Awww, look. I can write cute things. I didn't even realize I could. And there's a cover somewhere that I made... alas, maybe later.

Ownership disclaimed. I only own the actual writing.

Jaime looked out at the playground, eyes wide with fear. It was his first day at Little League, the leading elementary school in the area for "gifted" children. He balked at the doors, refusing to move forward despite the gentle encouragements of Ms. Lance. Finally, she gave him a gentle push, and he stumbled forward, nearly tripping down the stairs. He looked at the other children, running around and screaming with unabashed joy.

Too loud, way too loud… Jaime looked from group to group, trying to find somewhere to start. His mama had told him to step out and make new friends, but it was hard. He walked around a little, his stuffed beetle clutched firmly in his arms. He buried his face in its soft shell. "Khaji, what do I do?"

"Hi there!" He turned and found himself facing a small group of friends. A boy in a red shirt stood slightly behind a blond girl. She had a bright smile, and her eyes sparkled at the prospect of a new friend. "You're the new kid, right? My name's Cassie."

"H-hi," Jaime stuttered. "I'm Jai— "

"Is that a bug?" She pointed at Khaji Da.

"Wha— "

"Why do you have a big bug?" She made a face, and his heart sank. Most people thought he was weird for carrying it around.


"Cassie, that's not a nice question," the red-shirted boy finally piped up. He smiled shyly at the blue-shirted boy. "I'm Tim."

"'S'not mean, I'm just saying," she replied, a slight pout resting on her pink lips. "So why d'you have a bug?"

Jaime pursed his lips together. "He-he's my friend."

"You're friends with a bug?" Cassie laughed loudly. Jaime felt his cheeks burn. "That's kinda weird."

"Cassie— "Tim started to rebuke, but she cut him off.

"C'mon Timmy, let's go! Kon's tryin' to climb the monkey bars." She grabbed the other boy's hand and ran towards the monkey bars, leaving Jaime standing there alone, clutching his blue beetle.

The Hispanic boy pouted slightly, walking after them quietly. Neither seemed aware of his presence. He bit his lip, turning on his heels and walking in a different direction. He sat under the giant tree, leaning up against the thick trunk. He looked up at the low-lying branches, trying to find the sun through the leaves.

Suddenly, a face appeared. "Hi!" the face practically yelled into Jaime's. Jaime panicked, scuttling backwards and bumping into the trunk. He screamed loudly in fear, panicking the other boy. The brunette fell out of the tree, hitting his head on the soft, grassy dirt.

"Are you okay?" Jaime asked, bravely scooting closer. The boy was smiling broadly, green eyes alight with life. His yellow and red shirt was stained with dirt, and his arms had a few scratches from rough tree bark. Jaime gently reached out.

"Never better!" He pulled back, taken aback by the bright effervescence of the brunette, who rubbed some dirt off his cheek. "I'm Bart! You're the new kid, right?" Jaime nodded dumbly. "Ooh, the teacher said your name. Lemme see…" He stopped, pursing his lips together in a silly attempt at a pensive look. "Jamie, right?"

The Hispanic boy winced. People always mispronounced his name. "I-it's actually Jaime…"

"Oh." He puffed out his cheeks and deflated them, blowing a stray lock of hair out of his eyes. "Sorry," he grinned sheepishly.

"'S'okay, hermano." Jaime smiled. Was this friendship?

"Her-man-oh?" It felt nice, like warm hot chocolate and cookies. "What's a her-man-oh?"

"It's like 'brother,' but in Spanish. It's what I call friends." Not that he had many. Or any. The few kids his age that he had met thought he was weird.

"Neato, so we're friends!" He beamed, then noticed the toy clutched in Jaime's hand. "Why're you carrying a bug?"

Jaime sucked in his cheeks. This was usually the part that scared away everyone else. "It's a…gift, I guess. His name is Khaji Da."

A beat of silence. Two beats. "Cool! Can I see?"

Jaime's eyes widened. Nobody had ever called Khaji "cool." "S-sure, I guess." He handed it to the energetic boy, who held it up and examined it with a childish attempt at severity.

"Well, he's quite—" Brrrring! The shrill bell cut into Bart's response. "Aw man, recess is over," Bart pouted, popping up from the ground without Jaime's help. "But it's arts 'n crafts, so that'll be fun!" He flashed a bright smile, and Jaime felt that same warmth inside. "You wanna sit with me?"

Jaime fought the urge to look around and see if the boy was talking to someone else. It was his first day in school, and he already had a first friend. Man, this was exciting! "Sure," he replied, a smile settling comfortably on his face.

He jogged after the boy in the red and yellow shirt who had sprinted ahead of him. By the time he reached the school door, he was huffing and out of breath; Bart didn't look like he had broken a sweat. Miss Lance opened the door, letting in thirteen first-graders into the once-still classroom. Bart was already in his seat when Jaime entered. He dragged a chair from one of the larger tables to the small, square table where Bart sat. Bart was already pulling out a paper from the stack on the table as Miss Lance started explaining the activity.

Bart was chattering on and on, going from cookies to his super-cool dad to all sorts of other topics. His words tumbled out of his mouth, and Jaime could hardly follow the conversation, smiling and nodding as the fast-moving brunette continued to talk and draw. It was nice, having the constant buzz of conversation in his ear as he drew a picture.

"—and they're seriously the best cookies ever, and—hey, what are you drawing?" He pushed over slightly, leaning so his chin rested on Jaime's shoulder. He snatched the paper from under the red crayon. Jaime protested as Bart turned away, holding the drawing up and inspecting it.

"Hey! Give that back!" Jaime reached over the brunette's shoulder, but Bart ducked away from his grasp. "It's not that good, so don't make fun of it." The Hispanic boy pouted slightly, waiting for the inevitable mockery.

"Make fun of it? But it's good!" Bart tilted his head slightly, incredulous as he handed the drawing back to Jaime. Jaime's cheeks burned slightly as he examined the drawing. It was of him and Bart, complete potato bodies and scribbled hair. "I can't draw that good, but I drew us too!" Bart held his picture to Jaime's face. He leaned back, threatening to fall out of his chair, as he examined the crudely drawn image. Jaime grinned at the image. The sun smiled down on their twiggy, faceless figures.

"No, it's good! Just as good as mine!" Jaime turned his drawing over and scrawled onto the manila paper "to Bart." His t's weren't too good, but the message was good enough. He handed the picture to Bart. "Here, now you have a gift!"

Bart's eyes sparkled as he examined the drawing again. "Wow," he breathed, his voice barely a whisper, far quieter than his usual bluster. "I've never gotten a drawing of me before." He blinked, putting down the drawing with child-like reverence, and turned his paper over, grabbing an orange crayon from the plastic storage box. He quickly scrawled "to Jamie" in barely legible print. He proudly thrust the paper into Jaime's hand. Jaime was so stunned that he didn't bother pointing out the misspelling.

"Wow. Thanks." He smiled broadly at Bart, putting down the drawing on the table. The two held eye contact, both pairs of eyes threatening to outshine each other. Bart darted forward, enveloping the other boy into a hug. Jaime pulled back slightly, startled by the sudden movement, but he too hugged the boy.

"You're my best friend now, right?" Bart asked.

"Course," Jaime replied simply.

"Good. I don't think I've ever had a best friend before."

"Neither have I."

"Best her-man-ohs forever."

Ugh, talk about a toothache. Written on dA as a prize for the winter contest. I never got around to posting here... Please review!