Lance didn't want to leave home; but he didn't feel like he had a choice.
As much as his parents were trying to cover it up he knew, they were struggling. It's not easy with a full household; especially with low wage jobs. But they tried their hardest to pull through and even though it isn't his responsibility that just made him feel guilty. Whenever he asked if there was something he could do he just got the smile from his mama that says, "everything will be alright" but Lance knew; it was not. All he could see from that smile was sadness.
He was the oldest in his family; with 10 other siblings. Since his parents were hard at work most of the time, he did his best to take them in and keep them out of trouble. There was enough raw tension around the house as it is from all the stress. Unfortunately however, that didn't stop the tension from exploding at times. Lance couldn't count the times he had to distract the others from the yelling and screaming from the other room. With reading and dance parties with blasting music, he thinks he did a good job when he had to.
There were many quiet discussions from the adults on how to fix this, but there's only so much that can be done to fix something that is possibly broken beyond repair. That's about when Lance came across a pamphlet for Garrison Academy; a boarding school that offered full rides to children of families with low incomes. With him gone that would be one less child to care for, so he contacted to get more information, and now here he was.
Lance's family saw him off. They each hugged him and said their goodbyes. It was emotional for Lance; he just hoped everything would be a bit easier on everyone. "No need to cry", he remembered telling his siblings while wiping their tears away. "You guys will be fine without me; you guys are strong." He got a final kiss on his cheek from his mom before he got on the train bound to his destination. He could still feel the kiss lingering, even hours away.
He took a deep breath, looking up at the academy. 'Well this can't be so bad' he thought to himself. It's like a fresh start to life. Sure he had to make new friends, but this was Lance. Lance was good at making new friends. Besides, Hunk is here. Hunk has been his friend since practically birth, the only friend he ever counted on enough to let him into his situation. They were practically inseparable; but besides Hunk he realized, he had left everything else behind.
He just hoped he made the right choice.
Keith had nothing to lose.
After his mother left, so did his father; on this "crazy quest to find her" or something. In Keith's opinion, it was just because he wasn't wanted anymore. Even if he wanted to believe that his father would come back, who would leave their child alone and not take them along? Once it was found out that he was living in his small house alone, he was forced into the orphanage with other lonely children. It was no use getting close to those kids or even the staff of the orphanage in Keith's opinion; they'll just leave him like his mother or even worse; get close to him and abandon him like his father.
Sure it was an isolated life, but Keith got used to it.
It didn't bother him at all when he was flat out ignored; it's not like he talked anyways. It didn't bother him when other kids left with new parents. It didn't bother him when there were whispers that no one would want a kid who doesn't talk. Keith lived for himself only. He was convinced that if there was no one there to love him, then just himself was fine. Until Shiro walked into his life.
No one knew where this boy came from. He just showed up on the doorstep, no clue of his family and no one could track them down. He really only seemed to know his name; Shiro. He was a few years older than Keith, black hair and grey eyes. If Keith was interested in getting to know people he would want to get to know Shiro. What a shame that he did not.
Shiro was nice to everyone, everyone loved Shiro. But due to the fact he was an older child none of the parents wanted him. Like Keith he was left in the dust, pretty much stuck in the orphanage. A couple of times he tried to talk to Keith but the younger boy just shrugged it off and turned away. What did he care he didn't want to talk to anyone; but Shiro just kept on pushing. Eventually, he was the first one to break down Keith's walls.
Looking up to him like a brother, they kept in touch even when the other went away. Shiro found a boarding school to experience living away from the orphanage. He and Keith talked almost everyday. It's been years since then; and it was Shiro to convince Keith he needed a new start, to get out and find some friends. The orphanage clearly wasn't doing him any good. "You should come here Keith. I think you'd like it."
Keith reluctantly agreed. It was time to finally get away from this dreary hell hole.
So he packed his things and ended up here, at the Garrison Academy. Glancing up at the huge buildings, Keith made a small promise to himself; 'don't let yourself get attached to anyone'. It's okay to have only one friend. After all, people only leave in the end.
Pidge has never really fit in.
He was always different from everyone; a nerd, a standout, extraordinarily smart. His dad, Sam Holt, was known everywhere for his work on math and science so it's only natural that his children would get some of his smart genes. Pidge always excelled in everything he did but no matter what he would always get compared to his father. Though it was quite exhausting to be continually compared to his dad, at least there was someone to turn to when things got overwhelming. Matt, Pidge's brother, was always there for him no matter what.
Matt was the person who cheered him through the rough times, and Pidge was grateful to have someone to turn to. Whatever they went through they went through together, especially through the transition.
For a long time, Pidge held a secret. He held it from everyone, including Matt who was the one person he trusted with his life. For a long while it didn't even feel right to him. It freaked Pidge out beyond belief. The thought that he could possibly feel more comfortable as a guy was unknown to him. This period of time was excruciating; it's like not knowing what is up or what is down, he was constantly thinking over and over again about who he is and whether it was acceptable for him to feel that way. He had to talk someone, but he chose to tell no one at all.
There was always a fear within that no one would be able to accept the true him, so he chose to hide it inside. Though the ace bandages were painful, he started closing his chest away. Rather than telling anyone, he decided maybe it would be better to restrict his breathing. Maybe it would keep him from spilling it out to the world; the thought that he was not the daughter he was born to be. It hurt him to still go by Katie at school but hey, if it would stop people from figuring out his imperfections then so be it.
Naturally, Matt was the one to figure out something was up first. Something was different with Katie, he noticed. She appeared more anxious to him, for her that was not normal. He gave her a few days, thinking she might come around and mention something to him. Katie didn't ever stop him so he took matters into his own hands even if it would cause him to be hated.
"Hey Pidge?" Matt said gently, knocking on her door softly. "Can I come in?"
"What is it." Pidge huffed, opening the door. She seemed tired, Matt noted, there was a bland tone to her voice. He slipped into her room, shutting the door before slowly approaching her. There was an issue in this; Matt didn't know what to say or how to confront her, so he ended up staying completely silent. "Matt come on."
"Woah woah woah." He stepped back again, worried by her confrontational tone. Again, it was not like Pidge to be so aggressive. "Katie Holt don't use that tone with me. What's going on, are you..." before he could finish suddenly Pidge burst into tears. Approaching her again, Matt tried a gentler tone. "Hey – Pidge... Are you okay? What's wrong?"
That evening, Pidge spilled everything. How he had been feeling, how he felt like he had to hide it from mom and dad, how he felt like he even needed to hide it from Matt. His brother only listened, with an intent look on his face. But Pidge knew; he was listening to every word. If anything, Matt had always been a good listener. Once Pidge got done spilling all of his secrets, Matt had said sympathetically, "I'm glad you told me Pidge. It's going to be okay."
His brother by his side, Pidge stopped the ace bandaging and actually bought a safe binder. Matt helped him immensely; there is no way that he could ever repay him in a whole lifetime. In a couple of months when Pidge was ready, he came out to the rest of his family to only receive positive responses. They agreed to let Katie officially change his name to Pidge. It was Matt's nickname for him, so the transition to calling him Pidge would go smoothly for the family. It was an homage for his brother, as his support meant the world to the younger sibling. Not long after it was time for Matt to go to a boarding school; and though he was missed like crazy talking to him still felt like home.
School life without Matt around however; was a nightmare for Pidge. Other kids would poke and prod at him, still call him Katie, and all that. Though the pain was huge; he just decided to shrug it off, show that words wouldn't hurt him even though they did. Each word jabbed at him like a knife. School became a hell hole; but in only a few years time he would get out.
When he became around Matt's age when he left it was time for Pidge to reach out and try new things. To himself he promised to get away from this place; to somewhere where no one knew him. Where he could gain respect. So following in his brothers footsteps, he applied to the Garrison Academy.
Stepping off that plane was the most frightening, but most amazing step to this new life. He was ready for every bit of this. He could finally work on becoming himself.
Hunk had always decided he would go away from home one day. But was he ready? Not at all. He loved home. He didn't want to leave his mom all alone. But in the end they both agreed it was the best option for him.
He loved his mom to pieces; she raised him as a single mother which he knew was not easy. She had him way too young, but she still chose to keep him and raise him up. To Hunk, she did a pretty amazing job. He was so proud of her; his mom was always his hero. They didn't have much but for what they had, their cozy little home is enough.
The only issue is that when he or his mom was struggling, Hunk never really learned to rely on others. Sure there was Lance, his best friend, but he had nothing compared to what Lance was always going through. The only thing Hunk knew was to be strong for others; so that's what he did. When it came to taking care of everyone, he had a huge heart. When it came to take care of himself; he would just shrug it off. "Be strong, be strong, be strong" he kept telling himself, like being weak was no option. He even always came off as strong to his girlfriend, Shay, who he met a year ago.
He met Shay online due to some common interest of computers. If they were seen together people would think they were the perfect couple; but they've never been seen together, as a matter of fact they have never personally met each other. Shay lived all the way in a big city; Hunk just lived in a tiny old town. They were so in love, but the relationship certainly had strains due to the distance. But they didn't let it show that it bothered them. Both were too strong to even admit it.
Coming across a boarding school, Garrison Academy, Hunk was curious. The more and more he looked into it; the more he felt it was a good idea. Maybe getting away from home was what he needed to do but he couldn't leave his mom all alone; he didn't want her to be lonely without him. He was her only child; how could he just leave her like that? But he kept drifting to the page, wondering what it would be like away from home, until he forced himself to shut the computer.
One day he accidentally left the computer with the tab open. When his mom went to use it for work, she noticed the page and curiously brought it up to him. She mentioned it was okay to go; Hunk refused. It kept going on and on like an endless cycle before Hunk finally sighed and gave in; he agreed he would get away. He only made his mom promise that she wouldn't be upset without him. She smiled and promised; bringing him into a tight hug while saying she was so proud of him. Hunk nodded, tears in his eyes.
When he left, his mom was the one with tears in her eyes. Hunk kissed her cheek and waved goodbye, before hopping on the train for the adventures that would come. On the train was the only time he allowed himself to not be strong; silently crying when it took off for the destination.
Once arrived, he got off the train and walked toward the building ahead to hunt down Lance. He messaged Shay and his mom to let them know he got there. Slipping his phone in his pocket, he put up a strong front again. Nothing is going to break his walls down now.
Once students stepped onto campus, staff met them with their keys and ID before rushing them in every which direction. There was a lot of conversation; people around Keith talking about where they had come from and why they chose to come; but he didn't care at all. All this noise was making him overwhelmed and at this point he just wanted to get to his room, or find Shiro. Or both. So after receiving his things he headed in the direction the staff pointed him to with his head down. A part of him regretted this decision. There were so many people that could possibly try to get buddy buddy with him. Keith wanted none of that.
Approaching the dorm, Keith kept looking to the floor. He swiped his ID to get in with a grimace on his face. He didn't even notice there was a person exiting; accidentally running into them. With a sigh he glanced up, preparing to apologize or get chewed out by the person he just ran into; but none of the above happened. Instead of getting mad; all he heard from the person's mouth was "Keith!"
"Shiro?" Keith asked, looking up. He'd know that voice from anywhere, even if it had been a while since they saw each other face to face. "Oh my god, Shiro. You don't know how glad I am to see you." he exclaimed, throwing his arms around the other boy.
"It must have been rough for you, I know. But hey, you're here now, it'll be a breath of fresh air."
"And you're here." Keith stressed, stepping away from Shiro. "That's the best thing that can happen in this place. Finally out of that damn orphanage; nothing could get better. Do you room here too?"
Shiro scratched the back of his head, unsurely glancing at Keith. "I... Yeah Keith I do. But I couldn't get a room with you, I tried but it's the rules that I need to watch over my residents." He watched as Keith's face changed, aware that the boy wasn't going to like having to room with a total stranger. To Keith it was like being in the orphanage again, rooming with someone for a period of time before they left. "Hey, you'll be okay. I'll be just around the corner. I know you don't like people you don't know but try alright?"
That got a small chuckle out of Keith. "Okay Shiro. I'll try."
"'Atta boy." The older boy clapped Keith's shoulder, before linking his arm around Keith's neck and starting to walk in the opposite direction than he was heading. "Come on, let's get you settled in. I see you didn't bring much."
"Not like I had a lot" the other returned, a small smile still on his face. The both of them headed to Keith's assigned room, catching up on the way. Once inside so he would have company, Shiro agreed to stick around. He had nothing really to do, after all; he was just heading out in order to observe all the commotion.
Keith was pretty torn. This place was like a game of cards; there's the good hands and the bad. Good – he's with someone like family with him, bad – there's so many people that could be nosy here. Good – he's out of the orphanage, bad – he has to room with someone who's a total stranger. He kept going back and forth between the pros and cons, what he liked and didn't like, but he couldn't make up his mind whether it was good or bad. It is what it is, he figured. It could only go downhill from here.
The sun was high when Hunk got outside of the train station. His eyes were slightly puffy and tired; the only thing he really wanted to do was just sleep. To him, that sounded like a wonderful idea. Keeping an eye out for Lance as he was pretty sure his friend took the same transportation, he headed out towards the campus. It's not like the Cuban was hard to find, it was just that there were so many different people it was difficult to see through all the heads. All the people around made Hunk a bit anxious, since he was only used to the small town. It was never anything close to this.
If anything, Lance would be easy to find; or so Hunk thought. How many tall, thin, Cuban boys could possibly be in this one place? He was placing his bet on not many, especially ones that looked exactly like his friend. Also, he knew the boy for his entire life which made him pretty sure he could find that brunette anywhere. Still scanning the crowd, he received his keys and ID while still slightly frantically continuing to look for Lance; heading in the direction of the dorm. Thankfully he didn't have to search any longer, he was lucky and Lance managed to find him first.
"Hunk!" He heard his name being called from the back of him, and sure enough when he turned around it was exactly who he thought it was, running up to him. "Hey, big guy." Lance said slightly out of breath, grinning ear to ear. That grin made this place feel warm and welcoming like home. "I'm glad I found you, there's so many people here. It's nuts."
"Yeah, tell me about it." Hunk fidgeted, looking down. "Nothing you know, like school back home. Nice and small and... Quiet."
Lance took a deep breath, taking a few steps forward. Hunk was quick to follow, falling in step the same pace as his friend as they walked in silence to the living space. It took a while before Lance eventually exhaled, speaking up. "You know Hunk, you seem really nervous. But you'll be okay. It was a lot of courage for you to leave home and your mom; and you're here now. You'll make new friends and... and... I don't know. It'll be okay."
He smiled at Lance's reassurance, looking up at his friend aware that he probably needed to hear the same words. He left just as much, if not more, than Hunk did. "Thanks, Lance. I'm sure it'll be okay for you too."
With that, the two entered the dorm in silence, prepared to hunt down their rooms and meet their roommates. Once they walked up the stairs, conversations from other rooms were happening all around. Hunk's room was across the hallway; so to the other he said goodbye and left; entering the double room. It was quiet again, and he took the time to breathe. Lance's words kept repeating in his head; it'll be okay, it'll be okay. Maybe it will be okay, Hunk decided, unpacking his bags and settling into the empty room.
Once he settled in, he called home. After that, Shay. Through his conversations he kept silently telling himself one thing trying to get himself to solidly believe it; It'll be okay.
Lance slowly walked up to his room. Despite just telling Hunk he was brave for leaving everything behind, he felt like it was the opposite for himself; just running away from his home problems and all that. But that doesn't matter now, he'll do good in this school. Make many friends, share many smiles and laughs and maybe all the stresses back home would be forgotten, just for a little while; until it was time to pack up and go back home.
Approaching his door, he heard a conversation going on. 'That's odd', he thought, lifting up his hand to knock on the door. Maybe he got the wrong room; or maybe he ended up in a triple.
Just when he went to knock, he heard "Well Keith, I got to get going. Good luck to you." The door opened; and if Lance hadn't stepped back it would have smacked him right in the face. "Oh, sorry about that!" the boy who just stepped out mentioned with an apologetic grin. He looked older by a few years with grey eyes and his black hair with a white forelock hanging down. Lance was trying to figure out why he was there, maybe a sibling or just a friend helping move in? While he was closely examining the boy, he heard him say while sticking out his hand; "You must be Lance, right? I really didn't mean to almost whack you with the door."
Lance looked at the hand slightly confused before taking it with his own. "Yeah, Lance, that's me. I don't want to seem rude but... how exactly do you know my name?"
"I guess I should introduce myself huh? I'm Shiro, your resident advisor. I'm in charge of this dorm. I was going to introduce myself later, but since I'm already right here," Shiro flashed another smile as he let go of the younger boy's hand. "If you have any questions or concerns about anything or even need advice, please do not hesitate to reach out to me."
"Sounds good. No problem Shiro." He said, before the other walked away. His first encounter with a person that wasn't Hunk – Check. That didn't go terribly; actually it went pretty well. This making friends thing should be a piece of cake. Beaming with confidence, Lance walked into his room. He got this; he can do the same thing with his roommate too. He wasn't called "Charming Lance" at his old school for nothing.
All that confidence was spoiled as soon as he walked into the room. Not because he lost it; oh no, it was because nothing he said got his roommate to talk to him. It took a while to get his name even. Keith seemed like the total opposite of Lance and that kind of frustrated him. How was this going to be a positive experience if this boy and his stupid mullet doesn't make any attempts to talk? Before Lance stepped in the room; the boy sounded so lively talking to Shiro. It just didn't seem possible that was the boy he was now facing. Unfortunately it was, and the only other thing he got out of Keith was a "Leave me alone. Please?"
It may have sounded snappy to Lance, but at least it seemed like he knew some manners; he did say please after all. But despite that; the brunette kept one eye on the other, a bit curious about him. He wondered why the raven-haired mullet kid was so locked away inside himself, and why he was open to only Shiro. Questions kept running through Lance's head; questions he knew probably went into private business so he couldn't even ask. For some reason, he still was itching to be friends with Keith.
He decided that he would try his hardest to get Keith to open up to him; because if his roommate was going to be closed off to him for the whole year living here would be absolutely unbearable. Despite the tension, at least people would be there to actually talk to him at his home. That thought about home left an empty pit in Lance's stomach; one that he just couldn't shake for the rest of the afternoon. With a sigh he laid down on his bed, staring at the ceiling. Picking up his phone, Lance scrolled through Facebook as he heard soft music coming from Keith's headphones on the opposite side of the room.
Stepping off the plane was like a new adventure for Pidge. It's not his first time traveling; his family went everywhere for vacations due to his father being practically famous. He really had been to all sorts of places; but this was his first trip that he was completely by himself. It was exciting; but pretty scary. Even though Pidge knows exactly who he is, a bunch of people might not; he still holds onto the terror that he didn't pass to others that well. He understood if people accidentally misgendered him due to not knowing him at all, but there still was that heightened concern that others would purposely do it to hurt him once they had been already corrected. With those fears in mind, he stepped up to the academy to finally get to the dorms.
Compared to most the other people, Pidge was very short. Even the girl that gave him his keys and ID was taller than him; that just made him feel intimidated. He didn't know exactly to what dorm he was going to so he had to get directions from practically every staff member he came across. At least people were referring to him with the right pronouns, so that made him at ease a bit.
Once he got to the dorm, Pidge hesitated a bit before swiping his ID. What if his roommate isn't accepting? What if they don't understand him? Even though you never know until you meet a person face to face; Pidge didn't really want to find out. But he had to get unpacked sometime and settled in, besides it's not his roommate's business if he's trans or not. That's his personal thing to know and his alone. Walking in he decided he was going to keep it a secret from all the people he meets. Why make it known when it could stay away? That way nothing could go wrong.
A person about Matt's age greeted him when he walked through the common room; pointing him in the direction where his bedroom was located. Somehow the older boy in the common room looked familiar, even though Pidge had sworn he had never seen him before. The sudden thought about Matt made Pidge miss seeing him; after attending Garrison Academy he got accepted into some job where they worked on rockets, so he rarely got to visit home anymore. Pidge wished silently that Matt could come help him move in, but his brother was told he was needed for something important. He said something about maybe visiting sometime though; so his little brother still had some hope.
Pidge hopped up the stairs, going quickly to the end of the hall where the room was located. Approaching the door, he heard a voice quietly talking on the other side. It seemed like he was on the phone; maybe his family, or a girlfriend? After knocking lightly, he opened the door and headed in, pulling his luggage behind him. Just when he entered, the other boy said his goodbye and hung up. He was bigger than Pidge which made him a bit fearful; he could probably beat him up if he disapproved of him. "You didn't have to um... hang up because of me." He said softly, shrugging.
"I was done anyways." The other said back. "I guess you're my roommate then, huh? My name's Hunk!"
"Pidge." He let out a light sigh of relief. It hadn't even been long, but Hunk already didn't seem like a bad person, just from the warm smile he gave Pidge; that smile made him lower his guard, at least a little bit of it. "Pleasure to meet you, Hunk."
"Pleasure's all mine, Pidge."
The two ended up chatting for the rest of the time as the short boy unpacked his stuff, making his side of the room feel like home. With a roommate like Hunk, it made the room lively and exciting. He told Pidge how he loved baking, about his girlfriend Shay, about all sorts of things. He made Pidge feel welcome here, something he hadn't felt like in a long time. Even though everyone here wasn't going to be like Hunk, it put him in a positive mindset. But if everyone would be like Hunk; what a place this would be.
The Garrison Academy; Shiro chose to attend again not just as a regular student, but with the added responsibility as an residential advisor. Even though he had the pleasure of being chosen by the school for this responsibility, worry still lingered in his mind. Was he fit for it? Would he do a good enough job? He only really applied because he got convinced by Matt, his old roommate, when he found out he was leaving Garrison Academy to take a prestigious job. That left Shiro without a person to room with, and why go through all the hassle of finding someone when there's benefits of being an RA like getting to room by yourself.
"You're a natural born leader," Matt Holt grinned, while suggesting the role of an RA instead of struggling to find another to room with before the next year. "It's you last year here Shiro, make the best of it."
So he decided it was worth the try. He went through the intensive selection process; applying, being interviewed, until he finally heard back, the conformation that he indeed would be advising one of the freshman year dorms. He found out as well that he would be the leader for four of his residents through their freshman project, though he didn't know what ones.
The uniqueness of the school is what drove Shiro to this place about four years ago. The way the academy ran is that the first year teaches how to strengthen your team skills while building on individual strengths, while the next two years are free rein with what the individual would like to focus on; like finding an internship, studying abroad, or if someone just wants to work on building them up. Not everyone stays until the final year as they may change schools or catch the attention of a job place like Matt did; but in that year there's the option to lead a group of freshman, to help them manage and guide them through the project required by each team. Shiro wasn't sure on how many were aware of this team aspect; not many people look that closely into the school. He knew that Keith might have some strong words for him after he finds out about it. Nevertheless it was exciting to him, as getting along with others was his forte. However there was still that insecurity digging at him. What if he's not a good leader? What if he can't lead after all?
Shiro took a deep breath. It's high noon. Thirty minutes until a hall meeting; thirty minutes until he meets all his new residents. That's the boring part of moving in; the entrance ceremony where everyone gets sorted out into groups was way more exciting. That was in about two more hours, and Shiro couldn't wait. He didn't know who the four were, but he hoped they would get along with each other; that they will get along with him.
Fifteen minutes pass. As it narrowed down to 12:30, Shiro went around and knocked on all the doors of the occupied dorm rooms to get all the younger students out to meeting in the common room. There was some grumbling, but eventually all of the first years were gathered into the one large room. A couple of them he recognized already; Lance, Keith, and that small person in the oversized green hoodie who he didn't stop them to learn their name. There were many different moods around the room; some excited, some nervous, some annoyed, some indifferent. It reminded Shiro of when he first arrived and had to sit through his first hall meeting. So to get it over with, he started talking.
First thing to do, go over the rules of the dorm. Second, rules about if anything needs to be changed. Third, the talk about if there's any problems that need to be addressed to go to him; not directly acknowledging the issue could cause so many more problems and nobody would want that. Then came the part people either loved or hated, introducing themselves with their name, a fun fact, and where they came from. Some students, like Keith, brushed over the other two and just mentioned their names. After everyone was done, the meeting adjourned and everyone eventually cleared out either to their rooms or outside, leaving Shiro alone again. In another two hours, he'll be with his team. But as for now he just sat on the common room couch, watching people pass by the dorm from the window.
The next two hours after the hall meeting were excruciating for Lance. Sure he could probably have gone to hang out with Hunk for a bit, but he figured he could just meet up with him at the entrance ceremony since everyone had to be there anyways. The only thing Lance couldn't stand in this room anyways was Keith; who now had his back turned towards the other boy. There was no point in even trying to socialize with him as of now. Lance just hoped that it eventually wouldn't feel this lonely with another person in the room. At least there seemed to be other people in the dorm to hang out with, and if need be he could always change his roommate. Hating how he even had to think about that however, Lance shrugged it off bouncing his leg up and down.
Slowly but surely, the time passed and it became two. Immediately, Keith quickly disappeared from the room; Lance didn't even see him leave. Walking down to the common area, he waited for Hunk to join him. Eventually within minutes his friend arrived, with a small person in green following behind.
"Hey Lance." Hunk said wearing his usual smile as he greeted the other. "How's it going, how you holding up?"
Lance sighed, shaking his head. "It's been okay I guess. I can tell you on the way." He glanced over at the other person with Hunk and paused, squinting a bit. Trying to determine the gender of the person besides him Lance questioned, "And who's this... guy?"
"Yeah I'm a guy." The shorter boy huffed defensively, crossing his arms. "And my name's Pidge." He didn't seem to happy with Lance's questioning tone on the word guy, and he was stuck wondering why that was.
"Pidge is my roommate." Hunk mentioned with delight, patting Pidge on the head. "A pretty cool one at that."
"Yeah, yeah, let's not brag." Lance chuckled as he started walking out of the dorm for the opening ceremony, the others following behind. He had to admit he was a bit jealous; Pidge seemed like a good roommate. Maybe a tiny bit moody, but nothing like Keith.
The three of them walked in conversation, taking about their hometowns. Hunk and Lance told stories about how they grew up together, Pidge told them stories about his brother. Sharing tales, they walked into the main building where they were directed to the large Alfor Auditorium. There stood all of the first years, along with some older students as well. Lance while observing the crowd thought he saw the top of Shiro's head.
As everything was getting into order, Hunk nudged Lance and asked, "I thought you'd be waiting with someone when Pidge and I came down. Who are you rooming with?"
Lance sighed, shrugging. "You know Keith? In our dorm, black hair in a mullet?" As Hunk nodded he added, "Yeah that's him. He won't even talk to me. Wants nothing to do with anyone."
"Wow that must suck for you. I'm sure he'll come through eventually or... something."
"I hope." Lance added, as the ceremony started.
Two people walked out onto the stage as everyone stood there in the auditorium, being hushed silent. Finally there was some quiet in this place; everyone talking was giving Keith a headache. He honestly didn't want to be here right now. A part of him would rather be locked up in his room, without Lance of course. But it was required of all first years to attend, so he unfortunately had to be there.
The two on stage introduced themselves; Allura and Coran, the founders of this school. Due to not being very interested in their long drawn out speech about how this school was made in honor of Allura's father, Alfor, Keith tuned them out. He knew this would be some lame bullshit assembly. Most assemblies in schools were anyways. He reluctantly stood there arms crossed, surrounded by other people who were intently listening. What a boring day this had been.
The mention of something about a mission to encourage teamwork snapped him back into focus. Shiro never said anything about teamwork; hopefully it wasn't required for everyone. That was the one thing that Keith never wanted to do in school, and he had hoped once he left he would never be forced to cooperate in a group ever again. But unfortunately for him, one of his nightmares was coming true. Both Allura and Coran started naming out names to come forward, four underclassmen and one mentor, to create teams of five. For what exactly he had no idea, but he hoped on the bright side; that it would be something that would only have to last a few weeks or a month. After all, what the groups had to do was unknown yet.
"Takashi Shirogane." Allura called, and Keith followed Shiro with his eyes as he got up and walked up to the two as they greeted him with smiles. Whoever got put with Shiro should be well off, Keith had a feeling he would be a good leader. He was only hoping that he would be shoved in this group, at least with the one person he trusted in this world.
Surprisingly, luck seemed to be on his side. He couldn't believe his ears when Coran called out, "Keith Kogane."
Heading to the stage, Keith sighed in relief. If all else failed he would be with his only friend, it couldn't be that bad, right?
"Lance McClain." Was the next name that Allura called; all the hope Keith had about things not being that bad was lost. That stupid kid, that stupid Lance. Of all people why did he have to be in the same group. Fucking hell.
Once Lance walked onto the stage, the other two people Hunk Garrett and Pidge Holt were called, and Keith watched closely as a larger male got up with a shorter person following him to the stage. With that their group was complete, all of them walking to seating designated for their so-called team. More teams got listed off, before moving on into the presentation with what was required for each team to accomplish at the end of the year. In order to highlight their year at the academy each team of five was expected to create a blog. Everything should be included and everyone should be highlighted; from some aspects of their daily lives to tips and tutorials that highlights their skills. When the year is finished, each of the group's blogs would be showcased; and one would be picked to be highlighted on the school's website for the upcoming year.
To others this project might seem interesting; but to Keith this seemed like torture; along with being pretty damn boring.
Pidge's eyes were glowing. Not only did he love the idea of doing a blog following his time here at the Garrison Academy; but he also currently was already running a blog on his transition. Actually, there was barely a time when Pidge wasn't on technology. Computers, phones, the internet, it was his forte. Easy peasy, he thought, it's what he's good at.
If there was anything that would be difficult with everyone else, it would be working together. They haven't all talked as a group; but Pidge could tell that communication may be hard and that everyone might not get along. Sure Hunk was nice and Lance seemed like a cool guy besides accidentally almost confusing his gender, but just by Keith's face earlier at the hall meeting and at the time when Lance got called up to the stage; he didn't seem willing to work with anyone at all. At least they all lived in the same dorm so meeting would be easy, and at least Shiro was their leader. He seemed like a good one through what Pidge could tell, a friendly down to earth person who would be there for you if anything went wrong. Maybe he could pull the whole team together.
After the whole welcome ceremony ended, the groups were encouraged to group up somewhere. Since it was around dinnertime when the assembly ended, Shiro lead the group to the dining hall where there was a huge welcome buffet going on. Everyone got food and sat down, not saying a word. Hunk got the most, as Pidge would have expected. Keith got the least, which wasn't that surprising.
There was an awkward silence while everyone ate. It was like no one wanted to speak, even avoiding most eye contact with each other. All around them tables were being filled; each with conversation unlike their group. It was kind of uncomfortable to sit through, he wondered if this is what Matt's group was like in his first year. Sure there may have probably been some silence; but not as much as what was happening at their table alone. The silence seemed so loud.
"Nice to know that we're all kind of acquainted already." Shiro eventually brought up, breaking the silence around the table. No one said anything back to the older student, so he glanced over at Pidge. "Pidge Holt right? I thought you seemed like someone I know. Do you have a brother?"
Pidge looked up from his food, nodding at Shiro. He had thought all these people would have heard of him due to who his father was; Shiro asking if he had a brother was a surprise to him. "Yeah, Matt Holt." He brought up, shrugging. "Why?"
The mentor's face lit up, as he responded "I was his roommate before he left. I've heard lots about you. From the way he talked, you're a very important person to him. Matt was a great person, smart too. I wasn't surprised that he got a job so soon, being the children of Sam Holt…"
"Woah! Sam Holt? That guy's like a legend!" Hunk chimed in, slurping on some noodles. "You're one of his children? Pidge why didn't you tell me?"
Lance chuckled, patting Hunk's back. "Buddy, you didn't figure that out before? It's not like you got to know him hours before we all did." Shiro also let out a chuckle.
"It never came up!"
"I'm going to pause you guys right there. As much as we love our father, we are smart in our own ways. Matt and I both." Pidge shifted in his chair, biting his lip. He didn't want people comparing him with his father already, though it was bound to happen eventually. He was with these people for the whole year; it was exhausting in all the other years he didn't want it to happen here too. He had to admit he got a little defensive as he continued to talk. "We're not our father. I am Pidge, he is Matt. We deserve to be treated like our own people." The table once again returned to silence which made him feel guilty, biting his lip. Even Keith, who hadn't said a word was looking at him with wide eyes. Since no one really spoke after, he followed up with, "I'm sorry guys, that's happened a lot."
Eventually, Shiro spoke again with a warm smile on his face. "It's okay Pidge. You have a right to get upset, I'm sure we all would if stuff like that kept happening to us. We overstepped a little bit. I'm very sorry."
"Yeah man, I'm sorry too. We cool?" Hunk followed. Lance nodded in agreement.
A smile returned to Pidge's face. "We cool." He returned, before he finished his meal. He didn't think these people would be that bad if this is how everyone is going to be; the only piece he was unsure about was Keith, the only one that didn't speak at all through the whole dinner. Keith was a mystery to Pidge, then again he seemed like he was a mystery to everyone he came in contact with. Pidge wasn't even sure if Keith could play a part in this blog if he wasn't going to participate with the team. Maybe eventually he would come through.
Once they were all finished eating, all of them got up, said goodbye, and headed out. Pidge caught up with Lance and Hunk before looking back to see Keith slowly walking by himself. He had to admit, he felt really bad for him. It must really hurt to be alone like that, even if he didn't show it.
'Poor kid' is what ran through Pidge's mind, before turning his head back and joining in conversation with Lance and Hunk.
All of his younger students left ahead of him. Shiro couldn't stop thinking about what an interesting group of students he had to lead this year; not only were they different in what they looked like, their personalities were very different as well. However to say he was worried was an understatement, despite being comfortable with this group of people Shiro was very concerned. Part of that had to do with Keith; working on this project is supposed to be a team effort and he knew that the boy wouldn't cooperate well unless he found some way to open up, but knowing him he wouldn't want to. Shiro exited the dining hall with a sigh.
Once he stepped out, he saw all sorts of people walking around campus chatting nonstop. What memories that gave him, being here with Matt on the first day. He smiled while reminiscing his past years; he felt like he owed the Garrison Academy so much in the time he had been here even though it's been so short. He hoped that all these students, especially the students under his leadership would feel the same that he does now after they get close to graduating. Someone loitering alone by a tree outside the close by academic building caught his eye. he was about to wonder why they were so alone before he realized; that boy was none other than Keith.
"Hey, can I talk to you for a sec?" As Shiro approached the tree, Keith turned around to face him. He had an unsure look on his face, which also looked a bit upset. He knew this conversation might not go well; the other's face told him all.
"Look Keith, I'm just going to dive into this conversation. I know you don't like people, but they seem like a good group of kids." When there was no response, Shiro sighed. "Please try at least, okay?"
"Why." Keith snapped, which was unexpected even coming from his mouth. Though he may have gotten fed up and mad before Shiro never knew him to snap. He just tolerated everything, no matter how much things around the orphanage bothered him. Keith never really showed his feelings to others, even to people he trusted. It was hard for Shiro to even get a smile out of the kid most times. "You didn't tell me that I'd have to do a whole project with other people. For an entire year. Shiro, why didn't you tell me you know how much I can't… How much I just…" Without thinking, Keith scoffed and started walking away.
It pained Shiro to see his friend so betrayed, so he couldn't just leave it alone. Picking up the pace he followed Keith, staying in his field of vision as he spoke up. "This is why I think it would be good for you Keith. We may be around the same age but let's face it. I may not be around in your life forever. You can work with others, you just don't want to. You can learn, that's why I thought you should come here in the first place."
"I don't think so Shiro." Another scoff came out of the other boy's mouth as he shook his head.
"You'll never know if you never try –"
"And what if I don't want to try." He sounded frustrated, defeated even. Shiro had a feeling no matter what, there was no way to be convincing that this was indeed the right idea and it was right for him to come here. As much as he understood, Shiro was a little upset that Keith was not willing to take the leap in order to trust others. Defeated himself, Shiro gave up and the two walked to the dorms in dead silence. The atmosphere was heavy as they walked from the tree; neither of the two said a single word to each other until Keith got to the door. "Shiro, I trusted you but right now; I'm not so sure." He mentioned before closing the door, leaving the other standing there, helpless.
Shiro scratched his head. He had to admit; this is what he thought would happen when Keith found out, but also not how he expected it to be. At the end of it all, he just had to hope that the other would be willing to look past this and forgive him.
Instead of retiring to his miserable room for the night, Lance got an invitation to hang out with Hunk and Pidge for a while. Of course he took the invitation, there was no way he wanted to sit in his room with that antisocial mullet kid around. Besides, these two were more interesting to talk with; at least they responded to conversation. On the way back Hunk and Pidge were sharing all this computer lingo to each other; Lance had to admit he didn't know what they were talking about half the time. Though it was nice to see Hunk talk so passionately to someone else, his best friend was never the type to branch out much back home. But it also left Lance feeling a bit uneasy; what if Hunk gets along with Pidge better than him leaving him as a third wheel?
Shoving those thoughts in the back of his brain, the three of them walked into the room at the end of the corner. Hunk and Lance sat down on the bed to the left and Pidge plopped down on his bed adjacent to them.
"So Pidge, besides being compared to your father what's it like being related to like, a celebrity?" Lance questioned, leaning forward and resting his arms on his legs.
"Lance…" Hunk started a bit cautious, before Pidge interrupted him.
"No no, it's okay Hunk really." Pidge shrugged. He really didn't mind talking about living with his father to others; he had no reason to. Besides being compared to him, there really wasn't any reason to dislike being the child of Sam Holt. "It's fine I guess, lots of traveling, I've been almost everywhere. Before you say anything about that, it's cool but exhausting. I don't know how many planes I've been on in my life but that's a big number. And the press sometimes. Talk about some nosey assholes."
"Wow, sounds like quite a life." Lance shifted a bit as he said this, letting out a slight sigh. Even though he knew Pidge wasn't mentioning these things to make the other two feel like their lives were inferior; he couldn't help but to feel a hint of jealousy. Pidge Holt had tons of opportunity, something that Lance and Hunk could only dream of. "I wish that I could go places with my family. I would love to treat my mother to a vacation especially; but there's way too many of us. Gets expensive."
Hunk chuckled, patting Lance on his back. "I've been to Lance here's house so many times I can't even count. His family is huge Pidge, you wouldn't believe how many people can fit under that roof."
"Ten siblings and also my mother and father. You know the saying two's a crowd, three's a party? Well my house, it's way more than a party. Forever busy, which sometimes can be fun."
"I can't even imagine, wow." Pidge shook his head. "I only had Matt and though it's nice to have siblings sometimes even he's hard to handle. Ten siblings; that's insane."
"I wish I had siblings." Hunk chimed in, getting a look from the other two. "What? Lance why are you looking at me like that? You know it was only me and mom at home and… it just got a little lonely sometimes… you know?"
A silence fell upon the three boys; not an uncomfortable one like earlier in the dining hall, but more because neither Pidge or Lance knew what to say to Hunk. Lance knew his family was a bit of a touchy subject for the other boy, and he didn't expect him to mention anything about it in the conversation. Lance cleared his throat before changing the subject, directing his next question towards Pidge. "Hey, so why did you come here, if you don't mind me asking?"
"I wanted a new life." Pidge responded, glancing out the side window. Lance noted a sad look in his eyes, but couldn't pinpoint what exactly Pidge had to be sad about. He let the boy say more as it seemed like he was going to continue. "You know, dad's so famous everyone knows who he is and where he's from; I figured here at least, no one would really know me. I also really look up to Matt. I figured this school did him good, why not give it a shot?" He lightly chuckled, changing his focus back to the other two. "What about you two? Did you apply knowing the other was going to be here too?"
The both of them shook their heads. "I did it to get out of the house." Lance mentioned. It wasn't exactly the truth but he wasn't quite lying either; there was no way he was telling Pidge he left due to wanting to make it easier on mom and dad. "I didn't know Hunk was going to be here either. Pure coincidence."
"Yeah, I just found out from a website. Thought I needed to get away from home and be more independent." Hunk said. "I didn't know Lance was coming until I brought it up in a conversation. Funny things worked out like that."
The trio kept talking, all of them bonding in their own unique way. Lance knew making friends would be easy to him; but not really this easy. He really enjoyed Pidge's company an looked forward to working with him for the group project. Once it hit ten however, Lance decided that it was unfortunately the time to face going to his room. He said his goodbyes, then headed down the hall.
Walking into his room, it was a surprise to him to see Keith still awake. He was very fixated on his phone, and Lance doubted he even noticed him enter the room. Quickly changing into his night clothes, Lance plopped down on his bed. What a first day; what a first experience. Turning over to his side, Lance was exhausted. He was definitely going to get a good night's sleep tonight.
"Goodnight." Slipped out of his mouth, even though he was sure he wasn't going to get a response as he closed his eyes. He didn't know why he said it in the first place; or why he even tried to say something to Keith, even if it was just goodnight.
To his surprise though in an annoyed tone, he heard Keith mumble back, "Goodnight." He wasn't sure if this was Keith making an effort or just because it was an easy word for him to say; but it made Lance smile before he drifted off to sleep.
Hunk woke up the next morning to the blaring sound of an alarm. It startled him for a moment; he thought he was back at his house again with his mother, but the sound of the alarm was nothing like the tune set for either of their alarms. It was kind of nerdy, like from the game Undertale or something. Groggy, he opened his eyes to realize he wasn't at home, the dorm was where his home is now. What a dream that would be for Hunk, to be back home with his mom.
He didn't know exactly the time, but the sun was bright and the beam was practically shining at his face. The bright light would have typically woken him up, but for some reason it didn't today. Turning over to check his clock, he found that it was eight thirty. He wondered to himself who wakes up this early; but that was also a silly thing to wonder because the only other person in the room was Pidge. Maybe he had an early class or something; Hunk was lucky and his first class didn't start until ten. He had another hour or so until he really had to wake up. Knowing that, Hunk turned back around and closed his eyes as he heard the door shut, eventually falling back asleep.
By the time Hunk woke up again, Pidge was gone. He expected as much; if he was such an early riser maybe he went to breakfast or something. Turning to his clock, he opened his eyes expecting it to be still early yet; maybe about nine o clock. Once the clock came into clear view, Hunk realized it was ten minutes before the start of his class. Swearing lightly, he sprung out of his bed scrambling to change his clothes and get ready for the day. His alarm didn't go off, it somehow was left on silent. Hunk didn't want to be late on the first day.
Hunk swore there was never a time before that he ran so fast. It was a minute before class started when he rushed in, immediately taking a seat. There was no one he really recognized, so he just took a random chair and plopped down, sighing. At least he somewhat made it on time. A minute early is kind of bad though.
"Hey there, big guy." Came a voice next to him. He turned his head to see Pidge immediately to his left. "A little late, don't you think?"
Hunk chuckled. "It's one minute before. I made it in record timing. My alarm was apparently on mute; bad I know. But I'm here and that's all that matters. The real question is; why do you get up so early?"
"I get nauseous if I don't get breakfast. You know, it's the most important meal of the day!" He took a pause before starting, "Serving it up, Gary's-"
"Pidge, please, it's too early for a SpongeBob reference. Even if it is ten in the morning." The both of them shared a laugh as the professor walked in, hushing everyone down. After it quieted down, the typical introduction of a college class started; an introduction, an icebreaker, etc. This is nothing like the way it would have been at a community college back home. For a moment, it made Hunk really glad he came.
As soon as Keith got out of his first class, it was lunchtime. He decided he would suck up possibly having to share a table at the dining hall, at this point he just wanted to eat. If Keith seemed moody in general, his mood appeared to get a little worse if he was hungry.
Following the crowd into the dining hall, Keith swiped his card and walked to a two-person table. He was lucky; it seemed to be the only double table that no one was paying attention to. He had no clue if this was usual for a table of two to be empty, but he hoped it was. If there's something Keith hated more than being with people, its awkward meals in an awkward silence. Though if he had to sit with a person, he guessed that being silent is better than conversation, however awkward it may seem.
It was good for a while; when Keith got up to get food there was no one asking to sit with him. When getting back, there was still no other person. The lunchroom by that time was insanely busy; he was glad he got up for food when he did. There was nothing that would have given Keith more anxiety then getting stuck in line for some chicken nuggets; surrounded by other student's conversation about classes and the day.
Usually Keith would try to escape the dining hall as soon as possible which involved eating quickly to avoid any company he might possibly get. But instead he took the opportunity to start some homework from his first class. It was weird getting homework from a class so soon, but since it was a drawing course the teacher assigned it so that everyone's skill levels could be measured.
It seemed like it had been a while since Keith used a sketchbook. When he got a list of classes ahead of time that was the only supply he really needed, a brand new sketchbook. Just him and his sketches alone at the table; though some might see him as lonely, this was all Keith needed.
The first assignment that needed to be done was drawing expressions. Although Keith never talked to anyone he has the skill of being awfully observant, that's how he got into art in the first place. He never communicated with the kids of the orphanage but he would somedays just sit and observe the life before him; capturing joy or sorrow on kid's faces in his drawings. It was a kind of solitude that Keith appreciated, and since no one noticed his books and sketches there was no one to ask to be shown all his drawings. Keith doesn't even think that Shiro knows about his art; it's not really something he liked to share. It was his personal haven and his alone. Always Keith and his sketchbook.
Being a silent watcher, Keith sketched out some of the feelings and emotions shown on the faces of people around him sitting at other tables. He had to admit he was a bit jealous; though he never thought about wanting to get along with others there was something about the emotions that can flood out when you're with somebody else. Keith never really felt that before. He wondered if he even could; but instead of possibly trying he just sat there alone, drawing what he saw. That was something he knew for sure he could do best.
Out of the corner of his eye, Keith saw someone pass directly by him. He couldn't quite guess who it was, but they were wearing an awful lot of green. He thought they had disappeared from view before he heard a voice say; "Can I sit here?" after a pause, the person continued. "There's no place left to sit."
Keith glanced up immediately, shutting his sketchbook. If there was something he didn't want anyone seeing it was that, especially a total stranger. But looking up he noticed that it wasn't a stranger at all; it was Pidge. "Yeah... I – I guess."
"Thanks." Pidge responded, plopping his stuff down before leaving to get food. Keith silently cursed to himself. Better get up to leave; but Keith was conflicted, that would also seem rude as Pidge just got here. A part of Keith wanted to stay anyways; the small person seemed to be the least annoying in the group. Maybe Keith could give it a chance; he did upset Shiro yesterday by saying he wouldn't give anyone a chance at all.
"Sorry that I have to sit with you. I know how much you don't like people." Keith's attention turned back to Pidge as he sat back down, two platefuls of food in his hands. For a small person Pidge seemed to eat a lot.
"Is it that obvious." Keith chuckled a bit, shaking his head. "It's all right. Tables are full anyways, not like you can find someplace else."
"Keith, why do you hate people so much?" Yikes, right to the chase. Keith shook his head, reluctant to answer. He wasn't going to spill his whole life to Pidge, they just met. This is part of the reason why he didn't like talking. Even if it's just people being curious he didn't want them poking around at his life. When Keith didn't answer that question, Pidge continued, but not with another question. "Never mind, you don't have to answer that. You know, before this when I was in school I was an outcast. I just don't get how you do it or rather, why you do it. You seem to push people away all the time; I guess I just don't understand. Isn't it lonely?"
For a little person, the other seemed to talk a lot; it kind of seemed like he was a curious child. That was a nice balance, Keith thought, because he usually said nothing at all. But this time, he spoke up. "No, not really. To me it's not." He cleared his throat, changing the subject. "You? An outcast? I'd think you'd be the center of attention, Sam Holt's child and all."
"Shit happens. Long story but I didn't have much friends. Matt was my best friend; my only friend."
"Believe it or not I have someone like that." Keith mentioned, making a mental note to apologize to Shiro later. He was a little harsh to him yesterday, and hearing Pidge bring up Matt in such an admiring way made him think of how he let such a silly thing ruin the trust he had in the other.
Even though Pidge talked way more than Keith, the raven haired boy seemingly was enjoying the conversation. He may be small, but Pidge is a big character, he also seemed to be warm as well. It's something Keith hadn't felt in a long time, like he was safe with someone else who wasn't Shiro. He could possibly trust this person in front of him. Maybe some people aren't as bad as Keith thought.
"Hey, is that yours?" Pidge asked after he finished his plates, motioning towards the sketchbook.
Keith shifted uneasily. He forgot to put it away, and seeing as he was the only other person at the table he couldn't really say it was someone else's. Shit. "Y-yeah." He stuttered, shaking his head. "It's... mine. But please don't tell the others. I uh- I don't like other people to know."
The boy across from him nodded his head, face twisted in thought. Keith couldn't tell what he was thinking about; whether it was good or bad. Eventually, Keith was looking for a reason to make an exit. Packing up his stuff in his messenger bag, he looked back and smiled, trying to not make it seem like Pidge was the reason he was leaving, as it wasn't the reason he wanted to escape the loud room. "Goodbye Pidge." He said softly, picking up his plates. "I'll see you around."
"Keith, wait." Pidge called out, as the other took a few steps away. Him calling out made Keith stop and tense up. Pidge seemed to be surprised; the look on his face was as if the boy thought Keith would just keep walking. Though Keith was pretty desperate to get out of there, he figured he could take the time to stop and listen. "I saw your drawings when I came to sit down. You're good – really good, Keith. Look, I know we haven't gotten together to talk about the blog yet with everyone together but I've been thinking and I have tons of ideas. I can create and manage it but with designing it, designing is not my favorite thing to do. You have to have an actual part in posting things, but if you agree we can meet up some time to go over the creative aspect. Just you and me, it doesn't have to be the whole crew. So how about it?" Pidge stuck out his hand.
After hesitating a bit, Keith walked back up to him again, shaking his hand. "Okay. Okay Pidge, I'll do it."
Grinning, Pidge added, "You know Keith, you're not as cold as everyone thinks."
"I never thought I would say this to anyone here, but thanks for keeping me company Pidge." Keith returned the smile, fixing his messenger bag before he turned away to discard his plate. Even after he left the dining hall, that smile still lingered. It had been so long since Keith felt like he could get along with someone; granted he never let himself feel anything about other people. Something about Pidge made it feel like for once he was glad to let his guard down.
Once he got back to the dorm, Keith decided not to head back to his room. He figured that before that he had something important to do. With that in his mind, he headed over to the RA room hoping that Shiro would be there for the best, softly knocking on the door.
Not having any morning classes, Shiro had just gotten up and ready to meet with some people for lunch. Even though it was noon, he was kind of out of it and exhausted. He had another nightmare about two people who looked like him; every time it's the same dream with the screaming and the shoving as Shiro stands there helpless. He wished he knew where the dreams stemmed from, as when he wakes up his head starts pounding. Once up, it leaves him all disoriented; like it was something he was blocking out of his memories for some reason.
When he finally came to his senses, he heard a light knocking on his door. Good thing he snapped out of his daze, he would have missed the knock otherwise. It was very early in the year; he was wondering if there was a problem. It seemed too soon for there to be any problems. Then again, you never know what happens behind closed doors.
Walking up to the door and opening it, the person that he least expected it to be was standing right there. "Keith." He breathed in. "Well this is a surprise I um... Hey listen I-I'm..."
"I'm sorry." As Shiro cut straight to the chase, that's what Keith started with. It wasn't what Shiro was expecting at all, especially when he was the one who wronged Keith and broke his trust.
"You look confused." The other boy mentioned as Shiro cocked his head to the side, shrugging. "I uh, shut the door on your face yesterday evening."
"Yeah, but rightfully so. I broke your trust, Keith. That's something I shouldn't have done. I know you don't trust easily and – "
"Shiro it's okay. You were right anyway." Keith shrugged, leaning against the doorframe. He seemed very calm which was so unlike the Keith that Shiro knew. What a difference one day could make; Keith seemed lighthearted again which is something Shiro hadn't seen since he was let into the boy's life. "I talked to Pidge. He seems like a nice kid; if anything, I'd like to try to trust him. He asked me to design the blog and I said yes – I said yes. I don't know what I'm doing Shiro, and for the first time it's exciting."
A chuckle escaped Shiro's mouth. He could feel a wide grin appearing on his face. "Wow, who is this even that I'm talking to right now? Is the real Keith in there?" As the other returned a grin, Shiro followed up with, "I'm proud of you Keith. This is a good first step. See, I told you that you could do it."
"Thanks Shiro." Keith said softly, before giving a wave and leaving the other behind to return to his business.
Though in the beginning Keith seemed hard to get through; the kid might actually turn out alright here, just as Shiro had hoped. But now there was the rest of the team. Shiro however, had no doubt. If Keith could learn to get along with one of the group members; he'll be able to get along with the others as well.
Unlike Hunk and Pidge, Lance didn't have a class that started early. He wishes he did, however. His sleep schedule always had him early to bed which naturally, made him early to rise. Without much to do, Lance decided to call home; it hasn't been long but he still wanted to check in and know how things have been. Lance had to admit, he was kind of worried. If there is anyone that would be awake it would at least be his mom, that's where Lance thinks he got his early bird genes from. It would be nice to talk to her at least.
One ring; nothing. Then another, and a third. Lance thought he was going to get no one so he was just about to hang up. But then there was a click, and a "Hello?" Came from the other end.
"Hey." Lance said gently from the other end, smiling to himself. It wasn't his mama, but the voice was still a female. Though his sisters sounded kind of alike, he could tell that speaking to him was Veronica. "It's me."
"Hello me, nice to meet you." If not for Lance, she would have been the joker in the family. He snickered at that as she continued talking. If there was anyone that would have been his twin if he was born later, it would have been Veronica. It must be an older sibling thing; though she was younger by a couple of years, she was the second oldest. "You know, I had a bet going on with the others. I think I won, I knew it wouldn't be long before you called. You're such a mama's boy. Luis owes me five dollars."
Lance rolled his eyes while letting out another chuckle. Making bets on him; that's totally something his siblings would do. "Yeah yeah. How are things at home?"
"You know it's only been like, a day." His sister sighed at the end of the line. "Same old, same old. Actually, papa just announced he would be picking up more hours at work which means he's barely going to be home anymore. Without notice. Good for the money he said. Hasn't told any of us yet but… I heard it from the yelling. Mama was not very happy."
Lance's heart sank. It was supposed to be easier on his family when he was off to school; not harder. Stupid Lance; going away wouldn't have fixed anything even if it was the solution in his head. He wished if anything he could hurry back, that he would protect his siblings from hearing what went on between the adults behind closed doors. He was blaming himself now for leaving, currently staying silent due to his thoughts for what seemed like an eternity.
"Do you want to talk to mama, Lance?" Veronica's voice brought him back to reality, and all he could mumble out was a quick "Sure."
As he waited for his sister to get his mom on the line, Lance couldn't sit still. He wanted to talk to his mom, make sure she was okay. He knew what she will probably say, which would be some reassurance since he was hearing it from her; even if the answer is a lie. His leg was bouncing up and down; god he was so glad Keith was out of the room. If there's anything he wouldn't be able to handle at this point it would be his silent judgmental stare.
"Lance?" His mother's voice came through the phone. Her voice seemed a bit strained and cracked, he noticed. It almost seemed as if she'd been crying. "Hey honey, I didn't think you'd call so soon."
"Hey mama." Lance spoke softly. "Just had some time. Thought I would check in, how are you?"
"I'm good." She responded. Obviously a lie, Lance knew when she was lying. He didn't want to pry about why she was upset all that much, so he didn't. But he hated when his mom lied to him. She then asked about the school, if he met anyone, and what his roommate was like. He explained to her about the project, about Shiro and Pidge, then finally about Keith. His mom didn't do much talking which was unusual; but Lance didn't mind. It was nice to have someone to talk to while he was doing nothing.
After about an hour his mother and he said their goodbyes. After hanging up the phone, he laid back staring up at the plain white ceiling. He wished everything could be fixed and go back to normal but the reality is it wouldn't. His father working more hours would just put more strain on everything, and there was probably nothing any of them could do to change his mind. For now, all Lance could do is hope that if they didn't break before; this won't let his family fall apart.
He didn't know how long he stared at the ceiling. Eventually he was brought back to daily life when his phone buzzed with a text, then two, then three. Looking at it he realized it was time to go to lunch before he had to run to his class. The texts were from none other than Hunk, asking if he wanted to meet up to eat, to which Lance agreed. Putting family stuff in the back of his mind, Lance headed out his room with his destination the dining hall.
Once he arrived, he met Hunk at the table. Hunk told him how he almost missed class, Lance laughed. It felt like a fake laugh. Hunk mentioned the first-year festival and said that it would be fun to go. He also mentioned that it would be nice to go with Pidge. Lance agreed. It wasn't long until Lance had to go, saying goodbye and heading off to class. He hoped Hunk didn't notice anything wrong; though Hunk knew Lance all his life. He probably did.
He didn't say anything out loud, but Hunk noticed that his friend seemed to be sulking. He wasn't his normal cheerful and joking self like the Lance Hunk knew. Something may have happened in his family; Hunk knew Lance loved his family to pieces and it was a fragile situation for his friend. Even though Hunk wanted to make sure Lance was okay he didn't check what was wrong, because he figured that Lance wouldn't want him to pry. So he didn't, and Lance left.
After lunch, Hunk had some downtime so he got to go back to his room. He was surprised; the time that he walked into the room Pidge was there. He thought that the other would be busy and wouldn't be around. Pidge, he noticed, was looking at a picture of what looked like him with a girl. Pidge had only mentioned his brother Matt but maybe he had another unknown sibling, or maybe it was his secret girlfriend.
"Who's that, your girlfriend?" Hunk teased. Pidge jumped, frantically putting the picture away in a drawer and closing it shut. Fixing his glasses so they were straight on his face again, Pidge shook his head, denying a girlfriend. Hunk didn't quite believe him as it seemed like a picture girlfriend. The way Pidge was looking at it seemed like he missed the person greatly; it seemed like the look Hunk got when he talked to Shay. He figured it would be good to change the subject, Pidge seemed to appear a bit uncomfortable. "Hey, you going to the first year festival? I'm going with Lance when he gets out of class. Thought you could tag along. Could be the three of us?"
A smile came to Pidge's face. "Sure Hunk. I would love to."
Throughout the hours that passed after he invited Pidge to the festival, Hunk came and went. Pidge thought he mentioned another class; but he didn't know for sure if that was why Hunk was away from the room. He was partially too embarrassed by the fact he got caught by his roommate looking at the picture of him together with Matt. Even though that was before his transition, Pidge loved that photo to death. If anything however, he was just glad that Hunk assumed the girl was his girlfriend, and not Pidge himself.
Eventually, it was time for Pidge to leave the room to meet with Hunk and Lance. The courtyard, which throughout the day had been pretty barren except when students were passing for classes, was now busy and bustling with life. Other students were grouping up at food trucks, lining up to play games, or just hanging around busying in conversation. There was a sign for karaoke in Alfor hall, Pidge noticed, and also for a painting demo in one of the classrooms. The second one had limited seats; Pidge could just make out the words almost full.
His main priority though is finding Hunk and Lance, so he kept searching the crowd hoping to find them. Out of the corner of his eye he thought he saw Keith wandering around; though imagining Keith in a place where a ton of other people are seemed unlikely, he barely was comfortable sitting at a table with just Pidge. Eventually he caught sight of the two away from the crowd, drawing his eyes away from the other familiar looking kid. Thank god Pidge was small he could just squeeze in between to escape the clump of people.
"Hey guys." He breathed out, finally approaching the two. "Quite a crowd huh?"
"You almost got run over." Hunk joked, grinning from ear to ear. "We almost lost you for a second there."
Pidge rolled his eyes smiling. "Yeah you wish you could get rid of me." Lance hadn't said a single word since Pidge got here, not even a hello; which seemed pretty unlike the enthusiastic Lance he met the day before. Shrugging, Pidge added, "You guys ready to scout out some fun?"
Both of the boys nodded and the trio headed back into the crowd; walking around before making a decision of where to stop at first. There was so much around for them to get into, but the rumble of Hunk's stomach led them over to the food trucks where the boys settled to eat. There were many different food trucks there, but they chose one that sold classic hamburgers and hotdogs. Standing around to wait for their orders, Pidge caught a glance of the raven-haired kid he saw before. To his surprise that was indeed Keith that he saw earlier; Pidge was puzzled on why Keith would be amongst the crowd of people until he remembered the painting and Keith's artwork. Maybe he came for that.
By chance his eyes met Keith's. It would be weird to look away, and Pidge wasn't that rude so he lifted his hand and waved with a smile on his face. He wasn't expecting a reaction from the other, but a smile came to Keith's face and he returned the wave. What a surprise, Pidge thought.
"Pidge, I got your hot dog." Lance's voice came from behind him as he approached Pidge, two containers in hand. His eyes seemed to get wide as he realized who was standing across from them. "Keith? What is he doing here?"
By the time Hunk approached the other two, Keith had slipped away and wandered into a building; the one for the painting demo. So Pidge was right; that was what he was doing in the crowd. "Keith is here? Huh. Wouldn't take him for a festival person."
"Yeah, and he waved to Pidge."
Both of their eyes were now on Pidge, who was in the middle of eating his meal. Pidge had to admit; this was a little uncomfortable. He just wanted to eat his hot dog in peace. "He waved to Pidge? Keith waved to somebody?"
"Yes he waved to me." Pidge mentioned, brushing the other two off. "It's not really a huge deal."
"I still don't get him." Lance huffed, taking a bite of his hamburger. "It's only been like, a day but I was expecting someone way more friendly than him. He seems like a really rude person, he doesn't have to get along with me I just wish he wouldn't pretend that I'm not there."
"He's not that bad." Pidge said back to Lance. "I had lunch with him."
"Oh, okay. Wait – you had lunch with Keith?"
Lance's shock was almost hysterical, Pidge almost started laughing if he didn't feel that would be mean to the other. Even Hunk looked shocked, it appeared as if he almost dropped his burger. Pidge allowed himself a small chuckle, shaking his head. "You know, there's a lot more to people than just the surface."
With a shrug from Lance and Hunk, the three of the finished their meals and headed off to some of the festivities. Through the multitude of carnival games that they played, Pidge ended up winning a gigantic sloth. Lance, though he played as many games as Pidge only gained a medium sized fish. Hunk played one and got the prize of a small snake; but to him that was enough. Pidge thought he heard him mention he would pack it up and send to Shay.
After games they bounced around to other activity booths; making personalized banners, taking pictures with funny props at the photo booth, even watching Hunk doing a round at the pie eating competition which he won. When deciding what to do next Hunk practically begged the two to go into karaoke. Lance seemed to be unhappy with the suggestion, shaking his head no, but since everything else was filled with people he reluctantly agreed that it would be a good time anyways. Again that seemed out of character for him in Pidge's eyes. He seemed to be gloomy, it was like he was covering something up. Maybe he could ask Hunk about it later; though it wasn't any of his business.
The talent in the room seemed to be quite interesting to say the least. It ranged from people who were totally on key to others that seemed like it was a good thing that they didn't choose preforming as a professional career. There was one girl who sang "The Circle of Life" very passionately, but it was so out of tune everyone except her friends who were cheering her on seemed to be cringing. After that, the MC Lotor asked for any volunteers from the audience to go sing their heart out on stage. Pidge guessed by the way he looked he was a second year, probably volunteered to hold this event so the school didn't have to hire someone.
To the side of him, Pidge noticed that Hunk was trying to get Lance to the stage. Lance kept shaking his head and telling Hunk he wouldn't go up; but the larger boy seemed pretty persistent. Pidge watched as Lance finally gave in with a sigh, making his way to the stage behind a couple other brave people. Hunk seemed relieved that his friend was going up there; due to the fact it seemed forced Pidge didn't quite know what to think.
The first person in line went up to perform. Pidge kept his eyes on Lance who seemed extremely uneasy and anxious. "Hey, if you don't mind me asking, why did you push him to go up?" he asked his roommate, who seemed to be focused on Lance as well. "It seems like he doesn't want to be in line right now."
"I think something happened today." Hunk responded softly to the other, shrugging. "You must have seen it too, the shift in his personality. You're pretty observant." Pidge nodded as Hunk continued talking. "I was hoping it would get some of his spirit back. He's a character all right, and a good performer."
Another person stepped up. Then another. Eventually there was one more person and Lance would be on. "I hope so too."
"Someone Like You" finished, then came a person doing "Galway Girl", and then when those passed it was time for Lance to walk up. The anxiousness had not disappeared from his appearance and he fidgeted a bit as he told Lotor his song choice. After a few seconds the iconic start to "Eye of the Tiger" started, his acquaintance still looking nervous as all hell up there; Pidge was worried he might get sick up there or something. But the next thing he knew, Lance slowly but surely broke out of his shell and into the character Pidge and Hunk knew him to be. Lance was a real performer all right; shaking those hips and dancing around as he sang with a decent voice. Who would have guessed that Lance also could sing.
When it finished, the whole crowd exploded into applause; people cheering and some people even calling for an encore. Lotor even seemed to say something to him as Lance stood on the stage, a grin blooming on his face. Lance took a bow, and Pidge realized at that moment that Hunk was right; Lance's spirit definitely had returned.
The sun shined bright into Keith's eyes as he sat on a bench at the place where many people gathered days before. This day was one that Keith dreaded the most; the day his group decided it would be best to meet up and brainstorm ideas for what their roles were going to be with this blog thing they had to complete by the end of the school year. Though the project was boring to Keith, he understood it had to get done. So here he was.
Nobody else was present yet, granted Keith was pretty early. He may not be looking forward to the meeting, but it was his personal moral to be at appointments and meetings early to make sure he makes it on time. To kill time he took out his phone and plugged in headphones, jazz music flowing softly in his ears. Closing his eyes and feeling the breeze, Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" came through his earphones. For some reason that song was Keith's favorite, he could listen to that song for hours. Whenever it came on he felt a different kind of peace, something that he never really felt in life; not anywhere, not even around Shiro.
Once the song ended he opened his eyes to find someone looking at him from afar. It took him a while to realize that he was indeed who this person was staring at, and feeling slightly concerned on why he was being watched. It then made sense when the person walked towards him, as it turned out to be Pidge. He seemed to be everywhere Keith was; which didn't really bother him as much anymore as they had gotten somewhat closer since the day they sat together for the first time.
"Hey Pidge." Keith said lightly, taking his earbuds out of his ears and hitting the pause button on his phone. "You know, if people saw you staring they might think you're a stalker or something."
Pidge shrugged, plopping down next to Keith on the bench, swinging his legs like the kids at the orphanage used to do when their legs didn't touch the ground as they sat. "You looked so peaceful, seemed like it would be a shame to disturb you."
Though he didn't talk like a child, some aspects of Pidge reminded him of the orphanage children. Maybe it was because he was an abnormally short guy, or maybe it was the softness of his face. Whatever it was, Pidge was different. That's what Keith liked about him.
They chatted for a couple of minutes before Shiro walked up. Hunk followed soon after. It didn't take long for the other two to engage Pidge in conversation; he was easy to talk to, which was a fact that Keith figured out fast due to the times at lunch. He could talk about a lot of things, which is what eased Keith because he wasn't pressured to say much, if not anything at all.
It was hard for him to keep track of their conversation it changed topics so many times; it started with the simple conversation opener (a "Hey guys how are you today?" From Hunk) to a talk about beginners classes (which Shiro changed the topic to) and somehow it ended up to aliens. How they got to that subject Keith didn't even know.
"Where's Lance?" Pidge eventually brought up, snapping Keith back to the conversation between the three others. There was no answer from the peanut gallery, causing him to turn to Hunk. "You heard anything?"
"Why would I know?" Hunk shrugged, turning his attention to Keith, who looked confused as why the bigger boy turned to him. "You live with him, any ideas?"
All eyes were on Keith now, and once he realized that he tensed up a little bit. "I… I don't know?" He mentioned, shrugging as well. "He was gone when I left – heck he wasn't even there when I woke up."
"Right." Hunk recalled, shaking his head. "Lance has always been an early riser. Always has been. I really don't know how he does it."
The four shared a sigh. If he was there they could get the meeting over with, Keith thought, fidgeting with the sleeve of his red hoodie. This will make the meeting end later than expected; though Keith had nothing going on after he still didn't want to be here any later than he has to. He was pretty sure the others felt the same way. If he didn't have a positive image of Lance in the first place, this definitely wasn't helping his roommate in the long run. Lance was one person that Keith definitely did not want to give a try with; not ever.
Suddenly someone started approaching the four of them, but Keith seemed to be the only one that noticed.
Holding a drink that looked like a unicorn threw up all over the place was none other than Lance. He certainly was arriving in style, and though Keith hated to admit it, he looked really good.
"Jesus Christ." Was all Keith could mutter under his breath, as the others turned their head and realized Lance was here now too.
"Hey guys, I'm here." Lance said, somewhat announcing his arrival. Taking a sip of his unicorn frappuchino he added, "Sorry I was late, the line at the coffee place was long. They apparently had this special going on that everyone was there for."
"What the hell is that." Keith sneered, a look of disgust on his face. "That doesn't seem worth it at all."
An exaggerated gasp escaped the Cuban's mouth as he held the drink up so it was the level of Keith's eyes. "It is a unicorn frappuchino excuse you, only one of the best drinks on the planet earth. Your emo soul probably can't handle its deliciousness."
"I am not. Emo." The other stressed, gritting his teeth.
"Oh yeah? Prove it. You seem like it to me." It took a lot for a person to annoy Lance, but when it came to Keith being around for some reason he is far past annoyed just seeing his roommate's face.
"Children please calm down. Stop fighting" Shiro intervened between the two, making them both take steps away from each other. "Lance, it's nice to see you, but you were supposed to be here like, thirty minutes ago. That's pretty late in my book."
"Sorry…" Lance muttered under his breath, before beginning to sip his drink again.
With all five of them present the group started discussing the way the project would come together. They all agreed that the best way to go around keeping each other up to date would be to meet once a week; that way they're on the same page as to what is accomplished and what can be worked on content wise. That was a good idea in Lance's opinion, then everyone would be forced to do their part whether they liked working in the team or not. Mainly in his head it would work to keep Keith in check; though he wouldn't dare say that out loud.
After that discussion, Lance and everyone else turned their attention to Pidge, who started to talk about the layout and setup of the blog. Though the explanation of the setup seemed like it was simply understood by people like Hunk, Lance was totally lost in the computer terms. But at least one person out of the four others understood, not like the setup was a job for multiple people anyways. Not that he wasn't interested in how things got put together, but Lance kind of lost focus from what Pidge was saying.
"Keith and I have been talking it over lunch and he's going to help me with the designing aspect." Lance heard Pidge bring up, which made his attention come back. "Not to talk for Keith but we both decided it would be the best duty for him at his current comfort level. We're going to work one on one for now to get the blog up and running." Lance looked at Keith out of the corner of his eye, and all the boy did was let out a single nod, to agree with what Pidge said.
Shiro seemed to nod in agreement with Pidge's plans; at least he seemed to support things so far. "Now the first thing you all have to do is make your own personal profiles for the blog. This will be the thing to do before we group up next time. Something that tells us who you are; something of that sorts. Once you get to posting, people reading the blog hopefully will connect with who you are as people, as they will have the ability to go back and see who posts what." He shrugged, looking around at each members of the group. "I know this will be difficult for some of you, but please put something together."
He seemed to be directing that comment to Keith, Lance noticed. There was a lot of attention going to him in this meeting; it appeared that everyone was pretty unsure of his role in all this. At least if anyone Pidge believed in him enough to give him the job of blog design. Lance wondered why that was. Lance also wondered why though he annoyed him; Keith continually seemed to be on his mind.
He shrugged it off, as the meeting ended and everyone dispersed.
Shiro didn't want to leave before everyone else, so he waited until they all wandered away to start deciding to where he wanted to go next. Realizing he hadn't eaten anything, Shiro figured it would be good to grab a quick bite to eat before heading to the dorm.
All of the younger students headed in different directions, making him wonder what they were going off to do. A part of him wished they could do something together besides just a meeting; but on second thought though Pidge appeared to get along with everyone, tensions with other members like Lance and Keith seemed abnormally high. To Shiro this was a bit abnormal than all the other times he saw Lance, as out of the group he looked to be the friendliest and most outgoing. Due to his personality; he thought Lance would be the most likely to break down Keith's wall. It has been days since they first met each other, but it appeared this was not the case.
Sighing, Shiro approached the entrance of the dining hall, only to see Lance leaning against a wall, occupied with his phone. Whatever he was scrolling through he seemed a bit anxious. Instead of hurrying inside, Shiro figured he could lend an ear, if Lance needed it.
"Hey," he said, approaching the younger boy who jumped as soon as he was addressed. "Sorry I didn't mean to shock you. What's up?"
"Oh hey, Shiro it's you." Lance breathed out. He seemed relieved that it was someone he knew, but anyone would prefer to be approached by a person they know than a total stranger. "Umm… Not much. Just… Standing here."
"Wanna grab some food with me?" Shiro questioned, motioning to the room beside him. Lance, without hesitation nodded his head, following Shiro as they entered. As they chose where to sit, Shiro engaged in some conversation; asking how his day was going, his plans for today, just small little topics to ease Lance's mind. He didn't know what he was thinking about but it seemed like a lot. Shiro wanted just to help Lance in any way he can, even if it is just a little bit.
While eating, Lance seemed more like his normal self which made Shiro relieved. Maybe he didn't need some consoling after all; but just the way he was before made Shiro think that it would be better if he knew he had someone to talk to; just in case it was needed. So they continued talking, even with both plates empty. The topic eventually got to family, a topic that Shiro didn't have much to say about. It seemed like Lance, however, had a lot of stories to tell.
He told Shiro all about his huge family; his brothers and his sisters, his parents. Must be nice, the mentor found himself thinking. He wished he could have had a family like Lance did, it sounded nice. Something like that was only a dream to people like Shiro and Keith who spent most of their lives in an orphanage.
A while into the conversation, however, Lance's personality seemed to fall again. "Actually I wish it was as good as it sounded. Shiro, do you promise you won't say anything?"
"Not a word, Lance." He promised. "You can tell me anything, but don't force it if you feel you can't trust me."
"No I do, I do… it's just, I've only really told Hunk about this and I…" taking a breath in the other continued, as Shiro patiently listened. "It's not as perfect as it may seem. Mom and dad fight all the time and I did my best to keep the others from hearing it. I left to make it easier on my parents but I just think everything got worse; and my siblings, now they're left to distract themselves from overhearing the fighting. I've been thinking a lot since I got here if I just made things worse… Maybe I just came here to escape it all. It's just been a couple of days how bad is that?" after finishing, he hung his head.
"Lance… No." Shiro returned softly, putting a hand on his shoulder gently. "I don't know you as well as Hunk, but I bet you were an amazing sibling and now they know exactly what to do when problems occur. You didn't know things would get worse, it's not your fault they did. Hey, I'm sure they can make it through this. Okay?"
As he looked back up, a small smile came to Lance's face. "I guess… Thank you Shiro" After that statement there was a brief pause, before Shiro heard Lance question, "What about you Shiro, what's your family like?"
A small pause. "Wouldn't know. I don't remember them."
"No way. You're lying."
"Not kidding. I grew up in an orphanage most my life; they don't even know who my parents are. The other kids and the staff, they were my family."
"Can I ask you another question Shiro?" Lance seemed to ask quickly, his head cocked to the side a little bit. "I know you knew Keith beforehand, was he always this annoying to deal with?"
Shiro chuckled a little, shaking his head. The other boy seemed so intent on getting to the bottom of Keith for some reason, may it be hate or a desire to understand the hot headed boy; it reminded Shiro of the beginning when he wanted to get to know Keith better. "Keith is like a brother to me. He's closed out and cold, but the boy has had a really rough life. It's not my place to say any more than that. He has a soft heart, trust me on that. Please, try to be patient and understand him. I know it's hard."
Right after Shiro finished talking, it seemed like Lance was hesitating a bit. He couldn't quite tell what Lance was thinking. Before Shiro could say something else Lance spoke.
"Okay Shiro. I'll do the best I can."
Fiiiiiiiinally Chapter 8!! Hopefully you guys enjoy and thank you for hanging around for it!! I hope that it's ok, I went into this chapter totally blind (and pretty much so it won't skip directly to some huge plot events that I didn't want to happen so soon!!) No worries I'm going to plan chapters out more carefully with this fic so I can possibly take more than like a month and a half for chapters. THAT BEING SAID, I am going to do an every other chapter thing where I focus on one chapter of a fic at a time. I'm going to be working on chapter 3 of Thawed Hearts and then when that's done I'm going to come back here for chapter 9. There's only so much I can do when working on both chapters at the same time and it helps my focus a lot!!! Thanks again for patience, enjoy!!!
To Hunk, writing a bio seemed like such a simple task while Shiro was mentioning what they had to do. When he sat down to start one he was determined; but after a couple of minutes nothing except the basics was coming to him. His name is Hunk Garret, he is 18 years old. He likes cooking and has an interest in biology and computers. But besides that, Hunk realized he really didn't know himself much at all. With that thought in mind; his first instinct was to call Shay. Besides his mother and Lance, it felt like she was the other person that knew him best; and Lance was probably busy writing his own bio.
At first it seemed like she wasn't going to pick up the phone. Hunk was in the middle of convincing himself this was foolish and was about to hang up when a voice came through the other end. "Hello?" Surprised, Hunk scrambled with the phone to bring it back up to his ear as Shay added; "Hunk? Are you there?"
"Yeah sorry." Hunk breathed out, relaxing a bit. "Hey Shay. How are you?"
"I'm fine. Just, working."
"Are you too busy?" Hunk asked gently. He knew Shay was usually occupied with her art in the free time she had and for a little bit he felt guilty for calling. He could pick up a slight tiredness in her voice; though Hunk knows she is also infamous for pulling all-nighters to get more pieces up for sale. "If you are I can… I can go."
"No, don't hang up." Shay replied quickly from the other end. "I can take a break, I've been doing this for a while. What's up?"
"What am I like?" Hunk blurted out the question, before realizing how odd that question might sound to some people. For sure that was a weird question to be asking another person; he was glad that Shay couldn't see his face because he was so flustered it was bright red. "I-I'm not having an identity crisis I swear I just have to make a little biography for a thing and I can't think of what to put with it besides basic things and figured you could help me and…"
A chuckle came from Shay from the other line. "Hon you're ok. Wow you're so cute when flustered. I may not be able to tell you completely what you're like, but I'll tell you the things I noticed, sure."
By the time Shay was done, Hunk had a nice list of things to include. Before the phone call ended, Hunk thanked her about ten times while slipping in that he owed her big time. Conversations with Shay are always so comfortable that it doesn't seem like time is passing for Hunk. Once he hung up he realized that his unfinished bio had been sitting there for an hour; but it felt so good to know that he could finally finish it.
It may not be everything about him, but Hunk finally figured out how to let people in to what he's like.
Keith didn't even know how he was going to start this bio. He was meeting up with Pidge in a couple of minutes to get the blog set up and designed all nice and neat, so he decided that he wouldn't try to come up with anything now. Still, how are you supposed to write a bio when you don't quite want anyone to know you? Keith wished he could just work on his parts anonymously; behind a curtain like the wizard in The Wizard of Oz. Unfortunately, that's not the way this project works. Not at all.
Keith was so lost in thought that he almost didn't hear the knock on his door. Slipping off of his bed, he opened the door, greeting Pidge as he walked into the dorm room. He took a seat on his bed, gesturing to the side of him. "You can sit on my bed, if you want." He told the other, opening up and powering on his laptop.
Pidge didn't seem like it, but he was the type of friend that just makes himself at home, sprawling out on Keith's bed like they had known each other for ages. "Alright, it's time to set this bad boy up." He said, clicking on the icon to get to the web. The smaller boy started working on setting up the blog, while walking Keith through it just so another was aware of the set up process. It seemed like Pidge had done this many a times before, Keith wondered a bit about why that was. He didn't want to be nosy though, so he didn't poke into it too much.
After it was all set up, he was shown the tools for customization. "Alright." Pidge stated. "It's in your hands now, o creator."
"You're so weird, Pidge." Keith chuckled lightly, fooling around with some design tools.
"You know it."
The two of them engaged in conversation, while Keith tried out some ideas. The two of them agreed on a space like theme, it seemed like something everyone in the group would enjoy.
Many stars and galaxy backgrounds later, the blog was pretty much all set up and ready to get things posted on it. After Pidge sent a link out to all the others, him and Keith decided to hang out for a little longer. Snacking on some chips that Keith had stashed away, they started a conversation about space and the thought of flying among the stars. All the space talk led them to watching The Martian; a movie that Pidge had apparently watched many times before. Keith had never even heard of it.
"That must be peaceful." Keith said part of the way into the movie. "Being all alone in space."
"Debatable." Pidge returned, his eyes still glued to the movie on the screen. "It seems stressful. In a lot of ways. I guess maybe not for you, but for me, I'd need someone else to keep me sane."
Keith shrugged, turning his attention back to the movie. "I don't know though. You don't think the other person would like, betray you or something? Like… Eat all the potatoes?"
A chuckle escaped Pidge's mouth. "Betrayal by eating potatoes. Only in your mind, Keith."
"I don't know, then you would go hungry and die of hunger. Totally possible."
"I didn't know you had this much imagination in you."
"No one does." Keith responded, running a hand through his hair and sighing. "Except for Shiro I guess? I… I have a hard time opening up to people. Pidge, how am I even going to write this bio? I can't even talk to most people. Now I'm supposed to let some random people know who I am?"
Keith immediately regretted saying that, as a moment of silence ensued. He was about to take back what he said immediately, but Pidge turned his head to look at Keith. "You don't have to open up completely Keith." He mentioned lightly, shaking his head. "In no way do you have to be super in depth. Hell you can just be like, I don't know, Keith insert last name here is from insert place here. His interests are being an introvert while silently observing the life around him. There's nothing else to say about him, because there's not much else to know."
Keith blinked, glancing over at Pidge who was grinning ear to ear, mighty proud of what he seemed to have come up with. He wasn't sure if that exactly was what Shiro meant for the bio, but he appreciated Pidge for getting him started. "Maybe not that exactly, but I think you're on the right track Pidge." He returned a chuckle, nodding his head. "Thanks."
The coffee shop was Lance's new favorite place to go to avoid being in his room with boring Keith. He figured that sitting in the shop and thinking there would be way better than trying to think of things cooped up in the dorm all day; not like he wanted to think much at all. Besides, it's not every day you get to go on a nice walk. The last days of August are coming soon and after that the good weather can be kissed goodbye. Nice weather is something Lance had always appreciated; it reminded him of when he would take walks to a small park with his siblings back home.
Lance should be good at writing a bio, he is focusing on creative writing in school after all. The only issue he had was choosing the right words. Does he call himself amazing? That seems too egotistical. Friendly? That's pretty true, he could probably put that down. Attractive? He thinks so, but that's a matter of opinion. Tossing between words, there was a couple of small buzzes on his phone. Looking down, he saw that he received two texts; one from Hunk and one from Veronica.
Veronica's was just an update on how things were going back home. Ever since the phone call, she's been keeping in contact with Lance. Nothing has really changed all that much since they talked, but nothing has gotten better either. Just hearing from her, however, is a reassurance for Lance. At least he could know what the current situation is like.
'Wanna hang out?' was the text he got from Hunk. He hadn't really had lots of one on one time with Hunk since he got here; it's always just been them in the group or with Pidge.
'Sure. Coffee shop down the street.' He quickly typed out.
Hunk responded even faster with a simple; 'Are you serious Lance? Exercise?' But before Lance could type anything else, he sent another message. 'Just kidding. See you soon.'
While waiting for his friend to come, Lance put in an order for a caramel frappe and a plain bagel. Knowing that Hunk would probably want something, he also bought two blueberry muffins; his favorite kind of muffin. It has been since Lance met Hunk in his childhood days, in fact the first time he talked to Hunk he was a lonely little boy with a crumbly blueberry muffin. What a time that was.
As soon as Lance received the order, Hunk entered, grinning his widest smile and waving. Returning the wave, Lance headed back to the table as Hunk maneuvered his way over, squeezing past other people seated in their chairs. Once he was seated, Lance handed over the muffins to which Hunk said; "Hey dude, thanks." Their real conversation started generally, a greeting, a mention on how today was going, a comment on the nice weather for a walk. Then came the question Lance was pretty much waiting for Hunk to ask; "Have you finished your bio yet?"
"I'm having a hard time not sounding too full of myself." Lance said, sipping his frappe while shrugging and turning his computer to Hunk showing him what he had so far. "I think I got the hang of this though. Do you think this is okay?"
"So jealous of you man. You have such a way with words." Sighed Hunk. "I had to call Shay to help me. Literally my saving grace."
Lance chuckled, turning his computer back around to edit what he wrote a bit so it would flow better in his mind. "How is Shay? Last you told me she was stressed about her rent or something."
"Oh yeah, she's good now." Hunk answered, taking a bite into his muffin. "Just you know, life of a freelance artist. She picked up a job at a gas station to help with more finances." He continued, his mouth full. "You've seen a bit uptight these past few days, everything all right? I didn't want others to get nosey but had no other time to pull you aside or I would have asked sooner."
Hesitating for a bit, Lance scratched the back of his head. Even though Hunk was his best friend, he didn't really want to say anything. But it's Hunk, and who's Hunk got to tell? He already told Shiro, and he hasn't known him for that long. So why was he hesitating with Hunk? He can trust him.
"Dad picked up more hours in his job." Lance decided to lay it all out on the table for Hunk, if anyone he deserved to know. Hunk was the one person that Lance would let down his confident act for; this was the only person he knew he could be completely vulnerable around. "According to Veronica tensions are getting higher. I just want to leave here and be with my siblings Hunk – but I know I'd probably get a lecture for leaving from them. It's tough, really tough."
Hunk reached over to pat Lance's shoulder. "Hey man, I'm sorry. That's rough."
"Right, really screwy. For everyone." Lance responded, shrugging away from Hunk's touch, giving out a frustrated chuckle. "He knows he has to take responsibility of being home to help Veronica watch the other kids while mama has to cook before she leaves for work but yet... God, even I'm mad at him Hunk, and I'm not even home."
"You have reason to be. Everyone in your family does. He did this without saying anything?"
Lance silently nodded, finishing off his bagel. Hunk gave more words of reassurance. Lance appreciated Hunk, he was a great friend through thick and thin. Someone you can really count on when you need it. With the conversation on Lance's family out of the way, the afternoon became somewhat peaceful again; and Lance couldn't imagine spending it with anyone else besides Hunk.
After The Martian ended, Pidge retreated to his room to find it empty. Though he didn't mind being alone, he still wondered what his roommate was up to. Usually Hunk was working on things, or talking to Shay, or finding random recipes off of Facebook that he wanted to try. It was Hunk's life, Pidge figured, so he didn't reach out to ask him where he was.
Pidge put in so much effort helping Keith come up with his bio, that he almost forgot about doing his own. No bother though; all he had to put really was that he was the son of Sam Holt and a lot of people would figure out who he was. He was slightly hesitant about putting that down however; most people that follow Sam Holt closely know that he had two kids, a boy and a girl. Pidge had somehow basically found a way to stay out of the media since his transition which made life for him and his family that much easier. He needed to be careful about this. Pidge didn't want his school life here to be hell too.
People finding out he was trans wouldn't be such a huge deal, if he didn't have to deal with the group. It's easy to stick to yourself if people in classes hate you in this sort of environment but dealing with the group was inevitable. Especially if one of them is his roommate; though he doubted Hunk was transphobic you never really know. But again, maybe not a lot of people here know who Sam Holt is. Maybe they never would have heard of "Katie Holt". Maybe they'll just be mad at him because he's the son of a rich genius, and maybe they've only heard of the oldest son that is Matt Holt. Most of the older kids probably knew Matt anyways, besides he was a people person.
Pidge missed Matt. Every time he thought about his brother he wondered how he was doing, what he was doing, and if he was going to ever hear from him again. It's rough going from talking to someone every day, to every week, to now barely twice a month. His brother was his best friend. It felt somewhat lonely without contact.
In his first draft of the bio, he left out his father. In the second one, he put it in. He then removed it again; but it seemed like it was a piece of the huge puzzle that is Pidge. It was a piece that if it was missing you wouldn't get the whole clear image of who he is. Though he was a bit afraid, he doubted that anyone knew about Sam Holt well enough to realize the daughter was now a son. For all they might know, there was a secret third child. He thought about using that as a lie if anyone was really that knowledgeable of his family, which was sad but that would get people off of his back. Maybe Keith was rubbing off on Pidge a bit; Pidge doesn't really want people to know him either. Not if they could possibly learn about "Katie Holt".
He edited his bio about five or six times before sighing and partially giving up. Nothing was sounding good at all; and it frustrated Pidge to no end. This is way harder than setting up a bio to one of his personal blogs. With running those blogs, no one really knew him and he monitored them well so that he wouldn't be found by people he knew in real life, so he didn't have to be worried about outing himself to others. But on this blog if anyone found out; it was game over.
In the midst of his thoughts, a spark went off in Pidge's head. If he mentioned things about his love for technology and all things for computers, it wouldn't all be about his relations to his father; who he was related to wouldn't be all that he was known for here, which is what he didn't want happening here in the first place. With that in his mind, Pidge relaxed. Maybe doing this wouldn't be that hard after all. After careful consideration, he finally figured out something he was comfortable with. Sitting back with satisfaction he grinned, sending a message to Matt before closing his eyes for a well deserved nap.
Though the mentors basically are there to just get their mentees through the first year and their projects, they still needed to come up with something so that the leader of the group can be recognized by the public as well.
When he clicked on the link he was surprised; by the evening after they were told they had to do it every one of his students already had things popped up for their bios. Not every student is the best at doing things right away; he had to admit a part of him was awfully proud of them. It's not like they were rushed too, they were thought out and except for Keith's the others were longer than he expected.
Shiro only knew his team for a little bit; but all of their personalities shone through what he read. There's Hunk, the most humble and welcoming, a good person to get to know first. Keith's really showed his straightforwardness and introverted tendencies which Shiro knew would be the case; but it really seemed to get across who he was. Lance made himself seem confident and charismatic, it was impressive how his words seemed to flow together. Lastly Pidge's; showing he was intelligent and loyal, which mirrored the traits of his brother Matt almost exactly. Shiro really found himself with an interesting bunch this year; that much he knew now than before. He was sure, even if he wasn't there to guide them through this year they would probably be fine on their own. If there's anything that they'll have to work on it's working with the group, not just individually; like they had to do for the bio. Shiro sighed.
If anything he hopes they can get to a point where everyone could trust each other. They were all very much far from that point. He would like to believe they would get there somehow, but a part of him still doubted that could happen. Personally, he knew he wanted to give the group the best possible experience. At least the bios looked good, at least that was a simple, easy task for the first thing.
In order to match theirs, Shiro typed out something simple. Even though he was the most important person in the group, he shouldn't outshine the others. Technically, he wasn't working on the blog; just there to help them along. He personally felt like due to that his should go on the bottom, underneath the ones of Hunk, Keith, Lance and Pidge. It was like they were the stars, he was the background. He wanted to make sure they would be the people others would remember.
Shiro was going to make sure they were the most memorable team in the Garrison Academy. These students truly deserve the best possible first year experience. Shiro was determined to make sure that was exactly what they would get.
I cannot thank you guys ENOUGH for waiting and not begging for a new chapter. In October I was really stressed and quite honestly lost the motivation to write. I kicked myself back into gear and produced this chapter FINALLY. Chapter 10 will probably be a lot easier for me to write. Chapter 4 of Thawed Hearts should be finished probably sometime this week too. I also have a one shot I'm working on to come soon! I'm trying to work on getting chapters out quicker but as a college student it's hard! I appreciate everything guys. I hope you enjoy this chapter!
"You know, robots could take over the world one day"
"No they can't, Keith, why are you thinking that at the lunch table?" Pidge glanced up from his phone, giving a puzzled look towards his friend across from him. It was a busy day as usual; all tables except for one for four people was available. They were making the most of it, placing their backpacks on the other two chairs to fake they were occupied.
"I don't know." Keith responded, before changing the topic. "You're on your phone a lot today. Something up?"
Pidge shook his head. "It's my brother. I haven't heard from him in a while. Also Hunk, his class got out early. He's coming to join us." He looked up once again, Keith's face appearing a bit freaked out by the news that another person would soon be joining them. He didn't want to seem rude, but a chuckle came out of his mouth. "Dude it's okay you can relax. Hunk is one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Promise."
"I guess." Keith said with a sigh.
Pidge took a break from his phone, taking a bite of the sandwich from his plate in front of him. Keith still had this worried look on his face; Pidge really wished that he wasn't so guarded. Though they were close (at least Pidge thinks so, Keith on the other hand, might think otherwise), Pidge realized he didn't really know much about the other or his personal life. Because he didn't know, he couldn't really judge Keith for his apparent trust issues and walls he has built up. Pidge only knew that he could try to help it.
"You know, when I was in high school, I had no interest in talking to anyone. Hard to believe, right? But I still had people who approached me and tried to be all buddy-buddy just because of who my father was. It was annoying sure, but after a while it wasn't so bad. I just talked to them anyways; a fake it till you make it kind of thing." He shrugged. "Look, I'm not saying you have to be friends with Hunk or anything, but it's probably better if you don't sit in silence the whole time."
Keith huffed, but nodded his head anyways. "Guess it can't hurt. At least it's not Lance. Lesser of two evils." His statement made Pidge chuckle again.
"Man you really do have something against Lance. Ya know he's not that bad."
"He wants to be all buddy-buddy." Keith rolled his eyes. "Pidge, he might not be that bad to you, but he's just unbearable to me. Completely."
"Have you tried talking to him?"
"Then you're pretty much judging a book by its cover." Pidge gave a warm smile. To Keith, it seemed like he was being sympathetic, though he tried not to take it in the wrong way. "I'm sure he's not that bad, man. You're just being a little rough. You should try talking to him, at least once."
Keith just shrugged. Be friends with Lance? Probably never. Should he talk to him even though he has no desire? Sure. But will he? Probably not. For now though, possibly being friends with Lance seemed like the least of his worries. He could see Hunk approaching the table, smiling gently; that's his first goal, to get done with today's obstacle. If Pidge wants him and Hunk to get along at least he can try to be friendly. At least it wasn't Lance.
"Hey guys, what's up." Hunk said, sitting in the chair that Pidge moved his stuff from. He had a plate full of chicken and broccoli alfredo, the school's chef special for today. It seemed fancy and from the few times they've eaten in a group Hunk seemed to only grab the fancy dishes. He didn't seem to have a peculiar taste, it was like he just grabbed anything that looked appealing to the eye.
"Not much." Pidge responded, sitting back in his chair. "Hey Keith, what are you staring at Hunk's food for, you gonna eat it?"
"Why would I – "
Hunk spun the pasta up on his fork. "No judgement Keith, but this food is for my stomach and my stomach only. Man I love food."
"I'm not gonna steal your food!" Keith emphasized, huffing and rolling his eyes. The table became quiet. Keith noticed Hunk and Pidge sharing a look, before he looked down himself. Getting upset over a simple joke. Total Keith move.
Through the silence, Pidge cleared his throat. "I'm going to tell Shay that you're cheating on her with food."
"No fair Pidge! I love food and Shay equally. And she knows that."
Keith cocked his head to the side. "Who's Shay?" He questioned, trying to be involved in the conversation. Both Hunk and Pidge seemed to turn their heads to look at Keith in shock, as if he were an inanimate object that just started moving. He understood why Hunk was surprised but Pidge? Pidge was the one who told him to involve himself in the first place.
That question prompted the big guy to start gushing over Shay, who Keith quickly learned was his girlfriend. It must be nice having a partner such as Hunk. He seems very loyal; not to mention he seems to love her to pieces. Keith never imagined dating or was interested in romance but he had to admit, hearing Hunk talk about his relationship would make you want something like that too.
The conversation turned from Shay to other things very quickly; Though Keith wasn't big with talking, conversations with Hunk and Pidge just flowed effortlessly. Even though it seemed like a chore before, it didn't seem like it now and he was even enjoying himself. Keith figured that even though it was hard for him to trust people, something about Hunk and Pidge made him feel comfortable, like talking to Shiro. It was warm and inviting, and he liked learning new things about these people in front of him.
Then came the talk about hobbies. Keith wasn't quite ready to initiate a portion of the conversation involving his art, and Pidge didn't force him to. Instead, they listened to Hunk talk about his one true passion; cooking.
Now Keith got why Hunk went for all of the fancy, elaborate dishes in the dining hall. It wasn't because he was being picky, it was because those were the types of dishes that were closest to things he would make at home for him and his family. Pasta dishes, meatloaf, Hunk has cooked almost all of it. It was his true passion; although he would never imagine doing it as a job he can't live without it. Food is just what makes Hunk, Hunk. Listening to him talk about things he was passionate about like food and Shay was enrapturing; everything that Hunk loved, it kind of made Keith want to love it too.
Eventually, Keith figured he should head back to the dorm. Lance had a class so it would give him a little peace and quiet before he got back. He got up, thanked the both of them for a good time, and then turned away to discard his plates.
"Hey Pidge, I guess Keith isn't so bad after all." He heard Hunk mention to Pidge as he was heading away from the table. That made Keith smile to himself, as he got rid of his plates and left the dining hall doors.
Lance had some time to bum before his next class. This usually didn't happen, but one of his professors got extremely sick and cancelled class last minute. So, Lance sat by, opened his computer, and stared at a blank word document. This isn't the first time he had done this; he had considered starting a story before. But starting his first novel was hard.
He had written countless numbers of fanfiction before; it's what made him want to pursue writing as a career in the first place. If he never had any books lying around to read to his siblings for a distraction, sometimes he would tell them stories from the top of his head. They always loved his tales. Unfortunately those were all spur of the moment, he didn't have the time to write any of them down or to expand on them for that matter.
Lance's favorite genre of books is fantasy. He always longed to write an adventure story of his own; with dragons and serpents and other mythical creatures. He liked how it takes you to another reality, one that you can only dream about living in. He was also a sucker for romantic subplots, so he considered a way to include one of those in there as well.
In order to think, he put his playlist on shuffle. Having things to jam to helps him brainstorm; even if it seems like he gets lost in the music. Of course, the first song to come on was Rick Astley's "Never Gonna Give You Up". It would be a crime for Lance not to belt his lungs out with this song, so he did. Keith wasn't present in the room, so who cares.
Lance gave his all to the music. He closed his eyes, dancing around the room. This song was iconic, something anyone would move to. He felt no shame in doing so; until he was filled with regret. At that moment, someone walked into the room. To make matters even worse, that person was Keith.
"… Hi." Keith mumbled, staring at Lance who had frozen in place as soon as his roommate walked through the door.
"Um… Hey?" Lance responded, his arms still up in the air. The song was still playing; and Lance wished there was somewhere he could just hide away in embarrassment. "It's uh… Rick Astley. Never Gonna Give You Up."
Keith blinked, obviously confused. Shaking his head, he turned and walked towards his bed. "Never heard of it."
Lance huffed, crossing his arms, pausing the song. "You've never heard of the Rick Roll? Dude." He internally was shaming Keith. How could he go so long without hearing something so known by almost everyone? "Wait. I forgot. You probably listen to all that emo music. Panic! At The Disco? My Chemical Romance? No judgement, dude. They have good songs."
"No actually I like Irving Berlin, thank you very much." Keith snapped back, picking up his headphones and rolling his eyes. He covered his ears and glared at Lance, and it was clear he didn't want to talk anymore. Why does Lance even bother trying.
"Fine." Lance huffed in return, exiting out of his music and shutting his computer, grabbing his bag. "Lucky for you I have to leave anyways." He mumbled under his breath. He partially made that up, his next class wasn't until an hour from now. Lance just wanted to get out of the room, which seemed dull, like all the life left when Keith walked into the room.
Keith as always, ignored him. Lance knew Shiro told him to try, but he was at a complete loss by now. Maybe he'll try another day; or maybe it's time to accept the fact that they would never be able to have normal conversation. Maybe it will be better for him not to try at all.
Ever since the day he had lunch with Keith and Pidge, Hunk had just not gotten a break in his classes. Besides that one time, none of his classes had ended early; and all of them practically went over the class period. Hunk was exhausted.
While he was sitting in his class, all Hunk could think about was his bed. He was able to keep his eyes open, but they were extremely heavy. He could barely keep up with the numbers of the equations dancing around on the board. God he hated math. Why did he have to take math. What also didn't help was that this was an evening class; that made the thought of bed even more tempting.
He started thinking about the things he could be doing instead of sitting in math class to keep his mind busy: hanging out with Lance, eating snacks, calling Shay, doing homework, but if there was any class that took up the whole time it would be this class that he was currently present in. Passing with a B; that was his only goal.
Hunk glanced up at the clock. There was still about twenty minutes left; plenty of time for them to go over another boring equation and how to do it. He huffed, getting prepared for another boring part of the lecture, but instead the unspeakable happened.
"You all look pretty dead to the Earth right now." His professor, Honerva, huffed. "I guess we'll just have to continue this next class. Dismissed."
All the students in the class (including Hunk) sprung up from their seats and rushed immediately to the exit, as if they didn't leave she would change her mind and start teaching again. Normally Hunk wouldn't be rushing as much; but getting to go back to the dorm early would be fantastic. So, he fought his way through the crowd to get on the other side of that door. Instead of diving right into his homework, he could take a very well deserved nap. Or maybe just hang out with Pidge, who was usually in the room prepared for sleep in his pajamas.
Exercise usually wasn't Hunk's thing, but he practically sprinted to the dorm. This was the best thing that could have ever happened in his life right now.
Once he got to the dorm, Hunk swiped his ID. Slightly out of breath, it took him a while to make it to his room. Trying to catch what little air he had once he got to the door, Hunk unlocked it, swinging it open with what little energy he had left.
"Hey, Pidge." He said, in between breaths. "I hope you don't mind that I'm back, I got out of class early and… I…"
Hunk paused when he looked up. Pidge was frozen in place, a look of terror on his face. It seemed as if he was in the middle of changing; his pajamas folded neatly on the bed. But what he saw made Hunk utterly confused, if Pidge was getting undressed for bed, why was he still wearing what looked like a sports bra?
All the color seemed to disappear from Pidge's skin. "Hey, you okay?" Hunk questioned, taking two steps forward into the room. That was apparently the wrong action to take, because his roommate bolted from where he was standing, accidentally pushing past Hunk to get out of there.
"Pidge?" Hunk tried again, but the other boy kept on going, practically slamming the door. Hunk was still very puzzled, trying to figure out what exactly that was about; why was Pidge so quick to escape?
Then it clicked. It always seemed weird that Pidge was so short and that his voice was higher than usual; but the thought never occurred to Hunk. Pidge was trans? So that girl in the photo wasn't Pidge's girlfriend that was… Pidge?
Hunk took a seat on his bed, blinking at the floor. It's not that he would frown upon Pidge, but why would he not tell him? So many questions were running through his head, Hunk could barely think of anything else.
The only thing he hoped, was that Pidge would be okay.
Shiro was occupied by a paper when he heard a frantic knocking at his door. He sighed, putting his computer aside. Usually conflicts don't happen at this time; Shiro was pretty confused. Opening the door, he came face to face with a hyperventilating Pidge. He wasn't sure what caused the younger student to become this way, but there's no way he would get any information from him like this. Pidge was trying to talk, but it was all a jumbled mess; something really bad must have happened, Shiro was sure of it.
Hearing other students coming in the building, Shiro guided Pidge into his room, before quietly shutting the door. "Hey, hey Pidge, I can't understand you like this. Deep breaths okay? I'm going to need you to calm down." He mentioned softly, leading Pidge over to his bed and having him take a seat. By then, tears were falling from the younger boy's face; which didn't help anything to make him more understandable.
Shiro hesitantly reached over to rub Pidge's back. If he couldn't do anything else he figured it would be good for him to just be there; that's what Matt would want him to do. He remembered Matt talking about how Pidge was alone since Matt left and how he was upset he couldn't be there for his brother since his time had gotten so rough. Shiro knew ahead of time about Pidge, so he knew to keep an eye out for any transphobic activity around the dorm; he was worried that this issue was something far greater than a dispute if this is how Pidge is reacting. This is his first time ever confronting an issue like this, Shiro was unsure of what he should do. Then again, he didn't know exactly what was going on. Pidge was still sitting there sobbing, not saying a clear word.
"I'm going to need to know what happened in order to help you Pidge." He said gently again, voice lined with concern. "Please, Pidge. What's going on."
"H-Hunk…." Pidge forced out, before choking on his words. Hunk? Something happened with Hunk? Out of everything, this is not what Shiro expected at all. Out of all his residential pairings, he though Hunk and Pidge would be the best match. Hunk the boy with the seemingly huge heart, and Pidge, someone that just needed to be respected.
"Hunk? Did something happen with Hunk?"
Pidge nodded, looking defeated. He hadn't calmed down much, but was able to follow up with more clear words. "I-I was changing and he walked in and noticed me and I…" The distraught boy sighed, shaking his head. "I couldn't think, I just ran out. He knows I'm different now. He knows and… God, what if he hates me?"
"Pidge, I don't think Hunk is capable of hating anyone."
"What if he does, though? When people found out at my old school, they switched real quick."
Shiro paused, not knowing much to say. But he had to say something, he needed to be there for Pidge right now. Smiling over at the other, he shook his head. "Well if he does, he doesn't deserve the wonderful person you are. It's his loss. But you've known Hunk for a while now; do you think he would change just because of this?"
"I… I don't know." Pidge murmured, rubbing his arm unsurely. "Quite honestly I'm scared to find out. I don't really want to go back there."
Shiro hopped off of the bed, standing in front of Pidge, holding out his hand and grinning. "Then how about we go together? If anything happens, I'll be there. Okay? You don't have to go through this alone, we'll work this out together. But I also think it's fair that you tell the truth to Hunk."
Pidge seemed to hesitate, looking up at Shiro. Even though there was hesitation, he appeared to be more relaxed and his tears had mostly cleared up; which relieved Shiro to see. If there is anything he wanted from this it conversation was to make Pidge feel better and it seemed to do that at least. Eventually Pidge took his hand, standing up before walking forward and wrapping Shiro in a hug. That, Shiro did not expect. Pidge didn't seem like one to be the affectionate type. "Thanks, Shiro."
"Hey, it's no problem." Shiro added softly, smiling as he gave Pidge a squeeze back. "Now let's go get this over with, huh?"
Pidge stood there, staring at the closed door. Even though he talked it out with Shiro and even though the person he was facing was Hunk; he was still terrified of this confrontation. It was hard for him to wrap his head around how he has to actually come out; that was something he hadn't properly done since he told his family years back. Shiro was standing behind him. At least his presence gave some sort of comfort, like an older sibling would. Similar to the comfort Matt would give if he was here.
"You ready?" Shiro questioned, as Pidge inhaled deeply.
"It's now or never." Pidge responded, holding his breath as he twisted the doorknob, slowly opening the door.
He walked back into the room with a normal scene; everything around him was neat and Hunk was sitting there on his bed, scrolling through his phone looking at who knows what. It was like nothing even happened. Hunk looked up when the door opened, and Pidge got a nervous feeling in his stomach. How was Hunk going to react?
"Oh. Hi Pidge." Hunk said plainly, before turning his attention back to his phone. That was it? What an odd reaction; but then Hunk seemed to realize that Pidge, who had just run out of the room in a panic, was actually back in the room. "Pidge! Oh my god, are you okay? You just ran out of here."
Pidge blinked and looked at Shiro in disbelief. He found it weird the way that Hunk was reacting, but it was a bit reassuring to Pidge that his roommate at least seemed to be concerned. Maybe Shiro was right, and Hunk wasn't like everyone else at his previous school. He took a deep breath, preparing in his mind what to say next.
"I-I'm okay Hunk. I just…" He sighed, moving to take a seat on his bed. Pidge started to twiddle his thumbs, something he only started to do when he was really nervous. "I think you figured this out by now but I… I'm transgender Hunk. I don't like to tell people because well… Whenever people figure out they shun me or make fun of me. Besides my family I've never had much support or friends. So… It was best for me to keep it down, keep it silent."
"I'm sorry for keeping it from you for so long." Pidge continued, choking in his words at this point. He was silently begging to himself to not cry, he didn't want to in front of Hunk. But the tears disobeyed and some fell anyways. "I guess a part of me was scared I'd lose you, like I lost so many in the past. You're a great guy and a great friend, so when you walked in on me changing I just freaked out. But I just wanted to start over as a boy for once… You know? A time where everyone just thought of me as a boy and nothing else. It's just so nice…"
Hunk was sitting on the edge of his bed, and he seemed to genuinely listen to what Pidge was saying, nodding. "Yeah I get that." He responded, shaking his head. "So that person in the image that was…"
"Me, yeah. The other person is my brother Matt."
"And what you're wearing?"
"It's a binder. Flattens you know, this." Pidge motioned over his chest.
Hunk took a while, it seemed like he was thinking about the whole situation. This made Pidge sort of nervous now, the silence was agonizing. He'd rather Hunk be saying something than the silence since he laid it all out in the open. Other than this moment though, Pidge thought that this went so much smoother than he was expecting. For a moment, he thought that Shiro didn't even need to be there for support; but nonetheless Pidge was glad he was there.
Hunk finally spoke, standing up. "You know, you may be different, Pidge, but you're a damn good roommate." a big grin sprouted onto his face. "You won't have to worry about losing me. You're good. But I would have liked to know the truth earlier."
"Noted." Pidge nodded, also standing. He walked over to Hunk, holding out his hand. "We good?"
"Dude, we are more than good." Hunk responded, wrapping Pidge into an unexpected hug. "We are great."
Pidge shouldn't have been too surprised; Hunk seemed like he would be the type to hug things out. He sighed a sigh of relief, before noticing that Shiro had left. Probably when he realized all was well between the two.
After a while the two separated from the hug. Pidge spoke again. "Hey Hunk, can… Can you not tell the others?" he crossed his arms. "I… I'm not ready to tell them yet. I may never be. I don't want them to know."
Hunk grinned at the other, nodding his head. "You got it man. Your secret is safe with me."
Wow, I was LITERALLY upset with myself for not being able to complete this before Thawed Hearts chapter 7... and by some miracle I finished this today... Wow... Magic
I hope you guys like this update!
I put this in Thawed Hearts chapter 6 but ANNOUNCEMENT: I'm lacking serious motivation issues with Garrison Academy and am officially counting this fanfiction as a side project. Thawed Hearts will be my main priority. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? Garrison Academy won't be stopped, but it will have slower updates. I will work on this when I get a block for Thawed Hearts or something, which means even slower updates. I hope you guys can forgive me, I just don't have the energy to work on them both at the same time. Thawed Hearts is way better received and WAY more popular and also BNHA is an active fandom whereas VLD is kind of dying. I might not be as proud of this than when I started it, but I don't want to abandon it without an ending! I'm not letting this become an abandoned fic like so many others on my fanfiction account.
Thanks for reading so far, and I hope you guys continue to enjoy this despite slower updates!
Lance was in the library that evening working on a paper while his phone was frantically going off. At first thought he thought it was his family; so he made a habit to check it every time it went off. He glanced down at it to only find it was Hunk. He would have put his phone down and on silent to focus, but it had him a bit worried. Hunk never texted this frantically.
It was hard to decipher what his texts were about – something about Pidge running out of the room as soon as he got back to the dorm. If there was anything that Lance knew well, it was that Hunk was a worrier; he worried about almost everything. About his mom being happy in her life, about Shay when she had things going on, about Lance and his family situation, especially about going away and leaving his mom behind when he came here. If there was anything that was clear – it's that Hunk was worried about Pidge, and why exactly he left the room.
Lance had no idea why Pidge would just run out. Something really bad must have happened, but it wasn't his place to ask any more about the situation than what Hunk was telling him already. But his focus shouldn't be on Pidge right now; he should be focused on Hunk.
There was a slim chance of him picking up, but Lance thought he would give calling Hunk a try anyways.
The phone rang, then rang again. Then oddly, Lance got sent to voicemail before the ringing ended. He tried Hunk again, but the same thing happened again. Hunk must really not want to talk out loud about what happened. A lot of thoughts swirled around in Lance's head – and that made it hard to focus on what exactly he was working on beforehand. He was so worried about his friends that it was hard to even remember what he was doing. First his family and now his friends; at this moment for Lance school was the least of his worries. But he needed to struggle through this stupid paper.
Leaving his phone on a vibrate just in case Hunk tried to reach him again, Lance slipped his phone into his pocket before once again starting to type words. Staring at his computer screen, it was really difficult to come up with the right words to put out onto the paper. This was foreign to Lance, who was always so used to being the best one possible when it came to writing. He ran his hand through his hair, letting out a sigh. Looking around, he saw so many students dedicated to their work. Lance had never been the hardest of workers in school, but he still got fairly good grades. He greatly envied the people who could just go ahead and get stuff done. He was never like that.
It was then Lance decided instead, that he was going to distract himself. He hadn't been able to let himself loose and create separate imaginary worlds for a while now since he came up with a concept for his novel; so Lance decided instead of writing his paper he would write some stories to jog his brain. He could add these to the blog too, something extra to add as his part between posts from the others.
The blog has been really coming along lately. He wasn't sure who kept track of it after they posted something, but Lance likes to sometimes go on there just to scroll through and stall some time before doing other things. Pidge definitely seemed like a master of posting, it was almost like he had run some kind of blog before. He posted about some science-y space things, something that Pidge seemed to talk about a lot. Figures, since that was the type of stuff his brother was doing. They must be close. Besides him, there are a couple posts from Hunk about some weird skinny pig care (Lance didn't understand his fascination on skinny pigs, even if Hunk owned one once in his lifetime) and one or two posts from Keith which Lance was even surprised that he had even done anything.
Lance hadn't attempted to talk to Keith in actual weeks. Since he walked in on Lance dancing around the room, he has been avoiding any contact of his roommate due to his partial embarrassment. That was most of the reason that Lance was in the library, hiding away. Even though Keith didn't care for him at all, Lance was trying to figure out why he still wanted to make a good impression. He also still doesn't know why he cares so much about what Keith thinks about him. It's a mystery. He could probably write a book on himself at this point: "The Unsolved Mystery of the Mind of Lance McClain".
Coming up with stories was one of Lance's favorite things to do, but it was a bit boring when he had no one to tell them to. He enjoyed the times at home when all of his siblings sat around him with wide eyes as he told them how Cara and Antonio beat the bad villain Korack and in the process found out who they truly were meant to be. For some reason that story brought his youngest sibling, Charo, to tears.
Writing stories also reminded him of home. He missed his home greatly; his siblings, his mom. He's heard about some of the things that have been going on but he just wants to be there for them. A lone son wishing for a perfect family, and that he could be there for them; sounds like a story that anyone could create off the top of their head. He could write a story like that too, but the sad reality was that Lance was living in it.
After spending a couple of more hours on small little drabbles for the blog, Lance decided that it was time to head back to the dorm. His energy level was running low and he felt like there was no way that the essay he had to do would get done at this rate. What harm could putting the paper off even more do? With a sigh, he closed his computer and slipped it into his case, before heading out of the library while slipping his headphones in his ears.
It was a peaceful evening in the dorm room. Well – Lance was out doing who knows what and Keith was alone; which is what makes It truly peaceful. It lets Keith be able to do whatever he wants without the annoyance of another person in the room. Keith liked that.
Not that he had anything really exciting to do. Homework, though it was mainly doing some sketches, was still extremely lame. But it had to get done, and Keith decided it would be best to be on top of things. He knew procrastination all too well and was trying to avoid it as much as possible. Besides, his scholarship would be on the line if he flunked. The orphanage adults and Shiro were nice enough to help him financially; he wouldn't want them paying any more. It wouldn't be fair to them, since they're nice enough to even help him. Keith wasn't exactly the model child in the orphanage. Maybe they just helped him out of pity – besides he was the only one his age that didn't get adopted away.
Since Lance was gone, Keith decided that it would be nice to not use his headphones for a while. He might not like Lance, but he wasn't an asshole roommate who competes with volume. Keith liked staying in his element with headphones anyways when his roommate was here. It was a good excuse to keep his ears covered and his mouth closed. But once and a while, he guessed, it was okay to let loose. To accompany his homework, he decided to play some soft smooth jazz. At this moment, it was the most relaxed Keith had been in a while, he realized. All the socializing with Pidge and now becoming familiar with Hunk; it was nice, but it also left him a bit uptight. He hadn't gotten a chance like this to unwind in forever.
Even though Keith didn't care for Lance all that much, he wondered where he was. It wasn't unlike him to be out of the room, however. Keith assumed that as the social butterfly he is, Lance, if not in class, was probably with some friends. Why was he wondering about Lance anyways? He didn't care. He tried to tune out these thoughts as he turned his attention back to his sketchbook, trying to get some art assignments done before Lance was around to see. But a though lingered in his mind – what if he was unfairly judging his roommate and he really wasn't bad?
He forced his focus back to his assignments. Keith preferred to draw people – so drawing inanimate objects was quite boring in his eyes. Drawing people made him feel like he was involved in life, unlike these simple objects that don't have a whole lot of personality. A pencil is just a straight stick and a computer – just a keyboard and a screen. There wasn't even anything interesting in his room – Lance didn't have anything hanging up on his side and Keith only has that one painting he did in the opening first year festivities, so there wasn't anything he would enjoy doing for this.
As soon as he went to start, he heard keys getting inserted into the room. He rolled his eyes, sighing. Of course Lance would come back as soon as he got started. It was too late to stop now, so Keith spotted something quick to practice sketching. Hopefully Lance wouldn't want to be too nosey, he didn't want to be badgered for his drawings or for people to spread that he could draw. Imagine all the requests would come his way. Keith did not like that thought.
Lance trailed in the door, seeming to be a little not himself. Keith looked up, accidentally locking eyes with the other as he took his headphones out. "Hey, hey Keith." Lance started. Locking eyes was a bad idea, but Keith couldn't just look away. He convinced himself that he would not interact with Lance, no matter what he may say. "Ya like jazz?"
Despite the finger guns, Keith also convinced himself that it would be better to roll his eyes and glance down to his work, determined to finish it and not communicate with Lance. "Oh come on Keith, I just made a great reference to the holy Bee Movie!"
"Never seen it. Don't care. You're annoying?" Keith mentioned, not bringing his eyes up from his paper, hoping that this new attempt at conversation would go away and Lance would turn around and listen to his own music or something like he was before he walked into the door. He imagined that Lance was probably pouting at this point, but he didn't care. Being a recluse in his room is good enough for him. He's already well acquainted to Pidge and Hunk, he didn't need to completely get along with Lance too.
"That painting, above your bed. Did you paint that?" After a couple of minutes Lance brought that up. This made Keith glance up, raising one of his eyebrows. He didn't know Lance even noticed the painting.
"Yeah, and what about it?"
"It's good." Lance mentioned, shrugging. For a brief moment, he just seemed curious. Not the annoying Lance that Keith knew him to be. He also seemed to be oddly calm, which totally threw Lance off. "I wouldn't expect you to be much of the creative type."
That made Keith actually chuckle. Him, not being creative? Art was pretty much the only thing that stayed constant through his life. But Lance didn't have to know that. "Well, maybe if you started a normal conversation with me, you'd know that." The words that came out of his mouth were a bit cruel, and the more Keith thought about the way he said that the more he regretted that coming out of his mouth.
"I know high energy doesn't swing with you and that you don't like me. I just want to be okay with you Keith. We don't have to be friends. But at least familiar and comfortable with people."
"No. No Lance wait." Keith sighed, shaking his head. "I'm sorry that came out wrong. I guess… I've been pretty unfair. And rude. I'm not used to your energy and I guess you…" he lowered his voice low. "I guess you seem to be not that… that bad."
Lance gasped, his eyes getting wide. "Did I hear you correctly? Keith Kogane? Saying I might not be that bad?" He was like a puppy; easily excitable, wanting to be liked by everyone around him. Keith was pretty sure he just made Lance's day, no matter what happened before he walked into the room. "Can you say it another time?"
"Too much, Lance. Don't cross the barrier." Keith warned, before shrugging. Maybe, just maybe he really had been judging Lance McClain unfairly for weeks. He figured he could at least give him a small chance.
Maybe, just maybe he could get along with Lance after all.
AFTER ALL THIS TIME... I HAVE RETURNED
Sorry for not updating this as often as Thawed Hearts! I was probably really close to dropping this and this is the first time I have updated this in a month (YIKES) but I'm back in the flow even if the chapters will take a while for me to produce! I know this isn't that popular but I still want to finish the story for y'all!
To all the real life Pidges in the world... Happy Trans Day of Visibility!
The dining hall was nearly empty for lunch. For weeks, Hunk had enjoyed going later, because he found that he liked times like this more. At busy times, it felt like everyone was staring at him while he gathered plates upon plates of food. He didn't like the feeling that people might be judging him just because he liked to eat. He hated being stared at in the first place; he hated the feeling of people judging him due to his weight. Shay told him not to let it bother him, but he couldn't help it, Hunk has always been this anxious.
He wanted to invite his roommate, but Pidge was caught up with a pretty nasty cold. They all have a mandatory dinner to talk about the team project, so he said he would save his energy to leave the dorm for that. Being alone was nice, but it also wasn't. It had been a while since he last thought of his mom all alone, but to be honest being here was also a nice change. It got lonely seeing the same people everyday back home. His momma, the people at the school, and Lance; that was all he had back home. Now he built up a little family with the team, one that made him feel welcome and belong.
Hunk dug into his plate. The food was subpar, he was thinking about all sorts of ways that he could possibly make it better. Maybe add some spices; that would make it nice. He missed cooking. There was a stove in other dorm halls, but not in theirs. What a bummer.
"Hey, can I sit here?" A voice came, interrupting his thoughts for the instance. Glancing over, he saw Keith standing there, backpack flung over his shoulder. It was a bit odd hearing Keith to ask to sit somewhere for a change, especially with all the empty tables around.
"Sure, go ahead." Hunk responded, with a shrug.
It might be good to have some company, especially with Keith. Out of all the people after all, he was the only one that no one still knew a whole lot about; it hasn't been long since they started talking. It was also a surprise, but Hunk also got a text from Lance that they were talking now. It was nice to know they were on friendlier terms.
Starting casual conversation no matter how close a person is to Keith is like pulling teeth. It's really hard to get him talking, no matter what you happen to bring up. But Hunk somehow got him on talking about his classes and his day; and how he just ended up coming here because he got abnormally hungry and was craving the "good ol' dining hall chicken nuggets". When you get him talking, it's hard to imagine that the kid was antisocial to begin with.
"Wow." Hunk chuckled. "You know Keith, you're some interesting company."
Keith's face immediately looked puzzled in return. "I never really consider myself to be. I'm quite boring, actually. I mean, back at the orphanage no one really wanted to talk to the lonely kid."
"Well to be honest I doubt you talked to anyone there enough to get to know you."
"I talked to Shiro." Keith mentioned proudly, before thinking a bit about someone else he talked to there. "And there was…. Hm… Touché."
Hunk chuckled, shaking his head. "That's okay. Sometimes it takes a while to break out of your comfort zone. You know, believe it or not, I had a hard time with that myself when I was younger."
"No way. That's not true, I bet you had tons of friends."
"Yes, my mom and Lance. Tons of friends indeed." Keith sat there in shock as Hunk mentioned that, his mouth wide open. Hunk was trying so hard not to laugh at he other's expression. He wished he got along with more people back home, but so many people told him he was "too chubby to be their friend" and made fun of him for his weight, that it made him so scared that no one else in his area will accept him. He was told to ignore it, that he was a sweet boy and they were just being rude, but that didn't change anything; he didn't like all the judgmental stares. "Being here is like a fresh start, Keith. Back home has my mom and I miss her a lot, but besides her and Lance I was lonely. I know no one else really knows this but I was bullied a lot. But here I have a bunch of friends. It's not as… terrifyingly excluding as a small town where it's like everyone hates you."
The raven-haired kid across from him, though still seemingly in shock from disbelief, nodded his head taking in all that Hunk had said. It seemed like Keith was a good listener, it's a shame that they didn't exist in the same area until now. Hunk wished that they could have been in the same town, then he would have had one more friend in his circle – and Keith probably wouldn't have had such a guard up.
"You know, I can relate to the being lonely part." Keith finally spoke up again. "Even if I talked to some of them, it would still pretty much be same people, different day. I don't think I ever mentioned it around you or Pidge, but I grew up in an orphanage. Those same people… Looking at me with that same pity on their faces, it got old. Super lonely."
It was a shock that the other just revealed all that; was Hunk really that comforting of a person to be around? Keith wasn't even stumbling to take back his words. Hunk was really surprised on how vulnerable he just was. In fact, the bigger boy appreciated it.
"You might have been lonely there Keith, but you know what buddy?" Hunk gave a grin. "Now you got me. You have a friend in my anytime."
"Aw, thanks Hunk you big guy." Keith responded, returning the smile, before looking down at his watch. "Oh shit, hey I have to go." He mentioned, grabbing his plate and throwing his backpack on his shoulder again. "I'll see you later?"
"Yeah, Keith." Hunk nodded, smile still on his face. "I'll see ya later."
If there's anything that Pidge hated about living, it was waking up because he could barely breathe out of his nose. Hacking computers, he can handle, but hacking out his lungs? No Bueno. Pidge was sick, and that made him very upset. Besides hitting snooze on his alarm about six times this morning in a haze, he remembered briefly talking to Hunk about meeting everyone for dinner at about six. It was about 4:15, so he figured he had some time to lounge around.
Fumbling around, he finally grasped onto his glasses, slipping them on his face. His second move was to grab a tissue and blow all of the snot out of his nose. Being sick always put him in a bad mood; but seeing everyone later should cheer him up a bit. Hopefully nothing else would happen to make him feel worse.
When it got to about an hour later, Pidge begrudgingly climbed out of bed and threw on some sweats to cover up the fact he wasn't wearing his binder. This made him very conscious about his appearance; but due to the fact he could barely breathe opting out of the binder was a very smart decision. Putting his hands in his pockets and grabbing his keys Pidge moseyed out of the door. Even though he was scared of getting stared at, getting to the dining hall was his first priority. Between his huffing, he eventually made it to meet up with the others, taking a place at the table.
"Hey man, how you feeling?" Hunk questioned, he seemed to be keeping a careful eye on Pidge, who might seem like he was about to fall over. That's what he felt like, at least, like he was going to pass out at any moment. But he was here, he made it.
"Oh, you know, just dandy." Pidge returned, waving off Hunk's worry.
Shiro, who was sitting to his left, was also looking at Pidge with some kind of concern. It's no big deal he wasn't going to die, it was just some cold not some deathly disease. A couple days and he'll be good as new.
Soon after Pidge plopped in his chair, Keith and Lance arrived together. It was odd to see them chatting and laughing together; but it's also good to see that they seem to finally be getting along. Now they all could be together with no tension.
"Hey guys." Lance said, scooting into the booth portion as Keith followed. "What's up? WOW Pidge you look like death."
"Thank you Lance, I am very much aware."
Shiro cleared his throat, getting the attention of everyone around the table. "So… this will be a very small meeting so we can all eat, but I was a bit concerned about the project. You guys are putting out good content, sure, but it's all text based. A little things like images and pictures would be nice."
"I know how we can get stuff like that." Pidge said immediately, glancing over at Keith, who immediately flushed a bit red. "Does anyone have ideas?"
"No clue." Keith said back, looking away from the rest of the group. He was trying so hard to hide his talent, Pidge could tell. But it's something that should be shared around, not kept in secret.
"Keith come on, you definitely do." Pidge gave a nod. After all they were all closer than they were before, so it's not that anyone would judge him at this point. The boy across from him gave a sigh but then nodded, seeing to agree with what Pidge was hinting at.
"I can do it." The faces of everyone looked shocked, besides Pidge, and Shiro who must have known about his art skills beforehand. There was a chorus of "Wow"s and "Keith you do art?" From the other two, putting Keith in the middle of their attention.
As much as Keith looked uncomfortable, he also seemed to be embarrassed. Attention was clearly not something the boy was used to; that was something that Pidge could not relate to, as he was used to being in the spotlight and known by various people at a time. Pretty soon after the hassle of Hunk and Lance surrounding the poor boy died down, Shiro dismissed the meeting and mentioned that they were all free to eat. It wasn't a surprise that Keith jumped up first to get away from all the attention, and that Hunk was the second to join the line for the dining hall food. It was like they were a family or something like that. Pidge chuckled at the thought. He got up to get some soup, the only thing his stomach could handle with this cold.
"Hey, is that Katie?" Pidge just so happened to hear someone say, as he was taking his seat again. It wasn't a big deal when he heard the name, but it always had made him a bit on edge just in case they actually were trying to get his attention. But no one here should know that name, so he placed his bowl of soup on the table and got ready to sit. "It is Katie!" The voice came again, closer this time. When Pidge turned, he was face to face with someone who was unrecognizable.
"Can I help you?" He asked groggily. This person should know to back off; Pidge didn't have the patience to deal with this right now. Not when he was already sick.
"It's me, James. James Griffin. Do you remember me?" The boy responded, smirking. Pidge rolled his eyes. Not James Griffin. Not this asshole. Pidge didn't even know that he went here. "I just wanted to catch up. Just wanted to know how the nerdiest girl in school was. Looks like you've just gotten cuter from the last time I saw you."
"My name is Pidge, James." He pointed out, scoffing. "Now will you leave me alone, I'm trying to eat."
James grabbed a hold of Pidge's arm. "Hey sweetheart, don't ignore me." He scoffed.
"How about you let Pidge go." Keith piped up, returning to the table. Thank god someone else came back, Pidge didn't know how he would be able to handle things on his own like this. "It looks like he is uncomfortable. He doesn't want to talk to you. Leave him alone."
"Who are you, her boyfriend?"
"Keith isn't anyone's boyfriend!" Lance appeared into the conversation, placing his food down on the table. "Also there's no girls at this table, so I don't exactly know who Keith is hypothetically dating."
James was seemingly getting frustrated with all that was happening, gritting his teeth. "I'm talking about her. Katie Holt. Standing right here."
Pidge, though comfortable with who he was, felt a bit discouraged. Someone in this school knew his real name anyways; he thought he could be here and have his entire past self erased. He thought he could start fresh and new, but apparently traces of his past is destined to follow him wherever he went. In order to ignore that truth, Pidge rested his head in between his arms.
"Yo, Pidge, you okay?" Pidge could tell that Hunk just returned to the table, and that he was next to him. "You're not feeling worse, are you?"
"Is something going on here?" Shiro was back. Thank god. If anyone can be in charge for making James go away, it was him. He was an older student after all, and quite intimidating if you didn't know that he had the softest heart on the inside.
Keith was the first to speak up, an irritated tone to his voice. "This asshole is harassing Pidge, and he's very persistent about being rude."
"He's lying." James said, a fake innocent tone to his voice. God, Pidge hated that fake tone to his voice. It helped him get away with a lot of shit in the past.
Lance immediately shot back. "Oh yeah? Well I heard it too. We can report you or… something."
"I think for your own sake, you should go." Pidge had never heard Shiro use such a cold tone before. He peeked up to see what was going on, and James's innocent façade seemed to be fading. If Pidge didn't think he would have a coughing fit, he would have chuckled. "If this happens again, I will help Pidge report you to the higher ups."
It was amazing how fast James Griffin fled as fast as he had appeared. Pidge finally picked his head back up, sighing. At least he was gone now. At least everyone else was here to back him up. "Are you okay?" Hunk said softly again, sliding back into his seat. "That guy was… intense."
Pidge let out another sigh before blowing on his soup. "Intense is James Griffin's middle name. Yeah I'm okay. I'm just glad that you guys were there…. Thank you."
"Hey, anytime Pidge." Shiro mentioned softly. "If anything happens again, I'll help you. Please let me know."
"Yeah, and Keith will beat him up." Lance piped, before getting elbowed by Keith who was sitting together. Everyone at the table laughed.
Pidge never felt completely safe around a group of people; he had always felt alienated, different.
It was nice to find a group of people that finally made him feel like he belonged.
IT'S BACK! SO back. After almost 3 months. I'm so sorry it took this long, I kept hitting blocks and kept jumping to Thawed Hearts to create more chapters there as it's easier to write. It's become really hard to work on this tbh, but I'm still going! I'm not letting this be abandoned. I'm also kinda worried that my writing may seem sloppy and I'm sorry if it does? I think it's ok but I'm just concerned that that may be the case. I don't want anything about this to seem choppy or forced!
"Can you tell me about these dreams you've been having?"
Over the course of the past few weeks, the recurring terrifying nightmares that Shiro had became more persistent, happening almost every time he closed his eyes. They were always the same two people; the woman and the man, doing horrific things to him. This partially made him terrified to sleep, but sleep deprivation was not good considering he was practically living off of caffeine in his classes. This couldn't be a coincidence, there had to be some reason they kept popping up. Shiro just desired to know who they were, and why they kept sneaking into his head. Even though he's good at hiding it, these dreams have been taking a toll on his mental health as well. It was becoming so overwhelming that he caved in to see Romelle for the first time in forever, the trusted therapist on campus.
"I-I don't even know where to begin." Shiro sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I mean, there's a man and a woman and… They're ruthless. Calling me useless, smacking me around, knocking me down… And it's so vivid like… Like…Like it actually happened."
Romelle nodded, as she listened to what Shiro was saying. When he finished talking she seemed to be running through various thoughts in her head. "And these people. Do you recognize them?"
"Not directly no but they are… Familiar somehow. Like I know them but I forgot or something?"
Romelle seemed to be lost in thought, as Shiro bit his lip. If she didn't have an explanation on why these were occurring, then he didn't know who would. There was a possibility she could find someone else to help him out or refer him to someone who was more qualified to analyze his dreams, but Shiro liked Romelle. He's seen her for a while now and he trusts her. Opening up to someone else, he didn't want that. He would rather deal with these dreams himself if that was the case, no matter how harmful that might be. Besides, they could get better on their own… Right?
The woman who looked so much like him. The man who had his eyes. Why were they in his head? Why were they so similar? The one question lingered in the back of his mind; Why? And why him, if this just so happened to be an event that happened in his life. What did he do to deserve it? Was all the yelling and screaming directed at him somehow his fault?
"It sounds like these dreams of yours, they're not just dreams, Shiro. I think they're memories. You sure you can't remember any of this occurring to you?" Shiro shook his head. This truth was his worst nightmare, besides the nightmares that were actually occurring. "I think… I think you just buried your trauma in the back of your mind and somehow it's being brought up again. I don't think it's a coincidence that these people you're dreaming about happen to be familiar to you. Besides, you couldn't remember anything when you went to the orphanage, correct?"
"Right." Shiro responded, giving a nod. "I would think that I would if this happened to me but if it really was trauma… I guess that it would make sense I wouldn't want to remember." He let out another sigh. "I wish this wasn't so complicated, but I guess that there's no completely straightforward answer for all of this."
"I wish I could give you a simple answer, Shiro, but I can't. At least we possibly know why these are occurring. If you have anything else you need to talk to me about, please do not hesitate to give me a call."
"Thank you Romelle." Shiro gave her a small smile before standing up. "If I think of anything I'll give you a call."
As he exited the therapist's office, many thoughts were running through Shiro's head. Trauma. Nightmares. Memories. People that look like him. Possible abuse. He wished he wouldn't remember any of this at all. But it was just all rushing back in these dreams of his, and there's no stopping them from coming. All there is for him to do is to just deal with it, and try to live while not being terrified of seeing those images in his dreams. Moving past all this was possibly going to be really difficult, but at least Romelle is available for him to talk to. She reminded him of why he wanted to become a therapist in the first place, to help people be comfortable and better in their lives.
"Shiro!" He heard his name being called as he got closer to the dorms. He had some homework to do, and also just wanted to relax in his bed before his evening class. There was no one in his line of sight which made him confused as to where he heard his name from, before he saw Pidge's figure in the distance, running up to him. As he approached Shiro greeted him, and when finding out he was headed to the dorm they both headed on their way. Pidge was telling him about something he just learned in physics – what it was Shiro had no clue as he never really had a knack for physics; but he enjoyed listening to Pidge talk about something he was passionate about.
The two separated when they got to the dorm, each heading to their own individual rooms. It was nice seeing Pidge not in distress; it seemed like with having to come out to people and transphobia he was dealing with a lot lately. Shiro was glad that he could help him through these things. Being a mentor for Pidge, even the whole team, was something that he was happy to experience. If he could help them and change their lives; that was a great success for him.
Maybe someday, his group of mentees could possibly help him as well.
Giving a sigh, Lance shrugged his backpack off plopping it onto his bed. In many ways, it had been an extremely rough day. He was exhausted.
"What's up? You all good?" Keith questioned from across the room, taking one of his earphones out of his ear. He was in his typical position, sitting up against the wall, curled up so his drawing pad was resting on his knees. Keith had always seemed so calm when he was focused, Lance always couldn't help but watch sometimes when he was doing work. There was just something so captivating about it, captivating about him, but Lance pushed it aside. Him and Keith may be pals now, but that doesn't mean he could stare.
"Yeah, I'm fine. Been a long day." Lance responded, sitting down immediately on his bed. Keith seemed to be keeping a careful eye on him anyways, before going back to his work. "Whatcha working on?"
"Homework, nothing too interesting though." A pause. "Can I ask you a favor? It's nothing big I promise." A change in the topic, how very un-Keith like.
"Yeah, what is it?"
There was a bit of hesitation from the boy across the room. He played with his long black hair in order to keep himself distracted; at least that was what it looked like. It was almost like he was trying to delay speaking because he wasn't sure what to say exactly, but Lance didn't mind. For some unknown reason, Keith just seemed so distracting today. Lance tried his best, but still couldn't keep his eyes off of his roommate. It had been like this for a while now, being always hyper aware of whatever he was doing from across the room, but why Lance had no clue. It's not like he liked Keith or anything.
"Will you model for me?" Keith blurted out, before clasping his hands over his mouth. "I mean… I need it for an assignment and I don't know… We're around each other all the time so… I figured it would be worth a shot? You can say no if you want to."
"I'll do it." Lance responded quickly. "Keith, I'll do it. I mean, why the hell not, right?"
He didn't see any harm in it – it was just helping his roommate out with an assignment. There was nothing saying that there was anything bad that could come out of this, and he just wanted to help Keith in any way possible. They were on a trusting level; and that was something months ago would have never happened, heck Keith wasn't even speaking to him months ago. It was nice to finally have him on his side.
A smile bloomed on Keith's face. His face looked so good lit up, there was something that just sparked a light in Lance's eyes in return. It was exquisite, unique, and was one of the things that Lance thought he would never get to see. Keith, his smile, his look when he's drawing; all of these things always brought Lance's attention to his roommate. But why? Why was he so drawn to Keith?
The Cuban boy realized something, his heart was racing. It felt like it was going to jump right out of his chest. It was something he was able to ignore before, but it was happening a lot more often now. Lance didn't like it, he didn't like it one bit. This was the same reaction he got when he looked at Jenny Shaybon in the eighth grade; or some other girl that happened to be attractive in his line of sight. Sure they were just crushes, but something was different about the way he felt right now. Panic arose in his mind.
Lance liked Keith. He liked Keith. The desire to hug him close, to protect and appreciate him, to know everything about him, to kiss him, it was all there. But the only thing Keith had in common with girls was his stupid mullet, his black hair that sat on his shoulders. Keith was a boy. Lance liked girls. His mind was scrambled up in these thoughts – the only thing that broke this train of thought was the sound of Keith's voice. "You okay there buddy? You don't… you don't look well."
"I'm fine, Keith, fine." Lance responded, attempting to keep his voice steady.
"Fine is what people say when they want people to not ask more questions." Keith immediately said back. His attempt to keep a steady voice must have failed, the other wouldn't have said more if he had succeeded. Damn. "You can trust me. Tell me what's up?"
"No Keith." Lance retorted, falling onto his bed and folding into himself. He wanted to be alone, but he wasn't going to kick his roommate out of the room. It would be unfair; so he just shoved his head down in his arms trying to keep tabs on his breaths. In, out. In, out. He kept instructing himself through breathing as if it was the only thing he could do.
"Lance…" Keith repeated. By the sound of his voice he was closer, near the boy who was shrunken in the bed.
This made Lance snap. He didn't mean to, but at that moment it was the only thing he felt like he could do. "I like you Keith, okay? A lot. Is that what you wanted to hear? I know you don't hate my guts now, but you used to. And I don't know what to do because I've never felt like this before towards a guy and god damn I just don't know what to do. You probably will go back to hating me and I really hate myself right now. I hate myself, I'm scared, and I don't… I don't know what to do…"
A period of awkward silence filled the room. Lance wouldn't have been surprised if Keith just up and left him at that moment. Most guys don't want to live with someone attracted to the opposite sex – let alone be associated with them. He saw all sorts of homophobia at his own school, it's not something he was a stranger to. He just never thought that he would be living with the fear of possibly experiencing that in his lifetime.
What did surprise him however, was the fact that Keith did not leave. When Lance glanced up, the black haired boy was awkwardly sitting beside him, looking over. The was his face was seemed like he wanted to say something but he didn't quite know what to say. This moment was just so awkward; but it was nice to not be alone. The two of them sat there staring at each other in total silence.
"I'm gay." Keith blurted out, before furiously blushing. The Cuban wasn't quite sure why he said that, but it seemed like Keith was trying to make him feel better in a way. He might be terrible at it, but Lance appreciated the effort. "That probably doesn't make you feel better I um…" he let out a sigh. "I'm so bad at this wow. I am so sorry."
"It's okay." Lance said back softly, shaking his head.
"No. It's not." Keith let out a heavy sigh. "I don't really know what you're thinking, or how to help you. But it's okay, Lance. And if it's not, it will be. We can try to figure this out together, alright?" It took Lance by surprise, but all of a sudden Keith's hand was in his. "And I like you too."
It was said so silently, that Lance wasn't even sure that was what Keith said. But just for tonight, he'll believe it; he'll believe anything. He gave Keith's hand a squeeze back, taking a deep breath. The two of them continued to sit on Lance's bed, completely silent but enjoying the warmth of their hands. Though this was all new to Lance – new to both of them, they won't be figuring things out alone. All of this mess; they would be figuring it out together.