areyoukiddingmedude: I feel like what this fandom wants most is angst and drama.
AmberZ10: Let's...keep brainstorming on that.
aykmd: But they unanimously loved the shocking moments in Sirens Arena! And the Joker chapters in Unconscious Motivation!
AZ10: I don't think "unanimously" means what you think it means.
aykmd: FINE. Let's give 'em a high school AU so sweet it'll rot their f'ing teeth out!
AZ10: OK...but also like smart, right? Like cute, sure, but also substantive?
aykmd: Wouldn't have it any other way ;)
AZ10: Then I'm in. Let's do this.
Harley was frolicking through fields of daisies, her blonde pigtails bouncing with each frolicky step, with her loyal hyenas at each hand and a sea of puppies trailing behind them – when suddenly her alarm blasted her back into reality.
"Ungh," she grunted, fumbling at her phone until it finally stopped bzzting at her. Then she lifted her head from where she was sprawled face-down on her twin bed and squinted one eye indignantly at said phone. "Why'd ya hafta interrupt my beautiful dream?"
Harley (real name Harleen, don't ask, just move on) Quinzel flopped onto her back and threw an arm over her eyes. Then she sat up straight. "First day of school!" she gasped, and she bounced out of bed to grab a shower before any of her little brothers could get in there and hog the bathroom.
She showered quickly, threw on a t-shirt and a skirt, and went to the kitchen to see if they had any Cocoa Puffs.
As usual, the kitchen was absolute chaos. Her mom held her 4-year-old brother by the collar as he squirmed and tried to run away, screaming the whole time. Her 8-year-old brother was throwing pieces of cereal at the screaming toddler, laughing his head off.
And her 12-year-old brother . . . was pouring the last of the Cocoa Puffs into a bowl.
Harley was just opening her mouth to forcefully negotiate with him when her mom said, "Harleen, thank God! Come hold this one for me and make him eat so I can get dressed for my shift."
"But–" Harley began. Then she realized that her mom probably forgot it was her first day at her new school, and she sighed. "Come here, kiddo," she said, and he eagerly jumped into her outstretched arms as her mom hurried off to change.
By the time she got her littlest brother fed, there was barely enough time for her to brush her teeth, grab her backpack, and run. "Bye, guys!" she said. "I'm going to school!"
There was no response. The general hubbub didn't diminish in the slightest until Harley closed the door of the apartment and leaned against it with a sigh.
Then she went downstairs, unchained her bike, and pedaled off toward her first day at Gotham Prep.
When Harley got to the school, she was struck again by how much it looked like a castle, and she had to stop herself from breathing out a "Wow." She looked around for a bike rack but didn't see one, and then she realized that was because she was the only kid on a bike. Everyone else was getting dropped off, in limos and town cars and – what kind of car was that? She'd never even seen that logo before.
And they were all wearing school uniforms. And they all looked like they'd stepped right out of the pages of GQ.
And Harley wondered, not for the first time, if she was making a huge mistake.
She settled for hitching her bike to a tree, then pulled out her phone like she always did in moments like these and chose a number. A warm voice answered after only one ring: "Harley? Did you make it to your first day okay?"
Harley exhaled, feeling better already. "Hi, Dr. Leland," she said. "I'm fine. I just – everyone here is so–"
"Harleen Quinzel," Joan Leland said in her 'tough love' voice. "You know you have just as much right to a first-rate education as every student at that school – and more right than some."
"Yeah, I guess," Harley said, shuffling her feet.
"Harley," said Dr. Leland, her voice softening now. "You did all of this on your own, with very little support from your – from anyone. You won that scholarship through hard work and talent, and you will be the first person in your family to go to college."
"Okay," Harley said, a little stronger now. "I got this."
"Damn right you do," Dr. Leland said, and Harley could hear her smile over the phone. "Now get in there and knock 'em dead!"
Harley put her phone away, took a deep breath, and prepared to walk through the doors of Gotham Prep for the first time.
4:58am. Pamela's eyes shot open two minutes before her alarm. Good. Today was important. Today was the first day of school, she would need every extra minute to adequately prepare herself.
A shower was first on the agenda, naturally. She carried her cellphone to the bathroom with her and shivered a bit as her bare feet adjusted to the temperature difference of the stone tiling. She set an alarm for 10 minutes because that was enough time to clean herself but was also less detrimental to the environment in comparison to how some tended to luxuriate.
She braced herself on the glass wall of the shower and allowed the warm water to spill over her body, soaking into her thick red hair as she closed her eyes and sighed. Pamela found the warmth of the shower comforting. A welcome embrace, caressing her body in—beep, beep, beep- Time's up. She grimaced slightly as she shut the water off and stepped back into harsher temperatures of early morning Gotham City.
Towel wrapped tightly around her torso, Pamela wrung her hair out and began to thread it through her curlers, then reset the timer for 15 minutes. "Good." She said to herself with a sly smile as she sat down at the mirror to the right of the sink. The redhead studied herself in the morning light for a moment before flicking on the bulbs that surrounded her reflection. Now that her tanned, supple skin was illuminated in a more flattering light, her smile widened. It was the first day of Junior year, she had a right to be excited. This year, everything mattered. Every assignment, every paper, every tardy, every class choice and volunteer opportunity…It would all be reviewed by the colleges she applied to, and every sacrifice, every late night study session, food bank shift, missed party…it would all be worth it once those acceptance letters started rolling in. And her parents would be so proud. They'd tell their colleagues and employees that their daughter was accepted to Harvard or Yale or Cornell or Stanford, or all of them, maybe- yes, likely all of them.
Pamela applied her makeup with a steady hand, having mastered the look of utter perfection long ago. Her green eyes shown back at her as her eyelashes gained volume with each stroke of mascara. "You look wonderful, Pamela." She told herself, not having to keep her voice down because- at the moment- she was the Isley household's sole occupant, until her mother and father returned from their work engagements in Metropolis and National City.
Beep, beep, beep. Pamela removed the curlers from her hair, spraying the wavy locks into place with the product her mother had formulated. It was- without familial bias- the best product of its kind. Being the daughter of one of the foremost cosmetic chemists in the country certainly had its perks. "Good." Pamela said again, satisfied with her hair and makeup. She'd already ironed her uniform the night before, so all she had to do now was slip it out of its plastic cover and fuss with it until it lay just right against her. Every button straight, every line flattering. She tied the black ribbon around her neck beneath the white collar of her short-sleeved dress shirt and then pulled the green blazer over top, completing the ensemble. "Excellent."
6:02am. Pamela's ride was expected at 6:30, which meant plenty of time for breakfast. She pulled the portion of fruit salad she'd prepared from the fridge and added one cup of plain greek yogurt. After brewing herself a cup of green tea, she sat down at the empty table to pour over the Gotham Preparatory Academy's website, making sure she hadn't missed an announcement. She hadn't, and the website's only update since she'd checked it last night was a banner welcoming back the students.
6:28am, a black town car pulled up the long, winding driveway and Pamela straightened her bag on her shoulders, tapping her foot as it came to a stop in front of her. The driver popped out of his door and came around to help the redhead inside. "Good morning, Ms. Isley. You look lovely."
"I know, Alec." Pamela assured him as she ducked into the back seat. "And good morning."
Three blocks later they were passing the Kyle house and Pamela smirked when she saw Selina's corvette still in the driveway. Pam was going to arrive at school first. "Heh." She was still smirking with an intense self-satisfaction when they arrived, a comfortable 15 minutes before the morning bell. "Thank you, Alec." Pam told him distractedly as she once again pulled the backpack onto her shoulders and adjusted the straps.
"See you at three?" He asked.
"No." Pam told him like he should know better. "I have tennis until 5. I'll be expecting you then."
"Of course." He nodded politely. "Have a good day, Ms. Isley."
"I will." She smiled despite herself as she made her way across campus with familiar, surefooted steps, towards the doors of Gotham Preparatory Academy.
Author's note: Bonus points if you can guess which one of us wrote which part.