Mangus Mango Cheese @devin_trinidad
Chapter 1

I'm not a bad kid, you know? I don't normally laugh at people who make mistakes because, duh, we're all human—presumably—and we all learn from our mistakes. (Usually). Which, in light of the present situation, I felt a little ashamed that I was practically dying from laughter, but I just couldn't stop. I mean, wouldn't you laugh?

The situation: my cousin was trying to create this little thank you card for having her father's side of the family come over for the holidays. While Uncles Frederick and Randolph were at odds, my mother was soft on Annabeth. Annabeth was a good kid; she was smart and really kind. As of right now…well…

Just picture two grubby kids lying on their stomachs while a tower of blocks lay in one corner. Due to the foundation, carefully laid out and structurally sound, the tower didn't fluctuate.

She pouted at me like I drowned her goldfish. Her young, stormy grey eyes brimmed with Hel to pay. Sure, she was around my age, five or six if I remember correctly, but she was a lot smarter than most people gave her credit for. Still, that didn't stop me from clutching my sides and howling like a wounded wolf.

"Stop it. It's not funny!" She clutched a blue crayon in one of her fingers tightly. In her other hand, a piece of paper with my name on it was crumpling like she was the Incredible Hulk. "Come on, Magnus, did I spell it right?"

"Nuh-uh!" I carefully took hold of the wounded paper and waved it in front of her face. Scrawled in child's writing, on the slightly worn paper, my name wavered throughout her style as if she had racked her brain while spelling it. The letters were exaggerated and a few capitals terrorized the lowercase letters in her comical print. "My name is Magnus! Not…er—"

It took me a second to read her writing. She may have been a genius when it came to crafting small models of famous monuments (the White House, the Parthenon, etc.) with building blocks or marshmallows (we raided my kitchen cabinet to get the sweet confections and used toothpicks as a means to connect the blocks a year ago), but she may have gotten the short end of the stick when it came to her writing. I mean, her handwriting needed some work and she spelled my name…pretty badly. I, too, was going through the stages where I also had to learn how to properly write as well, but I did better when it came down to it.

Hers looked a lot like chicken scratch.

"Naqmes…" I squinted my eyes to give off the full effect that I could not understand what she had written. "It's a good try though," I offered.

She stubbornly shook her head, took back the crumpled computer paper, and began to draw letters again.

"It's not that hard," she grumbled. "It's supposed to be spelled just like how you would sound it out, right?"

"Maybe." My mind flickered to when my mother was first trying to teach me how to read and write. She would hand me some paper, get a few markers and crayons (whatever I liked), and we would have a blast while we practiced writing and created some new words. "How about I help you out and—"


She thrust the paper back into my hands, a triumphant grin was on her face.

The letters managed to spell out—

"Magmas. Cool. I'm like a volcano now."

"Seriously," she huffed irritably. I was about to ask again if she needed some help, but she turned back to drawing on the paper again with renewed fervor. Seeing that she was trying again to spell my name, I sighed and flopped on the floor right next her little building of dominoes. After a few more seconds, she practically threw the paper right at my face again. "What about now?"

"Hate to break it to you, but that's not even close."

"Argh!" For a kid who was usually well-spoken and bright, it seemed that she was finally stooping so low as to growl out some unmentionable things. Her hands quickly scribbled faster than before. If her handwriting looked like chicken scratch before, it positively looked like she was drawing crude stick figures and hieroglyphics instead of the regular English alphabet. "I got it this time!"

"Mangus. You spelled Mangus." My tone held disbelief and traces of humor. I tried to mask it as best as I could, but she caught wind of my emotional state. The little blonde looked like she was about to hit me, so I beat her to the punch. (Not in that way, people. I meant proverbially). "Better. At least you have all the letters right, just not in the right places."

With a cry, my favorite cousin flopped onto her back spread eagle and threw the paper into the air. The paper wavered in the air for a second as if it was contemplating the will to fly, but it slowly fell to the ground. It looked so lonely and decrepit on the floor that I swiped it up and grabbed another crayon (not blue) and began to string together my name. Like her scrawl, mine wasn't any better. The letters were large and it dragged when I thought too hard on how to write said letters. It took me a couple seconds, but I signed my name and handed it to her.

She looked at my name, correctly spelled, and muttered angrily to herself.

"I hate being dyslexic."

"Don't say that." I pushed off my floor and stared down at her in shock. "Don't ever say that. You're amazing."

"Amazing at what? I can't even spell my favorite cousin's name right."

"Are you kidding?" I couldn't believe her. "You're awesome at solving problems, you make a fine architect, and—" I racked my brain for another item to add to the list, but the smile on her face told me that she was fine.

"Thanks, Magnus!" She took back the paper, studied my name and smiled. "Now I can finally finish making that card!"

I thought that it was going to be end of that, so I decided to get some glitter to put onto the paper, but Annabeth held me back.

"Hm? You need some more—"

And she hugged me around the waist.

"Best cousin ever."

"It didn't take that many tries to spell your name right." Annabeth's nose wrinkled in distaste, but she playfully punched me in the shoulder. "I mean, your name sounds exactly as its spelled!"

"Uh-huh. Then explain the time when you wrote down Mango Cheese."

I narrowly avoided her punch (courtesy of being the einherjar) and smiled like an idiot.

"I was in a hurry!" She tried to explain. "I'm not that bad at spelling!"

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