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Lance was stoked. More than that, even, he was livid. New year meant one year closer to graduation, but also another play.

Lance was a drama kid, everyone knew, and he lived for the theatre.

After three months of working in his uncle's restaurant, he couldn't wait for school to start, and today was the day. He was way too excited to pay much attention to what he would wear for the day, he just threw on a t-shirt and a pair of jeans, and over that his thin black jacket decorated with a jeans vest. Even though it was chilly in the morning he knew it was going to be hot in the afternoon. Typical September weather.

He hastily grabbed his backpack after washing up, about to leave the house, when his sister blocked his way.

"Out of the way, Lenny, I need to get to school!" He pushed, but she wouldn't budge.

"Sit your butt down," she demanded and gestured to the kitchen table, "and let me do this." She held up a small bottle of black liquid.

"There's no way in hell I'll let you do this to me," Lance said, already starting to move her out of the way, but she gripped his wrist and pulled him along.

"I'll make you a deal," she said while pushing him on a chair, "either you let me paint your nails now, or you let me paint your ring finger an other colour every week from now on for the next ten weeks."

For him, it was quickly decided. He knew fighting her would do no good. "The latter it is," he said and put his right arm on the table and his head on it. There was no way he'd go to school with all his fingers painted. Also, he knew his younger sister would forget about it after two weeks maximum.

Elena swiftly opened the small bottle and got to work. Meanwhile Lance took out his phone and texted his best friend Pidge that they should wait for him; Elena's plans got in the way.

"All done," his sister announced and he stormed off to get his bike and ride to his friend's house.

Pidge was already standing in front of their house, tightening their shoelaces around their green roller skates.

"What kind of 'plans', Lancey Lance?" Was the first thing Pidge asked when Lance approached, but he just held up his ring finger as an answer.

"Whatever," he said and made a U-turn around his tiny friend. "Hold on tight!"

He looked back to see if Pidge was holding onto the carrier of his bike before kicking the pedals and speeding to school. Shortly before the school's building the street tilted and descended, and Lance shouted "Hop on!", telling his friend to jump on the carrier. They promptly did and together with Pidge's arms tightly around his waist they were racing down the hill towards a new semester.

-----------------------

"Are you fuckin' serious?" Lance asked no one in particular, looking at his timetable. "Physics? In the first period on Monday? This can't be real."

"Hey,  at least your drama club isn't cancelled, like IT club," Pidge grumbled and pulled their knees to their chin.

"It's not cancelled, just postponed," Hunk tried to comfort them, but Pidge remained bitter.

They were in the auditorium, comparing their schedules and waiting for the next period to start, which happened to be Social Studies.

"What do you think who's gonna be our teacher in history this year?" Hunk asked, copying his schedule to his neat planner.

"Mr Richards, maybe? I've heard Mrs Hansen teaches E.H., too." Pidge said and scratched their head. Their face was a little tanned, as much as her complexion allowed it to since she was in Italy with her family over summer. The kilos of sunscreen they needed to use to not burn alive was insane.

"Whoever it will be, I hope their teaching won't be as dry as Mrs Tozier's," Lance said, making them all remember long periods of copying entire blackboards of nothingness and useless information.

"Did you get taller again , Lance?" Pidge remarked, not really asking a question. They eyed their friend suspiciously.

"Everyone is tall for you, dwarf," Lance mumbled self consciously, making himself a little smaller than he was.

He was about to say something else, but he forgot, as soon as he saw a face he hadn't seen before - and he knew every face in his grade.

"Hey, hey, guys. Who is that?" He asked, nudging his friends and pointing in the direction of the boy who was seated a few rows away from them, studying his schedule as well.

He was wearing a simple black hoodie and ripped black jeans, matching his black hair and eyebrows. He didn't look mean, not really. Neither emo nor goth, just simply uninterested in his surroundings.

He lifted one hand to brush his hair out of his eyes and Lance spotted a festival bracelet and… a painted ring finger!

"Holy shit," Lance said and instinctively hid his hand.

"I think he's new," Hunk said. "Should we say hello?"

"No!" Lance said, overwhelmed with the situation. There was a hot guy in his grade, he couldn't just go there and say hi. He'd embarrass himself, he already saw it coming. "Let's… just wait and see how many subjects we share."

 

Funnily enough, social studies came around and Lance found himself chewing on the inside of his cheek while he began to realise something - the new boy and him shared social studies.

Pidge slammed open the door to the room, in which their teacher already sat and prepared his desk, accompanied by a few other students.

"Good morning, Mr Bo!" Pidge hollered, resulting in a look of terror on Mr Beauregard's face. "I hope you slept well, long time no see."

"Don't tell me you three idiots are in my class again," he said and leaned his head on his fist.

"Get used to it," Lance said while passing his teacher's desk, knocking on it as a greeting.

Mr Bo huffed and rubbed his eyes, bracing himself for the school year. "Anyway, sit down guys, lesson's about to start. But before that, I see a new face…" His eyes focused on the new boy who just entered the room, raising his eyebrows as if he got caught.

"I can imagine you don't want to introduce yourself in front of the whole class, just tell us few who you are," Mr Bo offered, smiling at the new student.

The black haired guy was still for a moment but then caught himself as if to say 'now or never'. He took a breath. "Uhm.. Hi," he started, putting his hands in his pockets. "My name is Keith Kogane, and I switched schools this year… yeah, there's not much about me." His light complexion got a slight tint around his cheeks.

"Well, if there's nothing more you want to share with us, you may sit down," Mr Bo said, still smiling.

"Thanks," the boy - Keith - muttered and walked to a place a row in front of Lance, not too far away from him, and chose a seat in front of Pidge.

Lance watched him, trying to hold in his joy of having him in his class and his eyes wandered to his friends who looked at him warningly. Hunk lifted his hand and made a 'cut-my-own-throat' gesture, but Lance responded to that with a wide grin and enthusiastic nodding. Pidge facepalmed themselves.

"Oh, and I can imagine you don't know your way around here too well," Mr Bo said. "What about Pidge showing you around a little after class?"

Pidge looked up surprised and Keith looked up too, looking around to find them. "Uh… sure. I can do that," Pidge said, looking back at Keith.

"Glad that's settled, then," Mr Bo announced happily. "Now if you would focus on the board, I'll present to you the topics for this year-"

"Oh my God, 'demand and supply'? This is exactly why I didn't choose economics and I still have to study for this topic?" Lance interjected, after having skimmed the topics.

"Shut up, Lance, I'm trying to look professional here, I can't change what's in the curriculum," Mr Bo defended himself, earning a fit of laughter from the class. "So, let me explain what we'll deal with in this topic…"

--------------------------------------------------------

"So, umm, what's your next subject? I could help you find the room," Keith heard a high voice behind him saying to him. He turned around to see the little girl behind him gripping her backpack's straps and looking up to him. She really was tiny.

"Oh," he said, not expecting her to seriously wanting to help him. He shuffled to get out his schedule and check his next subject. "I have European History now, in room 205? Yeah."

"Cool, me too!" Pidge said and walked with him out of the room. "Basically, the room system is really easy here in the school, they are named with three-digit numbers, and the first digit is always the floor. For example room 205 is on the second floor. The following digits are just the position in the building, but that is pretty easy to find."

While Pidge explained, Keith took in his surroundings, enjoying not being stared at judgingly by peers. "That is really easy," he admitted, inspecting the drawings on the wall.

"Are you into any things?" Pidge suddenly asked, steering his attention to her. "Drama? Gaming? Cooking?"

Keith looked at her but then realized that it was a genuine question. "I like gaming, but I never really got into it much. I only play on a computer, too."

"Really? Me too, I prefer it over my PS4 or Xbox, I like the controls more, they're simpler," Pidge rambled, leading Keith up a flight of stairs. Behind them some others from social studies followed, apparently they had to go the same way.

"You have all that?" He asked disbelievingly.

Pidge nodded. "An oculus too, but I don't use it much."

"Damn," Keith said. He seemed to be speaking with a spoiled rich kid. "What do your parents say about that? Aren't they like my dad, 'oh we're losing her we need to do more things with her-"

"Them," Pidge corrected.

Keith first didn't seem to understand. "You got a sibling?"

"I do, but also I am a them."

This took Keith a little while longer. "Oh, that- I'm sorry. That was rude of me."

Pidge's face lit up, shrugging happily about the acceptance. "It's okay," they said, brushing their hair out of their face. Keith didn't see it, but Pidge turned back to someone behind them, and signed 'O.K.', with an urgent looking facial expression.

Lance: He said that?!

Pidge: He did, get 'im tiger

Hunk: still lance, be careful

Lance: It's chill hunk, dw abt me

Pidge: imma find out why he switched schools, im sure he just moved or smth

Lance: I'm telling yall hes gay

Hunk: Safe?

Lance: Safe. Gaydar.

 

With that said, Lance put away his phone and tried to pay attention to his new teacher's class. Even though he was intrigued with Keith, he was very interested in European History. It was very easy for him to remember all the wars and allied countries, though he never knew why. Being almost the best in this class he constantly tutored his friends and helped them with their homework. Of course, they helped him too, in subjects such as physics. Everyone benefitted.

The day went by, but Keith wouldn't leave Lance's mind. It wasn't just his admittedly handsome face, it was his aura, how he was polite but also holding back. It drove Lance crazy when he wasn't able to figure people out immediately, and he was determined to get to know Keith.

"Hey, star boy," Pidge said, snapping their fingers and popping Lance's bubble of thought. "We want to chill in the library after school, catching up a little for today. You coming?"

"Sorry," Lance apologised, "I have drama, remember?"

"Right," Hunk said. "Well then, see ya tomorrow champ." He waved and left with Pidge, leaving Lance alone on his way to drama club. He was beyond excited to see what his teacher had prepared for him this year…

 

"And terms compulsatory, those foresaid lands/So by his father lost: and this, I take it!" Lance was shouting across the stage, strained and core muscles aching.

"More convincing!" It came from the seats. Their drama teacher was always up for shenanigans, but this was… something else.

Lance was propped up against the back of the stage, sitting on an imaginary chair and holding an excerpt of Hamlet in his shaking hand. He took a deep breath and tried to put as much emotion and effort in his voice as possible, as much as his position would allow him.
"Is the main motive of our preparations,/The source of this our watch and the chief head," he shouted, earning a thumbs up before he continued. "Of this post-haste and romage in the land!"

He finished his line and his legs gave in instantly, making him fall on his butt.

"Again!" Mr Coran shouted from the audience and clapped his hands.

They were in the auditorium, starting off with light voice and lung capacity exercises. The actors obviously didn't like it, but Mr Coran didn't care.

"Excuse me, Coran, but shouldn't we talk about the plans for this school year?" A strong voice, Allura, said. She was still sitting with her back against the wall next to Lance, but her legs were trembling too.

"That is an excellent idea, Allura, but actually I wanted to keep it a secret," Mr Coran said, grinning. "You know what, since you asked so nicely, I can tell you kids. Gather 'round!"

He stood up from his chair and jumped to the stage, sitting down on it, the students forming a semi-circle around him.

Lance got up from the floor too, and walked over to their instructor with Allura, as they sat down in the front of the stage.

"So," Coran started, spreading his notes out in front of him. "You're well aware of how we're always doing improv and creating own plays, right? Well, I decided - because of popular demand - to change things a little, and let you act in a real play!"

The students looked at each other, interested.

"I've prepared three plays and I wanted you to vote on your favourite, which you'll work on, then!" He took out a sheet of paper, smiling ominously at the teens.

Lance and Allura looked at each other grinning. They've been wishing for this for ages, and finally, they were going to play a classical play - they couldn't wait!

"You have two weeks to decide, and then we'll of course have auditions."

Lance grinned wider at his friend. The two of them knew they were a) Coran's favourite students and b) very good actors.

"The first one will be Twelfth Night or What You Will," Coran announced. "The second one Emilia Galotti, and the third one… Romeo and Juliet!"

---

"You're gonna vote Romeo and Juliet, right?" Allura asked Lance, fidgeting her long hair out of the bun she put it in.

"Of course!" Lance said. "Imagine, you and me, Romeo and Juliet… That would be so cool!"

"We're totally gonna get the roles," Allura said. She was always so sure of things, how she did it Lance didn't know, but she had convinced him too. Being self-assured was part of their job. "We'll spice it up a little, two people of colour in the lead…"

Lance had to laugh at that. "Let's see first if we're taken," he calmed her and shouldered his bag and winked. "You better be extra nice to Coran the next couple of weeks."

"I have that covered," Allura winked back. "Shiro is my best friend, remember?"

And it was true. Shiro was the school representative and a great teacher's pet, so befriending teachers was easy for her. It seemed to Lance that life was always easy for her, even though that wasn't true.

"Don't worry, I'll make sure you'll be the number one to my number one," Allura laughed, ruffling Lance's hair as a goodbye. "See ya tomorrow!"

Lance had to admit, he was mad happy that he had Allura. She was like a big sister to him, helping him out and having fun with him on stage. Wouldn't it be grand if they could both be starring in the play? But wait, wasn't there a kiss between Romeo and Juliet? Eh, Lance didn't care. They would figure something out. It wasn't like it was horrible kissing someone like Allura, so that would be his smallest problem.

He tied his jacket around his waist and jogged out of school into the dry and warm air already spotting a few leaves on the ground, making him frown. Getting to his bicycle he started to push it up the hill and think about his first day back to school when he remembered.

'Keith Kogane', huh?

When he got home, sadly, he didn't find any Keith Kogane on Instagram, and he would've looked on facebook if he had an account. Then an idea struck him.

Lance: What do I have hacker friends for

Pidge: We aren't your friends

Lance: stfu and tell me what you can find out abt Keith. Does he have fb?

Hunk: just checked, nope. But I'll keep looking

Lance: youre the best

He threw himself on his bed letting his tired body sink into the mattress. If the year started like this he could see one disaster coming after the other. He was about to rest his eyes for a moment when his phone buzzed again.

Pidge: lol th he lives like 15 min away from u by bike

Hunk: you little beast I wanted to say that

Hunk: also he went to Joseph Beuys High before he switched

Lance: Beuys??? that place is reeking of republicans!

Pidge: :/ ¯\_( )_/¯

Hunk: give him a chance. if pidge says hes a nice kid

Pidge: all shit aside, he is. he immediately accepted me, don’t get discouraged

A small smile crept on Lance's face. Grateful for his friends he locked his phone and closed his eyes. He didn't fall asleep, he just waited for the extreme tiredness that came from being around people all day left, and after about half an hour he got up and stretched, actually feeling more awake and ready to continue his day.

He sat down at his desk, going through the material he already collected the first day. Their new history teacher was nice but ambitious as hell. They had to cover a lot in the next few months to catch up, their previous teacher taught them about nothing.

They'd be starting 1815 with the reorganization of Europe, then the German revolution… Lance scratched his head and looked through the pages of text they had gotten. This ought to be fun.

"Sara! Call your siblings for lunch!" Lance heard his mother call through the house. Shortly after there were small feet running around, slamming open doors and ordering to come downstairs right now.

Lance already got up and was about to open the door, when it opened itself and his small sister stood in the doorframe.

"Lance, come-"

"I know, I know," Lance said, scooping Sara up and throwing her over his shoulder. "I heard you."

"Let me down!" Sara squealed laughing, trying to find a way down, but Lance wouldn't loosen his grip.

The two of them arrived in the kitchen where Daniel and Elena were already seated, waiting for their mother's food.

"Where's Ana?" Lance asked, putting his sister down on a chair and sitting down next to her.

"In town with her Mason," his mom explained, carrying a large tray with lasagna to their table, earning sounds of excitement from the other children.

"Mason? Not Mason Spencer, no?" Lance asked to be sure, hoping his mom would say 'Oh no, Mason Kruger from another school than yours' or something similar. But that would be too good to be true.

"Why yes, that Mason," she said and put some of the lasagna on plates, handing them to her children. "Do you know him?"

Oh and how Lance knew him. But he decided to let it go. "No, not really. Just heard his name."

 

Lance: We have a problem, my sister's dating mason.

Pidge: Umm.

Hunk: what!

Hunk: wait, didn’t you tell her?

Lance: obv not. she doesn’t need to know

Pidge: I think you should tell her, for her sake

Lance: I think the mcfuck not

Lance: anyway

Lance: ayo pidge can u ask keith for his number to put in the history group plssssssss

Pidge: mmmkay

Pidge: also, I might have found his IG, idk tho. kk_2310 it’s a photography account and mutuals w shiro, check it out, maybe its him

Lance: you're the best ! thanks

With a few swift clicks he found the account, and it wasn't half bad. Most of the pictures were the sky or buildings, but in a beautiful lighting and sadly without any titles. Lance wasn't sure if this was Keith's, but if it was, he wasn't going to follow him, not yet.

He was sitting at his desk again, his history things packed away again, he had given up on working beforehand. He'd just follow the class.

 

By the end of the first week Lance discovered that he shared a total of six subjects with Keith; English, Maths, Physics, European History, Biology and Social Studies. By the end of the week Lance had also Keith's number through the history group, and he found out through Pidge that Keith switched schools because he got into a fight with people at his old school. This gave Lance a bad feeling, but he tried not to be biased. Maybe it was just a misunderstanding. Still, Pidge reported to him that Keith didn't get further into the topic.

The day was warm and humid, making Lance thankful for not having to go home, but stay in the cool auditorium, for drama. He and Allura had found out that Coran didn't give two shits about who played around with the speakers, so they decided to blast typical 'feel good' songs through them before practice.

Today Allura had connected her phone to the mixing panel, playing 'Shut Up and Dance'. At first, Lance had groaned, but now both of them were caught in an embarrassingly dramatic duet, screaming their lungs out to the lyrics. The other actors laughed at their dance, some even dancing themselves.

They had shut down the lights in the audience and only the spotlights were shining on them, making them feel like actors in a real musical. They couldn't even see the seats from the bright light.

"Deep in her eyes," Lance sang, taking both of Allura's hands and pulling her towards him, "I think I see the future!"

"I realize," Allura sang back, "this is my last chance!"

"She took my arm," all the people on stage joined in and Allura took Lance's arm, stepping with him across the stage and he smiled at her with a cocky grin, "I don’t know how it happened…"

Lance and Allura twirled across the stage, laughing and singing, bracing themselves for the last verses. Both were already exhausted but kept going, luckily this was the slower and quieter part. The song would soon be over.

They sang with all their heart, dancing goofily and finished the song.

"Shut up and dance!" They shouted, Allura holding onto Lance who reached into the black audience area.

When the instrumental finished the lights were being switched on, and Lance discovered that the audience area was indeed not empty. Keith Kogane sat there, feet propped up on a seat in front of him, a book in his hand but looking one eyebrow raised at Lance, who was pointing exactly at Keith.

Lance immediately jumped out of his position, Allura laughing at his reaction, letting go of him too.

"Okay guys, time for a warm-up," Coran announced from backstage, walking to the stage with a bunch of sheets of paper in his arms. "We have a visitor today, but don't let him distract you. Come on! Walk around the stage, be aware of your surroundings, stretch a little, the usual stuff!" He walked to the front row in the audience and arranged his papers, out of earshot of Allura and Lance.

"Is that the mysterious Keith Kogane?" Allura asked Lance curiously, smiling.

"How the hell do you know about him?" Lance asked, trying to walk as near to Allura as possible. Also, he tried to not face the audience again. He's done many embarrassing things, but that really was too embarrassing, even for his standards.

"Shiro told me about him," Allura said. "They know each other, Shiro's the reason Keith got accepted into our school."

"What now?" Lance exclaimed and almost stumbled over his own feet. "How?"

Allura shrugged and abruptly changed the direction she was walking in, crossing ways with Lance and going in a circle around him before talking to him again. "They're childhood friends or something. I don't know much but he seems to be a good guy. Also, I'm sure you'll have chances with him," she said, wiggling her eyebrows.

"Excuse me," Lance said, clutching his chest, "who the hell told you-" But then he stopped himself.

"Pidge," both said in unison, and Lance facepalmed himself.

He should've known, Pidge is good at keeping secrets, but only when asked to. And he didn't exactly ask her to keep it a secret. He sighed. After ten minutes he dared to shoot a quick glance at Keith, who was still in his seat, reading the book in his hands. Lance calmed significantly, finally able to really concentrate on what Coran was saying.

"Today we'll focus on your attitudes and persuasiveness," he said, handing out sheets of paper to everyone. "I want you to choose one of the poems or excerpts of poems, and recite them with a completely different emotion. You have five minutes to practice and then you'll present what you came up with to me. And - go."

Lance scanned the page - a poem by Goethe, one by Wordsworth… Dr Seuss? And one by Poe. He quickly decided on Poe, finding it easiest to turn around. It was something he didn't know - To Helen - and was about to read it when Coran appeared next to him.

"Everything alright, Lance?" He asked casually. "Which poem are you going to choose?"

"Sure, I'm fine," Lance said. "I thought 'To Helen' would be good."

"Good choice, I'm looking forward to hearing it from you," Coran smiled and kept walking to the next person.

Lance looked at his paper again to start reading the poem and immediately regretted everything he's ever said. He couldn't back out now, but he wasn't exactly keen on reciting this, with Keith in the room.

He tried to concentrate on the task and find a good emotion. A good opposite emotion. For a love poem. Angry? He didn't exactly want to sound like a madman. Happy? No, the poem is already happy. Confused? Also no. Sad. Sad sounded good.

He looked through the poem and imagined it, finding it easy to portray.

"Alright guys!" Coran shouted. "Presentation time! Everyone come sit in the audience, except Emily, you go first."

Emily, a freckled blonde, groaned, but stayed in the middle of the stage and waited for everyone to sit.

"And imagine the room is full, don't just look at us. Maybe try to focus on Keith over there," Coran suggested, pointing to Keith who looked up in confusion. "That's a good idea, Coran, you're so smart. Everyone focus on Keith when performing!"

This just worsened Lance's situation by 500%. He tried not to panic and focus on Emily, who was reciting Goethe's Erl-King. He chewed on his inner cheek, listening to the girl tell the tale of a sick child and his father, travelling and struggling, in the most enthusiastic and happy voice. She looked at Keith but also at the other imaginary viewers, not impressed by the boy in black in the upper ranks.

"Reaches the court with toil and dread./ The child he held in his arms was dead! Haha!" She finished and grinned, earning applause from her peers.

"Good job," Coran praised. "Now who's next…"

Please not me Please not me Please not me Pleas-

"Lance!"

Of course.

Lance stood up, the sheet of paper clenched in his hand, walking up to the stage. He didn't know why he could flirt with people all he wanted without batting an eye, but reciting this love poem to someone he barely knew was this much of a challenge.

He positioned himself in the middle of the stage, looked at Allura who gave him a thumbs up and then at Keith. Who was already looking at him. With the slightest hint of a smile on his face.

Lance cleared his throat and lifted the paper in front of him. Then raising his eyebrows in a devastated manner and raised his voice. "Helen, thy beauty is to me/Like those Nicéan barks of yore."

He already wanted to die.

Keith rose his eyes further, but leaned back in his seat, crossing his arms and looking more attentive.

Lance kept going, making his voice quiver and looking frantically around the room, but then looking at Keith again for the last verse.

"Lo! in yon brilliant window-niche/How statue-like I see thee stand," Lance said, raising his trembling hand towards Keith who wasn't looking cockily at Lance anymore. He had furrowed his brows. "The agate lamp within thy hand!/ Ah, Psyche, from the regions which/ Are Holy-Land!" Lance's voice broke and he let his hands fall to his sides, shoulders droopy and lips pressed together. He remained like this for a second or two before he broke character and smiled at his applauding friends. He looked at Keith for a short moment and noticed him clapping too, his cocky smile back.

Lance rolled his eyes and jumped off the stage to sit next to Allura again. She stretched her fist out for him to bump against and patted his shoulder as encouragement. Lance rubbed his eyes and smiled at her as a thank you.

Up next was Dizzy, a short and pudgy hijabi who was most of the time angry. Lance watched the people come and go, perform and accept their applause before they went on to the next exercise and eventually finished their practice for today.

"Remember guys, next Friday you'll be deciding on the play for this year," Coran told them while they packed their things and getting ready to leave. "Have a nice weekend!"

The students returned that and left the auditorium, ready for the weekend.

"You did well," Allura told Lance. "Considering, you know."

"Considering Keith was there, I know. You can say it, I don't have a crush," Lance defended himself, walking with his friend to his bike.

"No, no, I know," Allura said, raising her hands but chuckling. "Still you've got a tiny thing for him."

"I do," Lance whined and unlocked his bike, pushing it to the gate.

"Shiro's picking me up in a few minutes, so I'm gonna stay here," Allura said and hugged Lance. "Have a nice weekend!"

"You too," Lance said and left her, starting to push his bike up the hill.

He was halfway up when he noticed his shoelaces were loose, so he lowered himself on one knee and tied it again when he saw feet approaching him. He looked up and saw Keith standing before him, one hand on his hip.

"What are you doing here?" Lance asked him as he got up again.

"Same as you, duh. Going home. You coming or what?" Keith asked and started walking. Hastily Lance pushed his bike to catch up with Keith, still wondering why he was going this way.

"What were you doing in the auditorium today?" Lance asked, curious.

Keith shrugged and kicked a stone in front of him. "Got detention, but the teacher supervising me was sick, and Mr Coran is her substitute. So I had to chill with him somehow after school."

First week and he already got detention, huh.

"I liked it, you know," Keith said. Before Lance could ask what he meant, Keith continued. "Your version of 'To Helen'. I know you were supposed to turn the feeling around, but it still fit."

Lance had to take a few seconds to be able to answer. Keith just complimented his acting and he liked it. "Thanks… It was kind of weird, having to address you, though," Lance chuckled, feeling very awkward, but Keith didn't seem to notice. He cleared his throat. "How do you like our school so far?"

Keith looked around as they walked. "Good. I mean, there is nothing worse than my old school. Snobby teachers and Republicans here and there and bullies. Bullies everywhere."

There was a small pause, where Lance didn't know what to say, or rather if he could say it.

"Is that why you left?"

"Because of the bullies? Yeah. But they didn't bully me, though. I happened to be in physics class with a young boy, his parents are from Sri Lanka. Because of his age, his size and his heritage he got bullied badly, and I stood up once for him and now I'm here."

Lance couldn't help but stare. To him, Keith was a hero.

"It was a dumb thing to do, but I had to. I don't know," Keith said and kicked another pebble. "You kinda don't wanna be a minority there."

"It was the right thing to do, if that helps," Lance said, looking away. "Is Joseph Beuys High that bad?"

"Yeah," Keith huffed. "What about you, though, you don't look so white yourself."

"I'm Cuban," Lance said proudly, smiling. "A hundred per cent. What about you? White American?"

Keith shook his head. "Half white half Korean. But white passing, as you noticed. But yeah, back to your question, I like the classes here. They're easier and stuff. Except for European History, that's driving me insane."

"I can help you with that!" Lance blurted out before he could do anything, though he couldn't help but notice how Keith swerved around his heritage. Lance would regret what he'd say then: "We kind of have a study group, Hunk, Pidge and me. They suck at history. I can help you too."

Keith looked at him, unbelievingly, but when he saw Lance beaming, he smiled too. "That would be really nice, thank you. Actually, I gotta leave you now, this is my street," he said, pointing to a smaller street that opened up next to them. "Have a nice weekend!"

"You too," Lance said, still taken aback and watched Keith walk along the street before mounting his bike and rushing through the streets, hollering.

Lance: GUYSKDLFJSKDL

Hunk: omg what

Lance: Half Korean, switched schools bc he beat up Nazis, likes my acting and SUCCS AT HISTORY SO WE HAVE A NEW STUDYGROUP MEMBER

Pidge: what study group we never study

Pidge: wait are we talking about Keith?

Hunk: How did you get the information? did you TALK? tell us e v e r y t h i n g

Lance: AAAAAAAAAAAAAA okay listen, today in drama…