Author's Note: I had this dream last night, and decided to write a fanfiction of it. This story is AU but the characters are mostly the same. I do not own Degrassi, but I'd gladly accept Eli Goldsworthy! Reviews and constructive criticism are always appreciated. Enjoy!

Chapter One

Clare Edwards sighed and stared out the window of her mom's station wagon. Everything was so new to her. Clare was starting to feel as though she had been dumped off in a different universe. She wished her mom would just turn the car around and smile and say, "Just kidding!" But Clare knew that wouldn't happen.

"Cheer up," her mom nudged her, encouragingly, "It won't be that bad. Lots of students transfer in and out of schools. You're not the first, Clare."

"But it's my senior year," Clare objected, "Why couldn't you have waited to move until after I graduated from Frost?"

"Clare!" Her mother shot her a glance, "Don't be selfish! You know I couldn't stay in that town – not after your father left us. I needed to get away, and start fresh – and that is just what we are doing. I have my new job started up at the newspaper, and you're going to have a great year at your new school."

"It's not FHS," Clare sighed, "Mom, Ali and I had plans for our senior year!"

"And you can still go visit her, Clare. It's only two hours away."

"Two hours feels like a lifetime," Clare knew she was being immature, but she felt as though her whole world was speeding up and she was slowing down. She just wanted to scream for everything to stop, to let her have time to catch her breath.

"Clare," her mother shook her head, "I don't know what to say to you. Do you think this whole thing has been extremely easy on me?"

"You're the one doing this to us," Clare reminded her.

Her mother sharply inhaled, and Clare knew she had hit a nerve. But she didn't really care at this point. Her mom had taken her away from her friends, her school – everything she had ever known. She didn't want to do this. She wanted to turn around and run the whole two hours.

The station wagon pulled up the brick building, and Clare groaned. The school was swarming with students, and she didn't know a single one of them. She felt a pang of nerves eat away at her stomach. Clare had to gulp to keep from throwing up. She felt physically and emotionally sick fro mthe stress.

"Just be yourself, sweetie!"

Clare knew her mom was nicely trying to shove her out of the station wagon. She couldn't just sit there forever. Clare mustered up all the courage she could manage, and grabbed her backpack from the backseat.

"Have a good one, Mom," Clare waved before shutting the car door behind her.

She watched as the station wagon pulled away, and she suddenly began to feel even more alone. In the whole school, she didn't know anyone. There wasn't a familiar face to greet her, or ask her how her summer had been. She was completely and totally alone.

Clare hiked her backpack onto her shoulder and pulled out the folded piece of paper from her pocket. Her school schedule for the semester. Her first class was Drama and it was in room 311 – the third floor. This new school felt so big, so strange to her. Clare shook her head, trying to get the nerves to go away, and headed up the front steps to the doors.

Clare knew no one was really staring at her, but she couldn't help but feel like they were – like she was something new that everyone was curious about. She had been at Frost since Frost Elementary School, and she had known her friends for what seemed like forever. Now, she was the new girl and didn't know a soul. She was a stranger in a sea of strangers.

She found her assigned locker, and put her books away. The halls were filled with laughter and conversation, and she couldn't help but wonder what she'd be doing if she were back at Frost High. She would probably be gossiping with Ali as they headed to their first class together. She could imagine how Ali would be raving about the new outfit she h ad purchased and how her new earrings complimented the outfit perfectly.

Clare had always been a tad annoyed with Ali's incessant talk of clothes and accessories and boys; but now she wanted nothing more than to be listening to Ali go on and on. She missed her best friend so much.

After putting her books away, Clare made her way to the third floor. She had gotten to school early, a habit of hers, and she was eager to get to her first class and just sit down in her seat. Clare wanted to be anywhere but the overly-crowded, loud hallway.

She found Room 311, and headed inside. The walls were plastered with posters of Shakespeare, and there was a small stage off to the side of the large classroom. Clare sat down in a desk right towards the back of the classroom, and pulled out her binder and textbook. Class would be starting in about five minutes, and no one was in the classroom but her.

After a few minutes, the classroom began to swarm with students. Everyone was laughing and talking and shoving and Clare just wanted to melt into a puddle. She tried to keep her head down and not directly look at anyone. At Frost, she had finally come out of her shell. Here, she felt as though she had regressed back to her shy, antisocial self.

The classroom was filling up, and pretty soon, mostly all the seats were taken. About a minute before class, a boy walked through the door, scanned the classroom, and chose the empty seat next to her. Clare, who had kept her eyes down the whole time, couldn't help but glance over to see who had entered. He was wearing a black t-shirt, black jeans, and a black hoodie jacket. His dark brown hair fell into his green eyes and his nose was peppered with pale freckles. Clare wondered how long she had stared, and quickly turned her attention back to her textbook.

"Reading the textbook before class starts?" He asked, and Clare glanced up, embarrassed.

"I-I was just…"

"…being a good little student?" He smirked and raised an eyebrow. Clare blushed as she realize he was teasing her, "Oh, don't look at me like that," he rolled his eyes, "If you want to sit there and read your textbook, that's fine by me. You're new here, huh?"

"Yeah," Clare closed the book, "I just moved here."

"Well, welcome to Degrassi. Eli Goldsworthy, at your service."