Malcolm couldn't believe it. He wouldn't have believed it, if he wasn't surrounded by the proof; he was currently sitting down at a nice celebratory meal with his family. That in itself was weird; a nice meal? The nicest they got was pizza night at Luigi's. And celebration? Malcolm was the only one with any accomplishments worth celebrating, but even those were pretty much ignored.

Yet here they were, sitting in a restaurant that had cloth napkins and candles and a valet, celebrating the most successful member of their family: Reese. Yes, Reese. If Malcolm wasn't a man of science, he'd have assumed he and his brother had switched lives. But no, he was still a genius and Reese was still a jock who felt the need to threaten him with physical violence. The only difference was that Reese was now a dumb jock who owned and ran a restaurant.

Lois and Hal had been furious when Reese broke the news three days ago. They'd ranted about how he was going to lose all his money because he didn't know the first thing about business until Reese's smirk made Hal hesitate, which made Lois run out of steam.

"Reese, why aren't you saying anything? Don't you understand how much trouble you're in?" Hal had asked.

"But that's what's great, dad; I'm not in any trouble at all. See, I've been saving money from catering to take online college classes. Who's got two thumbs and is halfway to culinary and business degrees? This guy!"

The shades of Lois's face had shifted imperceptibly (unless you'd trained herself to notice it like her family had) from full-of-rage red to so-proud-she-might-cry crimson.

"My- my son's in college! Oh Reese! How come you didn't say so before? How did you know which school to pick? How did you get in? How…how did… how did you get through so much of those degrees already?" her voice had become slowly more suspicious and she'd pulled back from hugging him.

"Well mom, when it's something I'm interested in then I don't really think of it like learning. I just get on the computer and it's like a video game."

Then he'd invited them to his restaurant, The Electric Tiger, and was currently basking in his parents attention. And to think that all of Reese's good fortune had come from getting kicked out.

"Enjoying your steak, Malcolm?" the idiot-in-question called from the head of the table.

"I've had better." He hadn't.

"Malcolm, quit sulking and tell your brother what a great job he's done with this place," Lois admonished.

"It's alright mom, Malcolm's probably just using his smart brain to find all the wrong things with this place. But I'm not mad; that's actually the reason I want you to be my new manager."

Malcolm rolled his eyes as the rest of his family gasped.

"Don't you guys see what he's doing? He's trying to show me he's better than me. Well guess what, Reese? I'd never work for someone as stupid as you."

With that he ripped off the napkin tucked into his collar and stormed out into the rain, forgetting the car was in the valet lot. He gave the curb a sharp kick, swore, and stalked off in the direction of home.

'Stupid parents, believing everything he says. Stupid brothers, thinking he's cool. Stupid grandma, telling him he's a real man now. Stupid Reese, thinking he's better than me. Stupid stupid stupid. I'll show them how stupid they are. I'll show them!"

Author's Note: So, now we're getting a little more into character flaws. There aren't many Malcolm in the Middle fics out there, and those that are don't really focus on Malcolm's flaws. They'll be pretty central to the plot of this fic, as will Reese's especially. Hope you enjoyed this chapter, please review!

Much love, Miss Luxe