Disclaimer: I own nadda!

Note: I've noticed that songs inspire a lot of my one shots, so I thought I'd start telling people what songs they are and who wrote them. This one was inspired by the song Take it Out on Me by Thousand Foot Krutch.

Take It Out On Me

Lucy POV

You could see it in her eyes. Every day Carmen was talking less and reading more, and when she didn't have a book in front of her, she was sketching out a plan on how to make Francine whole again, if a bit disfigured. Suffice it to say, I was worried. Carmen was one was my best friends. She had been since the day in primary school that we saved Hollow Fields, though it's technically called Cube Academy now.

But where I was once able to see light, darkness had slowly claimed her heart. Carmen wasn't smiling. She wasn't laughing or joking. Just working.

One day, I was walking through the halls and saw her yelling at an underclassman. "Carmen," I scolded. "What is wrong with you?"

"Everything," she growled, almost animalistic. "I can't do anything right. I'm not smart enough or talented enough to get anything done right."

"What are you talking about? You're one of the smartest people I know." I smiled, hoping that it would lift her spirits. Unfortunately, it seemed to have the opposite effect.

"That's not saying much. I'm only the fifth in class ranking. You're even higher on the list than I am!" she exclaimed. I was surprised. She couldn't really be considering her intelligence to be measured by something as small as class ranking.

I considered talking more, but somehow I knew that it would do no good. I pulled her out of the hallway and into an empty classroom. "Okay," I said. "You're frustrated. But you don't have to be. I've told you before that I would be happy to help. Claude and Summer have said the exact same thing. So tell me why you haven't. Tell me why you insist on going it alone."

Carmen's eyes hardened. "Because you guys do everything! You're the geniuses that saved Hollow Fields and have somehow managed to remain the ones to beat at every science fair. You're the unattainable level, but I'm not. I've swung from place to place in the rankings, and I'm the one everyone goes to when they need help because they're too scared to ask you."

"Aren't you doing the exact same thing?" I retorted. I sensed something was off. Nothing she was saying felt like her real problem. I wish she would stop making excuses and tell me all ready!

"NO! I'm saving Francine on my own!" She ran own of the room, holding her notes close.

"Claude!" I called, seeing the raven haired boy in the hallway. "Have you seen Carmen?"

"No. Why?" he replied, stoic as ever.

"Something's wrong. She's making up excuses and has a bad attitude. I'm worried," I admitted. Nothing was adding up anymore, and I was on the verge of tears.

"You worry about everyone. Let's go," he said, grabbing my hand and pulling me forward.

We caught up to Carmen on the roof. She was standing on the edge, looking out. I couldn't speak. My heart froze and everything slowed down. Claude wrapped his arms around her middle and she struggled feebly as he brought her back to safe ground.

I walked over to her and slapped her across the face, tears welling. "What were you doing?" I shrieked.

She answered me with a punch to the gut. I doubled over and she kicked me. I was about to fight back when I saw the tears flooding her cheeks. Claude saw them too, so he refrained from pulling her off me. She kicked me again, harder this time, and I let her. She was in pain, I could see that crystal clear now, and I would happily take some physical pain if it would help her feel better.

Carmen battered me more times before falling to the ground, bawling. I encircled my arms around her and let her soak my shirt. I don't know how long we were like that. All I know is that it was long enough for Claude to go to the nurse's office and return with bandages. While he patched me up, Carmen explained that Francine was forgetting her life as a girl. It had only been seven years, and she was forgetting what blue looked like or how soap smelled. It was tearing Carmen up inside, and she wanted to turn Francine back faster, but she couldn't figure out how. She didn't want to ask anyone for help because she didn't want to be made to look foolish.

I put my hand on one shoulder as Claude took hold of her other, for once on the same wavelength. "We're your friends," I reminded her.

"No matter what, no one would ever look down on you for asking for help with this," Claude added.

Carmen smiled for the first time in months, and my spirits lifted.

It took us another ten years of combined effort to get Miss Rickets out of Francine's body, and another three days to get Francine in. We had to put her body on ice, but once we managed it, everyone breathed a sigh of relief. We dismantled the machine and burned our notes. No one should have the information on how to do this successfully. All it created was trouble.

Miss Rickets was sent overseas with a group of soldiers to act as a doctor. Last that we heard from the soldier that served as her surrogate hands, she was doing excellently, and her memory hadn't started to fade. Claude figured that it would take another few decades before she started to show signs of backtracking, considering she'd managed to keep herself alive decades beyond what she was suppose to.

Carmen pretty much adopted Francine. We'd tried to keep her schooled over the years, but she wasn't able to retain much, so when she was thrust into the body of her twenty-six year old self, her mental state was more of that of a twelve year old. She's getting better, and can now complete advanced calculus problems like it's simple addition and subtraction.

As for Claude, he has a beautiful wife and a very intelligent set of red headed twins. They live in a big house and work hard to help people live better lives. And me, well, I'm happily saving the world with my dark haired, gap-toothed husband.

Not my best work, I'll admit it. Hey, I wrote it spur of the moment on my phone! I'm lucky if I didn't accidentally have two paragraphs in the wrong place! Though I proof read it and didn't see anything major, tell me if I missed something please.

Reviews will make me feel better…