lilfluff: A fennec fox boy pencil and paper in hand, showing off what he has written. Drawn by Tod Wills (aka Djinni on LJ) (Writing)
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Title: Part 2A: Leslie McCormack Is Stuck On Other-Earth
Fandom/'verse: Original - For lack of a better name the Leslieverse
Notes: A revised version of my April 2017 Camp NaNoWriMo project
Summary: Tossed into another life by an annoyed a R.O.B. (Random Omnipotent Being) Leslie McCormack can no longer pretend it's all a dream. Stuck back in high school, with parents who are annoyed she already got a detention and a sister who doesn't trust her.
Warnings: Involuntary bodily changes and transportation by said R.O.B. An unsympathetic teacher, occasional expletives, sibling strife. Other sections may involve bullying, sibling strife, threats of or actual corporal punishment, at least one case of bigotry, and embarrassment for the main character.
Words: ~5200 words

Continuing from: Part 1C: Leslie McCormack Would Like To Wake Up Now. Please?

Leslie McCormack and the Story Without a Title

Part 2A: Leslie McCormack Is Stuck On Other-Earth

Back in bed I sighed and stared up at the ceiling and the glow in the dark stars that had been stuck on it. Huh. I should check online, I bet back in the real world I could find a glow in the dark unicorn poster. Someone had to make one. At some point while I was thinking about how cool that could be I must have drifted off. I had really boring dreams about being stuck in traffic with cars honking futilely. Eventually all but the honking faded away. Ugh, finally. Reaching of to the right I waved my arm about trying to find my clock to hit the snooze bar.

I froze at the sound of giggling.

"Your clock's on the other side stupid."


It wasn't possible.

I froze with my hand against the wall. I had to be awake now. I didn't just hear that. My alarm was buzzing and that meant morning had come and for once I should have been happy to have sleep ripped away from me.

"Are you awake?"

I cracked my eyes open and whined at the sight of my tan furred arm. This couldn't be real. There wasn't any way it could be real. My alarm was buzzing, I couldn't still be dreaming so why was I still here? Rolling away from the wall that shouldn't be right next to my bed found me looking at the wolf-like younger sister who shouldn't be here. I gave the alarm clock on the misplaced side table the worst glare I could prompting giggles from Jamie as she sat on the edge of her bed.

This wasn't supposed to be real.

When the old style flip-card digital clock display clicked and flipped to show 5:17 I slapped at the snooze button hard as I could. After three tries I finally managed to turn it off and the traitorous clock nearly bounced off the table.

Jamie yelped and ducked back under the cover of her bed's comforter.

Damn it, how could I still be here?

Could I still be dreaming? I'm pretty sure I dreamed about other stuff after after being sent to bed. Could you dream whole entire days of stuff happening and then sleeping and dream you were awake again?

"I didn't touch it," Jamie whispered while peeking out from under the covers. "Are you okay?"

Damn it, she shouldn't be scared of me. I opened and closed my mouth a few times. There wasn't really any way I could honestly say yes. After a moment I gave her a shrug.

"Maybe." I waved off at the door, "Go ahead, can have the first shower."

She looked at me but didn't get up. "Gonna make fun of me again?"

"No." She didn't look like she believed me. "If I do, tell on me."

"You said if I did you'd– "

"If I do it again, tell on me!" She ducked back under and after a moment I realized I'd growled out the words. "I. Please. Just go and clean up first. I don't want to get up yet."

She peeked out again and I just waved at the door. After a moment she slipped her legs out and perched on the edge of the mattress for a second or two before bolting and running out of the room.

I pulled my pillow down and hugged it tight until my alarm went off again. Then kept hugging it until mom came in and turned it off. She looked at me and I just squeezed my pillow and stared at the clock.

"Get up, Leslie. We are not having a repeat of yesterday."

I shook my head.

"Don't want to be awake. Can't be awake. It's not right."

Mom put her hand on my forehead for a few seconds then grabbed my pillow and yanked it out of my grasp before putting it back where it was supposed to be.

"You aren't feverish and you got a full night's rest. So get moving. Clean up, get dressed, and don't even think of missing your bus."

"Fine, fine. Getting up." I waited a moment then pulled the pillow down to hug again.

"Leslie Hadyn McCormack get out of bed now! I am not asking you again."

"Alright! I'm getting up!"

I stood and tossed my pillow back at the head of my bed. After mom had disappeared down the hall I grabbed the pillow and tossed it a few more times. This wasn't right. I should have woken up back home. Back home in my apartment ready to go to work in my own body with my life the way I remembered it. Not here. Not in some weird wolfie version of my childhood. Not as a bastard of an older sister instead of an okay older brother.

After beating my bed a few more times with my defenseless pillow I tossed the covers more or less in place and looked around. Okay, first thing I'm going to do is not be a monster. I'm going to be nice. Jamie's sheets were still pushed out of place from when she ran out so I pulled them back where they ought to be and even tucked them around her pillow. With a good deed out of the way for the morning I went on to a more confusing task. Figuring out what to wear that wouldn't be too strange to me or to strange to others and get me laughed at.

The only clean overalls left were a choice between polka dots and one with short legs so short I can't imagine how mom ever allowed the thing in the house let alone the closet. Must have been a present. Yeah, no. Why couldn't wolfie me have just picked something like white shirts and black pants like I had and stuck with that? It made mornings so much easier. I suppose because wolfie me wasn't getting to do all her own shopping yet. But shoving things around I caught a flash of denim. There on two connected hangers were a vest and what I'd hoped would be shorts but turned out to be a skirt. Both made out of same blue denim stuff as jeans. The skirt looked like it would get down to at least my knees. And denim is popular, right? So I figured it wouldn't get mocked. Especially not out west. It hadn't taken too long to get used to the weird shorts-skirt combination thing in P.E. so that ought to work.

What had Claire been talking about yesterday? I guess I should have been paying attention. Pretty sure part of it was making sure stuff matched. The denim vest and skirt that matched, so I just needed something that looked okay with them. Like maybe a darkish yellow shirt? Yellow-brown? I suspect wolfie-me the girl probably knew what that and every other color in here was called. Dark yellow, good enough. She'd said something about accessories. Really most of what I saw looked like it was for a kid. Okay, fine, but wolfie-me was a freshman, she was in high school now. There ought to be stuff that didn't look so cheap.

The good news was I found a beaded necklace thing I'm pretty sure was for my glasses. I'd figured out yesterday that my glasses weren't broken, they just sort of pinched in place. Which I guess made sense with the muzzle and ears I had now. I suppose contact lenses were probably even more popular in this crazy place. But no thanks. I don't want to touch my eyes. I don't want anything touching my eyes. I'm sure I'd heard of glasses that pinched on like that even if I couldn't remember what they were called. But there was a spot on either side where I could hook the ends of the beaded cord so I could let them just hang when I didn't need them. At least wolfie-me had eyes that were a little better. That and a watch on a bracelet ought to be enough. Everyone needed to know what time it was and without a cell phone it was a watch or hope there was a clock nearby.

Glasses on I checked on the choice of belts and wondered about Wolfie-me's sensibility again. Who needed a dozen belts? White and black, sure, no problem. Green probably went with something. Thin ones and wide ones I supposed made sense. But a plastic rainbow glitter belt? Maybe that was actually Jamie's? I grabbed black since black ought to go with anything. That's what I'd always heard anyway.

The only other accessory type thing I could think of was other-me's purse. I checked again to make sure my school ID was still there as well as the house keys. I didn't want another detention or to get locked out again. Well, at least it looked like I wasn't going to run out of mints any time soon either. I had at least three unopened rolls in there along with a little case that turned out to have another pair of glasses that sure enough had another necklace-cord-thingy attached to them, as well as the tiniest first aid kit I could remember seeing. There wasn't really anything surprising. A little pouch with a comb and tweezers and nail file. A little mirror and both a tube of orange flavor lip balm and little spray bottle of what I assumed was some kind of perfume. Oh, and a little bottle of rainbow glitter. Okay, maybe the jerk of a sister I'd replaced really was weird enough to have a rainbow glitter belt. Whatever, as long as it had enough to keep me from repeating detention again tomorrow for lack of ID or getting locked out then that was good enough.

Jamie came in while I was finishing up and looked suspiciously at her bed. She lifted the covers like like she thought I might have hidden something under them and even checked under her pillow. I tried not to sigh and went to get showered before I got yelled at again.

Not much to say about that. More or less like yesterday. Only more awake and more distrusting of the universe. I soaked in some hot water then switched to cold to make sure I stayed awake and moved. I scrubbed quickly, rinsed quickly, and got out before mom could complain I was taking too much time or maybe accuse me of sleeping in there. Towel, blow drier, brush my teeth with the brush that didn't look like it had just been used. Done. A drill sergeant would probably have been satisfied with the time, mom ought to be.

Back in the bedroom I took a quick look over everything just in case Jamie was angry enough to mess with anything but it didn't look like anything I'd set out to wear had been touched. A skirt still felt like weirdly little to put on but at least it wasn't confusing as I'd worried it might be. There was a little notch and buttoned loop in the back for my tail to fit through so there wasn't really any way I could see to put it on wrong. And yeah, being thankful for a tail just felt weird. Okay, getting used to noticing I had a tail was just pretty weird even without that.

Jamie was still at the kitchen table when I made it out for breakfast. Out early enough to make my own toast and get it buttered while it was still hot. Which was as fancy as things got. Being grounded I only got a bowl of oatmeal instead of the eggs or sausage Jamie had on her plate. No luxuries for those prisoners condemned to a grounding. Oh well, at least I still got some milk to get it down with.

"So, I was thinking maybe I should take a lunch today."

Mom looked over from where she was loading the pans she'd used to cook up breakfast into the sink and gave a nod.

"That sounds like a good idea. You don't want to be late for detention. And don't forget you're to come straight home. If you goof off instead we'll have to consider taking away more privileges. Maybe an earlier bedtime will help you get up in the morning."

Ugh. I'd forgotten just how annoying it was to be the only person in your family who wasn't a morning person.

"I'll remember. I'll come right in and finish my homework. Anyway, I was thinking a sandwich, do we have any– "

Mom came over and lifted my chin with a soapy finger. "Kiddo, I love you, but you're fourteen, you're grounded, and I need to finish getting ready for work. You're the big sister so start acting your age Lee. You're old enough to make your own lunch and you're certainly old enough to open the cupboard and fridge to see what we have."

Fine. I made a peanut butter sandwich and stuck that in a little paper bag with a pudding cup and some pretzels in a little reusable box. If mom didn't want me taking a pudding cup and pretzels while I was grounded, well to bad. If she wanted me to ask or was going to say no then she shouldn't have told me to make it myself. That and a sports bottle of water in my backpack's side pocket and I was ready as I could be for the day.

Somehow I managed to get out the door at the same time Jamie was leaving and followed along in the dim morning light. As she turned to head for bus stop that would take her to the elementary school I reached over and ruffled the top of her head.

"Have a better day at school than I did, okay?"

"Leslie! Stoppit!"

She huffed out a breath and stalked over to her friends. At least I hope they were all friends if she had to stand around waiting for the bus with them. Another day stuck in high school. Getting up before the sun so I could be stuck sitting through the equivalent of a half dozen meetings or more. Without even a minimum wage paycheck to show for it.

Once again there was a cluster of boys and a cluster of girls and how could I fit in with either when I didn't know any of them or anything they cared about. Which admittedly described how I had often felt back in school. I was a geek and an introvert back then. I still was a geek and an introvert, just one who'd been through twice as much as they had even if I doubted anyone would believe me if I was foolish enough to say anything about it. I was about to sit on the low brick wall of the yard next to the stop when someone called my name. One of the girls off to the left was waving to me.


I blinked at her a few times before my brain finally dredged up yesterday's Algebra class.

"Amanda? You live by here?"

"No, I ran over here so I could return your pencil."

I gave that a little brushing off wave, "You didn't have to do that. I said you could keep it... and yeah, I guess that was a silly question."

I didn't recognize the others but it was a pretty big school. It had to have at least twice as many students as the one I'd gone to back in the world that made sense. Amanda took care of that with a rush of introductions, "Nicole, she lives on Oak like you. Heather and Christina and I live on Maple, you'd probably like Rachel's brother Brandon he says cool a bunch like you do too."

I tried to say hi at first but gave up and just gave a little wave to each. I think I saw Nicole yesterday but all I'd wanted to do then was get home. She was taller than me, tallest one here actually, tall and slender and a much darker tan that was maybe a light brown instead with some cream spots as well. And I'm pretty sure she had some kind of glitter brushed onto the edges of her ears and over her eyes. When Amanda paused for a breath she was the first to speak.

"You're part of the family that moved in a few weeks ago? The Comacks?"

"Close, but yeah... Leslie McCormack."

"I think my mom works with yours over at Westridge."

"She works in the lab at Westridge Community too? Cool."

Nicole nodded and the others started adding where their folks worked. It seemed like that was enough for them to decide I fit in because they didn't close ranks when they went back to talking about what they'd seen on TV the night before, what the best movie about to come out was, or the music they planned to go buy after school. The last made things a little awkward.

"You should come with us to Highland Square after school."

The Highland Square I remembered was a strip mall maybe a mile away that had the good pizza place. Rodriguez's Pizzeria, they had best crispy thin crust anywhere. That was one of the things I missed the most after moving out. But the way they were talking it sounded like a big place. Highland Square I knew didn't have a music store, or a dozen clothing stores, or you know a little thing like a theater.

"I can't. I'm kind of grounded today. I have to go right home or else." I could feel myself blushing and hoped the fur hid it. But after a bit I realized my ears were actually drooping. Traitors.

"Oh." Great, now Rachel who'd suggested it looked embarrassed. She hugged me real quick before grabbing my shoulders. "Then you have to come next time. We can show you where all the best places are. You're lucky, you get to enjoy them all for the first time!"

I think she was going to add more but that's when our bus arrived with the hiss of air breaks and the dull thump of the door folding open. I was going to just sit and stare out the window again but found myself sitting with Amanda and the others clustered around in the neighboring seats. Right as the bus started moving Amanda held her hand out.

"Here, peppermint, it makes everything better."

"Except tomato sauce," I answered while accepting a mint. "Don't ask how I know."

"How do you know?"

Christina looked more foxish than the wolfishness of most of the people around here and had salt and pepper gray fur. And she had a grin that said she was not the least bit ashamed to ask when I said not to.

"I accidentally put in a bunch more pepper flakes than I meant. So I tried to think of something that might save it. It didn't. So I had to start the sauce over from scratch." I shrugged and laughed and they laughed too. Friendly laughter, laughing with me instead of at me. That hadn't happened much back in school.

Home room wasn't anything special today, just home room. A few announcements about upcoming events I wouldn't have gone to before and didn't see any reason to go to now. I'd never been big on sports and the one semester of theater class I'd been talked into taking had been kind of fun but not enough I'd ever felt like trying out for or watching any of the plays that were put on. Once that was done I looked through my algebra homework again and remembered the English assignment I should have done last night and quickly wrote something. I managed to come up with enough generic fluff about moving to easily hit five hundred words. I ought to have plenty of time to clean it up during detention.

Once again Mister Jones's Algebra class was more of way too much easy stuff that I thankfully still remembered how to do. Really. Twenty of the day's new kind of problem that we all covered as a group and ten of yesterday's. Then thirty we were to do and turn in during the class. With thirty-five more as homework. Almost a hundred math problems. A hundred! Flipping ahead in the book I could see it never toned down, at the end of the year it would still be twenty to thirty to do as a group and thirty to forty each to do in class and take home. I'm not sure folks who wrote the book understood people had more than just a math class each day.

Keyboarding with Miss Gerkin was much nicer. We warmed up with the typing tutor software before running through a tutorial of basic commands. Then it was a lecture about the basics of programming. Stuff like what variables were and how to loop over things. Apparently we wouldn't be expected to write any programs now but we would start to need to know this stuff when we started learning Starbase which it seemed was a cheap and popular database program. Miss Gerkin said the school used it for a lot of their records. The slide she showed for that made me think of the older systems we'd feed stuff into at work that didn't have fancy screens just simple text forms. But before we'd get to use it we'd be expected to be able to describe things like variables and functions in plain English.

Then we ended with some more typing tutorial. Miss Gerkin let us know that if we managed to reach a minimum of forty words per minute with no errors we'd pass the keyboarding part of the class with full points and would be allowed to do extra credit tutorials instead of the typing tutor. And we could try the test as many times as we wanted until we passed it. I tried it on a whim and got thirty-five words per minute. Which was lower than I expected, worse I'd actually missed two typos. The tests didn't count unless there were no uncaught errors so I didn't even get to have that thirty-five recorded. It turned out that even corrected typos still hurt you because they'd get subtracted from your words per minute score. I thought I was a better at it than that. After all I'd been doing data entry for almost a decade. Then, when the bell rang, she was nice and gave everyone a round about reminder to sign out of the computers before leaving.

In Music class we all had to get our recorders out and Mister Terzi ran us through a scale. Which was a fancy way of saying we learned to play some notes in sorta alphabetical order only we started with C instead of A. Or at least we tried to do that. Our first several attempts had me cringing and let me discover that yes indeed I could smush those canine ears of mine down if I wanted to. Not that it muffled the sound anywhere near enough. It was a little better when we switched over to singing and reading proper written music. A little better. At least most of our voices weren't near as off as a room full of beginner recorder players could get. I just wish I could have stayed there until lunch.

But the bell rang and I found myself being pulled along by Yancy and Claire, well mostly Claire, heading for the the gym whether I wanted to go there or not. Somehow even after yesterday's warning we still had a good dozen students who didn't make it out onto the floor on time. They all had to go over and stand by the wall while the rest of us started running laps. I did my best to keep an eye on where mister grabby hands the tail groper was so I could stay out of his reach. When we got around by the late students I figured out what was up with them. They were all standing on their toes facing the wall while coach Walker read them the riot act about being late after yesterday's warning. I'm glad I wasn't one of them, their legs must have been burning by the time they were turned loose to join us. They even had to do an extra lap after the rest of us finished. But by then I was more interested in the badminton supplies that coach Wright started passing out while Walker kept up his watch on the late runners.

Badminton was one of the more pleasant activities I could think of. I had little doubt sometime in the year there would be flag football or dodgeball in the gym on a rainy day or some other so-called game designed to let the bigger students pummel smaller students. PE still wasn't my favorite class but badminton didn't require dividing the class up into two teams or bashing each other with balls. We spent most of the class paired up for doubles games, but towards the end the coaches allowed a few singles games. Lucy challenged me to one and seemed to think I'd care enough about the game to be worried. She must be a regular player because I didn't manage to score even a single point. I didn't even come close to scoring. If it made her happy, whatever, I didn't really care about winning I was just glad for a halfway reasonable hour of P.E. I guess she must have been satisfied because she didn't bother to come over to heckle me again like yesterday.

Which I was really, really thankful for since Claire started grumbling when we were changing out of our P.E. uniforms and I think at least some of it was aimed at me. So I'm not sure if she would have stepped in and defended me again like yesterday. I think she might have wanted to say something to me outside but she was headed for the cafeteria which was the wrong direction for me today.

I was headed for room 42 in the main building quick as the masses of hungry teenagers would allow. I finally found the door with the helpful sign taped onto it reading, Lunchtime Detentions. I still had almost five minutes so I guess it wasn't as bad getting there as it seemed. It looked like a regular classroom. I suppose it probably was outside lunchtime. There was a nameplate on the teacher's desk that said Louisa Diaz. That sounded to me like it ought to be an old person's name but the lady behind the desk barely looked old enough to be out of high school. But she must have practiced her stern visage because I felt like she was trying to pin me to the wall with her eyes.



She looked over a list on her desk and made a check mark before trying to pin me to the wall again.

"Next time provide your full name."

"Yes ma'am." Like I planned for there to ever be a next time. I started to head for a desk only to get called back.

"Did I say I was done with you?"

"Uh, no ma'am?"

"Let me see your student card."

I got my wallet out of my purse and passed the card to her and waited while Louisa looked at it and even compared the photo on it to me. Finally she handed it back along with a photocopied set of rules.

"You may sit at desk twelve. No talking and no gum. You will eat and then study. If you don’t have anything to study you may copy pages from the dictionary. Do you understand?"

"Yeah." Her eyes narrowed and I quickly replaced that with another, "Yes ma'am."

"Desk twelve, sit."

The list of rules were pretty much what I expected. No talking with our neighbors. No making noise without a good reason, period. No sleeping through your punishment. Nothing that even hinted that you were having fun. Whatever, I didn't plan on doing anything stupid. I just wanted to get through the day without getting in any more trouble. So I ate and finished writing a few of paragraphs about moving. Being stuck sitting in a car all day long for days while we drove out here with everything in boxes that filled two cars and a trailer. It might have been years ago for me but driving across the country sticks with you. Especially when your parents hadn't bothered to buy a car with air conditioning since it wasn't needed near as much as a heater up north. It was two years before we got a new car and I could still remember sweating in summer even if we'd bring a cooler full of ice and soda for anything longer than a drive to the grocery store.

I managed to finish that in time to pull out the absurd algebra homework and get a good chunk of it done before Miss Diaz started calling names.

"McCormack, Leslie. You may go."

I checked my watch and smiled. I guess she wasn't that strict. I got to leave with a good ten minutes to the bell. Which was nice since I needed to get up to the third floor. Where I got to wait outside the door since Mister Owens wasn't in his room. There were already a few others lined up and Mister Owens didn't show up until maybe a minute before the bell ending lunch rang.

"You can place your essays in the basket."

Class was pretty much what I expected. We repeated the words that had been missed the most on the spelling test and then reviewed sentence diagramming. Or everyone else reviewed it, I furiously made notes because we'd never done it when I'd been in school. When I'd been in school the first time. Then Mister Owens spent some time talking about what a bibliography was and how to list anything we read for future essays. Even if it had been years since my last research paper for college I still remembered the basics. But we all received a few index cards to practice by taking down the details for each of our textbooks and then create a sample bibliography using them. I couldn't quite remember if we'd covered this in Freshman English my first time around. I kind of remembered it and I know we wrote plenty of short essays but I don't think we did anything big enough to be even a baby research paper until Senior English. And I don't think we bothered much with formatting until then either. But I didn't figure all the these essays and papers that were being talked about should be a problem. It wasn't like I didn't like reading and I had plenty of experience typing.

I also had the joy of discovering I was sharing a class with one of Lucy's minions when she bumped me into the door frame on the way out.
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