A/N: Ok, this will be my first story on this site and I do not yet have a beta, so bear with me here on the inevitable typos that I'll miss. I welcome constructive criticism and pointing out mistakes and typos so I can fix them! (Emphasis on constructive, thanks). Note, this story will start out rated T for harsh language and (in a bit) mentions of sex. Later on it will be pushed up to M. Also of note, while I use the word "faggot" in this story, I in no way condone the casual use of the word! It is highly offensive and I hate using it myself but I felt it was needed to provide realism to the teens.
It is Pepsquee, in case you missed that.
Todd Casil paused a moment, letting the soothing burn of hot water run over his almost unhealthily slim body, before twisting the shower off and stepping out to complete the preparations for his second first day at Hi Scool. Dressing quickly in his favorite neutral-face t-shirt and jeans, he briefly flashed back to the day not more than two weeks ago when his previous Hi Scool's mystery meat loaf suddenly consumed the kitchen staff and half the students of first lunch before spontaneously combusting and burning down half the scool. Todd still wondered if Pepito might have had something to do with the way the flames managed to actually melt the brick walls, but the half-demon denied it.
Todd brushed messy bangs out of his eyes and avoided looking in the still foggy mirror, knowing that only the face of someone who looks like they haven't slept in a week would be staring back at him.
A rustling noise from the next room over reminded him that he needed to finish his morning routine before either of his parents returned to consciousness. He liked to be out the door at 6:30 before his father got up at 7:00 to go to his job, guarding the city's cesspool. Todd padded quietly out of the bathroom and down the stairs to the kitchen, grabbing a bowl of cereal, downing it, and washing the dishes before heading to the living room. There he cleaned up empty beer bottles and spilled pills, trying desperately hard to not think of the woman who gave birth to him lying practically comatose on the couch, facing a humming TV showing the static channel. He let a small sad sigh escape him as he carefully slipped a nearly empty bottle of booze out from the limp woman's hand. He took the armload of items out to the trash before grabbing his backpack and mailed-out scool schedule and heading off to school at a brisk pace.
Since the burning of his old scool, all the students were transferred to one roughly the same distance from his house, but in the opposite direction. Dodging crazy drivers and feral chihuahuas, Todd eventually found himself outside the front gate of his new scool. It was early and few other students had arrived, so he took a moment to study the outside of the building. Red bricks, white sign out front, asphalt playground with two beat up basketball hoops, a tree, a couple benches, and the fence. Yup, it looked almost exactly like his old Hi Scool. Maybe a little bigger.
"Buenos dias, Amigo!" a loud voice pierced the cool morning air.
"Sqee-!" Todd covered his mouth a little too late to stop the surprised yelp that so long ago gave him his nickname.
"Ah, so excited to see me? It's only been a little over a week." He gave a smirk that looked almost predatory, as usual.
"Hello Pepito." Todd got only a brief moment to observe Pepito's favorite outfit – buckled combat boots, black skinny jeans, studded belt, tight leather jacket over a shirt presenting a human skull with fangs, the chain of his favorite lock necklace slipping below the collar of his shirt (someone had called it lame in 8th grade and after making the kid fall down the stairs, Pepito wore it under his shirt), and the usual messy hair that seemed to naturally defy gravity – before being patted on the back and guided through the entrance of the scool. Even though they were juniors, it was like the first day of Freshman year all over again. The students in the filling hallways stared at Todd and Pepito, except for those who came from their old scool and were busy trying to find their first period classes. Pepito glared at a few jocks who looked like they were going to make a rude comment right off the bat at the almost cowering skinny boy beside him.
"What class do you have first?" Pepito asked.
"Uh…" Todd pulled out his schedule, "English."
Pepito studied his own schedule, Todd hadn't seen him pull it out from anywhere though, and looked between theirs. "Ah, Squee, it looks like we only have two classes together, and lunch." Another trademark grin. "P.E. and Chemistry."
Todd almost cringed, he idn't have a science class with Pepito at their previous scool, and knew that putting him and explosive chemicals in the same room together could only mean trouble.
Todd got teased. A lot. He liked to read where other kids liked to play sports. He liked to write where other kids socialized. He was not very tall, but quite thin, features exaggerated by his frequently cowering stance and sleep-deprived eyes. Todd Casil was abnormal and so bullied and teased and despised by other kids. Pepito Diablo was the opposite, he was loud, tall, slim but with some muscle, and always walked tall with a smirk dancing at the surface. The Anti-Christ was social, he chose to dress dark because it suited him when he was too young to weave the proper glamor spell to hide his horns and pointed teeth, and now the outfit served the more sinister purpose of allowing him into the social circle most likely to voluntarily sign over souls. Since his use of magic greatly increased, so had the seemingly random violent "accidents" that tended to happen to people who pissed him off. Rumors spread through their last scool and all but the goths, punks, and emos now steered clear of him.
Todd moved away from Pepito to enter his first period class, shuddering inwardly at the thought of more violence caused by his friend. He imagined Pepito putting on his usual act for his own first period teacher, putting on a big fake smile as he introduced himself politely, the teacher never noticing the predatory glint to his gaze.
Todd's English teacher looked creepily similar to his old teacher, Ms. Bitters, but was older with skin so wrinkly it looked like it could slough off at any moment. A plaque on her grungy desk stated her name as Mrs. Withers. The old woman in question looked up as Todd entered the room, and then went back to grading papers without a single word. Taking a seat in the back of the room, to avoid being noticed as much as possible, he watched the rest of the students file into the room.
The others were mostly seniors as Todd was placed a year ahead in English as soon as he entered Hi Scool. He found the class to be easy and boring and spent the time doing the monotonous formulaic homework, and then using whatever time he had left as time to work on his personal stories.
The teacher didn't even bother with attendance or introductions. Starting right in with a dull lecture on the joys of writing essays and the evils of creative writing, she soon managed to send half the class to sleep and the other half chatted quietly, passed notes, or stuck gum under the tables to see who could make the longest stalactite.
The day went by surprisingly smoothly. Students that might as well be sheep shuffled from one class to another. There were only a few fights, mere squabbles over dominance among the more popular kids, and only minor insults half-heartedly aimed at Todd a few times. Then came Chemistry.
Mr. Sunburg was one of those teachers so easily turned to putty in Pepito's hands, which he did not hesitate to do. With a smile and a few sugar-coated words, Pepito would be able to get away with anything in this class and still get an A+.
Todd was thankful there was a strict random seating chart, it meant that Pepito was seated across the room from him. In truth, Pepito scared Todd. The demon was unpredictable and dealt out pain to everyone it seemed except Todd. That made him very nervous. He watched time and time again as Pepito made friends with the darker dregs of the student body, sucking them in and eventually persuading them to sign over their souls. They never seemed much changed for it, but Todd knew what lay in the Diablo's basement and knew that he never wanted to see it ever again. He glanced over at the Anti-Christ to see him chatting with Zita, a girl from their previous Hi Scool who Todd was pretty sure already signed over her soul and was now actually working for Pepito in gathering new victims. Now Todd did shudder as the two noticed him and waved.
He gave a little jump when a feminine voice next to him disrupted his thoughts.
"Do you, like, know those two?"
He turned to see an obviously popular girl sitting next to him, flipping her hair.
"Naw, I bet he's just a fuckin' faggot and likes that creepy one." A male voiced chimed in from the table behind Todd.
"Eww, gross, you're like totally right James, like how did I not notice it. Look how skinny he is, he probably has like AIDs or something."
"I'm always right babe." A pause, "hey, faggot breath, you gonna so suck some dick later or what."
Todd remained silent, scooting down in his char a little more as a wad of paper was flicked into the back of his head, glancing nervously at Pepito, hoping he hadn't noticed.
Shit. Pepito was looking in his direction questioningly. Todd quickly flashed him a smile, hoping against all hope that the scary teen would think everything was all right and ignore the two popular kids. Even though they were stupid and mean, they didn't deserve to have their heads blown up or anything. He let out an invisible sigh of relief as Pepito gave him a strange look but turned back to proclaim to the teacher, who was taking attendance, that he was present.
After class, Todd was retrieving his backpack from his locker when he heard Pepito's familiar footsteps approaching.
"Hey Squee, are you coming over tonight for dinner? My mother has been wondering when you'll join us again, she so loves to cook for guests."
He couldn't read the expression on Pepito's face, but he did hear the guilt tripping in the invitation. Rosemary was the only adult to really show him kindness and he did love her cooking. After his year in the D.H.M.I. she got him out, though she had been unable to prevent him from being sent back under the care of his parents. In some ways he didn't mind that so much. He felt he had a responsibility to take care of them and support them, as he knew that he was the cause of all the ruin in their lives. But still, living with them was hard and he found himself almost living at Pepito's house during the scool week. He often felt guilty about it.
"Sure Pepi, I just need to drop by my parents' house and get the mail first.
Pepito nodded and headed off at a brisk pace to the dark red car waiting for him in the parking lot. After one terrifying ride in it, Todd decided that he much preferred to walk the mile to and from scool every day.
Todd didn't even bother opening the door when he arrived back home, just grabbing the mail from the rusty old mailbox while cautiously eying the scary neighbor's house. Johnny hadn't made a midnight visit to him in years, but Todd still felt that festering fear of the emaciated maniac whenever he looked at the dilapidated house or slept in his own room.
Pepito's house was only several blocks away, in the nicer part of the neighborhood with green lawns and white picket fences. It even had flowers and plastic flamingoes out front. The front door was swung open after the second knock, making Todd jump.
"Hello mi amigo. You took long enough, my mother has already made a batch of cookies for us." Pepito stepped aside to allow Todd in. He moved into the room politely hanging up his coat and slipping off his shoes. He watched as, on his way to the kitchen, Pepito shed the magic that maintained his entirely human appearance. Now dark horns curved a good five inches from his head, black painted nails turned to naturally black talons, and very light brown skin became decidedly more olive in color. Todd was used to his friend looking like this, but it still managed to cause his nerves to go slightly on edge whenever he saw the change. He didn't know why though, Pepito was just as dangerous no matter what he looked like.
"Todd, sweety! It is good to see you again!" Rosemary stepped from the kitchen to engulf him in a large hug, a little awkward now that he was the same height as her. She embraced her son and ducked back into the kitchen to return with a plate of chocolate-chip cookies, "You boys have fun, and don't forget to finish your homework!"
"We won't, mother." Pepito turned with Todd to head up to his room.
Pepito's room was large but not huge and decorated just like what you would expect from a more punk teenaged boy. Todd had once asked about the lack of satanic items and Pepito had shrugged, saying it was nice having a space where he could pretend to be normal when at home. Then and now Todd was grateful for the normalcy of band posters, a bookshelf, desk with laptop, and TV set up with the latest gaming equipment complete with two well-used beanbag chairs. Pepito slumped into the chair at the desk, pulling homework out of his red and black backpack with a scowl showing off his fangs. Todd followed suit and took up his usual spot on Pepito's king-sized bed. Settling into the fluffy surface, preparing to spend the next couple of hours in relative silence.
"Hmm?" He looked up to find a set of mismatched red eyes boring into his own with a hint of concern, an abnormal expression on the half-demon's face. He only called him Todd when it was something serious.
"Was that guy in chemistry bothering you? I could make his next project blow up." His tone was calm.
Todd's eyes widened. "N-no. That's ok Pepi. He wasn't really bothering me, really. You don't have to hurt him." By the end he was looking down at his hands, fidgeting with his pencil. It was hard to lie to his best friend, but he really didn't want anyone else hurt on his behalf.
He could feel Pepito's gaze still burning into the top of his down-turned head, "Yes."
With that, the conversation was over. Todd relaxed after he heard Pepito return to his work and for the next couple hours the only sounds to be heard were the turning of pages and the scratching of pencils.
As Todd put the final touches on the mathematical proof, he was slightly startled by Pepito suddenly pushing back his chair with a loud declaration of "Done!"
"Pepito! Todd! Dinner is just about ready! Come down and set the table please!" Rosemary's voice filtered faintly up the stairs.
Pepito let out a groan, but opened the door and shouted compliance down the stairs.
Todd gets up, wincing at the loss of circulation in his left foot and the pins and needles signaling it coming back. Shuddering again, he tried to not think about needles, biting back the threatening terror left from the D.H.M.I. He followed Pepito downstairs.
At the bottom of the stairs, both boys were nearly knocked over by a large and enthusiastic wolf-dog. Todd bit back a squee. That dog still made him nervous though Pepito still tried to convince him that she wouldn't hurt him.
"Woofles!" Pepito cried happily, cuddling and petting the smiling hell-hound, "You're home early, did the uh…" quick glance at Todd, "rabbits become boring?"
If it was possible, Woofle's smile grew, showing every single one of her razor sharp teeth.
"Pepito." Rosemary's voice rang with a slight warning.
"Coming!" he replied, stepping away from his pet and grabbing the dishes already stacked on the table, spreading them out.
Helping in silence, Todd was listening to his friend hum the song 'We Didn't Start the Fire' softly to himself. A smile played over the smaller boy's face at the scene of the Anti-Christ, son of Satan, humming cheerily and setting a table covered in a flower print tablecloth. Slowing slightly in his activity, Todd watched Pepito, but then his friend's eyes looked up to meet his gaze with slightly puzzled humor.
"See something you like amigo?"
Todd could feel his face starting to heat up in response to the suggestive question. Racking his brain for a response, he was saved from further embarrassment by Juan Diablo stepping in the front door in his human disguise, sporting the usual suit and briefcase.
Mrs. Diablo came out of the kitchen to greet her husband with a big hug, "Welcome home dear, how was your day?"
Satan dropped the disguise, lightly kissing his wife, "Thank you dear. As for my day, I believe it was quite successful." The last part said with a smirk dispelling any doubt that Pepito was the son of the demon.
"Hello father." Pepito managed to look both humble and defiant, a stance Todd saw performed only in front of the ruler of Hell.
"Hello Pepito, and greetings to you too Todd, it is nice to see you again. Have you taken any more thought on my offer?" Juan glided over to sit across the table from where the two boys usually sat.
Todd emphatically shook his head in the negative. While Pepito had ceased to actively ask him for his soul several years ago, Juan Diablo continued to bring it up.
"Father, he said no the first time you asked." Pepito sounded a bit exasperated.
"Yes, but he can always change his mind."
Todd did not miss the slightly worried look Pepito passed his way as Rosemary brought out dinner and everyone was seated, passing food to fill their plates. Now he was more confused than ever. Didn't Pepito still want to own his soul? Was there a difference between Satan and Pepito owning a soul? Were they in competition for it? Did Pepito really want it? Or has it become so damaged by all the horrible things that happened to him, making it almost worthless? But if that were the case, then why would Mr. Diablo continue to ask for it? He was so confused he nearly missed Rosemary's question.
"How was your day?" she repeated.
"Oh, um, it was just fine. Nothing bad happened." He swiftly shoved a forkful of food in his mouth to avoid talking further.
Thankfully, Pepito seemed to be more than happy to chat amiably about his day, filling the time throughout dinner.
Later, back in Pepito's room, Todd took a few minutes while Pepito set up a video game to look through the mail gathered from his house. Luckily it was all junk mail. No bills. He had painstakingly gone through all the papers in the house a few years ago to make sure he had all the information he needed to fill out the paperwork since his father had stopped doing it and Todd discovered a notice about possibly losing the house if everything wasn't paid. Now he also worked a job on the weekends in order to make ends meet. He sighed silently while thinking about all this, dumping the junk mail in the small trash next to Pepito's desk. The half-demon was already slumped comfortably into one of the beanbag chairs as Todd plopped down beside him, picking up the other controller. Sounds of the game filled the room.
Several hours later, Todd barely registered his character dying once again as he nodded off in the comfortable beanbag chair.
"Tired amigo?" Pepito's voice seemed to be drifting through a haze.
Todd's eyes slid shut and a moment later he felt something soft and warm against his cheek. Too warm. Realizing it had been Pepito's lips pressed against his cheek his eyes shot open in shock, watching his friend get up and head towards the bathroom.
"I'm going to take a shower Squee, then I think it's time for bed."
"What was that?"
"I said-" He turned, maintaining a straight face.
"No," Todd blurted, interrupting him, "What was the, um…?" He pointed to his cheek where he could feel a blush starting to form.
"A sign of affection between friends amigo, people do it all the time." Tilting his head slightly, he gave the softest smirk Todd had ever seen, "If you get this flustered every time I may have to do it more often, it's cute."
At a complete loss for words, Todd was too shocked to do anything but watch his friend turn back around and continue into the bathroom. It wasn't until he could hear the shower start up that his brain decided to boot up again. It was true that sometimes friends kissed each other on the cheek, he had seen it at scool plenty of times, but it was usually between girls who were friends. Then he remembered that it was also common in Mexican culture, which Pepito inherited supposedly from his father's side. That whole thing was never clear. But then why hadn't Pepito ever done that before? Poor Todd was more confused than ever, getting up and grabbing his set of pj's from Pepito's closet. It had become a habit to keep a couple sets of clothes at Pepito's house since he had started sleeping over as often as possible. Sometimes the Diablo's home seemed to scare away the nightmares that usually plagued him, and ever since Shmee stopped talking there was little reason to sleep at home most days.
Pulling the sleeping shirt over his head, he almost scoffed at his mental wording. The Diablo's house was just as much home as where his parents lived. He was still contemplating Rosemary's offer to have him file for complete independence from his parents and to come live permanently with Pepito, but who then would take care of his parents? He would feel too bad about leaving them.
He heard the water stop, and a few minutes later Pepito walked out in his own pajamas. Todd took his turn in the bathroom, brushing his teeth with the extra toothbrush reserved just for him.
When he got back, Pepito was already under the covers, facing the wall so that Todd could sleep facing the room, making him feel safer. He did just that. Shortly after pulling the covers up to his chin, a familiar scratching noise came from the door. Feeling shifting behind him, he could see Pepito out of his peripheral vision motioning his clawed hand to open the door and let Woofles in, closing it behind her and flicking the lights off in three fluid strokes before the hand retreated, followed by some more shuffling around.
In the pitch-blackness of the room, Todd was listening as the wolf-dog padded over to the bed and jumped up on the end, settling down with a contented sigh at their feet.