Author's notes: My conceptualization of the Rugrats characters is not based on the All Grown Up series. I've only actually seen that series a few times. The character traits are things that I've imagined from watching the original Rugrats series, so they may clash with the character traits from the AGU series. On the other hand, a few of the character traits may stem from what I've seen of AGU (for example, I love how weird Dil is on the show).

Warnings: Pay attention to the rating, please. There will be some (not much) swearing, light underage alcohol use and adult themes/suggestions but nothing too intense.

Disclaimer: I do not own the Rugrats or All Grown Up characters and am definitely not making any money from this story.

And so begins part one of the Angel series.

Prologue

This is the story of how Angelica Pickles was born. Not how she was really born. That conception started with an issue of Forbes magazine and a bottle of '74 Merlot. But this was something else completely. This is the story of how she stopped being the person she was before and was reborn, sweeter and more loving than she ever was as a child. Angelica C. Pickles came to be one of the most selfless people I've ever had the great fortune of knowing. And let's just say I've been around a long time.

But the journey was a long one and not always easy. When her peers looked at her, they only saw her professionally manicured French tips, her designer clothes and her flawless highlights. By age 13, she had the latest cell phone (until a year later when she begged for a new one, as her first was "out of style") and by age 16 she was driving her father's BMW to school. Angelica was, of course, the most popular girl in school, although she sometimes got the ironic feeling that people didn't like her very much. However, not one to let others dissuade her from her opinions, she pushed these occasional doubts to the back of her mind and kept on believing in her own perfection. This, um…healthy…self-esteem was egged on by her doting parents, of course. But this story is not about Drew and Charlotte. No one is perfect. No matter their mistakes, Angelica turned out all right in the end.

The truth was, although Angelica didn't know it (or refused to acknowledge it), that her suspicions were right. From pre-school to high school, few people genuinely liked her. Her classmates flocked to her, of course, wanting to be seen with her, wanting a piece of her popularity. But she never had real friends. She had the chance, several times, to have friends, but she turned them down. Her cousin Tommy didn't exactly like her, but he guessed he loved her. She was his cousin, after all. But every time he tried to be nice to her, she was just as mean as she always was. By the time he was 13 years old, he just gave up. And by the time they were in high school, Tommy and Angelica were equally popular.

But, being two years younger than his cousin, Tommy rarely saw Angelica at school. She had her adoring friends and he had his. However, his popularity was very different from hers. Although the general consensus was that his brother was a "weirdo" and his best friend a "dweeb", Tommy remained the most popular boy in his grade throughout high school. The difference was that people genuinely liked Tommy. Tommy's best friends had less reason to try and like Angelica. She wasn't related to them. But, if for no other reason than to appease Tommy, they did try, to no avail.

In fact, it seemed as though Angelica was meaner to her two cousins and their friends than she was to most people. But she wasn't as horrible to anyone as she was to Chuck Finster.

Chuck's first memory was of Angelica pushing him out of a swing at the park when he was four years old. He lost a tooth (to be fair, it was already loose), but wouldn't tell anyone what happened to him. In all honesty, he could swear he remembered her even before that. He remembered her pushing him, yelling at him, and making his life miserable in general. He especially remembered the day that his dad made him the playhouse. Angelica couldn't fit into it, so, out of her jealousy and selfishness, she told his friends that he was an alien and was going to take them away to space in his playhouse, a.k.a. spaceship. However, when he eventually brought that particular memory up to Tommy, his best friend had no recollection of it. When he asked his dad about the playhouse, he discovered that it was built when he was only two years old. According to his family, at age two, he was still adamantly not talking. Maybe he had imagined the whole thing…

Although Chuck thought that Angelica would always bully him, by the time they were teenagers, she seemed to tire of it. In fact, from ninth grade on, she barely acknowledged his existence. Something for which he was grateful. At least, most of the time. Occasionally, his chest fluttered for no reason other than the fact that Angelica was walking past him in the hall at school. The chatter around him faded and a light seemed to surround her, like a cheesy scene from a movie. Then she would ruin it, by shoving him against his locker as she passed, shouting "Move it, Finster!" with a none too subtle grin. And, rubbing his arm, Chuck wondered which was worse, being assaulted by a beautiful girl or being ignored by one? He decided being assaulted wasn't so bad.

However, this story really starts in…2007? Yes, I believe so. In any case, Angelica was 19 years old. She looked more like her mother than ever. She was also extremely like Charlotte in many other ways. She was intelligent, witty and just a little bit cunning. She was good at debating, and even better at arguing. She was good at charming people to her benefit, but had a little trouble with numbers (except when it came to money; Angelica never played around when it came to money). However, she was very different from her mother in a number of ways, which would all be revealed in time.

Angelica had just finished her first year at college, where she was studying business, naturally. It had been quite a year. And I had been there with her through it all. The last minute cramming, the late night non-fat mochachinos, more than a few hangovers and an almost tearful, rocky, sort of, kind of relationship. I say "almost tearful" because Angelica had not really cried in a long time. But after The Change, Angelica would shed genuine tears on many different occasions. Tears of despair. Of joy. Of frustration. But she would never regret the choices she made.

But back to 2007. It was May. The sun was shining. Flowers were blooming. Bees were buzzing. Or something like that. In any case, Angelica was leaving the trendy coffee shops and 24-hour diners of the city behind and going home to the "cripplingly boring suburbs" (her words, not mine). Of course, I went with her. It's kind of what I do. What occurred after that, I shall explain as I saw it. Imagine me as sort of a fly on the wall, though a bit different. For one, I'm a lot smarter than a fly (though some would disagree). Also, I have a bit more insight. It's not like I can read people's minds. I don't know exact thoughts. Only He can do that. But I do have the ability to sense thoughts and feelings and I usually know what's best for my wards.

So Angelica came back to her hometown for the summer. The first thing her father asked her to do was come with him to her Uncle Stu's house. Uncle Stu and Aunt Didi, along with Grandpa Lou and his wife Lulu, were going away on a week-long cruise. Angelica assured her dad that she wanted to come and say bon voyage and all that but she had a lot of unpacking to do. As soon as her father was gone, she took the credit card he'd given her for emergencies and headed to the mall.