Disclaimer: I don't own School of Rock or it's characters. I just love them and enjoy writing them. I gain nothing from this other than my own enjoyment.

Rockin' Rivals

Chapter Three

The morning saw Freddy stumbling out of bed, wrapped in a tangle of blankets with his boxers hanging precariously low on his hips, hair flayed about in every direction and eyes half lidded. He walked, rather like a zombie, over to his bedroom door and then down the corridor and into the bathroom. His sleep-riddled mind sent a hazy 'thank you' to whatever divine being granted him his wish of being an only child and went to running the cold-water tap.

The bathroom was small and sickeningly white (or so Freddy always thought), like the décor of a mental asylum. Funny thought, that, here, sit on the toilet, and don't forget to put on your straight jacket. The only thing missing was the padded walls. The sink was located straight in front of the door and a small bathtub/shower was directly beside it. The mental asylum white walls were tiled and had little faint flower patterns on them that were barely visible.

Freddy splashed the cold bursting water onto his face. This was like a daily routine for him. Wake up. Go to bathroom. Splash extremely cold water onto face and be forced awake by the numbing cold. Wash face. Brush teeth. Go to toilet. Wash hands. Leave bathroom. Go downstairs to the kitchen. Have breakfast (served like clockwork by his perfectionist mother) and then return to the bathroom.

Today, however, he was struck by a thought mid brush of his teeth. He remembered the day before with crystal clarity.

Katie had told him she had a crush on one of their friends.

Specifically, she had said:

He's one of my best friends.

What sent alarm bells of in Freddy's head, I hear you ask? Simple.

"Best Friend?" Freddy gaped with his tooth pasted mouth wide open like a dog with rabies.

Best friend meant one of two things. It was either himself or Zack. He was pretty sure it wasn't him, so…Zack?

Katie liked Zack?

Could it be?

Freddy's head swam. She didn't show any signs during the practise session last night, so was it true? Did she like Zack? She couldn't, could she?

Freddy was confused.

Confused by the fact that Katie very possibly had a crush on his best friend…

…And confused by the queasy feeling he got in stomach every time that thought entered his spiky haired head.

(----)

After fulfilling his interrupted daily routine (scarily enough, his Mother seemed to know it would be delayed, and his breakfast was served as he entered the kitchen anyway) and gelling his hair, he grabbed his skateboard, called goodbye to his Mother (his Father was already at work) and left the house.

His skateboard sped down the path of his large house before bursting onto the street and taking off at top speed. The wind whipped into his face, turning it a bright red and numbing him considerably. His eyes were wide and his mouth open as he yelled out and continued down the street. Yeah, this was what it was all about, nothing like a good ride on your skateboard to finish waking you up in the morning. And people wondered why he was so spry in the mornings.

It didn't take him long to reach the bus stop and climb on in time to reach Horace High just as the bell rang. He raced through the halls as quick as he could and smashed into the room – skateboard in tow – just as the teacher called out his name.

"Here." He panted, hands on his knees, face still a vivid red. He lifted his head and grinned.

"Just." His teacher - a long nosed and white haired old man - grumbled. "Take your seat Mister Jones."

Freddy did, grinning all the way. He saw Katie look at him once and tipped her a wink and a smirk. She shook her head at him, but he saw the corner of her mouth turn up slightly, and knew she was trying to hold back a smile.

His seat was near the back, placed just by Katie's. On the other side was some tall red haired guy with a bad case of acne. He didn't know his name. To his right, across and two desk down was Zack. Summer wasn't in this class. He had no idea what she had right now. The only other people he knew in the class were Marta, Frankie and Billy. They sat near the front, pretty close to each other in fact, except for Billy. Billy was seated in the far left corner. Freddy chanced a glance in his direction, and then did a double take.

Was he wearing lipstick? He shook his head and turned away. Not going there either!

He had placed his skateboard by his desk and was now fumbling with his bag for the required textbook. Turns out he didn't have it. Freddy sighed and looked up. A large object blocked his view, and he almost jumped out his skin. He leant back and read the text on the object (a book, apparently). It read:

Higher Level English, by T. Bankman

He grinned and looked to his right, where Katie was holding out the book. He took it with a smile. She gave him one back and then went back to her own textbook. He placed the book down and finally noticed the note attached to the side. He tore it off and opened it at the fold. The note read:

You left it at my house dumbass. O

He smiled to himself and crumbled up the paper, tossing it idly aside. It flew through the air and hit the red headed boy on the head, who looked up and glared at Freddy. Freddy didn't notice.

(----)

The cafeteria at Horace High was a large room that in the long ago used to be a gym. The floor still held the faint outline of the basketball court. At one side of the old gym was the main food counter, where many students lined up to quench their groaning stomachs. The rest of the hall was filled with round tables that would fit at least four people, eight if you pushed it.

It was at one of these tables that Freddy currently sat, bathed in the annoying sunlight raining in from one of the many high windows running along the left wall. His eyes narrowed in a useless attempt to block the sunlight.

Katie sat across from him, her back to the windows, smiling at him, laughter shining in her eyes. He glared at her, both out of necessity and anger. She just continued to smile.

Summer and Zack sat next to each other on Katie's right, Freddy's left. They were talking amiably with each other. Freddy felt like hitting them with a bat. They were so clueless to each other's feelings. It was pretty pathetic. He could play matchmaker, but that was too gay for him. Instead, he looked over to his right.

Lawrence was sitting silently, staring at Summer. His eyes held a glazed look Freddy was all too familiar with. Why? Because it was the exact same expression he always got on his face whenever Summer was around. Poor guy was hopeless.

Freddy groaned and looked up at Katie. She was still smiling smugly at him.

"What?" he finally snapped.

"Nothing," she said. "But, you look so cute all squinty eye'd like that."

Freddy gaped at her. Did she just call him cute?

(----)

Katie raised a huge, mental fish, rotten and smelly and wet, and slapped herself around the head with it. Stupid! She slapped herself again.

Stupid (again) stupid (again) stupid!

She couldn't believe she had said that. How pathetically stupid could you be you moron, she berated herself. It was over. He'd figure it out now. She knew it. No, no, no!

"Did you just call me cute?" he asked her, wide eye'd.

(----)

She couldn't have. Freddy was sure of it. He was hearing things. His mind was playing tricks on him, going off what he'd been agonizing over all night and twisting it. She couldn't have.

"No!" she said, way too quickly (Idiot! her mind screamed at her).

"Oh," Phew. "Good. Cos I'm not cute. I'm roguishly handsome."

"Sure you are." Katie quipped. "As roguishly handsome as a baboons ass."

"Hey!" he yelled. "I am not red faced, nor do I have a crack down it!"

Katie couldn't help it. She laughed. Freddy joined her, chuckling and smiling so much it hurt. Why was this so funny? He didn't know, but he couldn't stop. He looked up, gasping, caught Katie's eye, and burst out laughing again. She fell into another burst herself. The two even failed to notice how the entire cafeteria had stopped, dead silent, to watch them, puzzled.

"Guys," Zack said, raising an eyebrow. "What's so funny?"

They just laughed harder.

And all thoughts of Katie's slip left their minds…at least for now.

(----)

Freddy spent the entire day watching Katie - or more importantly, her reactions to the people (guys) around her. Mainly Zack. He watched as Katie handed him a bottle of ketchup at lunch, and how their fingers accidentally brushed. He watched as Katie gave him a sip of her drink during one of their free periods. He watched as she playfully punched his arm as he mocked her Bass skills. He watched it all, and puzzled over this strange feeling he got every time he saw them interact.

Now he was on his way home from school. The bus had just pulled up at his stop, which was just outside a large park. He shuffled his way down the isle, skateboard held high, resting on his shoulder. As he exited the bus (idly throwing his bus ticket aside) he was surprised (though he didn't show it) to see a familiar figure standing there, seemingly waiting for him.

"Hey," he greeted. "How did I know I'd be seeing you again?"

"Because you knew you'd get desperate eventually and have to seek me out?" Nix quipped. "I decided to save you the trouble."

"Fair enough." Freddy didn't stop walking, heading down the street towards his house. Nix followed him. "So what's up?"

"Nothing…yet." She said, giving him a mischievous smile.

"Yow." Freddy grinned back. "So, I take it you decided a date would be good."

"Well," Nix stuffed her hands into the pockets of her jeans. "I have nothing better to do. Why not?"

"Cool." Freddy said. "You free now?"

"That's why I'm here."

"Right," Freddy looked up. His house was just around the corner. "Then just give me a second. I'll be right back."

"Okay."

"Don't miss me too much." Freddy gave her a wink and then took off down the street.

Nix didn't reply, just watched as he disappeared around the corner. She sighed, dug her hands out of her pockets, her right bringing with it a cell phone. She dialled in a number and after a few rings someone on the other end picket up.

"Hey," she said. A pause as the person on the other end spoke. Then: "Yeah, did you ever doubt me? Don't worry - I can handle this. He's putty in my hands."

(----)

Hey all. Thanks for all the great reviews. I'd reply to them all personally but I don't have much time. Busy Busy. I thought you'd rather prefer a chapter now than wait for when I have more time. Hope you enjoy.

Piccolo999