Disclaimer: Don't own TDI, only this fic.

Author's Note: What's with all these fanfic I've been writing lately? At this rate I'll have like 30 stories by New Year's.

Lose Balance

~ by CamperThirteen (AKA Emaena)

The first time she noticed him, she dismissed him as yet another stupid, bullying jock.

He reminded her of all her ex-boyfriends combined, of all those jerks that had made fun of her when she was a fat loser, and that had made her even more unhappy by showing her how stupid she had been when she had thought everything would be perfect once she was a popular, thin, pretty girl.

More specifically, he reminded her of her first boyfriend, a guy she had crushed on since the first grade, and whom she had dated until she found him making out with her best friend. That was all it took for Heather to learn her lesson: life was cruel, and the only way to be happy was to be on top, to never let anyone get to you, to never be humiliated.

The first time she noticed he was different from all those other jocks, she hated him for it. Who was he to alter the perfect balance she had created in her own mind? Who was he to make her doubt herself? He was actually bullying her in her mind, knocking down everything she believed in with every smile he gave her. She tried to be mean to him, in the hopes that he'd leave her alone and everything would go back to normal, but he just asked her if she was feeling unwell. And the worst of it? He seemed concerned.

Though she'd never admit it, part of the reason she was so mean to Lindsay when she got eliminated was to prove herself right, and thus to prove him wrong. Lindsay, too, reminded her of all those pretty girls who used to make fun of her. Lindsay reminded her of her best friend, the one she'd caught making out with her boyfriend. She did feel good when she unleashed simple, bitter truth to her, just like it had been unleashed to her. Above all, she felt cold and high, as if she were sitting in a throne where nobody could touch her. He would never reach her now.

She was wrong. He didn't like the way she treated Lindsay, of course, but he never mentioned it. He would still say hi when nobody else bothered to, which only made things worse. He pitied her. She tasted anger in her lips; anger tasted like bile. She lost control.

"Why do you even say hello to me?" she snapped. Normally, calm, collected, unaffected queen Heather would only have told him to rot if he annoyed her. But he somehow could knock her off her throne, making her lose her balance. "Aren't you afraid the other losers will stop talking to you if they caught you speaking to me?"

"I can say hi to whomever I want," he shrugged. She couldn't believe it. He actually shrugged it off, like it had no importance. "Just 'cause you aren't nice doesn't mean I shouldn't treat you any different than I treat everybody else."

Heather tried to think of a reply, but couldn't. That day, he was voted off, and it was all her fault. She felt a strange combination of regret and relief wash over her when she saw him off with the others.

It seemed she was safe in her throne again.

Author's Note: Very, very quick ficlet. A funny fact: it's exactly 555 words long.

See any mistakes? Please point them out. Constructive criticism? Love it!

As always, reviews are appreciated.