The Haters... did not fare well against the onslaught of punishment. Billy, Chelsea and Lucy gave their best lies to Principal Miller. But when Chad told what he knew, there wasn't much choice to investigate. When word spread of how Chad stood up against Billy again, people who'd seen Lucy and Chelsea mess up Maddie's work spoke up honestly. The inquisitive authority figure decided to take each Hater by themselves and ask what happened.
It was a classic prisoner's dilemma. They were all asked again who did what. Only Chelsea held to the original lies, stating they were completely innocent. She thought the others would too, but the problem was, Lucy and Billy had much more to lose. Billy told about how he had no idea the two were going to deface the manga, and was 'very upset' at them. Of course, Billy was never too bright, and revealed he knew things that he could only have learned by helping coordinate. Lucy claimed she didn't want to go along with it, but was a victim of peer pressure and threats. Lucy's lies seemed to fall in the uncanny valley- they seemed very genuine, but not quite... which made them much more bothersome than bad lies. Audibly crying but being unable to even get her eyes to water didn't help.
The punishment was delivered. All three were suspended in-school for 20 school days. Lucy and Billy were permanently banned from participating in sports for the remainder of their time at Hannah Dustin. In the weeks it took before they were back, the jocks and in-crowd had already built a new court. It wasn't as strong, but they were just as cruel when pressed.
Chelsea, betrayed far more than the other two, decided it was time to go to a private school. The only one in the area was a Christian Academy. For some time it worked well. She could fake what she needed to be approved by many of the students, could hide her arrogance in her actions that managed to attract people, and her attractiveness and charm won over her teachers. There was a very young teacher she found useful to have under her thumb, a Mr. Travis Wylan. Handsome, but single and lonely, he didn't stand a chance. But, what started as a relationship of Chelsea using the teacher, who was only four years older, became something that changed her. Chelsea genuinely fell for the teacher. At one point admitting to her original purpose, but was easily forgiven. Of course, the big trouble came when she accidentally got pregnant. Her parents tried to pressure her into getting rid of it; which wasn't something she had any moral qualms about, but she didn't want to. She was finally considering something besides herself. She ended up all but rejected from most of her elite family. As for Mr. Wylan, we was unceremoniously fired; denied forgiveness. By the time this happened though, there was an opening at Hannah Dustin and as an excellent teacher was hired. While they got engaged about that time, she continued to college, getting a degree in fashion design.
Lucy tried her best to fight the punishment. And then she tried to remain part of the popular crowd... but she'd been too humiliated. If Chelsea had stayed there, she'd have been fine, maybe even could have worked her way back up. But she wasn't. And she couldn't. Billy had his own agenda, and wouldn't accept he wouldn't be popular any more. Lucy's secrets, as well as 'secrets' that weren't true were all fair game. Depressed, mostly abandoned, and having little sympathy at home (her parents cared nothing about her suspension other than their annoyance at having to go to a meeting in the middle of the day) she began seeking attention the old fashion way. She wore short skirts, diving necklines and got a tattoo on her lower back. She was still smart, but she hated herself more and more. One day, senior year, she tried to make a move on Chad; initially because he was just the person in her way at that moment. Chad of course denied her, but she kept at it. Chad got a little too upset and yelled, and she broke down in the hallway. She screamed that it had been his fault and that she could still be a cheerleader if he hadn't gotten together with 'that bitch'. She knew all too well that was a lie; she realized early on it was her own fault. Chad gave in a bit and, not responding with bitterness, hugged her back. In Lucy's mind, she couldn't remember the last time someone held her with no objective other than to make her happy. She frankly wasn't sure she'd ever had. Maddie saw the wrong moment of this, but that is another story. Chad encouraged Lucy to join the manga club, which she did. For the first week she was certainly bitter, and tried to troll the meeting; especially Maddie. But, between their knowledge of how Chad wasn't what they had expected, how Chad insisted everyone give her a chance, and with the courage Ms. Riley had given the club members (who, for the most part, all still dealt with a large amount of teasing), no one gave in. When they told her that she was welcome to come again, she once again felt oddly accepted. She took home a copy of Fruits Basket and engrossed herself in it. The next week she came back. She didn't much care for the subject still, but she had perspective now. She stumbled upon her ability to be a good snark, a roaster and just plain funny. She also stumbled on an ability to spot tropes in stories and found herself enjoying hating the material. And the other members enjoyed it too. In an odd twist of fate, she hit it off with Black Raven. Very well. Together they... 'discovered' that Lucy was a lesbian, and Blackie being proudly bi they dated for a short time. It didn't last too long, but they ended up being friends long after high school. Through college she found her calling as a public speaker and a protester. She did a bit of stand up comedy, and while that never got big, her blog, podcast and YouTube seminars under the title 'Life's Funny That Way' were a big hit.
Billy, as already mentioned, couldn't handle not being popular. He used everything he had on anyone to climb back up the ladder. When that wasn't enough, he dove head first into hosting massive parties. These parties had lots of booze and a lot of illegal drugs. He started to abuse the substances which he had such easy access to. After a while, he didn't have the money for it, so he started selling. A few weeks before graduation he was caught trying to sell meth to an 8th grader under the bleachers of the middle school. He had well beyond the recreational use on him, but when he fought the school officer who started asking questions, it became clear he wasn't avoiding jail time. His dad used quite a bit of money to keep his sentence to 365 days; the limit before it turned into a prison sentence. While there he managed to just barely get his GED. After leaving, having only the option of community college or manual labour, he lived in a trailer park, working on an assembly line. He never forgave Chad. In fact, no matter what happened, he never once admitted that he'd been wrong about anything.