Author's Note: I seem to be on a drabble kick lately. I just love this movie and I feel compelled to write down any little idea that comes to mind, no matter how short. I'm aiming at improving my characterization. Let me know if you have any ideas, tips, or just anything you want to say. Please review!

At What Cost?

Claire lay awake in her queen sized bed, surrounded by the softness of her Egyptian Cotton sheets. It was four in the morning, and still, she could not sleep. A single thought, a single entity invaded her dreams and somehow snuck his way into her waking thoughts as well.

John Bender

Claire's old self, the self she had not buried under a superficial life until Saturday's detention, tried to reason with her. It's silly to think of John Bender. He's a nobody. You're only feeling pity for him.

She shook her head and smashed her fists down on her pillow. She was disgusted with herself for such thoughts. Wasn't she supposed to have changed?

Sure, she felt sorry his less-than-pleasant home life. She could admit that much. But there was another feeling attached to her recent experiences with John Bender as well. It took some time to place a description with the feeling. Gazing around her darkened room, her eyes scanned across her various possessions as she struggled to name her feelings. She only grew more depressed as she noticed the futility of the priceless, but meaningless items around her. A unique and beautiful painting hung above her bed and collector's edition what-not's decorated her walls. She didn't care about them. It's not like they're Andy's trophies or something. There's something to be proud of in those, but there's nothing to admire in my useless crap. Like John said, I didn't even work for the money for what I have.

Suddenly it dawned on her. The feeling she had toward John… it was admiration. Thinking on it even further, Claire realized that she really did admire John. Sure, it was strange to admire the school criminal, but she did. He was so much stronger than she would ever be. Claire almost wrinkled her nose in repugnance at how easy she had it. She didn't know if she could even survive in John's reality.

John had not only survived, he had learned to think, to analyze his surroundings and those around him. He might be exceptionally crude, but now Claire knew that was only an act to hide how defeated he felt.

He intrigued her.

Claire had no desire to continue to maintain an uncaring, snotty façade toward those like John. She no longer wished to poke fun at anyone, even if that meant she could no longer conform and that she would most likely lose her "friends".

As Claire wiped a stray tear from her eye, she realized that she earnestly wanted to change. She knew it would be hard. For once in her life, she would have to work for her goal. Daddy could not do this for her. No one could do it for her. This change would cost more effort than Claire had ever exerted in her entire life, but some part deep inside her soul, that same part that kept thinking of John Bender, Claire presumed, knew that change would be worth the cost.