Title: The Scales Tipped

Rating: PG

Summary: Ingrid is having a hard time fitting in at X Middle School. What would've happened if Ingrid became Fillmore's nemesis instead of his partner.

Authors Note: Hey all! You might like to know that I've also posted this on my Fillmore! fansite, and I plan to update it there more frequently than I do here. This is my shameless attempt to get you to visit it ^^; Oh! And if you want to, while you're there, submit your stories to my fanfic section. It's hungry for more food! You can find a link the website in my profile.

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//Dear Wayne,

Greetings from your hometown man. Sorry I haven't written in so long, but things have been pretty busy since you left. I hope you're enjoying Tennessee. Things at X are the same as ever- theft, conspiracy, kidnappings.//

A particularly loud shout from the hallway caused Fillmore to look up from the letter he was writing. The door burst open with a decisive shudder, and in marched Anza with a struggling arrestee in tow. 'This is unacceptable!' he shouted, wrenching free of Anza's grip. Said officer was looking extremely perturbed about the whole display. He made another grab for the boy's handcuffed arms.

'So are stink bombs,' he said dismissively. Another officer ran over to help move the guy into the booking room.

'I want my lawyer!' Fillmore heard him yell before the door slammed shut. He raised an eyebrow at the scene and then shook his head. Yup. The same as ever.

//Except you're not here to lend a hand to justice anymore. To bad. Vallejo is really feeling the loss of his star officer. He's taken to beating up on the new recruits, which really hasn't inspired anyone to join the force as of late.//

At that moment the commissioner stalked out of his office and proceeded to badger a rookie about a report that 'was not only late but improperly filled out!' The rookie was standing in a resigned way, arms defensively wrapped around her middle and eyes glued to the floor. Karen took pity on the girl and strategically interrupted the overly-harsh lecture.

'Coffee, sir?'

Vallejo paused mid-sentence and seemed a bit thrown off. Tehama held out the mug, the expression on her face repeating the question. 'Oh, uh, sure. Thanks.' Taking the offered coffee, he retreated back to his office with a weary expression. The rookie gave Karen a miserable but grateful smile.

//No new partner on the horizon.//

Anza emerged from the booking room looking a little. ruffled. He passed Fillmore's desk with a scowl on his face. 'Anza.' He stopped and turned. 'What was all that about,' Fillmore asked, motioning towards the booking room where muffled shouts could be heard through the door.

Anza crossed his arms and spat out the whole story with disgust. 'Found the guy setting up a stink bomb in a locker in C-Hall. When I asked him what he was doing, he ran. Chased him into the cafeteria, where we an accident with the vending machines. Soda everywhere. Folsom and Vallejo are going to have my badge for breakfast. And my suede jacket is ruined!' he exclaimed, motioning to the stains. 'Then the guy has the nerve to say what he was doing was for the good of the school, and I'd be better not to stop him. "I'm the most gifted student at X",' Anza said in a falsetto voice. 'Tch, that stink bomb was big enough to take out the entire ground level.' He shook his head and went over to his own desk.

Fillmore glanced up at the clock. It was time for him to walk his beat. He put the half-finished letter in the top drawer of his desk and stood. Moving to the door, he slid his jacket on and left the noise of HQ for the noise of the hallway, hands shoved deep into his pockets. Since Wayne had left, life seemed kind of still to Fillmore. He was more withdrawn than ever, and a lot more stubborn too. Truth be known, Fillmore had passed up the opportunity for a new partner only 2 weeks ago.

He'd come back to HQ after busting a few kids trying to break into the gym equipment room to find Vallejo shaking hands with a sweet looking girl. She was a dainty looking little thing, all smiles and cheer. Rather reminded him of Cheri, though maybe a lot less exuberant. Softer. She was wearing a pale pink dress with a white sweater that had only the top button done up, and a large silky ribbon in her hair. Vallejo gave him a meaningful look and motioned for him to come into his office.

'She seems a bit delicate to make a good Safety Patroller.'

'Chloe passed her exam with flying colors. I daresay she outdid you, Fillmore.'

Cornelius split the blinds with his fingers and watched her move around HQ, chatting with the officers and introducing herself. 'I don't want a partner,' he said, and let go of the blinds. He turned around to look Vallejo squarely in the eye.

'It's been over a month since Wayne left.'

'No partners.'

Vallejo had left it at that. Fillmore suspected that Vallejo new what he was going through, and was giving him time to adjust. The commissioner knew what it was like to lose a partner. But lately his patience had been growing thin. Yesterday he accused Fillmore of 'moping around' instead of doing his job. Both of them knew that wasn't true, Fillmore had been more diligent with his work than ever. It was his sole focus. It kept his mind off of other things, and that was the problem.

Vallejo essentially wanted him to get over it, and because that wasn't happening he was losing his temper. Instead of having to deal with Fillmore's crime fighting tab and his insufferable attitude, he had to put up with Fillmore's crime fighting tab and his overly stubborn moodiness. Cornelius smiled to himself; you just had to pity the guy.

But he didn't want a new partner.

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Ingrid stood rooted to her spot on the stage. She couldn't quite tell what was worse at the moment: the semi-rigid foam balls, the threats of chess team glories and invisible walls, or the 'X-Middle-School-Alicious' cookie that was unsettling her stomach. Perhaps just the astounding effrontery of it all. The incredible insolence of all these people. What kind of school was this exactly?

The people in the audience were smiling expectantly, waiting for her to say something like 'I'm glad to be here!' or 'I hope to be friends with all of you!'. As if. Ingrid had seen her fair share of schools, and this one was no different than the others. She'd practically drowned in the sea of 'X' jackets, sweaters, and scarves that were being paraded on just about very student body through the hallway. All she saw was red, literally and metaphorically. These people were just a bunch of preps all caught up in the wonderful image of their school. Probably been brainwashed at one point or another. Heck, they could probably all do something stupid like sing the school anthem from heart, in harmony. Ingrid inwardly rolled her eyes and prayed there was no school anthem.

Then she told them exactly what she thought. 'This school stinks.' And that was that. She marched off of the stage and back through the door she'd followed Principal Folsom through just a few minutes before.

'Again Ingrid, welcome,' she heard a woman's voice echo through the auditorium behind her.

'Yeah, you bet,' she said to the empty hallway in frustration.

She wanted out. There was no way around it. She wasn't going to sit around in this school and be assimilated into their universe of happy-go-lucky preps. What did they want from her, anyway? Sure she was smart, but that was her business, not the schools. And she refused to become a tool in Folsom's plans for ways to gain the school recognition. It had happened too many times before, with too many other principals. Oh yes. Ingrid knew how to play this game. All too well.

It was just a matter of persuasion. Persuade the office that you were too much of a hassle to keep around. Convince them that you weren't worth their time. And that was never very hard, really. Prejudice based on appearance was something she'd used to her advantage many times. And when she left the teachers could say to themselves in a self-satisfied way: 'I knew that one would be trouble the first time I lay eyes on her.'

A bell rang for lunch and people began flooding out of the auditorium. She let the crowd wash over her, and then moved along with them, disappearing into the masses. Eventually she found her way back to her locker, having already made a map of the hallways with her photographic memory. Ingrid glanced at the gift basket that was sitting forlorn at the bottom, then dug out the cookies and dumped them in a nearby garbage can. Her tummy squelched. X didn't sit very well with her at all.

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Next Chapter: Ingrid vies for a way out of X, but things take an unexpected turn.