Past Interlude #11
San Diego, California - 1995



The difficulty with Remy and grades was that he always managed to pass by the seat of his pants. He never studied; Scott always checked his backpack for textbooks or homework. Heck, he would have been happy with a lunch stub. With his ability to charm circles around students and staff, Remy managed to spend half the year skipping school with only a handful of detentions to show for it.

His wily little brother had met his match with third period Trigonometry, however. Austere and brilliant beyond necessity for high school pedegogy, Ms. Rai could not-- or would not-- be charmed. Thanks to her, Remy's intricate web of half-truths had dissolved. If he didn't pass Trigonometry, European History, and English by the end of the semester, he'd be held back a grade.

God help them when Dad found out.

After making sure that his pencil was as sharp as he could make it, Scott poked Remy's arm.

"Ow!" Remy balefully glared at the point of contact. The tip of the pencil vibrated, went pink, and exploded with a tiny pop of fire. "What did you do that for?"

"Pay attention," said Scott.

"I was."

"Oh yeah? So tell me, how do you find the side lengths for a right triangle using trig functions?"

Remy blinked. "Uh. Three relationships right?" He twirled a couple of pens between his fingers, concentrating on balancing his chair on one leg. "Um, hetero, homo, and threesomes? Ow! Stop fucking poking me with your fucking pencil!"

"If you'd listen, I'd stop poking you," Scott snarled back, "or did you really want to have Rai a second time around?"


"Then pay attention."

Shuddering dramatically, Remy twisted to face the dining room table and the mathematical mess therein. "I'd pay attention if it was useful," he said sulkily.

"Trig is useful," said Scott.

"Yeah. I mean useful for people who don't get off by rubbing calculators on their zippers."

Scott threw him his best withering glare which was strong enough to actually kill houseplants. Remy and Alex tried it once on an aloe. The poor thing shrivelled like a slug in a microwave.

"Fine. Trig. Useful."

"It is." Quickly sketching a diagram on a scrap leaf of paper, Scott said, "Okay, you're into that building climbing thing, right?"

"Parkour," Remy corrected.

"Whatever. Say you want to climb the clock tower in city hall under a certain amount of time."

"Like a bet?"

"Sure." The sketch expanded to include a stick-figure Remy and an object that might have been a clock tower to a senile octogenarian with severe myopia and acute scoliosis. "Okay, so you know that you can climb ten feet in five minutes but you don't know how high the clock tower is. Say you know that you're twenty feet from the building and you're looking up at an angle of 75 degrees to the top then all you have to do is this." He tapped out the equation on the calculator.

Thoughtfully, Remy studied the picture, tapping his pencil on the plastic-covered table. "How did I know the angle that I was looking at?"

"You snitched it a tool from a surveyor on the way there," answered Scott deftly.

"So I knew enough to steal an angle measurer but not enough to just go in and ask about the height from someone who works in the building?"

Scott threw his hands up. "It was an example!"

"It was a really stupid one," said Remy with a grin. "I wouldn't go into teaching if I were you."

"Thank you very much. As a prize, you can be the one who tells Dad that you're going to drop back a grade." Scott shoved the books on his side of the table. "Have fun."

"No, c'mon, I was kidding." Remy shoved the books back. "I'm listening."

"No, you're not and I'm wasting my own study time." The books went sliding back.

"I am! I am! Help me already." By now, lined paper was everywhere.

Scott leaned back, gauging Remy's sincerity. "Okay. Sine, cosine, and tangent."

"Harry, Larry, and Moe," Remy recited as earnest as a choirboy.

Despite himself, Scott grinned. The paper ball he threw flew in a perfect cosine curve before hitting the top of Remy's head.

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