I started writing this one day and decided to make something of it. Behold, a really weird modern fic (but then again, what of mine isn't weird?). Also, it might look like this is another Juto/Crocell, but it won't be. It's supposed to be Juto and Zephie later on.
I don't own Magna Carta in the least. But the lyrics that appear in this story are mine.
On with this weirdness!
Their favourite song was playing on the radio when they arrived. It calmed Juto's nerves somewhat. It won't be too bad, he thought. As they drove into the school parking lot, he focused on the lyrics and for a moment, the mismatched brick design of the building looked welcoming.
"…No stars up there that I can see,
Told you I'm going home, this night's too chilly for me,
Right before you started singin'…"
Then Melissa pulled into a parking space and turned off the radio and the bricks took on a greyish hue. Juto stared through the windshield at one of the third storey windows glumly.
"You're over exaggerating," Melissa said after he muttered that the school looked stupid. "It's going to be great."
"I like Windchester better," Juto grumbled, crossing his arms over his chest. Windchester was his old school now. It highlighted the arts and looked like a blind hobo designed it, but that was what Juto liked about it. This place had apparently had some recent renovations and looked like an office building with an elementary school attached.
"Oh, stop it," Melissa smacked his shoulder playfully and opened the driver side door. "Now get out so we can find your brother."
Heaving a loud sigh, Juto stepped out of the car, taking care not to bang his forehead against the frame again. Elgar was another reason that he wasn't exactly bursting for joy. For all that they looked exactly alike, their personalities were completely opposite. Whenever they went to visit the parent that they didn't live with, an argument of any kind was inevitable. Sure, he loved his family, but sometimes Juto just couldn't stand his brother.
They found him slouching against the wall next to the main entrance, looking even less happy than Juto did.
"What is it with you two?" Melissa shook her head and swept a few dark locks out of her eyes. "The least you could do is smile to each other, come on!"
Elgar sneered in response. "Why the hell do I have to play the welcoming committee?"
"Because you're brothers, get over it," she patted both their shoulders. "Just show him around, or at least show him to the office so he can find someone else. I'll see you after school; I gotta go now and catch my class."
Juto waved good-bye at Melissa and Elgar just scoffed.
"Oh, and Elgar!" Melissa turned and started walking backward. "If I find out you've been smoking on school property again-"
"I'm not, jeez!" Elgar shouted back and then opened the door beside them with enough force to hit it against the wall if it didn't have a stopper. "Come on."
"I thought you quit smoking," Juto said once they were in the foyer.
"Yeah? Too bad," Elgar made a wide gesture with his arms. "Welcome to Rockview High, school of great science, blah blah, the office is over there," a point to the right, "The library is over there," a point to the left. "And the cafeteria is down past the office. Have fun."
With that, Elgar heard his name called and went to find the caller. Jackass, Juto thought.
The foyer was lined with trophy cases and certificates. Some were for sports, most for science competitions that Juto really had no interest in. This school was known for its courses in the sciences and he, with his guitar and old music records, felt totally out of place. So he wandered off, hoping that Elgar had at least pointed him in the right direction.
The old secretary in the office (Linda, so said her nametag) was nice. She smiled, handed him a map and general pointers to all his classes and chuckled, in a pleasant "young people these days" kind of way, when he explained that his brother had ditched him. Back in the hallway, there were students milling about and Juto had to explain more than three times that his name was Juto and that he was Elgar's brother. Some apologized for the confusion and apparently Elgar had complained more than once of his arrival, because some said "Oh yeah, he talked about you." It was after the fourth explanation that Elgar himself approached him, muttering about hoards of dimwits.
"I've gotten about six hundred texts about another me walking around," he said with a hint of annoyance. Then he took Juto by the arm and raised his voice. "He's my brother, got that? Twins, we look alike; get that through your heads! Go, spread it around!"
After Elgar's short speech, the students surrounding them turned away, presumably to do as he'd just said.
"I don't think you have to yell at them," Juto said.
"Yeah, I do. They're all idiots," Elgar replied. "Now hurry up, the quicker we get to your first class – what is it?"
"Idiot, you're going the wrong way," Elgar turned them around. "The quicker we get there, the quicker this'll die down."
"And the quicker you can get back to James, hey Elgar?"
The new speaker was a boy down the hall walking toward them. Juto couldn't help staring. From the way that he walked and the sound of his voice, Juto could tell that it was a boy, but his face and figure were slightly girlish, which wasn't to mention his hair. It was short and layered just past his ears and pink. Very bright pink. And upon a closer look, Juto saw that the boy's eyebrows were pink as well.
"Go suck it," Elgar said in response.
"Tomorrow sound good?" The boy asked as they passed each other. Their tones were mocking, but they were obviously joking.
"Hah, be there," Elgar said over his shoulder and Juto had one last chance to glance back at the boy before they rounded a corner. Elgar noticed this. "That was Crocell."
"His hair is pink," Juto said, a little dumbly.
"Yeah, I noticed. Don't ask me why. Some people think it was a lost bet, others think that he's just like that. I say it's both."
For once, Juto kind of agreed with his brother. Even though he'd only heard him speak all of fourteen words, Crocell seemed the type that would dye his hair pink.
"You're Elgar's brother, aren't you?"
Juto looked up from his course outline of "studies in literature" (otherwise known as one of the quietest classes that he'd ever been in.) Standing next to his desk was a girl (a very pretty girl, he thought) with long brown hair and bright blue-green eyes. "Uh, yeah."
"Sorry, dumb question," she said, sliding her binder on the desk next to him. "You just look like him."
"Yeah, I've been told," Juto tried to laugh, but it came out kind of flat. "My name's Juto."
"I'm Zephie," the girl said as she sat down. "It's actually longer than that, but it's really weird, so I just like Zephie."
Zephie seemed like an open-minded person, even though they'd only just met. Maybe he judged too quickly, but Juto found it quickly getting easier to speak to her. "It can't be that bad. I mean, I was named after a weed."
That made her laugh, "Okay, I see your point."
He didn't get to ask what her real name was, because after that the teacher called for the attention of his students (all seventeen of them) and began a lecture on myths in modern literature that lasted nearly the entire hour. When it was finished, Juto thought that his ears might be asleep.
"It's usually more interesting," Zephie told him. "This was just one of those days where we actually had to get through some of the curriculum."
"Right," Juto didn't lift his head off the desk. "I don't think I've ever had to sit through something like that. I almost worked up an appetite trying to stay awake."
Zephie giggled. "Well then I guess it's a good thing that lunch is only in five minutes."
"Yeah, I'm starving," Juto sat up. He had survived history and then gotten himself more familiar (cough-lost-cough) with the school during his spare period and just barely made it through literature studies.
"What do you have after lunch?" Zephie asked, leaning over to see his schedule.
"English and then art to top off my day."
"Oh, that's great; we're in the same class last period!" Zephie smiled. Juto should have guessed that she would have an artsy side to her. While he was not the best artist in the world, (he swore that pencil breaking through the window last year was not his fault) the school didn't offer music programs second semester and he needed something creative to vent with. "Hey, tell you what, why don't you have lunch with me? It'd be better than being alone and I can introduce you to my friends."
Juto considered turning her down. This was his glum day; if his mother was going to move them to this city and make him attend the same school as his brother when she knew they didn't get along (although he applauded her efforts, really) then he was going to act angry about it. However, then Melissa would badger him about it and he did want at least one new friend here so he didn't have to think about the old ones he left behind. The bell rang and he stood up with a smile.
"Sounds good, let's go."
They had to come down from the third floor and pass the office. The cafeteria was at the end of the hall there and both the smell of food and the sound of many teenagers drifted from it. Zephie expressed concerns about him not having anything to eat, but Juto rendered them moot by holding up a brown paper bag.
"I'd have brought my lunch bag, but I can't remember what box I packed it in when I moved," he explained.
Zephie quickly scanned the cafeteria, which Juto noted to be a boring cream colour with the occasional support pillar painted green thrown in. Ew. She led him by the hand to a table right next to one such pillar, occupied by a younger girl with short light brown hair, large blue eyes and a wide smile that took up the entire width of her face the moment she saw them coming.
"Hi, Zephie!" The girl waved enthusiastically.
Zephie responded with equal amounts of emotion. "Hello, Celestine! This is Juto, he just moved here. Celestine, Juto. Juto, Celestine."
Celestine was apparently indiscriminate with her bubbly personality and she waved to Juto as well. Juto nodded, smiled, and sat down next to Zephie, across from Celestine.
"There's gum on the underside of this table," another voice said. Juto blinked and then realised that there was someone else lying on the bench next to Celestine. The owner of the voice sat up and to Juto's surprise, it was none other than the pink haired boy named Crocell. "Hey there."
"Oh – hey," Juto quickly tore his attention away from the pink hair and tried to focus on his hazel eyes. "You're Crocell."
"Yep, and you're Juto."
"Oh, did you two already meet?" Zephie asked.
"Not really, we just kind of passed each other in the halls when Elgar was showing me around," Juto explained.
"That's right; you're his brother, aren't you?" Celestine leaned forward, nibbling on a stick of celery.
"Does everybody know about that now?" Juto looked around the cafeteria, feigning annoyance.
Crocell shrugged and stole a carrot stick from Celestine, "Probably."
Juto briefly wondered where Elgar was then, because he hadn't seen him in the cafeteria, but mostly he was playing twenty questions (or more like eight hundred questions) with Celestine and thinking about why Crocell's hair was pink. Overall, it became an interesting hour. Zephie was very polite in her questions to get to know him while Celestine kept finding new ways to disguise the fact that she was prying and Crocell kept adding questions that made Juto blush, much to Celestine's amusement. Eventually though, it just got ridiculous and Juto used the time – five minutes to bell – as an excuse to double check where his next class was. At that point, they were all leaning against the vending machine debating on chip flavours.
"I have to go back up to the third floor," Juto whined, folding the paper back in his pocket, but not before Crocell got a glance at it.
"Oh goody," he said. Juto couldn't tell if he was being sarcastic, but he'd been wary of the boy's barbed tongue ever since the issue of height came up. "We're in the same class, you can go with me!"
With a smile that made him resemble a mischievous fairy that had escaped from whatever storybook it was from (really, all he needed was a pair of glittery wings and he was good to go), Crocell linked his arm around Juto's elbow and led him down the hall.
"Be nice, Crocell," Zephie said. Obviously, she had no intention to rescue Juto from the vengeful fairy.
"Of course, I'm an angel!" Crocell called over his shoulder.
Yeah, Juto thought, right.
The class was right in the middle of a poetry unit that Juto had already been through at Windchester. He'd already analysed half the poems they were talking about, so he spent the majority of his time inventing ways to prevent Crocell, the mischievous brat (fairy) that he was, from rifling through his pencil case and stealing all of his pens. At one point, he wanted to ask why Crocell wasn't doing his work, but then he'd have to do his own work, which meant that he wouldn't be able to keep an eye on Crocell and his pens at the same time. Either way, it didn't really matter, because the teacher kept leaving the room and since Juto already knew the poems and Crocell was apparently a poetic genius, they both needed something to do while they slacked off.
At the end of it all, Juto breathed a sigh of relief, because it was last period and he could actually use that creative half of his brain and he was free of Crocell's distracting ways. He walked down the hall, thinking about Zephie, since she had art last period too. Maybe he could complain to her about Crocell.
First he had to get the teacher to sign the paper that he'd been carrying around all day to confirm that yes, he was a new student and yes, his name was now on the roster. Once he was done with that. He turned around and spotted Zephie rather quickly, if only because he saw her sitting next to the oh so familiar head of pink hair.
"Please tell me I don't have art with you, too," he said as he approached their table by the window.
"Crocell, I told you to be nice," Zephie chastised playfully.
"You stole half my pens!" Juto exclaimed.
"That's a lie," Crocell crossed his arms, lifting his nose slightly. "You had seven pens in there and I only got three."
Juto scoffed and sat down upon Zephie's insistence at the chair opposite her. "Like that makes a difference. I want my pens back."
Crocell made no move to return said writing utensils. "You can have them back when I see fit to return them."
The chair, which was actually a stool, had no back, so Juto settled for slouching against the desk and muttering into the crook of his arm, "Annoying fairy."
"What did you just say?"
Zephie put a hand on Crocell's arm. "Come on; let's not fight on Juto's first day here. Wait until tomorrow, at least."
Then the bell rang and Juto murmured, "I'll get them back eventually," as he passed Crocell to talk with the teacher and find out what he was supposed to do. It was a short explanation since they were only in the beginning stage of the project (lucky him, he arrived just in time.) Begin with a still life drawing and then turn it into a multi-media "masterpiece." (Or something like that, because Juto never did well with still life for some reason.)
When he returned to the table, he found Crocell very lazily drawing Zephie on her stool next to him; while she drew a half squished tin can. Apparently most of Crocell's work involved Zephie because he was bored ("She's a good model," he said) and that seemed to be the reason he took the class in the first place.
"So you have any specific plan for yourself in the future?" Juto asked.
Crocell shrugged. "You could say that I'm a jack of all trades. Trying everything, doing nothing."
While Crocell's half-done picture was pretty, Zephie's had a different mood – a different beauty in its own way. One the can, a tiny door had been painted with a couple windows above it and a roof that looked as if it would fall over any second. Zephie managed to transfer the emotion in it to paper perfectly.
The artist, Juto thought, looking at Crocell's drawing and then Zephie's, the ignored. He wondered if they planned that or something, but it gave him an idea.
Crocell was too busy with his own work to realise what Juto was doing, so by the end of the class, he had a nice outline done. He just needed to figure out what shade of pink he needed later on.
"You're kidding me," Crocell said one he got a look at it. His face screamed "not impressed."
"I'm exacting my revenge," Juto replied with a smug grin.
Crocell reached into his pocket and threw a pen at his head. "Fuck you."
"What do I get the other two back?" Juto asked, still smiling.
"Fuck you!" Crocell swung his bag over his shoulder and left the room as the final bell rang.
"I think he's flattered," Zephie said as they followed the rest of the students. "You've only known him for less than a day and you're pretty much immortalising him."
"With a piece of art, now his image is stuck in it, get it?"
"Yeah, him and his pink glory," Juto said, although he didn't mean it to be insulting. "Why did he do that, anyway?"
"It was already like that when I met him, but he's re-dyed it once to keep it from fading."
That line seemed to kill the conversation and they didn't talk anymore until they got to the first floor.
"I have to go give this to the office," Juto said, holding the paper with all his new teachers' signatures.
"Okay," Zephie shifted her weight back and forth from her heels to her toes. "See you tomorrow, then?"
Juto nodded, "Definitely." So much for being the angry teenager, he thought as they parted ways. After a quick stop in the office, he stepped out into the heat. It was warm and breezy outside, that "It's the middle of spring, but summer is on the way" kind of weather. He spotted Elgar (finally, where was he all day?) and waved. Elgar may or may not have noticed.
Melissa didn't get out of her afternoon class until four and his mother worked until five, so Juto had to work his way home through memory, backtracking through the journey to school. As he walked, he thought about his favourite song and started humming.
"Only star I need is here,
Bright, the brightest angel, my dear,
You're singing like heaven and gold,
And we're singing like heaven and gold..."
"It's kind of weird," Celestine said at lunch the next day.
Juto looked up from his paper bag (the location of his lunch bag was still unknown.) "What is?"
"Well, Elgar dyed all of his hair silvery," Celestine ran a hand through her hair and then over her bangs. "And you've just got this one streak. What's up with that?"
Juto shrugged. "All I know is that I dyed my hair first. Elgar's just a copy cat."
Celestine accepted the answer with a giggle and no further questions.
"It's been so long that I can't see him with anything other than silver," Crocell said. He was lying across the bench again with his head in Celestine's lap (Celestine noticed Juto's expression and quickly claimed that she didn't date shorter men, "But don't we look cute together?")
"Hey, what colour was your hair before?" Juto leaned forward, but Crocell was still out of sight.
"Really dark brown, like, almost black," Crocell replied. Juto tried to imagine this and ended up with an image that reminded him of vampires.
"I've been thinking of dying my hair blue," Celestine said. "Wouldn't that be cool?"
Crocell answered first. "Not really," he said. Celestine reached down and ruffled his hair and he sat up with an indignant "Stop that!"
"Stop picking on each other," Zephie said. This might have happened before, because after that, she returned to her sandwich. Between bites she added, "I think that Celestine would look very cute with blue hair. Like a little water pixie!"
"But we already have a little fairy boy," Juto joked and upended his paper bag. Now on the table were a half a sandwich, sliced cucumber, a juice box and a couple of cookies, which Crocell quickly swiped. "Hey, give those back!"
"Quit calling me that," Crocell said. He opened the baggie that the cookies were in and bit one.
"You didn't even ask."
"You wouldn't have given them to me."
"Yeah, that's the point," Juto reached, but Crocell held the last cookie away. He gave up when Celestine stole it and took a piece out of it. "Annoying fairy..."
"Guys, don't be mean," Zephie pat Juto on the shoulder while Crocell and Celestine squabbled over the rest of the cookie. She took a cheese string out of her Tupperware dish. "Here, you can have this."
"Aw, thank you, Zephie," Juto accepted the snack and sent a smug look to Crocell, who seemed offended that he wasn't getting any cheese.
Juto had actually gotten some work done in English, if only because Crocell had found a different way of entertaining himself, having a loud conversation with another student at the front of the room. Somehow, the conversation turned to Elgar and his brother. Half way through the class, Juto turned around in his seat to face Crocell after he claimed that he would always be able to tell the difference between the two.
"How well do you even know my brother?" Juto asked. He knew they mock propositioned each other in the halls, but that didn't really tell him much.
Crocell shrugged. "I went out with him last semester."
"Are you serious?" Juto didn't see that one coming. "For how long – no, why?"
Crocell seemed very amused with his reaction. He leaned back in his chair with his feet on the edge of the desk and a smirk on her face. "For about a month. He was a really good kisser."
"I didn't need to know that," Juto said. Nor did he need the image in his mind.
"And he was really good after dark."
Juto quickly turned around. "Oh, God – please don't tell me you actually had sex with my brother," he said with his head on his desk. Bad images, bad, bad...
Crocell laughed. "I'm kidding, I didn't."
"Okay, good," Juto sat up.
"Why? Want me all to yourself?"
"N-no, that's not what I meant! I just don't want pictures of my brother in my head like that!"
Crocell chuckled again, but the teacher returned from one of her frequent exits and the topic was dropped.
Crocell was being very disagreeable during their last period. Juto still needed to draw his face and hands, but Crocell kept moving around and turning his head so that the process was very, very slow. The fact that the nickname "fairy" had stuck was not helping things.
"Will you stop moving around?" Juto said finally. Crocell gave him an innocent look. "Don't give me that, you know what I mean – actually, you know what, stay like that?"
"Why?" Crocell asked and a few seconds later, Juto had to commit his expression to memory when he went back to being an annoying fairy.
"It's almost done," Zephie said in what was probably an attempt to lighten the mood before the two got annoyed with each other anymore. She held up her drawing in one hand and steadied the unbalanced can with the other. "What do you think?"
Not that he was working very hard, but Crocell had to pause in his work. "It looks great," he said, "Like always."
"It gives me a sense of abandonment," Juto added a moment later. "There's a house painted on the can, but the can's obviously a piece of litter. It's like a house that was wrecked, or a life thrown away."
There was a moment of silence where Juto felt proud (for a kid that got most of his inspiration from decades old music, it was a good response.) They obviously hadn't been expecting it.
"The artist within speaks," Crocell spoke in a low voice.
Zephie stared at her work. "That's exactly what I was thinking."
Juto didn't understand the tone of her voice. It was a long time before he did.
"So how was school today?" Juto's mother asked as she and Melissa arrived home. (How they got home at the same time was a mystery to him, because the hospital where his mother worked was all the way across the city and Melissa's college was only twenty minutes away.)
"Fine," he said, leaning against the kitchen counter with a bagel in his hand. Next to him was his lunch bag with a note from Melissa, saying that he'd forgotten it – oh no, wait, she'd found it for him today.
"Aw, was that 'annoying fairy' bothering you again?" Melissa asked with mock concern.
"Shut up," Juto swatted her hand away as she tried to pat his head (in mock concern, the evil woman.)
"Don't tease each other," their mother said. For a second, Juto was reminded of Zephie. "I hope you at least got some work done?"
He knew he shouldn't have said anything about that English class. You don't slack off on your first day at your new school. He swallowed the last of his bagel. "Yeah, mom, I did my work."
"Good. And your teachers are all good?"
"And you got a chance to talk to – what was it? Zephie?"
"Yeah, she's in two of my classes."
"And you're not having any trouble?"
"Yeah. Mom, it's fine," Juto smiled, hoping it would reassure the woman faster. "Really, everything's cool."
His mother sighed. Melissa had disappeared somewhere in the house. "It's just that I know this is hard and I know you're upset – Elgar hasn't been giving you any trouble?"
"No, seriously, everything's fine."
"Okay, I'm done with the questions now." She turned away from him and started to leave the kitchen. She stopped at the doorway. "I only want to make sure that your brother doesn't get into any trouble, either. I called your father this morning and they're coming to visit Sunday after next."
Juto listened as she climbed the stairs, probably going to change out of her nurse's uniform.
"It's going to be easier now," Melissa said. Juto jumped; he hadn't realised that she'd come back into the room.
"The whole visiting thing," Melissa explained, her face added "of course, silly" when she smiled. "Now instead of driving into the next town, we can just walk over."
"I guess so," Juto leaned against the island counter, staring at the curtains over the window. They were orange and the light coming in threw the walls into a similar shade.
"What are you thinking about?" Melissa asked calmly.
Juto shrugged and shifted his attention to his lunch bag. "Just wondering where I forgot that today," he replied, pointing.
Melissa glanced at it and punched his shoulder. "Fool, you left it in one of my boxes!"
Juto laughed, pretending not to know what she was talking about. They had a short fight, mostly just batting each other away before Melissa's phone rang and they heard familiar lyrics.
"Walking on the beaten path that night,
You told me to look at the sky, see that light?"
"Hey, what's up, Kai?" Melissa said as she answered the call, cutting off the song.
It continued playing in Juto's head. Twice through the chorus as he watched the shadow of a tree branch dance around the orange light.