DISCLAIMER: I don't own them, but I certainly wish I did. Damn Ryan Murphy and his unrivaled genius.
AUTHOR'S NOTE: This fic was written for a challenge issued by my friends, the Chicas.
ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Healthy Competition
By Teara


Brooke's hazel eyes shifted nervously as she made her way through the crowd. She wished she hadn't made her father leave when all she really wanted him to do was hold her hand. A group of kids ran past her and she clutched the professionally wrapped package in her hand. She weaved through the games and rides to where she figured the tables were. She smiled in relief when she saw the back of Harrison's head. He could really use a hair cut, she thought right before she was propelled forward. She landed hard on the floor, smashing the beautifully wrapped present under her weight. She could feel the tears burning her eyes, but she blinked them away. Growling in frustration she turned to look at the force that knocked her down.

A girl, who appeared to be somewhere around her age, towered above her. Her wild dark hair was pulled into pigtails and she wore stonewashed blue jeans with a hole in one knee and a brightly printed t-shirt, reminding Brooke of "Punky Brewster." The blonde girl pushed away from the floor, standing up and dusting off the dress she and her father had spent the better part of that morning picking out in the store. "Y-You pushed me!"

Brown eyes flashed in anger at her, contradicting the smirk that had formed on the young brunette's lips. "I didn't push you. I said 'look out' and you didn't move, so I ran into you."

"It's the same thing," Brooke insisted, bending down to retrieve her ruined gift.

"No, it isn't. Pushing you would mean I did it on purpose. I ran into you. That wasn't on purpose."

Annoyed by the other girl's smug explanation, the young blonde sighed. "Well…"

"Well what?"

"Aren't you going to say sorry?" Brooke asked angrily.

The brunette shrugged. "Why? It's your fault you got knocked over." She took off running in the direction of the tables, disappearing into a crowd of people.

Brooke looked down at the crumpled box. The bow was crooked and some of the paper had ripped and there was a big hole where the box underneath dipped, revealing the plastic-encased toy. Tears blurred her vision, but she quickly wiped them away. Her mother had always told her she had to be strong and she promised herself that she would be. When her mother came back, she'd see and she'd be proud. Taking a deep breath, she gathered her courage and continued her trek to Harrison. He wouldn't mind the ripped present. That she was sure of. They'd been best friends for almost four years now and that counted for something.

She tapped him on the shoulder, a bright smile on her face. He spun around in surprise, a smile matching her own greeted her. "Hi Brooke!"

"Hi Harrison. Happy Birthday!" She said enthusiastically.

"I'm glad you're finally here. Now you can meet, Sam."

Sam. Harrison's other best friend. She'd heard a lot about Sam. They'd met during little league three years ago and he hadn't stopped talking about her since. Brooke had heard all about how Sam was the best pitcher and how smart she was. She knew that Sam told the funniest jokes and that she built the best forts. She never made Harrison play dolls or "Princess in the Tower." At first, Brooke had been jealous, but when Harrison had mentioned she'd be at his birthday party, Brooke had come up with a plan. She'd find out a way to be friends with Sam too. Then maybe they could all play together. Then maybe she wouldn't be left out when Sam came over to play at Harrison's house.

Sam was the reason it had taken so long for her to pick out a dress. She wanted to look perfect, make the perfect impression. She nodded excitedly when Harrison told her he was going to go find the other girl. She looked down at her hands realizing, that in her excitement, she'd forgotten to give Harrison his gift. She watched as her best friend made his way back over to her, happily dragging someone behind him.

"Brooke, meet Sam." He swung the girl forward. A look of thrill was on the girl's face until their eyes met and her expression fell.

Brooke felt the world spin. It was the girl that had knocked her over. No, it couldn't be. The brunette crossed her arms over her chest, eyeing the blonde critically. "So this is, Brooke? She brought you a smashed present."

It was the most miserable day of her life. After she'd handed Harrison his ruined gift, he'd taken off with Sam and she hadn't seen him since. She didn't know anyone else there so she sat with his mother watching the electronic puppet band dancing and singing. She wanted to cry. She was supposed to be having fun. When Harrison had told her his ninth birthday was going to be at Chuck E. Cheese she'd been thrilled. She'd never been there before and who better to go with than him? He was her best friend first and Sam was stealing him away. Well no more! She stood and made her way to the play area, looking for the pair.

She found them at the skeeball game and grinned wickedly. She was one of the best skeeball players around. She stood before the lane to the right of Sam and Harrison and fed her token to the machine. As the balls slid down the shoot, she met Sam's glare with one of her own. When she heard the brown globes clack together, she flashed a smug grin at the brunette before turning to her lane. It took her a moment for her to get into the swing of things, her dress making it harder for her to bend over and play, but pretty soon she was topping the high scores and had more tickets than she knew what to do with. Harrison and a group of kids she didn't know stood beside her, cheering her on. She glanced over at the other girl and saw that she looked anything but pleased. She walked up to Harrison, her gaze never leaving Brooke.

"Come on Harry, I'm bored. Lets go play Whack-a-Mole," Sam said.

Harrison tore his attention away from the blonde and looked over at the girl. "Not now, Sammy. I want to watch Brooke play."

Brooke smiled triumphantly over at the brunette before she continued to play.

The two girls spent the rest of the day in their unspoken competition. Sam was better at shooting basketball, but Brooke was better with air hockey. Sam beat her at the car racing game, but Brooke was better at the claw machine. Sam ate more pizza than Brooke, but that was because the blonde just picked at her one slice of cheese pizza until it grew cold and she pushed it away. Everything was about who was better and pretty soon they both forgot all about Harrison. That was until he walked up between them, his face crestfallen as he regarded them both.

"Is someone gonna go in the ball pit with me?" He asked, or more accurately whined.

Sam glanced up from the game she was playing. "Actually I'm a little busy, Harry."

Seeing the opportunity to get the upper hand for the rest of the day, Brooke smiled brightly. "I'll go, Harrison!"

Surprised, Sam looked over at her. Unfortunately for her, that caused her to lose her game. "I'm done now Harrison. I can go."

"No that's okay, Sammy. I'll go with him. You can continue playing your game," Brooke said sweetly to the other girl.

"I said I can go now," the brunette growled. "Why don't you go find something else to do, Barbie?"

"Because I said I'd go first, Punky. Harrison's my best friend," Brooke growled back.

"No, he's my best friend! And I'm going with him to the ball pit!"

"No, he's my best friend and I'm going to go!" The two girls moved towards the pit, completely oblivious to the fact that they were leaving their "best friend" behind. They quickly slipped off their shoes, Brooke finishing first and raced to the opening to the pit. Brooke jumped in front of Sam and the brunette shoved her down into the rubber, multi-colored balls.

She resurfaced, pushing the balls out of her face only to be pelted with another and then another. Looking up in confusion she saw that the other girl was throwing them at her. "Hey! Cut that out!"

Sam smirked at her. "And what are you going to do if I don't?" She hit the blonde with three more balls.

"I said stop!" Brooke tried to shield her face and body.

"Make me!" Sam threw another ball, this time hitting Brooke hard on the side of the head.

That angered the blonde she fought her way over to where the other girl stood and pushed her over onto her back. She sat down on the other girl, preventing her from moving as she unleashed her own attack with the balls. Sam fought her, pushing her back before repeating her earlier actions. The two continued until two crewmembers came and escorted them out of the pit.

A red ball flying past her face broke the blonde out of her daydream. She looked up to find two brunettes smiling over at her. She picked up the red ball and made a tsking noise. "You know, these aren't supposed to leave the pit area. What exactly are you teaching our daughter?"

Sam's smile grew wider at the question. "I'm teaching her how to have fun."

"Look, Mama," their three-year-old daughter, Sarah, said. When Brooke looked over, the tiny girl threw a yellow ball at her, this one hitting her right between the eyes. The toddler smiled up at her other parent, awaiting approval, which the older brunette gladly gave. Sam whispered something in the child's ear, while gazing slyly over at the blonde, her dark eyes dancing with mischief. Sarah turned her own dark eyes on Brooke and the blonde knew that she was a goner. Whatever Sarah asked for she'd gladly give her. "Mama, come with us to the ball pit. Mommy promises to be on her best be-behav-" Sam whispered something else to the stumbling toddler. "She promises to be good."

Brooke smiled when she caught Sam's wink. "Well if she promises, then I guess I should go with you guys."

"Yay!" Sarah exclaimed before she scrambled out of the booth and grabbed Brooke's hand.

"What were you thinking about before?" Sam whispered to her as they made their way over to the pit.

The blonde grinned over at her. "The first day we met. You know, when you pushed me down?"

"I still maintain that I didn't push you, I ran into you and that's different." Sam returned with a smirk identical to the one she'd worn when she'd said the same thing twenty years prior.

"Uh huh," Brooke said in disbelief.

"I knocked you off your feet that day, both literally and figuratively. So quit complaining."

The blonde smiled at that. It was true. She'd fallen hard for the brunette that day and hadn't recovered since. "I wasn't complaining. I was stating a fact."

"Sure, sure." Sam helped Sarah out of her shoes before slipping out of her own. She regarded the blonde thoughtfully for a moment. "How about after this, we head over to skeeball? I'm positive that today will be the day I finally beat you."

Brooke lifted their toddler into the pit before climbing in herself. "Dream on, McPherson."

The End

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