Disclaimer: I do not own the Troop and the original monsters. They belong to Viacom and Nickelodeon. Other original characters and monsters I can claim to own.
AN: I'm so sorry on the one year hiatus. But I really hope there are still fans of the show who still interested in the fic and will read it. This chapter was a bit tricky to write but the new season has inspired me. You should really watch it! I really intend to finish this fic so I hope that people will still read it! Thank you! Xx
Hayley walked out of her fourth class that day. She felt dazed and half-awake ever since she had woken up that day. She didn't know exactly what that pull was that had kept her awake the whole night the night before. Physically she knew she was exhausted last night. Her body ached and she could feel her body fighting for sleep, but her mind was racing. She couldn't fall asleep because for some reason her mind wouldn't let her. She replayed everything about that weekend in her mind over and over into the wee hours and had maybe gotten two to three hours of sleep before school. She knew she was paying for it dearly today.
Had this been a regular day job maybe she would have been compelled to call in a sick day. But no, to keep appearances up in academics, the student body and most importantly right now Mr. Stockley she had to come in to school. She gave a soft sardonic laugh, because technically she was tired because she was on the job that weekend and yet because of their unconventional protocols she could not even use that excuse. Ah the lesser joys of being in the Troop.
She must have been more tired than she thought because she thought she just saw Felix talking to head cheerleader Holly when she turned the corner. She tried to make her way towards them. She didn't need another person to bully her friend.
"Okay so fine by Monday when I know the results of Friday's test I may be able to reconsider and talk to the head coach-" Holly began.
"Hey guys, what's going on?" Hayley appeared. She looked from Holly to Felix.
Felix started to panic. He didn't know how much she had heard. Hayley had many endearing qualities. One of them may or may not be her pride. If she had found out that he was doing this there were countless things on the line; his collection of vintage electromagnetic laser guns down at HQ, their friendship, his life, the list could go on. . He didn't know if it was common sense that this situation he set up with Holly was to be kept secret and if Holly realized it but as far as cheerleaders go he hoped that she was one of the smarter ones right now.
"Huh what? Going on? What makes you think that something is going on?" Felix looked every which direction.
Hayley gave up trying to establish eye contact and narrowed her eyes toward Holly. She looked unfazed.
"Nothing that concerns you Hayley, this might be hard to believe but not everything revolves around you" Holly said without blinking.
Surprised by her tone Hayley began, " I didn't mean it like that, I just meant-"
"Oh I know exactly what you meant, that I'm not good enough, smart enough to be socializing with the likes of your friend? Huh? That I shouldn't bother. Am I right?" Holly's frame was not much taller than Hayley's but the way she was staring her down she might as well have been Lamar Odom.
Felix dumbfounded started to stutter, "Actually... if…if…anything it's the other way-"
But Holly wasn't listening, she continued "You may think you have everyone figured out and can therefore fit into everyone's social circle with ease, the queen bee in the social hierarchy that everyone loves and talks about to no end. Oh Yes! Hayley is so good in the debate club, student council, cheerleading. She's so great… Right?"
Inexperienced with catfights, -did this count as one? Felix began, "Holly now come on that's a little-"
"Why is it so hard for you to believe that I might be talking to Felix huh? Because you know what? He is starting to become a really good friend. A friend who is helping me out and vice versa I mean that's what friends do right? Or do I need to ask for you permission Miss Hayley Steele? Huh? Are you that selfish?" Holly linked her arms to Felix's who had to look down at their arms to make sure all this was really happening.
"You may have been the first to break the mold of social expectations in school, hanging with the likes of Felix and Jake and letting anyone who asked know that they are your best friends. And I commend you I really do. But I just don't understand why you can't let anyone else follow." And with that Holly turned around with Felix and walked off to their next class. Felix turned around with a confused look to mouth an "I'm sorry" to Hayley before turning the corner.
What just happened? Hayley silently asked herself. She felt a soft touch on her shoulder.
"Hey are you okay?" asked a soft voice.
Hayley found herself looking up to a girl with long blonde wavy locks that was braided to the side flipping over her shoulder that complemented her delicate face.. She was wearing her typical skinny black jeans, converse shoes paired with a fitted flannel shirt today. She always looked good, even in the simplest of what the fashion world had to offer. It was Stella of course. Hayley shook her head trying to shake off what happened. "Yeah I'm fine thanks." She started walking to her next class. Stella's class must have been the same way since she followed by her side.
"Why what?" Hayley asked.
"Why did you let her talk to you like that?" Stella asked gently.
"I dunno, I mean I guess she has the right to have her opinion," Hayley shrugged.
"Yes, and so do you especially if its about yourself. You have to fight for yourself. Obviously she misunderstood your concern for your friend for possessiveness and being territorial. Why didn't you set her right? I know you; anyone would be lucky to be considered your friend. I know I am," She said smiling.
Hayley smiled too. They were good friends. She pushed the guilt she was feeling into a corner in her mind. Yes, they were friends. They had gotten close after Stella had started going out with Jake. She didn't want to like her at first. She didn't know why. But Stella was the type of person who was hard to dislike. Whenever she hung out with the boys outside of the Troop Stella would be there too. She wasn't sure if she liked the change. It only took a day to change her mind. Not only was she easy to talk too, there were countless things they could talk about from movies, to their twilight obsession, Glee, boys, to the boys, as well as things she didn't know about such as comics, and video games, anime, which was okay because Stella had Felix and Jake for that. If she didn't know better it was like Stella was like a better version of herself. Except maybe not as ambitious. She wasn't interested in all the clubs, and student council. She said her dream was to work in animation and go to college for the Arts for that.
"Thanks Stella, I don't know what happened I think she just caught me off guard," Hayley explained.
"Are you sure that's it?"
"Yeah, I mean what else would it be," Hayley laughed nervously.
"Well I've known you for a couple of years now, and I know of your affinity to be liked by everyone. You would rather avoid confrontation then deal with the blows that may come with it. Sometimes you agree to views you don't believe in just to avoid the prospect of losing a friendship or relationship. Or if someone has a beef with you, you will do everything in your power to win them over"
"But I didn't agree with her," Hayley started.
"But you didn't correct her either. You let her say those things to you, to mock you. Why didn't you speak up for yourself? She may be the head captain of the cheerleading team but she isn't the head of the "social hierarchy" of this school. And regardless she had no right to speak to you like that."
There may be one thing she disliked about Stella… How observant and perceptive she was. Stella knew things about herself that she didn't even know. Even if she was just being a good friend this time she was worried it may get her in trouble in the future. She was right about Holly. No one had a right to speak to her like that. She knew if anyone talked to her friends like that they would get treated to the infamous Steele fist. Infamous in the monster world at least.
"Your right, I need to have another talk with Holly, she has to know I am not like that," Hayley said with determination.
"Yep and don't back down if she says otherwise. If she doesn't apologize well, consider the friendship done and over with," Stella said seriously. Hayley nodded. "Well this is my class," She stopped walking as did Hayley.
"Hey I appreciate this, thanks for talking this over with me," Hayley said.
Stella leaned in and gave Hayley a hug. "No worries, I appreciate what you were doing with Jake this weekend as well. Typical Jake not letting me know you guys had a study date. Thanks for helping him stay focused. He really relies on you huh? At first I was a bit suspicious and thought it was weird which I told Jake and wanted to talk to you about too. Can you blame me, he tries to avoid his studies every chance he gets. And I was a bit jealous if I'm being honest. But I mean I can see now even more than before that you would do anything for your friends, that's just who you are. I am so lucky to be part of that circle. Anyway I'll talk to you later. Maybe we can hang with the boys later or something. Bye Hayley!"
"Yea bye!" Hayley said smiling. The guilt still pushed far into the corner of her mind.
Hayley walked into the cafeteria for lunch, the smell of fried food hitting her as soon as she walked in. She packed her lunch, it was better to be safe than sorry. She scanned the cafeteria hall quickly. She knew that sitting at Chris's table was not an option anymore. The table with the cheerleaders' was out as well. She may have been friends with other people in the clubs and tables around the cafeteria but she really wasn't in the mood to be the Hayley that everyone was used to being around. Demi was at the cheerleader's table, Felix didn't seem to be around, and Jake was at the table with his friends and Stella. His back was towards her but she always recognized his short curly hair and lean frame. Years of spending too much time together she supposed. Stella saw her and gestured for her to come over. Jake who was talking to his friend didn't see this but she remembered her promise from last night.
Hayley made the split decision to follow her instinct right then and there and made her legs move.
"Hey guys," she smiled while taking a seat next to Stella. She caught Jake's eye briefly and looked back at her lunch. She could see him tense up when he saw her, his jaw hard as a rock.
"I'm sorry to hear about you and Chris, I didn't know when I saw you earlier" Stella said.
"Ah old news already, its fine. I'm fine. Really." Hayley said assuringly. She wasn't surprised that it traveled that fast. Working at the Troop, trivial school gossip rarely made her raise an eyebrow.
Jake flinched and made a choking sound. "You, wait you guys broke up?" He said in a higher octave than she was used to hearing from him. "Hold up, You girls talked earlier?" In a much higher octave if that was possible.
Resting her chin on Hayley's shoulder Stella continued, "Yeah and I had no idea! I'm so sorry, god and your day had gotten from bad to worse when I saw you in the hallway huh? Now I understand why you didn't fight back, I didn't mean to rip you a new one after that."
"It's fine. You didn't know…So do you guys know what's up with the smell in Chemistry lab on the second floor. Had a funky smell when I walked past it after second period" Hayley said skirting the subject. She didn't want to go into details with Jake right there. She knew he would press her on it and she didn't want to have that talk with him right now.
And the conversation flowed from there with Jake's friends offering up their theories and with her joining in now and then to keep it on the topic. Jake was unusually quiet. Whether he was keeping up his end of the agreement or thinking of something else was an enigma she would rather not solve. Stella didn't comment on the quick change of subject and joined in with rapt attention. Hayley breathed a quick sigh of relief.
The bell rang for the next set of classes. Hayley waved her goodbyes and went to throw her trash away. She felt a hand on her shoulder.
"Oh hey, I've got to get to my next class, it's all the way in the furthest corner of the school of course," Hayley tried to chuckle.
"Yeah of course, I just wanted to let you know that I always felt that that Chris guy was never good enough for you, and that you shouldn't even bother with guys like him. You know the kind. Bronze but no brain. Don't feel like you have to settle, I know there is someone out there, I know it… and when you do find him you can double date with Jake and I" Stella finished.
She was determined not to look at Jake after this but eyed him still at the table she just left trying to get a stain of ketchup out of his shirt.
"Yes definitely and thanks, yeah guys in general aren't really high on my priority list right now anyway. We'll talk later 'k?" And she left before Stella could respond.
"And so you got these leads just by going to Riveridge to collect residue." Mr. Stockley asked with a raised eyebrow.
"More or less," Jake confessed his head turned down.
"Now while I'm disappointed that you didn't wait for me during the meeting the other day… who can argue with these results," turning his frown upside down. "Just don't let the Troop International hear me say that, let's all just agree I gave you a firm but stern warning for the next time. I mean-um, uh Felix yes thank you, thank you for the hug you can let go now," Mr. Stockley said prying Felix out of his arms and straightening his suit checking if there was any wrinkles. "As I was saying we are a team here and I know I'm the oldest but as far as experience I trust each and everyone here and everyones judgment." Mr. Stockley finished eyeing everyone, except they seemed to avoiding his now, even Felix. He failed to notice this of course because of his enthusiasm on the progress of their case.
Putting the file down on his desk he said, "Okay and now that I have read the report that Felix wrote is there anything that he might have left out that you two might want to add on the case so far?"
"Nah he got about everything in there"
They said simultaneously.
"Okay let's break this down. In short in the span of an hour you were able to find out that aside from all the increase in monster activity, there is a loose Heraptacore out there let alone that they exist and all they said about it is true. The monsters seem to be more than the average monster in intelligence and strength. There is a a person Bob was it with a cabin out there in the middle of the woods that claims to be a park ranger but you all heard had some sinister plans about our Troop and our members. But you all are not sure because as you ran out of the house because he saw you guys, the Heraptacore grabbed all of you and teleported you back to the school" Mr. Stockley relayed.
"Literally scooped us all in his arms and teleported us right in front of the school as if he read our minds and then left," Felix said making the gesture of holding a baby to show Mr. Stockley how the monster teleported them.
Hayley and Jake nodded with him.
"That's an understatement if there ever was one, but I suggest everyone lay-low for a little while, that Bob guy may still be lurking out there planning something. If the monster activity starts picking up I will let you all know but in the meantime put your energy and focus on something else. I will call a meeting by the end of the week after I follow a few hunches and see if we can consult with some outside help and we will go from there. Good work team. And just remember whatever you do don't' attract attention to yourselves. Got it?" Mr. Stockley raised an eyebrow while holding on to the lapel of his suit again.
"Yes sir," They all agreed.
"Right now if you all would excuse me I have a got a few student recommendations that unfortunately won't write themselves." Sighing Mr. Stockley rose from his desk and disappeared into the elevator leading to the janitor's closet in the school.
"Whew close one huh, I can't believe we got away with that! Masters of deception we are!" Felix fist pumped.
Haley noticed an awkward pause where Felix and Jake made eye contact. Oh no here we go…
"The Light of the Dark Rebels! Issue 14!" They both said simultaneously, as well as enthusiastically.
"Yeah yeah yeah! The one where they had to go to the forest to dress up as the merry band of rebels who were supposed to fight for the poor but went rogue and so the Dark Rebels had to pretend to be these rebels to infiltrate them and help the poor and so the story of this issue went as …" Jake tried to wait for it, or for Felix rather.
"Masters of Deception!" They both said in unison again, much to the Hayley's dismay.
Felix started, "Yeah, I loved that issue! Did you see the twist coming where the rebel wasn't really a rebel so he was a rebel of the rebels? I did not see that coming. Whew! And then of course they…"
Hayley tuned them out after that. She decided to go do some light research on what could cause these mutant monsters. Because really that's what they were, a deviation from their nature. She grabbed some sources from their vast collection of books dating back to the 1400's and went into the back room that she had turned into her own little niche that was if anything an extension of her room back at home. The boys had something similar, and while it was bigger they had to share that room, plus there was an odor, a fact that she didn't even try to keep from them.
She lay on her bed and drifted in and out of sleep as she tried to focus on the pages in front of her. Eventually she let her exhaustion win out.
She later opened her eyes to the sound of banging outside the room. With reflexes she thought a ninja would be proud of she quickly ran out and found the Heraptacore fighting with a banged up Jake. How did he get in here? Did he somehow follow their scent? Was he smart enough to figure it out? There was too little known and researched about the Heraptacore to know for sure. The possibilities could be endless. Felix was nowhere in sight. She felt her heart pound inside of her chest. Jake was still to caught up in the fight to notice her.
"Jake!" Hayley shouted from across the room. She ran to the weapon room to grab a freeze ray only to find it in disarray, the freeze rays and all the collection of weapons destroyed and in pieces.
She heard a loud crash outside with what sounded like glass and a table or shelves breaking. She ran out into the main room of HQ to find the Heraptacore gone. Jake was on the floor unconscious with a pool of blood forming by his chest where a big shard of glass had pierced right through.
She realized later that she could faintly hear her own voice yelling his name just over the sobs as she knelt down beside him, but still all sound seemed like a distance away. His eyes were eerily open yet she was met with no response. She could see the blood seeping through his clothes. She wanted to get help but didn't want to leave his side. She had no idea if her hysterical crying had ceased. Was she rocking back and forth with his head on her lap? She wasn't sure. It was if her mind and body were mourning in different ways. She had never felt this numb before. She heard someone calling her name. Their voice getting a little louder with every second.
"Hayley! Hayley! Come on its me! Hayley!"
"Felix?" She responded. She opened her eyes to the sensation of someone shaking her lightly.
"Yes Hayley its Felix, Come on really Hayley stop messing around you know who it really is,"
She opened her eyes again. She was on her bed somehow her books scattered on the bed and floor. She tried to shake away the haze of sleep. She rubbed her face only to feel it wet.
"Hey are you okay now?"
"Yeah um thanks, I'm fine now," She said looking into his eyes to see if he was really looking at her this time. She shook him off and sat back a little on her bed to give them a little space. The dream seemed so real.
"What happened? I came in to see if you needed a ride home and saw you squirming and sobbing in your sleep. Do you maybe want to talk about it?" Jake asked sincerely.
She shook her head and wiped her face again to make sure it was dry. "No, thanks I'm fine, really," She needed to shake it off, and having Jake sitting right there did not help her any. "You can go, I'm fine I think I'm just gonna um…stay here the night, catch up on some work" She said turning to look at him.
"Yeah I have stuff here and I'll just say the routine excuse with my mom, it's… it's fine really so go," She shrugged and turned her head to the door.
She could feel Jake's eyes on her for more than a few short seconds. Then he stood up and turned to leave. His hand already on the doorknob when he turned around again to face her, "Favor,"
"What?" Hayley blinked.
"I'm gonna go ahead and collect on that favor," Jake said smugly walking back and crossing his arms.
"What favor?" Hayley could feel the frustration already building.
"The one favor you owe me from six months ago when you called me to help you babysit for Mrs. Moyer's five kids because you underestimated your capabilities as a babysitter and you said you owe me one ," Jake said sitting back on the bed.
"Jake! I seem to remember giving you half the pay on that one job, all you did was play video games with the older ones, and I didn't underestimate myself, that was my first time babysitting her kids and she reluctantly left out how many kids she had and forgot to tell me they were all under the age of nine!" Hayley exclaimed.
"Hey if Kate Gosselin could do it then-" Jake started.
"And besides, you owe me a million other favors in all the years I've known you! So maybe its time I collect! Hm?" Hayley countered.
"Well yeah but, I…You you can't collect when I collect it's…you have to wait 24 hours to collect another favor, sorry that's just how it is I don't make the rules ask anyone," Jake rushed out.
Hayley rolled her eyes, "Fine whatever so what do you want?" She knew as soon as the question left her mouth.
Jake made sure he had her eye contact first, "Tell me,"
Hayley took a deep breath, "It was about you,"
"Wow…while I'm flattered you were dreaming about me, that was not quite the reaction I was looking for," Jake said shaking his head, trying to get a smile out of Hayley.
"You died." Hayley didn't want to remember it yet alone relive it. It was always a possibility with the line of work they did and she knew that. But to imagine what it was like and who it was, it was so much more emotional than she ever thought it would be like. You work, go to school, and hunt monsters with you your teammates. That part is in the handbook. But it was just so much more than those words were on paper. So much more. And Troop members had come and gone, in the years that she had become one but the Troop members she was working with now and Mr. Stockley were like family. And after that dream and her reaction to it, was there possibly something more with Jake? She didn't know.
"Oh," Jake said. It was silent for a minute. Each lost in their own thoughts. "Come here," Jake said. She felt him move closer to wrap his arms around her. She didn't hug him back. She felt him rubbing her back to soothe her.
"Well um you have to admit it would be much easier if I was gone," He said trying to lighten the mood. "No fights, No arguing over who's gonna be leader for the next mission, no one stealing your lunch food, no one playing pranks on you when someone's bored. No one annoying you. No one calling you the day before a test to come over to help him study, again no fights, No-"
"-one to share my lunch with, no one to help pull a prank on Felix to help quote unquote someone else unwind, no one to bounce ideas off of when we are on a mission, no one to go to the mall with to give his blunt honest opinion, no one to call when she wants to talk, no one she can just be herself with, No," She paused. "Fun…" Hayley said pulling out of the hug to face him. They sat there just staring, beyond being awkward, just staring. She could feel herself moving towards him and caught herself. She turned her head and looked the other way and cleared her throat. She remembered her promise from last night. She looked back at him.
"Anyway, now that you know and collected on that favor which is now null and void you can-" The rest of the sentence was lost on her as she saw Jake swoop in suddenly to capture her lips. Hayley was shocked and surprised at first but could feel herself responding. It was different from their last kiss. It was soft and sweet. More intimate if that was possible and it made Hayley's head spin. Again with Jake everything seemed more heightened to sensations. She knew her emotions were getting caught up in the kiss, with every touch and feeling from Jake it excited her triple fold more than anyone had ever done before. She knew she had to get closer and moved to sit on his lap. She could feel the kiss building up and hands starting to roam. The last thing she remembered thinking before getting lost in all sensation was that she couldn't remember being this happy in a long time. No cheerleading awards, no recognition awards from Troop International, no straight A report cards, no win from a rival school in their debate class, could ever compare to kissing Jake Collins.
AN: Hope to get the next one out soon! I really hope you liked it. It will def not be as long for the next chap. I really want to finish the fic. I heart Jake and Hayley! Keep watching the new season! I really hope its not the last one but if it is I'm so happy with the Jake and Hayley action. So inspired by them to write. It's soooo good, I love the new characters but I still miss Felix. Thank you for reading! R& R would be much appreciated. Xx