The Challenge

Warnings/Info: I have no idea what this is, just go with the flow.

AN: Hey guys! I know, it's been a while since I've written a shapeshifter fic. Exams and stuff, sorry. I don't really know what this is, it might just be a one-shot, so please tell me if you think it's worth continuing. I wrote this after listening to Darren Criss sing "When I Get You Alone" on repeat for hours, and realised that it would be the perfect Darren/Lisa song. That being said, this isn't Darren/Lisa. Yet. Just let me know what you think, and if anyone wants this to continue, it'll probably become Darren/Lisa. Or Sparren. You guys know I can't resist Sparren! (But I'll try very hard if no-one wants to read that.) So please review, it would really help me.

Lisa made a point of knowing everything about everyone at Fenton Lodge. It was, after all, a small building with very few students- and ghosts were notorious gossips.

All the girls confided their secrets in Lisa, Dax always turned to her when in need, and even though she hated Spook with a surprising enthusiasm, his grandmother had told her all the juicy titbits she'd ever need to know.

There was one person, however, who always managed to escape the feel of her supernatural gossip antennae.

Darren Tyler.

They'd never admit it to his face, but a lot of the "true eleven" were a little... confused about Darren's place in the group. From what they'd observes, the true 11, even at Tregarren, had been the best in their field. Mia, the most talented healer, Dax, the only shapeshifter and of course, Lisa herself, clairvoyant, dowser, empath- her psychic powers were unparalleled. Spook, she'd admit grudgingly, was always the best illusionist in the school. But Darren? His illusions were patchy and inconsistent- at best. As for the kid himself- no-one ever managed to connect with him, save for Spook, though he was easy-going enough. He barely spoke, though. Not even Mia could draw two words out of the strange, almost exotic boy.

Now Lisa stood, staring at the second-rate illusionist who sat in a dark corner of Fenton Lodge's impressive library. He'd yet to acknowledge her presence, which for some reason she couldn't pin down, infuriated her beyond belief. After a few more minutes of curious observation, Lisa eventually made a delicate cough to announce herself. Darren didn't look up, but simply asked mildly- "was there something you wanted, Lisa?"

She flounced down, all grandeur lost.

"How long have you known I was there?"

"Since you walked in," he replied, still absorbed in his paperback. "Your boots are kind of clicky.

"Oh." They sat enveloped in a strangely uncomfortable silence. Slowly, Darren closed the book with a gentle rustling of pages and looked up.

"Was there something you wanted?" he asked again, not unkindly.

"No, not- not really." Lisa rolled her eyes. "God, that was articulate, wasn't it?" With the tension gone, she also lost her inhibitions. "What are you hanging out in the library for, anyway?"

Darren furrowed his brow. "Reading," he explained, and motioned to the closed paperback.


"Isn't that what one usually does in a library?"

"Oh, shut up."

"I was perfectly quiet until your interrupted me, Lisa."

That shook her, and for the first time she noticed the hardness in his eyes. Darren was reserved, sure, but when prompted to talk he was always light-hearted, never so... steely.

"Bad day?"

She got her answer with his non-committal jerk of the head.

"Oh, so you came here to escape. Fair enough." Lisa was suddenly aware that he'd barely looked at her since she'd entered the room. "So, tell me what's wrong."

That got him. Curious blue eyes met confused brown ones.

"Why would you care?" He spoke slowly, cautiously. "You're Lisa Hardman. You've barely spoken a word to me since we met, two years ago."

"In my defence, you don't make it very easy."

Darren paused. "That's debatable. It's nothing major, though thanks for your concern. I'm fine."

Lisa leant back and sighed deeply. She closed her eyes and tried to remain oblivious to the confusing boy and his awkward, polite presence.

"Stop being so boring. Come on, what is it?" Giving up, Lisa propped herself up on her elbow to regard him with quizzical eyes. "Did Spook cheat on you or something?"

"What- we're not a couple!"

"Sure." Lisa leant back again, though Darren didn't move. "You keep telling yourself that. Sit down properly.

"It's true," he protested, but leant back anyway. "What about your day, then?" He enquired politely.


"Sounds fun."

Lisa's head turned, and saw that their faces were mere inches apart. She studied him intensely- his big dark eyes, the floppy black hair, the mouth that spoke but never said anything. Darren remained statuesque, and she turned away.

"I hate this place," Lisa blurted out suddenly. "No phones, no outside privileges, stuck with the same people every day, ghosts always badgering me about their problems- like I care! It's the worst job. I want to go back to Tregarren. No, scratch that, I want to go back home, before any of this happened. Back to just me and Dad, when my head wasn't all wonky and I had a proper life." There were footsteps outside. "I just want to be normal again."


The unlikely pair were startled as they looked up to see the tall, imposing figure of Spook stride in. "Where've you been? I've been looking everywhere!"

Dutifully, Darren picked up his book and made to follow his friend. Spook left immediately, assuming that Darren would be behind him, but the boy turned around just before he reached the door.

"Lisa..." he started, but trailed off, unsure of himself.


"There's nothing wrong with you. I mean, your head isn't wonky. You're fine. And, um- thanks, for listening."

Darren left the confused clairvoyant sitting, alone in the dark.

"But you barely said anything," she whispered to herself. Lisa sighed. She'd come in to find out more about the elusive Darren- but she'd ended up practically telling him her life story. "Why am I doing this?" she murmured quietly. The empty space next to her gave no answer.

"Well," Lisa decided, struggling to her feet, "I've always liked a challenge."