Author notes: I do not own these characters. This is based upon characters from the movie The Hamiltons. It takes place about six years before the events of the movie.

It didn't take astute powers of observation for Darlene to figure out that her twin was into their classmate, Cristina Watson. Wherever she happened to be sitting in the three classes she shared with them both- freshman PE, algebra, and study hall- Wendell would automatically situate himself so he was close to Cristina, preferably just behind her, within easy range of interacting with her. Or at the very least, where he could easily see her and any slight movement she might make.

To Darlene, his interest in this particular girl was somewhat puzzling, and more than a little exasperating. Granted, it seemed that Cristina was generally admired for her looks, though she never seemed to be dating, because there was never any shortage of a guy trying to work his way into her pants. But the girl was such a goody-two-shoes that she never gave any of them the time of the day, let alone access to her precious panties, and it was obvious that she thought herself to be much better than the whole lot of them. Darlene didn't even think the stuck-up little snit was particularly attractive, at least not as Darlene viewed attractiveness. In Darlene's opinion, Cristina was very boring and bland in her appearance, never wearing clothing that could be construed as daring or different, never fixing her boring-brown hair any differently than wearing it up or wearing it down. Why her brother was so fascinated with her was something of a mystery to her.

Unless it was simply that Wendell was drawn in by the thought of changing Cristina, corrupting her, finally marring the steadiness to her, the lack of change in her presentation of herself. Unless he considered her to be a decent challenge for himself. Most fifteen-year-olds would be content with taking whoever would have them, regardless of their level of interest, but not Wendell Hamilton- and when it came down to it, not Darlene either. It was much more entertaining for her to feel that she was truly working to obtain what it was she had decided she wanted.

She watched with faintly narrowed eyes, frequently rolling them towards the ceiling, as her twin positioned himself in a seat just behind Cristina's in their algebra class, concentrating much harder on making his presence known to Cristina than on anything their droning instructor was attempting to convey to them. Wendell occasionally lightly kicked Cristina's chair at its seat, then, when she turned to look at him, gave her a smile that was intended to convey both presumed innocence and devilish enjoyment at having disturbed her. He slipped her a piece of gum onto her desk at her elbow, though he knew that chewing gum was not allowed in the classroom, and seemed satisfied when she quickly slipped it into her pocket without so much as glancing back at him. And when he reached out to lightly finger the tips of Cristina's hair, so carefully that Cristina only noticed the third time rather than the first or second ones, Darlene saw that he had caught his breath, that his hand was shaking slightly, as if he were struggling for control.

Wendell was pushing himself, perhaps testing himself…or more likely, he was enjoying drawing closer and closer to the edge, seeing just how far it was he could press against it before he finally had to cross the line. It was somewhat amusing, but it was something that would give their parents, if not Darlene herself, would be concerned about.

"You have to be careful, Wendell, Darlene," they had warned them both as they became teenagers, and then again, with more urgency, as they entered their first year of high school. "You are both growing up now, and the time is coming where you will have many urges- strong urges, almost overpowering ones. And one day you will give in to those urges, and the consequences can be very serious indeed. You must be careful, very careful."

But careful was not a word that was often associated with Darlene or Wendell Hamilton, and it certainly wasn't one that they intended to guide their lives or actions by. Careful was for David, their dweeby 19-year-old brother, certainly not for them. Taking risks, rolling the dice, letting the chips fall as they may, that was what being a teenager was about, wasn't it? And if you were a Hamilton, then it was all the more reason why you couldn't let yourself be governed by caution. It was simply against their innermost nature.

No, it wasn't concern that bothered Darlene about Wendell's interest in this Cristina…what was twisting and coiling itself tightly in her gut was plain, simple jealousy. How could he have any interest at all in a girl like Cristina when she was absolutely nothing at all like Darlene?

She intended to ask him that the second she had an opportunity to do so, the moment that she could bring it up without the prying eyes and ears of other students getting in between. It was an annoying but unchangeable fact about their classmates that they were simply different than herself, Wendell, and the rest of their family. They would never be able to understand the way their family operated, the relationship she had with Wendell, both which seemed entirely natural to Darlene. They were just another of the many, many things that their parents had warned them about…some things just weren't mean to be shared, and apparently, the fact that she had what outsiders would undoubtedly term an incestuous relationship with her twin brother was one of those things.

Silly, really, but then, Darlene had given up attempting to understand more conventional humans around the same time she and Wendell had been let out of the box. It was easier to accept things as they were, to let their brother David play the philosopher. And it left life a lot more open for making their own fun.

She was certain that Wendell had let himself get out in volleyball not to keep her company on the sidelines, like he usually might, but rather to let himself have open reign to gawk at Cristina in her gym shorts as much as he liked without being required to pretend he was participating in actually playing. Darlene herself, of course, had not dressed out for class and so had been directed as usual to stand or sit on the sidelines, not allowed to participate. This was hardly a punishment or consequence to her, as she had no interest whatsoever in putting herself in mismatched athletic clothing, removing her heavy rings, bracelets, and the dog collar she generally wore around her neck, and throwing herself among other adrenalized teenagers, attempting to dodge or to hit others with a spongy ball.

Watching her brother watching Cristina, the familiar faint jealousy stirred itself within her again, and Darlene sidled up to him, placing one hand on her shoulder and squeezing with light yet firm pressure as she too locked eyes on the object of his attention. She kept her voice low as she tilted her face upward, directing her words towards his ear.

"She's a twit, Wendell."

"Doesn't mean she's not easy on the eyes, and probably other parts," Wendell murmured back, his eyes shifting only briefly to his smaller twin before he shifted them back towards Cristina, and Darlene's jaw clinched.

"Like she'd ever have you."

"She will." Wendell's tone was certain. This only heightened Darlene's irritation as her hand pressed down harder on his shoulder, nails digging in subtly.

"Why do you even want her?"

"Why does it bother you? Jealous?" he shot back, turning his head now to look at her full on, and the slight smirk curving his lips, the knowing, self-satisfied glint in his eyes, infuriated Darlene more than any exchange passing between them before. It might be perfectly true, what he was saying, but that didn't mean she had to acknowledge it aloud.

She chose instead to twist the focus of their conversation, turning her head deliberately so that she too was watching Cristina rather than looking at her twin.

"You wouldn't even know how to get what you wanted from her. I could do a better job seducing her than YOU could."

At this Wendell raised an eyebrow, his interest now shifting to her rather than Cristina. That in and of itself was a minor victory.

"Oh, you think so?"

"No," Darlene shook her head, her darkly lipsticked lips slowly curving into a smirking smile as she lightly yet subtly caressed her thumb over her brother's shoulder. "I know so."

Wendell held her dark blue gaze with his own, and he too smiled, slow, silent, almost malevolent in its demeanor as he nodded.

"Do it then, Darlene. I dare you."

"Double dog dare me?" Darlene's smile widened, and Wendell shook his head, putting one hand on her wrist and lightly squeezing with the same pressure that she exerted on him, feeling her pulse spike beneath his touch.

"No. Triple."

"Triple dog dare…well, I can't very well turn that down, can I?" Darlene laughed slightly as she removed her hand from Wendell, lightly shoving at his wrist so he removed his as well. She leaned close to his ear again as she almost whispered, "Let's make it really interesting…why don't we have a competition? See which of us can pull her away from the others' dogged efforts?"

Wendell gave a faint tut of amusement at her pun, but his eyes had shifted back to regard Cristina again as he nodded.

"You have yourself a deal."

"Good," Darlene smiled, satisfied, her own eyes shifting to Cristina, just in time to see her finally get hit by one of the spongy balls she had until this point so successfully dodged. "And it looks like it's starting now."