"I don't care about you
I didn't really want to be your friend
I think you're a fool
I think you're a tool"
I spriff my jacket again, strolling through the crowded hallways towards my next dull, uninteresting, and altogether too easy class. I've gone over this before with my mother, how my IQ simply cannot be elevated any farther by the bumbling teachers at Bart's Academy. Yet she insists that I have a 'normal' education, despite the fact that I am anything but a normal child. I've fooled terrorists, swindled geniuses, even blackmailed faeries. If anything, I should be headmaster of this ridiculously overpriced charter daycare.
But no; I have to deal with them.
I slip into my classroom along with throngs of chattering teenagers, unable to stifle an eyeroll. My name is printed neatly in capital letters on my desk, as if the school was attempting to compensate for my subordination as a student. Sighing in exasperation, I sit, wishing more than anything to be able to miss this class. The rest of the semester would be nice, too. But even I can't have it all. The prodigal criminal, the almighty Artemis Fowl, sentenced to suffocation in a school. It doesn't matter if it's public or not. School is school.
And despite my valedictorian status, I hate school.
Apparently, I'm not the only one.
The person sitting directly next to me drops her backpack haphazardly on the desk in front of her, apparently relieved to have a seat in the back far from Mr. Hartfoot's watching eye. I roll my eyes for what must be the fifth time today-of all the students in the school to be sitting next to me, it had to be a delinquent. The delinquent. I can tell merely by her aura. I didn't need to know anything about her reputation, I didn't even need to see her. I just had to feel her devil-may-care attitude, the rebellious nature steaming off of her. Unbeknownst to me, my new classmate would have a much greater impact than I would at first estimate.
A loud, sudden noise startles me. Looking over at my deskmate, I find that that sudden noise was a snore. She's facedown on the desk, her strawberry blonde hair sprawled about her head as she cuddles her backpack and sleeps on. The whole class turns and giggles. Even though it's not my own fault, I feel the heat of embarrassment rise up in me. I tried to do something about it, elbowing her and putting on my best look of scorn.
"The least you could do is act awake," I growl. She doesn't even look up.
"Like anyone pays attention in this class," she responds, loud enough for Hartfoot to hear at the front of the room. What with her outlandish American-British accent, I'm not surprised that it catches his attention. "You included. Everyone's either too dumb to understand, too smart to learn anything, or too sleepy to care. Guess what category I'm in?"
"I'd say the first," I insult coldly, sitting back again. That seems to get her attention-she snaps awake with the reflexes of a wildcat, glaring at me with a round face full of freckles and the brightest hazel eyes I've ever seen.
"If anyone's in category one, it's the blockhead who didn't catch my 'sleepy' hint," she growls, sitting up to try and stare me into submission. As if that would work-I've literally been through more than she could imagine. I hold her gaze steadily, donning my most immaculate poker face. Then she does something that almost surprises me. She smiles.
"Look's like someone's got a bridle on his temper," she drawls, sitting back and putting her hands behind her head. "That's something ya don't see at Bart's every day. What's your name, Mr. Vanilla Ice?"
"Artemis," I answer warily. I have no idea who Vanilla Ice is, nor do I care. But the main reason I'm put off is that most people I know don't switch gears like that. Of course, most people would include Butler, Juliet, Mother, Father, and maybe Holly. Maybe. I won't see her again anytime soon, I know...but I have a gut feeling that me and the People aren't through yet.
"You do realize that's the name of a godess, right?" she asks quizzically, cocking an eyebrow. Just as rare as a cool-headed student is a student that cares enough to know her greek mythology. Intriguing. Perhaps she is smart enough to deserve tuition at Bart's. Of course, she's also a girl, so I can't say much.
"You do realize that your namesake is the Roman incarnation of that goddess?" I reply coolly, glancing at the nametag on her desk. Diane. How ironic. "And yet we couldn't be more different, judging only by the first moments we've met."
"Sure, we could!" she insists, grinning. "You could be a 40-year old with a desk job that's struggling with midlife crisis. And I could be a fruit fly with superpowers. Or a lump of cheese. Careful with your extremes there, Arty-girl like me is sure to take advantage of 'em."
"Artemis," I growl. She bothers me in a way I don't care to describe, yet at the same time I can't seem to break off the conversation.
Mr. Hartfoot clears his throat way up at the front of the classroom. Diane winks at me, then faceplants on the desk to resume her nap. I roll my eyes either at Hartfoot or Diane-I honestly don't care which at this point.
Class carries on, something about Greek philosophy and its influence on modern culture and democracy. Stuff that I know the textbook answer to, word for word. But even as I drone through the class, my gaze can't help but stray to Diane. I could cruise through the whole school deaf, dumb, and blind, and still maintain a 4.0. But I find myself worried...no, concerned for her. She looks like the kind of student to flooze around in class, hovering around the 1.5 line and really not caring. My parents would have a heart attack if I had that kind of attitude, and I don't blame them. If I were in the same situation and found my grade so poor, I would do the same. With my new classmate, I suspect that she would only react such if she suddenly found herself with straight A's.
I chuckle to myself, finding the scenario amusing...that's a first. I only jest in front of Butler, and even that's a thing as rare as fairy sightings on the surface. In class, that was easily the first time I'd ever laughed. And although I wasn't aware of it at the time, it would be the first of many, courtesy of Diane.
"Just Your Problem Baby" is copyright SimGretina and DongleKumquat