So, I decided to write this after some time thinking, haha. Enjoy the long read of a modern!AU for our beloved Ninja! Just a few things to know:

1) Pretty much everyone has a crush on Kai, except the lesbians, aromantics, or anyone who doesn't like him for some reason. Even then, everyone thinks he's attractive in some way.

2) Kai is an oblivious idiot, but that's okay because he's cute.

3) Cole competes with Kai over everything, but Kai, being isolated in Ignacia with Nya as his only friend, doesn't know shit and thinks Cole is just being really friendly.

4) If a character is in this story, they are most likely LGBTQ. Like I said, practically everyone has a crush on Kai.

Okay, have fun reading!

Ever since they were in kindergarten, Cole, Jay, and Zane were the definition of best friends. Cole was sort of the leader their group, always jumping up to defend his friends whenever someone would smack talk about them. Jay was the energetic one who would get teased for it. It was not like he could control that; Jay had severe ADHD. Zane was the peacekeeper and calmed both of his friends down when Cole was agitated or when Jay had too many jitters.

Even when they had the occasional bully, the three friends were often envied for their closeness.

Of course, nothing lasts forever. However, none of the three knew that their dynamic would change one day in the sixth grade...

"Jay, wait!" Cole called, running to catch up with the freckled boy. Electric eyes only sparked with laughter. The slightly taller boy groaned. "Zane, hurry up at least!"

"Coming," the aforementioned boy said, taking longer strides to join his friends. "Jay, are you doing alright?"

"Yeah, definitely! It's just that someone said that there would be a new student in our grade starting today, and I wanna meet 'em so bad!" the smallest of the three squealed. Sandwiching his face between his hands, Jay wondered out loud, "I wonder if they're nice. I hope they are. Maybe we can be their friends!" Before he could ramble on and spiral into different scenarios of what could happen that day, Cole hugged Jay from behind around his shoulders.

"Jay, relax. We'll know later. Did you take your medicine?" he asked. The freckled boy's nose scrunched, then his eyes lightened up when he seemingly remembered.

"I didn't have time to take them at home so I put them in my pocket!" Sure enough, Jay brought out the small Adderall pill from the back pocket of his pants. He frowned when he felt around the outside of his backpack. "Dang, I forgot to bring water..."

"Here you go." Zane came to the rescue, holding out a water bottle to Jay. He was known to hand out spare water bottles to whoever needed it; he liked being hydrated. He had also known the freckled boy long enough to recognize how often he was forgetful of little and big things. Jay freed himself from Cole's hold and hugged Zane.

"You're a lifesaver!" he thanked before popping the pill and downing about half if the water in one go.

"Of course. You're welcome, Jay," Zane said with a smile. Cole rolled his eyes.

"C'mon, let's get to school before Jay pees himself."

Class 1-A buzzed with excitement. One of the students revealed the new kid would be in this classroom.

The same classroom the iconic best friend trio was in.

"Alright, alright everyone! Settle down!" the class teacher, Mrs. Garmadon, who also went by Mrs. Misako, entered the classroom and gestured for the students to sit down. "Now, I know you're excited to meet our new student." A cheer met her ears and she smiled. "Okay, calm down. Come on in and introduce yourself, sweetie," Mrs. Misako said out into the hallway. The new student entered, and it was as if the entire classroom was holding its breath.

The new student was a boy, and he stood out in every way. His reddish-brown hair stuck out in spikes, giving off the illusion of a wildfire for hair. His skin was an even, dark tan that made him glow. His eyes, upturned, sharp, yet still large like a puppy's, were a stunning amber that burned brightly. There was a thin scar across his eye, leaving a notch in his eyebrow as well. There was a splatter of freckles on his cheeks. His face widened with a lopsided grin, flashing a set of braces.

"Haeį-laū! Jœw ńæn Kai sa. Deî læçho p'úx sa!" the new student announced loudly in a foreign language, his accent thick. The rest of the classroom was silent, and the new kid became flustered. "Imē..."

"Um, Kai." Mrs. Misako touched the student's shoulder. "They don't understand what you said. How about speaking in this language?" Face burning red, the child nodded.

"Imē, h-hello. My name is Kai. 'S nice to meet y'all!" he said once more, slurring his words and his accent making it harder to understand him. There were soft greetings from the rest of the class.

"Tell us some things about you, Kai. Let's start with what you said. What language was that?" Mrs. Misako questioned. The new student, Kai, tugged at his sleeve.

"It's old tongue. My people still speak even if it's not common anymore," he explained in broken speech. A girl in the front row of desks raised her hand. Mrs. Misako nodded at her, giving the girl permission to speak.

"Where are you from?" The boy smiled, showing off his braces again.

"Ignacia. Small village, not many people. I know everyone there and so nice!" he answered jovially. His face shined brighter than the sun when he grinned, almost blinding the others in the room. Although he was anxious when he rose his hand, Jay wanted to know the new kid more. Maybe they could be friends!

However, before the freckled boy could get called on, another student blurted out, "How can you speak our language so well?" Slowly, Jay brought his hand back down. His question was stupid anyway- What do you like to do for fun?

"Ignacia a good trade village," Kai began to explain. "Y'all learn when listen to trade happening. Techāito ï værmisha is good at trading." His voice had a proud tone to it. He chuckled and rubbed the back of his neck sheepishly. "Techāito is father, værmisha is mother."

"Well, I hope you settle in well and enjoy going to school here. If you have any questions, just raise your hand and ask, alright?" Mrs. Misako told Kai. He nodded, understanding her well. "Okay, let's see... Cole, wave your hand so Kai knows who you are."

Surprised to suddenly being put on the spot, Cole slowly raised his hand. He put his hand down when Mrs. Misako pointed at the empty desk to his right. It had been empty since April and he rather liked it that way.

"That's your desk now, Kai. Everyone, take care of our new student, okay?" Every student responded with "Yes, Mrs. Misako", as they should. Kai made his way to the empty desk and sat down. He smiled at the three surrounding him- the pale blond with gravity-defying hair, the brunet with a galaxy of freckles adorned on his face and bouncing knees, and the shaggy-haired with really great eyebrows sitting right next to him.

"Haeį," the brunet greeted under his breath. "What are y'all's names?"

"My name is Zane. Pleased to meet you."

"I'm Jay. I like that you say 'y'all'."

After a moment of silence, the last to introduce himself said, "Cole."

Kai grinned wider than before. "Nice to meet y'all. I hope school goes good for me." He did not notice the faint blush on Jay's cheeks or Zane biting his tongue to not interrupt and correct the "good" to "well", or the glare Cole gave him from a side-eye glance.

Throughout the school year, Kai would leave the classroom to go to a special class. It was discovered on the second day that while he can speak the common language, the brunet cannot read it in any way or form. Although he should not feel happy about that, Cole was somewhat grateful for Kai's apparent illiteracy. Kai somehow wormed his way into his friend group and was hanging out with Jay and Zane a lot.

But Cole was not jealous. Definitely not jealous.

"Zane, what was the history homework again?" the noiret asked, sorting through dozens of doodles in his locker. He should probably start paying attention more in class; his father was not happy with Cole bringing home B-minuses.

"Pages two-hundred-forty to two-hundred-forty-three," Zane answered. When the blond closed his locker, he could hear two voices- Jay's being the first, then Kai's. Sure enough, the two brunets rounded the corner, giggling. The slightly shorter boy's eyes lit up when he spotted his friends.

"Guys, can we stop by the elementary school?" Jay asked, shifting from foot to foot. Cole raised a bushy eyebrow.

"Why? We never go by it." Cole stared at the spiky-haired boy standing beside his best friend. Noticing his gaze, Kai smiled. Jay shifted his stance again.

"Well, I... um. I kind of invited Kai to walk with us, and he always picks up his sister from school," the brunet explained through stutters. Cole sighed through his nose. Of course, Jay would do something like that. The past two months of school, he had been trying desperately to befriend Kai. It was a little difficult at first since Kai was hot-tempered and hard-headed, but the two brunets eventually grew close.

Rolling his eyes and slamming his locker closed harder than he needed to, Cole said, "Fine, let's go."

Already, Cole hated this change of their walk home. When it was just the three of them, they could just barely stand side by side without one of them being left behind or walking in the grass. With Kai present, he and Jay were farther in front, leaving Cole and Zane behind. He scowled.

"Cole, are you alright? You seem tense," the pale blond observed. The dark-skinned boy only shook his head, showing that it was not important.

"So, what's your sister like?" Jay asked, skipping along happily. Kai grinned, flashing the metal in his teeth.

"Best sister! I love her very much. She's three years younger but smarter than anyone else in her class, she tells me. I believe her," the brunet praised his sister. Turning to face Jay, Kai smiled wider. "I really like your eyes. They're so pretty."

Jay blushed immensely. In the second grade, he had been bullied for his eyes- his left eye a shocking blue, his right a warm brown. Cole took care of the bully for him (and the bully, Lloyd Garmadon, was sent to a boarding school in the middle of that same year), but Jay was still fearful that the same situation will happen again. Covering his face with one hand, he mumbled a soft "Thank you."

When the four boys arrived at the elementary school, they were able to hear the bell go off. In the next few minutes, children poured out from the entrances and ran off in all kinds of directions. One little girl with short black hair ran into Kai's open arms.

"Butkhá!" the little girl cried out, hugging the brunet tight. When she noticed the other three behind Kai, she waved and said, "Haeį!"

"This is Nya, my pyunū," Kai introduced. He began to have a conversation with his sister in the old language, leaving the other boys confused. Occasionally, he would point at the others, making the three wonder just exactly what he was talking about. Halfway through his sentence, Kai looked up and sheepishly smiled, rubbing the back of his neck. "Pærmrè, got carried away. We have to go now. Dýou-megh!" he said, waving and began to walk away. He put Nya down and held her hand.

"Bye-bye!" the little girl called out, her slate eyes shining back at them.

"She's quite the cutie," Zane commented as he waved back. Cole nodded in agreement. Jay mumbled something under his breath, which neither of his friends could understand. Together, the trio walked home.

It was summer break and to Cole, that meant only one thing: sleepover at Jay's. He loved going over to the brunet's house. Although it was a little crowded with furniture and trinkets, and Mr. and Mrs. Walker were both a little odd, Jay's house was one of the greatest places to be at.

"Bye, Dad!" Cole waved through the car window before his father drove off. He walked up to the door of the small house and knocked. While he waited, Cole reminisced about earlier sleepovers, back when Jay and his parents still lived in a trailer by the junkyard. The freckled boy was so scared that someone would find out and make fun of him for it. Cole would have beaten them up had that ever happened, which it never did, thankfully.

"Hey, Cole! Just in time! Ma made popcorn!" Jay announced once he opened the door. Smiling, Cole let himself in and walked into the living room...

Then dropped his pillow and blanket when he saw Kai sitting on the floor by the coffee table. Looking up, the darker brunet grinned and waved. "Haeį-mæo, Cole!" Across the table from the grinning boy sat Zane. He greeted the noiret as well.

"Hello, Cole. We're just about to vote on which movie to watch first," the blond informed. Cole gaped like a fish out of water before turning to face Jay.

"What's Kai doing here?" He pointed at the brunet, who was currently hunched over a textbook on the table, Zane most likely explaining whatever was on the page Kai was studying. Jay's fair skin flushed a deep pink. With his toe, he drew random patterns on the floorboards.

"I invited him... Should I not have?" Jay murmured. Like a switch, Cole's agitation turned into guilt. He hated upsetting his friends, especially Jay. He was more sensitive and did not like to anger others. Cole patted his shoulder in reassurance.

"No, Jay. It's okay. This is your house, so it's your sleepover," the noiret said, feeling warmer on the inside when he saw the freckled boy smile. Jay clapped and jumped uo and down, landing only on the balls of his feet.

"Ma, bring the popcorn out! We're going to watch a movie now!" he called into the kitchen and leapt over the couch, sitting right behind Kai. "By the way, what'cha doing?" He felt Cole sit next to him.

"I'm trying to practice reading the common language. I want to graduate from second-language class soon. Although, I don't want to leave Karlof behind," Kai muttered. Karlof was one of the other students in the special class. He was a transfer student from Metalonia since the fourth grade, but he still struggled with learning the common language. At first, the two boys had a sort of rivalry against each other, but they eventually worked it out. Kai chewed on his thumbnail, trying to decipher the sentences in front of him. He pouted. "I hate reading this."

"Well, you have to practice in order to get better," Zane advised. Kai frowned but continued to try and sound out each word.

"Alright boys, hope you pick a long one! I made so much popcorn!" Edna came in, holding four large bowls of popcorn in her arms. Jay and Cole stood up to help her. "Thank you, dears. Oh, Kai? Are you sure you can eat popcorn, what with your braces and all that?"

"I'll be fine, àiwe," Kai responded with a smile.

"Okay, just wanted to be sure. Now, boys, don't get into trouble or make too much noise. I love you, baby boy," Edna said before placing dozens of kisses on Jay's head.

"Ma!" he whined. He crossed his arms when his mother walked down the hallway to her bedroom, then grinned with excitement. "Alright, which movie? Oh, but first, what genre?"

"Horror," Cole answered without hesitation. Zane tapped his chin.

"Any sort of animation," the blond said. Kai only shrugged, closing his textbook and shoving a handful of popcorn in his mouth.

What a rebel, Jay thought. "Well, if we pick a horror, it'll be dark by the time it's finished, and we may or may not be surrounded by popcorn when the lights turn on. Sorry, Cole. Maybe next time." The noiret scoffed. "Buuuuuut, we could watch Monster House!" Scrunching his face in thought, Cole nodded and sat down on the floor next to Kai, a choice he already regretted. Zane sat on Cole's left, shifting the table so the boys could have more leg room. Jay took his place on Kai's right.

There were several reasons Cole did not like sitting next to Kai. One, he was really warm. (Okay, maybe that was not a bad thing but it was summer.) Two, he was whispering questions to Jay about the movie. Three...

Usually, Jay sat next to Cole during their sleepovers. However, not only was the former sitting next to the darker brunet, but he was also leaning on him. The thing was, it did not seem like Kai minded. In fact, he was patting Jay's curls.

By that point, Cole's focus was less on the movie and more on the two brunets beside him.

Jay swayed from side to side, mesmerized by Kai's singing voice. Zane hummed along. Cole, although he tried to resist, listened intensely while the tanned boy sang.

Jay's parents had a keyboard from back when Jay took piano lessons. Although he quit playing years ago, Mr. and Mrs. Walker still kept the keyboard. Now, Kai was playing on it while singing a song in his first language.

When he finished, Jay gave a standing ovation. "That was so beautiful! You should join the music club at school!" the smaller brunet cheered. Kai flushed and smiled.

"Thanks, but that's not my thing," he said.

"Well, I thought that was a great performance," Zane complimented the spiky-haired boy. "Cole, what did you think?" The noiret had his arms crossed, a scowl on his face.

"It was nice," he answered tersely. Kai flashed him a wide grin, which shook Cole to the core for some reason. Before Jay could demand an encore, the darker brunet got up and searched for something in the backpack he brought along. "So, what should we do?"

"Well, I'd suggest a campfire so we can make s'mores, but Pa's asleep and I don't want to wake him," Jay said. "Ooh!" He bent down and ate a piece of popcorn off the floor, making Zane cringe.

"I can help with the fire!" Kai proffered. Jay's face lit up.

"Really? You know how to?" His small body trembled with excitement, his fingers twisting among themselves to relieve himself. Kai nodded.

"Leæ, I set fires a lot back at Ignacia," he told the others with a smile.

"I think that's called arson, Kai," Cole said.

"Wöl, it was for my techāito's job. He was a blacksmith," he said and continued to search his backpack.

"My dad's a Royal Blacksmith," said Cole's mouth before he could stop and bite his tongue. He hated mentioning that part of his dad. It was really embarrassing for the young boy.

"I don't know what that is," Kai told him absent-mindedly before pulling out a headband from a pocket in his backpack and put it on. "Okay, let's make a fire!" He jumped to his feet and ran to the back door. Jay made a choking noise before joining the other brunet. Cole and Zane stared at each other.

"Why does he have..." the noiret began to ask. Zane shrugged.

"Just let him be," the pale blond told him before getting up as well. Not wishing to be left behind, Cole joined Zane's side. When they stepped out into the backyard, Kai already had a few planks in the fire pit burning. Jay was jumping around, watching the flames intently. "Jay, did you grab what we need to make s'mores?" The freckled boy froze in place.

"Crap, I forgot!" The boy ran back inside, the clattering in the kitchen loud enough to hear outside. He rushed back out with a box of graham crackers, a bag of large marshmallows, and several bars of chocolate in his arms. "I got 'em! Now help me before I let it all fall to the ground." While Kai tended to the flames, the other two boys took the chocolates and marshmallows. The darker brunet stood up and grinned at the others.

"Okay, ready!" They all sat around the fire and roasted their marshmallows. Although, Cole could not help but notice one thing among the four of them: Jay was sitting really close to Kai. Even with the fire's glow, it was easy to tell his face was burning red.

"Cole?" Jay whispered in the dark of the basement. The aforementioned boy hummed. "Can I tell you something?"

"Sure," Cole whispered back. He looked at the other two boys still sleeping. He heard the soft snores and turned over onto his stomach to face Jay. The freckled boy was sitting up, playing with his hands. "What's up?"

"You know how I had that crush on that girl back in the fourth grade?" he started shyly. Cole nodded, then added "Yep" when he realized Jay probably could not see him move his head.

"What about it?" he asked, urging Jay to continue.

"I... I think I might like boys too."

Cole almost made a noise loud enough to wake the others.

Several headcanons in this.

1) Kai had braces when he was a kid and you can take that away from me when I'm cold and dead.

2) Jay with heterochromia. Mmm, yes, please. (Also, the only thing hetero about him AKJDSJKASFHKSFLSDFJHS)

3) Jay is a disaster bi, like seriously. He can't control himself and I want to protect this boy.

4) Reason for the headband: Kai is... well, I'll reveal that next chapter. *wink wink*

5) Kai the pianist. Also, he can sing because Vincent Tong can sing so be quiet.

If you had read my previous one-shot, you would know of my headcanon of Kai and Nya being bilingual. So here are the translations of the other words:

Haeį-laū: Hello (Good morning)

Jœw ńæn... sa: My name is...

Deî læçho p'úx sa: It's nice to meet you

Imē: Um/Uh

Ï: And

Haeį: Hi

Butkhá: Brother (older)

Pyunū: Sister (younger)

Pærmrè: Sorry

Dýou-megh: Goodbye

Haeį-mæo: Hello (Good evening)

Àiwe: Ma'am

Leæ: Yes

Look forward to more chapters and a lot more headcanons!