Written in June 2013

Argh. In a Deuce & Cleo mood (specifically Deuce-centric), but couldn't find anything new so had to…write it…myself…and it's awful. *sobs*

But you can read it anyway if you feel like it because I crave attention. (And there are a few extra Author's notes at the end.)

Public Displays

"Clawd, dude, did you have to do that in the middle of the hall before class?" Deuce asked. He closed his eyes and removed his glasses so he could rub his eyelids and the space between them. The gorgon flipped his glasses back on and glared as his friend through the black lenses. "Not cool, Bro."

"What?" Clawd asked, the fur on his neck standing on end. He slammed his locker closed. He took a few moments to try and figure out what Deuce was even talking about. After a few moments it hit the werewolf, and his eyebrows narrowed. "You have a problem with me getting Draculaura a present? What business of it is yours?"

"I don't have a problem with you getting your ghoul a present, dude," Deuce said, itching the back of his neck where the skin and scales met. He pet the head of a snake pecking at his fingertips. "I have a problem with you getting her a bright, sparkly necklace in the middle of the hallway where everyone can see! Do you have any idea how fast that'll get around the school to Cleo?"

"What's Cleo have to do with anything?"

Deuce sighed, the snakes on his head hissing wildly. He snapped his fingers, distracting their attention. "You were absurdly romantic, publically, and the entire school is going to be talking about it."

"Again, So?" Claud asked, his ears flattening against his head. Clawdeen had said it would be a good idea. And Draculaur loved the present! What was Deuce so upset about? "You've lost me."

"Cleo hates being second to anything! If I don't come up with a present or grand gesture to one-up you pronto, Cleo's going to get crazy jealous. She'll yell, and demand I do something to make it better. It's that stupid festival with you winning prizes all over again! Can't you be romantic with Draculaura in private?"

"That's messed up," Clawd snorted. "You two are such total opposites. Cleo's mean, uptight, and demanding. And you, you're chill and nice. Your best friend is even a normie! I really don't know how you put up with her, man."

"Oh, please. Cleo is not that bad. She just likes attention, and I have no problem with that," Deuce snorted. "I'm only mad because I'm short on cash, and you guys know that! Which is why you should be a bro, and be romantic off school grounds. I really can't afford to one-up you in the jewelry department right now."

"That is still really messed up," Clawd said, rolling his eyes. "I'm surprised she doesn't just buy her own super-expensive and flashy necklace, and then make you give it to her in public."

"She only did that once, dude," Deuce said.

Clawd's ears perked up. "Seriously?"

"No," Deuce kicked the wolf in the shin. He didn't stop the snakes from hissing on his head this time. "She's never done anything like that. Yelled at me to do something for her? Yes. Pre-planned public events? No. So back off, would you? I get really sick of folks picking on Cleo for being Cleo."

"Well, she does boss you around all the time." Clawd walked away from the lockers and headed down the hallway. "And jump to conclusions."

"Like Draculaura doesn't?" Deuce raised an eyebrow under his glasses. "Don't take this the wrong way dude, but your ghoul is easily as bad as Cleo if you're going to play that game. I'm wearing shades, not blind."

"She is not—" Clawd cut himself off. He rubbed his mouth, and sucked in a harsh breath. "Let's not compare girlfriends. That isn't right."

"Fine with me," Deuce said, his voice tight. He bit the edge of his lip and almost said something more, but held it in.

The two reached the end of the hallway, and Deuce waved to Jackson waiting at the end for their next class. But he couldn't go just yet. Holding it in wasn't good enough. Deuce turned to Clawd before he could head the other direction. "One more thing, though."


"I lied earlier," Deuce grabbed the collar of Clawd's jacket and pulled him down to eye level. "I have plenty of cash to buy Cleo a necklace. It was just some stupid excuse to get you to back off, because if I give her something now, it'll look like I'm copying you. That's not how it works. The popular couple doesn't copy other people. They set the trend, making them the center of attention. Draculaura just became the center of attention, not Cleo. And when Cleo isn't the center of attention, she gets upset. When Cleo's upset, I'm upset. You pull a grand romantic gesture in the hallway like that again, and you're going to regret it."

Clawd growled, but stopped when Deuce's glasses moved the tinest crack down revealing a fierce green glow. He was deadly serious, and his anger radiated off him enough to feel the heat through Clawd's fur.

"Am I clear?" Deuce hissed alongside every single snake in a threatening chorus.

"Yeah," Clawd shoved the gorgon's hand off his person. He straightened his letter jacket and growled reflexively. "Guess I was wrong though, you two have more in common than I thought."

"Maybe," Deuce shoved his hands in his pockets and forced his body to relax. He dropped his shoulders and tried to look sheepish. He coughed into his hand and prented to 'gather himself' before he scared Clawd off too badly. "Sorry, lost my cool a little there. See you, later?"

"I guess," Clawd huffed. He stalked off toward his class and shook his head. The both of them were crazy.

He dropped the loose guise, and frowned again. The Wolf wasn't supposed to have a romantic bone in his body and he pulls that off? Deuce sighed, and turned toward class. He tapped down the hallway toward his normie buddy. "Jackson, dude. You get it?"

"Yeah," Jackson said. He dug through his pockets and pulled out a small black bag. "No one ever notices me in class, so it was easy to sneak out."

"Thanks," Deuce said, holding out his hand.

Jackson deposited the small bundle he'd been sent to fetch the second Deuce heard Draculaura screaming in the hallway and showing off her new bright pink heart necklace. Deuce opened the bag, and the golden necklace spilled out into his hand. A snake charm hung on the end, half wrapped around the braided chain. It was at least three times as expensive as the one Draculaura had gotten.

"Good job," Deuce said, slapping his friend on the back. "It's perfect."

"Any time, buddy," Jackson said. He shuffled, tucking the one side of his shirt back into his pants. "When are you going to give it to Cleo?"

"Tonight," Deuce said. "I'm going to take her out to that new restaurant downtown immediately after school. My mom used a connection to get us a table."

"The really fancy one with the crystal dish ware where you need reservations a month in advance?" Jackson asked, eyes wide.

"Yup," Deuce grinned. If he figured right, everyone in the school would have that same wide-eyed gape on their face tomorrow. "I'm even dressing up for the occasion."

"Wow, she'll be talking about that for weeks!"

"I know," Deuce said. He threw his arm around Jackson's shoulder and held the necklace up in front of his face. A snake slithered down the chain and tapped the golden charm. He loved it when Cleo wore snakes. Deuce grinned, tilting his head so that it rested against Jackson's. "That's the plan."

(End Author Notes: And that's it! My brother and I like to joke that Deuce gets a real mean streak when he's trying to impress Cleo [ex. turning carnival games to stone trying to make her laugh]. So, that line of thought really influences my thoughts on Deuce & I really wanted to highlight that part of him.)