Hello, my fanfic fans! This is JoeMerl, not studying Poly-Sci so that I can bring you a one-shot featuring I couple I don't think anyone's done before, but which I think would be interesting and fitting, in a way. I hope you enjoy!

I think it all started around the time that I gave up on Gwen.

Actually, thinking back, I think it might have started right after, on that very same challenge, before I had even had a chance to help her and Trent get together. It was right after the quicksand thing. I had stumbled forward, a little dazed; Trent had just thanked me for helping to get them out when she ran up to me, throwing her arms around my neck.

"My hero!" she squealed, as I suddenly felt my heart flutter in my chest. She released me, drawing back a little. "Where did you learn to do that?"

"Oh, well…you know," I said, scratching the back of my neck and feeling my ears burn. "I watch a lot of movies."

The others seemed keen to cheer for me a bit more. Except for one. "This is really touching, guys," Gwen had said, rolling her eyes, "but we still have a challenge to win!"

She had a point. We all quickly picked back up our canoes and went running again, but I couldn't help but feel my heart swell. Everybody was smiling at me, looking impressed by my heroics. Well, except for Gwen.

Don't get me wrong, it's not like I don't like Gwen, or that I'm mad at her or anything like that. I mean, she was kind of right---I didn't really do anything that impressive, I just saw two of my teammates in trouble and acted. And it's not even like I really saved them, at least not in the way I meant to---I just wound up supplying Trent with the rope to pull himself out, so it really wasn't that big of a deal.

Still, I can't help but think that it was that contrast---Lindsay's joyous gratitude versus Gwen's sarcastic dismissal---that shifted my crush from one girl to the other.

Not that it happened that quickly. I still liked Gwen---I mean, I still do like Gwen, it's not like my crush on her has totally disappeared, even if I've given up on her now that she and Trent are an item. (Or will be, I guess---she hasn't technically forgiven him for the whole Heather thing, but I think she will, once the contest is over and they have a chance to talk again.) And it's not like I just suddenly found myself madly in love with Lindsay. But still, that quick little hug, after she and Trent had escaped from the quicksand pit…that was the beginning.

I mean, at first I didn't think much about it. Even though I found myself thinking back on that little hug for days afterwards, I figured it was just because---well, Lindsay was a girl, and a good-looking one at that, and it had been a pretty cool situation, mixed all up with the afterglow of my heroic achievement. And it's not like I had much time for any kind of bigger thing to develop---within a few days I found myself in the hospital tent, bloody body being wrapped in gauze, and right after that being rolled down the Dock of Shame to be sent to the (much better) infirmary at the losers' resort.

It kind of grew slowly after that via television. Pretty much stuck in either the bed or a wheelchair, I couldn't really do too much, so as you can imagine I spent a lot of time watching TV. And like just about all the other former campers, I watched each episode of Total Drama Island as soon as it was done being edited, before it even got shown on the network. So I was able to keep track of things that way.

Of course I kept an eye out for Gwen. It was totally cool, the way she won the boot camp challenge, and her and Bridgette investigating the love notes was just funny. And yeah, I blushed scarlet during the whole Heather-underwear thing. And of course I also watched to see what all my other old Gopher friends were doing. And, over time, I kind of realized there was a new camper, one I had never really gotten to know that well on the island, who I was also rooting for now.

I was kind of proud of the way she helped Leshawna and Beth lock Heather up in the freezer, and disappointed in the way she fell back in with Heather only a few hours later. I felt sorry for her when she gave up on the boot camp challenge, worrying that this would spell her doom later in the episode. I rooted for her when she was driving that speed boat, and cheered when she beat Duncan to win the challenge. I bit my nails (once I could move my arms again) as Heather became more and more evil towards her, and felt the horror when the final betrayal came and she got booted from the island.

I mean, none of that is weird, right? You probably felt the same way all those times. And I didn't think there was anything weird about it, either. I knew her, I knew what a nice person she was, and it was cool to see her triumph and horrible to see her be manipulated and tricked. So I didn't think there was anything too weird about any of that.

Until she showed up at Playa des Losers, that is.

"I hope Lindthay ithn't too upthet about what happened," Beth said, pushing my wheelchair down the hall and out the door to the dock.

"I'm sure she's alright," I said, my confident tone masking a bit of doubt. "I mean, she seemed okay on TV, right?"

People gathered at the dock whenever somebody new was arriving from the camp; usually I didn't, just because it was hard to get around, but I was feeling pretty good that day, and anyway, I wanted Lindsay to have as nice a welcome as possible after what happened. Beth and I weren't the only ones, either; most of the other campers were already out waiting, either out of sympathy for Lindsay or, I suspected, dislike of Heather.

The boat pulled up, Lindsay's blonde hair fully visible as it flew in the wind; I saw the surprise and joy fill her face when she saw the posh resort, and all the ex-campers assembled to meet her. One camper made himself especially visible, rushing over to the boat as it pulled up to the dock. "LINDSAY!"

She gasped. "TAYLOR!"

He lifted her out of the boat and the two shared a long, dramatic movie-esque kiss. I had to applaud him for managing to actually pull it off without tripping or dropping her like usual. When he put her down (after quite a few moments), she looked around, grinning profusely. "Oh, wow! It's great to see you all again!"

"It's great to see you again, too! Isn't it great to see her, Katie?"

"Oh, totally!"

"It stinks what Heather did to you back there," Trent said, giving Lindsay an encouraging pat on the shoulder.

"Oh, don't worry about it, Todd," she said. "You know, it actually turns out that she can be a really mean person."

"Hey, Lindthay!" Beth called, waving from over my shoulder.

She looked up. "Belle!" she gasped, running over. Beth stepped around my chair to give Lindsay a quick hug. "How are you?"

"I'm fine," Beth said. "Thorry about what Heather did back there."

"Hey, Lindsay," I said, raising one bandaged arm in greeting and wincing slightly in pain.

Lindsay turned and gasped. "Oh, Colby!" she cried, her face falling. "Are you okay?!"

"Oh, yeah, fine," I said, trying to wave my hand airily, wondering from her reaction if she had actually even remembered my injuries at all. "The doctors say I'll be able to have the last of the stitches out in a few days, and most of my bones are already healed and everything."

"Oh…" She suddenly came forward and threw her arms around my neck, just like that first time weeks before. "Poor little guy!"

I sat up straighter in my chair as she hugged me, arms in legs stiffening in surprise. Just like that first time, the hug only lasted a second or two, but during those few seconds, I felt---well, first, horrible, horrible pain, since she happened to be wrapping her arms right around the very worst of the grizzly bear wounds, a huge gash going right down from my neck to my waist. But other than that, I also felt my heart leap up in my chest, my stomach twist into a knot and my entire body break out into a cold sweat, as opposed to the suffocatingly hot sweat that I got from being out in the sun with ten pounds of bandages wrapped around me like an extra layer of skin.

It was at that moment that I realized: I officially have a crush on Lindsay.

Which is…bad. Isn't it? I mean, I shouldn't have a crush on Lindsay! For one, she's with Taylor---er, Tyler, I mean. Though the very fact that she can't get his name right makes the future of their relationship open to question, as long as they are together I obviously couldn't even think of trying to date her. It's the same basic problem as with Gwen. Or kind of different, since technically she and Trent never got "officially" together while Lindsay and Tyler are. I have no idea whether Lindsay would like me or not, if I tried, and I can't really find out as long as she's already taken.

And that aside, I can't help but think---why would I have a crush on Lindsay? She's not the kind of girl I should like. I mean, granted, she's really good-looking…I mean, really good-looking. And she's nice. It's kind of weird, you wouldn't think someone so pretty and rich and popular would be so nice, but she really is, she treats "geekier" people like Beth or Noah just as well as cool people like me or Tyler. She's definitely no Heather.

But still…she's good-looking, yeah, but it's kind of a generic beauty, you know? I mean, there's not much unique about her; she's almost like a cliché of the "perfect beauty," like you could put her in with a group of supermodels and not pick her out. She's hot, but not attractive in the way I know a girl should be. And she's really nice and kind to everyone, but she's also kind of…er, well…not intellectual, let's say. She's sweet, and that's great, but she's just so…I don't want to say dumb, just…yeah. She's not like Gwen at all.

And that's what I keep coming back to. She's not like Gwen; she's like her perfect opposite. Gwen is night, dark, mysterious, mystical; Lindsay is day, bright, clear and apparent. Gwen likes art; Lindsay likes gossip magazines. Gwen is tough and clever; Lindsay is sweet and naïve. Gwen can be callous and mercurial; Lindsay is always nice and never changes, or at least, develops slowly, remaining blissfully happy through whatever happens. Gwen sets off to be herself, rejecting all the usual rules about what's popular or cool. For Lindsay, there is no conflict; she's the embodiment of those rules, able to follow them all without selling out a bit.

Gwen is my dream girl; she's smart and strange and creative, and when I got to know her I figured that she was the perfect girl for me. Like I said, I'm not carrying a torch for her anymore; she likes Trent, she doesn't like me, and I'm good with that. But if she's the closest I've ever come to finding the perfect woman, shouldn't the girl I wind up with be someone as Gwen-like as possible? So how am I suddenly falling for Lindsay, the most un-Gwen-ish person on the planet? It just makes no sense.

The weird thing was, after Gwen I actually thought I was becoming more selective. You know, when I first got to the island I was kind of flirting with everybody, trying to see which girl would be the one for me, before I finally settled on Gwen as my best match. I'm usually not very picky; what can I say, the Codemeister likes all kinds of ladies. But after Gwen, when I felt like I had come so close to finding the girl for me…I kind of found myself thinking a little less like that. Not more picky like I needed a supermodel---a Lindsay, we could say---but like I needed a girl who definitely would be cool enough for me, smart enough, a good match. And then, all of a sudden, I realize I like Lindsay, who I know, at least consciously, is just about as bad a match for me as anyone I can imagine.

Sometimes I think it might be some sort of weird psychological thing. I don't know what or why, but maybe my subconscious mind is purposely trying to find someone like Lindsay, someone different than Gwen. But why? Am I afraid of finding the right girl? Did I take Gwen's rejection harder than I thought, so that now I want someone as different as possible? Maybe I should ask Harold; he's pretty good with this kind of thing. But then, I don't want to tell him. I don't usually care about keeping my romantic life private, but this almost feels like a dirty secret, something embarrassing I have to keep hidden.

So, what does this mean? Were my tastes wrong before, with Gwen, or are they wrong now, with Lindsay? My rational mind screams that Gwen was the better choice, and that for whatever reason I find myself swooning over Lindsay, trying to tell her lame jokes whenever I see her, watching her out my window as she frolics in the pool, all of that, it's a bad idea. I shouldn't be wasting my time on a girl I can't have, and that I know would be a bad match for me anyway.


"Mr. Evans, I need you to raise your arm for me, please."

"What?" I blinked, snapping out of my thoughts. "Oh. Sorry."

I lifted my arm, and the doctor unwound the last of the bandages, nodding at me with a look of approval. "There you go, all your wounds seem to have healed up nicely. I'd say you're well enough to resume some of your normal activities."

"Great!" I started to stand up, but he held out a hand to hold me back.

"Now, now, calm down, Mr. Evans, not quite yet. You mustn't overstrain yourself. Remember, you haven't used those muscles properly for more than three weeks, you can't just jump up right after you've finally got your cast off." He scribbled something on his chart. "Now, I'm going to want to put you on a few hours of physical therapy for at least a week or two…hmm…just a moment, please, I need to go get my schedule, see when we can pencil you in…"

He stepped out of the room, leaving the door slightly opened behind him. I sighed and sat back down. Oh well, at least it was real medical treatment, though I suppose Chef had actually done a pretty okay job with the initial bandaging. I waited for him to return, crossing my arms and shivering slightly; the metal table was kind of cold, and I hadn't actually had a chance to dress yet, since I'd only been wearing boxers under all those layers of bandages...

"Excuse me, is anyone here? I need a doctor to take a look at this hangnail…"

I looked up, startled, as the door opened; I felt my face turn red. "Lindsay!"

She gasped. "Oh, hey, Colby! You got your bandages off! Congratulations!"

And before I knew it, she had thrown her arms around my neck once again, and I was suddenly breathing in the fragrance of her coconut sunscreen and apple-scented shampoo.


…You know what? Forget all that stuff about whether this crush has any real potential, or my mind playing tricks on me, or whatever. So Lindsay's probably not the girl for me. It's cool. I'll just ride this crush 'til it's over. Get back to you in a week.

Well, I hope you liked that, but whether you did or not, please leave a review! And be on the lookout for more one-shots soon, because I have a lot of homework and knowing me, that means a lot of fanfiction instead. :-) G'bye!