A.N. I hereby begin my Dollhouse High School AU! I hope you guys like it. It will feature basically the entire ensemble, but only about half are in this chapter. I hope you enjoy it and remember to review!
Part 1: Autumn
Chapter 1: Welcome to Rossum
Sierra Tsetsang walked down the halls of Rossum High, trying to mentally calm the enthusiastic butterflies in her stomach. She was good with strangers and considered herself a "people person," but the prospect of building up a whole new social life at a new school in a new country was still pretty daunting. Not that popularity was all that important – obviously her art came first and her grades a close enough second to please her parents. She just didn't want to be stuck sitting alone in the cafeteria, or worse, stuck with guys that were just trying to get in her pants. Both had happened before.
She paused at the office door to take a deep breath and straighten her favorite blue dress. Here goes nothing.
It was early enough that there was only one other person in the office lobby, a brunette girl wearing a Stop Animal Testing t-shirt. She had propped up her messenger bag to use as a pillow and was fast asleep – until a stern looking man in a suit came out of his office and flicked her on the side of the head.
The girl jerked awake, looking confused. "Did I fall – oh, right. Guiding the new student." She noticed Sierra. "I'm guessing that's you?"
Before Sierra could respond, the man in the suit cleared his throat and began to speak. "Well, now that everyone's awake we can get this over with. Priya Tsetsang-"
"Actually, I go by Sierra," Sierra interrupted, then blushed at the glare she received.
The man continued. "I'm Mr. Dominic, the Vice Principal. As you clearly know because you're here, it is our policy here at Rossum High to assign every new student who starts mid-quarter with a student guide. This is your guide, Caroline Farrell-"
"Echo," interjected Caroline, who was apparently actually Echo.
Mr. Dominic sighed. "You two already have something in common: unnecessary nicknames. But I should inform you that Miss Farrell was assigned as your guide to make up missed detention time, so if she tries to teach you anything besides how to get to your classes, it would be in your best interests to do the opposite. Welcome to Rossum High School."
With that, the vice principal walked briskly back into his office and closed the door a bit harder than was necessary.
"He seems friendly," Sierra said.
Echo laughed and held open the office door for Sierra. "Yeah, like a pissed-off bear. Don't worry about Dominic, though. Most people don't have to deal with him much. Unless they get on his bad side. What's your first class?"
"Um… U.S. History. I'm guessing you did?"
"I did what?"
"Get on his bad side."
"Yeah," Echo confirmed, smiling. "His worst. You said you have U.S. History first period?"
Sierra checked her schedule again. "Yeah, I do. It's my homeroom, I guess."
"Cool, me too," Echo said. "The teacher, Mr. Langton, is pretty cool. Not in like a try-hard 'cool teacher' way, just in a person way. The room's down this way."
"That's convenient," said Sierra, following Echo down a hallway that was beginning to fill with students. So far she seemed like a good person to start the day with.
"So Dominic said your real name was… Priya? Is that right?" Echo asked.
"Yeah. Sierra's my middle name. I started going by it when everybody started calling me 'Prius,'" Sierra explained.
"That sounds like a middle school nickname."
"It was a middle school nickname," Sierra said. "Is Echo your… middle name?"
"Hey, don't judge," said Echo. "My parents are basically neo-hippies. I actually- I just started here spring of last year. Some stuff went down at my old school and I kind of wanted a fresh start."
Sierra smiled. "Don't worry, I totally get it."
Echo stopped in front of a classroom door. "Ok, here it is. I just realized – you're Australian, right?"
"So U.S. History is going to be more new for you than for the rest of us, huh? That sucks," Echo said, opening the door and stepping into the classroom.
Sierra followed. "It's not like I don't know any of…" She trailed off as she noticed about twenty five pairs of eyes focused on her. Right. New kid. And of course the only seat left was in the front row, on the far end of the classroom. Echo smiled at her apologetically.
The bell rang just as Sierra sat down next to an Asian girl with pigtails who was organizing her notes. "Hi, I'm Sierra."
The girl looked up. "Oh, hey. I'm Ivy. Are you new?"
"Yeah, I just moved here from-"
She was interrupted by a large black man in a suit entering the room. That must be Mr. Langton. He looked like he might be sort of cool, she guessed.
"Sorry I'm late," Mr. Langton said. "Certain teachers at this school like to double park their cars in other people's spots. Talk amongst yourselves while I set up the projector."
The class immediately fell into awkward silence.
"Okay, we have a new student today all the way from Australia," Mr. Langton said, looking at the class list on his computer. "Priya Tsetsang? Am I saying that right?"
"Yeah, um, but I go by Sierra," Sierra explained. Doing that every class was probably the most awkward part of every first day at a new school for her.
"Alright," said Mr. Langton, editing his class list. "Okay, let's see who's awake today. Mike Adams?"
Everybody turned to look at a blond guy in the back row. He was clearly asleep.
"Mondays are not a good day for him," Mr. Langton said, getting scattered laughter from the class. "Topher Brink?"
"Reporting for duty," said the boy on the other side of Ivy. Sierra took a second to look him over. He was skinny with longish, light brown hair, and he was wearing the ugliest sweater vest she had ever seen.
"Here," said a male voice from the second row. Sierra glanced at him and- ended up more staring than glancing. Tony was gorgeous; with short brown hair and what she couldn't help noticing was a pretty fit body. He was a lot more clean cut than she usually went for- not that she was going for this guy she hadn't even met yet, and oh my god now he was looking at her, and he was smiling and his smile was amazing and she was smiling back at him-
"Here," said Ivy. The voice next to her jerked Sierra back to reality. She quickly faced forward, blushing.
"Here," said the brunette girl at the opposite end of the front row. Her shoes looked expensive. The way she held herself combined with her looks made Sierra pretty sure she was popular.
Someone was poking her between the shoulder blades. Mr. Langton was still looking at his computer, so Sierra turned around and whispered, "What?"
The ginger boy sitting behind her held out a folded up piece of paper. Sierra took it and unfolded it with the sneakiness of a girl who had been popular in sixth grade. It said You should sit with us at lunch, btw. Echo.
Sierra turned in her seat to give Echo what she hoped was a You Couldn't Have Waited Until After Class? look. Echo shrugged and raised her eyebrows inquisitively. Sierra nodded. Who could pass up a chance to avoid being an awkward loner in the cafeteria?
"What are these, exactly?" Sierra said. "I know they were labeled chicken nuggets, but they seem a lot more like-"
"Fossilized dinosaur turds?" said Topher, sitting down across from Echo and Sierra in the lunchroom. "That's why I always go with pizza."
"And he does mean always," said Ivy, placing her tray next to Topher's. "When your metabolism slows down, you're going to get diabetes so fast, and I'm going to laugh, and you're going to regret not listening to me about nutrition."
Echo opened her lunch bag and pulled out an apple. "I keep telling you guys that going vegan is the best option-"
She was cut off by boos from Topher and Ivy.
"Fine, whatever. I guess I can't make you guys watch all the documentaries I lend you."
"More like the documentaries you slip into our backpacks when we're not looking," Ivy retorted.
"No offense, Echo," said Topher. "But veganism looks good on hot granola girls like you. Not so much programmers who like to code in enclosed places, safe from the harsh elements."
"Hey, what's the deal with Tony from our homeroom?" Sierra asked.
"Wow, you like him, don't you?" Echo said. "You haven't been listening to a word we've said."
"What? No, I'm just wondering. I can wonder about things, can't I?" said Sierra, realizing too late how defensive that sounded.
Echo smiled knowingly. "He's the second string quarterback on the football team. He's pretty cool for a jock though. I approve."
"Your babies would be adorable," Ivy said.
Sierra looked down at her prehistoric chicken nuggets. "Don't you guys have love lives of your own to worry about?"
"No," the rest of the table said in unison.
Echo laughed. "Aren't you glad you latched on to our group?"
"Although she could probably hang out with Claire and her group of her ridiculously perfect bitches," Ivy said bitterly.
"Wow, are they that bad?" Sierra asked, looking over at the table where the girl with expensive shoes was sitting with other good-looking, brand-name-wearing upperclassmen.
"Not really," Topher said. "Well, Claire isn't. She's on the Math Team with us, and that's basically the only thing she's not the best at. I'm the best, and she's the second best, and Ivy's bitter about it because she's third."
"Shut up," said Ivy, rolling her eyes. "We're tied for second. I'm definitely not third."
"Anyways," said Topher. "Claire's probably the most intense overachiever at this school. She's our class president, she's super hot, she's definitely in the running for valedictorian next year-"
"She's on the cross country team with me and she's probably going to state," contributed Echo.
"You run cross country and you're a vegan?" asked Sierra incredulously. "Do you like anything that doesn't sound awful?"
Topher laughed. "Yes, thank you! High five for the new girl! You have unlocked the mystery that is Caroline Farrell."
Sierra high fived him as Echo protested. She decided that as high schools went, Rossum might not actually be so bad.