I in NO WAY claim to own ClueFinders or any rights to it, or anything mentioned in this story other than my own writing. Enjoy! Leave a review if you want :)
Joni Savage gazed at the multitude of people milling around her. Girls were hugging, people were chatting, and a few boys were performing some "manly" guy greeting ritual. Joni shook her head as she stared up at the sign above her: Timberlake High School. She took a deep breath.
This isn't scary, she thought. I've faced aliens and Egyptian gods and plant monsters! I've been magically transported to another planet for goodness sakes! This is not a big deal compared to that! Right?
"Oh, who am I kidding?" Joni muttered aloud. She knew that those things – the aliens, the gods, the monsters – were all in her head. It had only been two years ago when she and Santiago Rivera had started a game they called cluefinding. It began as a variation of hide-and-go-seek that eventually evolved into quests with mysterious and totally unrealistic monsters as their enemies. Their fellow "Cluefinders," as they eventually started calling themselves, were Leslie Clark and Owen Lam. Leslie lived two houses to the left of Joni's, and Owen was Santiago's older brother's best friend's younger brother. The two had stumbled upon the game on various occasions and soon were hooked. Mr. and Mrs. Savage often would smile at the children from the upstairs window when they saw them running around the yard, looking for "clues", which were really rocks, sticks, or anything of the like that could pass as a hieroglyph or an ancient wand. But that was before. Joni and Santiago were in the summer days before seventh grade when they'd invented cluefinding. Now it was the first day of high school, and for once in her life, Joni was scared.
She pushed her large, round glasses up her nose with a fiery determination. Those glasses would have made her considered nerdy if she weren't, well, Joni Savage. With a toss of her bright red braids and another deep breath, Joni finally merged in with the flow of students going through the front door.
Santiago Rivera was the quiet type. He was the one in the back of the classroom not because he was slacking off, but because he didn't want to be disturbed by anyone. It was a wonder that Joni had even noticed him at all. With her fiery red braids, signature glasses, and loud voice, Joni Savage just screamed attention. But somehow in the first week of sixth grade, they became friends. As time passed, the two grew surprisingly close, building a treehouse in Santiago's backyard where they spent time playing games and later, cluefinding. No one understood how it had happened, or why they clicked the way they did. The only thing anyone understood was that it just did.
It was official: cluefinding was dead. Leslie Clark happily recalled hiding with her friends in the sweaty heat from "Mathra", more affectionately known as the resident neighborhood cat. They had let their imaginations run away with them on those long summer days. Sometimes, Mr. Rivera would let them camp out in the treehouse on clear nights. Leslie distinctly remembered sneaking down once with Owen at about 1 AM in order to find a camera and take a picture of the sweetly sleeping Joni and Santiago, one of his arms draped lazily over Joni's stomach. A blissful smile crept onto her face. Those were the days.
Owen Lam's skateboard screeched against the ground as he skidded to a stop. His funny, triangular, tiny purple glasses were perched on the tip of his nose, giving him what Joni had dubbed a "hippie-librarian" look. These were his "cool glasses". Whenever the Cluefinders decided to start cluefinding, he would pull them out of his pocket and put them on. They had become a symbol of cluefinding for him. At first, Owen only put on his cool glasses when he wanted to make an impression. The thing was they seemed to do the opposite when he met Leslie, who had made quite an impression on him. When they'd first met, Leslie was ten. She seemed so small, her tiny frame engulfed in a yellow dress and her chocolate brown hair in neat dreadlocks. The first thing she ever said to him was that she had won the national spelling bee the year before. At first, Owen could barely understand her, thanks to her excessive use of long, tedious words that Owen didn't know. However, they soon created a mutual friendship, what with her stringing out complicated sentences to the group and Owen then "translating" her. It annoyed her to no end, but Owen enjoyed it. Recently, it had turned more of a playful banter than a bother.
The lights dimmed and Joni took a shaky breath. The scene was over. People in black quietly hurried onto the stage. Joni pushed her way through the mass rushing towards her, finally backing into a nook by the wall. Someone cleared their throat. Joni whipped around, her eyes wide in alarm, but then released a sigh of relief. It was only Santiago.
"Good job," he whispered, giving a faint smile.
"Thanks." They stood awkwardly in the dark, hearing the whoosh of people hurrying to finish the scene change. Suddenly, someone pushed past with a chair, making Joni lose her balance and fall into Santiago. He caught her, and she felt her breath hitch, her heart pounding. Suddenly, there were butterflies in her stomach; butterflies and a tense silence. She looked up at the dark-haired boy. His eyes were serious, what little light there was reflecting off the black orbs. There was something in his eyes, something Joni had never seen before. A tentative finger traced slowly over her nose. It blazed a fiery trail, and Joni shivered at the tingles his touch sent throughout her body.
"I miss your glasses. You're just not you without them." Her heart was beating at a hundred miles an hour. She could swear that everyone could hear the drum inside her chest. Time was so clear, yet so slow as she stared into the depths of his eyes. They held secrets.
"I-I…" Joni started to stutter before his finger left her nose and touched her lips.
"Shhhh," Santiago said. "The play's still going on."
AN: Hi! So I know I'm not really active on here, but I know there are some people who got obsessed with ClueFinders (like me for a grand total of about two weeks, during which I wrote this...) Anyway, it's kind of scattered; I was going to do something with it because I just liked the Joni x Santiago pairing and I didn't think there were enough CF fanfics that weren't crack fics. Obviously it didn't get anywhere. Just for all those CF fans out there. I made up the backstory in my head when I couldn't fall asleep, so forgive me if it doesn't make sense/isn't canon/whatever. Enjoy! :)