Hmm... let's see how this does. Depending on the response, I'll decide whether to continue or not.



She liked her neighborhood gas station. She really truly did.

As a kid, she would always stick her head out the car window whenever they pulled into the Carapace gas station, her eyes sparkling with delight at the sight of the rusty old fuel pumps.

Call her crazy, call her weird, but she found it enchanting. The addicting smell of petroleum and smoke, the yells of red-faced truckers as they fought for a parking spot, the way the manager of the convenience store right next to the station always sneaked her a piece of candy with a conspiratorial wink…

This was her second home. Hell, it might as well be her favorite home. The regulars who frequented the gas station all knew her by name and never hesitated to honk their horns whenever she jumped and waved at them. She spent a countless amount of hours helping out at the convenience store on her own will, stocking shelves, manning (womanning?) the register, etc.

She grew up as time flew by, but the gas station never lost its appeal and she continued to grace it with her presence several times a week. Most of her school homework was done in the store, where her old friends tried, though usually failed, to help her out with the more difficult questions. No secrets were kept between her and the station men. To her, they were the closest she had to a big happy family.

Having said such, it only seems right to start this story at Carapace. Anything else would just seem rather odd.

"Get in the car, Jase!"

The boy in question pushed himself against the frame of the beat-up Honda, desperately trying to avoid getting stuck inside. "I'm not going," he said through clenched teeth and his sister continued shoving him forward. "This was a mistake, Jeren. A huge mistake."

"Excuse me?" The girl straightened up and pushed her fake Ray bans to her dark-haired head, glaring at Jase through heterochromatic eyes. "What do you mean a mistake? Jase, you were looking forward to this for such a long time. This is a fantastic opportunity for you! Why would you want to blow it off?"

Jase rubbed his arm, avoiding Jeren's eyes. "Look, it's just not for me, okay? It's a school made for rich preppy kids whose only purpose is to spend their family's money. I don't belong there."

Jeren groaned. "For God's sake, Jase. We are just going on a tour. We haven't decided if we're going to send in your application or not."

Wait, let's back up. Did I say heterochromatic?

Why, yes. Yes, I did.

Jeren and Jase were twins, and there was no doubt that they could be anything but. Both had messy raven hair which never failed to fall into their eyes. They both even had the same facial features, though Jeren's were obviously more feminine. Their most striking aspect, however, were their eyes.

Heterochromia iridum, or a discoloration of the eye due to lack of pigment, wasn't a common condition. Only a handful of people had it, and even then the discoloration might only affect part of their eye. Jeren and Jase were different. Their left eye was their natural eye color: a brilliant green with hazel flecks. Their right eye, on the other hand, was what they liked to call their defected eye color: an oh-so-very pale blue.

Needless to say, they were shocking to look at. The difference between the two eyes was so great that people often stepped back in startled surprise. The twins received a handful of questions from people they met for the first time. 'Does it hurt when you blink?' and 'Can you see the same through each eye?' and so on. Annoying, but Jeren and Jase had learned to deal with it. People were curious to a fault, no matter how stupid it made them sound.

Their heterochromia caused a few other problems within their lives, the most obvious one being their lack of friends their own age. As children, everyone had either been frightened of the twins or had made fun of them, calling them freaks and labeling them as inferior.

Jeren could care less. Sure, she got into fights with the other boys, making it her mission to defend her honor, as well as Jase's, against the idiots who mocked them for something they couldn't help, but Jeren never really took other people's opinions into stride. They were all closed-minded and biased and she detested them for it. Besides, she had her beloved Carapace and the truckers and store workers to open up to. The men never teased her in vain and she was ever so appreciative to have them.

Jase was a different story altogether. He, like Jeren, frequented the gas station many times, but not as much as his sister. He was the twin that refused to give up on his peers, even though his self-esteem took a good beating each time. He only wanted to be accepted by the others. Unfortunately for Jase, there was never any room for him or Jeren to fit in.

As they grew and matured, the taunts and ridiculing stopped for the most part, but the twins were alienated from most of the student body. Jeren holed herself up in the library every lunch break and, more often than not, Jase joined her. However, he still held onto the hope that they could be one of the others. It pained Jeren to see how desperate Jase was for a real friend, but she didn't know how to help him. The most she could do was keep him away from trouble and keep trouble away from him.

She was usually successful.

By high school, Jase finally shut down. He retracted into himself, keeping away from others just as Jeren had done from the very beginning. He was grateful for the guys at Carapace and made it through his first three years of high school with Jeren by his side.

But now she wanted him to leave.

Jeren glanced over her shoulder. "Oi, Dex! Help me out here!"

Dexter Street, the manager of the convenience store, looked over in their direction with a look of annoyance. "Eh? Can't you handle your own brother by yourself, little Jeren?"

Jeren made a face. "I'm not little and he's being stubborn. It's not my fault Jase likes being difficult."

An arm was slung over Jases's shoulders. "Huh? What's with that, Jason?" Peter Mark turned his head to face him, far too close for the boy's liking. "Are you giving poor little Jeren a hard time?"

A fist shot out to punch Peter's nose. Jase flinched when he saw the flash, terrified that it would hit him instead. Peter easily evaded the attack with a quick step and then grinned at a growling Jeren. "Hey, you're getting pretty good there, kid. If I was slower, you would've gotten me for sure."

Jeren gritted her teeth. "Well, I'll be sure not to miss next time. And I'm not little."

Dexter smiled affectionately, coming round to pat Jeren on the head. "Sure you're not. Whatever you say."

Jeren hung her head. "You guys are so irritating."

Peter snickered. "That's what we're here for. And besides, you love us unconditionally. You could never be mad at us."

The glare Jeren gave made him step back and chuckle nervously. "Well, most of the time."

"Damn right." Jeren turned back to her brother, who cowered at the sight of her intense gaze. "Get in the car."

Jase shook his head defiantly. "No."

"Fine then. We'll just have to do this the hard way."


Jeren's right eye twitched for the fifth time since she and Jase had finally gotten onto the highway. "Jase, can you please stop tapping your foot. And stop biting your fingernails. And for God's sake, stop hyperventilating. You're going to make yourself sick."

Jase's face was pale as he looked over at his sister with a pained expression. "I-I can't breathe. My stomach hurts. I think I'm going to throw up."

Jeren rolled her eyes. "Stop being a drama queen."

"I'm not being a drama queen!" Jase retorted. "And I wouldn't be in this mess if it wasn't for you. Why the hell would you keep a cockroach in your pocket?!"

"It wasn't in my pocket," corrected Jeren. "It was in a plastic bag which was in my pocket."

"Same difference," Jase groaned. "You know I hate bugs and the such. And you decided it was a good idea to stick it down my shirt just to get me in this stupid car? Seriously?"

"Hey! Carlos is not stupid," she snapped. "He's got personality, unlike your silly Corolla."

"At least Amanda is gas-efficient," quipped the male twin.

Jeren pouted. "You're hurting his feelings."

"He's a car."

"Your point?"

Jase sighed, knowing this argument would go nowhere. "How much longer until we get there?"

"The exit should be coming up soo—FOUND IT!" And with a sudden lurch to the right, the Honda just barely made it through the exit, cutting in front of at least three cars, all of which honked angrily at them.

Jase turned to his sister with a look of anguish. "Why do you have to be a terrible driver?"

"What are you talking about?" Jeren asked confusedly. "I'm a fabulous driver."

"Oh, of course you are," Jase remarked sarcastically. "That's why the guy conducting your driving test fainted in the middle of your drive. He was obviously so awed by your driving skills that he collapsed with utter happiness."

She narrowed her eyes. "He said he was a bit dehydrated. Besides, he still passed me."

"Only because you could parallel park, which is what they always judge the test on."

Jeren grinned. "I'm an amazing parallel parker, aren't I?"

"Yes. Absolutely amazing. Cheers to you."

"Stop being smart with me, Jason Heath Holloway. Behave, otherwise you'll find a centipede in your pants."

"Yes, ma'am."

"Here we are!" Jeren exclaimed at the sight of the massive institution. "Shutoku Academy for Privileged Men! What'd ya think, dear brother?"

"I think I'm going to be sick."

"Aw, don't be like that, Jase," Jeren said joyfully. "This is the first step toward your bright shining future. Aren't you excited?"

"I'm terrified."

"Good enough! Come on, let's explore." And without a further ado, Jeren hopped out of the car, adjusting her fake Ray bans to counter the sunlight. She skipped over to the opposite side of the car, pulled at the door of the passenger seat, and then proceeded to pull on her brother's arm. "Let's go already!"

Jase sighed in defeat. "Since we're already here, we might as well take a look."

Jeren's eyes lit up with delight. "HOORAAAAAAY!" she cheered. "Onward, my liege!" She hooked her arm around Jase's and started walking (ahem, dragging) her twin toward the entrance of the large academy.

A sort-of brief history of Shutoku Academy for Privileged Men:

The building officially opened in 1931. It was a co-ed institution for approximately ten years, but that changed when a new school was built just a few miles away from Shutoku, one specifically made for young girls of high social standing.

Shutoku went on to rule the scene as the best school for the young and wealthy. Their curriculum was challenging, their technologies were up to date, and their professors were the cream of the crop. The school was given nothing but praise from all who visited and reviewed. To this day, there was yet to be a person who spoke badly of Shutoku.

Even though Shutoku was meant for those who could afford its high tuition rates, they would also invite those with excellent grades and recommendations as scholarship students. There was hardly anyone who met the strict requirements for entering the school, but every once in awhile, there was a boy who defied the norm and flew above all that they expected.

Once found, Shutoku would do everything in their power to obtain that boy and place him within their walls. Every student that graduated raised the success rate of the academy. Though Shutoku was regarded as the school to attend, it didn't mean that other schools weren't climbing the ladder, ready to take first place as the king of education.

For that reason, Shutoku yearned for scholarship students who would make them greater than ever before. Little did they know that they would receive not one, but two students who would go on to take over the academics at Shutoku.

**Shutoku is actually a name of a school from an anime I once watched. I simply borrowed the name. So... I guess all I'm trying to say is that I don't own the name haha.

Thank you for reading.