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Something About Her

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Whereas most high schools were solely dominated by jocks and cheerleaders, it was the Orchestra ensemble of Westerburg High School, that topped the ladder of popularity. Outshining the mediocre football team, and filling the schools trophy cabinets with awards that proudly proclaimed the excellence of the Orchestra.

Not a single sliver of bronze or silver visible in the sea of gold. A glittering, well polished collection spanning six years of success and unrivaled triumph.

An achievement that was unquestionable in its origins.

Through sheer willpower and talent alone, the Heathers had pulled the orchestra from the wreckage it had been reduced to. Gathering the fallen and forgotten players that had once graced the stage together, their instruments long since set aside. Pushed to the back of bedroom closets, and stuffed into the bottom of lockers.

The school content to forget about the weak ensemble, with their constant position of last place. Years upon years of failure and disappointment, all under the absent leadership of Mr. Daniels.

A spanish teacher that had agreed to briefly occupy the position, until a proper teacher could be hired to coach the students. It wasn't until seven years later, that Mr. Daniels had at last been asked to step down from his ‘temporary’ position.

The Orchestra disbanded, and the students scattered.

Some lowering themselves to join the schools equally failing band… though most simply gave up. Melting into the school population, and forgetting the passion of their harmonization.

The beat of percussion, and the flair of brass.

It wasn't until the Heathers freshman year, that the scattered pieces came together again. The trio’s popularity appearing overnight, their talents openly broadcasted. Calling out to the outcasted orchestra members, beckoning them to arms. To take up their instruments and again grace the stage with their melody. To remember the joy and dedication they had once felt.

And who could blame the ensemble for folding to the demands of the Heathers. The unholy trinity of the Orchestra Pit. Heather Mcnamara, Heather Duke, and Heather Chandler. Girls who were unwavering to the stress of high school. Unbothered and unimpressed. Solid teflon, and as chrome as they came. Always dressed to the nines in their independent colors of choice.

Yellow, Green, and Red.

It was easy to pick out the Heathers from a crowd, at any point in time. Though the way that the student body parted for them like the red sea, might have had something to do with that as well.

They were beautiful, and unfairly talented. Heather Mcnamara gaining the position of head cheerleader in her freshman year… while at the same time, Heather Duke was overthrowing the yearbook committee.

Claiming her place as committee leader, and helping to further the Heathers agenda.

Bringing glory to the disgraced Orchestra.

And Heather Chandler… her power over the student body needed no explanation. It just was, and always had been since the moment she had graced the halls with her perfection. Turning heads wherever she went.

Powerful, intelligent, and just cruel enough to be feared.

And together, the Heathers were an unstoppable force that had yet to encounter an immovable object capable of halting their stride. Years upon years of getting what they wanted, when they wanted it. All the way back to the single-digit age of their friendship, when the Heathers had first met.

Not through school, or a friend-of-a-friend, or even their parents connections. But through a shared interest they had all been forced into, as soon as they were old enough to start at their separate elementary schools.

After all, it wasn't uncommon for parents to sign their children up for afterschool activities. Dancing, gymnastics, sports, singing… and the more rarely traveled route, the learning of an instrument.

And of all things, it had been the sharp voice of the Violin that had brought them together.

The Heathers still tiny and shiny when they had first met all those years ago in Miss Marple's Violin Class for Beginners. Before the harshness of their personalities had set in.

A time before Heathers self-doubt, Heathers Bulimia, and Heathers facade. A time where they spent hours each day pouring over beginners books, and trying to master the positioning of their fingers. Savoring the draw of the bow, and every sharp note they could compelle their violins to make. The trio flourishing under Miss Marples care and tutelage.

From kindergarten, all the way up to grade six.

Each school day ending with a trip to the tiny studio Miss Marple rented for her classes. Monday to friday, with the occasional sunday lesson. A full class of fourteen students that whittled down over the years, until only the Heathers remained. The sound of their dedication echoing in the tiny music room, familiar and beautiful.

Honed from years of practice, and sculpted through Miss Marples kind; though demanding, ways.

And it was at eighty-four; during the Heathers seventh year under her care, that Miss Marple passed silently during the night. There one day, and gone the next. Leaving them with a gaping hole in their lives, and a collection of memories that would never be forgotten.

And of course, a love for the Violin. For the instrument that Miss Marple had adored so much.

Understandably, the Heathers had mourned her passing in their own ways. Heather Mcnamara content to cry and cling to her fellow Heathers, while Heather Duke preferred a more destructive approach to her suffering. Shedding her tears into cold porcelain as she emptied what little stomach content she had.

It wasn't healthy… but it was at least something she could control.

And Heather Chandler… she had mourned in silence, and behind the safety of her locked bedroom door. Bottling her emotions away, and instead comforting her distraught stringmates. Stepping into the role of first violin.

The role of Leader and Concertmaster.

The almighty mythic bitch of Westerburg High School. Wanted by men, and envied by women. Seen through rose tinted lenses, and placed high upon a pedestal.

It was no surprise that Heather Chandler was a woman that got what she wanted.

And what she wanted, was the rebirth of the Orchestra. The school quick to appease the rising mermer that overtook the school population, the student body no more than approval seeking pawns that rose to the commands of their Queen. The revolt brutal and quick, leaving the principal scratching his head in confusion as he welcomed Miss Fleming to the school. An eccentric music instructor that quickly gained a sliver of respect from the Heathers, her teaching methods odd and archaic.

Doling out punishments that were more suited for students of a military school. Sending members of the ensemble to run laps around the school if they dared to mess up during practice, no matter how small the blunder might have been.

A flat note? Better start running. Missed your cue? Start running. Late for class? Running, now.

It was a punishment that was hard, and tiring… but it was also reliable, and often a lesson that only needed to be learned a handful of times for it to sink in. The Orchestra students flourishing in the rich environment Miss Fleming awakened them to, her class always scheduled in the period after lunch break. Giving her a full two hours of class time to force her need for perfection down her students throats.

A task that had earned her plenty of resentment at the start.

But when the National Chamber Orchestra Championship came along months later, for the first time in the history of Westerburg High School, it wasn't last place that the ensemble ended up placing.

They had.. Won…

Not just second, or third… they had won. And even now, in their senior year, it was a memory that could still bring a smile to Heather Chandlers lips. A smile that was so very unlike the snarky little twitch she usually called a smile. A smile that was full of teeth, and openly shone pride.

A smile that never failed to portray its reason, drawing a giggle from Heather Mcnamara, and a playful eye roll from Heather Duke. It was the same smile that had been reserved for the wistful memories of Miss Marple.

Memories that the Heathers were content to keep amongst themselves, as they often did with everything. Preferring to keep to the safety of their trinity. A friendship that had grown into a relationship, of sorts. Kisses stolen behind closed doors and away from prying eyes, kept secret from the world outside of themselves.

All for one, and one for all.

Heather, Heather, and Heather….

That being said, what rare schoolyard bonds they did end up making, were strictly limited to members of the Ensemble. And even then, the bonds they made could hardly be considered close.

More… acquaintances, than friends.

The type of bonds that gave a select few Orchestra members the envied ability to greet the Heathers in the hallway, and actually get a reply in return. The rarity of such an ability, often coming with its own brand of popularity that granted both resentment, and admiration from the student body.

The Heathers quick to declared the Ensemble off-limits at the start of their Freshman year, saving them from the physical torment of bullies, and mostly overlooked when it came to the petty squabbles of hormonal teenagers looking to destroy a person's self esteem for their own enjoyment.

The Ensemble was not to be touched, and the Heathers had made sure of that fact.

Making good on the threats they had issues, if anyone dared to touch what was theirs. Turning once school known bullies into social pariah that none dared to speak of, or to. The school wide exclusion often only ending with an eventual district transfer.

The Heathers not only protecting what was theirs, but helping to thin out the herd of bullies that called Westerburg High home.

Their solely self-beneficial action earning yet another praise to be sung of them.

And it was in those select few ‘friends’, that the most peculiar of students had managed to wiggle. Martha Dunnstock, one of the Orchestras brass players. A plump, quiet, and overly awkward soul that could play the French Horn like no tomorrow.

Her sound true and broad, echoing with the years of diligent training she had endured. Martha quick to earn the Heathers sort-of-friendship. Going from a bottom of the barrel loser, to a slightly popular Ensemble member.

A quiet and painfully shy girl that could often be seen talking with Heather Mcnamara, their voices blurring together as they gushed about movies, and new music sheets. Heather Chandler content to remain quiet during those conversation, while Heather Duke’s sarcastic eye roll spoke volumes on its own.

Though since Heather Duke rolled her eyes at 90% of all topics, Martha had quickly learned not to take her apparent annoyance personal. Her snarky attitude, was just part of who Heather Duke was.

Not a Mythic Bitch like Heather Chandler…. But a bitch nonetheless.

But to put it simply, from the very start of their freshman year, to the beginning for their Senior year, Martha Dunnstock had been a core member of the Orchestra, and a constant presence in the lives of the Heathers. Not a Pawn on Heather Chandlers chessboard like most of the schools population, but a Knight.

Loyal and capable...but still exhaustingly shy.

So it was an understandable surprise to come to school one day, and see Martha laughing so hard, she coughed and sputtered. Her head thrown back and eyes clenched, a joyous and pained expression plastered across her face. Her usually shy exterior replaced with the soft, warmth of friendship.

That was the day, Veronica Sawyer caught the Heathers attention. Her time before that day full of unremarkable moments of typical highschool life, with the occasional bullying and the daily struggles of being a teenager.

Her life calm and free of surprise. A time before she had become someone to the Heathers.

Because, despite being an apparently unimportant cog in society, Martha spoke highly when it came to ‘Ronnie’. Adding yet another topic to her conversations with Heather Mcnamara, stories of Veronica squeezed between the latest movie gossip, and the Ensambles newest music pieces.

Telling the tale of their childhood together.

A friendship that went all the way back to their toddler years. And much to the Heathers surprise, it did not take long for Veronica's presence to be noticed in their everyday school lives. The shroud of anonymity lifted, leaving behind a sense of curiosity that none of the Heathers had experiences in quite a while.

The trio purposely keeping an eye out for a glimpse of the brunette in the hallway, and learning what little was known about her from the rest of the student body. Making sure to only occasionally steer Martha and Heather Mcnamara’s conversations towards the topic of Veronica.

What was it about her?...

There was nothing overly interesting about her… but still there was something there, that drew the Heathers attention towards her nonetheless. A ‘something’ that despite how often they seemed to discuss Veronica, they never could seem to pinpoint. And from what they could tell, Veronica had always been there.

Quiet and subdued.

A background character that was content to remain hidden away in the crowds, her looks subpar and her grades a couple points shy of a 4.0 average. An easily forgettable topic that Martha had occasionally mentioned off-handley, in the time before their interest in Veronica.

Truthfully, the Heathers had always written off Martha's apparent ‘friend’ as a little white lie, an elaborate story she had constructed to make herself feel less lonely. Or even an imaginary friend..

But no, Veronica was not some childhood apparition dreamt up by a lonely girl.

---

“She has a very symmetrical face.” Heather Mcnamara had blurted aloud one day, during the quiet lull of their studying time. Her head bobbing as she wordlessly continued on with her math homework, unaware of the questionable stares her fellow Heathers directed towards her.

In the weeks following the discovery of her presence, the topic of Veronica quickly became a constant interruption to unrelated conversations. Though only during the trios private conversations together, of course.

Thinking back upon it, the first time the Heathers had actually met Veronica, it was as comical as it was expected. At last meeting the lanky brunette, and in the most likely of places at that.

“For a greasy little nobody…. She does have good bone structure.” Heather Chandler had absently commented one day, during their shared trip to the washroom. The stomach churning sound of Heather Duke’s destructive purging cut off with a bark of laughter, a wet and raw sound that brought a tinge of color to Heather Chandlers cheeks upon realizing what she had spouted aloud.

“Of course she could stand to lose a few pounds.” Heather Duke parroted back as she exited her washroom stall, popping a stick of gum into her mouth before snagging a quick kiss from the blushing Heather.

Earning her a playful shove and a mock look of disgust.

“Vomit and mint. How sexy.” Heather Mcnamara teased, earning her an eyeroll and a playful shove of her own, their laughter echoing off the walls of the empty bathroom. Only for a clearing throat to cut their shared amusement short, Miss Fleming standing almost smuggly in the once empty doorway, her head cocked to one side and arms lazily crossed.

“Heather, Heather, and Heather… Perhaps you didn't hear the bell over all that laughing, but you’re late for class.” Even though the Heathers were the pride and joy of the Orchestra, that did not stop Miss Fleming from being the hardass she was. The glee of assigning punishment practically orgasmic to her.

Or at least that was what the student body as a whole thought. 

“Heather wasn't feeling well… we’re helping her.” Heather Chandler gestured towards Heather Duke, the other girl choosing that moment to loudly pop and smack her gum.

“Not without a hall pass you’re not. A weeks detention for-”

And as if summoned by the Orchestra gods themselves, there was a flash of movement from behind Miss Fleming’s shoulder, and she was there. Veronica, with her oversized coat and her windswept hair, her head swiveling from side to side as she took in the situation she had unknowingly walked into. Heather Chandler slowly shaking her head, warning the brunette to back away while she still could.

But instead, Veronica hurriedly pulled a notebook from her bag, and scribbled away in it. Interrupting Miss Fleming with a voice that quivered with uncertainty, her eye downcast and throat clearing.

“Actually Miss Fleming, all four of us are out on a hall pass.” She began, her voice wavering at the look of open hostility Miss Fleming directed towards her, voice an unsure squeak as she continued, “Yearbook committee…”

And after a long second of considering the note Veronica had handed over, with a deep and regretful sigh, Miss Fleming relented. “I see you’re all listed here…. Hurry up, and get where you’re going.” And with no more than that, she was on her way. Leaving Veronica practically hyperventilating in the doorway, releasing a breath she hadn't realized she was holding.

Only then coming to the realization that staring curiously back at her from the bathroom sinks, were the three most powerful students in the school. Girls that she had only seen in passing, and stared at from a distance.

Girls that resided mountains above her, in social standing. High up upon marble pedestals.

“Sorry, it just… looked like you could use a hand.” Veronica babbled, pulling absently at the cuffs of her coat. A nervous twitch Martha had giggled at many times in the past.

“Well…. Thank you, Veronica.” Heather Chandler blurted out, inwardly cursing at the slip of tongue she had made. Openly admitting she knew Veronicas name, despite never having spoken before. A tiny snicker escaping Heather Duke at the blunder, which in turn drew a giggle from Heather Mcnamara, the tiny cheerleader all but flouncing over to the motionless Veronica.

Her hands grabbing a hold of the lanky teens face, cupping her cheeks and admiring her well formed features. A strong jaw, sharp cheekbones and a perfectly little nose.

“I was right! Your face is perfectly symmetrical...  if I took a meat cleaver down the center of it, I would have matching halves. That's very important.” The more Heather spoke, the more obvious Veronica’s confusion became.

Staring down at the littlest Heather with knitted brows, mouth opening and closing as words failed her. Thankfully, Heather Chandler took that as her cue to save the poor brunette, happily jumping at the opportunity to speak to the person that had haunted their conversations for the last month.

“Don’t mind her,” The hastily written note was plucked from Veronica’s hands before she could react, the Mythic Bitch of Westerburg High School scrutinizing the forgery with a single raised eyebrow, “This is an excellent forgery…” She mumbled, Heather Duke peeking at the note over her shoulder with waning curiosity.

Her interest quick to run out, leaving her staring starkly at the groups savior, her lips pursed and head cocked.

Scrutinizing her. Judging her. Staring at her...

“I ah… Sorry, gotta… Class.” And as quickly as Veronica had appeared, she was gone. Swept out the door as fast as her long legs could carry her, all but running to escape the intensity of their joined attention. Leaving Heather Mcnamara pouting, her hands still poised in the air where they had cupped Veronica’s face, a bark of laughter leaving Heather Duke.

“I think we scared the poor girl,” Heather Duke laughed again, bumping hips with Heather Chandler. The forged note still clutched forgotten in the other girls hands.

“.....Well, I liked her.” With conviction unwarranted of the situation, Heather Mcnamara nodded and then swiveled her head to glare at Heather Duke, “And go wash your hands…. You touched the toilet seat…”

--

With introductions somewhat out of the way, much to the surprise of the student body, the number of people greeted by the Heathers in the hallway increased by one. Martha’s face practically splitting apart from the smile that would stretch across it, when one of the Heathers would greet her best friend.

All the while laughing quietly at the openly shown look of befuddlement that would across Veronicas face each time. Suspicious, as if she expected to find herself on the receiving end of some lengthy school prank.

“Stop looking into it so much, Veronica. They’re probably just thankful for your help with Miss Phlegm.” Martha's dismissiveness did little to quiet the feelings of uncertainty that coiled inside of Veronicas stomach, the quiet brunette continuing to resemble a deer in the headlights with each new greeting that came her way.

The Heathers newly gifted attention earning Veronica far more than just a little heart attack.

For unlike Martha and the others that were greeted by the Heathers, Veronica was not a member of the Orchestra, and exempt from the protection granted to the Ensembles members. Her once quiet highschool existence trampled beneath the jealousy of other students, the everyday bullying escalating from typical teenage pettiness, into something less manageable.

Freak, Slut, Loser, Short-bus.

The name calling never failed to eat away at Veronicas self esteem, her hands wringing tightly together and throat clenching. Every muscle in her body screaming for her to either fight, or flee.

And since fleeing would do little to stop the bullying, Veronica unwisely decided to stand and fight. Returning the snarky remarks directed at her, with her own brand of witty banter. Flinging insults back as quickly as they were lobbed at her, her blows low and calculating.

Until one day, her pretty words got the better of her.

“-you’re a high school has-been waiting to happen; a future gas station attendant.”

Veronica swore she saw stars dancing before her eyes, after Kurt decked her with enough force to send her crashing to the ground. The murmur of the hall silenced and replaced with the ringing of her ears. Loud and deafening.

Almost instantly, it was an offense that Kurt came to regret.

A hand upon Veronicas shoulder and a voice calling her name, repeated again and again until with pupils the size of dinner plates, she turned to look up at Heather Mcnamara. The littlest Heather, with her face washed in worry and her eyebrows pinched together.

The cold touch of her hands pressed to Veronicas aching face. The faint taste of blood tickling at her taste buds.

It had taken the Heathers a full three days to finally catch wind of the growing hostility directed towards Veronica, Heather Mcnamara hurrying after her fellow Heathers as they went marching off to war. Students practically jumping out of the trios way as they went barreling by, Heather Dukes face twisted with barely concealed rage. Her lips drawn and eyebrows narrowed.

The enforcer of the group, the spitfire and hellion.

But it was the calm of Heather Chandler, that drew the most unease. Quietly hurrying along, with her head held high. Just a step behind the warpath of her fellow Heather, a tiny noise of complaint sounding in the back of her throat as Duke came to a quick and sudden stop. The sound of flesh striking flesh an afterthought in Heather Chandler mind, as she watched  Veronica hit the floor with a gasp of pain, Kurt standing proudly over her.

Scorn upon his tongue, viciously insulting the woman that brought mixed emotions within the Trio.

Freak. Slut. Cripple. Homo. Homo. Homo

“What the Fuck , do you think you’re doing?” Stunned silence overtook the hallway, the crowding students visibly shaken as Heather Chandler stepped forward, her tone sharp with outrage. Hands outstretched as she physically pushed the gloating Kurt from his looming stance over the Veronica, the lanky football player stumbling back as if her touch had burned. The once smug expression dropping from his face with a look of confused uncertainty, arms hanging limply at his sides.

“Veronica, can you hear me? Veronica? Ronnie?” Heather Mcnamara’s quiet calling seemed to break through Veronica’s daze after several tense moments, the softly spoken sound of the littlest Heathers voice earning a stuttered, wet gasp from Veronica. The air catching in her throat, as wetness gathered in her eyes.

Veronica didn’t sob, or weep.

She simply sat there in confused silence, with tears streaming down her face. Her hands wiping at her cheeks and scrubbing at her eyes, voice caught in her throat. The tiniest of stuttered breaths escaping her again and again, the shock of having been physically struck a fact the brunette seemed unable to grasp a hold of.

Simply sitting there, in the middle of the hallway. One side of her face already beginning to darken with shades of red and purple, a bruise that grew steadily worse in appearance the longer she sat there.

Her pretty words silenced, and her eyes hidden behind her scrubbing hands.  

“Well? What the fuck, do you think you’re doing?” Heather Chandlers demanding question rang out again, Kurt visibly jumping at the Blonde’s tone. Angry, but calm. Her arms crossed lazily against her chest, and her hip cocked to one side. Heather Duke no more than an arms length behind her.

Standing as a barrier between Kurt and his would be victim, her body eclipsing Heather Mcnamara and Veronica from his confused stare

“Showing the nerd her place?” Kurt’s answer was more of a question, than it was a statement. The look upon his face wavering between confused and constipated, eyebrows furrowed and posture defensive.

“It Seems that you’re the only one here who has forgotten their place, Kurt. This Nerd isn't yours to touch.” With an authority expect of her, Heather Chandler addressed the growing spectators that had come to a standstill in the hallway, “Veronica Sawyer is now under the same protection as the Ensemble. Take Kurt here, as a reminder of what happens when you mess with what is ours.”

And with a pleasant smile on her lips, Heather Chandler turned and made her exit. Pausing long enough to help Heather Mcnamara shuffle Veronica to her feet, the tall Brunette escorted from the busy hallway with a Heather at each elbow.

Heather Duke; the groups enforcer, staying behind to deliver Kurts fate.

Her smile sharp and toothy, gleeful as she congratulated him on his fuckup, “Enjoy spending the next seven months of this school year as an outcast, Kurt. You’re blacklisted.”

Excluded. Outcasted. Ostracized. The first Social Pariah to grace the halls in over two years, the previous title holder having long since distanced himself from Westerburg High School.

And it was only fitting that Kurt Kelly would be the one to follow in the steps of Ram Sweeney, his previous partner in crime.

--

Didn't I ever tell you where I met Veronica?

In the two weeks it took for Kurt Kelly to change school districts, Veronica became an often sight in the Orchestra Room. Wandering in after Martha during lunch break, and occasionally taking up space in an unused corner of the room during her free period.

Bobbing her head along to the Ensembles ever changing music selection, as she worked on her class assignments. The songs ranging from classical masterpieces, to the top ten of the year.

Pieces by Mozart and Beethoven, mixed in with Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, and Bruno Mars.

Songs that would make Veronica’s fingers itch, and her attention sway. Peeking up syly from her math questions to watch the Orchestra perform under the harsh judgment of Miss Fleming, the teacher seeing only faults where Veronica saw perfection.

The sharp hum of the strings. The trumpeting beat of the brass. And the high pitch of woodwinds*. Sounds that never failed at bringing a smile to Veronicas lips and a fidget to her feet, quietly tapping along as the Ensemble practiced.

Only occasionally earning a disapproving glance from Fleming.

The teacher having come to begrudgingly accept Veronicas presence in the corner of her classroom, preferring to ignore the brunettes existence altogether in favor of insulting the Ensembles efforts.

If anything, Veronicas presence often contributed to the quality of that days efforts.

The Heathers not so much as toeing-the-line, when under the watchful gaze of the studious brunette. Openly flaunting their skills, and not so openly glancing her way for approval. The once gaping distance that separated their worlds, significantly dwindled down.

Letting the Heathers observe the anomaly that was Veronica Sawyer, discovering the answers to the questions that had haunted their conversations for weeks. Answers that meant little to Veronica, but brought the thrill of knowing to the Heathers.

Her favorite animal, her favorite movie, her favorite book. And blue, her favorite color.

Yellow, Green, Red, and now Blue. It was a fitting discovery.

“Seriously Heather. We’re trying to befriend Veronica, not scare her away.” The matter-of-fact tone of Heather Chandler’s voice broke through Heather Mcnamara’s unfiltered rambling, the petite cheerleader pouting at the needed interruption.

“Hey, all I did was hug her… it’s not my fault she’s so tall.”

“You practically motorboated her, Heather.” Cracking her gum loudly, Heather Duke looked up from her fingernails in disinterest. Her bored stare met with a pouting glare.

“At least I’m not the one who offered to show her ‘My fingering technique’.” Heather Mcnamara argued back, slinging her backpack over her shoulder and bumping her hip up against the other Heathers, the brunette having the decency to look at least somewhat embarrassed at the reminder.

“I saw an opening, and I went for it. Whatcha gonna do about it, huh?”

“Heather, stop antagonizing Heather. You two can do your whole powerplay sexthing later, I need to go grab my violin from the Orchestra room.”

“Spoil sport.” Heather Duke sang, stuffing her textbooks into her backpack and shutting her locker door. Her gaze raking the length of the empty hallway before she stole herself a quick kiss from the littlest Heather, humming in delight at the fingers that grasped at her hair and stroked at her cheeks.

Teeth nipping at her bottom lip as she reluctantly pulled away.

“We’ll finish this later.” Heather Mcnamara promised, kissing her once again before linking arms with Heather Chandler. Pulling the tall blonde off balance and making her stumble for a brief moment, the little blonde giggling at their leaders wobble.

Heather Duke rolling her eyes as she jogged to catch up with the hurried pair.

The sound of their footsteps echoing down the empty halls. Voices carrying with their playful banter, the trio free from the worry of being watched and overheard. The school population long since departed, racing from the building the moment the end of day bell had chimed.

Signaling the start of a much needed weekend.

But with expectations to be met and grades to be kept, the Heathers had stuck around for an extra two hours of studying. Setting up camp in the far corner of the library and talking in hushed whispers until the librarian eventually sent them on their way.

Their assignments mostly completed by that time.

“-so we should hit up the mall this weekend. See if they have any worthwhile sales on.” Leave it to Heather Mcnamara to mention a trip to the mall.

“My violin could use some new strings.” Heather Duke mentioned absentmindedly.

“You haven't gotten new strings yet? You should have changed them weeks ago.” Voice aghast with disbelief, Heather Chandler turned to further scold her fellow Heather, pulling the closed door to the Orchestra classroom open as she did. But instead of scornful words, all that managed to escape her was a breath of surprise.

The low, buttery drawl of a Cello swaying its way from the barely cracked open classroom door. A beautiful and haunting sound that derailed thoughts and resonated deep in Heather Chandlers chest, a melody that took only a moment to recognize.

Not a masterpiece, or a classic…

“Is that Dollhouse?” Heather Duke whispered, pushing her way past her favorite blondes. Peering into the empty classroom with knitted brows and pursed lips, the door cracked open just enough to glance through.

But that first glance… it was a sight that Heather would never forget, no matter how many years would pass by. Her eyes widened with wonder as she watched the leisurely, and almost lazy way, that Veronica played the Cello. Her thighs parted around a beautiful old Eastman that had seen better days, with it's faded varnish and pale exterior. Her hair pulled into a tight ponytail, and her trademark baggy jacket slung over the back of her chair.

Leaving Veronica in a pair of dark hip hugging jeans, and a royal blue tank top. A single bra strap hanging loose against her bicep, uncharacteristically frilly… and pink.

“Fuck…” Heather Duke whispered beneath her breath, her apparent approval furthering the interest of her stringmates. Heather Mcnamara's hand upon the door before she could even react, shoving it open as she stepped in. Taking in the same sight that Heather Duke had been lucky enough to enjoy, the obnoxious creak of the door drawing two sets of eyes to the trio.

Veronica’s hands pausing, bow in hand and fingers frozen against the strings. Staring at them wide eyed, like a child caught in the middle of a naughty deed.

Mouth opening and closing.

“Heathers?” Martha’s voice was an understandable surprise to hear. The plump girl sitting on the floor not far from Veronicas chair, her back against the wall and lap full of brass pieces.

Quietly cleaning her French Horn as Veronica practiced.

“What are you three still doing here? It's a Friday…” Martha squinted at the trio from behind her thick rimmed glasses. Fingers on autopilot as she continued to shine her beloved instrument.

“Really? That’s what you think is important here? Not the fact that Veronica can apparently play the Cello?” With her head cocked to one side, and her backpack abandoned beside the classroom door, Heather Duke marched her way into the Orchestra room. Standing over Veronica, ignorant of the other brunettes unease as she admired the old cello leaned delicately up against her breastbone.

Veronica's fingers still pressed to the fingerboard, holding down the strings she had been playing just moments beforehand.

“We were finishing up homework.” Heather Mcnamara helpfully admitted, the second of the Heathers to make her way into the classroom. Passing by Veronica with more than a second glance, and taking up space beside Martha. Daintily sitting down, with her legs stretched out before her.

Ankles crossed and backpack settled comfortably in her lap.

“You never mentioned you could play.” And at last, the final Heather made her way into the Orchestra room. Heather Chandler closing the door behind her as she tentatively stepped in, eyeing the cello in Veronicas grasp. Shoulder brushing up against Heather Dukes as she came to stand beside her openly staring Stringmate.

Though at least this time it was Veronicas Cello she was staring at, and not the girl herself.

“Of course Veronica can play,” Martha bluntly spouted out, bobbing her head as she continued to pamper the pieces of her Horn. Unaware of the confused stare of the three violinists, her voice wavering upon glancing up from her maintenance. “-wa..what? Didn't I ever tell you where I met Veronica?”

“Apparently not, if it involves Veronica knowing how to play the Cello.” Duke snarked out, sarcasm her go to response when it came to unexpected situations.

“I don’t think you ever did.” Heather Chandler answered as well, shooting the snarky Heather a warning glance, and elbowing her in the side for good measure. 

“Our mothers were part of the same casual Orchestra group while they were in college. Nothing serious or dedicated like what we do here, but they still met several times a week for practice.” Heather Dukes snark aside, Martha did eventually find her voice. Her hands kept busy while she explained, talking more to her instrument than she was to the Heathers. 

And then, they finally moved.

Veronicas fingers; once glued to her Cello strings, moved. Falling from the fingerboard to rub at her leg and pick invisible lint from off her dark washed denim jeans. Looking anywhere, as long as it was not occupied by a Heather.

“It's kind of hard not to bond with the people you harmonize with, so our mothers are pretty much best friends still. Hell, because of the Orchestra, Martha and I have known each other since we were in diapers.”

“That’s right. And we even had the same private music teacher, back in elementary school.”

“Don’t remind me, Martha. I still get nightmares about Mr. Lobonta.”

“He wasn't that bad.”

“You’re not the one who took a Cello bow to the back.”

“Veronica, he barely hit you! And that was like, over ten years ago at least.”

While the petty squabble might not have offered any relief to the Heathers confusion, it was still a comforting thing to witness nonetheless. Watching Martha; who was perhaps the shiest person in the world, and Veronica; who was perhaps the most transparent person in the world, interact with each other.

The pair possessing a closeness that the violinists perfectly understood, finding ease with one another due to their long-running friendship.

“Wait, if Veronica has been playing the Cello for as long as you say-” Heather Mcnamara began to question aloud, only to find herself cut off.

“Then why isn't she part of the Ensemble?” Heather Chandler’s question was more of a demanded, a single well sculpted brow raised. Lips set and hip cocked to one side, staring the brunette down despite her obvious unease, “Why didn’t you join freshman year, like Martha did?”

“I wasn't here freshman year. I went to a private school for the first year and a half of highschool, and transferred in part way through grade nine. By the time I got here, all available seats in the Orchestra were full.” Veronica ran her fingers down the length of her Cello, plucking the strings absently.

Each twitch of her fingers echoed with the high pitched pang of the metal cords.

“Then you should have tried out for a seat at the start of grade ten,” Heather Duke butted in, ignoring the look of rightful annoyance Heather Chandler threw her way. “Do you know how many Cellist’s we have in our group, Veronica? Two. We may be just a Chamber Orchestra*, but to have only two Cellist is an embarrassment in itself.”

“Well it’s a good thing we now have three, isn't it Heather?” Heather Chandler’s cellphone was in her hand before anyone could even blink, the blondes fingers a blur as she tapped away at the screen. The classroom bathed in silence, Veronica and Martha exchanging confused and wary glances.

“Miss Fleming has been informed of this discovery, and come Monday your free period will be spent practicing with the Orchestra. It will still take a couple days for your position in the class to be approved by the principal, but there is little worry of our… request , being turned down.” With her cellphone stuffed back into her pocket, Heather Chandler went about retrieving her Violin from the classrooms storage closet, vanishing into the depths of the deep storage room. The walls covered in cubby-holes, each housing a different student owned instrument.

“You can leave your Cello here for the weekend, if you want. But come monday, you’re one of us, Veronica.” Double fisting both hers and Heather Dukes violins, Heather Chandler hip checked the storage room door behind her, and once again claimed the spot beside her fellow Heather.

Passing the spare violin to its rightful owner, and turned to again stare the Cellist down. A hint of a grin finding its way to Heathers lips at the complete look of surprise and uncertainty that had plastered itself across Veronicas Lips.

The brunette doing quite an impressive impression of a caught fish, with her eyes wide and her lips opening and closing. Martha staring inquisitively at the schools monarch, with an expression that Heather Chandler couldn't quite describe.

Curious. Unsure. Worries… knowing.

“Heather, Heather. Let's get a move on before the mall closes. Strings to buy, corn nuts to eat.”

And with that, Heather Chandler turned on her heels and gracefully made her way out the door. Her fellow Heathers no more than a lagging step behind her, Heather Mcnamara snagging herself a quick hug from Martha, and Heather Duke letting her gaze take in one last glance of Veronica and her Cello. The Heather flashing the other brunette a slivered grin before she chased after the long legged Heather Chandler.

A quick, “Looking pretty cool there, Sawyer.” thrown over her shoulder.

Her violin swinging with the pendulum motion of her arms.

“Don’t look so worried, Veronica!” Heather Mcnamara paused in the door, her head tilted to glance over her shoulder at the frozen pair. Her smile wide and sincere, “You’re going to fit in just great with the Ensemble! We can’t wait to get to know you better.”

And they were just… gone. Leaving Veronica clutching her Cello and glancing rapidly from between the empty doorway and the laughing Martha. The plump brunette finding the situation far more comical than Veronica thought possible.

We can’t wait to get to know you better, Veroonniiccaaaa, ” Martha teased, her reassembled french horn lovingly returned to its case.

“I think I’m having a heart attack Martha… what am I supposed to do?”

“Buy some new strings, fret about monday, and try not to think about your Heather Complex?”

“Oh god, you’re right… I’m such a weak gay mess.”

Chapter Text

Days to Graduation: 120

With little issue to speak of, Veronica quickly became a functioning cog in the Orchestras well oiled assembly. Quiet and unsure, but confident in the skills she had kept meticulously honed in her last four years of casual play. Her fingertips rubbed raw from the constant practice Miss Fleming demanded of them, the manageable four classes a week topped off with two mandatory after-school practice sessions.

Sessions that ranged in hours, depending on Miss Flemings mood.

Anywhere from a quick praise filled hour of practice, to a grueling three hours of yelling and insulting. The already short fuse of Miss Flemings annoyance growing shorter with each day closer to the National Chamber Orchestra Championship.

Working her students to the bone, until with a sigh of disgust she would dismiss her class and march off to her office. Muttering beneath her breath at their apparent decreasing skill, the class at last allowed to share a sigh of relief and go about the loud process of packing their instruments away.

Quietly talking amongst themselves, and counting down the days to the championship.

“Listen up, Ladies.” Heather Duke barked out, silencing the rabble and drawing every eye in her direction. Her hand pressed against her cocked hip, and head held high. Taking in the busting classroom, filled with both upper and lower class-men.

Gaining their attention, at which she quickly directed elsewhere.

“There are one-hundred and twenty days until graduation, at which time over half of the seat-awarded Orchestra members will be leaving us.” Heather Chandler paused for obvious effect, letting the severity of the situation sink in while she careful packed her violin away. Snapping the latches shut. “Underclassmen, this will be your awaited time to shine. Work hard, study harder, and show Miss Fleming your dedication.”

It was no wonder Miss Fleming was near close to pulling her own hair out, the upcoming graduation signaling the departure of the students she had spent five years beating into shape, molded to fit her need for perfection.

And soon, her capable musicians would be leaving her for greener pastures.

Forcing her to start from the very beginning, pushing the underclassmen to fill the massive shoes of their predecessors. Losing not just her winning players, but the three driving forces that had remained dutifully at her side since the very beginning. In one-hundred and twenty days, the Heathers would would graduate.

Understandably, Miss Fleming's was taking it poorly.

“Everyone enjoy the weekend, and get some solo practice time in. Come Monday, a mandatory 6am practice has been scheduled by Miss Fleming.” A mass, tired groan filled the air at Heathers declaration, “Now, get going before she comes back and decides another couple hours of practice is in order.”

At the threat of more practice, the classroom emptied in a matter of seconds. The herd of Orchestra students racing for their freedom, instruments carried at their sides or slung over their backs.

Leaving only a handful of Musicians behind, to clean up the chaos of their departure.

Veronica and Martha stacking chairs, while the Heathers put away the music stands. Martha and Heather Mcnamara loudly discussing one random subject after another with each other, while Heather Chandler and Veronica quietly went over music options for the upcoming competition.

“While I can appreciate the comforts of a good Mozart or Bach piece, why not something popular with our generation?” Veronica leaned herself up against a piling of plastic chairs that rivaled her height, looking quiet amused at the expression of outright disagreement upon Heather Chandler's face.

“We aren't here to entertain our generation, its the judges we need to impressive. And I doubt they would look positively on… oh, I don’t know. Katy Perry or Taylor Swift.”

“Don’t you be dissing Taytay.” Heather Mcnamara called from the other side of the room, playfully shaking her fist at the quietly conversing pair before she returned to discussing the Jaws series with Martha.

“I mean, like… Pirates of the Caribbean. Or, or… even something recognizable from The Phantom of the Opera.” At Veronica’s suggestion, Heather Duke and Heather Chandler exchanged dubious looks, shaking their heads pityingly.

“Sawyer, those are practically the staple selections of all high school Orchestras. On one hand I can count the number of years I have heard those songs played at the Championship.” Heather Duke held up four fingers, the exact number of years the Heathers had been taking part in the Nation Championship.

“Veronica, what Heather means to say, is that those selections are too…” Heather Chandler struggled for words, her gaze darting between her fellow Heathers imploringly.

“Ronnie, the Judges are old and… judgemental. But by rule of thumb, it's usually safe to play modern songs written in the 80’s and earlier.” Heather Mcnamara helpfully added to the conversation, bumping hips with Heather Duke as she came to stand beside the dark haired Heather.

Martha closing and locking the instrument closet, before she as well rejoined the group. Glancing at her cell phone with mild annoyance, typing quickly away and then pocketing her phone.

“My mom is here to get me, so I need to split.” Martha grumbled out, halfheartedly glaring at Veronica when the lanky teen laughed at her misfortune. A sharp bark of laughter that earning her a trio of matching smiles, a barely formed curl of lips that Veronica easily overlooked.

But a curl that Martha noticed all too well.

“Nerd,” Martha grunted out affectionately, shouldering her backpack and palming her trumpet case. “You four have a good weekend, and I’ll see you bright and early Monday morning.”

With a sharing of goodbyes, Martha made herself scarce.

Sparing only a single glance back at her Orchestra mates. Taking in the sight of her best friend flanked by the schools most sought after students. By Heather Chandler, in her vibrant shades of red. Heather Mcnamara, in her cheerful shades of yellow. And Heather Duke, in her dark shades of green.

And as she stood there, dressed in her favorite blue pocket t-shirt; with the sleeves rolled up, Veronica looked strangely included in the Heathers little bubble of privacy. Unaware of the twinge of jealousy her newfound friendship sent pulsing through the student body, eyes watching enviously as the Heathers openly laughed and joked with a girl that had long since been labeled as a forgettable face.

For unlike the chosen few who the Heathers looked favorably upon, it was not friendly acquaintanceship that Veronica was gifted with.

But with what seemed to be...actual friendship.

The kind of growing closeness that saw Veronica occasionally sitting with the Heathers at lunch, talking with them in the hallway, and one of the more recent events; catching a ride home after school in Heather Chandler little convertible.

A cherry red Mini Cooper that was professionally washed on a bi-monthly basis, Heather Chandler treating the early birthday present like it was her own baby. Refusing to even consider letting Heather Duke drive it, no matter the dark haired Heathers prodding.

“See you Monday, Martha!” Veronica called after her best friend, the plump trumpeter waving over her shoulder before she slipped out the front door. Leaving Veronica there, unaware of the curious eyes that stared at her back. Admiring the gentle slope of her neck, with her hair pulled into a messy bun atop her head.

“Come on, let's get out of here already.” Heather Duke grumbled, her sour attitude earning an exasperated eye roll from her string-mates, Heather Mcnamara lacing pinkies with the grumpy brunette, while Heather Chandler usher Veronica from the Orchestra room and locked the door behind them.

Rattling the doorknob for good measure.

“Would you be up for a movie, Veronica?” Heather Mcnamara and Heather Duke exchanged confused glances at their leaders invitation, their previously discussed plans for the day involving little more than a perhaps trip to the mall, and a cuddle filled sleepover.

“A… a movie?” Veronica outright stuttered, her hands wringing and shoes scuffing. Toeing the ground with a pair of old, grungy sneakers in desperate need of replacing.

“Mhm, a movie. The Twilight Drive-in is playing a triple feature tonight.” Heather Chandler remained impressive aloof, despite the hammering of her heart. Fingers clenching around the handle of her violin case, her eyes darting towards Veronica almost… almost..

Shyly.

“I.. uh, sure?” With her face a blushing mess of crimson, Veronica shoved her hands into her pockets and rocked back upon the balls of her feet. Blushing all the way up to her ears.

“Well, how about we all hang out until then? Maybe go to the mall and do some shopping. I can drop you off at home after the movies?” Heather Chandler gently bumped her shoulder against Veronicas as she brushed past the flustered teen, flashing her a tiny quirk of a smile before she started towards the parking lot.

The loud clack of heels echoing down the hallway. Clack, clack, clack.

“It’ll be fun, Ronnie.” Heather Mcnamara babbled, her phone in one hand as she glanced over the movie selections for that friday night. A kid friendly movie followed by a popular movie, and then followed by a strictly adult rated movie. “They already have the new Deadpool movie playing!” She squealed, a tiny ball of wiggling Heather.

Stepping out from the stale, suffocating walls of the school brought a sigh to Veronicas lips and a tilt to her head, eyes closed and head lazily arched back. Enjoying the heat of the sun bearing down upon her, warm and welcoming as it slowly made its descent into the horizon.

The early after school hours long gone, taken up with enough hours of practice that Veronica had to glance at the little dashboard clock as the foursome climbed into Heather Chandler's little convertible, 

Brows creasing at the time that blinked back at her, far later than Veronica had thought.

“It's already six?” Heather Duke questioned in disbelief, letting herself be bodily pulled into the backseats by the littlest Heather, leaving the front passenger seat for Veronica to claim. Her backpack tucked at her feet, and head unconsciously ducking when Heather Chandler wordlessly lowered the convertible top.

A pair of dark, rounded sunglasses resting on the bridge of the Blonde Heathers nose. The flashy little red convertible purring to life before it peeled out of the school parking lot.

The last vehicle there, apart from the janitors.

“Just enough time to get Ronnie some new shoes, grab some junk food, and head on down to the drive-in” Heather Mcnamara cheered, leaned between the front seats to fiddle with the radio dials. Heather Chandler chastising her lack of seat belt, only for the blar of music to cut her off.

“I love this song!” Heather Mcnamara shouted, cranking up the volume before retreating into the backseat. Cuddling up against Heather Duke, the dark haired violinist quietly bobbing her head along to the iconic Rollings Stones song.

“Everyone love this song, Heather. Now put your seat belt on.” Heather Chandler turned the music down to a manageable level, rolling her eyes and glancing expectantly at her string-mate through the rear-view mirror.

Triumphantly nodding her head once the little Heather had buckled herself in.

“Have you ever heard them play this song, at the Championships?” Veronica questioned aloud, jumping when Heather Chandler snapped her head to the side to stare at her.

Wide Eyed and curious.

“I… I don’t think I have.”

Chapter Text

Days to Graduation: 104 

There were so many words Heather Duke could use to describe how horrible her Monday had been, each passing moment stiffened with stress and weighted down by her own high expectations. One let down after another, from little blunders to complete failures.

Annoyances she could overlook any other day of the week.

But from the moment she had opened her eyes that morning, the universe had been out to get her. Silencing her alarm clock, burning her toast, misplacing her homework… scoring a measly twenty-three on her English test… the snapping two different string on her Violin in a single class.

It was one too many things, for the dark haired Heather to take.

So it was no surprise, that she ended up in the familiar white walls of a bathroom stall. Dealing with the stress in the only way she knew how, her hands clutching at cold porcelain as she rid herself of that mornings breakfast. Choking on the harsh taste of bile and vomit, her hair falling like a dark veil over her eyes.

“There is nothing ‘cool’ or ‘attractive’ about bulimia, Duke.”

It figured that of all the people to wander into the often unused third floor washroom, it would have to be Veronica. Her face twisted in worry as she let herself into the large handicapped stall Heather Duke had claimed as her battle field, her fingers sliding along the sides of the Violinists temple. Gathering the loose locks that hung down her face, and stroking comfortingly at her back with a free hand.

Her scold halfhearted, the conversation one that the pair had shared many times since Veronica's addition to the Orchestra. Her lips accustomed to the worrying bite of uncertainty, watching again and again as her newly acquired friend purged her emotions away on a near daily basis.

Willingly ignorant of the worried glances her fellow Heathers shot in her direction.

“I don’t need a fucking lecture, Sawyer.” Heather bit out, her voice rough and wet. Stomach churning and hackles raising, her shoulders hunched forward as she continued to quietly empty her stomach. Having long since perfected the art of self destruction, throwing up with an air of dignity that only a Heather could master.

“What you need is two working brain cells to rub together. I just don’t understand how such a smart person, can be such a idiot.” Despite the sharp bite of her tone, Veronica’s hands were kind and caring. Soothingly rubbing at Heathers back, fingertips pressing firmly.

Teasing the taut muscles that strained beneath their tips.

If it were any other day, Heather Duke would have let her snark do the talking for her, biting out cold and scathing comments that were sure to sink deep into a person's skin. But with one too many things already piled against her, and the safety of her bathroom stall invaded, it was not her sharp tongue that leapt forward to meet Veronica's insult.

“Are you crying?” The soothing hand upon Heathers back paused, the lanky cellist’s voice quiet and confused as she spoke. A confusion that Heather could not help but parrot, her hands darting to wipe the sudden wetness from her cheeks, furiously scrubbing her skin until it ached.

“I’m not crying.” Heather weakly argued, voice wavering and throat clenching. A sob wiggling its way from between her lips, the single, solitary sound opening up the floodgates. Her already bile savaged throat prickling and crawling as she sobbed, loud and without reserve.

Hands pressed to her closed eyes, and shoulders shaking.

“Fuck, I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Veronica’s arms were strong and comforting, as they wound themselves around Heathers shoulders. Pulling her backwards into the other brunettes embrace, and trapping her in a strong, smothering hug. The comfort of her grasp both reassuring, and the catalyst that further spurred her on. Reducing Heather Duke; the enforcer and overall bitch of the Heathers, into a whimpering and weeping mess. Her arms falling to hang slack at her sides, letting the tears flow freely down her pretty face.

Head tilted back, and eyes clenched.

It was perhaps one of the most heartbreaking sights Veronica had the displeasure of seeing first hand, the guilt clawing away at the lining of her stomach as she desperately tried to soothe the crying Heather. A small sound of surprise parting her lips as the Violinist bodily turned towards her, her arms wrapping around Veronica's sides.

Clutching at her, practically squeezing the life from Veronica in an effort to plaster herself against the cellist, Heathers face buried in the crook of Veronica’s neck. Her tears wet and warm, spilling down her face and dampening the pale flesh of Veronica's throat.

“It’s okay, Heather. It’ll be okay.” Veronica murmured, her arms helplessly wrapped around the sobbing Heather, a single hand rising to bury itself in the tangled mess of her hair. Pulling Heather deeper into her arms, tight and secure.

Tucked away from the stressors that had finally managed to reduce the strong willed Heather, into a sobbing, whimpering mess. Veronica's voice a calming drone of reassurance, whispered into Heather Dukes ear as the Cellist fumbling with her junky old flip-phone behind the Violinists back.

Typing out a crude and hurried message to a contact simply labeled as ‘Tiny Heather’.

Third floor Washroom. Heather D, help.

“Don’t worry Heather… It’ll be alright. I gotcha”

Chapter Text

Days to graduation: 86

With the Chamber Orchestra Championship a mere seventeen days away, it would be an understatement to say that Miss Fleming had become a bit difficult to deal with. Her usually demanding ways stepped up an entire level, to a exhausting degree. Her words harsh and her actions harsher, dolling out punishments that only a drill sergeant could appreciate.

Her expectations so high, that even her beloved Heathers were not exempt from her wrath. Heather Chandler’s presence turning more heads then normal, as she ran her third lap around the school grounds that day, her heels temporarily replaced with a pair of barely broken in blue converse.

Borrowed from Veronica, of course.

The brunette quick to toe them off, when Miss Fleming had turned her angry gaze towards the Orchestras ConcertMaster. Heather Chandler mouthing her a quick thanks as she shoved her feet into the two-sizes too large shoes, and hurried out of the classroom.

Dutifully suffering through Miss Fleming's favorite archaic method of punishment, a horror she hadn’t had the displeasure of undertaking since her first year of highschool.

Her feet aching and her back smarting by the time class had ended for the day, the end of school bell usually a godsent to students. But with only seventeen days of available practice time left, Miss Fleming was happy to claim every free moment of her students time, gifting the Ensemble with an entire five minutes of rest before starting back up again.

Picking off students one by one as the hours passed sluggishly by, not a single ensemble member to be spared the long lap around the school. A sneer on Miss Flemings lips when she at last called it quits for the day, a full four hours after the school bell had rung.

“That was awful,” Miss Fleming barked out, the class jumping at the sharp crack of her voice. Her gaze flickering briefly towards Veronica, the Cellist’s arms slung tiredly around the tapered waist of her instrument. “I have seen street corner musicians with more talent than any of you. Jeromy, you were sharp the entire second act. Work on it, or be replaced.”

The clatter of cases, and the screech of shuffling chair legs filled the room as the exhausted Orchestra students slowly went about packing their instruments up, Miss Fleming loitering by the doorway with her arms crossed over her chest and head held high. Offering a small bit of criticism to practically every student that walked out the door, until only Martha, Veronica, and the Heathers remained.

Too sharp, too quiet, too loud…

“Heather, I expect nothing but perfection from the First Violin. Work on it, or else.” While the threat of being replaced wasn't spoken aloud, Heather knew it was still there. An unlikely outcome, but one she wouldn't put past Miss Fleming.

“She’s like a less fun Hermione Granger,” Heather Duke mused aloud, gazing after Miss Flemings retreating form with an amused quirk of her lips. The last of the classroom chairs neatly stacked away. “Let's get out of here before Heather comes up with a clever idea to get us killed-”

“Or worse, expelled.” Heather Mcnamara deadpanned, not bothering to look up from her phone. Most likely on the search for new cat videos to feed her addiction.

“Such nerds,” Veronica teased, shouldering her Cello case, while fumbling with her book heavy backpack. A shy little smile working its way across her lips when Heather Duke took it from her without a sliver of snark, a backpack hefted over each of her shoulders.

One Blue, and one Green.

“Says the Marvel Fangirl,” Martha tutted, locking the classroom door behind them. Her attention drifting towards her cell phone screen for a quick glimpse, lips pursed and eyes rolling at the late hour that stared back at her.

“I have to get going, mom’s here to get me.” Martha bumped her shoulder up against Veronicas, throwing the lanky brunette off balance and pulling a tiny giggle from Heather Mcnamara's throat, the foursome bidding the plump hornist a goodnight.

Watching her hurried exit in silence, until Veronica spoke up.

Tired, fatigued, and waning under the weight of her Cello case.

“If I don’t start walking home now, I’m going to fall asleep on my feet.” She sighed out, rolling her shoulders stiffly.

“Walk?” Heather Mcnamara questioned, tilting her head to the side.

“You've been bumming a ride with us for weeks, Sawyer. Why do you think you’re walking home?” Heather Duke asked, her brows knitting together. Sharing the same look of confusion as Heather Mcnamara.

“I doubt my Cello will fit in Heathers trunk, and I want to get as much practice in as I can.”

“It might not fit in the trunk, but it will for sure fit in the front seat. That just means you three will need to get a bit close to fit into the back together.” Heather Chandler waved dismissively as she sauntered herself away, strutting down the empty hall with her orchestra mates no more than a handful of feet behind her.

Violin in one hand, and car keys in the other.

The parking lot practically empty of cars, aside from her pampered Mini Cooper and the last few straggling teachers still kicking about inside the school. Miss Flemings ugly little prius sticking out like a sore thumb in the empty lot, its sleek body painted a hue that hovered somewhere between orange and peach.

Perhaps one of the most disgusting custom colors any of the girls had ever seen on a prius.

“Lemme drop the top,” Heather Chandler began, a pile of backpacks stuffed into her trunk, along with her Violin case. The leggy blonde slipping herself into the driver's seat, and roaring the convertible to life.

The cars soft top folding itself neatly back, at the press of a button.

“Clamour in, ladies.” Heather Chandler playfully sassed out, leaving the convertible running as she climbed out of her seat. Taking Veronicas Cello case right from off her back, despite the brunettes endearing stutter. Heather Mcnamara linking fingers with the cellist as she bodily pulled her into the backseat, Heather Duke climbing in right after them.

A fit that was both tight, and overly friendly.

The Mini Coopers back seat specifically designed for two passengers, and two passengers only. Leaving Veronica squeezed between two Heathers with plenty of legroom, but hardly any seat space to speak of.

Veronicas treasured old Eastman buckled safely into the front passenger seat, looking quite comfortable where it sat, in its seat of black Leather.  

“Let's blow this shit show,” Heather Duke urged from the backseat, practically wedging her hand underneath Veronica to click her seatbelt shut, shoulders bumping and legs clashing. Heather Mcnamara laughing at the comical little squeak that managed to slip its way from between Veronicas lips, the lanky brunette taking on her standard shade of crimson.

Blushing to the very tips of her ears.

“Watch those wandering Hands, Heather.” Heather Mcnamara teased, gently squeezing the fingers still wrapped around her own.

“Bitch, I know where you sleep,” Heather Duke bit out, pointing a finger threateningly at the smug blonde.

“So any plans this weekend, Veronica?” Heather Chandler quickly butted in before the two Heathers could devolve into their little powerplay game thing, the pair quickly overlooking the fact that Veronica was literally trapped between them and becoming redder by the minute.

“I uh, yah.” Veronica mumbled, briefly meeting Heathers gaze from the rear-view mirror. Pools of stark blue staring her down, beautifully haunting when paired with Heather Chandlers pale skin and dirty blonde hair.

“We aren't mind readers, Sawyer,” Heather Duke muttered, rolling her eyes while she examined her perfectly manicured fingertips.

“Its uh, its nothing really. I’m just going to the mall…” Veronica's voice dipped, hardly a whisper as she continued. “To play my Cello..”

“What?” A trio of voices blurted aloud at once, all eyes upon Veronica as she squirmed and blushed. Content to stare at her shoes, refusing the meet the eyes that pierced into her.

As they always seemed to do.

Watching her, questioning her, compelling her mouth to run despite her brain screaming for her to remain quiet.

“Well, it had been so long since I had last played in public. And, and a classroom is a completely different environment. So I decided to ask about it at the mall, and the owner said I could practice by the fountain, as long as I was respectful of the surrounding stores and got permission from the school.” Veronica explained in a single breath, her story interesting to say the least.

And a bit sparse in details.

“You had to get permission from the school? Why?” Heather Mcnamara questioned, eyebrows pinched together.

“Apparently some high schools don't allow their students to have jobs, and since you get tips from Busking, it falls into the category of a part-time job. I had to collect a signature to appease the malls owner.”

“... wait, who signed for you?” Heather Duke squinted at Veronica, her mind slowly catching up with the days events. And with the snarky little jab Miss Fleming had made near the end of that days class.

“Well, here's the funny part. Miss Fleming signed for me… kind of.”

“Shit Sawyer, did you forge Phlem’s signature?” If there was one word to describe the tone of Heather Duke’s voice, it would be pride.

“Ronnie, you didn't!” Heather Mcnamara squealed, eyes wide with aghast shock and outright amusement. A laugh upon the tip of her tongue as she giggled and bounced in her seat.

“I did. One of the dumbest things I have ever done. Because of course, of course Miss Fleming would end up personally knowing the owner of the mall. Who would then, get this, call her up to praise my playing, and tell her what a wonderful job she is doing.”

Sinking further in her nearly non-existent seat, Veronica slouched at the laughter that met her embarrassing admittance. A gaggle of giggling Heathers that laughed and sputtered, Heather Mcnamara’s arms wrapping tightly around Veronica's shoulders.

Pulling her back into the Heathers tight embrace, the blonde hiding her face in Veronica's dark locks as she laughed. The warmth of her breath hot against the back of Veronica's neck.

“Did Miss Fleming chew you out, when she found out?” Heather Chandler asked, coming to an abrupt halt in front of Veronica's house, the car switched off and her seatbelt unclipped.

The blonde turning in her seat to eye the closely cramped threesome stuffed into the backseat.

“She called me a coward and a liar, and then complimented me on my minimal Cello skills.”

For Veronica, it was embarrassingly endearing to find herself the temporary target of the Heather's amusement. Heather Mcnamara silent in her laughter, shaking against Veronica's back with muted glee. Her quiet enjoyment of Veronica's suffering juxtaposed by Heather Dukes loud, bodyracking laughter.

Her eyes clenched and head thrown back, laughing loud and freely. Looking far more human, than Veronics had ever seen the sullen girl appear.

Without the hard twist of her lips, the roll of her eyes, and the bite of her words.

“I’m surprised Miss Fleming didn't bench you, for forging her signature.” Heather Chandler hummed out, unbuckling Veronicas Cello before she swung her door open and stepped out. Her heels clicking against the sun baked cement as she made her way to the other side of the car, opening the door and hefting the heavy cased Cello from its leather seat.

Heather Duke pushing the empty passenger seat forward, and then clamoring her way out of the back. Veronica and Heather Mcnamara following quickly after her.

“I dunno. For some reason, I think she likes me.” Veronica flashed Heather Chandler a crooked little grin, before relieving the smaller girl of her precious cargo. Slipping the cases shoulder straps over her arms, and taking her backpack from Heather Dukes outstretched hands.

Toeing the ground, as she lingered in the trios presence.

“What’s not to like!” Heather Mcnamara teased, earning matching eyerolls from her fellow Heathers.

“Always the suck-up,” Heather Duke tutted, aware of the pout she brought to Heather Mcnamara's lips. “So you’ll be panhandling at the mall tomorrow evening?”

“It's not panhandling, but yes. But I like to set up early enough to catch the midday rush of shoppers, but late enough to miss the old folks on their morning mall walks. They always request I play songs I’ve never heard of.”

“I’ve always been curious about busking…” Heather Mcnamara mumbled, making eyes at the leader of their little group. Heather Chandlers head tilting to the side in open contemplation.

“It does sound like fun.” Heather Chandler admitted, her sharp gaze staring Veronica down. The tired brunette visibly fading under the weight of her cello and bookbag.

“Do uh… do you three want to try it out? I have Miss Flemings signature memorized already, so I don’t think getting permission will be a problem.”

“Look at you Sawyer, being all badass and rebellious.” Heather Duke laughed and bumped her shoulder against Veronicas, the brunette preening under the compliment.

Her embarrassed, downcase gaze missing the shared glances between the Heathers.

“As long as you don’t mind sharing the spotlight with us, I think it sounds like an exciting opportunity. Nothing beats a good Quartet, especially one made up of a Cello and accompanying Violins.” Heather Chandler smiled, a soft rise of her lips that brought a stutter to Veronicas chest.

Her heart beating loud enough to pound in her ears.

“Well i’ll… I’ll send over some music piece that will work with the instruments we have on hand, and we can all choose what to play tomorrow. I’m sure I can find something good we can really jam out to. But I should…” Veronica motioned towards her house, her mother’s silhouette lingering in the pale light that spilled out from the large front bay window.

Curiously watching her daughter, and the three new friends she had begun to tag along with.

“Mom’s getting antsy, and the last thing I want is for her to come out and say hello again. Once was enough.” Veronica squirmed at the memory of her mother's self-introduction all those weeks ago, when the curiosity had finally gotten the better of her. The smile upon her lips growing in size when the three violinists had been introduced as Veronicas bandmates.

Girls that were polite, charming, respectful, and quickly adored by Veronicas mother.

It sure is nice of the Red Heather to give you a ride home everyday.

Though despite her mothers best efforts, remembering which Heather was which seemed to escape her. Instead referring to Veronicas new friends by their token colors.

The little Yellow Heather is just so adorable! I can see why she has the other two wrapped around her fingers.

It was embarrassing to listen to her mother's prattling, day in and day out. Gushing to the other mothers about her daughters new popular friends, and how adorable the trio of girls were.

“So, I’ll see you three at the mall tomorrow? I’ll text some music selections over in the next couple hours and we can choose from them.” While Veronica might not have been one for impromptu hugs, being friends with Heather Mcnamara gave her little choice in the matter. The small cheerleader quick to envelop the Cellist in a bone crushing hug, mindful of the backpack in Veronicas arms and the instrument strapped to her back.

The embrace lasting for several long moments, before Heather Duke roughly nudged the blonde on her way back to the waiting convertible. Waving a lazy goodbye to Veronica over her shoulder, as she crawled into the backseat.

Stretching out in the empty space, with her feet propped up and her sunglasses perched upon the tip of her nose.

Laid out like some overgrown feline, oozing snark and radiating entitlement.

“Bitch,” Heather Mcnamara mumbled under her breath, eyeing the lazing Heather with fond annoyance before she slipped into the car after her, pausing just long enough to give Veronica one last squeeze goodbye.

“See you tomorrow, Veronica.” Heather Chandler called, flashing a subdued smile in Veronicas direction as she crawled back into the driver's seat, her eyes bright with the emotions her lips refused to show.

The squeal of tires following after the trio as they sped away, leaving Veronica staring after them. Ignorant of the tiny, soft smile that had made its home on her lips. Savoring the quiet and familiar way Heather Chandler had spoken her name, so very alike her differently colored counterparts.

Veronica… Ronnie… Sawyer.

Veronica smiled bashfully to herself, and scuffed her feet against the ground. The warmth of her cheeks furthering the smile upon her lips, until Veronica was certain her smile could not grow even an inch wider. Her mother's interrogating questions unheard by the brunette, as she excitedly raced off to her room and slammed the door behind her.

Dropping her bookbag and Cello case onto her bed, homework forgotten in favor of thumbing through her bookcase. Rows upon rows of manilla folders stuffed into the wooden shelves, each folders spine holding a hastily written title in black marker.

From ‘Video Games’ to ‘Nursery Rhymes’, and even ‘Break-up Songs’

And there, sitting neatly in the fray of overstuffed folders, was a single thin manilla folder. Its spine decorated in three neatly scripted words, each a different color.

Yellow, Green, and Red.

Heather, Heather, and Heather.

---

With a backpack full of music sheets and her cello in hand, Veronica found herself loitering about the mall only a couple hours after its opening the next morning. Far earlier than the agreed upon meeting time of 10am, that the four Orchestra mates had agreed on.

Early enough that the Brunette had already done a loop of the mall, quietly window shopping as she waited for time to pass. Occasionally drawing the attention of curious gazes that eyed the Cello case slung over her back. Her usually modest jeans and t-shirt combo replaced with faded dark-washed jeans, and a blue plaid snapback shirt.

Unbuttoned to show off the black tank top she wore underneath, with blue sparkly lettering neatly printed across the front of the shirt.

Proudly proclaiming Veronica a ‘TrebleMaker’.

It was during her second hour of wandering aimlessly, that the buzzing of her phone pulled Veronicas attention away from the wall of sample scents and soaps she had somehow ended up in front of. Spraying little strips of paper with perfume, and pretending they didn't all smell exactly the same to her.

Harsh, overpowering, and cheap.

“A picture?” Veronica mumbled, eyeing the notification that flashed on the lockscreen of her cellphone, Heather Mcnamara’s name staring expectantly back at her from atop an unloaded, pixelated thumbnail. Eyebrows furrowing and head tilting as she double tapped upon the fuzzy image.

Her own cello toting figure appearing upon the screen.

Prompting Veronica to turn upon her heels, phone still in hand and gaze raking the bustling crowd milling about the mall. A smile spreading itself across her lips as she quickly caught sight of Heather Mcnamara's excited waving. The trio of Heathers huddled together just outside of the scent shop, dressed to impress in casual wears that suited each each of them perfectly, in Veronicas opinion.

From Heather Chandler; in her faded black skinny jeans, strappy heels, and Red halter top. To Heather Duke, in her dark black mid-thigh length shorts, white converse, and emerald Green silk blouse. And then Heather Mcnamara, in a cheerful Yellow sundress and white flip flops.

“Oh my god..” Veronica muttered quietly to herself as she jogged over to the trio, appreciating the casualness of the Heathers outfits.

Sleek, colorful, and unquestionable fashionable.

“Ready to show some skill, Sawyer?” Heather Duke grinned, carrying both hers and Heather Mcnamara's Violin in one hand, while gripping the blondes hand in the other. The little blonde practically vibrating in her sandals with excitement.

“Hell ya,” Veronica barked out, the foursome loitering about in front of the scent shop. Quickly getting the days pleasantries out of the way, before they headed off towards the large decorative fountain Veronica had been given permission to practice at.

The fountain a centerpiece that sat squarely in the middle of the malls food court, the crowd of lingering shoppers dotted with the same familiar faces that wandered the halls of Westerburg High School. Students that had long since been conditioned to understand and accept the power and capability of the Heathers.

Admiration, mixed with a heavy dose of fear and loathing.

Quietly watching as the widely recognized rulers of Westerburg High School, laughed and conversed freely with a girl who had once been a bottom of the barrel loser, just like everyone else. The newfound friendship catapulting Veronica to an entirely new social standing in school, the brunette looked upon with both awe and hate by the student population.

Liked by those who took the time to get to know her, but hated by those who looked upon her with jealous, haughty snake eyes. Judging her, for simply having the audacity to become someone of apparent importance to the Heathers.

And in general, the change in her social standing was interesting, to say the least.

The bullies that had once spewed hurtful words directly to her face, now quieted. Lingering in the shadows, with twisted lips and narrowed eyes.

Hateful, but cowardly.

“Which piece should we start with?” Heather Chandler asked, looking expectantly over her should at Veronica. The brunette humming in contemplation, her fingers stroking the taut strings of her cello.

“Maybe something loud and recognizable,” Veronica offered, seated upon the lip of the fountain as she thumbed through her music pieces she had neatly on her little blue music stand.

Carefully chosen pieces, from her growing manilla folder. Music numbers that came to her, far more frequent than Veronica was willing to admit. Pulling at her thoughts during mundane moments at school, and rising her from sleep in the dead of night.

Hearing the graceful and elegant thrumm of violins, paired with the powerful and clear bellow of a cello.

“Wait, how about the one from that movie!?” Heather Mcnamara excitedly chirped, her music sheets a disorganized mess in her hands. Flipping through the many pages, until she cheered quietly with triumph and shoved the sheets into Veronicas hands.

The littlest Heather looking expectantly up at the Cellist.

“Really?” Heather Duke questioned, peering at the crumpled sheets in Veronicas hands. A piece of musical history that had undoubtedly graced every school stage in existence, from orchestras to bands.

“Can’t go wrong with some good ol’ opera music,” Heather Chandler drawled with appreciation, thumbing through her own sheets until she came across the selection. Neatly setting the music sheets upon her shiny, red music stand. Bow in hand, and violin tucked gently into the crook of her throat.  “Bows up, Ladies.” She teased, the thrill of the melody settling into the very core of her bones. Blinded to the eyes that watched them, and the attention their soon-to-be performance was gaining. Seeing only what was before her.

The Heathers she quietly loved, and the brunette she had quickly come to quietly adore. 

Heather and Heather hurriedly unpacking their instruments, under Heather Chandlers impatient gaze. Music sheets laid out and and violins propped under jaws, Veronica quiet and patient as she waited. Her knees gently squeezing at the waist of her Cello, its skinny neck resting the side of her throat.

Bow in hand, and knees bouncing. Just as excited as the wiggling Heather Mcnamara, the little blonde wedging her violin against her neck and flourishing her bow in preparation.

As expect of her, it was Heather Chandler who lead their little rehearsal. The quiet keen of her Violin ringing true in Veronicas ears, reaching overtop of the murmuring voices and resonating deep in Veronicas chest.

Her fingers and hands on auto-pilot.

Her bow drawn hard against the cords of her Cello, releasing a sound that was harsh compared to the delicate wail of Heather Chandlers melody. Pulling loud, crisp and clear notes from her Eastman.

A sound that soared and shouted, calling to arms the two motionless Heathers.

Hands without pause or tremor, without difference. Two Violins twisted into one, until Veronica could hardly tell ones playing from the other. So very alike in style and tempo, that it was no wonder the two Heathers got along so well.

It was like listening to a single, solitary being. Bows drawing as one, and fingers dancing across the fingerboards. Racing to follow the steady flow of Heather Chandlers playing, the quartet belting out the first handful of notes with surprising grace.

DUMMM DU DU DU DU DUMMM DU DUM

When in need of a recognizable song, Phantom of the Opera would always be one of Veronicas go to songs. The sheet of music before her, earning no more than the occasional cursory glance. The notes burned into her brain, and scorched into the muscle memory of her fingers.

Belting, tickling, soaking into the harmony of their instruments. Following dutifully in Heather Chandlers confident steps, led from one verse to the next, until the cry of the three violins quieted. Letting the thick and powerful voice of Veronicas Cello speak up for itself, warm and demanding as it lamented the sorrow of the song it belted out.

Crying for the love and loss of the Phantom.

Only for Veronicas presence to seep back into the boom of the quartet, her lips parted in a toothy smile and throat clenching as the last, clear note rang out between their instruments. The rabble of the food court silenced as eyes stared and blinked at the group of musicians.

Quiet, and filled with the same awe that Veronica couldn't help but find herself drowning in. Her bow falling to hang limp at her side, eyes staring and staring. Taking in the same mirthful smiles that had found homes on the full lips of Heather, Heather, and Heather.

“Well fuck,” Veronica hushed out, jumping in her converse as the food court erupted. The loud clash of hands and hooting of voices earning preening smiles from the Heathers, but a shy duck of Veronica's head.

Heather Duke toeing open her violin case, her instruments leather bound home a temporary victim to the spoils of their efforts. Pennies, dimes, and nickes dropped into its body, metal coins chiming together and bouncing about.

The rare bit of paper money dropped into the metallic pool of loose change.

“That her?” Ram Sweeney muttered, his head cocked to the side as he observed the quartet with limited interest, watching the way they laughed easily together. Heather Chandler's hand upon Veronicas knee, squeezing at it gently.

Her lips pulled into a soft, secretive smile that ate away at Ram’s insides.

“Ya, that's the Homo Freak.” With narrowed eyes and lips thinned with disgust, Kurt Kelly stuffed his fisted hands into his pockets. Scorn upon his tongue, as glowered and grunted.

Veronica left unaware of the harsh glare that followed her every movement.

Watching and waiting.

Chapter Text

Days to graduation: 78

A week away, that's all the time there was left until the Orchestra Competition.

The months leading up to the event filled with enough after school practice and scorn from Miss Fleming, that even a single week felt like an impossibly long distance away. Fingers worn from the sharp press of strings, and shoulders aching from the weight placed upon them.

In all of her life, Veronica had never hated anyone as much as she currently hated Miss Fleming.

Her borderline aggressive method of teaching wearing away at the last of Veronica's nerves, the scolding pitch of the teachers voice haunting Veronica, even in sleep. Scolding the brunette at every turn, from the positioning of her fingers to the way she balanced her Cello between her thighs.

Nothing the cellist did, seemed to be good enough.

“Stop looking so far into it, Sawyer.” Heather Duke spouted, looping her arm around Veronica's shoulders reassuringly. Pulling the lanky teen flush against her side for no more than a stuttering beat of Veronica's heart, before turning her attention back to the car window.

Watching with open disinterest as they sped past one identical townhouse after the other, Heather Chandler mumbling to herself from the front seat. Eyeing her dashboard GPS with distrust as it once again began to recalculate their ever changing route.

Seemingly at random.

“Heather is right, Veronica. Phlegm gets like this every year, around competition time. I would say that it's endearing, but I would be lying of course. Just try and keep your mind off of the competition tonight, and enjoy yourself.” Heather Chandler piped up, glancing briefly back at Veronica from the rear-view mirror once the car had come to a jolting stop. Heather lucky enough to snag a parking spot not far from Terry Jordans front door, a jock that Veronica only vaguely knew of.

Though she at least knew the quarterback well enough to greet him by name, when he had approached her in the hallway the day before. With a stack of fliers in hand, and an excess of boyish charm. Laughing good naturedly at Veronica's confusion as she looked over the thin sheet of paper he had pressed into her hands.

Inviting Veronica to ‘The Party of the Year’, which was the actual title written across the invite.

“It's not everyday you get your cherry popped, Ronnie.”

“Heather, please don’t use that metaphor again. It’s just a party-”

“Your first party, Ronnie. That’s like, a major high school milestone.” Heather McNamara was right, of course. This was a massive leap forward, when compared to the quiet seclusion of her previous semesters. Her integration into the Orchestra rocketing her popularity from a negative, to a respectable positive.

Not exactly admired or envied, but vaguely known of, and about.

“Can we get our party on, already?” Heather Duke half whined from the cramped backseat, impatiently awaiting for Heather Chandler to free them from her Mini Cooper. The front passenger seat filled with not only Veronica’s Cello, but with a trio of violins.

They had an entire night without practice to make up for, after all.

“Don’t be in such a hurry, Heather. The party isn't going anywhere,” Despite Heather Dukes impatience, Heather Chandler took her time granting the freedom of the three backseat dwellers. Slamming the trunk shut after neatly stacking their violins inside, Veronica's Cello leaned carefully against the side of the car.

Out of the way as the three crawled their way to freedom. The Heathers dressed to impress in their typical shades of yellow, green, and red. While Veronica went for a more casual look, when compared to the trio.

A quick outfit check occurring once Veronica's Cello was safely tucked back into its leather seat. An amused little grin twitching away at the corner of her lips, as she openly watched the trio prim and preen themselves back to perfection.

While also not so openly admiring the amount of leg Heather Duke had left bare for the school wide party. Wearing a pair of shorts that stopped barely at mid thigh, miles of tanned olive skin tempting Veronica's eyes to wander. Tracing the soft healthy plumpness of her thighs, and the delicate curve of her ankles.

A hint of neon green peeking out from under the waist of her shorts, a sliver of color that Veronica nearly missed. Far too distracted by the black tank top that clutched at the flat of her stomach, and dipped low to show off a teasing amount of cleavage.

A single glittery green cursive line decorating the front of her shirt.

Is that a Fret?*

Where the Heathers had gotten their matching shirts from, Veronica would never know. Or ask, for that matter. But just knowing that the three Queens of Westerburg High School had gone out of their way to purchase Music Pun themed tank tops, was enough for Veronica.

Heather Chandler and Heather Mcnamara choosing to wear snug, tight legged jeans with their black tank tops. Each sporting a glittery pun in their preferred colors of choice.

Perfectly picked puns at that.

Heather Chandler's bright red demanding the reader to Bach it up, while Heather Mcnamara’s cheerful yellow informed the reader this was Not my Forte.

“You nerds ready yet?” Veronica teased, eyeing the bustling house at the end of the block. Already lively with inhabitants, the sound of music and the raising of voices. This was by far, the most daunting thing Veronica had experienced in her life. A high school party…

Fuck.

“Lead the way, Sawyer.”

--

Simultaneously, the party was both more than Veronica had expected, and less than Veronica had expected. Overly loud, overly full, and overly stimulating.

It was almost too much for her.

But at the same time, it was also exhilarating. Attending a high school party, surrounded by more people than she was willing to count. Piled upon counters and couches, lounging on the staircase, and grinding in the living room. The bass heavy, and the volume ear-achingly loud.

And the only thing that could keep Veronicas attention at the moment, was the Heathers. Dancing, laughing, gripping at hands, hips, and waist. The alcohol plied room paying little attention to the three girls dancing together in the fray of the over-packed, temporary dancefloor. Two-thirds of the trio more than a couple drinks in, with Heather Chandler the self appointed sober driver of the night.

Just watching them from the sideline, was enough for Veronica.

Clutching at her empty solo cup, long since drained of its lukewarm goodness. Here, it was enough. To watch and admire from the background, just as she had done in the time before their friendship.

But that was then, and this was now.

Because apparently, watching from the sidelines wasn't good enough for the Heathers. Hands gripping at Veronica's wrists gently, pulling and pleading for her to join them in the frey. Their laughter echoing in her head as she was easily coaxed into the crowd of bumping, grinding, and dry humping teens. The brunette finding herself with an armful of tipsy Heather, the tiniest of their little group. Heather Mcnamara’s hands upon Veronica's arms and shoulders. Feeling the slenderness of her wrists, and the slight firmness of muscle. Her arms accustomed to the weight of her Cello.

“Put your hips into it, Veronica.” Heather Chandler teased against the shell of Veronica's ear, the blonde monarch closely saddled up against the brunettes back, her hands helpfully planted upon Veronica's stiff hips. Moving as one, letting the flushed teen feel the rhythm of Heather Chandlers hips bumping up against her.

“Hush, Ronnie’s doing a great job.” Heather Mcnamara quickly came to Veronica's defense, the comeback bringing a smile to Heather Chandlers lips. A smile that only Heather Duke could see at the moment, the rebellious Heather cozily tipsy, and calmingly numb. One too many shots leaving the other brunette far more docile than Veronica had ever seen.

Content to wrap herself around Heather Mcnamara and never let go. Arms around the blondes waist, and head nestled in the crook of her throat. Eyes peering up at Veronica and Heather Chandler, staring dozily.

“Getting pretty cozy here,” Veronica mumble-yelled over the crashing music, the bodies tightly packed around them. Squeezing them in, surrounding Veronica with a solid wall of Heather. Pressed to her front, and flushed to her back. The woosh of Heather Chandler breath washing across her ear.

“I dunno Sawyer. I think we could get closer.” It was amusing to know that of all the drunk stereotypes, Heather Duke would end up being a calm, cuddly flirt. Making Veronica s heart clench and her cheeks darken.

And not just from the alcohol this time.

“A whole lot closer.” With the rush of alcohol in her veins, and the bitter taste of vodka on her tongue, Veronica's churning thoughts came to a sudden standstill as hands slowly swept along her sides, the firm glide of painted nails bringing goosebumps to her skin.

And as if in slow motion, Heather Duke leaned forward.

Her pupils wide and glossy, the world ceasing to exist outside of the quartet.

“Veronica, can I- Son of a bitch!” At Heather Dukes appropriate curse, the world began to shift around them, voices raised and elbows sharp. A landslide of people pushing against each other, packed suffocatingly close together. Lurching the foursome forward, and cracking Veronica's forehead against Heather Dukes.

The littlest Heather squealing in Veronica's arms, as she found herself in a particularly snug situation between a Duke and a Sawyer.

“Okay, I think that's enough. Time to blow this shit show.” As the sober voice of reason, Heather Chandler linked fingers with Veronica, and with unsurprising skill and grace, began to weave between the clashing mass of alcohol fueled teens. The foursome linked together in a human chain, tightly clasping at hands to keep from being separated.

An arduous journey that ended with the quartet spilling out of the packed house a full three hours after they had first walked through the front door. Now tired, sweaty, and more than a little drunk. Almost to the end of the block, before Veronica took notice of the pairs of hands still clutching at her own.

Heather Duke trailing behind Heather Mcnamara, quiet and contemplative.

Fingers eventually unlinking once they had arrived back at the car, Heather Chandler popping open the passenger door to again disturbs Veronica's Cello. Leaning it against the side of the vehicle, and pushing the passenger seat forward. Heather Mcnamara crawling her way into the backseat, with Heather Duke following right after-

“Not complaining in the least, Duke. But what was that back there?” Veronica quietly asked of her fellow brunette, Heather Duke resting her forehead against the doors metal rim in exhaustion. Quiet, and disarmingly small all of a sudden.

Appearing to almost sag under Veronica's curious gaze, holding onto the doors metal frame with a white knuckled grip. Heather Chandler mutely watching from where she leaned against the wide-opened passenger side door.

“I have no fuckin’ clue what you’re talking about, Sawyer.”

“Really, that's how you’re going to play this one? I thought you wanted us to get closer, Duke.”

“I didn't-... that’s not what…” Once so full of quick witted snark, Heather Duke visibly floundered before Veronica eyes. Hands blindly gesturing, moving along to an explanation that Heather Duke was unable to bring forth, the words lost in her head.

“Cause I’m pretty sure you were about to plant one on me, Duke.” Again, not that Veronica was complaining. In fact, pinching herself seemed like a perfect response to the current situation. How many times had the fleeting thought of that forbidden act of intimacy passed through her mind, since she had first discovered her interest in the trio?

A number far too tedious to count. But Veronica was just.. Veronica. A bottom of the barrel loser, not even a year ago. Who was she in comparison to the Heathers? Girls who were the top, the tower, and the Colosseum.

How was she supposed to react to something that should have been far out of her reach?

“Look at that! Just when I think the night couldn't get any better, look who we run into. The dyke bitch and her merry band of rug munchers.”

Fuck, not now of all times.

Even drunk, Kurt Kelly was an asshole. A sneer upon his lips, and an insult on the tip of his tongue. Looking every bit as vile as Veronica remembered him, from all those months ago. But this time, Kurt wasn't alone in his spewing hated, a vaguely familiar looking teenager at his side. Ram Sweeney wobbling and swaying, having long since exceed the acceptable levels of intoxication.

The pair leaning against each other for support.

“We don't have time for your bullshit, assholes. Go stumble home before you do something you regret. The adults are trying to have a civilized conversation.” After her first altercation with Kurt Kelly, one would think that Veronica had learned something from that previous, painful quarrel. But those pretty words of hers slipped free without a single thought of caution, Veronica turning upon her heels to bodily face Kurt and Ram. Feet planted and head cocked to the side, standing squarely in front of Heather Duke and Heather Chandler.

“Wanna say the again, Freak?” Though she had never really gotten acquainted with Ram Sweeney before his excommunication, at first glance alone Veronica could see why Kurt and he had gotten along so well during their short attempt to strike fear into the student body.

“Veronica, come on. Lets go.” Heather Chandler; the wise voice of sober reason, grabbed at Veronicas wrist and tightly squeezed. Not begging or pleading, but softly imploring the tipsy brunette to stand down.

“Ronnie, come on! Lets go.” From the safely of the backseat, Heather Mcnamara implored. The little blonde poking her head out, and then her upper body. Hands upon Heather Dukes shoulders, and eyebrows creased with worry.

“Better a freak than a lifetime flipper of burgers!”

Getting smacked in the face was as painful as Veronica remembered it to be, the world a hastening blur as Ram Sweeney flung himself towards her. Moving far quicker than she had expected of a drunk, his hand quick and heavy. Fingers striking against her ear, while his calloused palm slammed against her cheek and jaw with enough force to send Veronica careening into the side of the car with a pained yelp.

Her cello case toppling to the ground.

“What the fuck?!?” Heather Duke yelled out, pitching forward as Heather Mcnamara wiggled her way out of the car and to Veronica’s side. Collapsing to her knees and brushing the hair from the brunettes face, grimacing at the handprint darkly decorating her pale flesh.

“Say it again, Freak. I fucking dare you!” Ram hissed out, looking down at Veronica with blatant disgust. His lips curled into an ugly sneer, shoulders arched forward and fists clenched.

“Got something to say, Barbie?” Filled with liquid confidence, it was not Veronica that Kurt looked towards. Eyes only for Heather Chandler, looking her up and down with a leering gaze that by itself left a person feeling violated. Eyed up like a fresh slab of meat. “Gunna defend the little plaid wearing freak?”

“How about you step the fuck off?” As Heather Chandlers second in command and the enforcer of the group, stepping in front of the blonde was second nature to Heather Duke. For while Heather Chandler may have been a mythic bitch, it was through manipulation and tact that she had become so.

Hardly lifting a finger, aside from giving orders and doling out expectations. In reality, Heather Chandler couldn't hit a baseball, much less a person.

“You got something to say, Princess? I’m surprised you aren't off vomiting in some bush. Look at me, I have an eating disorder like all the other cool kids” Kurt taunted, Ram laughing raunchily from behind him. Watching with glee as Kurt actually put his hands upon Heather Duke. Using his clenched fists to shove her back, digging his knuckles into her shoulders.

Pushing her, pushing her until the metal frame of the door dug into Heather Chandler back. The blonde pinned against Heather Dukes protective form, hands against the brunettes back and voice caught in her throat.

Scared.

“I said, back the fuck off you reject!” Despite the pain that radiated down the side of her face and the ringing in her ear, there was little to stop Veronica from getting to her feet at the sight of Kurt Kelly looming over the pair of cornered Heathers. Her hands upon the only makeshift weapon she could reach, wrapping her fingers around the thick nylon straps of her cello case.

Arms accustomed to the heavy weight of her beloved Eastman, a preowned cello that had sat in a secondhand store for years, before finding its home in Veronica.

Old, worn, and reliable.

Its graceful neck snapping in her hands as Veronica slammed it into Kurt Kelly, nailing the intoxicated teenager between the shoulder blades as hard as she could. Taking great pleasure in the way he crumpled to the floor like a sack of potatoes, howling in pain and grasping at his back.

“Bitch!” Ram screamed, quick to come to his friends aid. His hands upon Veronica, meaty fingers curling around her throat. Squeezing, shaking her. The world darkening before Veronica’s eyes, just as Heather Mcnamara screamed out.

Her phone in hand.

“The police are on their way!” It was enough to earn Ram’s flittering attention, narrowed gaze darting towards the little Heather. The cell phone screen turned towards Ram, 911 darkly written across the blinding white screen. A quiet, worried voice escaping out of the phones speaker.

“Hello? Can you still hear me? Hold on, the police are almost there.”

“Your move, cocksucker.” Veronica grunted out, the hands loosening around her throat. Ram staring, and then staring some more at Heather Mcnamara. His head a jumble of drunken anger, with a newly added splash of fear.

“This- this isnt over, Freak.” Just for good measure, Ram gave Veronica one last hard shake, before harshly shoved her away to tend to his downed companion. Sending her crashing into Heather Dukes outstretched arms, her throat throbbing as she gasped for breath.

Veronica’s hands grasping at her neck, the pale flesh of her throat darkened to a vibrant shade of red. The outline of Ram Sweeney’s meaty hands indented into the soft skin.

“We’ll see you around, Veronica.” Ram Sweeney shouted over his shoulder, one arm slung around Kurt Kelly’s waist. Hurriedly shuffling the whining boy away, with the sound of sirens echoing in the distance.

Leaving the Quartet standing there, silence between them as they watched the two boys skulk away into the darkness. Slipping between houses, and vanishing from view. And only then, did Veronica let herself sink to her knees and clutch at her face, Heather Duke collapsing right along side her, arms still securely wrapped around her fellow brunette.

Holding her tightly, worriedly.

Heather Chandler and Heather Mcnamara following suit, the foursome huddling as group on the ground. Hands upon Veronica, touching her back, gripping her arm, and warily tickling fingertips along her wrung neck.

“This is not how I was expecting my first high school party to end....”

“God you’re such a dumbass, Sawyer,” Heather Duke scolded, eyes dark and lips set in a grimace. Tentatively cupping the struck side of Veronica’s face, her fingers cold against the flush flesh. Veronica leaning into the cool relief, eyes sliding shut and lips parting in a sigh.

“I kno-”

Vodka and Spearmint.

Heather Dukes lips tasted of vodka and spearmint.  

Chapter Text

Days to graduation: 69

On the day of the Orchestra championship, Veronica’s bruised face was in full-bloom. Muddled shades of blue and purple that peeked out disobediently. Barely visible from beneath the layer of make-up the Heathers had painstakingly applied to her tender skin.

The high-collar of her white dress shirt hiding the bruised outline of Ram Sweeney’s meaty fingers, a painful reminder of that night over a week ago.

The days following the party filled not just with after-school lessons, but enough drama to last Veronica a lifetime.

With police, worried parents, a disgruntled Orchestra teacher, and more than a few trips to secondhand stores. Veronica deciding to replace her Cello in the same way she had originally gotten her beloved old Eastman, searching every thrift store within reasonable driving distance.

Finding more than a few guitars and violins, but no Cello’s to speak of.

Three days of desperate searching, calling every secondhand store she could find online.

No. Nope. Not here. Sorry, no.

Again and again, her searching came up with nothing. The brunette resigned to her fate of using the spare Cello the highschool had packed away in its storage room.

One of the cheapest, and ugliest instruments Veronica had ever set her eyes on.

Thankfully, it was on the morning of day four that the phone rang, pulling Veronica’s attention away from her soggy bowl of cereal. Aware of the pinch look her mother shot at her from across the table, when she answered her phone without a second thought.

A callback from one of the secondhand stores she had contacted on her first day of searching. The gruff voice of a man informing her of an ‘Old and scratched Cello’, that had been donated to his store that morning with a hoard of other unwanted belongings.

Veronica still in her pajamas when she hurried her way into the disorganized little secondhand store, greeted by the same gruff voice that had raised her hopes on the phone.

A battered and bruised Cello leaning against the wall behind the front counter.

Patiently awaiting for Veronica, and its second chance at life. Scratched and worn, and without a single string to call its own. But like her Eastman, it had character. Sporting a spruce front, and a maple neck.

It’s color far darker than her previous partner.

For what Veronica had found was an old, secondhand Merano.

Not the most beautiful or impressive of Cello brands, but not the worst either. Miss Fleming surprisingly talented when it came to bullying people into doing her bidding, sending the Cello off to be refinished and restrung by a Luthier* she knew.

The restored Cello back in Veronica’s hands by the end of the very next day, shined and buffed to perfection. The once gouging scratch marks reduced to near invisible lines. A barely there reminder of its unkempt beginnings.

“We got this,” Heather Chandler huffed, her voice a muttered grunt. Her fingers white against the wood of her bow, gripping at it tightly. Voice reassuring, but posture worrying.

Eyes upon the red curtain pulled across the front of the stage, hiding the small Orchestra from the waiting crowd that murmured impatiently in their seats, Heather Duke on her feet and pacing.

Walking from one corner of the stage to the next, brisked and hurried. And if not for Miss Flemings warning of “Five minutes, ladies.”, the jittery Heather would probably be hunched over in one of the washroom stalls.

“Heather, come sit down already.” Heather Mcnamara patting the empty seat beside her, the blondes violin loosely held against her lap. Bow resting on the music stand in front of her.

Her music sheet a mess of doodles and music notes.

A clash of yellow and black.

“Two minutes,” Miss Fleming hollered, glaring at Heather Duke until the brunette collapsed into her chair. Arms crossed and knee bouncing, foot thump thump thumping against the stage floor. Stomping loud and rapidly, until a hand soothed across her right thigh.

Squeezing firmly. Groundingly.

“We got this,” Veronica grinned with confidence, her chin resting on the neck of her newly acquired Cello, the dim light of the mostly unlit stage illuminating the twitch of her lips and the tilt of her head.

Heather Dukes eyes catching the smallest glimpse of bruise peeking through the expertly applied make-up. Her eyebrows drawing together, lips set.

It wasn't only drama that had followed in the wake of the quartets memorable meeting with Ram and Kurt, Veronica often finding herself thinking about how soft Heather Duke’s lips had been against her own.

And the hand that had worriedly cradled her face, flesh hot against the cold press of palm. Veronica perfectly aware of how she must have looked, squinting from the pain that radiates across one side of her face.

Tears wetting her cheeks, and the hand that soothed her sobs.

“Damn right we do.” Heather Chandler murmured, her violin raised to rest against her collar bone. Bow at the ready and back straight, the red curtain inching its way slowly upwards until the spotlights could light up the stage.

Momentarily blinding, the polite clap of hands summoning the ensemble into motion. The soft humm of brass piercing through the vastness of the auditorium, gradually growing higher in pitch, until Martha rose to her feet.

Trumpet pressed to her tight lips, inhaling deeply before the iconic first notes peeled from her brass instrument.

DUNN DUNN DUUNN DUUNNNN!

She hammered out, her solo quick but forever memorable.

The six competitors before Westerburg High School having chosen songs that were both common and expected, songs that many schools had decided on in the past.

Pieces by the old masters, beautifully done but unquestionably unoriginal.

But it was with the familiarity of constant practice, that the ringing notes of the Rolling Stones echoed their way across the room. Bows drawn and valves pressed, Martha melding back into the hum of instruments, just as The Heather's leapt forward.

In-tune with one another, backs straight and fingers capable.

Drawing the sound from their violins in a haunting wail, the broad sound of Veronica’s Cello nipping at the heel of their tempo. Coaxing them, and at times overshadowing them. Miss Fleming’s face peering up at them from the front row, along with many of the students parents.

The delicate upturn of their teachers lips bringing a thrill to the ensemble, their excitement bottled up behind professional sternness. Eyes trailing and backs straight, the different orchestral sections blending seamlessly together.

The sound reaching, and snaring. Growing and growing, until with a single hard press of the bow, it all stopped.

A harsh and stabbing ending that was met with a long silence.

Veronica releasing the breath she had been stunting, the once soft and rhythmic rise and fall of her chest replaced with a rapid pant. Knees squeezing against the sides of her Cello, a trickle of sweat gracing her brow.

The thundering clap of applause no surprise to the seasoned players.

The conductor bowing graciously before motioning for the Ensemble to stand. The proud cheer of Veronica’s parents bringing a flush to the brunettes face, eyes bashfully downcast as the heavy red curtain inched its way back down.

Casting the stage into shadows, and freeing the Ensemble from the professionalism expected of them. Celebrating a job well done, now that they were away from the peering gaze of the judges.

Heather Duke shoving her Violin into the hands of Heather Mcnamara, before hurrying off to the washroom. Perfectly aware of the worried eyes that instantly followed her retreating form. The brunette washing her hands by the time Veronica and the two other Heathers had made their way to the washroom, their instruments carefully put away.

And left under Martha’s watchful gaze.

“You alright, Duke?” Veronica asked, eyeing up her fellow brunette.

“Ya. Just a bit of stress vomiting, no big deal.” Heather Duke brushed aside their worries without much effort, grinning at Veronica’s reflection in the mirror. “After all these months of practicing, I hope I never hear Paint it Black again.”

By this point, the well known song by the Rolling Stones had become an earsplitting tune to the quartet, hours upon hours of daily practice taking away any fondness they had once held towards the song.

In fact, Veronica could say without hesitation that she had come to hate the song.

“Still, we did pretty good.” Heather Mcnamara leaned up against the sink beside Heather Duke, letting their pinkies link.

“Pretty good? Heather, we were phenomenal.” Heather Chandler straightened the collar of her dress shirt in the mirror, scowling at the black slacks and white shirt she had been forced to wear. Her outfit void of even a glint of her signature color, much like her identically dressed fellow Heathers. “If only we didn't look like penguins.”

“At least you don’t look like a beanpole.” Veronica laughed, quietly grimacing as she rubbed at her sore neck. A hint of black peeking out from under the high collar of her dress shirt, tempting the hands that had soothed over the bruises many times that week.

Heather Mcnamara up in Veronica’s personal space before the brunette could even breath, deftly popping the top three buttons of her dress shirt open. Fingers gently pressed to the blackened flesh, stroking at the outline of Ram Sweeney’s fingers still clearly visible around Veronica’s throat.

“Does it still hurt a lot?” Heather Mcnamara whispered, peering up at Veronica through thick lashes. Veronica’s throat rising beneath Heathers hands, the brunette audibly swallowing.

“It’s just sore, Heather.” Veronica answered back, just as quietly. Keenly aware of the eyes that watched them, Heather Duke leaned casually against the sink countertop, with Heather Chandler right beside her.

Hips touching, with Heather Dukes arm slung around her leaders thin waist.

“Do you want me to… kiss it better?”

“Wha-” Veronica stuttered, her face washed in a healthy tint of pink. A pretty shade of embarrassment that went all the way to the tips of her ears, lips moving but voice lost. An amused snicker from Heather Duke pulling the brunettes eyes from the tiny Heather before her, and to the quietly watching pair.

Heather Duke grinning far wider than Veronica had ever seen, while Heather Chandler was polite enough to share in Veronica’s embarrassment. The blonde violinist’s cheeks basked in a pretty layer of pink, her bottom lip caught between her teeth.

“Is…is that okay?” Veronica mumbled, her voice thick with uncertainty.

In the week following the party, Veronica could physically feel the change in their friendship. That first press of lips against her own opening up a door Veronica had never known existed, suddenly aware of the shared smiles and secretive little touches she had caught glimpses of during her observing of the Heathers.

Back when she had been nothing more than a background character.

Touches she had labeled as nothing more than skinship between close friends. But as the dark bruises on her face became more muted and soft as the days continued, Veronica came to see more than she had previously been allowed to.

Like the way Heather Chandler would position herself infront of her fellow Heathers when walking the school hallway, hardly capable of hurting a fly… but always protective of the two. A protectiveness that had somehow made its way to Veronica, without her even noticing.

The brunette accustomed to the occasional bump of hips against her own, or the clasp of hands against her bicep. Fingers around her wrist, or playfully brushing her bangs from her eyes.

Veronica even finding herself on the receiving end of linked pinkies, several times.

“All’s fair in love and Orchestra, Ronnie.”

Having one Heather lavish her neck with gentle pecks would have been one thing, but that was not what Veronica ended up with. Heather Mcnamara’s hands peeling the collar of her dress shirt down until it laid flat against her shoulders, showing off the full ring of bruising around the cellist throat.

Lips soft and tempting, tearing a tiny whine from Veronica’s clenching throat. Lips dancing across both the front, and back of her neck. Heather Chandlers hands against the hard ridges of Veronica’s spine, pressed firmly to her back as she joined her fellow Heather in feathering her lips across the brunettes sore throat.

Heather Duke content to continue leaning against the sink, watching as her girlfriends slowly devoured the lanky cellist. Veronica, with her eyes clenched shut and hands fisted at her sides.

Putty and pliable beneath the hands that spoiled her rotten.

“We’re not being too rough, right Ronnie?” Heather Mcnamara hushed against the crook of Veronica’s throat, the blonde’s hands sliding upwards until they combed through Veronica’s hair. Gripping greedy handfuls of her hair, and tugging sharply.

A gasping parting from Veronica’s lips.

“Or do you want it rough?” Heather Chandler bodily yanked Veronica’s head down, pressing their lips together in a long, searing kiss. Of teeth, tongue, and lips.

Consuming the brunette, until her legs could hardly support her own weight. Heather Chandlers arms strong against Veronica’s hips, gripping and steadying her. Letting her teeth carefully graze the dark of the cellist’s throat.

Head dipping and teeth clamping, biting down gently at the untouched flesh just below Veronica’s hairline, on the back of her neck. Sucking gently at first, but then harder. Adding her own little spot of color to Veronica’s abused skin.

A squeak parting from Veronica’s throat.

“Veronica?” Martha voice called, her voice muffled from behind the closed door.

Barely giving the quartet time to compose themselves, before the plump trumpeter pushed the bathroom door open and peered inside. Offering up a quick, “Come on you four, they’re about to announce the winners,” before vanishing from sight once again, overlooking Veronica’s disheveled appearance.

The trumpeter only briefly taking note of Heather Chandler and Heather Duke at the sink, touching up their makeup. Martha leaving the four once again alone in the washroom.

Heather Mcnamara rebuttoning Veronica’s shirt, and straightening her collar. The tiny Heather taking her time, fingers warm against the underside of Veronica’s jaw, eyes dark and playful.

Voice a quiet, playful whisper. A tone usually reserved for her fellow Heathers alone.

“Your face really is perfectly symmetrical, Ronnie…”

“The better to sit on, my dear.” Heather Duke crassly joked at Veronica’s expense, laughing at the rich shade of red that overtook the Cellist’s face. The Heather content to ignore the glare Heather Mcnamara halfheartedly shot in her direction, instead sauntering her way towards the bathroom door.

Heather Duke casting a glance over her shoulder at the glaring Heather, the amused Heather, and the blushing Veronica. “Let's continue this conversation later. It’s time to win this bitch.”

Seventh.

For their seventh year in a row, the Chamber Orchestra of Westerburg High School came home as winners.

Adding a new glint of gold, to their schools trophy cabinet. 

Luthier: A person who makes and/or repairs stringed instruments.

Chapter Text

Days to graduation: 0

It was on a dreary Wednesday afternoon, that their final day as highschoolers came to an end. A quick and loud event that brought a curl to Veronica’s lips, cheering along with the other students.

All of whom were dressed in their gowns of black, with graduation caps atop their heads. Almost all of which were customized in some way or another.

Bedazzled in quotes, glitter, and paints.

It being of no surprise when Veronica had found herself sitting at her kitchen table, surrounded by Heathers and crafting supplies.

Quietly talking amongst themselves, as they fussed with their individual caps. Decorated with the most obvious of colors. The flat of Veronica’s cap topped with a bright blue piece of sheet music, the exact same song that also adorned the flat of the Heathers caps.

Dollhouse .

Truly the perfect song of choice, the song that had allowed the Heather’s a glimpse into the person Veronica could blossom into. Back when she had the status of a nobody, but the potential of a Heather.

Too quiet, too shy, too invisible.

But she was also too talented, too quick witted, and far too capable. And while maybe not in highschool, eventually Veronica would have found her way out of the shadows of anonymity all on her own.

But it was in this instance, that Veronica came to stand on equal ground with the Heathers. Coming home from the Orchestra Championship with their heads high, and gold glinting around their necks. Proudly wearing their first-place medals, Miss Fleming gripping the trophy with both hands as she walked in front of the returning Ensemble.

Carrying the sizable trophy like it was her own child.

Cradled and clutched to her chest.

A recording of their winning performance having interrupting classes throughout the entire school, the principal airing the rather poor quality recording shortly after the competition had been won. Before the results had even a chance of reaching the students of Westerburg High School, their attempted learning paused when all classroom televisions flicked on without prior warning.

Exactly forty minutes before the end of day bell.

Student and Teacher alike watching with rapt interest as their school Orchestra performed the Rolling Stones: Paint it Black. Performed, and absolutely nailed. Cheering and shouting echoing through the school at the new glint of gold awarded to the Ensemble, to the schools pride and joy.

The halls overflowing with students by the time the Ensemble made it back from the competition, the crowd milling about as the principal unlocked the trophy cabinet, and delicately placed the newest addition alongside its older siblings.

An excited twitch to Veronica’s fingers, and a smile upon her lips. The tentative brush of fingertips caressing down the inside of her wrist, before fingers laced with her own. 

A gleeful giggle escaping Heather Mcnamara, the blonde peering up at her.

Veronica noting the way Heathers eyes would glance down, tracing the gentle curve of her lips. Lips that had shortly ago been firmly pressed against, in that tiny backstage bathroom. And again on the short bus ride home, Veronica’s eyes wide as Heather Chandler had leaned delicately over her.

Standing, looming over the seated Veronica. The rest of the Ensemble too busy scrambling off the bus to see Heather Chandler leaning over Veronica, and kissing the brunettes surprise away.

Tiny, tentative, and shy.

Barely giving Veronica enough time to reciprocate, before their pink-faced leader marched her way off the bus, an adoring “Aww,” leaving Heather Mcnamara’s lips. At that same time that Heather Duke gave a bark of a laugh.

Veronica an understandable gay mess, as Heather Mcnamara pulled the brunette along behind her, catching up to their newly composed leader in just a few quick seconds.

The school doors opening, as the sound of cheering poured out.

It was on that day, that Veronica came to fully understand the level of adoration the school body held for The Heathers. Veronica’s popularity skyrocketing overnight, placing the cellist on a pedestal of her own.

No longer was she just a lucky rando that had befriended The Heathers.

She was Veronica Sawyer, a Heather in everything but name. The days following the championship filled with many firsts for Veronica, her newfound popularity rather disconcerting in the beginning. The eyes that followed her no longer possessing the same haughty derision they once held, the brunette instead looked upon with curiosity and interest.

The crowded hallways parting around her, just as they did for The Heathers.

Veronica had reached the height of popularity.

And who was she kidding.

It was enjoyable and exhilarating, but also overwhelming. Was this to be the highlight of her life for years to come? Would she be one of those sad souls who looked back upon highschool with fond memories, swearing that the days of her youth were the best moments of her life?

At seventeen, had she already peaked? But thankfully, life had other plans for Veronica.

And the Heathers as well.

An actual smile on Miss Fleming's lips as she introduced the foursome to an ‘old acquaintance’ of hers, an elderly gentleman that towered over everyone. His hands surprisingly soft and gentle, as he shook Veronica’s hand. Introducing himself as Mr. Jefferson, one of the many people who had witnessed their triumph at the championship.

He also happened to be the bringer of a lifetime opportunity.

Offering Veronica and The Heathers a future far from the sleepy streets of Sherwood.

For as it turned out, Mr. Jefferson was a Julliard recruiter who had; much to their surprise, been quietly attending the Ensembles competitions for the last three years.

Originally intent on recruiting The Heathers, and them alone.

But with words like ‘Scholarship' and ‘FreeRide’ directed at Veronica as well, there was little that could stop the brunette from jumping at the offer. Veronica’s parents thrilled at the news, her mother on the phone before Veronica could even finish speaking.

Calling up the mothers from her book club, to gush about her daughters good news. Relaying the information that Veronica continued to spout, parroting and squealing with excitement. Only to look conflicted at the mention of the distance that would reside between her, and her own daughter.

“What do you mean the first semester starts in a month?”

“...I mean, it starts in a month. Like, in thirty day?”

“And you’re graduation is in..?”

“Ten.. or so days?”

As it tends to, life quickly got hectic.

Actually, with the school year coming to an end, and Julliard beckoning, to say that life was hectic would be a laugh. It was a temporary disaster, Veronica and The Heathers taking a weekend trip down to New York a couple days after their graduation.

Visiting the dorms and finishing up their registrations, Mr. Jefferson himself touring them around the massive campus on his lunch break. Introducing them to their future teachers, as well as letting them take a peek around the dorm they had been assigned to.

A corner dwelling on the third floor.

With a small kitchen and living room, two tiny bathrooms, and four equally cramped dorm rooms. Rooms that were just big enough for a double bed and a desk to fit comfortable in, but room for little else. The space theirs to decorate and modify, as long as it was returned to its original state upon moving out.

The painfully white walls in desperate need of painting.

“Sup with the stupid grin, Sawyer?” Heather Duke bumped shoulders with Veronica, the two brunettes standing back as Heather Chandler and Heather Mcnamara explored the tiny rooms. Looking out windows and claiming their desired bedrooms under Veronica’s wide, goofy smile.

The kitchen an overflowing mess of boxes, bags, and furniture.

Their parents chipping in together to rent a small moving truck for all their daughters things, more than a couple tears shed as the pile of parents eventually went on their way, driving back to Ohio without their children.

Leaving Veronica standing in the kitchen, with her arms crossed and smile full of teeth. Already three boxes into the arduous task of unpacking their lives, pausing as she came across a box labeled GRAD in large black letters.

Her thumb sliding along the bright blue piece of sheet music that adorned the top of her graduation cap, her hand sinking deeper into the cardboard box. Snagging the corner of Heather Dukes green grad cap, and plunking it atop the Heathers head.

A tease to Veronica’s lips, as she slipped into one of the unclaimed rooms. Her cased Cello slung over one shoulder, the first thing of hers to be deposited in the bedroom of her impromptu choice.

Setting it atop the bed already placed in that room, Veronica calling over her shoulder to her fellow brunette, “Just thinking. Who would have thought that all it would take was a little fingerwork, to wiggle my way into The Heathers.”

“I’ll show you fingerwork..”

From her bedroom, the sharp call of Heather Chandler's voice earned a jump from the two women, “Veronica, stop antagonizing Heather. Seriously, can’t you two do your whole powerplay sexthing later? There’s a lot to unpack.”

Of them all, only Heather Mcnamara had the decency to laugh.

Chapter Text

Juilliard was exactly how Veronica had expected it to be. 

An exciting whirl of diversity compared to the halls of Westerburg High School, a place that Veronica had; in the end, come to appreciate in her own way. Preferring to overlook the early years of wandering its halls, drowning out the increasingly snarky insults with sharp words of her own. 

Instead, she looked back upon the final years. 

Where she had found herself drawn into the presence of the Heathers, women who understood Veronica's potential. And drew her into their circle, changing the direction of her life completely. 

The Orchestra opened to Veronica, at the Heathers' request. 

For never had Veronica seen Music, as a way forward into life. She had looked upon it like a hobby, a hobby she just happened to be pretty amazing at. But to experience the dedication and adoration that the Ensemble felt for their talent, brought a thrill to her. 

And with the Orchestra and the Heathers both in her life, Music would open up a path to Julliard of all places. Veronica allowed to walk through the campus’s clean, modern hallways. 

Crisp, new, and fresh. 

Her Cello, now  an everyday part of her life, carted between school and Dormitory. Her mornings and mid-afternoon hours dedicated to classes, while the rest of her day remained open. 

A schedule that the Heathers shared with minimal difference, allowing the foursome to experience dorm living together. And while residing within each other's zones of comfort, Veronica stumbled her way into an already established relationship. The Heathers having dated for several years, before Veronica even came along. Having had time to grow accustomed to each other, and learn the ins and outs. 

And Veronica…she was new at relationships.

Like… very new. 

In fact, before this she had never taken part in a serious relationship. So with her very first one, she went all in. And entered a relationship with not one, but three women. Veronica walking upon the tips of her toes at all times, waiting to be ambushed within her personal bubble. A Heather behind almost every door, willing to engage her in conversation. To smile and laugh, or look up at her through lowered lids. 

Veronica becoming efficient at dating The Heathers, not just as a whole, but singularity as well. Melding into their preexisting relationship seamlessly. Going from sharing a living space, to sharing a bed. 

Often her own, but sometimes someone else's. Veronica the only one of them to bring her own bed along, replacing the double bed with a queen size. Meaning that while her furniture did fit a bit snugger, for Veronica it was perfect. Becoming rare for Veronica to spend a night alone, the brunette happy to fall into a pile of warm bodies at the end of the night. Or to just fall into the grasp of a single Heather, the sleeping arrangements spontaneous at best. 

Veronica experiencing another first in her life, with the Heathers. 

Sex. 

A conversation Veronica had dreaded having, her nonexistent dating life mirroring her non-existing sex life. Error, error… experience not found. But much to Veronica's surprise, her admittance was met with only the barest of ribbing from Heather Duke. 

The dark haired Heather the most patient out of them all, when it came to Veronica. Shy and slow to open up, fighting to keep her vulnerability safe. Taking several semesters, before Heather Duke would even consider sleeping beside Veronica, the two enjoying a more casual relationship. Heather coming and going as she pleased, with Veronica simply enjoying the brunettes weekly visits to her room. Claiming Veronica's bed for a handful of hours, just long enough to cuddle and perhaps have sex. 

Often have sex.

A night time activity that Veronica; just like her taking to the Cello, took to with ease. Enjoying herself, after the initial awkwardness of it all. Acing the basics, and starting on the slightly more advanced stuff. Getting to know the Heathers in an entirely personal manner, right to the very root of them. 

Just as she became a slowly opening book to them. 

Learning of their differences and eccentricities, the Heathers becoming human before Veronica's eyes. Heather Chandler by far the most confident, in her wooing of Veronica. Claiming Monday night of each week to invade Veronica's bed. 

Taking Monday night without fail, followed by one or two nights at random. Their blonde haired leader more than willing to make herself an unexpected third party to Heather Mcnamara and Heather Dukes nights, politely greedy in her wants. Making sure she wasn't imposing, before setting into the sheets of Veronica's bed. 

Heather Chandler’s schedule changing little, in the two years the foursome had been living together now, showing the same confidence she had gone into the relationship with. Listening with patience when Veronica had first brought up her lack of experience, before turning the tall brunette into putty beneath her talented fingers. 

Veronica losing her virginity to Heather Chandler three weeks into their newly established relationship, months before Heather Duke would even consider moving passed second base with Veronica. But only a couple weeks before Heather Mcnamara would find herself making out with Veronica in the kitchen at three in the morning, fingers sore from practicing and eyes strained from staring at music sheets all evening. 

The foursome falling into a comfortable coexistence, in the bustling streets of New York. Spending their first Halloween together, followed by their first Christmas. Veronica continues to busk a couple times a month, always on the lookout for a good corner to haunt during her free time. 

The Heathers occasionally joining her, if they were free. 

Though more often than not, Veronica would finish up her playing and then catch a late night coffee in some ever changing cafe. From swanky little library bars, to smoky french cafe’s. Enjoying the freedom their Juilliard acceptance offered them, without worry when it came to tuition and rent. 

Their time spent working under Miss Fleming having been both harder and more stressful than anything Juilliard had thrown at them so far, Veronica earning more than her fair share of praise from the teachers. Her hard work awarded with the occasional solo, and the first chair in the cello section of the Orchestra. Just within reaching distance of her girlfriends, unsurprising that Heather Chandler was first chair in her section, Heather Duke and Mcnamara right beside her. 

Where they had always been, the three of them. 

Or, the four of them now.

Talented women that over the last two years had gained quite an interest, and even a bit of a following in Juilliard's Orchestral section, the end of their final semester just a couple months away. The four of them having raced their way through Juilliard's Masters program, finishing the program in exactly the minimum required time. 

Taking five or six classes per semester, a killer load for most people.

Perhaps that was why in the last two months of school, it was The New York Philharmonics that got in touch with the girls first, and not the other way around. Showing interest, before they could even graduate with their Masters degree in Music.

Offering not only a chance, but an assurance. 

That when their time at Juilliard had finished, The New York Philharmonics would be waiting for them, if they were interested. An opportunity that was full of promise and advancements, with an Ensemble that was without a doubt one of the best in the world.

Overflowing with talented men and women that took their craft seriously, spending hours a day practicing. A dedication that Veronica and the Heathers understood. 

Their lives revolving around each other, and the music that surrounded them. 

Veronica’s old secondhand Merano perched upon its stand in the living room of their dorm apartment, in the safe company of three near identical Violins. A tinkering giggle escaping Heather McNamara's lips, as she settled into the plush blankets of Veronica's bed. Mindful of the lightly snoozing Chandler and the snoring Duke, the girls having already claimed part of Veronica's bed for that night. Unaware that the littlest of their group would decide to join their pile of limbs in the early hours of the morning.

Her giggling waking Veronica from sleep, a blurry blink to her eyes as she took in the sneaking blonde, who was successful at looking innocent. A yawn to Veronica’s lips, as she lifted up the blankets and ushered the blonde into the overflowing bed. 

The little blonde kicking off her pants and socks, before settling into the cramped space. Her fingertips pressing into the dip of Veronica’s hip, thumbing at the blue boxers the lanky brunette had taken to wearing. 

Letting sleep take her from Veronica's arms.

Veronica managing to muster a sleepy smile, as she took in the Heathers. 

Sleeping soundly around her, in varying levels of undress. Flesh and fabric pressed together, as Veronica slipped off to sleep to the quiet sound of Heather Duke snoring. 

Her smile unwavering.