Noah walked into his twin sister Nicole's college dorm room with despair. They had just finished bringing in the last of her things, so now came the inevitable time he'd have to say goodbye to his sister.
Noah felt it hypocritical of himself when he thought about how sad it made him seeing her move two hours away - he had been traveling all over the world for the past three years on and off for Total Drama and she never complained. Noah and Nicole had just always been so close, and growing up, there was never a time where one was without the other. Despite being the shy twin, Nicole was the one who'd push Noah out of his comfort one - she became the one who would drag him out of the art room at school when the lights were shutting off and the janitors came to clean, the one who would sit with him at the allergy table in elementary school, and the one who understood him more than anyone else. She hardly had any friends growing up, and he always blamed himself for allowing Nicole to drop everything for him, but Nicole insisted it wasn't his fault.
Noah and Nicole had been used to having each other. They had 7 other siblings, and by the time they were 10, everyone but Nicole and Noah had gone off to college. When Noah learned about the birds and the bees at school, he assumed him and Nicole were an accident. He thought to himself, why else would his parents want to have a baby when all their kids were grown? His parents were extremely fertile, because each child they had was a multiple - the oldest were a pair of twins, then the next time they tried they ended up with quints, and then they got Nicole and Noah, the second pair of twins.
Noah parents died suddenly when they were 15. His mom was a writer, and that was the reason Noah got into art, because he always said he'd illustrate one of her books someday. His father was an accountant, not as exciting as his mother's career. It was the most boring job he could have thought of, but his dad loved it, or at least pretended to. He would say it's the best way to put his math skills to good use and be able to provide for the family. Before their death, Noah had slowly stopped participating in the art club in school. He began focusing more on his studies, which brought Nicole and Noah into separate classrooms. He also realized this was the time kids his age began to feel embarrassed around their parents, so he followed suit with this act in order to feel like a "real" middle schooler.
When he was 13, he figured out he was gay when both him and his sister found Lucas Grabeel in Return to Halloweentown cute. When he told his parents and Nicole, it was the most intimate he had gotten with them in two years. He only told the three of them and nobody in his school, which was fine because he only talked to Nicole anyway and didn't need another reason to be an outcast. He continued to feel more open and less resentful towards his parents once he began high school, but it was too late. He was in too deep, too deep into the lies, too deep in the depression. He was with them before they died. An unstable bike path during an earthquake made them fall head-first. He was part of the accident too, but he was the unfortunate one - he made it out alive.
Once his parents died, Nicole and Noah were sent to live with his oldest brother, Joshua, and his wife and their kids. A few months into staying with them, he stumbled across the audition notice for a new show called "Total Drama Island", a reality show where a lucky teen could win $100,000 and spend their summer competing in a gorgeous summer camp. He thought he could use the money to build a life for himself and his sister, so he went for it. He turned on a persona, the smart kid who ridiculed those who were beneath him. He barely told anyone about his parents, though in his small town, everyone knew. They all knew his parents on a personal level, and Nicole and Noah on a "oh, look how big you've gotten! I remember when you were a baby!" level, but when they sent condolence letters, he brushed them off, which worked because they figured he was busy grieving. Despite this, he ended up telling Chris about his parents in the final round, and how badly he needed to get out of his small town and do this. He sympathized with him on account of how his own parents died when he was 19. From there, he was cast into Total Drama Island. He wasn't chosen for Total Drama Action, but he got offered to be Chris's assistant during and after Total Drama Action. No one found out about it until the Gemmie Awards, but after one bad mistake on his usual coffee order, Chris fired him. After that, he made it into Total Drama World Tour. Then he spent some time at home before being asked for Ridonculous Race. He didn't go back and forth for the money, but because it gave him an escape and something to do. His time on Total Drama didn't reflect who he was, but it was too late for him to go back to who he was.
Nicole began looking over to Noah as he kept pacing around while deciding where to put her last box, hoping it would mean he didn't have to leave and she'd ask him to stay for dinner before hitting the road. Nicole may have been shy, but she knew when to tell Noah he's freaking out and when he needed to focus on something else.
"Noah…" She said, being careful. "I think I'm good. You can go back home now. You don't like driving at night." Nicole had short brown hair and a face that reminded everybody of their mother, which everyone made a point to mention after the accident. Noah hated it, but Nicole didn't mind it. She had piercing brown eyes and a small, dainty figure other girls would go crazy for. Her style was a little odd, she wore dresses with long-sleeved shirts underneath, and sometimes she'd put leggings or jeans under her dress.
Noah looked at her as if she'd sworn off being his sister, as if dropping her off meant they'd never speak again. He knew she was right, but he didn't want to leave.
"Are you sure you have everything?"
"Inhaler?" Nicole gave it a second and thought about it - she hadn't had an asthma attack in 10 years, so she didn't think she'd need it. She wasn't going to tell him that, he would have taken the 2 hour ride to go and get it and bring it back.
"Yes. And I have my guitar, my books, my emergency bank card, I have it all, Noah." She put her hands on his shoulders and took a good look at him. "You can go now."
Noah allowed himself to look deeply into her eyes and gave her a hug. When the two of them hugged, his body decomposed out of its tense state. She had chosen the single dorm room and didn't have a roommate, which was how she wanted it. She was highly introverted on account of being alone for the majority of her life, but she really wanted to make an extra effort to meet new people and grow out of her shell. She couldn't only be her true self in front of her brother, and college has always been described as the best four years of your life. She wasn't ready yet for a roommate, however, so when she needed to take a break from socializing and being around people she didn't know, she wanted to come back to a room where she didn't have to look at anyone but the faces of her posters.
"Text me when you get home." She told him.
He let go of her and took one more look at his sister. "I'm just a phone call away." Nicole rolled her eyes, smiling at him. She knew he meant well, but she wished he didn't hide his true feelings under his worry for her.
"I'll be fine, Noah. Drive safe." She smiled as she watched him go out the door. She knew she would miss him, but she didn't need him to be getting worse by worrying about her well-being or if she'd make friends.
As Noah walked out of her dorm building and into his car, he took a deep breath as he began to feel his body tense up. His sister had taken a gap year to work and figure out some scholarships - they had money from their parents' inheritance, but she didn't want to use it. She wanted to save it for something important. Even though they should both be in their sophomore year, she was entering as a freshman. Noah should be going to school, too, but he couldn't pick a major. He had gone for a semester at the local university, but then freaked out at all the kids around him who knew exactly what they wanted to do. Their confidence scared him. He wanted to do art, but after everything that had happened, it gave him too much sadness to paint. He hadn't painted since the accident, not that he had time with Total Drama anyway. Another thought was something in science, math or English, but didn't know specifically what he wanted to do. It was something he excelled in, but didn't give him joy. Right before it had become time to sign up for his second semester, he had gotten the call about a Total Drama spin-off called The Ridonculous Race. It was the same team from Total Drama but new producers and hosted by a new person, Don. A few other Total Drama alum would be there too, but it was mostly brand-new people they recruited, ranging from teens to adults. He told them he'd do it, even if Owen was sometimes unbearable to be around. He also decided to go on this new reality show because he thought it would make him know what he wanted to do in school. It didn't. To top it all off, they didn't even win, but at least he had gotten a free trip around the world that wasn't in a metal flying deathball.
He heard a ding from his phone as he started leaving, and quickly pulled the car out of reverse and into park as he checked his phone.
Hey, new RR episode tonight! You excited?
He groaned. It's Sunday, so there's a new Ridonculous Race on tonight. He was pretty sure this was their elimination episode. He didn't want to see it.
yep. it's gonna be great. just dropped nicole off now, gonna leave now. see you in a few hours.
He threw his phone into the passenger seat of his car, blasted his music and put his car out of park. If he could survive three seasons of Total Drama, he could survive leaving his sister behind at college.
Noah sat down next to his sister-in-law as his brother came over, putting his arm around her. He came back just in time for the commercial break to come off. They were coming to the point of the show where Noah and Owen were to be eliminated.
As Noah was stuck underneath the logs, Emma comes looking for him.
"Noah? Noah?" She says, digging through the logs. Emma had been trying to get with him all episode, it was so obvious, from her sharing their taxi to her focus dropping during the challenge. "If I could find you, I'd totally kiss you." Suddenly, Noah pops up out of nowhere, elated.
"HERE I AM!" His face is covered in splinters, and his hair is frizzing up. The camera pans over to Owen on the other side, untouched by the logs.
"Ah, where was that energy a minute ago?" Owen complained, frustrated that he popped up so quickly because of Emma when he couldn't get him to make it to the chill zone in time. Emma quickly ran up to him and hugged his head, the only thing sticking up in the pile of logs.
"Ow." He groaned.
"You meet me at the last chill zone after I win, and we'll go on our first date, okay?" Emma said to him. Noah smiled, still focused on her last statement.
"What about the 'I'd totally kiss you' thing?" He asked, smiling as she cradled her hands around her face. Without blinking or looking back on that, she went ahead and kissed him, her eyes closed and Noah's eyes wide open, surprised she actually did it.
Noah looked over at his brother, who looked really happy for him.
"So, Emma, eh? Is she your girlfriend?" Joshua asked.
He prepared himself to lie, a pastime that unfortunately became very easy for him. They were on a strict contract to not say anything about what was filmed, so he never spoke about Emma. A huge chunk of Ridonculous Race was scripted and tailored for Noah to have been in love with her. He feels like his morals weren't in place when agreeing to be part of a scripted reality show, but honestly, what part of being in Total Drama was aligned with his morals? He'd never tell his brother it was scripted, though. He figured it was easier to talk about how it shows on TV and let him be happy he's at least talking to girls that aren't their sister.
"Yeah, we tried to make it work, but it was too hard. We just took the loss and broke up before the show aired." Noah said, looking sad. He had been practicing this.
Bethany, his sister-in-law, looked over to him and stroked his shoulder. She had long, extremely wavy blonde hair with bulging blue eyes, and she was still wearing her work clothes after a busy night of helping the kids with homework before their bedtime. She was a social worker, which was ironic because Joshua once locked their 1-year-old baby in a car and went into a store without him. Granted, it was a mistake, but the irony is still there and Bethany didn't allow him to go anywhere with the baby alone for half a year.
"Breakups are hard. Take it from me, Joshua and I broke up three times before we were engaged. But anyway, I'm going to head to bed. Goodnight, Noah. I'm sorry you didn't win." She looked over at Noah and waved as she left, as it was clear to her that he didn't want to talk about it. Bethany and Joshua were used to his avoidance of talking through events that had happened to him. They learned that the hard way when they put Nicole and Noah into therapy after the passing of their parents - Nicole was incredibly detailed about what was giving her trauma after the death of their parents, while Noah was not. He hadn't been back since he started Total Drama Island, and it concerned everybody, but once Noah turned 18, they figured they couldn't stop him from not going.
As Noah got up to go to his room, he heard another ding from his phone - he figured it was his sister ready to talk about the new episode, but it was Cody. He had his number saved, as well as a select few from Total Drama (even Heather), but he didn't really interact with anyone else much other than Owen.
Just saw the episode! Too bad you and Owen didn't win. Super happy for you and Emma! I ship it!
He decided not to avoid Cody's question and answer him. He already had a 2-year-long avoidance going on in his email inbox with tons of agents asking to sign up under them, and didn't want a chain of unanswered messages to happen with Cody. Before typing his answer, Noah looked over to the cast photo from Island that he had hanging up to the walls. There was something about Cody that made him feel so jittery whenever being around him, and the idea of a crush had been presented to him by Nicole whenever she noticed him changing the subject when Cody came up, but like everything else, he buried it deep into his mind. Cody wasn't even Noah's type anyhow, and he didn't even think Cody was into boys. He entered a relationship with Sierra after World Tour, anyhow.
Emma and I aren't together anymore. Thanks, though.
Noah sent the text and immediately saw that Cody had called him. He looked at a photo that Noah had of Cody, one from an old episode of Total Drama he took off the internet. Noah groaned, he hated phone calls. He had to show effort in his voice. He took a deep breath and pressed answer and put the phone to his ear, trying to sound cheerful.
"Noah, hey! Sorry about Emma, man, that sucks you couldn't make it work." Cody said to him.
"You already said that." Noah said.
"Yeah, I know, just… figured that I'd tell you over the phone, too. Haven't seen you in awhile. How are you?" Noah could hear Cody's video games in the background, and it made sense why he called him instead of texting. Cody loved playing Fortnite, he was even pretty popular and constantly streamed himself playing on Twitch when he wasn't busy doing things for the Drama Brothers. He had heard they were going on tour soon, but didn't want to get into a full conversation with him to ask.
"I'm fine. Listen, I've had a long day, can I call you back?" Cody paused for a moment, as it sounded like he was getting to a critical point in his game. After the sound calmed down, he answered.
"Yeah, I better go, too. It's getting intense over here." Cody chuckled nervously. "Hopefully I'll see you around?" Noah didn't want to see him.
He remembered an incident on Playa de Losers. Noah thought he was alone, so he began to sing to himself, but little did he know Cody was standing behind him. His voice on World Tour was totally fake. He masked his real voice, since singing reminded him of his parents. He loved singing with them. When they were on World Tour together, Cody asked in private if he'd be singing like he did in Playa de Losers that one night, and Noah freaked out. He still hasn't forgiven himself for how he let his personal problems get in the way of staying calm at Cody. He had yelled at him, and it wasn't okay. Cody was one of two people he hated being fake-mean to from the show.
"Sure. See you soon." Noah hung up the phone and plugged his phone into the charger near his desk, and he plopped onto his bed, not sure how to feel about the day. Instead of wrestling with his emotions or calling Nicole, he went under his covers and closed his eyes, letting today's problems become tomorrow's avoidance.
A/N: Thank you SO MUCH for those of you reading the first chapter of this story! This came from a headcanon that I wrote with a fellow Tumblr friend, give-cody-a-kiss. I would share it, but it would spoil important key items of this story. That is what our entire story is based on. I will be writing the majority of the story, while give-cody-a-kiss will be helping with editing, maybe making some fanart for our cover art, and possibly writing a chapter or two. It's very long and I can link it if you really want me to, but it would probably spoil what's to come in this story.
Thank you again so much for choosing to read! I have not written an original story in a very long time (besides my SYOC) so I'm pretty excited to take this on. If you're from my other stories, welcome back, and if you're a new reader, nice to meet you! Please send me a review and PM me with ANY questions or critiques, absolutely any - even if you didn't like an adjective I used. I love hearing opinions on how I can fix something, or how I can better frame something. My PMs are also always open if you just want to chat as well.