The Art of Conversation
A note: I can't believe I'm doing an AU. (Sighs) I feel I owe an explanation to everyone, simply because I don't usually read or write AU, and I've given in to doing this. I have so many ideas floating around, and they are so damnably cliché that it isn't even funny…
You all shall probably either go 'Ick, what's with this? Why AU? Why so cliché?' or else you'll be laughing your butt off…I hope it's the latter and not the former. That would just make me sad. Let me reiterate something…IT'S AU! If they seem weird, blame it on that…it's not my problem if I want to stray from cannon in an extraordinarily LARGE way…okay, so maybe it is, but I really don't care right now.
Well, I finally got around to reposting this…hopefully I'll work on it now, lol.
Chapter One: Gossip
"Have you heard about that sophomore, what's her name again, Sam or something?"
"Oh yeah, she's all Goth and stuff, dresses in all black and tries to save the trees or something?"
"Yep, I heard that she set a gorilla free from the zoo the other night."
"I heard that it was a tiger…"
"I heard a bear…"
"Anyways, I heard that she was going to spray paint the side of the school protesting the use of dissection for teaching in biology."
"Oh yeah?" a locker slammed shut, revealing the girl in question, "I heard that she liked to eat the livers of wild, Mongolian horses because they're sweet."
At the three horrified freshmen faces that Sam Manson found herself confronted with, she rolled her eyes in disgust, "Get a life, I wouldn't do that you twerps. Besides, why would I spray paint the side of the building? That just releases nasty stuff into the air…ya' know, chemicals and stuff that hurts the ozone and the greenhouse effect and all that?"
At the evident look of slight confusion, the elder girl tried her hardest not to scream in frustration and shoved her way past the girls. It was the same every day. Try to get through life, living invisibly in the background so you could just stay out of everyone's way, and they find you anyways.
'Sheesh,' Sam rolled her eyes as she continued down the hall, watching gathered groups of teens discussing the 'who's with who', and 'who did what, where and when' that seemed to occupy all of their time. Not that that was a bad thing.
'Well, it's not bad so long as I stay out of the rumor mill,' shaking her head she entered her first period room and quickly made her way to her desk, she tried her best to curb her glaring habit, 'I can't even really get mad at most of them because they aren't talking about me or anyone I know, but it's just so pathetic…I really hate gossips.'
"How about Marcel, anyone know that guy?" a girl giggled as she called a name from the pages of last year's yearbook.
Apparently it was a game for the small group gathered in a clump around the book, three or so desks back from Sam's seat, "Um, did he have glasses?"
"Bingo…What about that Fenton guy?"
"Yeah, I know him," a girl laughed as she blew on her nails, trying to dry them before class started, "He's such a loser though, the only reason I know him is because I had gym with him. He couldn't even finish the Presidential exam, and he's so clumsy…"
"Wow," Sam cut in, dramatically widening her eyes and dredging up as much sarcasm as she could, "what a great reason to demean a person. I mean, clumsy and not athletic? How pathetic, right? It's just shocking!"
"What do you know?" Nail-girl replied, "It's not like you're friends with him. Besides, he's just a goofy guy, who cares?"
"Just thought I should at least try to stand up for someone who doesn't know they're being talked about," Sam glared as she turned back around, "It's sad that you get your jollies from picking on someone who can't even defend themselves because they aren't around…"
The bell cut off any reply from the gathering of girls as their teacher slid into place. Sam decided once again that she utterly loathed school and the idiotic gossips in it. Truly it was the bane of her existence at times.
"So, how'd it go last night?"
"Wonderful," the word rolled off of Danny's tongue as his eyebrows lifted and his eyes rolled, "Peachy, perfect, I don't know what else to say about it…"
"That bad huh?" Tucker clapped the boy on his shoulder, offering a sympathetic smile, "You have to run off to your job or something?"
"Worse," Danny slammed his locker open, grabbed a book, and slammed it shut again, "My job happened to consist of not one, but two problems, and they both decided to visit my date…"
"Ouch," Tucker sucked in a breath, "That's why you're all banged up this morning."
"I just don't think this thing with Valerie is going to work out," Danny shook his head as he leaned against the cool wall, "I mean, she's great and I really like her, but man…I can't keep this up, and I definitely can't tell her."
"So what are you going to do?" Tucker asked as he joined his friend leaning against the wall, "There are other girls at this school you know, that are far less inclined to bash your alter ego over the head."
"Yeah, I know," Danny ran a hand over his eyes, sighing heavily, "I just, really like her you know? I feel like I'm giving up on it."
"Dude, you've been trying for the past year," Tucker shook his head as he motioned for his friend to walk with him, "You keep giving and she keeps ignoring. I mean, you'll drop everything as soon as she wants to do something, but when it comes to her ghost hunting, she won't budge. That's not a relationship, and man, she's even tried to tell you that."
"Thanks for the reminder," the young man shook his head glumly as they entered their first period class, a strange look passing over his face, "Maybe I should just take a break. I mean, I don't have to have a girlfriend just to be alive…I'll just…have friends."
"That are girls?" Tucker replied, "Because seriously, you know you want a girlfriend."
"Shut up, Tuck," Danny responded to the gibe good-naturedly, "How about we just try to make it through the class?"
At Tucker's laugh and subsequent nod, Danny opened to a clean page of his notebook and began to doodle, trying in vain not to eavesdrop on the co-ed group beside him.
"Oh yeah, and then it was all, 'Fear me!'" a girl rolled her eyes as she imitated a nasally voice, "It was really scary right then, but now that I think about it, it was kinda' lame."
Chuckling to himself, Danny started a new doodle, this one featuring the Box Ghost trying to scare a group of school girls and them yawning in response. Another story was started, and the teen listened in, trying to get more ideas for his doodling as his best friend sat playing his games.
"God, I can't stand her," another girl flipped her hair and batted her eyes prettily, "She thinks she's so dark and mysterious."
"Well, she is," one of the guys shrugged, "I mean, she wears black all the freakin' time and no one ever talks to her…"
"So what, you like the freaky girl?"
"I never said that man, I was just sayin'…it's weird is all."
'What a bunch of dorks,' Danny shook his head as he began to draw, not doodle, but actually draw, 'So what if that girl wants to wear all black? I wear white t-shirts and jeans all the time and no one says anything about that.'
The drawing was quickly turning into the girl the group was blathering on about, dark hair, dark eyes, and a sad look on her face. He had only met her once or twice, in the hall or in a class over the course of their years at school, but Sam Manson's face stuck with him.
'She's pretty, but not the prettiest,' Danny mused over his own urge to draw her, 'I guess it's 'cause she always looks sad…and they're right, she never talks to anyone…but I wonder if that's because she doesn't want to or because they're all so afraid of looking bad?'
Closing his notebook before Tucker caught sight of what he had drawn, Danny settled down to listen to what the chattering teens were talking about now. He was unpleasantly surprised to find them still on the subject of the Manson girl.
"And she so totally needs to get a better wardrobe," someone stated, "I mean, those dark colors make her look dead."
"Maybe she's more comfortable that way," Danny joined their conversation, "I mean, look at where we live…we have like, a hundred ghosts around here, maybe she figures she's safer or something?"
"What do you know?" one of the other guys laughed amiably, "You don't talk to her either, for all we know she could be a vampire."
For one fleeting second a thought of, 'God I hope not, that's the last thing I need,' floated across his mind before he started laughing with the rest of them. The laughter died down, and Danny found the urge to speak once again, "But seriously, who cares? If you're comfortable with the way you dress, why should it matter?"
"This coming from Mr. T-shirt and Jeans," the girl beside him grinned, "You got a point though."
"Wonder if she's nice," another girl piped up, "or if she really does set animals free and all that stuff that they always talk about."
"I dunno'," Danny shrugged, "but every time I've ran into her in the hall or something, she's at least polite. I bet she's alright."
"Who knows," a boy copied Danny and shrugged as the bell rang, starting their day off, "but who really cares?"
'Oh the gossip mill is going to love this one,' Sam thought dryly as she sat waiting outside the principal's office, noticing several girls walking by and trying to discretely point out her lonely form, 'Sam Manson, local weirdo, spotted outside the principal's office, most likely wanted for setting the science lab on fire that morning and causing the fire drill…'
Laughing at her own wry sense of humor, she ignored the whispers and looks cast her way. She knew the truth of why she was there, so that was all that really mattered. The rumor producers were getting desperate if they had started to fabricate things about her. She wasn't popular, wasn't one of the 'bad kids' of the school, didn't have any trouble in class, so obviously the upper echelon of teen society was pretty humdrum for people to have started talking about her.
"So, did you hear about this one girl," a voice came from beside her as a boy slid into the seat, grinning like he knew something, "Supposedly she sat the science lab on fire or something?"
'Weird,' Sam tried to keep from smiling at the laughter in his blue eyes, 'I really don't like coincidences…they freak me out.'
"Oh yeah," she crossed her arms and rolled her eyes in response, "She really had it in for the skeleton and the bacteria cultures."
"Hm," he nodded, then smiled again, "So did you do it?"
"Nope, I'm in trouble for indecent exposure at lunch. My pants kinda' fell down…no belt," Danny shrugged and settled back into his chair to wait, "So how about you?"
"I'm writing a paper about school reform and wanted a professional opinion," she looked over at the boy beside her, "Danny Fenton, right?"
"Yeah," he bobbed his head congenially, "You're Sam Manson, huh? I mean, not that I couldn't tell…"
"Wearing all black seems to help people recognize me."
"Well, it's not all black," Danny frowned, "I mean, you've got purple and green on. I don't think that counts as black."
"Daniel Fenton?" the principal beckoned him in, leaving Sam's thoughts unspoken.
"That's me," Danny stood and gave a half smile, "Nice chatting with you."
"You mean gossiping with me," Sam replied with a half smile of her own, for once not minding that gossip had been spread if only between two people.
"Right," he nodded and walked off, ready to face yet another detention for something that was beyond his control, 'She really isn't as bad as they make her out to be…and I was right, she is nice.'
'That was weird,' Sam shook her head, 'Coincidences always happen for a reason…even though that kinda' goes against the word's meaning…'
Shaking her head one more time, Sam decided that she could deal with the principal later. Leaving a note with the receptionist, Sam took her leave of the office and the school. The day hadn't actually been too bad, but she was more than ready to head home to the comfort of her own room.
She could only hope that tomorrow would be better…
'At school? Yeah right.'