A/N: Hello sweetings! Tis I again, and apparently, I have been mistaken – there is a Greg somewhere in Bloodlines, Greg Slade. Thank you to Toni for catching that, but I honestly meant for my "Greg" and "Slade" to be two separate people. I also will take this opportunity to apologize for the delay in updating, but some of these ficlets didn't turn out very well, and I wasn't going to put out worse crap than I normally do, which is why this is really really late, later than the usual late. My bad… So we have neared the end of our Rules, and so it is nearly time to bid adieu to this particular story compilation/ drabbles. Let me also take this opportunity to apologize for the fact that some of these Rules are clearly geared towards females, since I didn't particularly mean for them to be, it just worked out that it was easier since all the characters I originally used in the first chapter of "Of Disney and Dreams" were female.
Disclaimer: Disclaimers are like the STD's of FanFiction, nobody wants them, almost everyone gets them. I own nothing but the ficlets and their corresponding plot. Anything else isn't mine, nor will it ever be.
1. Your best friend is the first person to find out about everything. EVERYTHING.
Lissa stared at the test, stared at it like her life depended on it. She was too young for a scare like this, and to be honest, she wondered how she could be late. Granted, a few days is nothing to be worried about, but almost a week? They always used protection, and she used the pill, as well as the morning after. Which lead her exactly here, eying a timer as a stick scanned her urine for hormones or something like that.
Rose yawned, sprawled on the three-seater couch almost like a sunbathing cat, "Liss, trust me on this, it's like ripping a Band Aid off – you have to do it all in one fell swoop."
Lissa turned to face her best friend, "Rose, what would you know about this sort of thing? Last time I checked, you've never even had to take one."
Rose considered, then stretched some more, "It's true, but Mom had to take one recently. I told her the same thing, and then she Guardianed up and checked. Which is why she knows she's four months pregnant and not just getting fat."
Lissa frowned. "Your mom's pregnant?"
Rose nodded, "And Abe's the father. And guessing from the way she had a ring tattooed on her ring fingers and Abe now sports two new rings he's never worn before – wait, Liss, are you trying to distract me?" Rose scruntized Lissa's poker face. "You're trying to get me off on a tangent. Okay, that's not going to work. Go check the test. Go on now, shoo."
Lissa sighed, reaching over and grabbing the plastic strip. She checked the directions, then the strip. Finally she let a bright, relieved smile cover her face, "Rose, it's negative! Pass me my cell phone, I have to call Christian."
2. Be honest and open with each other. Friends may judge you, but they respect you enough to judge you to your face no holds barred, no punches pulled, Straight talk and no evasions. If they can't do that, then they're not your real friend.
"So you're in love love with this dude?" Alberta stared at Janine. "You're kidding me right? THE Janine Hathaway, the one woman army, the single woman who declared that she would never have children or get married or any of that, and I quote, 'gooey stupid Disney fluff he-treats-me-like-a-princess-I'm-so-in-love-with-him crappy nonsense', is in love." She ran a hand through her brunette hair. "Is the Apocalypse coming today or tomorrow?" She eyed her best friends face, then scowled, "Dear fracking God! It's worse than I thought!" Alberta bit her lip, then bluntly, "Janine, I know this guy, and no matter how much you love him, he's bad news. Real bad news. You should stop being involved with him." Alberta scrutinized her friends face. " #%$^ *$%& (!" She swore furiously, "It's a bit too late, isn't it? Dammit, where's my stake? Someone's got to introduce himself to my fist."
Janine stared after Alberta, then at her stomach, "I'm not that far along, am I?"
3. Girlfriends before Boyfriends. Or, the female version of Bros before Hoes. The Boyfriends may come and go, but friends are forever.
Adrian watched as Julia stormed into his apartment, eyeing the human speculatively. "Who are you and what are you doing in my apartment?"
Julia glanced at him, quickly looking away to survey the room, "I'm here looking for Sydney. Jill said she might be here." Then she did a double take. "Wait, you're her really hot older brother!" She blushed furiously, then stuttered, "S-s-sorry! I thought this was like a secret love-nest that Sydney and everyone kept for themselves."
Adrian sighed, then dipped his brush in turpentine to clean it, "Well, our parents originally bought this apartment for Keith, since he had work here, but his job moved, and so now I'm living here. You said you were looking for Sydney?"
Julia nodded, still red in the face, "Yeah, like I said, I thought this was a love nest, and I thought she was secretly meeting a guy here and, well, you know, it doesn't really matter, because I'm clearly wrong, so I'm going to leave now…."
Adrian paused, then stared at her dumbfoundedly, "Why were you so worried? Sydney's too good to do anything untoward like that."
Julia fisted her hands by her side and looked at her feet, "W-w-well, you know, the whole bros before hoes works with girls too…."
Adrian cradled his face in his hand and shook his head in disbelief, "That's what you thought? That she was keeping some big secret that you ought to have known as her friend? Sydney – that's not Sydney's M.O."
Julia colored more, "I-I know that now!" She hurried out the door, slamming it shut in her haste. Then she stormed back in, pointing a finger directly at Adrian and speaking loudly, "If you see Sydney, tell her I need to speak with her!" She slammed the door once again.
As Julia hurried away, she pulled her cell phone out of her back pocket, "Dammit Kristen, I chickened out again…"
4. Friends are loyal, they will stand up for you even if you don't ask for it. They will also hold you back if necessary or throw down for you. Whichever way you roll.
Mia stared aghastly at the Moroi who was smirking at her from down the hall, tears forming in the corners of her eyes. "B-b-blake! Please, you can't mean that!" Her lips quivered and her knees threatened to buckle. "Tell me it's not true!"
His harsh tone cut through the air, "Tell you that I don't think that you're a needy emotional slag? That I didn't only go out with you because I knew you were an easy shag?" It seemed like the whole of the Court was watching the confrontation, and his laugh rang across the courtyard that the hall bordered, severely, echoing hollowly.
"Oi! Mia! Is this f&$%^er messing around with you?" The solid thumping of combat boots with the steel toes could only mean Rose; she had been wearing those boots all the time since Dmitiri gave them to her for her birthday. Her chesnut hair swung behind her head in a ponytail; she was off duty. Lissa stood stonily at the far edge, regal power emanating from her icy gaze.
Mia wiped the bottom of her eyes, "I'm, I'm – "
Rose cut her off, "Mia, don't lie. Oi, Lissa!" Rose half turned to watch the Queen.
Lissa stared hard at Blake, then sliced her hand across her throat in a hard, swift motion, completely at odds with the kind, politically savvy Queen the Court had seen before.
Rose smiled toothily, "Your wish is my command, M'lady. Dmitri, hold him." Her tone turned kindly, "Mia, will you hold my earrings, please?" Mia nodded, and took the tiny rose studs in her palm. Then Rose pushed up her sleeve, and ran at Blake.
5. No dating a friend's ex. Ever. Bad mojo. All the bad mojo.
Sydney blew into the top of her latte, inhaling the fragrant steam that wafted into her nose. Then she glanced at Rose, who was currently talking to Dmitri about how, no, she would not babysit Alberta's nieces because though she loved kids and enjoyed babysitting his niece, that was because she was practically her aunt and aunts babysit their nieces. She hung up with a huff.
Rose took a swig of her coffee, black, then nearly immediately began coughing, "D*$&, that's good stuff. Nice and strong, just how we like it, but wow, I need to get used to fresh coffee again, cause that was HOT." She took another big gulp. "So what did you want to talk to me about?"
Sydney eyed the red head ruefully, "You are some kind of masochist, aren't you Rose?" She sipped her latte, then licked the foam off her lip, "Rose, would you say that we're friends?"
Rose whipped around to look at her, startled, "Yeah, I would. Why?"
Sydney looked as if she had seen God Himself, "Nothing, nothing at all. Thanks Rose, you were a real help!" She impulsively hugged Rose, then grabbed her coffee and dashed out into the crisp sunny fall afternoon towards Latte.
Rose picked up her cell phone and called Jill, "Do you know why I was just asked by Sydney if we're friends? And got hugged? Has she been experimenting with her chemical set again?" Rose's tone belied her suspicious thoughts.
"Oh, that? She's still nowhere near ready to face her feelings is she," the voice sighed, mumbling mostly to herself, faintly. Her voice got louder, "Well, if you guys are friends, and Adrian is your ex, then Sydney can't get with her friends ex because it's against the Rules."
Rose smirked into the cardboard top of her coffee cup, "Now she's using the Rules to her advantage. I have to hand it to her, that's ingenious."
6. Accept your friends as they are. Do not change them, unless you see them going down a bad path in life or making all the wrong choices or basically self-destructing. Otherwise, they wouldn't be your friends.
Dmitri watched as the orange haired guy with a massive sword was attacked by the small girl, then looked at Paul and his friends as they watch, enraptured by the small girl who was berating the orange haired one. He didn't really understand what they were saying, because it was in Japanese, but clearly Paul and his friends did. Those online Japanese lessons clearly had been of some use, since his nephew was pretty much fluent as demonstrated by his obsession with watching anime in Japanese and without subtitles. It was an ad break, and Paul was debating with Alexi about who was cooler.
"Hat-and-Clogs is way cooler! He's all mysterious and hats-and-clogs-y!" Paul argued, "And besides, that cat did nothing really awesome."
"No way! The cat is the best part!" Alexi ticked off on his fingers, "First off, he's like an all knowing cat, and pretty much knows everything. Second, he's everywhere and can get pretty much wherever. Who's going to notice a cat? Third, he's got this awesome voice. Hat-and-Clogs' doesn't really go with the way he seems. Third, cat runs really fast. Hat-and-Clogs doesn't do much but taunt. Cat teaches and taunts. Very subtle difference, but important."
Paul eyed Alexi as if he had suddenly been revealed as a demon, "Alexi, my friend, as my Aunt Rose would ask, are you smoking something?"
Alexi, twisted up his face in annoyance, then quickly sprang his fist out and neatly clipped Paul in the jaw, "Paul, quit using your crazy aunt's Americanisms in Russia. It doesn't work. And second, she's not really your aunt."
Paul sprang up enraged, "What was that for?!"
Alexi stared back at Paul, "Dad says that whenever you see a friend going down a bad path in life, you should immediately attempt to correct them. So I corrected you."
Paul spluttered, "For what?!"
Alexi took a swig of the Coca-Cola in his hand, "For liking Hat-and-Clogs better than Cat-san."
Dmitri had to stifle a laugh as his nephew started acting like the characters on the screen, whacking at Alexi halfheartedly, half annoyed half bemused. He would have to tell Rose that Paul's friends knew her as the "Crazy American Aunt". She would be thrilled…
7. Laugh together. There is nothing that a best friend will not make better by making you laugh. And they will know how to make you laugh, always.
Jill liked being able to laugh. Laughter was good for the soul and had saved her more than once from going completely off her rocker; like how she had laughed maniacally after dying and becoming Shadowkissed. The Guardians had given her some really weird looks about that. But this was too much. She tried to stifle her laugher in the throw pillow Adrian had sent her, but it wasn't working out too well.
Angeline stared at her, dripping milk into the basin of the sink in their room. "This. Is. Not. Funny," she ground out.
Jill waved the air in front of her face, trying to calm down, "No, no it's not. It's hilarious!" She wiped a tear from her eye, "I mean, first they dye your hair like a tiger, and then you try to bleach it out?"
Angeline glared at her, "Well, I didn't know that the bleach would burn my scalp unless I diluted it with milk after little while!"
Jill chuckled into her fist, "Yeah, but it was pretty funny when Sydney drenched you in that gallon of milk in the middle of the lobby. You have to admit that right? Just – whoosh! All over you, slicing it open with her keys!"
Angeline looked away, red in the face but smiling, "Yeah, it was kinda funny to see her face when she learned I had bleached my hair, and that my scalp was on fire."
Jill began to laugh anew, "Yeah, and I loved the look on everyone's faces when you told them you were bleaching your hair blond so you wouldn't get kicked out!"
Angeline turned redder but laughed along as well, "Hey! I've read the student handbook! You can't have funky colored hair, and I figured that tiger hair fell under the definition of 'funky'. You can't blame me for keeping myself in school." She fingered the bleach blonde hair, then called to Jill again, "Do you think I'll need to dye this back to normal, or should I leave it the way it is?"
8. Don't go out with the guy/girl a friend is interested in. See #5 for similar case.
Adrian eyed the two boys sitting on his newly reupholstered living room coach. He really wanted a cigarette, because at this moment, quitting seemed like a terrible idea. He sighed heavily, pinching the bridge of his nose; he wasn't Dmitri or Sydney or Lissa, he wasn't cut out for this sort of thing. Nope, Adrian Ivashkov wasn't made to play counselor.
"So, let me get this straight? Micah, you punched Eddie in the face because you thought Eddie was going out with Sarah even though you'd already told Eddie that you really like Sarah and were thinking about asking her out? How did you come to that conclusion?"
Micah nodded, eyes gleaming, "Eddie and Sarah acting sneaky so I followed them and I saw them going shopping in the mall and getting food court food and sharing a box of fries! If that wasn't a date, then I don't know what is!" He pounded his fist on the small metal coffee table Adrian had built in his metalworking class, shaking its fragile frame.
Adrian yelped and steadied the impossible shape, "Hey! Watch it! This was made to be aesthetically pleasing, not functional!"
Eddie groaned around the bag of frozen peas he was holding against his jaw, "Micah, I told you, it wasn't like that!"
Micah rounded on Eddie, "Oh, then what was it? You should be able to tell me Eddie, we're bros after all. Plus, you know you broke the Rules!"
Adrian slammed both his hands on the table, "Okay, that's enough! Micah, quit bringing the Rules into this mess, I've heard enough about them. Eddie, I think we need to fess up."
Micah smirked, satistfied. Then Eddie turned to him and said, "Micah, Jill was planning you a surprise birthday party, and Sarah was invited. She asked me to go help her pick out a gift for you." Eddie swapped hands, and fisted his newly freed hand in Micah's shirt collar, growling, "Now you better act d$^% surprised because Jill is going through A MOUNTAIN of crap just to throw this shebang." His voice entered an even more threatening register, "Or else. Do you understand?"
Micah nodded. Eddie continued in his normal tone, "Okay, good. Now did you really have to hit me?! Good grief, that sucked! You didn't even punch me properly!" Eddie stood up and made his way back to the kitchen, tossing the thawed peas onto the counter and fishing out a bag of ice.
Micah faced Adrian, who was fiddling with an empty silver flask, "So you knew?"
Adrian snorted, "Of course! Who do you think is supplying the kitchen to make the cake? By the way, low blow, accusing Eddie of doing something like that. Like groin shot low. Next time, don't jump to conclusions. Now the both of you, get out of here, you've already given me enough of a headache. I'm too young to be dealing with this sort of nonsense."
9. No boyfriend/ girlfriend stealing. Also covered in rules 5 and 8.
Dmitri Belikov had a short list of actions in his life he was guilty about. Topping that list was the innumerable, unspeakable things he had done as a Strigoi, but coming a close second was what he called "The Adrian Affair", which summed it all up quite elegantly, taking it all into context of course. It involved Adrian, and it was an affair since Rose technically was cheating on Adrian with him. It went against everything he believed in, every moral thing he thought he stood for, so he supposed he was a hypocrite. The look on Rose's face, Adrian's, still haunted him in a very morbid, unsettling way. And Adrian had thought of him like a friend; the worst betrayal Dmitri was sure he had ever committed. He glanced at the letter he was writing to his only nephew, about to officially enter the world of adulthood by becoming a Guardian.
As a piece of final advice, nephew, always do what is morally right, in all matters of life. The consequences are awful to experience, and are none I wish that you ever experience.
10. Do unto others as you want done unto yourself.
Sydney eyed Trey as he worked the foam machine, "Trey, you know, I know someone who's just your type."
Trey snapped off the machine, then turned to Sydney, "Melbourne, stop this before it gets out of hand. Not interested." He handed her her overly complex order, made perfectly.
Angeline took a sip of her frappuccino, "That's not fair Trey, you set her up with What's-His-Face, she can try and set you up too. That's the way it works." As Sydney turned away from the pair to snag the receipt the cashier was handing her, Angeline leaned forward and whispered, "This is a terrible idea – I may not like you much, but take my advice, run and hide!"
Trey's eyes widened in terror, and he hurriedly busied himself with the complex machines behind the counter as Sydney returned, "Sydney, I'm going to have to decline, I have a date and you know, that's kind of rude to be dating two people at the same time, I mean, I wouldn't want someone to date me and someone else at the same time."
Sydney smiled, "Oh, okay. Nevermind then. See you later!"
As Angeline sipped her frappuccino, she was sure she heard a sigh of relief from behind her.
11. A friend will know to call you on your bulls****, because a friend will know that something's wrong even if you're smiling.
Lissa twirled in the full skirts that she would wear to her sister's debut. It was a timeless piece, elegant vintage lines, clearly couture, and it fit Lissa like a glove. If the maids were to be believed, every Dragomir matriarch had worn it to the next generation's debut. Rose watched from her post in the corner, as the flurry of skirts rustled around the Queen.
Lissa dismissed them , "Thank you, that will be all for now." The maids scurried out, curtseying with ease of practice; Lissa had yet to figure out a way to politely ask them not to without offending them. "So, what do you think?"
Rose moved swiftly to hug her best friend, and waited until Lissa finally broke down. "I think that sometimes you need to remember to take off your poker face when it's safe, especially among friends."
12. Friends will know the entire secret lingo, like code names and shorthand you use to refer to other people when there's company present. And they will respond accordingly.
"Remember He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named? His new girlfriend is hideous!"
"No way! Seriously? Well, The Lying Snake was busted as of two hours ago. We were laughing so hard in history, I was on the verge of tears."
"That must have felt great! Did anyone record it?"
"Yeah, I think that Two Face B-witch did, it's supposed to be on YouTube by now."
"Okay, let me check Facebook. Oh, wait, Idiot with a Sword is stalking me, he keeping waiting in Invisible in chat until I log in, and then he blitz attacks me and tries to have a conversation all nonchalantly and all."
"That's super creepy." The sound of a straw being sucked on, then, "But wait, isn't Glasses going out with him?!"
Angeline surreptitiously leaned over and whispered into Sydney's ear, "Do you have any idea what they're saying?"
Sydney shook her head, "I'd tell it's all Greek to me, but I speak Greek."
13. Friends will hate your exs automatically. It's part of the Code.
Sydney stared at Rose, who's head was currently blown up on her laptop's screen. "Wait, Adrian's one of your ex's? D***."
Rose laughed, "Look at you, breaking out the big girl swear words. Yeah, Adrian is. IS that an issue?"
Sydney laughed sardonically, "Yeah, it is. According to the Rules, friends automatically hate each other's ex's. I can't hate someone I have to work with."
Rose looked as if she was about to answer with something corny, but then looked startled. "Aw, crap Sydney, I've got to jet. Training the newbies." She laughed evilly, cracking her knuckles. "And they say Christmas never comes early…" The chat shut off.
Sydney sighed, then whispered to herself, "Yeah, it's rather hard to hate someone you might just have fallen in love with."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hang on a tic, what's the Code?" Micah looked around at everyone over the top of the sheaf of Rules. "Has anyone heard of the Code? I thought there were only the Rules!"
Eddie shook his head, "Dude, you've never heard of the Code? Where have you been, living under a rock?" Micah scanned the group, and saw them all nodding in agreement, even Sydney.
"Oh, no. Oh, no no no no! This can't be real. This has to be a dream. Someone punch me!" There was a resounding noise of flesh hitting flesh. "Ow, Eddie, it didn't have to be that hard!"
Angeline grabbed the smoothie she had left on the picnic bench and slurped up some Strawberry Kiwi. "Does this give anyone else déjà vu?"
A/N: And, roll credits! Yes, yes, we are done! Thank you to my fans, etcetera etcetera. That's all and good night, up until I have something new to publish. Oh, and have a Happy End of The World As We Know It, or Christmas 2012, whichever comes first.
P.S. – Note to readers who reread this in the future, if there is a future: this last chapter was published on 12/21/2012. Look it up if you're feeling peckish. It's good for laughs.