Alternate Beginnings


A/N: This story is based off a conversation I had with a friend, placing Taylor into the plot for a particular teen movie. See if you can guess what it is.

1) This story is based in the Wormverse, which is owned by Wildbow. Thanks for letting me use it.

2) I will follow canon as closely as I can. If I find something that canon does not cover, I will make stuff up. If canon then refutes me, I will revise. Do not bother me with fanon; corrections require citations.

3) I will accept any legitimate criticism of my work. However, I reserve the right to ignore anyone who says "That's wrong" without showing how it is wrong, and suggesting how it can be made right. Posting negative reviews from an anonymous account is a good way to have said reviews deleted.

4) First paragraph is directly from Worm: Gestation 1.1.

The door swung open, and I glared up at the three girls. Madison, Sophia and Emma. Where Madison was cute, a late bloomer, Sophia and Emma were the types of girls that fit the 'prom queen' image. Sophia was dark skinned, with a slender, athletic build she'd developed as a runner on the school track team. Red-headed Emma, by contrast, had all the curves the guys wanted. She was good looking enough to get occasional jobs as a amateur model for the catalogs that the local department stores and malls put out. The three of them were laughing like it was the funniest thing in the world, but the sounds of their amusement barely registered with me. My attention was on the faint roar of blood pumping in my ears and an urgent, ominous crackling 'sound' that wouldn't get any quieter or less persistent if I covered my ears with my hands. I could feel dribbles running down my arms and back, still chilled from the refrigerated vending machines.

I climbed to my feet and stood there, shaking with anger. Anger at myself, for having spoken up when all I had to do was keep silent. Anger at Sophia and Madison, for pouring juice and soda over me. Anger at Emma, for holding the door shut while they did it. Anger, even, at the idiots who had designed and built these toilet cubicles so that the doors opened outward instead of inward, like they usually do. If they hadn't, Emma would never have been able to trap me so easily.

Frustration welled up inside of me. There was a buzzing at the edge of my senses, and I forced that part of me down. I didn't want that happening, not now. Not when I was so close to becoming a superhero.

Instead, I expressed my feelings verbally.

"What the fuck?" I screamed. "What did I ever do to you? Why the fuck do you keep doing this?"

Sophia laughed in my face. Madison giggled. Emma just smiled that same cruel, taunting smile, the one she used whenever she knew she had scored on me. I knew that smile all too well.

"What's the matter, Taylor?" asked Emma. "Have a little spill?"

I shook with rage, unable to speak. The buzzing was louder; I exerted my will, forced it down.

"Wow, you're all sticky," tittered Madison. "You're so clumsy, spilling your drink over yourself like that."

At my sides, unbidden, my hands curled into fists.

"Maybe you should go home and clean up," suggested Sophia. "And stay there. Forever."

She shared a high-five with Emma and they turned to go; Madison was a second behind them.

I watched them opening the door, leaving, walking away after leaving my life in ruins. Again.

No, I told myself. You don't get to walk away scot-free this easily. Not this time.

The buzzing in my ears was a roar; with an effort of iron will, I forced it down. I didn't need it to do what I wanted to do.

Madison was just about to walk out when I lunged forward, grabbed her shoulder with one hand and her hair with the other. She wore it shoulder-length; I got a good grip and yanked her back into the bathroom.

She yelped as I did so, but the door slammed shut, cutting off access to the corridor. I didn't have much time and I knew it; any moment now, Emma and Sophia would be back in here to defend Madison. So I turned and shoved her; she tried to keep her feet, but the slippery juice that had spilled out of the stall worked against her, and she skidded and fell. I used the respite this gave me to flip the lock on the bathroom door; barely half a second later, the door rattled and a weight hit the other side of it. I hoped whoever it was got a bruised shoulder out of it.

Madison was on her feet by the time I turned to face her. Behind me, the door rattled; I paid it no attention at all. Nor to the raised voices from outside.

"What the fuck is wrong with you, Hebert?" snapped Madison. "Fucking seriously? You could've hurt me, doing that."

I raised my eyebrows slightly. "I really, really don't care," I told her bluntly. I took a step toward her.

Her eyes widened slightly. "K-keep away from me," she said. "Let me out of here, you fucking psycho."

I had to laugh. It came out harsh and brittle, like broken glass. "Me, a fucking psycho. After what you and Emma and Sophia have been doing to me for the last eighteen fucking months. That's fucking rich."

She took a deep breath, tried to edge around me. I moved to block her, got closer.

"You realise that if you touch me, Sophia's gonna fuck you up good," she said, trying to sound more confident than she looked.

"No matter what I say or do, she's gonna fuck me up anyway," I pointed out. "So I might as well fucking earn it for once."

"Get out of my way!" she screamed, and launched herself at me.

I let her come, swinging a wild punch that glanced off of her cheekbone and rocked her head back. Her own blow hit me in the sternum. Neither of us was an experienced brawler; I couldn't remember ever having been in a serious fist-fight before. I had reach on her, and a bubbling anger. She had desperation, and maybe a little weight advantage; she was shorter than me, but I was skinnier.

We came together bruisingly, then we went over, our feet going out from under us on the slippery tiles. My glasses came loose with the impact, skittering away into one of the cubicles. It didn't matter; I didn't need to see her that clearly.

Her hair came loose as we rolled over and over, the sky-blue pins scattering over the tiles. She was at a disadvantage; her strapless top and denim skirt not affording her anywhere near as much protection as my jeans and hoodie. I had a disadvantage of my own; the buzzing pressure behind my eyes was desperate to be released, to add to the conflict. I couldn't let that happen. I held it back, and it cost me a little in speed and reaction.

But when it came down to it, I had been running and exercising since February, ever since Sophia had incited some boys to chase me. I was fitter than I had ever been before. Madison wasn't the sporting type; she much preferred to watch sports, preferably those with hunky guys in them. So while it was evenly matched at first, and she got a couple of good hits in, she tired quickly. I was just starting to get the upper hand when the lock clicked and the door opened.

"What," said a stern voice, "is the meaning of this?"

I paused, straddling Madison, in the process of drawing my fist back to slug her again, and looked up at the door. Mrs Knott stood there, with the janitor beside her. At least, I guessed it was Mrs Knott, from the voice.

Now they can get him in just a few minutes, was my first thought.

Madison tried to throw me off her; I held her down, instinctively.

"Taylor Hebert!" snapped Mrs Knott. "I had thought better of you than this! Let her up immediately! What do you think you're doing?"

"Her and her bitch friends poured fucking juice and soda all over me!" I yelled. "What does it look like I'm fucking doing?"

"Get off her, now," she ordered, stepping into the bathroom. I complied, rolling off and coming to my feet. I wasn't much the worse for wear; I had already had juice and soda all over me, in my hair and everywhere. Madison hadn't. She did now. From what I could see of her, she looked even more of a fright than I did. The split lip didn't help.

"Is this true?" she asked, looking down at Madison as she scrambled to her feet and backed away from me.

"Of course it isn't true," Madison denied. "Taylor just grabbed me and beat me up for no reason."

"Fucking bullshit," I retorted, stung beyond reason. "You stood in that cubicle, and Sophia stood in that cubicle, and Emma held the door shut, and you poured it all over me." I pointed into the cubicle, and at my own clothes. "Look, Mrs Knott. Look at me. They've been doing this shit to me for the last eighteen months. Just see it for once. Please."

Mrs Knott looked at me, and I thought I saw a sympathetic expression cross her face. "Where are your glasses?" she asked, more softly.

"I don't know," I said honestly. "They came off."

She nodded, and turned to the janitor. "Find them for me, please, Carl," she said. She turned to the door. "Emma, Sophia," she added. "Come in here a moment, please."

The door opened, and I saw one red blur and one dark blur enter. Emma and Sophia, I guessed.

"Did you two pour juice and soda on Taylor?" she asked them directly.

I could have told her what they would say.

"No, Mrs Knott," they said in perfect unison.

"Taylor says that you two and Madison did," said Mrs Knott. "And Madison's presence in this bathroom does tend to bear out her story."

At tthis moment, I felt my glasses being pushed into my hand. I murmured my thanks to the janitor and put them on.

"Oh, that was Madison's idea," said Emma to Mrs Knott's face. "We didn't want anything to do with it, so we left."

To my side, I saw Madison's eyes go wide, her jaw drop in a gasp of disbelief.

"No, that's not true," I said. "They were all three there. Emma was holding the door shut."

"Did you see her?" asked Mrs Knott.

"No, but she was there when I came out," I protested.

She sighed. "Well, I'm going to need all four of you to come along to the office with me," she said. "We need to sort this out, one way or the other."

The principal looked unfavourably upon me. "I do not hold with students fighting in this school," she intoned, as if pronouncing a judgement from on high.

"How about bullying?" I challenged her. "Pouring juice and soda on someone while they're trapped in a toilet stall? Do you hold with that?"

She gave me a sharp look. "Impertinence will get you nowhere, Ms Hebert," she said disapprovingly.

"Nothing's gotten me anywhere," I said bitterly.

"And what is that supposed to mean?" she asked.

"I mean, I was locked in my own locker, with all that filth, and nothing happened. Before that, I was bullied by those bitches –"

"Kindly moderate your language, Ms Hebert," she interrupted me.

"Fine, by those young ladies," I corrected myself, "for a year, and nothing was done, ever. And now you have them red-handed, and you seem determined to let them off on this account, too."

Sitting beside me, my father squeezed my hand. I squeezed back.

"That's not true," the principal stated. "You cannot state as an absolute fact that Ms Barnes was there when it happened, and Ms Barnes backs up Ms Hess's statement that she wasn't there, either. But Ms Clements was there, and she will be punished."

"What the hell is this?" I asked. "I saw Sophia there, pouring the stuff over me. I saw Emma outside the stall, before she and Sophia left. But because they say they weren't there, they get away with it?"

"Not at all," said Alan Barnes, Emma's father. "By your own admission, when you were having juice and soda poured on you, you could not have had a clear view of whoever was doing it."

"Bullshit!" I shouted. "They were there! Why can't anyone just accept what I'm telling them?"

The principal glared at me. "I won't warn you again, Ms Hebert," she snapped. "Now, we can only deal with the facts that we can prove. Fact one: you had juice and soda poured over you."

I could prove that, all right. It had dried in my hair and clothes. In the hour it took for Dad to come from work, and boh Mr Barnes and Madison's father to arrive as well, and a woman to arrive to support Sophia – not her mother, I presumed, as she looked nothing like her – I had not been able to have a shower or even wash my face.

"Fact two," she went on. "Madison was still in the bathroom when Mrs Knott arrived. Fact three: you were fighting with Madison, which I deplore. And fact four: ever since that incident, you have been unruly and argumentative, using language most inappropriate for a young lady."

"That's because no-one wants to listen to my side of things," I protested. "Emma and Sophia were in it just as much as Madison was!"

The principal shrugged slightly. "They say not," she said, and that was that.

"You okay, kiddo?" my father asked gently as he drove me home.

I muttered something, and he tilted his head.

"Sorry," he said. "What was that?"

"Fucking pissed off," I said more loudly. "Emma and the others have been doing that shit to me since my first fucking day of high school, and even now, no-one's taking my side on it. It sucks."

"I'm taking your side on it," he corrected me. "And I'm not happy, myself. I thought Alan was my friend. To think that Emma's been doing that to you, and he's not even trying to find out the truth …"

"Thanks, Dad." I heaved a sigh. "I still can't believe that I got detention out of it. I'm the victim, and I got detention."

He nodded sympathetically. "Well, at least Madison got detention as well," he said.

"Yeah, that's the other part that pisses me off," I grumped. "Madison's only getting detention. How is that fair?"

He shrugged. "As she said, she's only going by what she can prove."

I shook my head. "It's like she's bending over backward to protect Emma and Sophia. But why? What did I ever do to deserve this? Did I offend her in a past life or something?"

"I have no idea, kiddo," Dad said, ruffling my hair gently. "I have no idea." He lifted his hand away, feeling the stickiness. "But I'd suggest you shampoo when you get home. And I'll put your clothes in cold water with stain remover. If we can get to it before it sets …"

I tuned him out. Detention. All Saturday. Cooped up in the library with Madison.

This was gonna suck.

End of Part 1: Introduction