Hey, Arnold was created by Craig Bartlett and is owned by Viacom Inc. No infringement on their property is implied nor should be inferred.

Thundercats was created by Ted Wolf and its related characters are the property of Time Warner Inc. No infringement on their property is implied or should be inferred.

The philosophy that was the inspiration for the work known as The Book of Five Rings was originated by Miyamoto Musashi. No infringement on his property is implied, nor should be inferred.

I make reference to "The Dynamic Duo" Batman and Robin, and the "Wonder Twins" both of which are identifying phrases from the 1970's cartoon series entitled "Superfriends". All characters belong to DC Comics, which is owned by Time-Warner Inc. No infringement is implied nor should be inferred.

Transformers are the property of Hasbro Incorporated under the license of Takara/Tomy Ltd. of Japan. No infringement on either company's trademarked characters or names should not be implied or inferred.

Star Wars, and the species name of Wookie, were both created by George Lucas, and is the property of Twentieth Century Fox Inc. No infringement on their property is implied, nor should be inferred.

The brand name "Chevrolet" and vehicle name "Corvette" are both registered trademarks of the General Motors Corporation, Chevrolet Motor Division. No infringement on their property is implied nor should be inferred.

The name of this chapter comes from the song "Kung Fu Fighting", which was written and performed by Carl Douglas. No infringement on his property is implied, nor should be inferred.

Rated M for Mature


Like Mother

Chapter One: Kung Fu Fighting

For what had the all the makings of a typical, run of the mill day, she was surprised to have received such news, at work no less, and could barely believe what was coming out of the receiver of her telephone. "When did this happen?"

The receptionist on the other end of the conversation told the shocked mother in a curt manner that bordered on rudeness, "The altercation occurred this morning."

The worried mother put her hand on her forehead and sat down at her desk to process the unwanted information. Putting the welfare of her own children at the forefront, she asked, "My kids are okay aren't they?" As an afterthought, the questioning mother then wondered, "And the other ones too?"

The receptionist, who from the tone of her voice had other things she would much rather be doing at the moment than talking to her, responded in a bored refrain, "All involved parties are here waiting for their parents to come to school."

The mother replied, "But,"

The rude receptionist cut the concerned mother off by saying, "The principal would like to meet with you and your husband to discuss disciplinary action for your children as their infraction is rather serious seeing that it was physical in nature."

The angry mother sighed, and pushed her bangs out of her face in frustration. "My husband is not due to be back in town until later this evening, and I am at work right now but," The mother paused and looked at her watch, then the clock hanging on the wall. "I'll be there as soon as I can, but could you please tell me if my children are alright?"

The haughty voice on the other end said with no further concern, "Thank you very much, Mrs.," The telephone line crackled with static. "Goodbye." and the ring tone began.

"Damn it!" The angry woman nearly screamed as she slammed down the receiver, and got up to walk out of her office nursing her temples with her index finger and thumb. "Well!" She said with consternation grateful that the first two patients of her day were not there yet as she lost her temper. "This day is ever so ruined!"

She pulled the case files for her day's appointments out of her cabinet, and spread them on the desk in front of her seeing what could be moved around. As she looked for loopholes in the scheduling, the woman mused unsuccessfully as to what in the world could have happened in the space of two hours that could have made her kids get into a 'physical altercation'.

Her stubborn and somewhat combative daughter she could quite easily see getting in some sort of trouble, but her son?

The only redeeming quality out of the situation was that at least the kids were all right, but she could only assume that was so, she would have thought that surely the receptionist would have told her if they were hurt.

One of the worst things about the less than welcome surprise phone call was that the morning was blooming perfect, and nothing could have possibly been better!

It was thank God Friday, everyone was up on time, there was no squabbling, or physical fighting, and everyone was so happy.

Even the pig had a smile on its face.

She had actually done the mom thing, and literally, from scratch, cooked that day making everyone's favorite "while dad's gone" breakfast dish, which consisted of heavily buttered toast, bacon, juice, and banana blueberry waffles drowned in strawberry jam with fresh whipped cream.

The most remarkable thing about the morning's culinary exploit was that she wasn't forced to fling open every window in the kitchen, and turn the ceiling fan on high to clear smoke out of it, assuring the neighbors that the fire department didn't need to be called because she didn't burn anything!

As a result, she had basked in her rare success all the way from home to work, and as she did, the once excited woman had also looked extremely forward to the coming evening as well.

Her husband would be home after a week and a half's absence from a business trip, and she promised him in their last conversation, laced with insinuations, that his welcome home was going to be rather enjoyable after they shooed the kids away for the evening.

As it stood then, she saw the romantic welcome home interlude flushing down the swirling blue waters of an imaginary commode, and was none too happy about it.

The woman growled through her teeth, sighed, then wrote on paper recording the times for her appointments, then stormed towards the reception area, but before reaching it, put on a passably neutral face for the receptionist. "Denise, has Doctor Bliss arrived yet?"

The young woman looked up at her partial employer and replied, "No, not yet, Doctor." In anticipation, the dutiful receptionist picked up the receiver of her phone. "Would you like for me to page her?"

The desperate woman sighed and put her hand on her forehead trying to think of the best thing to do, finally ceding defeat in her mind, "I hate to have to do this to her, but yes, please do, Denise, I'm afraid that I'm going to have to go to school, and take care of my kids."

"What's wrong?" Denise asked with concern, "They're not sick are they?"

The doctor shook her head negatively. "No, I don't know the exact details of what has happened, but would you please let me know when you get in contact with Dr. Bliss please? I know that I am going to have to cancel at least two of my morning appointments if Liz can't cover them."

The woman smiled with an affirmative nod. "Of course, Doctor."

"Thanks, Denise!" The concerned mother gave the receptionist a buddy point, "You are the very definition of the word lifesaver!" The doctor finished gratefully, and then she trotted back to her office to gather belongings in anticipation of leaving.


Thad Gammelthorpe got off the phone with the school nurse, ground his teeth together, and ran his hands through his shaggy black hair.

He could just have as easily sent Consuela, his housekeeper, or someone else, but despite the fact that he was dangerously low on sleep, Thad dutifully got up from a much-needed nap, and took a quick shower. After dressing his latest wounds with new gauze, and putting on fresh clothing, he scooped up the keys to his most exotic car; and went down to the garage.

After the morning his girl had suffered, she'd need something to cheer her up a little, he reasoned.

After starting the white car, and allowing the engine to warm for a few moments, Thad set out for Hillwood Hell School to pick up his daughter.

It had been years since he had thought of Hillwood High as "hell" but it was for him as a teen and it seemed that as of late, it had become as such for his child as well.

Courtney had one of the highest grade point averages in school, and was a member of the National Honor Society. Her writings had been published as a guest in the editorial section of 'The Hillwood Times' more times than he could remember, she spoke two foreign languages fluently; and was a track star, as well as an accomplished pianist. Colleges were actually scouting her out to enroll in their schools; but Courtney had already chosen to attend his and his wife's Alma Mater, State, so she could take advantage of their music program, and pursue her interest in becoming a professional musician.

Now, the once free spirited happy girl he called his "Princess" was withdrawn and solitary.

The girl had always been eccentric, and Thad gathered that the love of his life had been extremely correct in the joking theory that Courtney had too much of his blood running through her veins. Because of such, added to her unique view of the world, and admittedly odd behavior at times, she never really had many close friends growing up.

However, Thaddeus Gammelthorpe was quite proud of his little girl for the way she always seemed to take people as she found them and treated them with respect, even though she tended to keep them at a distance from her innermost self.

Eccentric behavior to hide in plain sight of his contemporaries was his defense mechanism as a kid, and he gathered that Courtney had by either genetics, or example, taken it as her own as well.

Thad knew that Courtney had been teased a bit in school because of her success, but he was glad that at least she did have a good group of children she knew from his old neighborhood to go to school with.

Most of them seemed to like her except one; and they all were the children of the people that he had grown up with, the Johanssen's, Horowitz's, Burman's, the S..., a trilling noise broke his concentration for a moment, but he ignored it in favor of dwelling on the unpleasant.

Courtney's mother tried to bring her out of her shell by taking her shopping, which the girl despised with a passion, but put up with for her mother's sake. Added to those attempts, Rhonda would throw small intimate parties and sleepovers for her girl too.

They had even sent their daughter to The Young Sophisticate after School Polishing Academy for Boys and Girls a full three years early to meet new children and make some friends. The girl already had more manners and sense than her peers, and thanks to her mother knew what a fish knife was, but Courtney tended to keep to herself in a corner, so she didn't make any friends at all. Ultimately, the only people whom she would allow closest to her were her mother, he, and the staff of the house, whom she loved dearly.

Unfortunately, now that her best friend was gone, the girl retreated more and more into schoolwork, track meets, an after school job, and herself.

Now, when he and his daughter spent time together, it was usually only for meals. Courtney was always respectful to him, but the happy playful banter that he, his wife, and daughter once enjoyed was a thing of the long gone past.

Bubbly conversation, boisterous laughter over the happenings of the day, and hilarious jokes had been replaced by pointed silence; accentuated only by the sounds of clattering silverware and the sliding of a chair to leave when finished eating after asking to be excused. After dinner, the door to Courtney's room was closed without fail, and not opened until the next morning for the ritual to be faithfully repeated the next day.

When she fulfilled all of her scholarly obligations like homework, Courtney's time was filled with composing music, surfing the Internet, adding to the expensive toy collections she was building, and DVDs for solace.

Courtney was a good girl, and never really asked for much, so Thad indulged her hobbies on birthdays, Christmas; and sometimes just because. In this way the concerned father tried to reach out to his hurting daughter in the hopes that their mutual interests in comics and toys could be the bridge in which they could meet halfway, and allow him to help her deal with her grief, by proxy his own, but that too was a false hope.

The girl stayed so much within her own world, living life from the inside while shutting everything and everyone out in the process, that Thad didn't know how to connect with his girl anymore.

The caring father knew that his daughter needed help, outside help, if she were going to overcome the events that brought Courtney to her currently unhealthy state.

In desperation, he tried to convince her to let him take her to one of his oldest friends, a kind woman specializing in child psychology to help her through her feelings. Ultimately, Courtney refused to go, citing she didn't need some greedy, one hundred fifty dollar an hour psychiatrist to dissect her thoughts like a split open frog in biology lab.

Lying to both him and herself by saying simply, 'I'm over it'.

Thad knew that forcing Courtney to go for counseling would drive a further wedge between them, so he decided to give her space for the time being, but he knew that this could not go on forever, and he had to help her, whether she liked it or not.

While driving he thought about the last few months and could barely keep from fluctuating between sorrow and rage.

Stopped at a light he asked himself not caring who saw, "What can I do for her? What will I say?" His eyes stung as he turned the simple gold wedding band on his finger with his thumb as the electronic device sounded once again, annoying him for his attention. "She's been through so much, too much...and now this?" Thad gripped the steering wheel of the tiny sports car tightly and resumed his drive.

'This wasn't supposed to happen,' Thaddeus thought to himself in sadness.

Finally forced to acknowledge the tiny trill in the pocket of his pants, the irritated man picked the noisy device out of his pocket, read the message, took the battery out of it in anger, and then carelessly threw it down on the padded seat beside him.

"There," Thad said with a bitter tone, "Hillwood City can wait for a damn change."


Two siblings, twins, sat in a wide glaring white office waiting for the inevitable flames of hell that were surely racing to engulf them both. Rightfully worried at the prospect, the teens sat with their arms crossed leaning back in their chairs as small bags of freezing ice sweated into their shirts and pants, bleeding into the fabric.

Soon enough, the other kids involved in the fight that morning were lead into the office by the vice principal to another room. As the three boys filed past, the two largest of them gave the seated female twin a wide berth out of striking distance of her feet and fists with their eyes lit in genuine fear of her.

As the last boy, a redhead with a swollen nose walked by, the twin girl surreptitiously rubbed her middle finger on her forehead dramatically, making sure that he would notice.

In turn, the foolish boy glared at her in the attempt of being intimidating, but he only succeeded in looking more stupid in the girl's opinion, and as the boy began to round the corner out of sight, he took one last scowling look at her.

In response, the sarcastic girl closed her eyes, raised her hand to her nose, and fake sneezed, "Asshole".

The red headed boy turned with his teeth clenched together as if he were going to challenge the affront, but his friends tugged him by his letter jacket down the hall away from her.

The girl's brother chuckled while cracking a wide smile despite the pain in his face, responding, "Bless you." As his sister's face twisted into a perverted smile for him, then added a wink, the two touched their balled fists together in their typical sign of sibling solidarity.

The receptionist looked up at the two kids favoring them with a glare before going back to her typing.

As time passed, the kids' eyes explored every inch of the details of the office, if nothing else to keep their minds off what was surely coming as they took nervous glances out of the plate glass office window, looking for their most likely extremely irritated mother.

The girl concentrated on the fluorescent light tube that was in the last days of its life as it hung above the mean spirited receptionist. Electricity wildly pulsed inside the tube, making it look alive with a show of intermittent waving light and shadow, illuminating the secretary's hair with a strange aura.

Secretly, the seated girl hoped it would explode, sending thin shards of hot glass downwards that would embed themselves into the hateful receptionist's stiff, overly sprayed hairdo, setting it on fire, in the process making her bald as she screamed in horror.

Alternately, the boy who sat beside the girl had his eyes focused on the floor while his dirty white sneakers shuffled on the short, grey, and stained carpet purposelessly in nervous energy.

Looking to the side, he noticed that the worn floor covering was nearly threadbare in front of the door with the in and out traffic of the office in the form of faculty, and the poor wretched souls who shuffled in and out of the doors for their measure of "justice".

If the principal knew what had happened in the hall that morning, the two of them probably wouldn't even be sitting there bored to tears, and scared shitless waiting for their mother to arrive.

The sandy blonde haired boy snapped that thought out of his head quickly enough.

The school principal was renowned for being unfair, and across the board, society rarely rewarded people for doling out just desserts. All he had to do for reference of that poignant fact was the vigilante hero of Hillwood City, Monkeyman.

The guy, or who everyone was pretty sure was a guy, was a hero the boy felt, and certainly did a great deal to try to keep the streets of Hillwood City safe and return the stolen property of its defenseless residents.

Instead of the gratitude of a city for a job well done, there was a quarter million dollar reward hanging over Monkeyman's head for information leading to his capture and arrest, and there were a couple of times in which the vigilante was almost caught too.

Both escapes from the authorities were emblazoned across The Hillwood Times, which served to gain supporters for the hero, add to the vigilante's already formidable legend, and infuriate the frustrated police even more in one fell swoop.

Of course, the repentant boy thought of his actions over the past year, and with shame for his behavior, came to the regretful realization that until a few months ago, he had been no better than the people he had fought with that day.

When done scrutinizing himself and his foolish actions, he surmised that he rightfully deserved whatever he got from his adversaries that morning, from his parents later, and that wasn't enough.

On the way to the office, people in the halls lauded his actions along with that of his sister, but he knew that he wasn't any kind of selfless hero as she was, but a foolish penitent with an apology paid in blood that was much too little, a lot too late.

Outside, the kind school nurse took a quick glance inside the office, and it was truly pitiful, the sight of the twin siblings sitting together in silent independent contemplation of the hell that they were sure that they were going to suffer when their mother got there.

The twins' mother was a good person, and Sheena loved her to death, but she also remembered that her friend had a temper too. She had mellowed out quite nicely over the years, but from time to time, that legendary anger got the better of her, and it would impair her ability to see reason for a time.

As such, Sheena had already made up her mind to linger in the hall, and wait to see the kids' mother, as well as Courtney's father in the hopes of clarifying a few of the events that unfolded in the hallway.

It certainly couldn't hurt to gild the lily a little, if nothing else for the twins' sake.


In the office, unknown to the other, both twins were carefully planning what their responses would be to the questions that their father would be asking them calmly about that night when he was home.

Also weighing heavily in their minds was what they were going to say to assuage the temper of their mother as she yelled loudly about the entire ordeal when they got home after she picked them up.

Knowing their mother, she just might cut loose and let them have it verbally at school, right there in the office for God, and everybody in Washington State to hear.

Compounding matters, what had transpired that morning would become a legendary battle to spread like a raging wildfire through school via gossip.

Even though they were fairly popular, as well as used to a certain amount of notoriety both on and off campus for their exploits, it was never for reasons like this; and the battle with the three football players had not been without grave cost either.

Receiving the worst of the fight by far, the boy had a split lip, the recipe for a black eye, and a small cut above that. Added to the curiosity of the cut, there was also a piece of toilet paper plastered onto his face, having already served its purpose to staunch the flow of blood from the wound.

When he stopped bleeding, at first he tried to pick the unsightly decoration off with no success.

Later, with no invitation whatsoever, his sibling's clumsy intrusive fingers and long nails tried to dislodge the irksome, blackened paper, creating even more discomfort, but by then the blood had dried the paper into the wound and it wouldn't budge. The poor boy's sister had to admit touching her brother's blood covered forehead, even though it looked cool, was still gross; so after her brother slapped her hand away with a glare, they simply left the dark red stained paper there.

He looked utterly ridiculous, and a few people passing by the office during class change had already peered through the window to point and chuckle at him.

The female sitting beside him joked and said, "It looks like you cut yourself shaving your unibrow, Genius."

The ugly receptionist looked up from her typing and rudely admonished with a crooked looking index finger, "No talking!" The teenaged girl glared at the receptionist, and mentally gave her the finger.

Despite the fact that his sister had helped him tremendously in the altercation against the three football players who had tried to use his head and neck as a practice dummy, she had still insulted him, and he harshly whispered through his teeth, "Bite me."

The girl looked at her brother in mild disgust and said with an angry voice mingled with disappointment, "Bite me. That's the best you could do?" The girl raised her sore hands and wiggled her fingers in his face. "Ooooooooh! I'm shakin', Sh."

In turn, the hurt boy gave his sister a glare to make her stop, because obviously she felt as if they weren't in enough trouble as it was, and as if on cue, the receptionist said, "Quiet!" And the girl sighed harshly and flung her back into her chair once again, flicking her long blonde ponytail out from in between her shoulders and the back of the chair with a jerk of her head.

Her brother then took a deep breath through his nose, exhaled forcefully and leaned back further in the chair rubbing his sore neck, but at least it didn't hurt as bad as it did a few minutes ago.

The triumph of lessened pain meant nothing however as he watched the second hand of the large clock on the wall as it ticked unerringly away with dread weighing heavily on both of them. Each circle of the second hand around the dial of the clock drew them closer to the time in which their mother's red-hot fuming eyes would be squinted at them in high disapproval.

There was a light tap on the window and the girl looked up in horror thinking it was her mother, but felt reprieved to see that it was only she and her brother's shared best friend.

With concern, the tall, brown-skinned boy mouthed, 'You two okay?' The girl leaned forward, smirking as she held up her bruised fists, winking at her friend as he cracked a wide white smile. Unable to stop himself, he allowed a loud "Ha!" burst from his mouth in glee until he caught sight of his other friend's face and grimaced in sympathetic pain, with the injured boy simply looking away, giving no response.

The receptionist pointed to the boy in the window to leave, and as he was about to reluctantly obey, the girl held her thumb and pinky finger up to her cheek mouthing 'call me later' to him. The boy outside nodded, gave both siblings the thumbs up sign, and departed as the receptionist acted as if she were going to leave her seat. "This is my last warning, you two will be quiet or else!"

Not even caring about what the receptionist had to say, having earned the nickname, The Bitch in her mind, the girl followed her best friend's fading presence with a barely noticeable eye and head movement. When she couldn't gaze upon him wistfully any longer without detection, she took a quiet breath of air and made a more audible sigh as she exhaled.

None of any of her actions were missed by the girl's brother however, and for quite awhile he, and everyone else they knew, had been wondering how long it was going to take his best friend and sister to finally admit that they were nuts about each other.

God knew it was high time in his opinion that the two of them got together as a romantically inclined couple, instead of playing the masochistic, extremely childish "he's just a friend" game they seemed to enjoy torturing themselves with daily. As time wore on, it was becoming woefully pathetic, that much was for certain, because their affinity for one another was completely obvious, and the only people they were fooling with their act were themselves.

The wiser boy wouldn't ever dare say anything to his sister about the boy who was much more than a friend to her; because that was something, she needed to work out for herself, as if he should be dispensing advice to the lovelorn anyway.

With an audible sigh, and glance at her, he reasoned that his sister was so damn stubborn anyway, if he did acknowledge his awareness of the sickening crush she had on the Johannsen boy, she wouldn't have anything to do with their friend just to make him wrong.

The boy sighed and leaned back in the hard chair, putting the bag of ice back on his burning, aching face.


Kyo Johannsen walked to his next class knowing he probably would not be seeing either of his friends for a while, hoping that the girl would at least have telephone and internet privileges.

He knew that she probably wouldn't, but he could hope.

Kyo was truly sorry for her brother also, but he was already missing his other best friend a little bit more.

She was so strong, smart, funny, and God knew loyal too; and for that, he admired her.

In all truthfulness, she and her brother argued almost constantly about one silly thing or another, but her unconditional love for her sibling came shining through when the she fought, and ultimately kicked the holy hell out of three gigantic football players just to protect him.

As Kyo seethed at the injustice of the fight that started it all, and he felt that her brother shouldn't be punished, but it wasn't fair that she was in trouble at all!

She had truly saved her brother from getting hurt really badly.

It was true that her brother started the fight, but only for the most noble of reasons, and what was she supposed to do? Let her outnumbered and out muscled brother get beaten to a bloody pulp un-checked?

Kyo tried unsuccessfully to explain to teachers and the principal what really happened in the hall that morning to make the girl get involved in the fight, but they all refused to listen to him. In fact, the principal had threatened to call his parents if he didn't leave for his second class for interfering.

Not needing the trouble, he obeyed all the while feeling like a coward who could have done more, but was grateful when the kind school nurse, Mrs. Horowitz, told him that she had actually seen the events that had taken place, that the right people would hear the truth, and not to worry.

Kyo sighed, and took a last glance towards the office window. Thankfully the girl was staring upwards, so the devoted boy stopped in the hall to gaze upon her for a moment, so grateful that she didn't notice him looking.

Looks certainly weren't everything, but with a blush, the smitten boy thought of how truly beautiful the girl in the office was, in and out, as he turned to walk away before she caught him staring at her.

He had almost worked up the courage to tell how he felt about her while he was tutoring her, but that frame of time was hot on the heels of what he ruefully called "The Tim Episode". Kyo also had reservations about admitting his love, therefore he had doubts, so in classic fashion, completely chickened out.

It was probably for the best ultimately, because his friend needed time to get over the pompous jerk, and she really wasn't ready to crank up with someone new.

Kyo's reticence bought him time anyway, because how in the world are you supposed to inform a friend, much less a best friend that you do not want to be 'just the best friend' anymore anyway?

That you wanted more.

That you were in love.

Only one thing was for sure in his dynamic between him and his best friend. Kyo knew that he didn't have some silly, dumb little kid crush, or a carnal infatuation that could be easily explained away by raging hormones either.

With great truth and heartfelt sincerity, Kyo could say that he was truly in love with her.

Downheartedly however, Kyo thought that if he did ever get the courage to tell her how he felt, and she didn't feel the same way, they couldn't even have their friendship anymore because then it would just get weird.

When she had the pick of any guy in school she could possibly want in the first place, why would someone like her want a complete and total nerd like him anyway?

With that last, self-deprecating thought crushing his soul, Kyo's heart felt as if it could break as he trudged to his next class, wishing that he were the kind of guy she wanted.


The injured boy sitting in the office next to his sister touched his cold cheek, and could have sworn that in the space of twenty minutes the right side of his face had gained fifty pounds.

He was already having trouble keeping his eye open despite the fact that the school nurse had taken pity on him and his sister and brought them both one flimsy plastic bag of ice wrapped in a thin folded brown paper towel apiece. The ice didn't help much with the pain and in fact made it a little worse due to the stinging coldness of the compress.

The boy mused that Mrs. Horowitz was a nice woman, and couldn't remember if he had thanked her or not when she gave he and his sister the ice, but he hoped that he did. He and his sister were friends with her son, Gene, daughter, Jella; and had known the sweet natured nurse and her husband Eugene for as long as they could remember.

He pressed his wet ice pack against his stinging split lip now; and his crazy sister applied her own ice to the swelling of her bruised knuckles, all the while stealing loving, prideful glances at them.

As he continued to watch his sister in a disturbed fashion as she admired her fists of fury, the smile she bore on her face was indescribably malevolent looking as her dark eyebrows cascaded downwards, towards her squinting, glistening green eyes.

Despite the fact that they were both, in his sister's favorite, non-legal term of measurement, which was an "assload" of trouble, the boy just knew that the nut job had to be recounting her contact with his attackers.

Even though he didn't have a problem with his sister decking every last one of them, especially the jerk who had treated her so badly, he thought that at least she should reign in her behavior until they found out what was going to be done with them in terms of punishment.

"She's freakin' enjoying this!" The boy thought as he looked at her with disbelief.

The girl, noticing her brother's stares, puckered her lips, made a kissing motion with them, and then belched his name flawlessly, with a wet resonance that would be the envy of any adolescent male or grown man for that matter.

"That was disgusting! Do you mind?" The receptionist asked in annoyance.

Inclined to agree with the hateful receptionist, the girl's brother was much more vocal, "Christ, Woman!" he exclaimed with disgust as he waved away the hellish stench of his sister's stomach contents, and violently blew it out of his nose. "That's not just waffles! What else did you eat this morning?"

The girl responded, "What was left of the pastrami, why?"

The receptionist said with irritation, "Quiet!" As her eyebrows went down into an angry slant making her look even uglier looking if such a thing were possible. "I'm not going to say it again!"

Both kids quieted, the boy respectfully, the girl grudgingly.

The boy settled back down into his throne of dread and he couldn't help but entertain thoughts that wondered if his sister were female or not.

She was female in all of the "academic" terms, but as far as the way she acted, she was more like his friends on the basketball team, rather than the fragile, dew-frosted petal of a lovely rose.

Taking a surreptitious glance at his sister, the grateful boy had to think that at least she was on his side this time.

With that thought, and a heavy sigh, he leaned his head back on the wall behind him, and tried to get at least a little comfortable, if such a thing were possible.

Meanwhile, the tomboy continued recounting the glory of her many-tiered victory mentally.

Everyone would think long and hard before contemplating the folly of screwing with the dynamic duo the school paper called "The Wonder Twins" any time too soon!

The girl smirked and put her freezing hands behind head smoothly, imagining the low, satisfied growl of a Wookie while recounting the fight in minute detail.

She had smashed the happy crap right out of Donovan's nose, and made the sorry little turd nugget cry like a bitch to boot, the girl smirked to herself.

Vengefully, she hoped that the gutter slut cheerleader her ex was cheating on her with, and still dating, could keep the non-eaten lunch in her flat little stomach down when she saw his beaten face the next time!

Then her smile turned to a scowl, and she couldn't believe that Tim had actually wrapped his hands around her brother's neck and tried to choke him! That was why she had attacked the colossal prick so violently in the first place; it was just serendipity that she got a little payback along with the deal.

Then his dumbass friends tried to attack her for all the good it did them.

She was fairly sure that all of those stupid ass boys must have had a death wish, or enjoyed the pain she inflicted on them or something, because they sure kept getting up for more, and she was only too happy to oblige them.

Actually, if Kyo hadn't stepped in and separated her from the boys she was kicking the crap out of, she might not have held back much longer. She knew as a fact that she could have broken the noses, ribs, arms and legs of all her brother's attackers with great ease, done even worse harm if she had really wanted to.

It was true that she hadn't started the row, and she knew very well that her father, mother, and godmother had not taught her the martial arts to use as a form of attack. As the fight wore on and her pississity began to rise to its highest peak though, she started not to care so much if anyone she tagged got hurt badly or not.

The girl knew feeling like that wasn't right, and it certainly was not the way that she had been raised to act. With that revelation, she felt as if she had let her mom and dad down with her behavior and felt an emotion that she didn't have too terribly often.

Shame.

Thank goodness her brave friend was there to keep the situation from taking her choice to be gentle with the boys out of her control.

Kyo had saved her from herself yet again.

The girl slightly smiled, and the furrows on her brow lightened as she started thinking of the lovely boy who was her best friend.

The two of them had known each other their entire lives. Her father and mother were best friends with his father and mother actually. Despite the fact that they all got older, and wound up going to different middle schools, the two of them still stayed in contact.

When they were scholastically reunited, and started ninth grade at Hillwood, something even cooler had clicked between the two of them, and over time the sweet boy managed to become her very best friend. She had to admit being best friends with a male was not the norm, but a better friend she could not hope for, and she was grateful to have him in her life.

Kyo definitely wasn't a jock, and she hung out with the sports playing kids mostly, but this guy was so different from the other people she knew, especially boys.

He liked to watch professional sports, but he was never in particularly good at the ones she excelled in. Kyo was a stupendously shitty basketball player and he couldn't swing a baseball bat worth a damn, but he was lethal with a foil, sword, or bokken. Her godmother Phoebe had taught him how to fence with foil, epee, saber, and how to fight with a katana, and she loved to go to her friend's house every chance she got to watch him practice with the sword.

It was so beautiful to watch Kyo execute flawless katas, and sometimes, as a treat, he would toss her a spare bokken and give her a lesson.

Kyo was certainly brave to risk the folly of doing so, because despite the fact that she didn't mean to; she always seemed to accidentally manage to hurt him at some point during every lesson due to a missed blow to a hand, leg, or some other extremity.

His mother, Phoebe, had kindly tried to teach her the art of tantojutsu, but after a first try beginning with a trip to the emergency room, and ending with nine stitches to the palm of her left hand; her own mother put her foot down and forbade any more training unless she commit jigai accidentally.

At least sword and knife play were something physical she actually stank at, and she was glad that Kyo could at least have those skills above hers.

The girl mused that if they lived in thirteenth through seventeenth century Europe, or pre-Meiji restoration Japan; Kyo's skills as a master swordsman would have been in high demand.

Unfortunately, here in twenty first century America, Kyo Johannsen's skills were a footnote of another more violent or elegant time, based on your perception of the history of warfare of course.

However, the boy's ability to carve a man to pieces like a Thanksgiving turkey was not the only advantage to being his friend.

Kyo was considerate and humble, which was something that many of her idiotic jock friends, both male and female, could certainly stand to learn a little more about. She also enjoyed the fact that Kyo knew how to talk about something other than sports, and the drama of who just broke up with whom in the school too.

'K, as she and her brother both called him, was also super nice, cracker jack smart, witty, and hilarious.

He could quote The Book of Five Rings verbatim along with Socrates, Virgil, and Shakespeare. The boy could whistle Gershwin's complete Rhapsody in Blue without screwing it up, and could recite entire episodes of the Monty Python show, and lines from the same movies. Kyo could do funny foreign accents, impersonations of movie as well as cartoon characters, and made the absolute best fart noises with his armpits.

If you said the word "booger" milk would shoot out of his nose if he were drinking it too.

How well rounded he was, but Kyo was so much more.

She didn't know why he bothered to go to basketball games or swimming meets seeing how much he didn't care for either sport, or many of the people participating, but Kyo was always the first to cheer in the stands for the whole team whether they all won or lost.

If she were pissed off, which was rather frequently, he knew how to cheer her up, and forget what had angered her, and if she had a problem, or needed something, Kyo was the first person she called, always seeming happy to oblige.

Even though she didn't want to believe it at first, along with her brother, like a true friend, he also clued her in on what seemed like everyone in school knew when her turd of a boyfriend was cheating on her. When the situation came to a head, Kyo did one better, and helped her get over both the break-up along with the stupid, untrue gossip that revolved around her.

Most importantly the kind boy helped her keep her places on the swimming and basketball teams by bringing her math grades up with his tutoring, and anybody who could nurse her through algebra, not lose patience, and refrain from the understandable urge to strangle her to death just had to be special.

The student tutors and teachers assigned to help her had pretty much given up on her, of course, the headstrong girl was of the opinion that the teachers and students who were supposed to help her all were an anomaly to the laws of physics, because they both sucked and blew at the same time.

When they all graduated in May of next year, they would be going to State together, and she couldn't wait!

She knew that life would be wonderful sharing a dorm with her brother, but getting to spend even more time with the other boy was the simply the sweet icing on the cake.

Overall, Kyo Phillip Johannsen was wonderful, marvelous, and in short, perfect in every way!

There wasn't anything she couldn't tell this guy except, well, lately there was something about him that made her feel kind of funny inside.

What that feeling was, she gathered, was something akin to a deep loyalty and kinship, because surely it was absolutely nothing else.

Right?

So, the nervous girl pondered if they were just friends, why did she feel so awkward, dumb and nervous around Kyo lately?

It seemed to be as of late that every time she tried to talk to him, her tongue rebelled against her, and made her say stupid things when there was the conspicuous lack of conversation.

Added to her verbal grace, she was physically awkward around him too; constantly tripping, backing into, and knocking things over when he was in her presence.

Nevertheless, as she said, they were just friends, right?

Outside of that friendship, why would she be worried about what he thought of her anyway? She knew he liked her to begin with; they were best friends after all.

Like always though, the nagging questions that pecked her mind like hungry desert vultures ate away at the carcass of her image, and with that, her thoughts worked around the never-ending circle of her self-doubt.

Was she cool?

Did Kyo think she was okay or did he think she was a goof?

Did he really like being around her or did he feel pity for her?

Did he think that she was a little cute maybe?

Could he love her like she loved him?

Did Kyo even like her like that?

Probably not, the girl pondered downheartedly, especially after seeing her in action that morning.

What boy would want a girl who could do the damage she could if he tried to kiss her or something?

Besides, the specter of her misgivings cruelly cajoled from the back of her burdened mind, the last attempt she made at a romantic relationship had sunk like the Titanic. Even if Kyo would have anything to do with her, in the end it could turn out to be a big steaming pile of crap too, then it would be weird between them.

The handsome boy in question for some reason certainly didn't date much though.

Sure, he would go to "The Sugar Shack" and eat heavily salted onion rings with ketchup, maple syrup, hot sauce, and slimy nacho cheese on them in the company of girls from time to time. Outside of those activities, however, that was as far as the relationships he had with women went, so Kyo had never had the curious organism hanging on his arm otherwise known as a steady girlfriend.

The curious girl wondered if Kyo's more than just a little odd taste in food had anything to do with his lack of female companionship. With the evidence she had gathered over an extended length of time however, she had to judge that by the groping eyes, giggles, and sighs of other girls she had seen and heard in the halls when Kyo passed by; eating weird combinations of crap had nothing to do with it.

Therefore, definitely unknown to him, Mr. Johannsen had inadvertently become a heart breaker, and you could cut the unrequited love at school with a knife.

All of the girls in the non-sports related clubs she belonged to, French club, Latin club, and art society; thought Kyo was smoking hot, and rightly so. Many disappointed girls expressed the heartfelt desire that he would ask one of them out on a date sometime.

The infatuated girl would never admit it aloud, but she wouldn't mind going on a date with him either, hell, she would watch paint dry on a wall with Kyo.

With some thought, she actually had done that before, she recalled, last fall, when "aunt" Phoebe and "uncle" Gerald paid she and he fifty dollars apiece to re-paint their living room.

The girl sighed, and wondered when exactly was it she found that her best friend had a handsome face?

The girl's warm heart pounded when she thought of meetings, scenarios, incidents, and exchanges in which she could be mere inches away from it, happily gazing into his slightly slanted, gorgeous dark brown eyes. She could almost feel his warm, sweet breath whisper against her moist lips in anticipation of a breathtaking kiss.

While she was fantasizing, she might as well go on ahead and drop in on her favorite location in historically inaccurate la-la land.

She would be clad in a shining white kimono, embossed with golden designs of bonsai trees, standing atop the tall roof of a wooden castle in ancient Edo, masked with quiet darkness.

As she contemplated her place in the feudal hierarchy that would deny a forbidden love such as theirs, she would wait expectantly for the Shogun of her heart to secretly meet, and woo her.

When Kyo arrived, she would divest the handsome samurai of his faceplate, helmet, and lamellar armor; revealing the lavish, sumptuously soft, woven silk court dress concealed underneath. His daisho would be separated, with his katana being taken from him, leaving the wakizashi and tanto tucked by his side in the wrappings around his waist.

She would then fold her arms around the broad, sinewy, well-toned shoulders of her secret love; lean her soft cheek into his clothed, well-muscled chest, and sigh in satisfaction as light snow began to settle on their shoulders. Around them, the tall pine and spruce trees that dotted the landscape would beautifully glow with their moonlit dusting of snow.

Even though it would be cold, her white skin tingled when she thought of the warmth she would enjoy, as he would pull her closer to his warm body, imbibing Kyo's whimsically delicious fragrance mingled with the scent of the oil of cloves that he used to polish his swords, only to become more intoxicated.

The warrior poet would slowly brush his hand across her cheek with the back of his hand while gazing deeply into her eyes. Then, after a tortuously overlong time, Kyo would finally draw her lips to his for a kiss that would last forever as their shuddering bodies met, shivering not from the cold, but from the burning desire for one another which had been banked for much too long.

After that, he would lead her away.

She bit the corner of her bottom lip with half-lidded eyes at the thoughts that raced through her mind after that last bit of revelation.

Despite the ugly rumor Tim spread after they broke up, she had little context for what she and Kyo would enjoy after that heated, heart pounding kiss. If the romance novels she had checked out of the public library with her forged adult card, and cleverly sneaked under the nose of her mother to read were true though,

The office door opened, and the fiercely blushing girl jumped with a start out of her vivid daydream.

Both twins looked up terrified expecting their mother, but instead watched Courtney Gammelthorpe walk through the door with the school nurse.

The emotionless brunette took a seat on the middle chair against the opposing wall in front of the twins. She first took a glance at the brave girl seated across from her, and then found her sibling, feeling uncomfortable at the wholly human look that her usually soulless bully was giving her.

The boy gazed at Courtney with his piercing blue eyes while fidgeting in his seat as he studied her, looking as if he had something he urgently wanted to say, but couldn't pierce the silence with it to save his life.

The boy's sister watched her brother and the other girl's reaction to one another in great interest, soon focusing solely on her brother, giving him a sympathetic, knowing glance that she was grateful he hadn't seen.

She knew his darkest secret, and it was something that he would sooner die than divulge, but still, she did.

In fact, the boy's sister had known for quite awhile, despite her accidental discovery.

It wasn't as if her brother had anybody fooled anyway, any moron with eyes and the wits of a half-brained monkey could see it. The concerned girl just wished that the idiot would have the balls to come out with how he felt about Courtney, and let the whole damn thing be done and over one way or another.

Seriously she wondered, just how pussy could you possibly get?

The whole thing was complicated though, and she could understand why he wouldn't say anything. Despite the fact of everything that had transpired that day, and even though he had totally gotten his ass kicked for her benefit, Courtney still might not even like her brother. Taking a glance to the side, it was obvious that it didn't matter to him anyway, judging by the way that he was staring at his dream girl.

One time, she had sneaked into his closet in full disregard of his prior threats of death against the trespass to borrow a pair or sneakers and a football.

What she found tucked inside the small closet in a large shoebox she accidentally found surprised the sunny freakin' hell out of her. Granted, she had to admit that the discovery was somewhat sweet and endearing, but for the same reason, all very disturbing at the same time.

The evidence residing inside that simple cardboard box was certainly damning, especially concerning how he acted towards and treated the girl seated across from them in the in the past.

As such, she never disclosed to her brother that she had gone into his closet, nor what she found hoarded underneath the piles of dirty sweat socks and t-shirts either. The reason why she hadn't teased her brother over her findings wasn't that she feared her brother's threats or retaliation; because she was sure she could take him, but instead because she loved him, and respected his secret love for the girl seated across from them.

Reflecting solemnly upon the knowledge that there certainly was a much deeper side to her brother than he would ever dare let on, she wished that her brother would show it more, adding quickly in her mind please dear God in heaven, just not to the point of being sickening with it.

Maybe if he showed Courtney how much he cared about her, she would forgive his behavior, and her heart might warm towards him.

The caring sister hoped so for her brother's sake, because his unrequited love for Ms. Gammelthorpe had nearly driven him as insane as a mouse in a tin toilet, and had made him do some rather worrisome things, even by "guy" standards.

As such, the worried girl could not begin to handle the mere thought of her poor stupid lovesick idiot brother standing under "Cheetara" Gammelthorpe's multi-million dollar balcony, belching samples of that God-awful bad poetry about the young woman in question like a cut rate Romeo.

He didn't even bother to write the cornea burning verses she discovered on regular paper either, but instead opted to record it on the cut out blank inside of an empty 'Bacon And Eggs' cereal box. With the thoughts of that, the girl rolled her eyes, and shifted the ice on her worst hand as she continued to observe.

As all the kids sat contemplating in worlds of their own, the hurt boy stole small ashamed glances at the girl across from him like a dog that had been scourged with snow chains wrapped in barbed wire.

Courtney was all he had thought about for years, but in the past few months up to that very minute it had become almost unbearable.

The lean girl, ignoring him completely, stretched her back, popped her neck, and then removed her pullover. The boy's head crooked towards her in interest, and he gasped gently when her undershirt pulled up a little along with the pullover; revealing a taught, muscular abdomen, and the subtlest hint of the bottom of a royal blue brassiere.

As Courtney scrambled to pull down her shirt with a blush, the boy in turn tried to be courteous as he swallowed hard and tried to train his attention elsewhere, but in his peripheral vision, the lovesick boy never lost sight of the object of his furtive gaze.

In turn, the boy's highly entertained sister was forced to curl her fingers around her lips to cover a giggle with a feigned cough at her brother's genuine, but failed attempt at being chivalrous.

Not even noticing his sister, the longing boy had been timing his infatuated gazes in tune with Courtney's attention being momentarily elsewhere, but the law of averages soon caught up with him however, and he found that with his next blue eyed gaze, she was returning his.

Courtney didn't have her glasses on because they were broken, so nothing stood as a barrier between the gorgeous grey green orbs that met his, the very windows to her aching soul.

The unsurpassed beauty of them had haunted the boy's dreams and imagination since the terribly sad night he first really noticed them, and in that moment, all he wanted to do was get on his knees in front of her, and apologize for every horribly mean thing he had ever said or done to her since he had known her. Then, if his courage didn't fail him, he would beg her forgiveness, wanting nothing more than to hold her, never letting go.

After that, no one would ever dare injure Courtney's kind heart, or ridicule her beautiful soul again, especially him.

The girl cut him a look that was undefined, then as if by agreement, both were concentrating intently on ignoring one another from then on, Courtney's arms crossing in guarding consternation; the boy's, hanging by his sides flaccid and weak.

The boy's sister put her hand on her forehead while shaking her head with a wide grin, not caring if either of them noticed or not.

Should she help him?

She was infamous for her matchmaking.

If she could perform the equivalent of an act of God, and get her stubborn ass swimming team friend, Jella Horowitz and even more stubborn ass basketball team friend, Andrea Burman together as a couple; then surely she could hook her brother up with Courtney Gammelthorpe with no problem whatsoever.

The nurse walked into the office and put her hand on Courtney's shoulder. "Courtney, your father is on the way to pick you up. Are you sure you're okay, Dear?"

The young, raven-haired girl looked up at Mrs. Horowitz with neutral eyes, but her only response was a curt nod in the positive.

The kind nurse smiled and asked, "Would you like for me to stay here with you?"

The girl shook her head and replied in flat monotone, "No, I'm fine, but thank you, Mrs. Horowitz."

With that, the nurse gave the twins seated across from Courtney a kind glance, then sympathetic smile, leaving to walk down the hall to stand in the doorway of her office to wait for their parents' arrival with a fond smile reflecting, "So much like their mother."