[[Yay, my first young Hershel, Randall and Angela fanfic :D And what a surprise, not a spoiler in sight!]]

Study Buddies

Angela loved Randall to bits— and she would never change a thing about him— but there were times when his stubborn personality became too much even for her to handle.

This was one of those times.

She sighed as Randall started drawing his latest artefact fascination (what appeared to be an ancient mask) in the corner of their English report. They had to write a one thousand word essay on William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream by tomorrow. The problem was that Randall abhorred reading anything that wasn't linked to the topic of archaeology or (per chance) history.

"Come on Randy, focus."

"Alright, alright. I'm trying." With a huff, Randall stopped doodling. However, after five minutes he was balancing his pen above his nose like a seal. "Hey Angela, look what I can do!"

Angela couldn't help the giggle that escaped her mouth. She'd thought they'd be able to do their homework properly if they worked in the quiet environment of the St Burns school library. But Randall's antics always managed to distract her. She swiped the pen from the tip of his nose. "I'm serious. Mrs Lawson will have our heads if we don't finish this." The satanic English teacher had thrown them in detention the last time she goofed off with Randall.

"Sorry," her boyfriend pouted "I'm just so boooored. We should be outside right how having adventures. Not stuck in this stuffy old place."

"I know," Angela agreed. She cast a longing look out the large arched window. The luckier students (at least the ones who didn't leave their homework to the last minute) were already strolling home, enjoying the late afternoon sunshine. "But the sooner we get this done, the sooner we'll be free," she said sternly, opening the book and returning his attention to the paper on the desk. "Right, back to the essay question: What is the significance of Nick Bottom's character in the play...? Randall!"

He was rocking back in his chair with his hands behind his head and his feet up on the table. Opening one lazy eye, he smirked. "Nick Bottom— that's a funny name."

"Can you stop acting so immature?" Angela said irately "If I'd known you were going to be like this, I would have chosen Mary for a partner instead."

Hurt by her words, Randall sat up straight and scowled. "Maybe you should have gone with stick-in-the-mud Mary," he muttered.

"Don't talk about my friend like that!" she snapped.

Shrugging, the red head grabbed his orange rucksack and stood up. "This work is pointless. I'm going to brush up on some archaeology— a topic that might actually come in handy for me when I'm older."

"Fine, I don't need your help!" Angela glared at Randall's retreating form until he'd disappeared between the tall shelves. Fuming, she picked up her pen and stabbed it into her paper. It's always about archaeology with him she thought furiously. He never stops to consider anything else!

"Hello, Angela."

Angela looked up, easily recognising the brown mane of hair over the huge stack of books. She said "Hi, Hershel."

"May I sit here?" Her friend requested, nodding to Randall's empty chair.

"Of course, you don't have to ask," Angela replied. (Did he really believe she would turn him away?)

With a relieved smile, Hershel placed his heavy book load on the desk and took the seat. His smile became a look of concern when he regarded her. "Are you alright?"

She sighed "It's just... Randall..."

"Care to explain?"

"We were meant to do this essay together," Angela sniffed "But all he cares about is his archaeology. I just wish... he would think of me more often."

"You know how much Randall cares for you," Hershel pointed out, always the voice of reason "Sometimes you're the only thing he'll talk about."

"Really?" she glanced at him in surprise. Hershel's face was so sincere; she knew he would never lie, even when he was trying to make her feel better. Angela smiled and apologized quickly "I'm sorry; I was dumping all of my silly worries on you. I'll let you get back to your work."

Hershel shook his head, smiling again. "Its fine, I'm not working anyway. I just came to bring back some books."

Angela stared at his collection of novels in shock. Where does he find the time to read this much with the amount of studying that he does? This suddenly gave her an idea. "Hershel..." She began in a pleading tone.


"Have you read A Midsummer Night's Dream by any chance?"

It turned out he had, along with the majority of Shakespeare's other plays.

"In conclusion, the main role of Nick Bottom is to provide comic relief throughout A Midsummer Night's Dream," Hershel stated half an hour later.

Angela eagerly wrote down the last line of her completed one thousand word essay. She beamed at him. "I can't thank you enough, Hershel. You should really become a teacher, or a tutor. This will at least get me an A grade for sure!"

Hershel coughed and tugged at his tie. "Well, I wouldn't say it's that good..."

"Don't put yourself down, you're a genius!" She flung her arms around his neck.

Hershel's cheeks reddened and he stuttered in shock "A-A-Angela...!"

A voice suddenly demanded "Oi Layton, what do you think you're doing with my girlfriend?" Randall had returned from the archaeology section, glowering at the two of them with his arms folded.

"Randall," Angela gasped.

"I-It's not what it l-looks like Randall, honestly!" Hershel insisted.

Randall's glare melted into a grin. "Pfffft~!" He burst out laughing. "Your face, Hersh! It's priceless." Hershel sighed with relief as Randall wiped a tear from his eye, still sniggering. He turned to Angela. "Angie, I'm really sorry about earlier... but you'll never guess what I just found— a book all about an ancient advanced civilisation. I think it would be perfect for Mr Collins' class!"

He had already forgotten their little tiff in his excitement, Angela realized. Well, girls were more likely to hold grudges. Randall was going to have to step it up if he wanted her forgiveness anytime soon.

"Sooo... did you finish the essay?" Randall asked hopefully.

"Why yes," Angela smiled at him wryly. "Hershel was kind enough to help me."

Randall's gaze flicked to his best friend quickly and back to Angela as she started to pack her book into her bag. "And... would you mind if I copied you, pretty please?"

Angela looked thoughtful. "Hmm... Maybe later." She smiled at her studious companion. "Thanks again for all your help, Hershel. I owe you one."

"It's no prob-" Hershel froze midsentence as Angela planted a grateful kiss on his cheek. He sat there, eyes wide and mouth ajar. Still smiling, Angela picked up her bag and walked out of the library without another word to either of the boys.

Randall's jealous reaction couldn't have been more perfect. He ran after her shouting "Angela! What was that all about?"

[[By the way, its been over a year since I started writing The Layton, The Witch and The Top Hat. *Balloons and streamers fall from the sky.*

Clive: You couldn't mention that when you were updating L,W&TH?

I forgot ok! T_T]]