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 I Hate You, I Really Do

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Posts : 8172
Join date : 2010-09-22
Age : 27
Location : Under Your Bed

PostSubject: I Hate You, I Really Do   2012-01-11, 4:48 am

The Foster household was an interesting one, whether you lived there, or were just looking in. James Foster was the head of house, and father of two of the people living there, Nadia and Graham. The dynamic of the family was a little odd itself. James was married to a woman named Saria, who was the mother of Nadia.

Then...there was Helen Stanford, mother of Darren and Graham Stanford, and, in simple terms, James' mistress. How the two women managed to get along, nobody knew, but they had done so for years. The family lived on a large estate with two manor's, James being an extremely successful businessman.

Oddly, Nadia and Graham hadn't known that they were related until two years ago, finding out when Darren, Helen's oldest son from a previous marriage of hers, got married to Kara Sayle. Despite the oddities, things were peaceful. Mostly.

When Graham awoke in the morning, he did so to his sister dropping an envelope into his lap.

He stared.

“What am I supposed to do with this?”

“Open it.”

“It's addressed to you.”

“An astute observation. Now open it.” Despite his sister's words, she looked decisively uncomfortable.

“...What did you do this time?”

Nadia fidgeted. “Nothing.”

“Then why are you afraid Kara's father sent you a letter bomb?”

“I didn't mean to, I swear!” Nadia blurted out. “But I was bored, and Darren was busy, and she was standing there, and I just acted without thinking! And anyway, you can't blame me - she always acts like something has crawled up her ass and died!”

Graham needed several seconds to process the information. “Are you telling me you came on to Kara?”

“I only wanted to see another expression on her face for once!” Nadia defended. “I will admit that the means were slightly unconventional, but it's her fault!”

“...I think I'm going to be sick.”

“That's fine - as long as you open that letter first. No, wait, do it after I have left the area. If this was a false alarm and he doesn't know anything, tell me later. If not... do you think hiding behind Mom for the rest of my life would help?”

“That depends. How long do you want this 'rest' to be?”

“Oh God,” Nadia groaned, “I'm dead, aren't I?”

“Look at it this way: at least you didn't try anything on Kara's mom.”

Nadia coughed. “Actually...”

“Are you serious? She's not even here!”

“Well... she picked up the phone that one time...”

“Is there anyone I know besides Darren that you wouldn't jump?”

“...My mother?”

“Don't make it sound like a question!”


About thirty minutes later, Nadia brought a...guest, to Graham's room.

“What... is that?”

“Hm...” Nadia tapped her chin. “How to put it in a way you would understand?” She smiled. Canis lupus familiaris. A canid belonging to the order Carnivora, and the domestic form of the Canis lupus, more commonly known as gray wolf. Us normal people with restricted mental capabilities also tend to refer to it as dog, but of course, that would be too easy.”

“I can see what it is,” Graham said flatly. “What is it doing here?”

Nadia shifted her gaze to the animal. “Why, I believe it is is gnawing at your wardrobe.” She titled her head. “Do you think it might be expressing its disapproval of your choice of attire?”

“In that case, I think it would be beneficial to its health if it kept its opinion to itself.”

Nadia rolled her eyes, but went over to the animal and picked it up. “Come here, Cleopatra. That horrible boy doesn't want you to speak your mind.”

“It's a dog,” Graham said. He paused. Cleopatra?”

“A pretty name for a pretty lady,” Nadia told him, as if it was the most normal thing in the world.

“It's a dog,” Graham repeated.

“She has a name. Please be so kind as to address her by it.”

“I am referring to it.”

“Her,” Nadia corrected and sat down next to him, the dog in her lap. It immediately wiggled out of her grasp and all but pressed its nose into Graham's face, who only barely managed to shove it away before it could slobber all over him.

“Get that thing out of my bed!”

“Would you stop that? You will hurt her feelings.” Nadia bent down to the dog and scratched its ears. “Don't listen to him, Cleopatra. He is socially retarded – he can't help it.”

Graham wondered if Nadia had finally lost it completely.

Apparently, his sister had followed his line of thought, because she looked up at him and grinned. “Ah, all right, I didn't propose to her yet, and neither did I pick her up at a ball. Mom found her while getting acquainted with the city, and because the poor thing's owner was nowhere to be found, she brought her here for now.” She raised both of the dog's paws, and it didn't do Graham the favor of biting off his sister's hands. “But she's cute, isn't she?”

“It's a poodle,” Graham said.

“If you keep stating the obvious, Cleopatra will begin to doubt your intelligence.”

“If she has been spending as much time in your company as it looks like, I'm sure she would take even..." He watched as a man on tv ran into a pole, "...that guy for a genius.”

Nadia held up a finger in admonishment. “You should not underhandedly insult peoples intelligence.”

“Ah, but doing so outrightly would imply a lack of etiquette, don't you think?”

“Indeed. Cleopatra could mistake you for an ill-mannered little brat and blame me for carelessly having brought her into unsophisticated company.”

“If you keep anthropomorphizing this dog, I will hit you.”

“Oh my. Make sure you don't accidentally poke me in the eye - it might actually hurt.”

Graham grimaced as the poodle –a not-quite middle-sized, white-coated beast whose fur probably had seen better days– attempted another assault, its small tail waggling stupidly as a wet pink tongue went straight for Graham's mouth. He leaned away just in time, shooting his sister an annoyed look.

Nadia obviously wasn't bothered, pulling the dog back without haste and petting it. “Well, no one can say she doesn't have taste.”

“This is disgusting.”

“Don't be crude.” Graham watched his sister merrily wave the dog's paw at him, wondering if suddenly waking up in an insane asylum one morning would feel something like this.

“Oh, she's so cute!” Nadia cooed. Actually cooed. “I think I will adopt her!”

“Out. Now.”

“But Graham, isn't she adorable?”


Nadia sighed, but didn't even look at him as she got up. “Come, Cleopatra. Uncle Graham is being grumpy – he feels you threaten his masculinity!”

Graham wordlessly buried his head in the pillow. Unfortunaltely for him, Nadia -and Cleopatra- were back in a little under two hours.


“What do you think?” Nadia asked cheerfully, as she presented the dog, whose fur, only ontop of her head, was...

“It's pink,” Graham said, trying very hard not to sound incredulous.

“Yes! Isn't it lovely? I thought about applying the dye a bit more generously, but her fur is such a dazzling white – I just didn't have the heart. It looks like a little hat this way, doesn't it?”

Graham lowered the glass he had been about to drink from. “It looks so hideous that I wonder how you can call yourself an artist.”

To Graham's great chagrin, his sister directed her reply at the dog instead of him, “Did you hear that, Cleopatra? Mister Grumpy is being especially cranky this morning. Do you think something crawled up his ass and died, too? Oh my, but you really shouldn't have peed on Kara's shoes...”

Graham stared. “Peed on Kara's...”

“Shoes, yes,” Nadia turned back to him, a blithe smile on her face. “It was terribly amusing. Mom thought so, too – after she had gotten over the initial surprise and properly chided Cleopatra for it.”

“If that thing urinates anywhere near me-”

“Oh no,” Nadia assured him. “Cleopatra is a lady. She will wait until you have left the room – the thing with Kara was an accident. I think she was so shocked that someone could be that serious all the time that it just kind of-”


“All right - no details.”

“Thank you,” Graham said dryly.

“Ah, but don't worry! She likes you, so maybe she won't attempt to ruin your furniture.”

“It could convince me to not attempt to hand her over to the nearest butcher.”

“I think Mom's obvious attachments to her will suffice for that. And I'm sure YOUR mother will love her, too!”

“You will not bring that beast anywhere near my mother.”

“You're right – MY mom will do that. She is in far less danger of being strangled by you for a harmless, innocent deed.”


“Ah, think of your blood-pressure, little brother!”

Reminding himself that killing Nadia would not be beneficial, Graham took a deep breath.

And another one.

And when it still didn't help, he glared at the poodle sniffing at his chair. That damned dog had the nerve to not even notice. “Can't you go annoy someone else?” he asked his sister, who was standing right next to the little beast and smiling at it as a young mother might smile at their child – it was the kind of smile that would remain even if the beloved offspring threw its breakfast at a random stranger or stole a toy at a supermarket.

“I'm afraid not. Both our mom's are with dad, Kara might attempt to murder Cleopatra, -you never know with the silent ones who just lost their favorite shoes in a tragic accident- and Dad... well...”


“Ah... he said he would be going on a trip for vacation, and I have a feeling he won't be back for a while.”

Graham raised his brows. “I thought he was going to stay here at home for his vacation?”

“He was. It's just... ah... I don't think he likes Cleopatra very much.”

“Really? I would have expected him to pat her politely and pretend that you aren't an annoying moron.”

“Oh, he did that,” Nadia said, ignoring the insult. “However...”

“However?” Graham asked, using the precious moment of calm to take a sip from the glass he was still holding.

“He got a bit cross when she ate his underwear.”

Graham almost spat the water into his sister's face. What?”

His sister patted him on the back absently as he unsuccessfully tried to reign in his coughing fit. “You're right, that was the wrong word. Dad doesn't get 'cross'. Still, he wasn't very happy about it.”

“How did... no, wait. I don't want to know.”

“Thought so.”

Graham looked down suspiciously. When he found that the poodle was indeed inspecting his feet now, he grew slightly worried.

He rather liked his shoes.

“Would you mind removing that dog from my room now?” he asked.

Nadia seemed to ponder that for a moment before she finally shrugged. “Ah, all right. Her haircut isn't complete yet – I should use the time to do something productive.” She leaned down to kiss him, but Graham quickly foiled the attempt.

Putting a hand to his sister's chest, he decisively pushed her away. “You're worse than that mutt of yours. And I certainly won't have your mouth anywhere near me when you probably let that thing drool all over you.”

“Please,” Nadia scoffed. “You're the only person besides Mom that she has tried to jump so far – obviously, she is into the feminine ones.”

“And Dad's underwear. Now please leave, before I throw up.”

“Hm...,” he heard Nadia murmur as his sister picked up the dog. “Did you find dad's underwear to be feminine, Cleopatra? Now that I think about it, it was-” Thankfully, that was when the door closed behind her.

Graham didn't think he would open it again any time soon.


When Nadia intruded upon his room the next day, just a few hours before Graham intended to take his leave, he was extremely relieved to find that there was no annoying pet dog with her.

“Don't tell me she dumped you.”

“Don't be ridiculous,” Nadia said as she stepped inside. “I have never been 'dumped' in my life, and unlike certain people, Cleopatra isn't so socially challenged that she would not recognize pleasant company when she is graced with it. No, mom found her owner, so she's gone home.”

"Thank god, that thing won't be back then..."

“You're so predictable - it's a wonder the strategies you come up with aren't as painfully obvious.”

“Like yours, you mean?”

“Did your skip your etiquette lessons as frequently as you skip school?”

“At least I am enrolled in one.”

“I will let you know that home-schooling has much more class.”

“Really? Well, maybe, if you don't spend the whole time drawing.”

“It's not my fault the teachers were as exciting as a chess match with a chair.”

“And as educating, no doubt.”

“At least I recognize a dog when I see one.”

“I also have a habit of recognizing things with a level of intelligence similar to mine. Sadly, not everyone can lead a satisfactory conversation with a pet. Then again, I am talking to you, so I guess I'm in no position to criticize.”

“Oh, so I'm your pet now?” Nadia titled her head, smiling. “Well, I suppose I can live with that.”

“Yes, until I dye your hair pink and tell you it 'looks like a little hat',” Graham retorted, still unable to believe that anyone could be that deranged.

“Ah, if it's you, I wouldn't even bite you for it... too badly.” Nadia licked her lips demonstratively. “Would I also be allowed to 'drool all over you'?”

“Not before you have mastered 'quiet', 'down' and 'roll over'.”

“Hm... I think I could do that. What about 'speak', 'kiss' and 'come'?”

“Only if you're good.”

“Then maybe we should start practicing.” Nadia's tone of voice left no doubt as to which part she was referring to.

“All right,” Graham said, taking the folder he had been going through before he had been interrupted from the bedside table. “Quiet.”

“This is why you should never own a pet,” his sister noted, and Graham knew she was rolling her eyes. He felt the mattress shift, but didn't bother looking up.

There were several minutes of surprising but welcome silence before Nadia suddenly ducked under the document in Graham's hands and placed her head in his lap. When Graham raised a brow at her, his sister grinned.



An hour later, Graham set aside the folder he was reading from, and moved to get up. Nadia had other ideas.

“Can't you stay for a bit longer?”

“I don't think so.”

“But it's so boring here without anyone around!”

“Then maybe you shouldn't have chased off Dad and our moms.”

“You know you don't mean that.”

“That's because I'm not the one whining here. If you wanted someone to annoy, you should have considered the consequences of your actions.”

“You make it sound like I'm the one who ate his underwear.”

“I wouldn't put it past you.”

“Why, I'm flattered by the amount of thought you must have put into this matter before you arrived at that conclusion. Is that why you were reading so slowly?”

“Actually, I was contemplating the extent of your idiocy. I tried to remember occasions on which you have shown signs of intelligence, but ended up counting the ones on which the opposite was the case due to a lack of working material. Needless to say, it kept me busy for a while.”

“So you were thinking about me this whole time? Aw, that's so romantic! It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.”

“You really like twisting my words to fit your warped mind, don't you?”

Nadia flashed him a brilliant smile. “Of course.”

Graham rolled his eyes and put the already closed folder aside. “Would you mind getting off me now?”

“In fact, I would.” Nadia wrapped her arms around his legs and snuggled against him. “Don't leave yet.”

“Get off,” Graham ordered.

“But Graham, I will die of boredom!”

“I'm sure someone will be devastated. Now get off.”

Nadia rolled onto her back and looked up at him with eyes wide as those of a puppy asking for a treat. “Please?” she said in a voice that probably was supposed to sound pitiful. Graham had to admit it might even have worked on Dad – but that had less to do with Nadia's acting skills than with their father's willingness to let himself be swayed by them.

Graham, on the other hand, had no intention of falling for such an obvious attempt to manipulate him.

“Stop being pathetic. Even if I wanted to, -which, I assure you, is not the case- I couldn't stay. I'm going down to the park in a few hours to go for a run, and if you think I'll just abandon much needed excercise, you are really more of an idiot than I thought. For the sake of everyone who has to tolerate you, I seriously hope that that's not possible.”

But Nadia didn't even appear to have heard the last part. “Hours?”

“Don't even think about it. I have things to do.”

“Hm...” murmured Nadia and lifted her head. “Is that so?”

“What a-... oh no, you don't.”

“Ah, much more comfortable this way, don't you think?”

“If you don't move this instant-”

“Like this?” his sister asked innocently.

Graham bit back a moan when Nadia's head pressed against a part of his body that certainly wasn't a cushion. “I'm serious,” he hissed through gritted teeth. “If you don't-”

“Oh my, don't get all grumpy again.” His sister rolled back onto the side, this time facing him, and Graham continued to glare at him even as the pressure on that spot disappeared. Nadia only smiled. “Ah, I wouldn't want to risk your wrath. After all, I rather like my special privileges - I make a good lap dog, wouldn't you say? Then again, I'm good at everything, so that's not really surprising.”

“Everything that doesn't require the use of brain cells or common sense, you mean.”

“I always thought common sense was overrated. It's common, after all. Employing it would go against my principles.”

“I noticed. Now get off, before I end up destroying what little intellectual capacities you have left.”

“You know,” Nadia said, “I think that is the most flowery paraphrase for 'fucking you senseless' I have ever heard.”

Graham fought the urge to violently rub his temples. Fleetingly, he wondered whether being exposed to unusual amounts of stupidity for prolonged periods of time could result in a severe case of migraine. “I can't believe you just said that.”

“Why?” Nadia asked curiously. “Because it lacked eloquence?”

Because,” Graham said, “I obviously underestimated the extent of your stupidity.”

“After all those years, you still have faith in my sense of decency? That's kind of sad. Or cute, depending on how you look at it.”

“If anything, I had faith in the overly optimistic belief that there is no such thing as a negative intelligence quotient. Now get off.” He attempted to give his sister a non-too gentle shove to emphasize his point, but Nadia caught his wrists before he could do so much as touch her. When the violet haired woman let go again a few seconds later, it was only to wrap an arm around her younger brother's waist and smile up at him in a way that made Graham want to punch her.

“Ah, don't be so cold. Just one more hour?”

Graham narrowed his eyes. If his sister thought she could talk him into going along with her every whim like she did with everyone else, then she was in for a rude awakening. “I'm not going to repeat myself,” he stated coldly, pushing Nadia's arm off and straightening his shoulders. He would not allow his schedule to get messed up by a clingy moron – and if he had to personally throw her off and onto the floor, he would.

His sister lowered her head, seemingly in defeat, and Graham felt the corner of his lips curve in the beginning of a triumphant smirk. But before he could truly enjoy his victory, Nadia looked up again – and Graham stared. “So I'm not even worth one twenty-fourth part of your day?” To his horror, there were tears in his sister's eyes. “I knew it - you never loved me! You just wanted my body!”

Graham kept staring.

Nadia wasn't done yet. “You only care about the sex, not about me! But it's not my fault that I can get men and women to orgasm with my voice alone, or that I am so beautiful that not even Kara can look anywhere else when I redecorate her room! I want to be loved for me, not the fact that there is no one in this world with a face more beautiful than mine or a personality of comparable charm. But you... you... you just want Cleopatra!”


“I have seen the way you look at her! And at Kara's shoes! You don't need to hide it – I already know. You cheated on me with Kara's shoes!”


“Oh,” Nadia said dramatically, “if only I had realized it sooner!” She paused. “I would have placed a camera inside her room. And maybe dad's underwear... I like dad's underwear.” Somehow, Nadia managed to keep looking miserable while she digressed. “Say, do you think it means something that he always has those delightful-”

“All right! All right, just... shut up!”

His sister's expression instantly changed. “You'll stay?”

“One hour,” Graham said, secretly relieved that Nadia had not finished that sentence... and stopped with the theatrics. “Not one second longer.”

His sister beamed. “You care, after all!” she exclaimed, quite literally jumping him. “That's so sweet!”

Graham didn't even try to fight, letting Nadia push him onto the mattress and only giving a resigned sigh as his sister made herself comfortable on his chest.

It wasn't long until Nadia closed her eyes contently, and after a moment of hesitation, Graham did the same.

This way, at least he wouldn't have to listen to his sister's annoying voice.

"Your bed isn't very comfortable."


"Then leave."

"But I've already made myself at home..."

“Who even said you could make yourself at home in my bed?”

“As they say, it's easier to ask forgiveness than permission. Then again, with you it's pretty much a lose-lose situation... oh well. Are you coming, or should I start counting sheep? I could give them cute little names.... there goes Bonny. And Gracie. And Little Graham didn't make it over the fence. Oh my, I think he broke his leg...”

“If you want to fantasize about sheep, go ahead - but be so kind as to keep the details to yourself.”

“You're just jealous he even got to the fence. But don't worry, I'm sure if you gave it your all, you'd manage at least half of his achievement before dropping dead! Or you could approach the fence really, really slowly and then beat him by climbing over it like the physically challenged genius you are. No, wait, you might still break your leg... better burn it down. Those things are never made of anything but wood, anyway – it should work.”

“If you keep contemplating this ridiculous scenario, I will be able to just use your dead body as a ladder.”

“Playing around with corpses, little brother? My, my, aren't we being kinky today.”

“That's what you wanted, wasn't it?”

“Ah, indeed. Now take out the death threat, add some gags and handcuffs, and we can get to the fun.”

“You know, maybe that's actually not such a bad idea...”

Nadia glanced at her brother knowingly. “No,” she said dryly, “I was not talking about the 'let's tie your older sister to the bed post and forget about her' variant.”

Graham smirked. “You have to be open to new ideas.”

That was when Nadia suddenly left. At first, Graham was hopeful that she was going to leave him alone. Five minutes later, and he was proven wrong.

“Ah, so delicious...”

“If you get my bed dirty-”

“Don't get your knickers in a twist.” Nadia smiled in a way that made her words sound a lot less like a metaphor. “You know I'm good at... swallowing.”

“I also know that when you did this last night, you completely ruined the sheets.”

“It's not my fault Cleopatra got to the bowl.”

“Then whose is it?”

“Yours, for having picked white bedclothes, of all things. Really, that's tempting Murphy's Law.”

“How was I supposed to know that mutt of yours would slip out of its collar?”

Nadia shrugged languidly, toying with one of the strawberries. “Leashing her to the wardrobe in the first place wasn't very nice. You deserved it.”

“Must I remind you that it was your idea?” Graham asked.

“Only because you would have locked her out otherwise.” His sister finally put the fruit into her mouth, just to pick up another one to roll between her fingers. “Are you sure you don't want one?”


“When was the last time you ate?”

“This morning. Now shut up."

However, Nadia insisted on making a nuisance out of herself. “This morning? Eh, that's long enough ago! Now come here and have some.”

“I don't think so.”

“If you don't, I will tell mom that you are not eating properly.”

“Don't you dare!”

Nadia held out the bowl, smiling. “Now?”

Graham glared at his sister, but nodded. There was no way he would let that idiot make people worry unnecessarily.

He attempted to grab the dish, but Nadia pulled it out of his reach before his fingers could make contact with the porcelain. Graham was sure his expression spoke volumes, but his sister merely smiled. Without haste, she picked up one of the strawberries and held it out to him. Even without the strange angle, the amused challenge in Nadia's eyes clearly conveyed the message.

Graham stared back, very much tempted to ask whether his sister was serious despite knowing the answer already.

In the end, though, there was only one acceptable option. He slowly leaned forward and, without breaking eye contact, took the strawberry from Nadia's fingers with his teeth. He deliberately avoided touching anything else.

“We will practice this some time,” his sister said, rolling her eyes as she handed him the bowl. “That had the sensuality of a dead rodent.”

“Good.” Graham sat down at the foot of the bed. “I hear you should not encourage dogs when they are forgetting their place.”

“You should also feed them, pet them and take them to the vet. I will let you do the former two, but only if you stop being an impudent little brat.”

Graham raised his brows. “Really?”

“No, I'd let you do them anyway, but I can at least *pretend there are requirements.”

“Now who is being predictable?”

Nadia shrugged. “I have an excuse. You're just too tempting to resist.”

When his sister wrapped an arm around him and went to misuse his lap again, Graham didn't stop her. He did, however, firmly push her hand away when she attempted to get a hold of the bowl with the strawberries.

For once, his sister had been right.

They truly were delicious.


A few hours later, as Graham was getting ready to go for his run to the park, Nadia dropped by carrying something he really didn't want to see at the moment.

“Tell me that is not a bikini.”

“This is not a bikini,” Nadia parroted dutifully.

“Oh god,” Graham groaned. “It's a bikini.”

“You just had to contradict me, didn't you?”

“I hope you do not plan to put that on, because I'd have no idea whether to kill you or myself.”

“But Graham, don't you want to see my beautiful body in this tight-” Her brother didn't interrupt her with words, but the unmistakable expression on his face did the job just as well. Nadia gasped dramatically. “Oh no... you think I'm fat!”


“Don't pretend!” She feigned a sob. “You think I'm fat! That's why you were looking at Dad that way!”


“Like you wanted to devour him right then and there. Do unspeakable things to him...” she let a hand fly to her mouth, the other pointing at Graham accusingly. “It was you! The one who ate his underwear... and then you framed Cleopatra!”


“You tried to distract me from the truth by using Kara's shoes as a decoy, but now I can see it clearly. It explains so many things...”


“Like the tentacles!”

“What does Dad have to do with tentacles?”

Nadia beckoned Graham closer.

“He talks to them,” she informed the boy gravely.

“He talks to them.”

Nadia nodded. “They call him the tentacle whisperer.”

“'They' being...”

“Mel Gibson.”

“...All right, you are officially a retard.”

“It's too bad dad didn't bring him...,” Nadia mused. “Oh well. Where were we? Ah, yes, the bikini. I hate having to disappoint you, but wearing it myself would go against everything I believe in – it's not pink, after all. No skimpy clothes for me without pink. You are free to give it a try, though!”

“Thank you, I think I'll pass.”

“Are you certain? I'm sure it would accentuate your curves very nicely.”

“I'm sure it would cut off your air supply even better.”

“Strange fetishes indeed. Oh well, if it's you, I'm willing to give it a chance! That is, after I've had your mother tell you that she would be devastated if something were to happen to me. No need to tempt fate, no?”

“Could you stop waving that thing in my face?”

“I could. But it's kind of entertaining.”

“So is sororicide.”

“Only if you're a socially retarded necrophiliac teenage boy who has to compensate the absence of tentacles,” Nadia said.

"God, you are so damn annoying!" He then stormed out of the house to go on his run to the park. Those always made him feel better.

Even if Nadia was following him.


“You're an insufferable little brat, you know that?” Nadia asked as she sat down on a bench Graham had plopped down on in the park after his run.

“Why, thank you. From an obnoxious idiot such as yourself, that's quite the compliment.”

Nadia wondered whatever had gotten Graham into this almost playful mood so suddenly. It was bizarre... and rather annoying.

“Shouldn't you be dying from exhaustion?”

“Actually, I feel fine - but thank you for your concern.”

“Ah, I see. As long as you don't try to do so much as lift an arm, you won't faint right away. That's rather reassuring – maybe there's a limit to how physically pathetic a person can be, after all.”

“Yes, I discovered that the only thing that doesn't have limits is stupidity. But I suppose that doesn't bother you – after all, temperance has never been your thing, has it?”

“If this is the result of a bit of undue teasing, be assured I'll never do it again. I think I'd actually prefer it if you threw a fit. This is just... odd.”

“I think the word you are looking for is 'irritating'.”

“Actually, I was just being polite. The word I had in mind is 'creepy'.”

“Then maybe you should leave me be? Who knows - I might just get even creepier. Turn into a girl or something."

“And grow long hair and breasts? I'm afraid I have to stick around to see that, even if the mere thought sends shivers down my spine.”

“Oh, I forgot. You're a masochist, after all.”

“Indeed. Even though I have to say, thinking about my little brother turning into a transvestite is somewhat of a turn-off, so I'd appreciate it if we could change the subject at this point.”

“There is actually something that you consider a turn-off?”

“Ah, little brother, there are several things I consider a turn-off. Like people inserting slugs into their-”

Don't! Don't finish that sentence!”

Nadia smiled. “Now that's much cuter. Does that mean I have to continue talking about especially unappetizing practices to get you to stop being an annoying little smart-ass?”

“If you want me to kill you, try it.”

“My, my, aren't we lacking civility. Oh well, I won't say anything if you stop being a pain.”

Graham's eyes narrowed, the dark look in them a silent challenge. “Do you think I would let myself be blackmailed by you?”

“No. But I think I could get you to throw up in less than five minutes, so why not save both of us further unpleasantries and be civil?”

“How about because I don't feel like it, and because I won't need five minutes to make sure you find yourself in a considerable amount of pain if you try?”

“Ah, selfishness is such a nasty trait. It's not becoming of someone so beautiful.”

“The more beautiful something is, the more poisonous it tends to be.”

Nadia tapped her chin. “Doesn't that mostly apply to amphibians? You seem to be having a thing for peculiar comparisons lately. But thinking about it... 'The Frog-Prince'. I suppose it's fitting. If I remember correctly, that one also was a rather imperious creature. Maybe I should try throwing you against a wall? Then again, I don't think it made the frog less impudent – just more attractive, and that's the one thing that doesn't need fixing in this case. Hm... oh well.” She shrugged and leaned into her brother. “I always preferred the version involving the kissing, anyway.”

“Why doesn't that surprise me?” Graham said, but he didn't protest as Nadia pressed her lips onto his. He'd long ago learned that, sometimes, it was best to just humor his half-sister. Actually, he'd learned that before even knowing that she WAS his half-sister.

Of course, there was a limit. "If you put your hand where I think it's going, the hand is coming off."

Nadia pulled away, grinning. "What? I wasn't planning anything. Besides, we both know that you couldn't hurt me even if you tried, as physically inept as you are."

"True," he replied dryly, "but that doesn't change the fact that I'd try, and eventually, I'd get irritated enough to do something drastic."

"Hm, fair enough." They lapsed into silence, until Graham noticed that Nadia was watching a group of guys running around playing football, some without shirts on. Nadia appeared to be paying rather close attention.

"Would you stop staring at people, dammit!? It's wierd."

Nadia blinked, then smiled slyly. “Why, if I didn't know any better, I'd say you are jealous!”

“So jealous I'd scarcely know what to do should you ever decide to elope with one of them, to a country far, far away, never to be seen again.”

“Fear not, little brother – I assure you that there is only one person I would ever consider eloping with, and that if such a thing were to happen, you'd be the first to know.”

“The relief is so overwhelming that it turns my stomach. Now that we've established that, am I right in assuming that you are too attached to the....project I'm involved in, to just let it go, and therefore will strive to make yourself less than useless for a change?”

“You are presupposing that I feel inclined to pick. Why do you always take it for granted that I will just wag my tail obediently and play along when you have found a new way to express your megalomania?”

Graham lifted a brow. “Are you saying you won't?”

“Well, no, but I could.” Graham's brow remained where it was. “If I felt like it. Theoretically. All right, I can see your point, but you could still be more polite about it! And if you don't stop smirking, I will steal your underwear and distribute it amongst those air-headed fan-girls you have at school.”

“What is it with you and people's underwear?” But the almost-but-not-quite subtle curving of the younger sibling's lips had disappeared, replaced by the expression of someone who was positively horrified by a particularly vivid mental picture and trying so hard not to let it show that his efforts had the exact opposite effect.

“What is it with you and those dramatic gestures during speeches?” Nadia retorted. “We all have our issues – it's just that mine are more fun than yours. And because life has so clearly favored me, I have decided to be charitable and show myself agreeable to your proposition.”

“Too kind.”

Nadia pretended not to notice the dripping sarcasm. “You know, that's what Dad would have said. Well, it would probably be 'too soft' in this context, but it's what he'd tell people behind my back.” She paused, eying Graham with deliberate wariness before drawing back abruptly. “You're not an alien pretending to be dad pretending to be Graham pretending to be Kara trying to avenge her shoes, are you?”

“...Was I that obvious?”

Nadia gaped at her brother. “Did you just make a joke?”

“No, I'm looking for a way to kill you without you coming back as a ghost to haunt me afterwards. It seems I wasn't convincing enough, though. What gave me away – the lack of tentacles?”

“Tentacles...,” Nadia repeated. Humming, she gazed up at the sky. “You know, if you ever manage to perfect your impression of an alien...”

“God, you're disgusting.”

“Says the boy who thinks an alien impersonating his father would need to have tentacles. I don't know what you've been dreaming about recently, little brother, but I'm afraid I must tell you that dad does, in fact, not have anything in common with a squid. A Leviathan, maybe, but not a squid. Alas, nature is cruel.”

“One more word and I'll be sure to inform Darren of the mental trauma his precious wife Kara suffered at your hands.” Nadia wondered if he meant the incidents of near-molestation or the shoes or both, and whether her brother had left that open to interpretation on purpose.

“Are you quite certain that's a good idea? I might not mind the beating, per se, but if he comes after me with the intent to kill, who knows what I might let slip in my state of mortal fear? I might even mix up the details - imagine I mentioned you, tentacular dreams and Kara in the same sentence!”

Graham's face twisted in an interesting way as it turned an even more interesting shade of green. “You're...”

“Literally stunning? How darling of you! Does that mean we can make out now?”

“If I ever was in the mood, you effectively butchered it.” Beneath the steel in his voice, Graham actually sounded a bit ill.

With a theatrical sigh, Nadia shook her head. “If I had known you'd take it this badly, I wouldn't have told you. Having a tentacle fetish in this world is hard – believe me, I understand what you're going through all too well.”

“There are things,” Graham ground out, “I didn't want to know. Ever. This is one of them.”

“If only you weren't such a prude. Ah, well, that's all right – you're still young and adorable. Plenty of time to realize the error of your ways. But if you ever meet an alien that offers to show its tentacles to you, don't forget to take precautions – we wouldn't want cute little alien Grahams running about trying to take over the world, would we? Even if it looks male, better make sure. We've all heard about people getting abducted from Earth and coming back pregnant, and not all of them were women.”

“You do realize that's biologically impossible, don't you?”

“You won't know that until you've tried.”

“Even provided that the process of impregnation was not an issue in such a case, the actual-” Graham broke off. “Am I really about to discuss the concept of male pregnancy under the hypothesis that there are aliens abducting people for reproduction purposes with you?”

“Well, no one said anything about the purpose of the act being reproduction, but that aside... yes, I believe you are.”

“...I'm leaving, I need a nap.”

Nadia nodded knowingly. “With such an exciting conversation, I'm sure you need some time to calm down.”

Graham stared at her. “Are you implying what I think you are implying?” Nadia opened her mouth to respond, but her brother cut him off, “No, wait, don't answer that. Later.”

Graham was half standing already, but paused when Nadia grabbed his hand.

“Stay..why not sleep here?”

Her brother's questioning look quickly turned wry. “Because I believe we have very different definitions of sleep, mine being the more common one and yours being one that will doubtlessly prove counterproductive to it. That, and we are in a park, Nadia.”

“What, no improvised tentacle play on your schedule?” Graham's face upon hearing the words 'tentacle play' said it all and more, and Nadia grinned. “Oh well, I suppose I'll just have to live with yet another disappointment.” She tugged at her brother's sleeve. “Come on. I promise I'll be good.”

“Like you promised to keep that dog the hell away from me? I'm so glad that thing is gone...”

“You were threatening to skin her alive and turn her pelt into a scarf for the mayor's daughter,” Nadia said as she gently pulled her brother back into the bench. Graham let her, which probably meant he was going to indulge her. “It was a different kind of promise.”

“I still think it would make for a nice diplomatic gift.”

“That's because you're a socially retarded, dog abusing brute. For one, it'd just be heartless, and I really have to worry about your psyche if you can't see that. More importantly, the mayor's daughter is a little girl, and little girls like cute little things. No doubt she'd prefer a living dog over a piece of pelt.”

“Well, that could be arranged, too, if I go get it from it's owner.”

“Only if you want your underwear to go next.”

“Could you leave the contents of my wardrobe alone already? It's disturbing.”

“So it's in your wardrobe?”

“Of course it's in my- … if you touch it, I swear I will kill you.”

“But Graham, you know how much I like fondling your undergarments!”

Graham swatted her hand away. “That wasn't even subtle.”

“Yes, I suppose it wasn't,” Nadia acquiesced and placed her head in her brother's lap. When Graham made no move to inflict bodily harm upon her, she rolled onto her back. They remained silent, Nadia watching the clouds, Graham watching the people.

The silence lasted until Nadia broke into a grin. “Is it just me, or does that cloud look like a giant shriveled penis?”

“...I hate you. I really do.”

"There is no such thing as 'Coincidence'. Only 'Inevitability'." ~ Yuuko Ichihara

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