Date: 21st February 2017 – the afternoon after the Harpy attack

How Dustin ended up eating one cursed piece of candy and not an entire bag of them

“What’s
going on?”

Dustin
frowned, leaning against the doorway. “Uh, nothing? Nothing is going on. Why do
you think there is anything going on?” Nothing had to be going on for him to
seek out his sister on a lovely Tuesday afternoon.

Lea
gave him a shrug. “You look like there’s something going on. And you’re in my
room. So. Anything you wanna tell me?”

Dustin
shook his head. No, he couldn’t tell her about the harpy. He wasn’t about to
give his little sister nightmares if he could avoid it. He didn’t even know how
much she knew about the creatures roaming the streets of Ashkent Creek, although
she had been the one to spot a moving snowman. “Can’t I just wanna spend some
time with my dear little sister?”

Lea
squinted at him. “You never do that.”

“That’s
not true!”

“Name
one time you spent time alone with me for fun.”

Damn.
He spent time with Lea all the time, it wasn’t his fault his memory was so bad!
“I watch TV with you all the time.”

“Because
you’re waiting to get a turn choosing the channel.”

Dustin
huffed. “I can’t believe you think that little of me.” He took a few steps into
the room just to let himself fall down on Lea’s bed with a sigh.

His
sister turned in her desk chair to look at him. “Something’s up. Tell me. Is
this about your date last week?”

He
shook his head. “Nope. Nothing’s wrong, and again, wasn’t a date.” It hadn’t
been. “I’m just bored,” he complained. “There’s nothing to do.”

“I’m
pretty sure there’s plenty of things to do,” Lea commented before turning
around to face her laptop again.

For
a few moments, there was complete silence. And sure, maybe hanging out in his
sister’s room wasn’t the worst, and definitely better than being alone in his
room right now, but now she was ignoring him and he still had nothing that
would take his mind off things. Big, winged things. Things like completely
failing when asked to run. Things like risking his pretty much only friend’s
life. Things like apparently being really fucking useless when it came to
dangerous situations. Or any type of situation that involved the supernatural.
Because risking his teacher’s life as well as Quinn’s by just stopping to stare
at the harpy? That had been just as stupid as provoking the fae at the bar that
one type, resulting in Molly getting seriously hurt. And just as useless as he’d
been watching his biology teacher deal with that weird tiny creature on his own
while he did nothing but freak out.

Fuck.
He had to stop thinking about this shit.

Trying
to take his mind off it, he got up, peering at Lea’s laptop screen as he came
up behind her. “Did you seriously just google ‘what is an intercept’?”

“Shut
up.” Lea turned her head to glare at him. “Freshman, remember? And not everyone
can just… get maths.”

He
looked down at the worksheet next to her laptop. “Are you kidding me? This is
not your homework. This is way too easy.” Surely, this was not homework for
freshmen? This had to be some of Lea’s old homework from middle school. There
was no way it was this easy.

“If
you think it’s that easy, why don’t you
do it then,” Lea snapped at him.

Dustin
considered it for a second. It would definitely take his mind off the previous
event of the day… and he would be finished with it in no time. “Okay. Sure. If
you write my English essay for me.” Lea was good at that, he knew that. She
always got As on her essays. How did she even do that? Essays were impossible.
He never knew what exactly his teachers even wanted from him.

“That’s
the shittiest deal I’ve ever heard. This is going to take you, like, what, five
minutes? Meanwhile I probably have to read an entire book for you and write an
essay. No thank you.”

Dustin
shook his head, even though she couldn’t even see it. “Not an entire book. We’re
doing short stories. You’ve heard of Ray Bradbury before, haven’t you?”

Lea
let out an audible sigh. “It’s still an entire essay to write, Dustin.”

“An
entire essay that you can just very shittily write. Like, you don’t have to put
any effort into it. Just get me a B or something. Please,” Dustin begged. “I
have no idea what to write about the story. I liked it. But I can’t even say
why, let alone analyse it. Please? I’ll do your maths homework. For the entire
week. Deal?”

“Deal.”

After
Dustin had retrieved his copy of the short story from his room, the two of them
started to work in silence – Dustin lounging on the bed as he started his
sister’s maths homework and Lea reading the story at her desk. It really did
work out pretty well. Freshman maths wasn’t difficult, but he still kept his
mind occupied by having to concentrate on the numbers in front of his eyes.
That, and he had an excuse not to be alone right now. On top of that, maybe he
could get a decent grade in English Lit for once. After finishing the third
exercise, he looked up for a second. His eyes fell onto a bag of sweets on Lea’s
nightstand. It was a clear plastic bag. Upon further inspection, the candy
inside it turned out to be small candy hearts, words written across them. “Who’s
that from?”

“Guy
from school.”

Of
course Lea would have been given candy for Valentine’s Day. “Really? Are you going to tell me which
guy?”

“Are
you going to tell me what you were doing last Tuesday?” came the reply from the
direction of the desk.

Dustin
didn’t bother replying to that. He reached out to take one of the candies, popping
it into his mouth, barely making out the inscription of CALL ME before it
disappeared on his tongue.

“Yeah,
why don’t you just eat all my stuff, Dustin. No need to ask me.”

“Can
I have some of that candy, please?”

“You
know, if you had asked before you just had one, I would have let you have them
all. It’s pure sugar, that’s so not my thing,” Lea replied. “I really wasn’t
planning on eating them.”

Dustin
nodded. “Cool, so I can have the entire bag then?”

“Nope.”

“Why
not?” he protested. “You just told me you don’t wanna eat them.”

“That
was before you stole one without asking first,” Lea replied. “Too bad you have
no manners. If there’s just one of them missing now I’m gonna tell mum you’re
stealing from me.”

Dustin
flipped her off behind her back before going back to his- no, her homework, scribbling out his answer
and putting a 9 instead of a 3. She hadn’t told him that he had to do all of it
correctly, after all.

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