AN: This might be the strangest thing I've written in quite some time. Takes place in the summer between season 2 and 3. Haven't a clue where the idea came from. The line "Like John Hughes gone wrong" kept playing in my head, and when I sat down to write this is what came out. Contains references to The Breakfast Club.

Disclaimer: Veronica Mars belongs to Rob Thomas, The Breakfast Club belongs to John Hughes, and the song the title comes from belongs to Simple Minds.

You're cleaning your room, and trying not thinking about how you should be packing instead, when you find it. Glossy green and yellow peering up at you from under the pile of stuff you dumped after your last official day of class. Your high school yearbook. You purchased it on a rare wave of nostalgia, because everyone wants to remember their last year of high school right (The last time you bought a yearbook you were fifteen and a completely different person)? You pick it up and flip through the pages, looking down at the people you've known for so long. And now you're just sitting here trying not to cry, because it's all a little bitter sweet and familiar. Like John Hughes gone wrong. You all had your rolls to fill, but no one could ever have guessed that they would play out like this. The princess gone forever (and she was never virgin white, never resentful of her status), the golden boy athlete with marks on his back and no athleticism to speak of (he's a fighter sure, but never on a mat), the criminal led from gradation for the crimes of another (he never kissed the princess by her daddy's car, the only place he touched her was in broom closets), the brain spread with blood and guts all over the sidewalk (can't build a lamp, can't build much of anything, but his plan is more foolproof than a flare gun), and the basket case waking from real nightmares, dealing with real problems (no more princess to make her a real girl, and no pathological lies. She only ever speaks the truth).

You consider all the players and how everything got so twisted up and broken, dreams and futures melting into harsh reality like clocks on canvas. You weren't supposed to be here, not here, not Neptune. Any place on earth is preferable to this one. This place that turns children to adults long before they're ready, this place that twists even something as universal and relatable as The Breakfast Club into something alien and unrecognizable. You've never had time to worry that you're parents (parent) ignore you, or that you're not perfect at everything. You can't remember the last time you had the luxury of dwelling on a purely adolescent problem (you can. It was right before the world crashed down for good). You've been a grown up living in a child's body for longer than you'd really like to consider (and it feels much longer than that). And you had to make a choice. Win a scholarship, or watch the man who murdered the princess and beat the athlete get put behind bars (go free). So now you're stuck here, here in this hell of a town (you always thought Neptune was more ominous sounding than Sunnydale anyway). But for a few minutes you can try to escape. Try to pretend that you attended a normal school, in a normal town, with normal classmates. You stare down at all the smiling (glaring, mocking, laughing, crying, broken) faces and it all looks so normal. Prom Queen, basketball team, Quiz Bowl, Shop, theatre. Most likely to succeed, most likely to marry their high school sweetheart, to become famous, to win a Nobel Prize (to go to jail, get raped, be beaten, be an alcoholic, die horribly). Every picture features the same person. They're all the same here; a little weary behind the eyes, a little hard behind the soul. Even the most innocent, the most protected are smart enough to know that this place is bad news and all the things they see happening around could happen to them at any second. And if they're just to sweet to realize it well… your eyes fall on a trusting, open face but all you can see is lies and boarding schools (and the athlete holds another victim to the mat). You flip through the pages and you don't even realize you're crying until the page puckers around drops of liquid. You brush your tears aside and close the book to its falsely cheerful cover. Go Pirates. No, there's never been a movie quite like this one.

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