Tobias's hair is dark red. None of his brothers have straight, thick, dark red hair like him.

It's a shade away from brown, barely red, combed evenly and gelled in place so as to be immobile. It offsets his glasses and helps perfect the serious look that he has worked so diligently to achieve. None of his brothers have hair of that color or texture, even though Elijiah has tried.

Elijiah's hair is flaming bright red, curly and unruly and thick. He tried to part it or gel it or comb it, but it only ends up uneven or sticky or puffy. Elijiah doesn't wear glasses but he doesn't smile as much as he should. Tobias is the serious one, the smart one, Tobias is what Elijiah aspires to be. Tobias does not like this; it isn't good for Elijiah. Elijiah, though, knows nothing else. Nothing except that Tobias is his older brother and Tobias knows everything and Tobias doesn't smile that much so neither should Elijiah, even though sometimes Elijiah wants to smile so much that keeping the impulse in check makes him cry. Maybe that's good, he thinks, maybe that could help him become a little more like Tobias. What he doesn't realize is that Tobias smiles, in his head, but rarely stretches his lips. It's all in the demeanor, and while Tobias is urbane, Elijiah is a child and would like, maybe once, to have an uncontrollable fit of laughter and possible be joined by his big brother. Elijiah also doesn't realize that Tobias worries and wants him to laugh. Elijiah is still a child. His hair has yet to darken, to straighten, to become more like Tobias's. Tobias hopes that maybe it never will.

Noah, though, has red hair unlike any other; strawberry-blond and spiky. It's different, like Noah, who is not afraid to laugh and who play football and the piano with intriguing grace. Noah, who holds the middle position well, who juggles between his older brothers' serious world and his little brothers' world of cartoons and comic books. Noah is the segue, a perfect segue that can toss around a baseball or play a Bach piece in B minor and immediately transpose it into C major. Noah has not favorite, and Noah can aspire to be like neither Tobias nor Elijiah because he could never curb a smile. Instead, he laughs, and his older brothers envy his freedom. Noah knows this, knows he's lucky, and hopes that he never has to envy his little brothers.

Jacob and Jeremiah, the twins, are set apart from the others by walls. Hair a light red, but without the blonde tones of Noah's, they are a study in similarity. Identical in every area but personality, the twins laugh constantly, even when things aren't funny, something that they learned from Tobias and Elijiah and Noah combined. They laugh and they are everything Tobias and Elijiah and Noah has wanted to be, Jacob a talented athlete and Jeremiah an artist of most prodigious gift. They will envy Noah and the way he could choose to be either a professional football player or musician and succeed easily. They will envy Elijiah and his undying loyalty, for they will never know the feeling of having one big brother who is the absolute pinnacle of perfection. They have three, and they cannot choose one but all three to want to be exactly like. They will envy Tobias and his drive and the way that he constantly protects them without even realizing his actions. They envy each other's gift, and Noah's spiky hair, and Elijiah's crazy curls and Tobias's demeanor, but they laugh about it.

When they gather together, they laugh, even Tobias and Elijiah, and it seems, at those times, that their family might be the only thing that is really real, really matters. In those moments where Elijiah forgets himself and chuckles accidentally, when Tobias mellows and grins, when Noah and Jacob and Jeremiah absolutely guffaw, everything is right, and it doesn't matter that Tobias's hair has come ungelled in the back or that Elijiah's is sticking straight up, that Noah's is drooping or that the twins' is boring and plain. All that matters is that they are all smiling, they are all brothers, and they are all together, as the recessive red-orange gene deep in their bones decided long ago that it was always meant to be.