Oh god...Anne Frank's got nothing on this..."
It went on like for page after page; just a series of deadpan entries about events that any sane person would consider banal. Malcolm's favorite was an absurd anecdote about a ladybug "fight":
I found a ladybug swimming in a drop of water on a leaf. It looked unhappy, so I picked it up with my finger and put it on the sidewalk. It hung around for a bit, so I think it was grateful. Then I saw another ladybug flying around, so I caught it and put it beside the first one. I thought it would be cool if they could be friends. But the first ladybug jumped on tope of the second one and started making buzzing noises. I don't think the second one liked it very much. I guess they were fighting, but it was sort of boring. There wasn't much of a struggle.
It was seriously like taking a peek into the mind of a genuine lunatic. Malcolm knew his brother wasn't exactly..."balanced," but this drivel seemed like something the crazy cat lady down the block would write.
As the writing became somewhat more legible (supposedly because Reese had gotten older), the entries grew longer, and the unintentional humor, whilst not entirely gone, seemed to lessen, replaced by something...different.
Today I beat up a kid at school for calling me stupid. If he didn't want to do my homework, all he had to do was say so. Sure, I might have stuck his head down the toilet for defying my authority, but I would have found someone else to do the work. There's no reason for that little fuckwad to call me names. Homework is stupid. All of it sucks, but Math is the worst. The teacher always calls on me even though I never have the answer. If she expects us to have the right answer, she should call on people who raise their hands. That's called logic. Also, Mom's making us go to some dumb science-type show the Krelboynes are doing. If you're a parent, you should make sure your kids don't have plans before you make plans before them. I was going to go to the reservoir (I learned the word reservoir today!) and explore. Now I have to wait until next weekend. But I guess it will be cool to see Malcolm do his whatever it is. I just hope it doesn't last too long because there's a horror movie marathon on tonight, and I don't want to miss it.
Malcolm raised an eyebrow, his amusement subsiding. That surprised him - not the part about the kid at school, but the fact that his brother had some interest in seeing his presentation. Reese had made a big fuss having to go; he'd punched Malcolm in the arm at least three times and sulked on the drive over. So that was somewhat odd.
He read on:
Dewey broke my bike. He says it was an accident, but that sounds like bullshit to me. I told him to make me a sandwich. I think he spit in it. I think I'm going to fail my English test. I tried studying, but what the hell am I supposed to do for it? There's grammar rules, and I don't really know those well. And there's that stupid book we had to read with all those fancy words. I lost my copy a couple months ago and I can't remember the title, so I can't get another one at the library. I only read the first couple of chapters. I had to stop when it got to that mushy stuff where they talked about feelings and love and whatever. I've only had a couple of real girlfriends, but even I know that's not what love is like. What kind of dumbass takes a girl to the beach for a horse ride? That's not romantic, it's painful. That would be murder on his nutsack. And then he wouldn't be able to do the business with her later on. Bad thinking. So it's a stupid book and I'm definitely going to fail the test. Mom will probably yell at me. That's not new. But I heard her talking to Dad the other day and he said I was hopeless. Which kind of sucks. On the bright side, Malcolm and I had fun last night. We crashed a party and snitched some beer. I think Malcolm broke a lamp on the way out. I've never seen him drunk before. It was funny.
For the first time since he started reading, Malcolm felt a twinge of unease deep in his stomach. Not guilt necessarily - Reese had snooped around in his personal shit plenty of times before - but it was definitely unsettling. This stuff seemed a little more personal. than ramblings about weren't deep thoughts exactly (he wasn't even sure Reese had deep thoughts), but nevertheless, his brother was expressing his hidden emotions in private record, and Malcolm was intruding on something that was intended to be secret. It was a little creepy.
He considered putting it away for a moment or two, but in the end, he was able to justify continuing on. After all, it's not like he'd read anything especially devastating. And his curiosity about what lay ahead overrode any discomfort he was experiencing.
The next few entries were more of the same; complaining about school and grades and unfair punishments. Always ended on a happy note about time spent with Malcolm.
He skipped ahead to a longer page:
I can't remember why I started writing this, but I think it was to help improve my grammar skills. Or maybe just so I could look back and remember things I forgot later on. Dad always says people go a little batshit when they get old. At least, that's what he says about Grandma. So I thought it would be good to write important things down. But there's not much going on that's really important. School, I guess. But that's boring. I don't have any friends there, so there isn't much to say about it. Except I did hang out with that pigeon during recess yesterday. He was pretty cool, and I figured he might come back to hang again today. He didn't. I checked during lunch, too. A couple of squirrels were chilling out by the basketball pole, but no pigeons. Stuff at home's pretty much the same, too. Mom yells. Dad works on random things in the garage, and then gives up three days later. Dewey sucks. Except sometimes when he doesn't. I'm starting to think Francis is never going to come home. He doesn't call anymore unless he wants us to hide something from Mom. And even then, he always wants to talk to Malcolm because he's the smart one. How does he know I'll fuck stuff up if he doesn't let me try? But it doesn't really matter because Malcolm usually does it better than I would have anyway. Malcolm and I made plans to hang out the other day, but I spilled some tub of crap at work and had to stay late, so he did something with his friends instead, I guess. I don't know why he wastes his time with those stupid geeks. They only like him because he's smart and not as geeky as them. They probably think he makes them look better when they're with him. Which is stupid and untrue. They still suck. He'd be better off with me. Hanging out with me, I mean.
There was a little bit of smudged lead after that last sentence, as if he'd written more, then changed his mind and erased it. Malcolm frowned at the page, no longer amused. It was no shock that Reese didn't really have any friends. Everyone knew that. And it wasn't all that surprising that he was jealous of Malcolm. What was surprising was that his jealousy didn't seem to revolve around the fact that Malcolm had friends and he didn't, but rather that other people got to hang out with Malcolm separately from him. Like he wanted Malcolm all to himself. That's what the tone of the writing conveyed, at least.
Malcolm was definitely no longer okay with what he was doing, but he figured one or two more entries couldn't hurt. And he wouldn't bring it up to Reese. He wouldn't rub it in his face, like he'd been planning to. He'd just pretend he'd never seen anything and let the diary remain a secret.
But he needed to read on. Just a bit further.
I ditched school after lunch period. I'm failing Math anyway, so fuck it. I've been having really weird thoughts lately, so I figured I could shake whatever's wrong with me by picking up some magazines. I had search three stores because the first one was too pricey and the second just had like a million copies of Time. Not helpful. But I found some pretty good ones in the end. One of them had a redhead lady, which I like. I jacked off to her more than the others. But it still didn't help. It fucking sucks. Looking at a pretty girl makes for good fantasies, but it's not the same. I don't know them and they don't know me. And they probably wouldn't like me if they did. Most people don't. But Malcolm likes me, I think. I mean, we're brothers, so he should like me a little bit? I hate this.
This was not okay. At all.
Malcolm felt a bit of a cold sweat coming on. Like the rest of his family, he was an expert in denial, but even he couldn't just dismiss something that was right in front of him. Reese was hardly the subtlest person in the world, and he was holding nothing back in his private writing. So it was pretty much out there now. An uncomfortable truth that Malcolm should have seen coming long before this moment where it was hitting him over the head.
He could still turn back. Sure, the meaning was obvious, but it was implicit. It hadn't been directly stated. So he could put the diary back in its hiding spot. He could never bring it up to anyone, and eventually he would be able to convince himself that he'd just misinterpreted something. And then he'd forget all about it.
But of course he didn't do any of those things.
Fingers moving like they had a mind of their own, Malcolm flipped to the next page.
It was a short entry. Just one sentence and an expletive:
I think I'm in love with my brother. Fuck.
Malcolm jumped at the muffled sound of the front door opening and slamming shut. Thinking quickly in his panic, he lifted up the mattress and shoved the diary back in its spot, then scrambled up onto his bed and picked up the chemistry book, holding it up in front of his face.
A few seconds later, Reese crept into the room, groaning tiredly. He spared Malcolm a brief glance, slugging his backpack down near the closet.
"You still up?" he mumbled, rubbing his eyes with the back of his hands.
It was a rhetorical question, but Malcolm responded anyway. "Yeah, just studying," he said, silently cursing the high-pitched way his voice came out. He willed his heart to stop beating so fast and forced himself to stop staring at his brother with eyes wide as saucers.
Reese stood in the middle of the room, shoulders hanging limp, and looked around aimlessly, silently debating something. He nodded to himself. "I think I'll take a shower in the morning," he said, dropping onto his bed fully clothed and wrapping the sheets around him. "I can barely keep my eyes open."
Malcolm nodded even though Reese had already shut his eyes and wasn't looking in his direction. "Is Dewey still watching TV?" he asked cautiously.
"Nope. Passed out on the couch. You get the bed to yourself tonight. Lucky day." Reese opened one eye to scowl at him. "Now shut the hell up and let me sleep."
Malcolm raised his palms in surrender. "Okay, okay."
Reese closed his eyes and drifted off to dreamland within a matter of minutes. Malcolm switched the lamplight off as a courtesy and got under the covers. But he didn't fall asleep for a long, long time.
This was not good. At all.
AN: End of Chapter 1. Hope you liked it. More to come!