"Friendships are fragile things, and require as much handling as any other fragile and precious thing."

Randolph Bourne

Student Council Chambers

Monday, September 26th


"—and another thing! We need to begin planning the annual Fall Festival. Principal Gillan has it scheduled for October 30th, so we have a little over a month to pull this thing up by the boot straps and orchestrate the best festival this county's ever seen. As you all know each class is expected to host a booth—"

With a click of her black pen, Rachel McKenzie furiously jotted down the itinerary in her notes as the McClintock Student Government President James "Jimmy" Nixon McGarfield laid out their future plans for the upcoming fall semester. School had started a mere two weeks ago, but Rachel's new planner was already streaked with vibrant highlighters and bursting with sticky tabs that dutifully kept the busy junior on top of everything. Being Rachel McKenzie wasn't easy and as she squeezed 'Fall Festival Brainstorm' into an open space under her reminder to buy a TI-84 calculator for her AP Statistics class, she took a few seconds to look at her schedule today.

Student Gov. Meeting 7:15AM.

Student Tour 8, be there 7:50AM

Turn in Honors Society Application

Cross Country Practice 3:30PM

Study for reading quiz Wednesday

With a yawn, Rachel crossed the first task off the list. Since stepping onto campus freshman year, she has been an active leader in McClintock's student government. From Homecoming Float Leader to hosting pep rallies, Rachel has had her hand in just about every aspect of the student council. People always praised Rachel for her amazing school involvement, but as a freshman she only joined Student Council because her mother stressed it would look great on college applications. Two years later, Rachel sat proudly as the elected junior class president and as much as she loved her position, she could do without the early morning meetings every Monday.

Scrunching her small nose in concentration, she went to flip her planner into next week when a loud buzz caused her heart to jump and nimble fingers to tear the edge of the page with a rip.

Glancing sideways at the noise, she watched a red Android light up with a text notification and an annoying jingle. With a role of her eyes, she turned to look at the junior class vice president, and her good friend, Nigel Uno. As usual, his face was fixed in an intense stare as he typed away on his laptop to Jimmy's distinctive southern drawl.

Rachel had always admired Nigel's extreme drive, even if it bordered on excessive at times. The two council members had shared a class or two the first year, but it wasn't until they shared debate class sophomore year that Rachel was able to see the boy in his element. After singlehandedly captivating the entire classroom with his argument for early school dismissals and even managing to convince their teacher of his points, approaching Nigel and convincing him to join Student Council was a no brainer. She knew immediately that anyone who was able to hold 25 teenagers attention for a 7 minute speech and advocated for student rights would be a perfect fit for student council. As it worked out the two shared a lot of common beliefs and when student council elections were held that spring they won the president and vice president positions in a landslide.

Nigel's phone buzzed again, and as she instinctively turned to the noise she noticed two things. One, it was 7:45AM and she only had five minutes to race to the front office to lead her student tour, and two, it seemed Mr. Uno was talking to Lizzie Devine again.

Giving a shake of her butter blonde hair, Rachel sighed. It wasn't that she was opposed to the couple per say, she just didn't see how it could be classified a "relationship" when it seemed to mainly be a desperate Lizzie vying for Nigel's attention while he was constantly preoccupied with his "job".

After packing up her things and quietly sliding out of her seat, Rachel gave a wave to a still lecturing Jimmy and slipped out of the council room.

Girl's Bathroom

Monday, September 26th


"You serious? She's transferring here?"

A rougher than needed hip bump jolted Kuki Sanban from her dreamy daze and back into the 2nd floor girl's bathroom of McClinktock High. Giving a quick look to her right she saw the nudge had been from Henrietta Von Marzipan, a fellow teammate on the cheer squad and the high school's local siren. Now sharing the small mirror that hung on the tile wall, Kuki watched as Henrietta slipped a tube of baby pink lip gloss from her purse and began to meticulously apply it to her parted lips. Henrietta spared Kuki a quick glance and a smirk graced her face.

"I swvear Kuki, you can be such space case sometimes," Henrietta said with a somewhat menacing wink, her notorious accent clear as ever.

Kuki simply gave her a tight lipped smile and fished inside her makeup bag for her new mascara. After three years on the pep squad together, Kuki was no longer intimidated by Henrietta's scare tactics. Leaning into her reflection as she unscrewed the cap, she found herself being drawn into the gossiping cheerleaders around her.

"Yes! My older sister worked for her family's company and she said that after the whole thing this summer they want her to have a 'fresh start'," a newly thin Lizzy Devine remarked from the mirror closest to the door, using her nimble fingers to make air quotes, "but I think it's because they don't have the money for her rich bitch private school anymore." The glee in Lizzie's voice betrayed any attempt to seem uninterested as she examined her nails for any chipped polish.

"Well what do you expect? All the legal fees their paying has to be killing their trust funds," Muffy Jenkin's voiced as she examined her newly pierced belly button in the mirror next to Kuki. Her shirt was pulled high enough to show the lining of her lacy bra, but it's not like it mattered. It was common knowledge in McClintock that the 2nd floor girl's bathroom was a "cheerleader's only" area before school. No one but a few uninformed freshman girls were dumb enough to waltz through those doors.

"Wait, someone's transferring?" Kuki asked. Before being knocked back into the conversation by Henrietta, Kuki had been sleepily applying another coat of concealer to the deep bags under her eyes. Last night her "official-but-not-official-boyfriend" Ace had called and they spent the better part of the night whispering over the phone in hushed tones.

Lizzie rolled her eyes and for a brief moment Kuki wished they'd get stuck like that. "Duh! Everyone's talking about it and—". Suddenly the door to the bathroom swung open and the girls all turned to look at the interruption. The once chattering bathroom was replaced by the echo of stiletto heels and before them stood Cheryl Woods, the unattested Queen Bee of the junior class.

"Good morning girls," her voice purred. Her long red hair fell around her like a copper halo and her mischievous smile only seemed to illuminate her striking features. The other three cheerleaders all chorused excited greetings at their captain and Kuki flashed her trademark toothy grin.

Cheryl sauntered over to where Kuki and Henrietta were sharing a mirror, and with another hip bump Kuki found herself squished between the two bombshells. Inspecting her already flawless reflection, Cheryl started to fluff her hair.

"So what are we talking about this morning, ladies?" the redhead asked, reaching into her bag to pull out her hairbrush.

Lizzie, always the devoted Gretchen to Cheryl's Regina George, began to recount her story about the new transfer student when Cheryl let a loud huff spurt from her lips that stopped the brunette cold.

"New girl? So what, we get new kids all the time."

"Yeah, but she's—"

"Irrelevant. Next."

The other three girls watched with curious stares as Cheryl rolled her eyes in an exasperated show and Lizzie stumbled to redeem herself. A beat passed before Kuki turned to her captain.

"So Cher, how's Mr. Drilovsky?" Kuki couldn't hide her giggle as Cheryl faltered slightly brushing her hair and the other girls gasped. Muffy and Henrietta stopped what they were doing and waited for their captain to spill everything.

"Well if you must know, Patton and I are on again, and no, it's not because he got hot at hockey camp this summer." Though it certainly didn't hurt, Kuki thought, as Cheryl continued to gush.

All summer Kuki had filtered FaceTime calls and group texts about the relationship drama that was Cheryl Woods and Patton Drilovksy. The two were always breaking up and making up, never staying together for longer than a month or two tops. By high school standards, they should've been the King and Queen of McClintock, but unfortunately the two always seemed to crumble over petty arguments. More often than not the breakups dealt with Patton's title as one of McClintock's biggest flirts.

The cheerleaders were so wrapped up in their gossip that the shrill bell caused them all to squeal in surprise. With a quick goodbye the five girls parted and went to their first class.

Principal Gillan's Office

Monday, September 26th


Principal Gillan had brown eyes.

At least she thought he did, but it got harder to tell with each cup of coffee he drank. Tugging at the ends of a few stray curls, Fanny Fulbright quirked an eyebrow as she watched Principal Gillan sip his second morning coffee, the steam fogging his horn rimmed glasses each time he brought the mug to his thin lips. She watched the man's Adam's apple bob with each gulp and Fanny tried to convince herself that, that was the reason she felt so uneasy.

It would be easy to say the anxious feeling festering in her stomach had sprouted last night out of genuine first day nerves, or even this morning when she, her mother, and Principal Gillan sat in his office sorting through her academic record before Mrs. Fulbright scurried away to take her sons to their new respective schools. She could even lie and blame bad sushi for her jitters.

That would be complete bullshit though, and although she hadn't been super familiar with it before this summer, Fanny liked the idea of being honest above all else. If she were to be honest with herself, a concept she was still getting used to, it started long before she had shakily agreed that McClintock High School was her best option (her only option, really) of shedding everything attached to the Fulbright name.

Growing up Fanny would have never tried to hide her lineage. She used to take such pride in being a Fulbright but now—

Fanny inhaled an angry quivering breath. Now was not the time to get carried away. Besides she wasn't that girl anymore. She watched Principal Gillan use his tie to "de-foggify" his glasses for the 6th time before slipping them back onto his pointed nose and turning to look at her.

His eyes were hazel. Maybe.

"Your records show a good academic presence and solid involvement. I don't believe you'll have any problems adjusting to your new class schedule, despite starting two weeks after the official first day. Now, it says here you played soccer at your last school. You know we have a pretty decent team here you could try out for."

"Thanks Principal Gillan, but I don't really play anymore."

"Oh? Now, we may not be the 'The Baxter School Wolverines', but we 'McClintock Lions' have our own well rounded athletic department. In fact, our girls' team made the district semifinals last year," Principal Gillan assured proudly. Fanny's freckled cheeks involuntarily went red with embarrassment. He thought she rejected their team because they weren't as good as her old one.

"No! I'm sure those—, uh, we Lions are great at soccer. I just don't really have time to focus on that because of everything..." Fanny trailed off and a pregnant pause consumed the room for a moment.

His eyes suddenly melted from his proud stare to a look that Fanny had come to know as pity. It's funny, her father used to preach how the Fulbright's were a strong people and didn't need pity from anyone over anything. That was when her father was still able to preach and she still had the luxury of believing whatever silly mottos her father taught her.

She braced herself for whatever cliché line Principal Gillan was about to feed her, no matter how unnecessary Fanny found it. He knows why she was here, why she can'tgo back to The Baxter School, why McClintock is her last 'hail Mary play' at making it out of Cleveland in one piece, and why she of all people, was probably very tired of hearing the same token phrases she can't seem to escape. He seemed ready to go into his speech when a knock at his door startled him. Fanny could practically hear the unspoken "I know this can be a difficult time" in the air.

The office door creaked open and a girl about her age strode in. Principal Gillan's face instantly brightened and he gestured for Fanny to stand up too.

"Good Morning Principal Gillan! Sorry I'm late, I got caught up in the Student Council meeting."

"Don't worry Ms. McKenzie. Rachel, this is Fanny Fulbright. Fanny, this is your student tour guide Rachel McKenzie. She's in your grade and will help you settle in. Now you two should get going, class is about to start any minute," and as if on cue the bell rang across the school's PA system.

"Don't worry Principal Gillan, I'll make sure we get everything sorted," Rachel asserted, confidence evident in her voice.

"I never do with you Ms. McKenzie. Good luck girls!" With a final wave from Rachel, Fanny and Rachel set out into the bustling hallway.


The hallways had eventually gone empty as students went to their first period classes, leaving only Rachel and Fanny to explore the school grounds. Fanny's Doc Marten boots stomped as she walked in step with Rachel, the blonde easily navigating the large building.

"So I usually like to start my tours with a few fun facts about McClintock," Rachel began, already prepared to go into full tour guide mode. "The school was founded in 1925 and was originally —

"Not meant to stand this long," Fanny snickered, letting her fingers trace a row of metal lockers they were walking by.

Rachel faltered at Fanny's comment, but recovered quickly and let out an unsure giggle as she eyed the dented lockers.

"True, the school board would rather spring for new cheerleading uniforms and new grass for the football field than locker sets. Oh! Over there is our trophy case. We have a pretty good football team here and last year they almost won states but we lost to—"

"Us," Fanny replied automatically and just as fast berated herself. She wasn't considered a Baxter School Wolverine anymore. "But at least you guys have cute uniforms."

"True again," Rachel agreed nodding hesitantly. "Well our mascot is obviously a Lion and he's named—"

"Don't tell me it's something corny like Lester or Leon."

"Are you going to interrupt every sentence I say?" Rachel asked in slight annoyance. The new kids Rachel tended to were usually too nervous to say much, and given the circumstances Rachel assumed Fanny would be much the same. Apparently this girl had an answer for everything. "I'll have you know Lawrence is a symbol of our school pride and represents McClintock's can do, hard fought spirit! We even have students dress up in a lion suit and run out with the team at every football game."

Fanny blinked. "Ay, thank God you have cute uniforms."

Rachel, whose face was twisted in frustration, suddenly burst out laughing. "Geez, it's like you have no filter whatsoever."

"'Course, it's one of my better qualities," Fanny joked. Which, on a list of things she considered "good qualities", her quick attitude always seemed to rank near the top. "I'm trying to work on it though." Fanny Fulbright may not be that girl anymore, but she still had a tongue sharper than a butcher's knife and learning to control it was a whole other situation.

"Don't. It's…refreshing," Rachel said, surprised by the sincerity in her own voice. When it came to her school duties she ran tight ship, and she often worried people were simply telling her what she wanted to hear rather then what she needed to hear. She could already tell this new girl would do none of that. "Let me see your schedule."

Fanny shuffled through her backpack for a few seconds before handing Rachel a slightly crumpled piece of paper. The two leaned forward slightly as they read over her classes.

"Ah, you have Algebra 2 first period. That's in the math hallway right over there." Doing as she was told, Fanny followed Rachel to her first period classroom. "And you have 4th period lunch. I'm guessing you don't have anywhere to sit today?" Fanny let out a groan. With all the chaos this morning she didn't even think about what she'd do during lunch. If McClintock was anything like Baxter, where she sat would pretty much define her socially.

"No worries, meet me at my locker before lunch and we'll walk together." Rachel watched Fanny's face fall into what she could only call relief as she nodded a thanks.

"So, Rachel was it? What're the kids like here?" Rachel read right through Fanny's seemingly harmless question for what she really wanted know. Are any of these kids gonna give me shit here? Rachel didn't know much about this Fanny Fulbright other than the different rumors she'd heard the last few months, but she was pretty sure a girl like Fanny wouldn't let anyone give her shit for anything.

"Nah, most of the kids here are harmless. I doubt you'll have any trouble." It wasn't often Rachel was wrong, but as they turned the corner towards the classroom something boney slammed into them and sent them sprawling onto the hard floor. It took a second for Rachel to figure out the scene in front of her, but glancing at the pair of goggles that had landed near her head she knew exactly who they collided with.

"What in the—what's your problem ya stupid boy!" Fanny was a mess of curses and shouts next to her while the lanky figure quickly jumped to his feet, grabbed his goggles, and began helping them pick up their fallen bags.

"I'm pretty sure you just gave me whiplash, Gilligan." Rachel tentatively rolled her shoulders, inspecting for any bruises.

"Sorry Rach! I accidentally got caught in Jock Block and I do not need to tell you how messy that can get." Hoagie P. Gilligan shuddered, pulling his infamous aviator goggles overhead and letting them fall around his neck. "Only two weeks into the school year and you'd think those guys would give us a bit more leeway."

"You know running only provokes them."

"That's no hard to do when they're pumped full of steroids and protein shakes. Kidding! Sort of, anyway." Hoagie raised his hands in surrender when Rachel sent him a pointed glare.

Fanny continued to sputter as Rachel helped her off the ground. "What the hell was that?" Rachel watched Hoagie notice Fanny for the first time and rolled her eyes when he started to look over the scowling girl. "Well hello there."

"Not now Hoagie—"

"YOU'RE DEAD MEAT GILLIGAN!" The three whipped around to see a boy turn the corner and begin charging at them. Hoagie was already sprinting away when he called out:

"Bye Rachel! Bye Red! Gotta go!"

The girls jumped out of the way as the boy chased after Hoagie. Rachel sighed while Fanny shouted after Hoagie, my name's not Red, ya idiot.

"Any other of these kids gonna give me trouble?"

"You? Please, they couldn't handle it. I can barely handle it." Fanny's curls whipped as she spun around to face Rachel, a verbal lashing sitting on the tip of her tongue, but stopped when she noticed the blonde girl's wide smirk. The girls snickered all the way to Fanny's first period.


Monday, September 26th

8:14 AM

Hoagie P. Gilligan Jr. was, without a doubt, a smart boy.

Over the years his family's fridge slowly morphed from a stainless steel block to a small shrine of all his academic achievements. Small alphabet magnets hung perfect report cards and aced AP Chemistry tests for all hungry persons to see, and if his PSAT scores were any indication he was on track for a very bright future. That is, if he can live long enough to see it.

Unfortunately, even unofficial geniuses like himself have the occasional lapse in judgement and as Hoagie burst through the doors of McClintock's gymnasium he really wished he'd stayed in Spanish class. When he stepped off the school bus this morning Hoagie had no intention of being anywhere near the dreaded Jock Block, a hallway on the first floor where all the popular athletes' lockers were located, and he certainly didn't think he'd be running for his life at 8:14 in the morning. Not that running from bullies was unusual for him. In fact, it happened so often he'd bet his major weight loss from his younger days was solely due to outrunning bullies rather than the health kick his mother imposed a few years back.

Weaving in-between the kids in gym class, and just narrowly missing a basketball to the face, Hoagie paled with realization that he was virtually cornered. Cursing, he weighed his options. He could:

A. Hope his attacker would get tired and/or bored and stop…eventually

B. Take the beating like the (sort of) man he is

Or C. Hide in the one place Hoagie hated more than the gym itself.

From behind he heard a familiar angry growl and his stomach sank. Clearly, the athletic conditioning the boy did five days a week was paying off so Option A was a no go.


And from the way his voice shook the air Hoagie was pretty sure he had a concussion with his name on it, if he was lucky. Definitely not Option B.

Gulping, Hoagie rushed forward. He had no choice. Bracing himself for a place more horrifying than Saturday detention and a smell more putrid than mystery meat Monday, he reached out his hands in time to push through a small door at the back of the gym.

On the other side stood the pinnacle of high school masculinity, testosterone, and many "that's what she said jokes". Where the men were separated from the boys and the jocks waltz about like lazy kings and the nerds shrunk into the background: the boys locker room.

Jumping over benches and loose athletic gear, Hoagie saw salvation in the form of a single door that lead straight to the football field. If he was lucky, he'd make a run for under the bleachers and hide out until his attacker tired himself out looking for him.

Gagging when he accidentally inhaled the sweaty aroma, Hoagie reached for his door to freedom, but felt the goggles around his neck snap back and send his flying to the floor. Small white stars erupted in front of his eyes, but as the haze cleared away a shadow cast over him. Welp, he lived a good life.

"Oh, hey there Wallabee! Was that you calling my name? Is there something I can, uh, help you with this lovely morning…buddy?"

Standing at a surprising 5'7" was the unflinchingly strong, notoriously short, and notoriously short tempered Wallabaee Beetles.

"Ay mate, let's have a chat yeah?" The question itself was fair, but it was the quiet malice in the Aussie's smile that made him squirm.

"Oh you know I just positively love our talks Wallabee, you know I do, but Ms. Fernanda is expecting me back in Spanish class—," Wally's hand reach out and hauled Hoagie up by the collar of his light blue, button down shirt.

"The name's Wally and you've got a lotta' nerve."

"Now Wally you know I was just kidding! I jest!"

"I'm sure."

"You know how it is! Just jokes among friends!"

"Funny, I wasn't laughing."

"Heh, must have gone over your head!" Hoagie cracked, refusing to miss a prime opportunity to make a joke. Wally seethed and tightened his grip on Hoagie's shirt. Wally Beetles was definitely not the sharpest tool in the shed, but he knew a short joke when he heard one. Hoagie decided after taking AP Psychology last year that Wally had what the "experts" (i.e. himself and a few fellow nerds) called a "complex."

"Well aren't you a bloody comedian?"

"Since I'm not bleeding yet, I'd say not."

"You got a death wish Gilligan?"

"C'mon Wally! Everyone appreciates a good joke now and then, where's your sense of humor?"

"Oi! You're right," Wally drawled with exaggerated sarcasm, "was I supposed to laugh before you called me a dumb marsupial or after you said I'm the size of a literal Wallaby?

Hoagie flinched. To be fair, he didn't know Wally was standing right around the corner when he skipped class to meet his old friend Joe Balooka by the first floor stair case, a meeting place that on second thought was dangerously close to Jock Block. If anyone asked, Hoagie was meeting Joe to pick a few small mechanical parts that were hard to come by. In actuality, he was meeting Joe to pick up a rare, limited edition Yipper Card that was worth at least 50 cool points when he'd go to game night at Herbert's this weekend. He and Joe went way back, further back than most of the kids he considered his friends now did. Even though they're relationship fell through during grade school, the two were friendly and shared a mutual respect for each other. Joe had become a middle man of sorts, and Hoagie relied on Joe for the various pieces he needed for his robotics and paraphernalia for his nerd fandoms.

After slipping Joe the rolled up money in exchange for the card, the two had mingled around to catch up briefly. That's when his trouble began. Joe might've said that Hoagie's bold for standing so close to Jock Block and Hoagie might've made a few jokes at the expense of a few jocks in particular and one of the said jocks might've heard it all and decided Hoagie wasn't nearly as funny as he thought he was. He might've further provoked said jock by running away and leading him on a campus wide chase. He might've even accidently (and quite literally) ran into junior class Prez Rachel McKenzie and a pretty red-headed girl he'd never seen before.

Did he have a death wish? Apparently so. Hoagie, for all his intelligence, could never seem to control his stupid mouth. Rearing one hand back, Wally prepared to send his fist flying into Hoagie's face when he began to ramble.

"Go ahead! Hit me, but Coach Sherwood is in his office right over there and you'll get suspended for fighting again." Hoagie inhaled sharply. He was officially shit out of luck and hoped this would get the volatile boy to reconsider. It was no secret around school that Wally had a nasty habit of using his fists rather than his words and had gotten in trouble more than once for brawling. Some people swear he always throws the first punch, no matter what. Wally paused for a moment, and briefly Hoagie prayed his play at mercy worked. Suddenly a wide, saber toothed grin broke onto Wally's face and Hoagie's heart stopped.

"Coach Sherwood's in Cincinnati for a coaching conference until Thursday." Hoagie was a dead man.

"Who's the dumb marsupial now, buddy?"


Monday, September 26th


Everyone knew high school was like a game of chess. Just as the checkered board had designated spots for its kings and queens, knights and pawns, so did the McClintock cafeteria.

"So, what's the social scene here like?" Fanny asked, eyeing the two teens sitting across from her. Doing as Rachel said, when the lunch bell rang Fanny waited for Rachel at her locker and the two walked to the lunchroom together. Currently, the two girls were seated at a table with some a Rachel's friends. The first of whom she met was Nigel, a polite boy with a buzz cut so severe he looked near bald, and then Abby, a relaxed girl with long hair falling from underneath her snug, red baseball cap.

"You know, the usual. We have over 40 academic clubs you can join and all standard sports teams."

"Aw, enough with the tour guide spiel. What's the social scene here really like?"

Reaching for her carton of chocolate milk, Rachel considered the question. As one of the school's student officials it was in her job description to be fairly unbiased when it came to social politics. Although she didn't pay too much attention to them, she knew she unintentionally had been categorized and labeled into the student council, "goody-goody" role.

"Well, I guess it's like any other high school."

Abby's melodic laugh sounded from across the table. "That's not what she's asking, Rach. Let Abby handle this one." Abigail "Abby" Lincoln was, and always has been, an enigma of sorts. Liked by all, Abby had the ability to float between cliques with a few smart quips and serene smiles. If anyone was able to break down the pecking order it was undoubtedly Abby.

"By the way, have you started thinking about possible themes for our class booth?" Nigel asked, turning to Rachel. Immediately the two began discussing ideas as Abby turned to Fanny.

"See, over there you have your band geeks, theater kids, mathletes…" Fanny's blue eyes skimmed the cafeteria as Abby listed all the various. Even without Abby pointing to each table, it was easy to tell who was who.

"…and next to the trash cans is generally where the nerdier crowd hangs around," Fanny recognized the klutzy boy who'd basically assaulted her and Rachel this morning. He was holding court at his table, seemingly sharing a funny story as his friends listened intently. She hadn't gotten a great look at him earlier, but he looked different. Did he always have a black eye?

A booming laugh rang across the cafeteria and caused everyone to turn towards a table near the middle.

"…and of course you have the preppy jock crowd." Fanny vaguely recognized the small blonde boy that had been chasing "Hoagie" earlier, and he was surrounded by equally strong boys, all clad in various Letterman jackets. He was in the middle of a conversation, adamantly making grand gestures as a boy with dark, obsidian hair and an easy smile laughed at his antics. From around them the other boys interjected with goading questions and teasing remarks. A few girls in stylish tops and short skirts sat among them and Fanny decided they must be the head cheerleaders of the school. The girls seemed entranced in their own conversation, giggling to themselves and typing away on their iPhones. She sighed, glancing at them another second. She knew what kind of girls they were: pretty, unapproachable, and probably more than a bit mean when the time called for it. She knew because back at Baxter she was just like them.

Fanny was about to turn back around when she noticed one of the girls staring in her direction, specifically, at Nigel's unobservant head.

"I think you've got an admirer, Nigel," Fanny teased. Rachel and Nigel stopped their brainstorming and looked puzzled until they noticed the staring girl too.

"That's just Lizzie," Rachel answered, a tinge of annoyance in her voice not unnoticed by Abby or Fanny. Nigel, meanwhile, seemed slightly embarrassed and his cheeks hued red.

"Ah yes, she's probably wondering why I didn't answer her text messages this morning." Both Abby and Rachel sprang into action, the former razzing Nigel and the latter asking how the "relationship" was going.

Slowly picking up her ham & cheese sandwich, Fanny watched the three playfully bicker and for the first time in a long while the queasy feeling in her stomach subsided a bit. Her first day at a new school, starting two weeks after everyone else mind you, had not been a complete disaster much to her delight. The kids she'd met seemed relatively nice and not once had anyone mentioned anything from this past summer. Perhaps the switch to McClintock hadn't been a misguided, desperate attempt at normalcy after all. Maybe things just might work out

She sent a wish to whoever was listening that the rest of her days at McClintock be uneventful, ordinary even, and took a sip of her apple juice to seal the deal.

Unfortunately, you don't always get what you wish for.


A/N: it's honestly been forever since I've written anything fiction related, but seeing as its summer and I want a side project here goes nothing. I've always wondered how Sector V and Co would turn out once decommissioned from the KND, so I figured I'd take a swing at it. I kind of wrote it more for myself then anything, and hopefully I'll be able to make this into a decent story (even though it's probs not super original).

Also, Cheryl Woods is the name I gave to Numbuh 10 for the purpose of this story. I'm trying to use as many canon characters as possible without including OCs. Mostly canon pairings too with a few extras thrown in.