Clara returns to Lost & Found Music Studios, but fears that her breakdown might be triggered once more if she enters the Recording Studio where it happened. If Clara wants to resume her spot at Lost & Found, she must first face her own greatest fear...
This fanfiction is a sequel to Lost Girl.
Main characters and cast
- Jeni Ross as Clara
- Alex Zaichkowski as John
- Michael Torontow as Mr. T
- Emma Campbell as Clara's mom (flashback)
- Matthew Macfadzeon as Clara's dad (flashback)
- Trevor Tordjman as James
Clara's Greatest Fear
The outside door to Lost & Found Music Studios slowly opened, creaking on hinges that Mr. T had yet to get round to oiling, and Clara stepped into the deserted entrance hallway. She closed the door behind her and looked around. Standing against the exposed brickwork walls either side of her was a row of lockers, the sort one would see in the entrance of any high school, each of which bore a familiar name: JAMES, JOHN, LUKE, THEO, LEIA, RACHEL, MAGGIE, ANNABELLE to name but a few.
Clara made for her own locker, produced the key from her jeans pocket, unlocked the door and pulled it open. As she did so, she caught sight of the black and white head-and-shoulders selfie of her sister Giselle and herself, hugging as they grinned into the camera, stuck to the inside of the door and smiled to herself. Clara then slipped off her backpack, placed it carefully inside the locker and then, after a last look at the selfie, closed the door and locked it. Putting the key away, Clara opened the door to the passage leading into the main part of Lost & Found. She paused for a moment, listening to the faint sounds of music beyond. Then, Clara steeled herself and walked into the passage...
Clara made her way down the passage, moving as silently as possible (fortunately, she was wearing her runners) so as not to alert anyone to her presence. This was the first time she'd been back to Lost & Found since her breakdown and there was something she had to do alone, something she had to face up to — if she wanted to resume her spot. Something which terrified her. That something was her own greatest fear.
During her time away from Lost & Found, Clara had gone through a stage of feeling lost and not knowing where she truly belonged. She didn't know whether to make a fresh start and return to dance at the Next Step Dance Studio, or resume her spot at Lost & Found (which Mr. T had assured her she would not lose). This feeling had become so strong that one day, Clara had gone out for the first time since recovering from her breakdown and, needing a friend to talk to, had turned up at The Next Step, arriving in Studio 1 at TNS East, where she met Daniel, Giselle's former dance partner. With Daniel's help, Clara had eventually worked out where her future lay, and found herself no longer the lost girl she had been.
Coming to a corner, Clara flattened herself against the wall and peered round. Thankfully, the passage beyond was clear, and she could see the double doors leading to the Recording Studio — where her breakdown had happened, and which she feared would be triggered once more if she entered. I don't want to do this, she thought. But I've got to. If I don't, I may as well turn back now and never return to Lost & Found again.
Determinedly, Clara strode round the corner and made for the doors. She listened at them for a moment (although the upper halves of the doors had glass panels, these were opaque so she couldn't simply look through them), but could hear nothing going on inside. To confirm the studio was definitely empty, Clara pushed one door ajar slightly, just enough for her to look inside. As she expected, there was no-one there. Clara pushed the door open and went through into the Control Room of the Recording Studio.
Catching sight of the sound board with its vast array of buttons, knobs and slider switches, Clara remembered the occasion when Jules was showing her how everything worked and how, at one point, he had to stop Clara's inquisitive fingers from changing the carefully organized settings — leaving her feeling at the time every inch like a little girl who has been told she can look but not touch. In front of the sound board was the large window allowing those in the Control Room to see into the Sound Booth next door. Clara moved closer to the window, and looked into the Sound Booth.
Suddenly, Clara seemed to hear her own voice. She had never actually spoken those words to anyone; they were her own private thoughts. I want to be here, but it's really hard for me. I'm just trying to be brave.
This is it, thought Clara, as she began to experience the familiar, awful feelings of being overwhelmed, panic and despair. She pushed open the connecting door to the Sound Booth and hurried inside.
I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed with all the work I have to do. I'm trying not to panic, but it's really hard, Clara's voice seemed to be saying. And then, finally: I just want to disappear.
Clara looked down at the patterned carpet on the floor of the Sound Booth, where she seemed to see herself sitting huddled on the floor, sobbing uncontrollably while John cradled her in his arms, trying to comfort her. This must be what's called a flashback, Clara thought. The kind of thing experienced by people who've been through traumatic events. But they can be dealt with...
"No!" Clara said out loud, but softly. She shook her head angrily, causing her long, flowing red hair to fly everywhere. "No! This isn't real! It can't hurt me! I'm Clara! I'm not the lost girl any more! The lost girl's gone forever! This can't control me! It has no power over me!"
As she spoke, Clara turned to face the door in the Sound Booth that led to the passage, which seemed to open. Mr. T entered with Clara's mom and dad, who hurried towards John and her other self. John moved to join Mr. T, and her parents crouched down beside the other Clara. Her mom put a reassuring arm around her other self's shoulders, and her dad gently stroked her long red hair. Then, the flashback vanished abruptly — like the picture on a TV set which has just been turned off. Clara looked around the Sound Booth, and found she was alone. Everything was just as it should be. Those awful feelings she had experienced were gone. She felt different now — stronger, more confident, more positive, and as if a great weight had just been lifted from her mind.
Clara knelt down on the carpet, reached out and touched the same spot where she had sat crying all that time ago. Nothing happened; the flashback did not reappear. She was now sure of one thing: her greatest fear had been overcome, and it would never bother her again. Clara breathed a soft sigh of relief.
"Hello?" a voice called suddenly from the passage door behind her. "Are you all right there?"
Clara heard footsteps, stood up and turned to see who was coming in. It was James, and John was with him. On seeing it was Clara, the guys hurried across the room, threw their arms around her and they embraced in a group hug.
"Clara!" exclaimed James, when the three of them came up for air. "It's great to see you again. We've really missed having you around!"
"Welcome back, Clara," said John. "How are you feeling?"
"Well, I've been through a lot. But now I'm feeling much better," Clara replied. "It's great to see you guys again too!"
The three looked round as the passage door opened again, and another familiar figure entered — a tall man with dark hair, a moustache and chin stubble, dressed in an open-necked shirt and trousers. "Mr. T," said James, as the owner of Lost & Found came across to see what was going on. "Look who's here!"
"Welcome back, Clara," said Mr. T with a smile as he shook Clara's hand. "I kept your spot open for you, just as I promised."
"Thank you, Mr. T," replied Clara. "I really appreciate it, and it's great to see you again."
"Sorry to have to hurry you out of here, Clara," Mr. T went on, "but John's got a new song he wants to record. Why don't you come into the Control Room with James and myself and watch?"
"Thanks, Mr T, I'd like that," said Clara. "I'll be with you in a moment."
"That's fine, Clara," replied Mr. T. "James and I have just got to check the sound board's settings first." He and James went through to the Control Room, leaving Clara in the Sound Booth with John.
"John, i'd like to say thank you for being there for me," said Clara.
"You're welcome, Clara," John replied. "Just remember: if you start to feel overwhelmed or panicky in future, just stop and talk to someone. Me, Mr. T, Parker — anyone. Promise?"
Clara briefly remembered how she'd called Giselle, who was just about to go on stage at a dance competition with Riley and John's girlfriend Michelle, when she had experienced those feelings and tried to explain what was happening shortly before suffering her breakdown, but had ended up chickening out — something she now regretted. No way that was going to happen again. "I promise," she said. "Thank you, John!" She threw her arms around John's neck and kissed him full on the cheek.
Just then, Mr. T's voice came over the intercom in the Sound Booth. "Clara, we're ready to start now. Come through, please."
Through the window, Clara could see James seated at the sound board, with Mr. T standing next to him. Mr. T was smiling and shaking his head. Clara gave him a wave to indicate she was coming, then turned back to John. "Catch you later, John," she said, and went into the Control Room — leaving John to get ready to perform (and, at the same time, thinking himself lucky Michelle hadn't seen what just happened).
Settling herself into a chair next to James and Mr. T at the sound board, Clara sat back and watched John perform his new song.
Clara was back at Lost & Found Music Studios. And this time, she was here to stay.
- To begin with, you're probably wondering why I've written a fanfiction set at Lost & Found Music Studios for The Next Step Wiki. Well, the answer's very simple. I wanted to write a sequel to my very first fanfic, Lost Girl, showing what happened to Clara after she returned to Lost & Found, as the non-renewal of Lost & Found Music Studios after its second season naturally left Clara's breakdown storyline unresolved. Bearing in mind that this particular storyline would now not be concluded on-screen, I decided to do so myself via the medium of a fanfiction where Clara faces and conquers her greatest fear, i.e. the Recording Studio where her breakdown happened. As The Next Step's spin-off show is sadly unlikely to resume production in the foreseeable future, and crossovers with the main show are rare, the TNS Wiki's Fanfiction Portal is now the only place where any new Lost & Found stories can appear.
- The entrance hallway of Lost & Found Music Studios where Clara arrives at the beginning, with its high school style lockers, was added by me for this fanfiction. I did consider a locker room, but decided this would be too similar to that introduced in The Next Step Season 5 and so I elected to have the lockers on either side of the hallway, like a school. I felt this scene also nicely solved the mystery of where the attendees of Lost & Found keep their personal belongings during the day — and sure you do too.
- Clara's backpack, which she places in her locker in the entrance hallway at the beginning, was my own addition and which I had originally featured in Lost Girl. As for what it contains — sorry, I can't help you there as I haven't decided myself yet! Then again, the contents of a teenage girl's backpack are no-one's business but her own... :-)
- The black and white head-and-shoulders selfie of Giselle and Clara stuck to the inside of Clara's locker door was inspired by an image of a transition scene from the Lost & Found Music Studios Season 1 episode "Day After Day". I chose to include this in the narrative because I felt it looked good and could easily pass for a selfie. You can view the aforementioned image here.
- The original chapter title of this fanfiction was Clara's Fear. However, as I developed the storyline the title became less and less relevant, so I finally decided on Clara's Greatest Fear as a suitable alternative. I also toyed with Clara's Personal Demon as a chapter title for a time, but at the last moment I decided — even though I'm not a puritanical kind of guy — this was unsuitable for a fanfic based on a TV show aimed at a family audience.
- When Clara seems to hear her own voice in the Control Room, the line "I want to be here, but it's really hard for me. I'm just trying to be brave" was from the Lost & Found Music Studios Season 2 episode "Sweet Tarts". The lines "I'm feeling pretty overwhelmed with all the work I have to do. I'm trying not to panic, but it's really hard" and "I just want to disappear" were from the season's penultimate episode "You Could Have it All". The line from "Sweet Tarts" actually refers to Clara's unhappiness for almost being expelled from Lost & Found for stealing a song and, unlike the dialogue from "You Could Have it All", does not refer to her breakdown at all. I chose to use this line simply because it seemed to fit with Clara's beginning to relive the start of her breakdown. (A little artistic license, I know — but it works.)
- To make the part of the flashback where Mr. T and Clara's mom and dad enter the Sound Booth as accurate as possible, I watched this particular scene from "You Could Have it All" several times on YouTube to make sure I got all the details right.
- There are probably readers who think the titular events of this fanfiction are more suited to a supernatural tale than a music drama such as Lost & Found Music Studios. Bearing in mind that The Next Step featured episodes where Margie disappears into thin air, leaving Chloe wondering if she was real (Season 3's "Do the Right Thing"); and Michelle dancing with herself in Studio A (Season 4's "Dancing with Myself"), I personally think if the events of this fanfic had appeared as part of a possible third season of Lost & Found, viewers would have probably taken them with 'a pinch of salt'. To set the record straight, I didn't set out to write a supernatural tale, nor have I done so. This fanfiction is about Clara facing and conquering her greatest fear — no more and no less.
For the collective works of the author, go here.