BATTLE LINES CHAPTER 2

WOW! A LOOOONG wait for chapter 2 wasn't it? Sorry about that. It was a long road getting here what with missing storyboard sheets, portfolio deadlines for school, and a painful (PAINFUL!) case of writer's blog. But chapter 2 is finally here! The bad news is that it's mostly filler. The good news is chapter 3 will be up VERY soon.

Disclaimer: I don't own anything related to Degrassi. There will also be some strong language, smoking, drinking, fighting, and all kinds of bad behavior in this fic.

Dedication: To Lady Azura and all the people who kept telling me to get my ass in gear and write this thing!

Clare Edwards slammed her locker shut with a resounding clang. An exaggerated sigh escaped her pale pink lips as she looked down at the books she had just taken out.

Eli's voice broke through her thoughts as he sashayed toward their lockers, "Well good morning, Ms. Edwards. You're looking lovely today." He sent a crooked smirk her way as he leaned in for a kiss. But Clare was not about to swayed.

"Do you want to tell me what last night was about?"

Eli looked back at her with innocent doe eyes. "And that means…?"

Clare narrowed her own eyes slightly and pulled her books tighter against her chest. "You know what I mean, Eli. What were you trying to pull with Fitz?"

Eli put a hand to his chest with mock indignation. "Why Clare, I was simply trying to be sporting with dear old Fitzy-boy. And honestly I'm offended-"

"Eli!" Clare's raised voice caught the attention of several idle students around them. Her face stained red, she leaned closer to her boyfriend. Couldn't he see that she just wanted to protect him? Couldn't he see how this feud was taking a toll on all of them? Couldn't he just let it go? Her eyes softened pleadingly as she looked up at him. "Please, just stop the antagonizing."

Eli's eyes held her for a moment. "I can't. It's not the right thing to do."

Clare broke their gaze with the shake of her head. "Not the right thing for who, Eli?"

His lips parted to answer, but Clare turned away and hastened down the hall. Tucking into Mr. Armstrong's room for math, Clare took her seat with a frustrated sigh. She was fed up with this feud and Eli's insistence on continuing it. As Mr. Armstrong began his lesson, Clare's mind began to wonder. There had to be a way she could convince Eli that his anger towards Fitz wasn't worth getting in trouble over- or even worse hurt over! It wasn't going to be easy but it had to be done.

-:-

Fitz leaned in toward the flame in his hands. The cigarette lit, he snapped the cheap plastic lighter shut as his left hand fell to the side. His other hand reached slowly up to the cig pressed lightly between his lips and leisurely removed it. He tilted his head up and gradually exhaled a cloud of smoke. For some reason he could not get out of his head today. It was if his brain had suddenly slipped into overdrive and Fitz didn't like it. He didn't like it one bit.

"Smoke break?"

Fitz looked down the alley and watched as Bianca moved rhythmically toward him. She had a hop in her step today. Fitz couldn't help but smirk. "Why are you so happy?"

"Dunno. Good mood I guess. Since when do I need a reason to be enjoying myself?" She arched one eyebrow up as if to apply some hidden meaning to her response.

"Whatever."

"And your problem is?"

"Nothing. Leave it."

"Got any more smokes?"

Fitz wasn't in the mood for sharing today (in any way) but he figured this might just be the way to shut her up. He really wasn't in the mood for Bianca's personal brand of cutesy. Digging into his pocket he pulled out a crumpled box of Players, tapped it on his palm, and handed a stick to Bianca.

"Wild night last night, wasn't it?"

Apparently Fitz would be stuck listening to Bianca regardless of his exceptional display of generosity. "I would have thought it was pretty tame for you."

Bianca rewarded Fitz's offense by releasing a wisp of smoke in his face. "I meant running into Dr. Doom and his little friends." Fitz kept his eyes focused on the trash cans in front of him, determined to ignore Bianca's obvious teasing. Feeling snubbed, Bianca tried a more direct angle. "You like his girlfriend."

Fitz turned on her with a scowl "Excuse me?"

Bianca's eyes turned serious as she considered his reaction for a moment. A satisfied smile crept across her lips. "Knew it."

"Look-"

"There's nothing wrong with it, Marky-Mark. Well, I mean I dunno why you'd want a girl like that all nerdy and- I mean she dresses like my fucking grandma, but whatever."

Fitz lifted his cig back to his lips. He felt offended by Bianca's comment but was having trouble deducing why exactly.

"I like being with KC."

Fitz's eyes fell back on Bianca this time with less anger. "What?"

"I like being with KC. He's fun but- I just… I just like being with him."

Fitz nodded. He could see that being with KC was different for Bianca. She was never much for monogamy but maybe it just took being with the right guy. It dawned on him that maybe Bianca was trying to suggest something.

"I'm not into Clare."

"Who? Oh, the girlfriend. Yes you are. I saw last night. You are sooo into her. I say go for it. It's not like you give a fuck about Eli anyway."

That was true.

"Whatever. Let it go, Bi." Fitz pulled his chin in towards his chest, shaking the ashes off the end of his cigarette. He watched as the grey flakes fluttered down to the pavement. When they hit the concrete of the alleyway they burst briefly with orange light, scattering excitedly around his boots before dying and fading into dust.

Bianca didn't look at Fitz as she asked, "Wanna go out or something tonight?"

"Yeah."

"Good cause I'm bored."

Fitz laughed.

-:-

Mr. Armstrong shouted page numbers as restless students scurried out the classroom door. Clare remained her seat, dutifully taking down the homework assignment in her agenda. On the outside she looked the part of a perfect scholar but inside her mind was racing. Clare was trying to come up with a plan.

Books in hand, Clare strode into the hallway with her mind tactfully scrolling through her list of options. She could beg Eli to stop the feud, but that probably wouldn't work. She could lock Eli in a closet somewhere, but knowing Eli he'd probably just enjoy it. She could give up and let Eli and Fitz destroy each other, but that seemed…

"Hey."

Clare jumped as Adam's voice beside her snapped her out of her thoughts. She looked at him with wide blue eyes. "Where did you come from?"

"Ummmm… biology" Adam grinned as he shook his head at her. "Why are you so jumpy?"

"I'm not I just have a lot on my mind." Clare moved closer to Adam's side as the two expertly navigated the swarm of students around them. "I want Eli and Fitz to end this rivalry they-"

"Oh boy." Adam rolled his eyes as he craned his neck to sneak a peek at his locker. Clare's brow furrowed as she looked at him.

"What?"

Adam sighed louder than he needed to and looked at Clare with half lidded eyes. "Do you really want to get in the middle of this? Look Eli's going to do what Eli's going to do and nothing you say, or I say, or anybody says is going to change that. Besides if you want me to feel bad for Fitz it's not happening."

Clare shook her head refusing to hear her friend's advice. "Adam!"

"Clare!" Adam mimicked. "Trust me it's better to just stay out of this one otherwise you might end up being the one who gets hurt." Adam's eyes turned soft as the two of them reached his locker. "And it's not worth it." He gave her a weak smile before turning to his lock, expertly spinning his combination until the clasp opened.

The edge of Clare's lip turned up in a smile as she reached out and poked Adam's shoulder playfully. "You're right."

"As usual." He added.

Clare couldn't help but chuckle at Adam's smugness. As she relaxed into the locker next to her, someone down the hall caught her eye.

"I'll see you at lunch Adam, alright?"

"hm? Yeah that's cool. Later!"

Clare gave Adam a little wave and started down the hall with determination. She quickened her steps as as the boy she was pursuing turned a corner. Her talk with Adam had convinced it was best not to push the Fitz issue with Eli. But another option had suddenly made its way onto her mental list. Clare sidestepped a short ninth grader as kept her eyes ahead of her trained a short tuff of cropped brown hair. The bell rang and Clare's dutiful student instincts made her take pause for a moment. She looked down at her watch and realized French class was about to start. The blue eyed girl watched as all around her the halls emptied as kids shuffled through the doorways lining the corridor and teachers beckoned their pupils inside classrooms.

Intent on heading to her class like a good girl, Clare started to turn back when out of the corner of her eye she noticed the boy she was trailing sneaking into a janitor's closet. Clare's blue eyes darted back and forth across the now deserted hallway. Satisfied no one was around to catch her she quietly made her way over to the closet. Clare's pale hand was shaking slightly as she wrapped her fingers around the cool metal doorknob. Building up her courage, she slowly inched the door open and stepped inside the confided, dim closet. The light from the hallway cast her shadow faintly on the linoleum floor, and on the work boots of the boy sitting on an overturned crate in front of her. Fitz looked up at her with relaxed eyes. Clare closed the door behind her as she stepped into the closet. "Can I talk to you?"

Fitz grinned at her with a toothy smile. "Now why would you want to do that?"

To Be Continued...

Will talking to Fitz only put more fire on the feud between Eli and Fitz? Probably. Will Bianca's POV be in the next chapter? Probably. Should you leave reviews for this chapter? Definately!

You will not have to wait as long for chapter 3 as you did for chapter 2 I promise! Coming in chapter 3... Eli finds out Clare talked to Fitz, Adam and Bianca share a moment, and a couple of people end up drunk. Stay tuned!