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"L" is for...

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Jackson noticed the little things at first.

The way he took a peculiarly long time to form answers to even the simplist of questions. The way he had to ask Einstein to repeat the same sentence over and over again until the words seemingly clicked with him. The way he formed "L"s with both hands before turning down corridors in the museum when he thought nobody was looking.

Jackson was at a loss. She knew Justin wasn't stupid. In fact, she would go as far as to call him a genius. (And that didn't have anything to do with the fact that she fancied him.)

So why was "The King of Nerds" having such a difficult time with stuff that kindergarteners could grasp quite easily?

She was left with no answers for quite some time.

~~~

Jackson got her big breakthrough on a relatively normal day.

She had been asked to watch over the kids in the lab while they did whatever it was that they did. Jackson admittedly didn't understand much of what the lab rats were doing, and she had a suspicion they didn't either.

Of course she hoped that they would find a cure, but she didn't allow her hopes to get too high. She wasn't expecting a vaccine or whatever the sort anytime soon.

She was standing in the back of the lab, admittedly staring at Justin for a not socially acceptable amount of time. It wasn't her fault she fancied him...

She kept these feeling to herself. And only to herself.

Much like her hope for a cure, she didn't let her hopes of Justin reciprocating her feelings get too high. She was well aware that she was everything a stereotypical attractive female was not.

'If anyone, Justin was probably drooling over that halfwit, whore Brooke.'

Jackson chided herself for thinking ill of Brooke. The girl hadn't been anything short of sweet to her, and didn't deserve to be thought of in that light. This didn't make Jackson any less envious though.

And so she watched Justin as he wrote on the blackboard at the front of the lab, explaining something to a few of his peers.

She hadn't really been paying attention to what he was writing until she heard a few snickers and jeers from a few kids.

How is he the leader? He can't even spell properly?

Ha! And he has the gall to act as if he's smart!

He probably couldn't even spell 'smart' if he tried!

Confused, Jackson turned her attention to the chalkboard.

Vaccines ƨtimulate the probuction of antibodies and brovide immunity againƨt one or several diseases.

'So what? A few letters a jumbled up.. big deal..' Jackson thought to herself. 'Kids can be so cruel.'

Apparently, however, Jackson wasn't the only one who had heard the mocking.

Justin was staring at what he had written, looking as if he wanted nothing more than to crawl in a hole and die. His face and ears had turned redder than that slingshot kid's hair, and the way Einstein was smirking smugly at him clearly wasn't helping.

"Oi! Get back to work you lazy, asshats! I didn't come down here to guard a bunch of tots who can't get over a couple of misspelt words!"

Jackson found herself shouting the words without even thinking about it.

However, the lab kids did immediately drop the taunts and  resumed working. Sometimes, being perceived as scary did have its advantages.

Still embarrassed, however, Justin speedily made his exit out of the lab.

It wasn't long before Jackson decided to follow.

~~~

"Alright then. What was all that about?"

Jackson had found Justin rather easily. He was in his room; one that the museum kids had affectionately nicknamed "Dad's room."

Justin jumped at the sudden voice filling the room. He turned to the source to see her closing his door, trapping the two inside. 'There's no avoiding this conversation, is there?'

Taking a seat on his bed, he cleared his throat awkwardly before answering.

"I-I'm just tired, Jackson, really. I didn't get much sleep last night and my brain is kinda foggy. That's all it was."

"But that isn't all it was, is it? Don't think I haven't noticed..."

When Justin gave her a confused and equally anxious look, she continued.

"Oh, come on, Justin! All the little odd things you do! The long pauses before answers; the problems with processing and understanding people's words; your issues with spelling! Not to mention the letters you make with your hands! I've seen you throw up "L"s countless times, and unless you're throwing up gang signs for a gang I didn't know your in, you've got some explaining to do!"

Justin's deep blush returned to him face.

"I wasn't aware you looked at me that often," he said quietly, almost in a whisper. It was Jackson's turn to blush.

"Y–Yeah? Well it's your bloody fault for being so damn attractive!"

They both froze.

Jackson decided she really needed to work on thinking before speaking.

Justin mumbled something under his breath was he wiped his sweaty palms on the knees of his trousers.

"What was that?"

"I–I said you're not so bad yourself."

Justin glanced up nervously at Jackson and flashed a dopey, nervous grin. Jackson couldn't help but grin back.

'Well that answers one of my burning questions, but not the one I came in here to ask,' Jackson thought.

"Don't think flattery will get you out of this, J," Jackson joked. "You still haven't answered my question."

"I guess there's no getting out of this, is there?" he sighed.

"And I meant what I said," he added quickly. "It wasn't just flattery."

"If I tell you this, you got to promise you won't tell anyone else?"

'Oh, shit... Is he actually in a gang...' thought, but what she actually said aloud was, "I won't tell a soul."

"Alright—" he scooched over on the bed, patting the empty space as invite for Jackson to sit down, "—well, uh, do you know what dyslexia is?"

Well, yeah, Jackson had heard the term before, but she wasn't actually sure of what it was. All she knew had picked up from kids at school was that, if you had it, you were considered stupid and put in a special class in most cases.

"Uh, yeah, I've heard of it—" she took the seat next to him, "—Not really sure what it is though."

"That's alright. Well, I've got it. I'm dyslexic. Just means I've got it a little rough when it comes to reading and writing. English in general, I guess..."

"You know what doesn't make you stupid though, right?" Jackson found herself saying. "I mean, those kids back in the lab were making fun of you. You know they're just being dicks, right?"

Justin smiled. "Yeah I know. Just a little bit sensitive about the subject, is all. I appreciate you coming to talk to me, though."

Jackson returned the smile. "Anytime."

She was still a little confused about one thing though.

"Can I ask you a question?"

"You just did," Justin replied with a cheeky grin.

"Oh, come of it! You know what I meant!" she rolled her eyes, playfully shoving him on the shoulder.

"Alright, alright, fine! Of course you can."

"You never explained the wierd "L" thing. And just so you know, if you joined a gang and didn't invite me, I'm gonna be so pissed..."

Justin laughed. "I wish it was something cool like that... Sometimes dyslexic people have a hard time remembering their rights and lefts. When you hold up "L"s in front of you, the one that actually makes the "L" shape the correct way is left."

"Oh... That makes a lot more since than you being in a gang. No offense."

Justin shrugged. "A little taken."

"Well if that's the case, then how about we make a gang..."

Justin perked up. "I'm listening..."

"The "L" could be our symbol," Jackson shrugged. "Just a gang for the two of us."

Jackson's blush deepened as her mind caught up with her words. Just as she was about to frantically backtrack, she felt a warmth on her hand. Justin's hand was on top of hers, and she felt as if she could pass out at any second.

"I think I'd like that," Justin grinned.

~~~

Since that day, Jackson couldn't help but smile everytime Justin flashed her an "L" as they passed in the halls, no matter how many wierd stares it earned the two.

Nobody else know what it meant, but that was okay.

It was something for the two of them.