A/N: You know, I can't count how many angsty and complicated relationship's I've read in the 7-hundred odd Jimmy Neutron fics there are: Cindy leaves him, Jimmy's the bad guy, both have emotional problems, one has chicken pox and the other has never had it before, (Ooh, good one. I'm going to have to make a note of that.) Those are…okay, but after the first 10 or so, you start to want some good, pointless FLUFF! So, when I was making top romen one day, this idea came out of nowhere, and since I am sitting here at three a.m. on a school night with nothing to do, I will present to you my first attempt at a Jimmy Neutron fic. You obviously thought well enough of it to open it up, so enjoy.
Disclaimer: I do not own Jimmy Neutron. (yet…)
Tap, tap, tap, tap.
Cindy sat with her chin in her hand, staring out the window to her left. She was daydreaming again, not even bothering to pretend to listen to her teacher.
Tap, tap, tap, tap.
This had become a habit for her during the past few years or so. She would zone out entirely, thinking about. . .well, everything. She had improved her subtility over time and now was only caught every other week slacking off, while notes gone home reporting her failure as a student, not giving her studies the proper attention, from years past nearly filled a kitchen drawer. (She had even once fallen asleep, only to be woken by the laughter of her World History class when she had called out… well, it was just too painful to remember. The incident still brought a blush to her cheeks.)
And it was all his fault.
Tap, tap, tap, tap, tap.
Cindy sighed in frustration and slid the pencil she had been tapping on her desk behind her ear. She peeked out from behind her curtain of hair at the girl on her right.
Libby was intently taking notes – as any proper, prim, successful (Cindy's mother was constantly pulling that one out) student would do – as their teacher droned on and on about atoms. (A fascinating subject. . . . in perhaps the fifth grade. Or a mild form of hell. At the moment, Cindy was almost positive she had had more fun watching sheetrock than listening to this lecture.)
Libby looked up from her paper at Cindy. She crossed her eyes and let her tongue hang from the side of her mouth. Cindy smiled and chuckled inaudiably, glad to know she was not alone in her state of tedium.
She sighed again and switched the positions of her hands, as her left arm was beginning to fall asleep. She looked up at the chalkboard at the front of the classroom, just behind the teacher, and removed the pencil from beneath her layers of hair to copy some of the notes into her worn, fraying notebook.Structure of the Atom - the atom consists of a central, positively charged core, the nucleus, and negatively charged particles called electrons that are found in orbits around the nucleus. . .
Cindy remembered how he always wore that stupid shirt. He must have had them made in bulk or something. Not only that, he had deemed it as "his symbol" and put it on every malfunctioning piece of metal he called a revolutionary invention.
But it wasn't as though she cared, because she didn't. James Isaac Neutron could do whatever he pleased and she, Cindy Vortex, would not care.
Besides, he wasn't even around anymore for her to not care about. He had left, forever, clear across the country. If God truly was merciful, she would never see him again. He. Was. Gone.
The results from the mandatory end-of-the-year tests after Miss Fowl's fateful class had been the start of it all; Jimmy's scores had blasted off the charts. After many questions as to the idiot who had withheld his test scores all his elementary school years was, Jimmy was moved forward a year into the 8th grade. However, tests before the start of term were enough to move him on to high school.
The Neutron's had moved to the east coast a few weeks before Cindy would start eighth grade; Jimmy's second year of high school. She had prayed with all her might that he would get landed in some town with minimal education programs, cut science budgets, and a bad case of the chicken pox going around.
Butthen, who was she kidding; as she was sitting listening to the dryest thing since the besetment of dust, Neutron was most likely off in some all-expense paid college.
He didn't need it, though. Aside from the obvious reasoning his I.Q. had been above the standar college student's for more than a decade, there was the resentful fact he was rolling in it. He had been hit with some impecable stroke of luck, several of his inventions were compiled into workable forms, patented, and sold to science research facilities all over the country, including NASA. He was probably funding his college.
"Miss Vortex!" A strident voice snapped her out of her reverie.
Trying not to wince, Cindy looked up from the window she had once again been staring out of with intense yearning. She warily replied, "Yes, Mr. Phillips?"
The old man scowled down at her, displeasure visable through the numerous wrinkles swallowing his face.
You would think the old windbag would have retired before he hit the triple diget, Cindy thought demurely to herself.
"Since you deem yourself so worthy as not to listen, perhaps you could tell the class: what is the mass of a neutron?" Mr. Phillips rasped, peering down at her nastily.
"Should be more, concidering how much pie they eat," Cindy responded sincerely, picking at a rapidly disappearing corner of her worn notebook cover. Mr. Phillips was not amused – nor comprehending.
"I don't know, Mr. Phillips," Cindy supplied dully, irritation illy disguised.
"Not uncommon words to pass your lips, I presume, with the ammount of daydreaming I've seen you do," Mr. Phillips snorted, shaking the clipboard in his spider-like fingers feebley at her. "Here's another one for you, I'll speak slowly so you can hear me: what is the charge of a neutron?"
Cindy was highly insulted, more so because she truly had known the answer. Past experiences had simply rebuilt her instincts, which told her to play naïve. Teachers often left her alone after her first failed attempt to answer a question, thinking the mortification from looking stupid in front of her peers was a reasonable enough punishment for slacking off and would discourage her from doing so again. (It gave Cindy a vindictive pleasure to know their conniving was going to waste on her without them even knowing it.)
Mr. Phillips, though, was an exception. No human on earth was going to stand before her and throw such juvinile insults at her without having several smacked forcefully back. Flippantly, she sneered, "It doesn't have an electric charge, sir."
Once again, a ripple of offence wiggled in her stomach, leaving a bad taste in her mouth, as the look on Mr. Phillips' face transformed from annoyance to incredulity. The nerve!
"And the quark composition?" he barked.
"The quark compostion of what, sir," Cindy crooned, voice dripping with over-sarcastic sweetness. She sucked at the inside of her lower lip, doing her best not to scowl or glare too deeply.
"Of a neutron, you ridiculous girl!" Mr. Phillips growled, smoldering in his own irritation. "What else would I be speaking of!"
"Well, I wouldn't know, sir," Cindy glowered back, able to keep a straighter face with the obdurate knowledge she had vexed her "superior". "You used a partial fragment. I couldn't possibly decifer what you really ment when you didn't ask me a full question." Spitefully, she added, "It could be the daydreaming catching up on me, though."
Cindy fully expected to be written up and set to the principal's office; or a counselor, because she must have gone insane. At the very least, it seemed unlikely she would be remaining in the classroom. She welcomed it, urged it on internally. If she were kicked out immeadiately, she might even have time to make it to the girl's bathroom and avoid a possible confrontation with her ever-returning, guileless ex.
Much to her dismay and confusion – as well as the confusion her classmates, who had been watching on with anticipation and bated breath – she was simply sneered at and turned away from. Highly ruffled, she turned back to Libby, who was unsuccessfully trying to hide a smile behind her hand.
"I fail to see what's so funny." Cindy hissed at her.
"You would, wouldn't you?" Libby whispered back at her. "You memorize text books in your spare time, but you don't see the hysterics in using them for your twisted will!"
"I do nothing of the sort!" Cindy snapped, a bit louder than she had intended.
Mr. Phillips spun around from his place at the chalk board to glare at her, an eyebrow raised. Cindy looked down at the top of her desk until he had turned back around and continued to write.
"That was the most asinine display of the year!" she hissed, keeping her volume in check. "There should be some sort of medal."
Libby rolled her eyes. "Girl, for which one of you? You didn't have t'bite back." Cindy snorted at this. "Geeze, I haven't seen you this riled up about some stupid science fact in fo'ever. Not for –" She stopped, suddenly looking like she knew more than Cindy did. Cindy groaned in anticipation of what her friend would say.
"Not since Jimmy left," Libby gloated, smirking in a very irritating manner.
Cindy poked the lead of her pencil through her bottle green notebook cover savagly. "Better years of my life were wasted proving him wrong, and with only a winning percent of 10.77! I ask you, is that worth it?"
"Of course not, idiot!" Libby snarled, accidentally poking a hole through a page in her own notebook by turning too quickly to glare at her. "Least, didn't think so up til now. I been thinkin' him moving away's been doin' EVERYone some good, not just you. 'Cuz if I wasn't annoyed to hell by you two duking it out, I'm sure there are other people who were. But now I see why you're so grumpy all th' time: you need him!"
"Oh, and I'm the asinine moron," Cindy growled, pulling at the hole left by her pencil with a finger.
Libby gasped. "That's it! You really do, him too, I'll bet! You got it all out on each other, and I got the good stuff left over. Dang that boy, I'm going to have to drag him back here –" she gasped again. "You miss him."
"What!" Cindy screeched, ripping a large piece entirely away from her notebook in agitation. "I do not!"
"Right right, your denial," Libby cajoled, eyes shining with her deduced victory. "You need the mind-numbing knowledge to battle with! You're bor – oh, my gosh, you're bored!"
The pity and heartbreak Libby discerned her with was too much for Cindy to tolerate. Irately, she grumbled, "Would you let it be? I'm not bored, and I'm not going to die!"
"Girl, I'm so sorry," Libby mumbled, already speaking as though Cindy's latter reassurance had contrarily passed. "I really wish there was somethin' I could do for you, but we all learn at a noraml, human pace… some of us even – er, slower than expected."
She glanced over at Sheen, who was using the point of his pencil to shave away bits of a large, pink eraser, leaving only a lump that somewhat resembled Ultra Lord. Morbidly, she added, "Gonna have to bear with us til you can head off to a smart-people college. We're not all like Jimmy, you know."
"Thank God for that," Cindy huffed.
Libby shrugged. Suspiciously. And she looked like she was hiding a smirk once more. Cindy was enraged at this and was about to say something back when the bell for lunch rang.
Libby lept up as though her chair had suddenly caught fire, gathering up her things hurridly and rushing out the door. Cindy, not about to let that pass so quickly, snatched up her bag and ran after, almost colliding with Carl.
"Sorry," she said, turning to make sure he was all right.
"That's okay, I'm fine." he said to her, clutching his chest and pulling out his inhaler. She spun back around to look for Libby, but smashed into someone else. . . a very tall, solid someone else, wearing too much of a pungent designer cologne.
Lord, give me strength, Cindy thought, bracing herself before she opened her eyes. As expected, Nick was standing directly in front of her, no space between them due to their crash. She took a step back, wishing she could go more, but the restraint of Nick's hands on her upper arms prevented that.
"Hey, babe," he said silkily, combonation of over-bearing mint added to his cologne making her eyes and nose itch. He flashed that smirk she hated so much, the one she had melted over in 6th grade. She didn't attempt to hide her displeasure at the situation.
"Nick," she said forcefully, removing his hands from her arms. "I really don't have time for this. I need to go find Libby."
She began walking away when his arm reached out again for her. Forcefully, she turned back to him, ready to give him a swift punch if needed. "Hey, come on," he said to her, trying vainly to be suave and "cool". "Why won't you sit with me any more? People are starting to think you aren't my girl anymore."
Cindy took a deep breath and said with a small sneer, "I'm not your girl. First off, I don't and have never belonged to anybody, and second, I told you we should see other people."
Nick, slowley closing the space between them, said, "Well, I don't see you with anybody else," – he pretended to look around me, feigning surprise when he saw no one – "and I'm not with anybody else right now, so who's to say we can't just stay where we are, hmm?"
Cindy narrowed her eyes at him in deep disgust. "I'm to say, that's who." With that, she wrenched her arm free from his grasp and marched down the stairs. She ran all the way to the door and out into the fresh, May air, hardley hearing Nick calling after her.
She didn't stop running until she came to the doors leading into the cafeteria. She burst through them and headed straight for the table Libby and she usually sat at. Libby looked up as Cindy came huffing over, a look a genuine concern appearing on her face.
"Girl, what happened?" she asked, watching Cindy attempting to flatten out her wildly blow hair and catch her breath. Cindy only scowled and plopped into the chair next to her best friend. She managed to growl out, "Nick."
Libby wrinkled her nose in disgust. "Girl, you need to talk to that boy and seriously tell him to back off."
"I have," Cindy sighed exasperatedly. "He's just too stupid to get it!"
Libby gave her the familiar, loathsome look of true pity, but Cindy had already taken a few deep, calming breaths. She had her eyes closed, but she opened them when Libby said, "I still don't see why you don't just Tai Chi him into leaving you alone. Might just get somethin' through that thick skull of his."
Cindy smiled and allowed a small laugh. "It's only to be used for self-defence," she explained. "and, despite how many arguments can be made out that I am defending myself, the school won't buy it, and I'm not looking forward to suspension 3 weeks away from my graduation… but oh do I want to hit him."
Libby shrugged, smiling down at the thick binder on the table before her. Sheen came up behind them, balancing two lunch trays.
"For m'lady," he announced grandly, setting one of the trays in front of Libby with a flourish. "For her knight in armor," – he placed the second tray at his spot at the table – "And for she who loves Pepsi."
"Thanks," Cindy replied, catching the bottle of soda he had tossed at her one-handedly. She opened it after the fizz had simmered down and took a long, grateful swig. Oh, the wonders of modern preservitives.
"Nick again?" Sheen asked her sympathetically. Cindy looked at him, amazed.
"Yeah," she said languidly. "How'd you know?"
Sheen shrugged. "Mind-reading powers. Came with my Ultra Lord utility belt." He looked down at his tray and dug into his mashed potatoes, thinking nothing of what he had just said. Cindy, still amazed at his odd antics and 'mind-reading powers' looked to Libby. She only smiled and shrugged.
Cindy gave another small chuckle and cupped her cheek into her hand again, resting her elbow on the table. "So," she said, taking one of Libby's fries and dipping it into the small cup of ketchup. "where is Carl on this fine day? I ran into him a while ago; where did he go?"
Libby giggled, but Sheen sat up in his chair, stared straight ahead, and proudly brought his fist up to his chest. "Today," he said, sounding very much like an army official. "Carl… has become a man."
He thumped himself in the chest, following it with a tumultuous "Ow!" that broke the dramatic and manly show he had been attempting. Despite thi, Cindy was intrigued.
"Oh?" she coerced. "How so?"
Sheen regained his proud stanc, rubbing his sternum ruefully, and said with stately drawing-out of the words, "Carl has left our humble eating-place this day to be in the delightful company of…a girl."
Cindy was not all too surprised by this. Out of all of them, Carl had certainly changed the most. After gaining control of his weight, he had grown to be rather handsome. He had even managed some sense of order over his unruly curls by letting them grow out into a wild mop that was oddly fitting for him.
"He met her in the library last week, nearly fell on her trying to use a step-ladder to get some book for his Eglish project," Libby said. In sudden rememberance, she gasped, "Speaking of which, we've got to go finish that, Sheen!" Looking apologetically over at Cindy, she and Sheen rose. "Do you mind if we leave you? You could come with, if you want…"
"No, no that's ok," Cindy said, glancing up at her. "I've got to get some work done myself."
Libby stared down cryptically at her for a few more moments before offering a small, encouraging smile. "If you say so, girl. I'll talk to you later, ok?" She swept her thin, waist-length braids behind her ear as Cindy nodded and gave a smile of her own. Still looking rather contrite, she left for the library with Sheen's arm around her waist.
Sighing lamentfully , Cindy grabbed her bag and soda bottle and stood, leaving the cafeteria to sit at one of the outside tables. She even smiled brightly at Mr. Phillips as she passed by him. However, she regretted going outside as she sat down in the middle of several tables of laughing friends and snuggling couples.
What a bunch of saps, she thought to herself while watching the latter. But then, there was that small twing of something deep inside her, but she pushed it away. There was no way she would want that.
Looking around to avoid unpleasant eye-contact, something even more repulsive caught her eye. An over-bearing, fasionable, wears-too-much-cologne repulsion, and Cindy shuddered as he caught sight of her and began weaving his way through the crowds toward her.
Well, she thought to herself, glancing at the happy couples, perhaps something like that might be good right about now…