It’s been over eight months since I wrote a Jimmy Neutron fanfic. I thought I’d left that part of my life behind me, but it’s not the first time I’ve been pulled back into the fandom by a story I’ve been itching to write. For about a month I’ve had an idea for a story that explored the episode Trading Faces in a different light – what if Jimmy and Cindy had formed their truce right away instead of ruining each other’s lives first? I needed a break from worrying about the NAVLE, so for the past week I’ve been working on this story. I hope to get the last chapter up within a few days.
The first chapter is posted below, but the whole thing can be read here. I hope you enjoy and please, (pretty please) feel absolutely free to let me know what you think. I always love getting reviews and criticism.
As Jimmy Neutron stormed into Ms. Fowl’s classroom and reluctantly took the empty seat to Libby’s right, he could only focus on five words. The one simple phrase they composed had been shouted in a shrill shriek by Cindy not a half hour before. Then fix this, you idiot!
Jimmy scoffed at the audacity of that remark. How could she call him an idiot, when he had single-handedly, albeit accidentally, proven that mind transplantation was possible? As if that weren’t enough, there was the unspoken sentiment behind that terse diatribe; the idea that this was all Jimmy’s fault. Now that was utterly laughable.
Maybe I wouldn’t have felt the need to pick that harpy’s brain if she hadn’t humiliated me the day before. And it’s not as though I could have predicted lightning would happen to strike the phone pole carrying our conversation. Jimmy nodded at his flawless logic before sighing in defeat. In the end, he supposed it didn’t matter how wrong Cindy was to blame him or the circumstances that had led him to this moment.
The only thing that mattered was that he was trapped in Cindy Vortex’s body.
“Ugh.” The simple thought of his predicament made Jimmy moan as a reflexive shudder coursed through his body.
Libby spun towards James with a look of concern. “You alright, girl?”
Before Jimmy could answer, Cindy Vortex all but twirled her way into the classroom in James’ body. Jimmy shot her a look that could kill, but she merely grinned mischievously as half the class gawked in confusion.
“That dweeb gets weirder every day,” Libby mumbled before flipping her headphones on.
“Yeah, he’s really pushing it,” Jimmy loudly snarled while locking eyes with his nemesis. He watched Cindy grin wider and take a seat at what used to be his desk.
Cindy Vortex didn’t think anything could wipe away the smirk that humiliating Jimmy had brought, but hearing the bespectacled boy beside her speak proved her wrong.
“Hey Jim,” Carl happily greeted. “You really nailed that twirl!”
Sheen slammed both fists onto his desk and nearly jumped out of his chair. “It was a pirouette, Carl! If you’re not going to respect the art of the dance then maybe it’s time I break out the Crazy Porpoise and show you what’s -”
Cindy sighed and gripped her desk tight. “Will you two chowder-heads knock it off before I…” she noticed the class stare at her strangely and felt her lips twitch at the words she realized she’d have to speak. “Before I tell you two you’re the best and coolest kids in fifth grade?”
“Aww,” Carl and Sheen cooed in concert.
Cindy shook her head and lifted her desk up to grab a pencil. She realized her mistake a half second too late. The booby trap she’d placed the afternoon before went off with a loud splat! and showered her entire face in dark blue ink. She immediately felt her cheeks burn bright red and was thankful that the ink hid her embarrassment. Both her relief and humiliation evaporated as soon as she saw Jimmy’s ecstatic face.
“Oh, so it’s war, is it?” she asked with a near-hysterical chirp.
Jimmy’s face instantly fell. “You’re the one that put it there!”
Cindy ignored Jimmy’s valid point. She spun around, kneeled on her chair, and shouted to the entire class, “Look at me everybody! I, Jimmy Neutron, am a blue-faced cross-eyed nosepicker!” She shoved an index finger deep in one nostril and gleefully twisted it about.
As Cindy should have realized by now, her joy at the class’ laughter was to be short-lived. Jimmy jumped off his chair, placed his left arm in his armpit, and asked, “Oh yeah? Listen to this.”
Cindy jabbed a threatening finger towards the ceiling and warned James, “Don’t you dare.”
Jimmy ignored those words of warning and promptly squeezed his arm against his hand. All but Libby and Ike laughed uproariously. Libby stared at her friend in horror, and Ike lowered his sunglasses to ask, “No one else thinks something weird is going on?”
The class ignored Ike’s question and turned their attention to Nick Dean, who lazily strolled into the classroom. He noticed the ink on Cindy’s face and cast her a curious glance. Cindy’s face melted in an awkward smile until she realized she was currently both a mess and a boy. She quickly sat back in James’ seat and watched in horror as Nick approached him.
“Hey Cindy, what happened last night? You said something about an extra concert ticket and then the line went dead.”
Beads of sweat instantly began to streak down her stained face as she watched Jimmy’s look of confusion morph into one of utter victory. Her heart was fluttering, the air seemed to seep out of some leak in her lungs, and her stomach felt like she was right at the climax on The Bat Outta Heck. In that moment, she realized three simple things: Jimmy Neutron held all the cards, he was going to use them, and she was powerless to stop him.
Jimmy Neutron cleared his throat to draw all eyes towards him. This was of course unnecessary, his and Cindy’s fight had gathered the attention of every kid in class. He took one last second to savor his victory, examined his nails in the most lady-like manner he could manage, and spoke. “I wouldn’t -”
He’d only gotten through those first two words when he truly caught sight of Cindy’s face. Dilated pupils indicated a surge of adrenaline, the beads of sweat and slightly rosy cheeks indicated anxiety, and the expression on her face radiated terror and something else it took him a moment to analyze. That last thing was complete and utter devastation.
Jimmy realized the pause between words had grown too long; the class was mumbling in confusion. Cindy’s face was morphing now to grim resignation; it was a vain attempt to hide the pain she expected him to cause her. But she couldn’t conceal it all. And though Jimmy was furious at the girl beside him, he realized two simple things: he had the power to completely break his nemesis, yet still knew it was wrong to do so.
Jimmy Neutron cleared his throat once more and started his answer over. “I wouldn’t have hung up on you on purpose.” He struggled to make up a somewhat convincing lie as Cindy tilted her head in confusion. “That storm shorted out my phone, that’s why I couldn’t call you back. Sorry.”
Nick studied Jimmy for a few more seconds before shrugging his shoulders. “Alright. Just let me know if you do have some tickets. I’m always up for a cool show with a cool girl.” Every female in the class save Cindy melted at Nick’s remark as he headed to his seat in the back row.
Jimmy nodded and sat back down at Cindy’s desk. He turned to his right and watched Cindy slowly take her seat as well. Ms. Fowl strolled into the classroom and told her pupils to get settled, but Jimmy kept his eyes on Cindy for a few seconds longer. For the first time he could remember, her lips twitched into what could have been a thankful smile.
For the first time that Ms. Fowl’s class could remember, not a single word was spoken by Jimmy or Cindy for the rest of the morning.
The lunch bell was only mid-ring, but half of Ms. Fowl’s class had already dashed out of their seats and towards hallway. Cindy noticed that Jimmy seemed to be in no rush; he was clearly taking his time by organizing his desk before leaving the room. They both waited until everyone else had walked out, then Jimmy rose out of his chair and slowly walked away without a word.
Can never make it easy, Cindy thought with a roll of her eyes. She followed a few steps behind Jimmy and waited until they were in the hallway and out of Ms. Fowl’s earshot. “Hey Neu…I mean Vortex!”
Jimmy stopped and spun around. “What is it, Vor…darn it. I mean Neutron.”
Cindy managed a quick huff of amusement at how poor of a job they were doing. She waited for a group of third-graders to pass them by and with a low voice said, “I wanted to, well, you know.”
Jimmy shook his head. “I don’t, actually. This brain of yours doesn’t process things as quickly as mine does.”
“Then forget it,” Cindy snapped while marching towards the cafeteria. She only got a few steps before Jimmy’s voice’s carried from behind her.
“What should I have known?”
Cindy sighed and spun around. That smile that always meant Jimmy found one of his own remarks too funny was melting away and leaving a blank stare in its wake. She waited a few seconds before grumbling, “Thanks.”
Jimmy seemed to consider this for a long moment. “You’re welcome.” Cindy watched his face scrunch up in thought; it was clear he wanted to say more. Yet after a few seconds his features relaxed and he spoke no further.
Cindy weighed her options and then took a step towards James. “Look, Neutron. We can screw each other’s lives up a million ways, but then we’re not going to have anything left to go back to. So how about for now we call a truce.”
Jimmy considered this proposal for only a few seconds. “That sounds fair.”
Cindy nodded and resumed her march towards the lunchroom. Jimmy fell in step beside her, and she quietly continued their conversation. “We need to figure out exactly how we’re getting our bodies back and how to survive until then.” She clamped her mouth shut as a few more kids pushed their way past her. “And this isn’t exactly the place to do it. Let’s go to The Candy Bar after school and sort out a plan. Okay?”
Jimmy nodded back. “Okay.” He hesitated a moment and then asked, “And maybe no more pirouetting until then?”
Cindy huffed and devilishly countered, “I’ll do my best.”
Jimmy could feel the eyes of everyone in The Candy Bar on him and Cindy as they strolled into the restaurant together. A glance at Cindy revealed she felt just as uncomfortable as he. They took their seats at a lonely booth in the corner and quickly got to work.
“Alright, Vortex,” Jimmy began while pulling what appeared to be a phonograph attached to a phone out of his backpack. “The Neutron Encephalosynthesizer works by separating and magnifying our alpha brain waves. It was never meant to transfer minds, but did so after being subjected to a high voltage of electricity.”
Cindy nodded; she’d already heard how the device worked during yesterday’s show and tell. “Then all we should have to do is hook ourselves up to it and blast it with electricity again, right?”
Jimmy’s cupped his empty hand in the air while shrugging. “That’s the general idea, but we were extraordinarily lucky to have survived the last mind transfer. This thing wasn’t built for that; it could have just as easily fried our brains.”
Cindy’s tone turned harsh. “So you’re saying you nearly killed us both.”
“I’m saying we should focus on the future, not the past,” Jimmy countered. “Except maybe the parts of the past where I spared you crippling humiliation and social suffering.”
“Those parts of the past wouldn’t have happened if a certain bumble-headed dipstick hadn’t tried to listen to my thoughts!” Cindy seethed while digging her nails into the table.
Jimmy prepared to toss another cold remark at Cindy when he felt a looming presence beside him. He and Cindy stared up at Sam, whose trembling hands held a shaking pencil and notepad.
“I’ll give you two a minute, yeah,” he offered before slowly backing away.
Jimmy watched him go, but Cindy didn’t hesitate to turn her attention back to their fight. “You know what your problem is, Neutron? You escalate everything! I make fun of your puny height, youleave a girl-eating plant on my doorstep!” Cindy’s voice lashed out with a surprising fury. “I say Thomas Edison maybe isn’t the best inventor in the world, you nearly destroy the entire timeline! I make it seem like your brain yodels and how do you respond?” Cindy tapped her chin before slamming her palms back on the table. “That’s right, you listen to my thoughts and steal my body!”
For the first time, Jimmy wasn’t sure how to counter Cindy’s argument. He simply sat there for a quiet moment as Cindy finished with, “So sorry if I’m not giving you a free pass because you decided not to ruin my life this morning.”
Cindy took in a deep breath after her diatribe and leaned back in her seat, waiting for Jimmy to snap back with some asinine explanation for how everything was actually her fault. Instead, he simply sat in silence for a few more seconds before asking, “So what do you want?”
“What do you mean?” Cindy tiredly asked.
“Do you want to destroy my life?” Jimmy calmly asked. “And have me ruin yours?”
Cindy rubbed her forehead and answered, “No. I want my body back. That’s it.”
As Jimmy considered this, Cindy stared at the palms and fingers that weren’t hers. Then she grasped the dry brown her that felt so cold and alien. As she truly considered how simply wrong the act of being currently felt, Jimmy quietly spoke.
“You were on the right track.”
“What?” Cindy asked while dropping the strands of hair.
“Combining the Encephalosynthesizer with electricity switched our minds once, so it can do it again. We just have to be careful to make sure it doesn’t kill us first. I can create two model minds on computers in my lab. Then we hook the device up to them and apply different voltages of electricity one at a time.”
Cindy considered this and nodded. “So we see what voltage will switch our minds back without frying them.”
“Exactly,” Jimmy agreed.
Cindy stared at the clock on the Candy Bar’s wall and narrowed her eyes. It was already nearing four o’clock. “We can’t start tonight, though. You need to get my body to piano lessons. My mom will kill me if I miss it.”
Jimmy cocked an eyebrow. “We?”
Cindy shook her head in disbelief. “Yes we, you moron. The last time you invented something it unintentionally, once again, switched our minds. I am not letting you use anything else you create on me unless I’m watching you make it.” Cindy’s lips slowly turned upwards as she realized something. “And besides, it’s not like you can get into your lab without my hair.”
Jimmy’s eyes bugged out in horror as Cindy added, “Maybe I’ll just relax in there tonight. Put my feet up, let Humphrey on the furniture…I could even do some redecorating!”
“No,” Jimmy flatly uttered. Cindy’s playful daydreaming was cut short by the sternness of Jimmy’s tone. “Please,” he whispered with a slight quiver, “no.”
Cindy stared at Jimmy for a few seconds before sighing. “Fine.”
Jimmy smiled thankfully before shaking the kind expression away. “We clearly need to set up some ground rules if we’re going to be stuck like this.”
“Agreed,” Cindy shot back.
“You can’t go in my lab unless I’m with you,” Jimmy began. “You have to make sure Goddard fully recharges each night, do your best not to destroy the inventions in my bedroom, and be nice to my parents.”
Cindy considered these requests and found them reasonable. “Okay. But you have to go to piano lessons on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. Tai-chi is Wednesday and Thursday. I know you’re not any good at those things,” she said with a hint of disgust, “but can you at least make an effort not to make me look like I had a stroke or something?”
“Fine,” Jimmy agreed.
“And obviously don’t get me in trouble with Mom or Dad,” Cindy pleaded. “Especially Mom,” she barely whispered before shaking her head. “And take care of Humphrey.”
Jimmy rolled his eyes. “You know bulldogs can’t even give birth naturally? That’s how inferior of a dog Humphrey is.”
“Do you know your dog is literally not a dog?” Cindy shot back. “That’s how inferior of a dog Goddard is.”
Jimmy’s eyebrows furrowed downwards, but his eyes shot open as he came to one last realization. “There’s one other thing. How do we, um,” Jimmy rubbed the back of his neck. “You know.”
Cindy squinted one eye in confusion. “No. How do we what?”
Jimmy whispered, “Shower and stuff?”
Cindy pulled back in shock, she’d been able to avoid that question last night. She’d thankfully showered an hour before they’d swapped bodies. “We don’t!”
“This could take a week to fix,” Jimmy nervously answered. “Our parents are going to make us stay hygienic.”
Cindy reflexively shivered. “Eyes closed, eyes closed,” she anxiously repeated.
“The bathroom should stay dark, really,” Jimmy agreed.
“Just let the water run over you. Just stand there,” Cindy begged.
“Towels are overrated, really,” Jimmy agreed. “Air drying is the way of the future!”
Both children stared at each other, down at their bodies, and shivered once more.
“So we’re all settled, then?” Cindy asked.
“Yeah,” Jimmy agreed while leaping off the booth. “I’ll go to your lesson now.”
“Thanks,” Cindy offered. “I guess I’ll…I don’t know, throw a magnet at Goddard or whatever you do with him.”
Both children walked towards the door and exited the Candy Bar. A quiet moment passed as they stood awkwardly beside one another.
“Well, see you tomorrow,” Cindy said while starting the walk to Jimmy’s house. She saw Jimmy head in the opposite direction towards the music store she always got her lessons at, then heard his voice ring out.
“Yeah?” Cindy asked.
“I’m sorry,” Jimmy admitted before continuing his stroll.
Cindy watched him for a few more seconds, then continued on her way home.