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Finding Ourselves

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"Hey, do my nails for me" North calls out poking her head out the door as Connor walks past.

Connor just stares at her blankly.

"if you don't i'll tell Hank and the guys all your secrets" North smirks

Connor lowers his gaze, "if you do that, i'll never trust you again" he says lowly

"please" she bites out.

Connor narrows his eyes staring at her.

"ugh, whatever, fine. I'm going shopping later, i'll buy you something"

"last time i did something for you and you said you'd do something for me, you didn't end up doing it"

"that was one time years ago" she exclaims gesturing wildly. "i will get you something" she confirms with a hard gaze.

Connor blinks at her thinking it through.

With a slow nod Connor watches her exclaim "thank you" pumping her fist up in victory before running back into the room.

Shaking his head slightly, he strolls into the room sitting on the bed as North runs over throwing a bunch of nail polish on the bed then sprinting away to get something else.

Grabbing the yellow nail polish, he reads the ingregients waiting for North.

"lets get to work" she snatches the nail polish out of his hand

"hey," he reaches out for it "i need to finish reading it"

"well i need you to do my nails before eight"

"exactly, you need me. It'll take me less than a minute to read it so stop wasting time and let me finish"

"you're such a pain in the ass" she shoves it back with a scowl

"no, i'm Connor"

"what are you even reading?" she twists her head to see what he's reading

"the ingregients"

"look, don't give me that shit on what is in it and how it's bad for you"

"i was not going to. I started reading it while you got the equipment. I started, so now i have to finish"

"just hurry up" she groans running her hand over the different coloured nail polish bottles.

Picking out a light purple, she stares at it for a moment wondering if it's the colour she really wants.

'nah, i'll go for the blue' she thinks picking out the different shades of blue. Staring at the different shades, she goes for a light baby blue colour and shakes it glancing to her wardrobe.

"I have finished. Give me your hand" Connor says bringing her out of her thoughts. Giving her right hand she mutters "finally"

Connor grabs her hand and quickly files her nails.

"what are you doing today?" he questions blowing the dust and reaching for her other hand.

"Just hanging out with the gang. It's been a while since we all just hung out" North watches Connor skillfully place the blue nail polish on her nails. "We're going to a festival in the park" she explains further now watching him carefully.

"That's nice, i hope you have fun" he says cheerfully

"do you want to come?" she questions

He pauses biting his cheek in thought. "er, no thank you, it's okay"

"you know, they don't mind" she peers over to look at her nails. "oh come on, don't avoid them, let me introduce them to my baby brother"

"i'm not a baby. Why do you even want me to go? You never wanted me to meet them, you said i was an 'embarrassment' "

"you're not exactly what people call normal" North grits her teeth losing her patience

"oh, well, there you go" Connor lowers his head finishing off her nails before moving to stand.

North sighs, "Connor your only friend is a dog, you need to meet up with more people"

"i thought you and Hank are also my friends-did Hank make you invite me?" Connor narrows his eyes at her

"We're family, it doesn't count. And no, but i'm sure he agrees. You should go out more"

"i go out quite a lot with Sumo on walks"

"not what i meant. I mean, you need to make friends"

"you never wanted me to go before and i dealt with it, so it doesn't make a difference now"

"ugh, whatever fine. Do whatever. See if i care" North stands

"you clearly do, otherwise you wouldn't of suggested it or be this angry" Connor smirks slightly

"shut it" North growls

"shut what?"

"ugh, just leave already" she points to the door

"buy Sumo some treats when you go shopping" Connor says making his way to the door

"huh?"

"you said you would buy me something in return for me doing your nails"

"i get that, but dog treats? Don't YOU want anything?" North questions but is not that suprised

"i want dog treats for Sumo"

"whatever" she shrugs.

_______

 

Connor shuts the door the behind him as he leaves the room.

'it must of been a prank of some sort' Connor thinks making his way to the kitchen. 'besides, siblings don't want their siblings in their friend group'

'i can make my own friends' Connor thinks determinedly

"mornin' " Hank mumbles stumbling into the room. He plops onto a chair rubbing his eyes.

"Good morning" Connor beams at him placing a cup of frest hot coffee in front of him

"thanks Con," he takes a sip, cussing as he burns his tounge.

"sorry" Connor griminces placing a plate of toast on the table

"no, it's not your fault" Hank shakes his head with a dismissive wave of the hand

"what have ya got planned today?" Hank questions with his eyes drooping slightly

"nothing" Connor replies

"hmph" Hank grunts hunching forward with his eyes closed

For a moment it's very quiet. Breathing, panting from Sumo and footsteps being the only sounds.

"AHHH" Hank yells frailing his arms as he feels something painfully cold drench over him

Snapping his head towards Connor, who stands beside him with a empty cup in his hand, he growls out "what the fuck was that for"

"you were nearly sleeping, i thought this should wake you"

"how many times do i have to..." he trails off with a groan "don't you fucking do that again!" Hank points a finger at him

"but it wakes you up quicker than the coffee ever does" Connor places the cup on the table before sitting back down

"it's fucking unpleasent. And how many times have i told ya not to do that. You wouldn't like it, so don't do it to others" Hank angrily grabs his coffee drinking a bit.

"sorry Hank" Connor lowers his head ashamed.

Seeing Connor really beat himself up about it, Hank stands with his coffee and moves next to Connor "just don't do it again"

"i won't" Connor shakes his head

"that's what you said last time" Hank narrows his eyes at him

"i forget" Connor scratches his neck with a goofy smile

Hank vigorously shakes his head causing his wet hair to slap Connor in the face multiple times. Hank smirks as Connor tries to push him away with an "agh".

Grabbing some buttered toast, Hank walks into the sitting room turning the TV on.

Hearing some footsteps trail behind him, Hank turns around to see Connor follow him. "you don't have to follow me around like a poodle" Hank groans sitting down

Connor says nothing as he lays on the sofa with Sumo climbing onto him. "hey Sumo" Connor hugs the huge dog.

Hank shakes his head fondly before turning his attention to the TV.

 

__________

 

Super model struting into the room, North flicks her messy plait over her shoulder before posing wildly.

"So, what do you think?" she questions moving in different poses and twirling around.

"you look nice" Connor glances to her before going back to petting Sumo.

"ugh" she groans rolling her eyes at him. "Hey Hank, what do YOU think?" she turns to the hunched over man sat on the sofa.

"you look great" he says without looking at her

"ugh, men" she mutters under her breath strolling into the kitchen.

Grabbing some toast she glances to the sitting room. Hank's sipping his coffee while watching football. Connor's laying across the sofa with Sumo draped across him.

Keeping her eyes on them for any sudden movements, she quickly grabs the Nutella and turns her gaze to ger toast as she spreads a huge thick layer of it on her toast, while glancing very so often to the sitting room.

'huh,' she thinks peering into the jar 'its nearly finished, i'll have to buy more before Connor and Hank notice. Hank ate already so he won't check until after work, that's enough time' North thinks to herself

With a smirk, she quickly hides the jar in her secret hiding place before devouring the toast, swallowing it almost whole as she shoves the toast into her mouth. Chewing huge mouthfulls, she feels presure build up in her chest.

She curses herself for being so careless.

Rushing to the sink, she pours a glass of water, but it's too late as she involuntarily starts hiccuping loudly.

"North, what did i tell ya about eating too quickly" Hank calls out to her

"you said that she shouldn't" Connor says

"no one asked you " North growls only to be cut of by a sqeaky hiccup.

"is there a pig in the house?" Connor questions with false innocence.

Clenching her jaw, she quickly wipes her mouth before stomping into the sitting room. She opens her mouth to retrot but Hank cuts in before she can say anything

"Connor don't call your sister a pig. And North, i understand that food is amazing but you shouldn't eat so quickly. It will also make Connor shut his mouth" Hank leans back in his chair, pulling the coffee closer.

"i have other ways of making him shut his mouth" she glares at him threatingly lifting her fist.

"hey stop" Hank gestures to her. "It's way too early for this bullshit" he mutters lifting himself off the chair. "i don't wanna hear a peep out of both of you" he says as he leaves the room.

Once out of sight, North sticks her tounge out at Connor. Stomping back into the kitchen she suddenly stops in her tracks at her mistake.

"your tounge is-hey, did you eat the rest of the nutella" Connor questions trailing after her with Sumo in tow.

'Shit' she griminces.

"you always eat way too much nutella, you're meant to be saving it" he states

"i can eat whatever i want, it has nothing to do with you"

"it does if you end up developing an illness, like-"

"-i would be my problem, not yours"

"we bought it yesterday, and now it's finished. You ate most of it. Thats not good for you North.

"leave me alone" she mutters eating her toast and gulping some water.

"What're you going to do when Hank finds out?"

"nothing because he won't. And you are not going to say anything!" North hisses. "i'll buy more later, and pour a bit into this jar, he won't even notice"

"he's a detective, it's his job to notice things" Connor bites his lip nervously.

"no he won't, and you're not gonna say anything" she says slowly, each word sounding like a threat.

"or what?" Connor narrows his eyes

"you don't wanna know" she smirks at him taking a bite out of her toast

"where is the jar?" Connor questions glancing around

"not telling you" she smirks at him

"but also, you really shouldn't eat so quick, it-"

"-shut up, i don't wanna know" she holds her hand up shoving the rest of the toast in her mouth.

"see ya later sucker" North grabs her handbag rushing out the door. "SEE YA LATER HANK" she calls out before slamming the door shut.

Connor walks back into the sitting room sitting on the sofa carefully as Sumo rests his head on his leg. Smiling, Connor pets his head before laying down once more.

________

 

"Hey North!" a voice calls out. Turning around she spots Markus jogging towards her.

"Hi Markus, how's it going?" she greets meeting up with him in the middle.

"I'm alright and you? Is your brother coming?"

"ugh, don't get me started on him" she groans rolling her eyes. "but apart from that i'm looking forward to today, where are the others?" she glances around

"they're on their way. Why didn't he want to come?"

"look, i get for some reason you have a crush on him even though you've never even met him" she smirks as Markus splutters. "but he just didn't want to come"

"i don't have a crush on him, like you said, i don't even know him" he bites his lip lowering his head

"uh huh, and i'm a robot" she rolls her eyes.

"hey guys" a voice calls out "you ready to go?"

Markus and North glance around to see the others making their way towards them.

"come on, lets have some fun" North pulls on his arm and makes her way towards the others.

"hey guys" she greets with a smile

"hey, you both ready to go? Your brother not coming North?" Josh questions

"nah, he's busy" she rolls her eyes with a smile. "come on, lets go"

Chapter Text

Rushing around the house, Hank sprints towards the bedroom while brushing his hair and buttoning his shirt frantically looking for something.

"damn it" Hank mutters under his breath. "CONNOR WHERE ARE MY KEYS?" he yells to Connor in the sitting room

"i don't know!" Connor shouts back

"PLEASE HELP ME LOOK"

"okay!" Connor says getting up

 

Scanning the room, Connor first checks if he can see the keys in plain sight. Not seeing them, he moves to the corner of the room and starts looking from top to bottom, moving things around but making sure to put it as it was before he moves onto the next thing.

Once he's done searching the sitting room, he moves onto the next room which is the kitchen. Ignoring Hank scuttering like a bug, Connor scans the room quickly checking once again if the keys in plain sight.

Bingo

With a small smile, Connor makes his way to where Sumos bowl is and lifts the keys from inside. "i found them" Connor holds the keys up with a huge smile in triumph.

Mission successful

"thank you kid" Hank exclaims sighing in relief. "where were they?" he frowns at the wetness as he takes them from Connor. Shaking the keys off, he shoves the them in his pocket with his wallet.

"they were in Sumos water bowl"

"argh, that stupid dog. Why does he keep hidin' the keys, how does he even manage to get 'em "

"Sumo is not stupid, he's quite smart. Especaily seeing as he manages to get the keys despite it being well hidden and on high surfaces" Connor defends him with a frown

Hank shakes his head "you know it's what people say when pissed off. Sumo is so smart he's a dumbass"

"that makes no sence, how can someone be so smart they're dumb" Connor tilts his head. "Oh wait," Connor brightens with a smile "that's an oxymoron"

"er yeah, oxymoron" Hank shakes his head fondly

"an oxymoron, it's when-"

"-i know what it is smartass" Hank says as he ties his shoelaces

"you have over an hour before you have you go to work, why are you rushing?" Connor questions

"i wanna buy something before work, and Jeffery will have my ass if i'm late"

"er, i'm not complaining but you were never bothered about being late, even if Captain Fowler will have your ass. What's the difference now- i'm not complaining though" Connor questions sitting down and furrowing his eyebrows

"i have a case that's been going on for so long and i'm so close to cracking it, and i really wanna get it over with"

"you should try to get to work on time everyday, not just because of that"

"i'm a grown ass man, i can do whatever i want"

"exactly you're a grown man, you have responsibilities"

"jeez, who's the adult here" Hank mutters

"technically you are"

"ugh, you really are somethin' else Connor. Anyway, what do ya plan on doin' all day?" Hank questions checking his phone

Connor titles his head looking up in thought. "er, do the washing up, wash the dishes, clean-"

"-my days" Hank cuts him off. "you sound like you're a maid or somethin'. How many times do i have to tell ya, you don't bother with that all the time, you're not a slave who has to do all the housework. It's the weekend, and right now you're allowed to whatever you wanna"

"what if i want to do the housework"

"then you will have to find something else you wanna do because right now you're not allowed to do it" Hank crosses his arms.

"you just said i could whatever i want to"

"whatever you want to do except the housework"

"but-"

"-no" Hank cuts him off

"Hank-"

"-i said no, and if i come back to see all the housework done, i will have North do all your chores for the next few days in return, and she sure won't be happy about that"

"i don't mind doing the housework"

Hank sighs. 'i never thought i would have to force a teenager to NOT do things around the house' he thinks shaking his head.

But he does needs to be stricter as the kid literally only spends the weekend doing housework or studying. There's something unsettling about how he's always trying to impress Hank, like he's worried that if he does anything wrong Hank would get rid of him.

"i said no"

"but then i won't have anything to do" Connor pouts glancing around

Seeing Connor fidget and glance around worriedly, Hank sighs softly sitting across from him.

"how about, instead of doing that, play some games or somethin', or even go out a bit, but i'm telling you it's okay. I'm telling you it's okay to leave the chores and housework for later"

"but" Connor lowers his gaze. "okay" Connor sighs.

"good"

"you really won't be mad at me if i DON'T do all the housework?" Connor questions skeptically

"was i ever?"

"no"

"there you go" Hank gestures to him. "I'm off to work, will you be alright"

"bored out of my mind but yeah i guess" Connor leans back with a frown

"play nintendogs or something. And if anything happens, anything at all, you call me or North" Hank urges looking at Connor firmly

"you tell me this everyday, and i know. I can take of myself. Besides, i can't rely on you and North forever"

"you nearly burned the whole house down when cooking because you got distracted by Sumo" Hank deadpans. "and you didn't even call the fire brigade, you got your stupid ass burnt tryin' to put it out yourself"

"i, er" Connor stammers scratching his neck with a half smile.

"you didn't even let me know, i came home to you-"

"-i get it"

"so you can't blame an old man for worrying" Hank gives him a pointed look

"i'll be fine" Connor gives a reassuring smile

"but if something happens you call"

"do i really have to" Connor pleads looking at Hank

"don't even try it" Hank turns around avoiding eye contact. "put those puppy dog eyes away. Do i have to make it your mission"

Ever since he first met Connor, the kid was constantly talking about how it's his mission to do this and that. If he had something to do, he'd called it his mission. It soon became like an unbreakable promise.

"you know, teenagers need to feel a sence of independence-"

"-don't give me that bullshit Connor, just call, it's not a big deal"

"but say, when i live by myself, who am i gonna call"

"ghostbusters"

Connor narrows his eyes "seriously"

"i couldn't resist" Hank laughs.

"i don't want to bother you or North, you're both busy, besides nothing is going to happen"

"What will bother us is if you don't call us and something happens. Right, the mission i'm setting is that you don't do any of the housework and that you call me or North IF something happens" he says firmly

"you're making it my mission?!" Connor looks at him dumbfounded

Hank gives him a hard look leaving no room for arguement

"fine"

"so do you accept the mission"

"i have no choice"

"you have choices"

"what choices do i have" Connor furrows his eyebrows

"you have two, you either accept it or we argue all day, also making me late for work"

'or i can say i'll do it when i actually won't' Connor thinks to himself. 'not that i would actually do that though'.

But Connor instead says "you should go, or you'll be late"

"you accept the mission?"

"mission accepted"

"heh, you changed your tune" Hank looks at Connor skeptically. "So you'll do something productive, and call if it something happens"

"i always accomplish my mission"

"right whatever. I have to go, i've no time to buy the thing now so i'm going stright to work. See ya later son" Hank pats Connors shoulder before walking towards the door

"see you later" Connor calls out to him

As Hank leaves, Connor looks around with a sigh. 'now what' he thinks to himself

________

 

"I'm staving" North declares making her way to a hotdog stand not even waiting for what the others have to say

Wanting to get in line before it gets longer, she power walks until she reaches the queue. Waiting in line, she looks back to see Markus running towards her.

Once he reaches the queue, he walks towards her apologizing to the people behind saying "sorry, i'm with her" as he pushes through the line. "sorry, thank you" he says before he reaches her.

Once he's beside her, he hits her arm with a frown "why didn't you wait for us to talk about it"

"i didn't wait because i wanted to get in the queue before it got longer, and as you can see there are loads of people behind me" she gestures to the huge queue of people

"we thought you were mad at us for a moment, you left without waiting for us and you ignored me when i called for you"

"i didn't hear you calling me. And nah, i'm just so hungry i didn't care if the others were or weren't. And like i said before, i needed to get in line before it got longer, i'm so hungry"

"when are you not hungry" he says shaking his head

"the others not hungry?" she questions glancing behind them

"no, but they are waiting for us by the benches"

"and i see you of all people are apparently hungry" she smirks.

"North, i didn't come with you to talk about Connor"

"i didn't say you did" North smirks knowingly

"you implied it" Markus frowns

"not really, but whatever helps you sleep at night"

"you're so annoying"

North places her hand over her chest in fake hurt. "argh, you wound me"

Before Markus could reply, they are next to be served as they reached the front of the line and the man calls them over to order. Walking forward, North asks for a hotdog with just ketchup

She then turns to Markus "well, what do you want?" she questions

"er, a bottle of water please" he says to the man with a smile

"just that?" North narrows her eyes

"i'm very thirsty" he defends

"yeah you are" North smirks

Markus sends a glare to North who just laughs loudly

They grab their things and North takes a bite out of the hotdog with a moan. Markus takes his wallet out and pays before North has the chance to.

"oi" she chokes on the hotdog. "i can pay for my own shit" she coughs narrowing her eyes at him

"i don't mind"

"well i do, save it for Connor or something"

Markus mutters "shut up" while lowering his head to hide his blush. North takes another bite of her hotdog with a smirk. 'he's too easy' she chuckles to herself

 

_______

 

"i'm so bored Sumo, what should i do?" Connor questions the dog draped across his lap

Sumo barks at him before jumping off him and running away. Following him, Connor smiles at the dog pawing at the front door. "you wanna go on a walk"

Sumo boofs in confirmation spinning excitedly in circles.

"alright, alright" Connor shakes his head fondly.

Racing into his room he quickly shoves his shoes on, gently petting Sumo when the dog follows him and places his head on his knee with a soft bark.

"I'm ready, i'm ready" Connor smiles giving him one last pet before running towards the front door with Sumo in tow

"you ready to go on a walk" Connor puts the leash on him before opening the door. Grabbing his keys, Connor puts them in his pocket quickly shutting the door behind him as Sumo pushes Connor forward

"calm down Sumo, we're going now" Connor says making sure the door is locked before tugging Sumos leash having him walk with him in tow.

_______

Walking past the park where the festival is, Connor stops for a moment looking in.

There are loads of activities. The park is buzzing with life. It looks...fun.

He doesn't know how much time passed, but Sumo breaks into a run making Connor stumble forward.

"Sorry Sumo" he quickly gains control tugging on the leash and pulling the dog in the other direction. "but i really don't want to bump into North and her friends, we'll go to a different park"

Connor feels his heart ache at the whine the dog makes from being pulled away from the park.

"I'm so sorry Sumo, don't worry, we'll reach a different park in no time" he pets the dog before gently pulling on the leash

He quickly power walks away from the park not wanting North or her friends to see him.

'i wonder if Markus is there' Connor thinks feeling his face flush. 'most likely, he is Norths friend'

"come on Sumo" he lowers his head walking faster with a small smile

________

Chapter Text

As Connor walks away from the park, he zones out thinking to himself.

'he doesn't even know i exist' Connor bites his lip. 'i need to get a grip, i've never even met him, i've just heard about him and seen his art and protests. But the stuff he protests for are very inspirational. He's actually amazing' Connor smiles slightly.

'but' Connor frowns. 'he does get in a lot of trouble, with the school and the police, which is how him and North became friends i guess'

Connor sighs deeply at the next thought which crosses his mind. 'There's no point on talking to him now as we'll go to different colleges or universities and lose contact. Besides, high school love and friendship has a high percentage of NOT lasting. But if i don't talk to him i'll never hear of him again. But there's no point, I'll never see Hank or North again either. I will be alone'

Lowering his head, Connor rubs his hands together nervously. 'we may be like a family now, but it's nothing official. When school finishes or when i'll not be of good use anymore, they'll want nothing to do with me, just like...' Connor shakes his head trying to block it out.

 

Connor yelps as Sumo suddenly turns round and starts sprinting towards the park barking loudly.

Stumbling forward, Connor tries to pull him back again but Sumo is too strong and fast. "Sumo stop!" he cries as Sumo continues to race forward. Feeling his hands burning and sting, he grits his teeth tugging the leash trying to gain control as the the strong dog keeps running.

He tries to grab more of the leash to gain leverage, however his sore hands scrape across it and makes his hands feel like they're on fire.

"SUMO STOP" he yells trying to pull him back

Connor trips over a rock losing his grip on the leash. The speed and strength from Sumo creates a huge momentum that he slides and grazes across the rough rocky path once he hits the ground

Groaning, he winces feeling his whole body flare in a stinging and burning pain. "SUMO" he yells to the dog still running away. Ignoring the pain, he gets up and breaks into a run racing after the dog.

'Hank will kill me if i lose Sumo. He'll send me away. He'll be so mad' Connor thinks to himself holding back tears as he sprints after Sumo trying to keep him in sight.

Tripping over his own feet, he slams to the floor with a yell, the side of his head hitting a rock making his vision blur slightly.

The noise around him becomes fuzzy

Fighting to keep his eyes open, he slowly lifts himself up gritting his teeth as a new stabbing pain flares across the side of his head.

Something warm drips down the side of his head. Bringing his fingers to it, he hisses as the pain intensifies. Lowering his hand, his eyes widen at the blood coated around his fingers.

'shit' Connor thinks with a wince

Glancing around for the dog Connor feels his heart drop as Sumo is no where in sight.

"hey, are you okay?!" a little girl questions shaking his arm.

Connor flinches as she touches his newly grazed bleeding arm. Subconsciously yanking his arm back with a wince, he looks up to see a bunch of people staring at him while giggling and whispering.

Feeling his face flush, Connor bites the inside of his cheek trying to ignore everyone around him.

 

But the laughter echos through his mind.

The whispers sound like yells to his ears.

 

Connor sqints his eyes shut trying to block it out, but it just makes them louder, and louder.

'wait, SUMO' Connor startles up at the thought

"i'm fine, don't worry, but i really need to find my dog so excuse me-" Connor glances around

"-oi, what are you doing with my kid" a man looms over him

"h-huh, nothing, i just tripped and i need to find my dog, excuse me" Connor lifts himself up

The fuming man is about to say something but the little girl grabs his hand and pushes him away sqealing "he fell, i wanted to see if he's okay. But lets get ice cream!"

The man glares at him as he walks away with the girl. "come on Emma, Daniel is waiting for us" he says pulling her towards an ice cream truck but not without sending a final glare to Connor.

Not wanting to make sudden movements that'll make the angry man change his mind and chase after him, Connor quickly scans the area seeing if he can spot Sumo anywhere.

Not seeing him, he starts power walking towards the direction where Sumo was running.

Glancing around, he screams out "SUMO" but the dog is no where to be seen.

 

___________

 

Glancing to North and Josh aruging while waiting for Simon to come back, Markus zones out sitting besides Josh around the park table. 'i really need to get the artwork done before monday, then i can do the protest on tuesday' Markus thinks

Markus zones back at the mention of Connor.

"-Connor might. But nah, i don't think i'll ever be able to do that, i'll ask him later" North says

"wait, what are you guys talking about?" Markus furrows his eyebrows

"ha, wouldn't you like to know" North smirks

"shut up, what were you talking about?" Markus frowns

"North, how do you actually feel about the crush Markus has on your brother?" Josh asks

Markus cuts in before she could answer. "i don't have a crush on him, i don't even know him"

"yeah right" North rolls her eyes. "but to answer your question, it's very strange because, like, why" North furrows her eyebrows gestering wildly. "but it's funny watching Markus fluster"

"i don't have a crush on him"

"Markus how would you feel if your brother had a crush on one of your friends?" Josh questions

"what, why? Why are you asking these things"

"you know i'm an only child, i'm just wondering if it'll be weird for a sibling to have a crush on your friends"

"well, firstly, i don't have a crush on Connor so there's that" Markus starts. "But i don't think Leo would ever have a crush on any of you, no offence. But it would be weird i guess"

"so imagine how i feel about your huge crush on my baby brother" North teases

"well, it's good for you that i don't, now lets stop talking about this" Markus glances around

"you're lucky he's in our year, he's such a geeky nerd, he was actually meant to skip a grade or so"

"why didn't he?" Markus questions

North falters, her smirk turning into a sad frown. "how long is Simon gonna take" she whines loudly

"calm down, he'll be here soon" Josh says

"i don't care about him, i care about the food he's getting"

"nice to know you care" Simon rolls his eyes placing the food on the park table.

"Simon, you brought me food so of course i love you" North jokingly strokes his arm before reaching for the food

"if you had to chose between us or food, i feel like you'd pick the food" Simon shakes his head slightly with a small smile

"of course i'd choose the food, then i'd hurt anyone who'd hurt any of you, then i'd steal their food for good measure" North flicks her hair back

"you shouldn't hurt others even if they hurt you or us, and stealing is very wrong, that'll only make things worse" Josh frowns

Before North can reply, Simon clears his throat with a sheepish smile "guys, lets just eat before it gets cold"

"yeah, i'm staving" Markus reaches for his food

"are you all ready for this year, it's our last year of high school" Simon tries to change the conversation

North glares at Josh before tucking into her food.

Markus opens his mouth to reply. "I'm-"

A huge dog leaps onto their park table cutting Markus off as it barks stumbling to eat their food

"WHAT THE FUCK" North yells leaping out of her seat

"er" Josh furrows his eyebrows glancing around

"woah, hey doggy please get get off our table-" Simon lifts his hands up defensively slowly reaching for the huge dog

"-wait a second, SUMO?! What the fuck are you going here" North exclaims when she sees and recognises the collar

Loads of people have dogs but that coller is unique. It has loads of glittery patterns with the name Sumo written over it. Markus customised it for the dog as a gift when North mentioned how Connor wanted to buy a new one.

She yanks on the leash shoving the dog off the table.

"er, North please tell me this is your dog you're pulling off the table and not someone elses, we don't need any fights" Josh says

"yes it's my fucking mutt, how the fuck-oh i'm going to kill him" North growls gritting her teeth

"woah wait, who are you going to kill, most of the food's okay" Simon glances around nervously

"you're not killing anyone, whats got you so mad?" Josh questions

"wait, that's the collar i made for Sumo" Markus points. "how'd he get here?"

"i'm going to fucking kill that brat" North growls

"woah, what, why-"

"the food is all ruined, he knows, he fucking knows and yet" North rambles

The dog is back in the table eating the food

"Sumo, get off!" North pulls on the leash the the dog is too strong and keeps climbing up

"er, knows what?"

"Connor! Connor knows he's not meant to walk Sumo without the harness, much less using this leash" she holds the leash up to emphasise it.

North continues with a huff. "the harness and other leash broke. The leash was one of those ones you can press, those pressy things" she makes a pressing gesture trying to remember the name. "er, you know, the, OH, the retractable ones! Because with those it's a bit better to control, but these are impossible"

"wait, so Connor's here?" Markus questions

North groans rolling her eyes. "of course that's all you care about"

Before Markus can say anything Sumo breaks out of Norths grip and runs away

"SUMO! Come back!" North calls out but the large dog keeps running

"quick run after him" Simon says getting ready to run

"thanks guys, don't worry i'll kill Connor for this" North says before breaking into a run

"NORTH" Josh yells before running after her "you're not killing anyone!"

Ignoring peoples stares, Josh races after her with Simon and Markus in tow

 

With the head start, North is quite far ahead and after she turns a corner they lose sight of her

"where did they go?" Simon huffs out of breath

"lets split up and see if we can find them, Josh you go forward, Simon you go right and i'll go left" Markus directs

"right" they both say jogging in their designated directions

Markus turns left and starts jogging at a steady pace while glancing around

 

______

 

"Sumo!" Connor yells searching high and low for the dog

"Hi, excuse me but are you okay?" a familiar striking blonde girl questions with gentle blue eyes

"er, yeah, i'm fine, i'm looking for my dog" Connor says glancing around biting his lip

'where can he be, i hope he didn't leave the park' Connor thinks to himself nervously playing with his hands

"my name is Chloe, you're Connor right? You remember me? You were in a few of my classes" Chloe smiles warmly

Connor looks at her properly. "i rememeber you. You were always nice to me. You already finished high school" Connor smiles slightly

But his smile falters as he thinks about how would've also finished high school if it weren't for...

Shaking his head Connor smiles at Chloe before suddenly bolting up as he's brought back to reality. "I'm sorry but i really have to find Sumo, my dog. It was nice seeing you again"

Right when he was about to leave, Chloe gently holds his shoulder pulling him back. "how about i help"

"oh, you don't have-"

"-i want to. But first let me take care of your head, you're bleeding a lot, and i saw a little kid run away from you earlier"

"i really need to find Sumo before something happens, or if he leaves the park, or if-"

"-have you tried buying dog food and trying to attract him like that?" Chloe questions

"i've thought of that, but i have no money. And if i do that, it'll attract loads of dogs, but he might already be out of the park-"

"-lets try it. I'll pay for the dog food and we'll see if he comes, while we wait, i'll clean out the wound on your temple"

"oh no, you really don't have-"

"-i want to"

Connor furrows his eyebrows biting his lip nervously. "er, thank you, but, er, why are you helping me?"

Chloe just smiles gesturing for him to follow her.

"i don't need pity" Connor frowns following her

"good thing i'm not giving you any then" she smiles warmly at him

Chapter Text

Chloe wipes the blood dripping down Connors face with a grimince as Connor hisses when she makes contact with the wound on his temple.

"sorry" Chloe winces

"it's not your fault"

"Sumo has not turned up yet" Chloe sighs softly

They opened a can of wet dog food and put it out besides them. So far they attracted loads of free roaming dogs. Not Sumo though. Connor and Chloe had to pull loads of dogs away only for them to jump back onto them, barking loudly until their owner came. But Sumo had not come.

"i should be looking for him" Connor glances around for the huge dog

Nothing

"maybe he's outside the park" he wonders

"maybe" Chloe says

Connor sighs. "i really don't know anymore, he could be anywhere by now"

"you should go to A&E, you might have a concussion" Chloe says gently

"i'm fine, i just need to find Sumo and sleep a bit"

"you need to see a doctor"

"i really appreciate you doing this, but i have to look for Sumo" Connor goes to stand but his weak knees buckle causing him to stumble back onto the bench

"once we find Sumo, will you see a doctor?"

Connor looks at her furrowing his eyebrows. "you didn't answer my question earlier, why do you care?" Connor questions

"you looked like you needed help"

"that...still doesn't really answer the question" Connor shakes his head slightly

"do you not remember?"

"remember what specifically?"

"the day you saved us all, showed your inner badass and turned into John Wick"

"it's not physically possible to turn into someone else, let alone John Wick. I didn't have a gun"

"metaphorically, Connor. I mean metaphorically"

"oh"

'hes's like a puppy' she thinks to herself

"But who knew you are a secret badass" Chloe laughs slightly

Connor tilts his head. "the word badass makes no sence, how can a butt be bad, it doesn't do anything bad, does it? Well, fart maybe. But why is it described as someone who is knows how to fight"

Once Connor realised what he said and who he's talking to, he winces. Everyones hates when he asks questions like these. Stupid questions people call it.

But instead of scrunching her face in disgust or just ignoring him and walking away like most people do, Chloe hums looking up in thought

"it's just a saying, i don't really know"

Connor raises his eyebrows in suprise. 'normally people just ignore me or look at me weirdly' he thinks to himself

"but how did it come about? I understand that people call people an ass because it's not a nice thing to be compared to, but shouldn't badass be worse" Connor was going to ramble more, but stops himself just in time

"huh, i never thought about it" Chloe glances up in thought

"it was a stupid question, sorry"

"no, it's not. But google it when you get home then let me know"

Chloe writes on a bit of paper a bunch of numbers then hands it to Connor.

It's her phone number

Connor startles up at that. In movies people give their phone numbers to people their have a crush on

"er, Chloe, i'm sorry to say this, but i don't have a crush on you" Connor winces at how it sounds.

'great now she's going to hate me' Connor sighs

But Chloe laughs at that. "don't worry, i don't have a crush on you. I just want to keep in touch, you're not a bad guy Connor"

"oh, right" Connor scratches his neck

"how are you doing in school?" Chloe asks

"fine"

"you're not still being pushed around are you?" Chloe questions gently

'she knows? Of course, everyone knows'

"school's nearly finished, it's fine. Besides, when it really comes to it, they can't do much, like you said, i'm a secret badass" Connor winks with a smirk

Chloe rolls her eyes. "but i'm guessing you always choose not to do anything"

"it'll only make things worse"

"you should give them a taste of their own medicine"

"what medicine? They have medicine? Why would i give it to them?" Connor furrows his eyebrows tilting his head

Chloe shakes her head in amusement. "it's a phrase, you get them back for everything they did to you"

"i'm not starting any fights"

"you know, sometimes the best revenge is to live your life and be happy"

"...yeah, i guess..." Connor furrows his eyebrows in thought

"lets go outside the park to see if we can find Sumo" Chloe raises holding the dog food

"right" Connor walks after her

 

________

 

"SUMO!" Markus yells glancing around for the dog.

Markus went out of the park and is walking across a rocky path

He glances around once more

Nothing

'Connor is somewhere here' Markus thinks with a small smile before it drops for a second.

'wait, Connor, Connor is somewhere here' Markus glances around nervously. 'i can't let him see me, what am i meant to say to him'

Markus looks around nervously. 'shit'

Running towards a bunch of trees where he'd be out of sight, he hides behind a huge tree.

'ugh, i'm so pathetic' Markus groans to himself

He quickly drops some dog treats he bought onto the ground to see if it'll attract the dog.

Something big flashes across his eyes and jumps onto him making he fall to the ground with a groan.

Something wet and slobbery drips onto his face. Wiping it he looks up to see Sumo peering over him with a goofy look before licking his face with a bark

"ugh, Sumo get off" Markus laughs. He gently pulls the dog off him and tightly grabs the leash before he could run away again.

As the dog is distracted by the food on the ground Markus raises to his feet.

Once Sumo quickly finished eating, Markus stumbles as Sumo tries to run forward. Grasping onto the leash with both hands, Markus skids a bit as the dog keeps pushing forward

"Sumo stop" Markus says trying to pull the dog back

Quickly pulling more the dog treats out of his pocket, he throws them onto the ground which makes Sumo stop in his tracks and run to eat them

While the dog is distracted, Markus grabs his phone and calls North while keeping a tight grip on the leash

"ello?" North answers

"i've found Sumo, i'm outside the park. What am i meant to do now?" he questions with slight panic as Sumo nearly finishes eating

"right, keep a tight grip. I'll call the others and meet you there"

"hurry" Markus says as Sumo runs forward a bit

He hangs up the phone and shoves it in his pocket before grabbing onto the leash with both hands "come on boy, calm down"

Sumo barks wildly as he sees a squirrel. Sumo races forward dragging Markus with him

"STOP!" he cries stumbling forward

As Markus loses his grip on the leash, he looses his balence grabbing onto someone accidentally pushing them to the ground with him.

They both fall with an 'oof'

"I'm so sorry" Markus sits up turning to them

"it's fine" they say turning their head away from him

"no, im-YOU'RE BLEEDING" Markus exclaims when he sees a bit of blood dripping down the side of their head

"what, no it's-"

"-i'm so sorry, i didn't-"

"-it's okay. I fell earlier so it was not you" the guy turns to him with cute puppy dog eyes while scratching his neck with a sheepish smile

'wow, he's so cute' Markus flushes feeling his heart beat a bit faster

The guy glances around nervously, lowering his head while fiddling with his fingers

'right' Markus shakes his head slightly. 'stop staring' he thinks to himself

"er, anyway, i'm sorry for pulling you, it was-oh shit, the dog" Markus jolts up looking around for Sumo

'shit, he's gone' Markus grits his teeth running a hand over his face

"huh, the dog?" the guy tilts his head

'oh my-why is he so cute' Markus screams internally

"my friends dog. He ran away, and i found him, but i swear he's half horse or something" Markus laughs

"it's not possible for a dog to be part horse, they are completely different species and their chromosomes aren't the same" the guy states furrowing his eyebrows

Markus chuckles. "well, yeah. I meant metaphorically, because he's very strong" he shakes his head in amusement

"oh" the guy lowers his gaze with a blush

"er, anyway, i need to look for him. I'm sorry for pushing you"

"it's fine, you tried to stop yourself from falling so you grabbed onto something to try and keep yourself up. If i were facing you and saw you, i might of been able to help or something"

'wait' Markus looks at him in confustion. 'is he trying to put the blame on himself or something'

"no. It was not your fault" Markus states firmly

The guy looks at him suprised. "er, right"

"right" Markus stands holding his hand in front of the guy

The guy tilts his head, glancing between him and his hand before slowly grabbing his hand allowing Markus to help pull him up

"thank you" the guy smiles beautifully

Before Markus could reply a voice calls out to them. "i've got-hey are you two alright?"

Markus looks up to see a cute blonde girl strolling towards them with Sumo in tow. She most likely saw Sumo run away from him and went to get him.

She looks at the cute guy with concern written on her face

'probably his girlfriend' Markus thinks with a pout

"i'm okay thank you" the guy says before turning to Markus and looking at him in question

'oh, he's asking if i'm okay' Markus flushes

"oh, yeah, i'm fine thanks"

"you've found Sumo" the guy beams walking towards the dog

'wait, he knows Sumo. WAIT, is he Connor?!' Markus screams in his mind

"er, sorry, w-what's your name?" Markus asks nervously

"my name is Connor" he says

'SHIT' Markus feels his heart pounding loudly against his chest.

Markus and Connor never really met, until now, and Markus heard loads of things about him, from North and around the school. And to Markus, he sounds like a cool person.

Taking a deep breath, he tries to keep his composure. "i'm Markus"

The guy snaps his head to him wide eyed

Markus furrows his eyebrows at that reaction. But before he could question it, another voice calls out to them

"hey, what's going on-CONNOR WHAT HAPPENED?" North exclaims running towards him.

She croches down in front of him, taking his bruised face into her hands examining his injuries

"shit, what happened?" she griminces

"get off" he pulls his head from her grasp yanking her hands away

Something flickers in her as her face turns deadly "did someone do this to you?"

"wha, no. I fell when walking Sumo" Connor stands reaching for the leash as Sumo tries to run forward again

"no Sumo, bad dog" North scolds pointing a finger at him

Sumo stops instantly with a wimper while lowering his head in shame

"poor Sumo, don't call him that" Connor frowns at North while gently petting the dog

"well, it's your fault you stupid idiot, you know you're not meant to walk Sumo using this leash, let alone without a harness"

"he really wanted a walk, i couldn't say no"

"i really think Connor should go to A&E, he might have a concussion" the blonde girl pitches in before North can say anything

"who are you?" North furrows her eyebrows

The blonde girl smiles. "my name is Chloe"

"we used to be in the same class. She helped me find Sumo and clean a few of my wounds" Connor adds

Before anyone could say anything, Markus looks at Connor with a small smile saying "i have a first aid kit in the car, i can bandage you up if you want"

"bandage me up?" Connor tilts his head. "like a mummy? Because there's no need for that and it would be very inefficient"

Markus chuckles. "no, i mean clean out your wounds again, because you're still bleeding, then put a bandage around your head to stop the one on your temple"

"oh, there's no need. You guys, i'm fine, i just need some sleep"

Chloe shakes her head. "it would be best to clean out the wound before it gets infected, then put a bandage to help stop the bleeding"

"right then, Connor you either go to A&E or let Markus fix you up" she says sending a cheeky smirk to a flushed Markus

"what about Sumo? I need to take him home" Connor questions trying to use him as an excuse

"i'll take him" North shrugs with a smirk

"what if he runs off again or something"

"we'll go with her" Josh says appearing with the Simon besides him

North takes the leash from a frowning Connor.

North shrugs. "normally i'd say no, but the more people holding onto this crazy strong dog the better" North sticks her tounge out at the dog who tilts his head at her

"but-" Connor starts

"-no, go. Don't worry, Markus won't kill ya, well...maybe" North laughs. "Come on guys lets go, see ya" she says starting to walk away

Simon and Josh bid their goodbyes before running to keep up with North. They stand on either side of her, holding onto the leash together trying to pull back the already running dog

"well, i better go. I hope your injuries get better Connor" Chloe glances to them

"you don't have to go" Connor says

"i have to go, see you both around" she smiles

As she walks away, Connor and Markus are both standing awkwardly now by themselves

"and then there were two" Markus says glancing to Connor.

"er, my car is over there" Markus points towards a car park

"you really don't have to do this"

"i want to, i mean, you look very dizzy and not well, let me at least help"

"why would you want to help me?" Connor tilts his head furrowing his eyebrows

"i like to help people"

Markus walks towards the car park a bit before glancing back to Connor standing still. "or i can quickly get the first aid kit and meet you here"

"you don't have to" Connor fiddles with his hands

"you have to at least promise you'll wait here and not run away or anything, i'll be right back" Markus smiles before jogging away

'i didn't promise anything. I could go' Connor thinks to himself. 'but he's already getting the first aid kit, it would be bad if i leave when he's already wasting his time for me'

Connor sits on the ground with a sigh as he feels his head get very heavy.

He fights to stay sitting up. Pulling his legs to hia chest, he waits for Markus to come back

'wait' Connor startles up. 'what if he just leaves me here, what if he doesn't come back. Most people never come back. I'll be waiting and waiting but they never end up coming back'

Connor stares at nothing, his thoughts filling his mind

 

___________

 

He doesn't know how much time passed, but a hand on his shoulder snaps him out of his thoughts making him flinch away from the touch. Looking towards the source he sees Markus looking at him carefully

"you...you came back?" Connor questions smiling slightly in suprise

"of course" Markus says while sitting besides him

"er, right"

Markus looks at him in concern. "i was calling you, i couldn't get through to you"

"sorry"

"no" Markus says firmly "it's not your fault. It really might be best to go to see a doctor, you seem very out of it"

"out of what?"

Markus shakes his head with a small smile. "i mean, you don't look very well. It'll be best if you go to A&E, i could take you"

"no, i'm fine"

Markus sighs shaking his head.

"you alright with me touching you?" Markus questions

Connor looks at him in confustion "don't you have to?"

"if you're not comfortable, i can guide you to do it or something, or maybe you already know how to do it. But it's your choice"

Connor blinks at him with a smile. 'he's very considering' Connor muses

"it's fine" Connor gives a firm nod

Connor turns to him so they are facing each other.

They are quite close and can see little details on eachothers faces

'his eyes really are beautiful' Connor thinks to himself feeling his cheeks heat up

It was the first thing he noticed when he met him.

Markus bits his lips in concentration as he starts gently wiping the blood dripping over the side of Connors head.

As he's wiping away some dried blood, he accidentaly touches Connors grazed cheek

"sorry" he whispers with a wince when Connor flinches away

"it's okay"

The pounding in Connors head doesn't stop, he feels very heavy headed

Connor hisses as the pain flaring all through him worsens. He squints his eyes tightly shut digging his nails into the palm of his hand to try and drown out the pain.

It doesn't work.

"it might be best to go to A&E, you might have a concussion" Markus says gently wiping the blood still spilling down the side of his head

"do i?" Connor winces as Markus makes contact with the huge cut on his temple.

"I'm not a doctor, so i can't be sure. But it'll be best to go to a hospital"

"i'm fine"

Markus sighs. "at least call your guardian, maybe he'll know what-"

"NO!" Connor snaps his eyes open looking at him wide eyed. "no, Hank can't know about this"

Markus frowns. "why?"

Shaking his head was a mistake as he starts to feel even more heavy headed. "i can take care of myself. Besides, he has a lot on his mind and a lot to deal with, there's no point in bothering him"

Connor lowers his gaze thinking 'but i can't hide the bruises and cuts for him. Maybe i can get away with saying i just fell. Well, technically that's what happened'

Connor stares at nothing before suddenly startling up as he remembers something.

His mission

'shit' Connor thinks to himself with a wince

 

Markus watches him carefully. "Sumo is quite a troublemaker huh" he changes the subject

Connor sighs at that, thankful for the change of subject.

"he was just very excited, he gets very excited on walks, and the festival was a lot for him i guess" Connor smiles shaking his head slightly

"what's your favourite animal?" Markus asks

Connor blinks at that. "i like dogs" Connor says.

"i also like fish, they're very pretty" Connor adds

Markus hums nodding his head. "they are cool. I'm going to put the bandage around your head now"

Connor watches him take a roll of bandages out of the first aid kit

"have you ever done something like this before, you seem very experienced"

Markus chuckles. "i have, loads of times. I'm a pro at this point"

He carefully starts wrapping the bandage around Connors head

"i've done it a few times also, probably not as good as you though" Connor says

"i doubt that"

Before Connor could reply, Markus gently taps Connors forehead saying "your head's all done, do you have other cuts or anything?"

Connor subconouisly pulls his sleves down and shoves his hands in his pockets as he shakes his head

Whether Markus noticed or not, he didn't say anything, which Connor sighs in relief at

Markus looks at him softly "how are you feeling?"

"fine and you?"

"no you're not"

Connor stares at him for a moment before lowering his head. "i'll be okay"

"do you want a ride home?"

"thank you, but it's okay, i can make my way"

"you aren't feeling well, what if something happens. I really don't mind"

Connor looks at him skeptically biting his lip "...you really don't?"

"i wouldn't offer if i did"

"i guess"

Markus stands with a smile holding his hand out to Connor

Connor smiles back taking his hand trying to not wince at the stinging

Once on his feet, Connor shoves his hands in his pockets, one of them fiddling with the coin he always has on him

They start making their way to Markus' car in a comfortable silence

 

___________

 

Markus pulls over in front of Connors house.

"thank you Markus" Connor looks at him with a smile

"you're welcome" Markus chuckles. "i hope you feel better"

"thanks"

Connor nods at him before getting out the car. Shutting the door gently, he nods to Markus before making his way to the house.

They wave at eachother before Connor opens the door and is greeted by a happy Sumo.

Hugging the dog, Connor glances outside to see Markus waving at him. Waving back he then watches him drive away

"hey Sumo" Connor pets the dog before shutting the door

North stomps towards him but before she could say anything Connor holds his head with a grimince

"please, give me a lecture tomorrow, my head is pounding and i just want to sleep until tomorrow"

"you need to go to A&E"

"no, i need to sleep" Connor yawns making his way to his bedroom

North blocks his way

"at least call Hank and see what he has to say"

"he's busy, and i'll be fine"

"i will knock you out and take you to the A&E myself"

"i'll call Hank only because it's my mission to call if something happened"

"whatever, fine. I'm going to watch TV, shout if you feel worse" North says walking away

Connor sighs making his way to his room, but he stops in his tracks as he feels his stomach twist and swirl. He races to the bathroom leaning over the toilet throwing up

His eyes blurring, he holds onto the toilet trying to keep himself up but his grip is weak

Throwing up into the toilet again, his head pounds even harder

Once he feels his stomach calm, he lifts himself up flushing the toilet and going to the sink to gurgle water

Once he reaches his room he flops onto the bed just wanting to sleep. Laying on the bed, he calls Hank with a sigh

"hello?" Hanks gruff voice answers

"hi, it's Connor"

"is everything alright?" Hank asks worriedly

"not really" Connor whispers

"shit, what happened?"

Connor quietly tells Hank what happened with Sumo and when he got home

"son, let North take you to A&E. It's better to be safe than sorry"

"i just wanna sleep"

"NO, don't sleep! Go tell North to take you to A&E. I'll meet you guys there"

"what's the point, there are more serious casualties. Besides it will be a long time before they'll see me"

"Connor, get your ass to A&E, i don't care about anything else. I'll meet you both there" Hank hangs up at that

Connor winces. 'i've distracted Hank from work, made North go home earlier, wasted Markus' time, have Hank leave early, and much more. I'm such a failure' Connor thinks to himself

Pulling himself up with a grimince, he stumbles towards the sitting room

"Hank wants us to go to A&E" Connor says

North instantly stands and makes her way to the door "i told you so"

North calls a cab while putting her shoes on

Connor sits on the floor feeling too dizzy to stand

"shall i call an ambulance instead?" North asks him worriedly

"no, it's fine"

North huffs "like i believe you"

Connor feels too sick to reply

After a while a car horns outside

 

They get into the cab and make their way to A&E

Chapter Text

The pounding in his head wakes Connor up with a groan. His eyes flicker open and he feels his stomach turn a bit

'ugh' Connor stuffs his face into his pillow

Feeling the room spin a bit, he slowly sits up taking deep breaths to try and drown out the pain

He feels his head get very heavy as he stretches with a silent yawn

"good morning Sumo" Connor smiles petting the dog draped over his legs

Connor feels very tired and just wants to sleep but he knows with his head pounding like this, it'll be impossible and he's not even going to try

They arrived home quite late from A&E. The doctors considered keeping him over night, but agreed for him to go home as long as there's someone to watch over him

Sitting on the side of the bed he places his feet onto the warm fuzzy carpet and carefully stands. He stumbles a bit but quickly gains his balence

Slowly making his way towards the kitchen, he smiles at the dog closely following him.

"don't worry, i forgive you" Connor whispers to the sad looking dog.

Connor pours a glass of water and takes some paracetamol before sitting at the table with a sigh. Holding his head into his hands, Connor takes a deep breath trying to keep the room from spinning

"you should be in bed" a gruff voice startles him out of his thoughts

"you should be at work" Connor says keeping his head lowered

"the doctor said for you to take it easy and rest. So you're either going to lay on the sofa, or get you're ass back in bed"

"i'm fine"

Hank mimics a voice and says "i said, you know, like a liar"

Connor furrows his eyebrows. "is that a meme?" he questions

"i'm glad to see not all hope is lost with you kids." Hank chuckles lowly. "Now, sofa or bed" he crosses he arms leaning on the counter

Connor bites his lip looking nervously at Hank. "can we--nevermind, i'll go on the sofa" Connor says quietly

"what were you gonna say?" Hank questions

"huh?"

"you said 'can we', can we what"

"it doesn't matter" Connor slowly wobbles onto his feet

"it matters, what were you gonna say?"

Connor lowers his head. "it's stupid" he says quietly

"i'm sure it's not" Hank says

Connor sighs. "i was going to say, can we make a fort" he whispers

If it weren't so early that the streets are still very quiet, it would've been impossible to hear what he said. But the words were loud and clear against the chilly silent morning

When Connor first came to live with Hank, one of the ice breakers was building a fort. The kid didn't know what it was and Hank made sure to change that. Connor was too scared to be in it with Hank, but he liked having a cozy space he could hide in.

It's better than the kitchen cabinets, Hank at the time thought with a groan

Not that it stopped him, Connor still hid in small spaces, and the kitchen cabinets were one of them

Hank glances to the sitting room in thought. "if you think you're going to do it in your condition, you have another thing coming. I'll make it, you lay on the sofa" Hank orders

Hank leaves the kitchen before Connor could reply.

With a groan, Connor gently lays himself across the sofa. He wraps his arms around the huge dog, snuggling into him like a teddy bear.

Head still pounding, Connor watches with blurry dazed eyes as Hank starts making the fort

 

_______

 

"good morning!" Markus exclaims skipping slightly towards the dining table

"jeez, why you so cheery" Leo grumbles

"it's going to be a great day" Markus says sitting in his seat at the table

"not that that's a bad thing, but any reason in perticular Markus" Carl questions taking a bite of his toast

"my artwork for the competition, is nearly done. I just have to add a few details and that's it" Markus smiles

"that's good" Carl smiles back

"what's the prize?" Leo questions with sudden interest

"er, it's some money" Markus reluctantly says

"why didn't you say so earlier, is it too late to enter?"

"it's too late to apply" Markus scowls taking a bite out of his breakfast

Carl frowns at his oldest son. "it's not about the money Leo-"

"-yeah yeah, whatever. Look i have to go" Leo makes his way out the room

"where are you going?" Carl calls out to him

The reply he gets is a slam of the front door closing

Carl sighs turning back to his food.

Markus lowers his gaze silently taking a sip of some apple juice

Carl focuses his attention on Markus "anyway, that's not just it, is it"

"what do you mean"

"i may be old but i'm not stupid"

"you're not that-"

"-if you're gonna say i'm not that old, you can stop right there. I know you hate it but it's the truth. Anyway, this is not about me. You came home yesterday with a new air about you. You seemed happier, a bit worried, but you looked like something you waited for, for a long time, finally happed"

"oh, well, er. Technically it did" Markus smiles wistfully

"is it that boy you like?"

"wha, what do you mean?" Markus splutters

"Connor Stern, that boy you've heard so much about"

"i don't have a crush on him" Markus insists

"really, for a long time it's been 'Connor did this' and 'Connor did that'. Despite the fact you've never seen him"

"well i did yesterday, and i've had enough of this conversation"

"you only ever heard of him. So much you fell in love with the idea of him"

"woah, fell in love is a bit excessive"

"huh, so you admit you have a somewhat infatuation on him"

"no, i don't. He just sounded like a cool person, and i found out yesterday that he is"

"before yesterday you've never seen or met him, but you always admired all the things you heard about him. What if you get to know him and he's not what you thought or people said"

"then he's not" Markus says with a frown

"there's more to people than meets the eye"

"i don't even know him"

"exactly. I'm just saying don't base him on what you heard, you might be disappointed. Get to know him yourself, then see whether you actually like him or not"

Markus keeps quiet

Carl looks at him carefully. "at least it's not only based on looks, considering you had a crush on him without knowing what he looks like"

"i don't have a crush. He did cool things and seemed like a very nice person" Markus fiddles with his glass

"you already told me a lot about him, but tell me what else"

"come on, this is already weird"

"fine, tell me what happened yesterday" Carl says

"that's weirder"

Carl gives Markus a look

Markus groans lowering his head to hide his blush

"i don't know. Er, i think you already know this, but there's the time he saved an older girl, i don't know her and i forgot her name, but it was the talk of the school, he turned into John Wick or something" Markus chuckles at that

Markus looks up in thought. "North said he rescues stray animals on a daily and tries to find homes for them. Oh, and you should of seen him with Sumo yesterday, even though he got hurt because of him, he was not even annoyed with him"

"be careful, you sound like a starker" Carl says with a chuckle

"ha ha you're hilarious" Markus says sarcastically with a smile

"he sounds like a good kid"

Markus just hums lowering his head in embarresment

"no need to be embarresed Markus"

"may i be excused, i really wanna finish my work before school" Markus glances towards the studio

"sure, i can't wait to see it"

"thank you" Markus smiles before rushing towards the studio

 

________

 

North puts the phone on her shoulder and rests the side of her head over it to keep it in place

"nah, sleeping beauty is still asleep, maybe i should call Markus over" North smirks spreading the new nutella she bought over her toast

She can practically hear Simon rolling his eyes "is he okay though?"

North sighs. "the idiot has to be watched over for a while, but he'll be fine, hopefully"

"North" Hank calls quietly walking over

North takes hold of the phone "i'll speak to ya later, bye"

She hangs up and looks at Hank. "whats up"

"nothing, just to let ya know, i'm gonna be home all day, for you have a great day at school, for you to be careful, and be home before six"

"SIX?!" North exclaims

"Shhh" Hank shushes her glancing to Connor.

Connor doesn't even stir, which is very unlike him. He's a light sleeper. Normally even the toaster going off in the kitchen wakes him from his bedroom early in the morning.

Hank would of been worried if it weren't for his chest raising up and down, showing that he's breathing

"Jeffery let me off for the day, only because there was no one else to watch over Connor. But i have to go for the evening. Be greatful i told him you finish late because of a project, otherwise you'd have to be home by four"

"that dumbass is going to pay for this" North glares at Connors sleeping form

"come on now, if it were the other way round, Connor would do it for you"

North sighs taking a bite of her toast

"so you'll be home before six" Hank questions

"whatever" North grumbles

"North" Hank warns

"fine, i'll be home before six to watch over the brat"

"don't call him a brat"

"only calling it as it is"

Hank rolls his eyes. "get your ass to school, you don't wanna be late"

"i don't care" North shrugs

"go, get outta here" Hank playfully pushes her towards the door. "and you should care"

North laughs. "you're one to talk, you're just as bad as i am"

"don't copy what i do, i aint a good role model"

"could be worse" North says sobering up

Her smile fades into a frown as she stares at nothing. A few memories flashing through her mind.

She shakes her head, coming back to reality

Hank places a hand on her shoulder "have a good day, yeah"

North nods with a small smile "you too"

She grabs her bag while running to the door. Reacheing for the door handle she stops for a moment. "hey Hank?" she looks back

"what?"

"just...thank you" she says quietly

"what for?"

"...everything"

Hank smiles at her "you're welcome kid"

North nods at him before running out the door, grimacing when she accidentally slams it forgetting that Connor's sleeping

She freezes before shrugging 'oh well' she thinks making her way and smiling when she sees Simons car

She hops in sighing at the warmth. "hey" she greets

 

_______

 

Connor stirs as a hand gently shaking his shoulder wakes him up

He blinks up to see Hank peering over him.

"sorry kid, but you need to eat. I've made pancakes"

Connor ignores the pounding in his head. Furrowing his eyebrows, he says "you don't know how to make pancakes"

"fine, i heated up the packaged pancakes" Hank rolls his eyes

"i'm not hungry" Connor quietly says

"you have to eat, just a bit. Then you can sleep some more"

"what's the time?" Connor stretches with a yawn

"around twelve"

"North already left a long time ago then"

Hank nods. "she left at around eight, she got a lift from one of her friends"

"oh" Connor blushes a bit at the thought of Markus.

'i wonder how he is, i hope he doesn't hate me for yesterday' Connor thinks to himself

"come on, sit up. The pancakes will get cold"

"can i eat in the fort" Connor questions

"sure, as long as you don't spill any food or fuck shit up, then it's fine. Only if you're feelin' well enough to go though"

Connor slowly sits up. He squints his eyes tightly shut to try and drown out the pain

"i'm fine"

Hank sighs shaking his head. He watches as Connor stumbles towards the fort, nearly tripping over his own feet

"you kids are gonna be the death of me" Hank shakes his head as Connor nearly trips over Sumo

"i'm not going to fall for that again"

Hank rolls his eyes. "its a saying, a figure of speach Connor"

"you know i don't get those" Connor pouts

"sit down, i'll bring the pancakes to you"

"you don't-"

"-sit" Hank orders pointing towards the fort

Connor crawls inside the big roomy fort and smiles as Sumo follows him laying across his legs once he sat down

"it alright if i come in" Hank questions

Connor nods "fine"

Hank passes Connor two plates and crawls into the fort. Taking his plate from Connor, Hank settles into a pink bean bag and turns on the TV which is in perfect view from the fort

"thank you, for everything" Connor quietly says playing with his food

'huh' Hank thinks. 'first North, now him'

"no problem kid" he says taking a huge bite of his pancakes

'the incident must have taken a toll on them, i'm glad they told me and didn't try to hide it or anything. It's huge process from when i first met them' Hank thinks to himself

Sumo walks towards Connors plate. "no Sumo" Connor tries to pull the dog away

"SUMO NO" Hank warns pointing a finger to the dog

Sumo whines and lays down next to Connor

"that's strange, it normally takes longer for him to listen" Hank furrows his eyebrows

"i think he feels bad about yesterday" Connor says stroking the dog

Sumo has not left Connors side since he came home from A&E. He was happy to see him but after a while he just looked a bit sad. He constantly licked him with small wimpers and had not jumped on him excitedly like he normally would.

"eat" Hank points to Connors plate

Connor looks at his food with a frown.

Once he sees Connor take a tiny bite, Hank rolls his eyes but continues. "ya shouldn't of taken Sumo on a walk, what were you thinking"

"Sumo was pawing at the door and whining, i felt bad" Connor says with a frown

"but you know how strong Sumo is and how hard it is to walk him, especially without the harness and right leash"

"i know" Connor pouts

"you're not goin' to school tomorrow either, just to be on the safe side"

"but-"

"-no buts"

Connor frowns taking another small bite of the pancakes

"so you're not going to work again tomorrow?"

"like today, i'm just goin' in the evening"

"i'm sorry" Connor lowers his head ashamed that he caused such trouble

"it's fine, accidents happen and people make mistakes. Just don't do somethin' like that again" Hank pats Connors shoulder

They sit in silence the only sounds being the TV.

 

_____

 

The lunch hall is loud with life. The noise deafening as everyone tries to talk over eachother

"hey North" Markus calls out as she grabs a coffee and sandwich

"hey, you want anything?" North questions as he approaches

"no thanks, i'm alright"

"whatever you say" North shrugs getting out of the way

She walks outside, sighing in relief as the noise starts drowning out the further she walks away. She makes her way towards an outside table and places her coffee it before sliding in her seat, Markus sitting in front of her.

Markus knows he's going to regret this but there's no one else to ask and he has to know. "don't say anything, but how's Connor?" he asks

North smirks. "you're boyfriend has to stay home and be watched over, but he'll be fine"

Markus sighs tiredly. "i don't have a crush on him and he's not my boyfriend. I just wanna know if he's okay"

"you can find out yourself later, i have to be home before six because of him. You can come see him" she raises her eyebrows up and down playfully

"shut up" Markus grumbles

"hey guys" Simon calls out sitting next to Markus with a cup of tea

"what you talking about?" Josh questions sitting next to North

"nothing-" Markus says at the same time North says "-his boyfriend"

Josh shakes his head at their antics, but looks at North with concern

"how is he?" he questions

North takes a sip of her coffee. "he has to watched over in case he gets worse, but he'll be okay. Oh, and i have to be home before six to watch over him" North rolls her eyes

"Markus, what happened after we left" Simon questions

Markus sends him a look of betrayal

"oh yeah, thats true. And Connor didn't tell me anything" North leans forward with a smirk

"shut up, nothing happened. I just helped clean his wounds and wrap the bandage around his head"

"and you drove him home" North adds her smirk widening

"nothing happened or anything. He looked not well and i couldn't let him walk home like that"

"that's right, you take care of your boyfriend" Norths smirk widens

"at least you met him now. Before you've never even seen him and you had a huge crush based on Norths stories and what you heard from people" Josh says

North hums. "if you weren't my friend i would be worried about a starker" she says

"guys, lets talk about something else, please" Markus pleads

North smirks and is about to retort but Simon cuts in. "you finished the art for the competition?" he changes the subject

Markus gives him a greatful smile. "er, i'm finished. I'm feeling great about it"

"what you gonna do with the money?" North questions taking a sip of coffee

"i'm going to give it to charity or something"

"you have another protest soon, right?" Josh asks

"tomorrow" Markus nods. "it's for them to keep the childrens art centre open. They want to knock it down and turn it into a car park"

"you think it'll go well?" North questions

"i think it will"

"any of you going too?" Josh questions Simon and North

"maybe. The more people the better, right" Simon asks, to which Markus agrees with a nod.

"maybe i can come, but i'll have to skip class" Simon lowers his gaze with a frown

"you're skipping school?!" Josh exclaims to Markus

"what did you think i was doing"

"i thought it was after school or something"

"no, it's at around ten, not sure what time it finishes though"

"but what about school?"

"just one day won't kill me"

"and it's for a good cause" North adds

"this is our last year, you can't be slacking"

"it'll be alright" Markus shrugs

"guys, its nearly time for class. We have to go" Simon says checking the time on his phone

"lets go" Markus stands

 

_________

 

Connor wakes feeling his heat beat a hundred miles an hour, and his head feeling like it's being hit constantly with a hammer.

'im okay. It's alright. I'm safe' Connor desperately thinks to himself. 'it was just a nightmere' he takes a deep breath

Crawling out of the fort, he stands but stumbles forward a bit losing his balence

"H-Hank!" Connor groans out as his vision starts to blur and he feels his head spin

His legs buckle and give in.

But instead of hitting the ground, strong hands hold him up and places him on the sofa

"you alright?" Hank urgently questions

"i-i'm okay, i'm alright" Connor says trying to breathe

Hank watches Connor carefully, not touching him in case he lashes out

"take deep breaths" he says taking deep breaths with Connor

Connor struggles to breathe, he rubs hus chest squinting his eyes shut

"i c-can't" he stutters out

Sumo runs towards them and climbs onto the sofa. He looks at Connor with his head tilted and licks Connor tear stained cheeks.

"Sumo n-" Hank reaches for the dog worried it'll make Connor worse

But Connor starts giggling slightly and his shaking calms a bit.

Hank smiles as Connor starts full on laughing

Connor gently pulls the dog away with a chuckle "thank you Sumo" he hugs the dog

"you alright?" Hank questions

Connor nods. "just didn't feel well"

"looked like that, but it also looked like a panic attack" Hank says carefully

"just a bad dream" Connor mumbles stroking the dog now laying over his legs

"wanna talk about it?" Hank sits back on the sofa

Connor looks conflicted as he lowers his gaze in thought

"it was more of a memory" he mumbles

Hanks hums and nods his head in encouragement for him to go on

"i'm nothing. I'm just weak, pointless and pathetic. Why do you bother with me?" Connor questions genuinely, looking at Hank in confusion

Hank blinks at that. He takes a deep breath and turns to Connor looking at him seriously.

"you are not those things" he says firmly.

When Connor shakes his head and opens his mouth to say something Hank stops him

"you are not those things. You're a good kid, a good person. You are going to prove her and everyone wrong, because they are"

"what if they're not wrong, what if they're right?"

Hank sighs 'im not good at these kind of things' he runs a hand over the side of his face

"then i'm wrong. But i know i'm right. Connor, you are not weak or pathetic. And you're not nothing. You're my son and Norths brother, you're going to be a great detective and live a good life"

"i know we're like a family now, but so was...at least i thought so. And what about after school"

"we will always be here for you, you mean a lot to us. You'll always have a home"

Connor sighs not believing Hank but feeling too tired to argue. He hugs Sumo closer to him. "i'm sorry" he whispers

"no, you have nothin' to be sorry for. Nothin' at all. I'm glad you told me, please keep talking to me. If you feel or think anything like that again, im here"

Connor nods laying down as his eyes droop

"go to sleep" Hank says placing a blanket over Connor

Connor snuggles into it letting sleep overtake him once more

 

_________

 

After chilling with the guys in the park after school, North notices its almost six

"sorry guys but i have to go and babysit" she stands rolling her eyes

"it's important, just in case he feels worse or acts weirdly" Josh says

Before North can reply, Markus looks at North "you need a ride?"

"you wanna see your boyfriend?" North smirks

"well, just for that i'm not giving you a ride" Markus crosses his arms

"whatever. Doesn't matter anyway. I'm gonna walk" she waves to them. "see you guys later"

They wave at her as she walks out of the park

 

________

Chapter Text

As North walks through the door, she is greeted by Sumo slobbering all over her

She pushes the dog away with a groan. "ugh, i dont want your drool all over me"

She walks towards the sitting room to see Connor sleeping on the sofa.

"i leave to him sleeping on the sofa, and i come back to him still sleeping on the sofa" North mutters shaking her head

"hey kid, how was school?" Hank greets from the kitchen

North shrugs dropping her bag on the table. "same shit, different day"

"it's your last year. Nothin' interesting happen?"

North shakes her head pouring a glass of chocolate milk. "nope, just more and more work"

"you'll miss school when you're older"

North looks at him incredulity. "Seriously"

"seriously" Hank nods

North turns away from him and shakes her head in disbelief. "yeah right" she mutters under her breath

North drinks some of the milk before grabbing a cookie. She spreads nutella over it and takes a huge bite.

Hank pats her shoulder. "make sure you do your work as soon you can, so you're not that stressed"

"do the work stright away, who am i, Connor"

Hank rolls his eyes with a smile. "you should take a leaf out of his book"

"we both know that's impossible"

Hank shakes his head.

North looks up in thought. "i can't wait for school to end. I plan on making my life as unpredictable as possible"

Hank looks at her in amusement. "oh really, how?"

North shrugs looking up in thought. "doing random shit, i don't know. Obviously, i have to get a job, but i'm never gonna be forgotten that's for sure"

Hank shakes his head. "don't get yourself killed or anything. Besides ya don't have to do anything crazy. When you're an adult, the biggest change in a day would be actually havin' time to stop and think"

"ugh, that i'm not looking forward to"

Hank chuckles. "well, that's how everyone feels. But It happens to everyone"

North grabs another cookie and spreads more nutella on it. "tell me sleeping beauty didn't sleep all day. Because that's not fair"

"obvoiusly not. And even if he did, he has a concussion, so it's understandable. But he did have a panic attack, so watch out. And if he has another, let me know"

North frowns slowly taking a bite of the cookie. "what about? Was it to do with the concussion?"

"not my place to say. Just let me know if he has another"

North nods as she reaches for her phone which is inside her bag

Pulling it out, she checks it before groaning and slamming it down against the table.

"your not so secret boyfriend didn't text ya?" Hank teases

North narrows her eyes at him. "i don't have a boyfriend"

Hank raises his eyebrows

North shakes her head. "i was just checkin' the time"

Hank raises an eyebrow and looks at her in disbelief. "oh really now" he decides to tease her

North ignores his teasing voice and hums with a nod. "my friend said he was going to send me a text with infomation for a project, i was just checkin' if he did yet"

Hank looks at her in disbelief but descides to just leave it. "i better get going" Hank glances to the time. "you both gonna be alright?"

"what if we weren't"

Hank gives her a look.

North holds her hands up in defence with a small smile. "you know i'm kidding"

Hank shakes his head fondly, going to grab something off the table only to feel it's not there.

"oh for fucks sake" Hank groans

"what's wrong"

Hank scans the room before making his way to Sumos bowl. He pulls out the keys from the water bowl again

"fucks sake, seriously" Hank grumbles wiping the keys

"Sumo sure loves your keys" North chuckles

Hank glances up to her with a frown. "did you do anythin' to them?"

North holds her hands up with an innocent smile. "i don't know what you mean"

"the fuck did ya do"

"nothing"

"North for fuck sake" Hank groans

"i-"

"-Hank?" Connor stumbles towards them rubbing his eyes.

"hey sleeply head woke up" North smirks

"what's wrong?" Hank questions walking towards him

Connor shakes his head slightly. "nothing, i just heard voices"

"that's worrying" North jokes

"i meant i heard you both talking" Connor sits down at the table

"you sleep well?" Hank questions shoving his wallet and keys in his pocket

Connor shrugs with a yawn. "you leaving?" he asks as Hank puts his grabs his phone

"yeah" he says checking he has everything

North finishes the cookie and gulps down her milk. She wipes her mouth with her sleeve while placing the glass in the sink

"oi, put that in the dishwasher" Hank points

North waves a hand. "later"

Hank gives her a firm look.

With a groan, North grits her teeth and stomps back towards the sink. She shoves the glass in the dishwasher before looking at Hank with a wide fake smile "happy?"

"ecstatic" Hank grumbles

"you're not one to talk. Once you ate cereal out of a pot with a ladle, because all the bowls and cutlery were dirty" North crosses her arms

"don't parent me, im the adult here" Hank crossing his own arms

Before North can reply, Hank races towards Connor when he notices him shaking slightly. His hands are balled into fists and his head is lowered.

"hey kid, you alright?" Hank questions sitting in front of him

"i'm okay" Connor grits out, squinting his eyes tightly shut while digging his nails into his palms to try and drown out the sharp pain stabbing pain in his head

North places a glass of water in front of him. "drink" she says firmly

"is this another panic attack?" Hank questions carefully

Connor shakily reaches for the glass of water. The water is cold, especaily against how hot he is and how much he's overheating. He takes a few gulps before placing the glass back down

"i'm fine" Connor grits out holding his head in his hands

"shut up, you're clearly not fine!" North raises her voice

Connor fliches at that. He lowers his head even more

"North!" Hank exclaims. He gestures for her to cut it out, before turning back to Connor

"take deep breaths" he tells Connor

Connors breath hitches as he tries to take deep breaths

Sumo runs to him with a soft bark and licks his hand.

Connors feels himself relax a bit as the dog licks his hand and looks at him with worried puppy dog eyes

His balled hands open as he feels his shoulders drop and relax.

'shes not here' Connor thinks to himself

His racing heartbeat calms a bit as the memory fades away, but the pain still banging in his head makes him squint his eyes tighter.

"paracetamol" he croaks out

"here" North places the tablets on the table

He takes the paracetamol while gulping the rest of the water

His head feels like its going to explode

"i wanna sleep" Connor mutters while glancing towards the sofa

"maybe i should stay" Hank mumbles

Connor looks up in panic. 'i already caused so much trouble, Hank will end up hating me even more if i take him away from his job' Connor thinks to himself

"no it's fine. I'm gonna see if i can sleep more, it'll be fine" Connor says quickly, trying to reasure him

Hank looks at him carefully. "it's fine, i'll just tell Jeffery you're feelin' worse or something"

"NO-i mean, no. Don't worry it's fine"

North looks at him carefully, like she's trying to read him. "don't worry Hank. If anything, i'll call"

Hank sighs running a hand over his face. "at least try to be more sensitive North, don't yell when one is havin' a panic attack, you wouldn't like it"

"i got annoyed and frustrated" she lowers her head

Hank pats her shoulder and glances between her and Connor. "anything thing, anything at all, you call"

North smirks. "sure, we'll call when Sumo eats and drinks, when he takes a shit, when Connor takes a shit-"

"-North stop acting stupid" Connor groans

North stares at him in shock. "w-well, only when you stop first" she bites back

Right when Connor was about to retrot, Hank cuts in saying "i'm too old for this" while standing up

Hank points to Connor. "you're mission is to call me if you feel worse or if somethin' happens". As Connor was about to retort Hank shakes his head leaving no room for arguement.

"and you" he points to North. "call if something happens. The conversation about the keys is not over. And try to be more sensitive. 'kay. Good. Fine"

Hank pats both their shoulders then walks towards the door. "behave" he gives a pointed look.

Hank keels in front of the dog and scratches behind his ear. "see you later Sumo, watch out for those idiots"

North and Connor walk towards the door as Hank puts his coat on. "see ya" he waves to them before leaving

 

___________

 

As soon as Hank is out the door North whirls around to Connor.

"the fuck is goin' on with you?" she questions, voice filled with concern

"i have a concussion" he states

"that's not what i meant and you know it"

"can we talk later, my head feels like it's gonna explode" he stumbles towards the sitting room

North feels conflicted about whether she should leave it for now, or push on. "don't think you're getting out of it" she ends up saying

Connor doesn't reply. He just crawls into the fort and lays down staring at nothing waiting for sleep to come

 

____________

 

Markus stares at the canvas.

'why is nothing coming to mind' he thinks to himself

Markus sighs putting the paintbrush down and walking towards the table where his sketchbook lays

Sitting down he flickers through his sketchbook.

The familiar drawings inside makes him smile slightly. It's mostly real life drawings. People, plants, different views.

He stops flickering through once he reaches a certain page.

He ghostly runs his fingers over it with a small smile before shutting the sketchbook with a sigh

"penny for your thoughts" Carl startles him out of his thoughts

Markus shakes his head. "no, nothing, i'm fine"

Carl wheels himself towards Markus looking at him carefully

"tough day at school?"

Markus glances to him. "just a lot of work. But i don't know what to paint or draw, i don't know" he exclaims

Carl places a hand on his shoulder. "it's okay. What you're experiencing is called artist block. Try not to think about anything, just let your hand move across the canvas, and go from there"

Markus lowers his gaze then looks to Carl. "how did you know you wanted to become an artist? Like, people are always saying it's impossible to be known and get a job out of it or whatever. And to stop being stupid and think about a real job"

Carl furrows his eyebrows with a frown. "i feel like this is more about you than me. Did something happen?"

Markus shrugs. "just some people at school"

"what do YOU want to do? Forget what people said or think, tell me what you really want"

"just because i want to do something, doesn't mean i can"

"that is not what i asked. I asked what you want to do"

Markus furrows his eyebrows looking at Carl. "but what's the point in wanting to do something if in the end you can't"

"the point is, if you try, you might succeed. If you don't try you have no chance of succeeding. It will leave you to wonder for the rest of your life whether you could've done it and what ifs"

Markus stays quiet lowering his head in thought

Carl looks at him and continues. "Markus, many people give up or don't even bother in fear of not amounting to anything. As long as you're realistic about it, and it's what you really want, and you keep trying. Then isn't worth it?"

Markus frowns. "but if you're not good at it then it's a waste of time, and you won't be able to get a job and everything would lost"

Carl shakes his head slightly. "not really a waste of time. Life is more than a job, you only get one life. A job, you can get many. If you enjoyed it, it's never a waste of time. Besides, even if you aren't sure, you can always change it later in life"

Markus looks at Carl distantly. "right" he mumbles

Carl gives him a smile. "you have talent. Don't give up on it"

Markus nods holding his sketchbook against his chest.

Carl nods towards the door. "come on, Leo chose a film for us all to watch"

Markus scrunches his face. "ugh, not looking forward to it" he groans

Carl chuckles. "it's his week to choose a film, he watches the ones you pick"

"while complaining throughout the whole film" Markus exclaims

"well, it's not like we can duct tape his mouth shut"

"actually that can be arranged" Markus says grabbing the handles on Carls wheelchair and pushing him forward

Carl shakes his head with a chuckle.

As they enter the sitting room, they see Leo slumped on the sofa. "finally" he mutters sitting up a bit

Markus rolls his eyes. "what abomination have you chosen for us all to watch?"

Leo grits his teeth leaning forward. "oi, shut up. The movies i pick are sick" he defends

Markus scoffs but doesn't reply.

They all get comftable on the sofa just as the movie starts. Markus hunches forward, pulling his legs to his chest and rests his chin on his knees.

'great, two hours of my life wasted on this' Markus thinks with an eyeroll

 

____________

 

Connor wakes up with a groan.

'i've literally slept all day' he thinks with a frown

He crawls out of the fort and stumbles to a stand.

North looks up from her phone. "feeling better?" she questions

Connor sits on sofa with his legs crossed. "my head still hurts, but i'll be better in time"

North turns to him, looking at him carefully. "you don't have to lie to me. You can talk to me, tell me anything, you know"

Connor lowers his gaze. "i know" he mumbles

North gives him a tight smile. "you wanna talk about those panic attacks?"

"not really"

North purses her lips. "whatever" she rolls her eyes but turns from him, biting her lip with a frown.

She sighs glancing to the kitchen. "Hank left money on the table for take away. I'm thinking of pizza"

Connor shrugs. "I'm not hungry, you can get whatever you want"

North narrows her eyes. "what did you eat today?" she asks

"pancakes"

North gasps and crosses her arms. "you ate pancakes? That's not fair!"

"it was those packeted ones"

"still" she frowns

Connor hugs the dog draped over his legs closer to him. "get a pizza just for you, i'm not hungry"

"you have to eat"

"i'm alright"

"no, you're not. Besides you need to eat to get better, to keep your strength up"

Connor sighs. "whatever" he mutters

North grabs her phone and opens up the website for the pizza delivery.

"what kind do ya want?" she asks after picking what she wanted

"hawaiian" he says

North scrunches her nose and reluctantly places the order. "you disgust me" she tells Connor

He shrugs before petting the calm dog

 

They watch a bit of TV before North speaks up again. "hey Connor?"

"what?"

"how did you know that you wanted to become a detective?"

Connor frowns in thought. "why?"

"shut up, i'm just asking"

"i can't 'shut up' if you want me to answer"

"you're so annoying" she groans

Before Connor could reply Norths phone rings. She peers over it checking who's calling

"i have to take this" she says standing and walking towards her room

Connor turns back to the TV with a frown. Hugging Sumo closer, he gives the dog a smile while scratching behind his ear

He watches the TV with a frown. It's a soap opera. A man is currently making out with his ex wife while she is giving birth

Connor rolls his eyes. "soaps are so dramatic and unrealistic" he tells Sumo who boofs in response

 

Two minutes passed when North comes back from her room

"you finished talking to your boyfriend?" Connor asks with a smirk

"shut up, i don't have a boyfriend" she growls

Connor shrugs. "if you say so"

North ignores him and sits back onto the sofa with a sigh.

The soap opera has finished and the news is currently on.

"what do you plan on doing after school?" Connor questions

"why do you care"

Connor lowers his gaze pulling Sumo closer

North sighs. "i don't fully know. I'm not fully sure about what i wanna do, and yes i know it's my last year and i should know and blah blah blah, but i don't"

"what do you want to do?"

North shrugs. "I'm currently drifting through life, i genuinely don't know"

Connor stays silent not sure how to reply

North looks at Connor with a smirk. "you're gonna become a big shot detective, marry Markus, and have five kids huh"

Connor flushes when she mentions Markus. "wha, why would i marry Markus, i hardly know him"

"you will. Then you'll have a stupid fairy tale ending" she rolls her eyes with a smile

Connor frowns as a memory flashes through his mind. He lowers his gaze hugging Sumo closer.

"what's wrong?" North asks in concern when she notices Connors change in mood

Connor hesitates

'i shouldn't say anything. I need to keep it to myself' he desperately thinks to himself

 

But Connor feels himself slowly self destructing.

 

He hesitantly mutters "i don't deserve anything, i don't know why i bother"

North double takes. She feels her stomach boil and she just wants to scream. She wants to yell at Connor to 'shut the fuck up, stop talking like that. You do deserve good things'. But she knows that would only make things worse.

'im going to kill that woman' North growls

She looks at Connor firmly. "you do deserve good things"

Connor scoffs shaking his head. "no i don't"

"you need to stop with this self loathing"

Connor stays quiet for a moment. "but do you ever get tired though?" he mutters

"of what"

Connor shrugs. "life"

North frowns at him. "no. It does gets hard, but life will get better"

"what if it doesn't"

"it will"

Connor stays quiet

North looks at him carefully. "on the scale, ten being the worst, how bad is it? Where are you right now?"

"i'm not on a scale, and i'm in the sitting room"

"you know what i mean"

Connor lowers his gaze. "a seven"

"what are you thinking of?"

"loads of things"

North nods looking at him carefully

Connor sighs. "i don't know. I've been feeling a bit worse since the we started school. I don't know if it got worse because it's our last year or whatever. But i can't forget the past, memories keep coming back to me"

"Connor, it's our last year" North smiles. "then, life will finally get better, and we can start doing whatever we want. The past is the past, we have a whole future ahead. And don't listen to that bitch, she talks shit"

"hey-" Connor is interupted though by the doorbell ringing. 'oh yeah, the pizzas'

North gets up. "this conversation is not finished" she states before grabbing the money and walking to the door

A few seconds later she arrives with two pizza boxes

She places them on the kitchen table before grabbing two glasses and filling them with juice

Connor stumbles into the kitchen and sits down in his seat.

"I'm really not hungry" he mutters

"shut up and eat at least one slice"

Connor stares at the box with a frown

North points to his pizza box. "eat" she demands

Connor shakes his head. "in a moment"

"whatever" North rolls her eyes stuffing a slice of pizza in her mouth

Connor looks at her in disgust. "That's not good for you, pace yourself"

North rolls her eyes and says something he can't understand as she tries to speak with her mouth full of food

"you're disgusting" Connor scrunches his face

North rolls her eyes as she swallows. "says the guy who likes pineapple on pizza. But anyway, as i was saying, life will get better, and you do deserve to be happy and good things"

Connor sighs. "can we please stop talking about this"

"no, not until you get to at least a six"

"i don't see how talking about the subject will help"

"i don't know, just please don't do anything rash"

Connor frowns. "I'm not at that point" he says, the 'yet' is thought but not said, but it's clearly there and hanging in the air

"tell me before you get to that point" North firmly says.

Connor glances to the fort. "i just wanna sleep. I know i slept through most of the day, but my head is pounding and i feel so sleepy"

"first make it your mission to tell me if you feel worse or get to that point. And eat a slice if pizza"

"that's already my mission, for Hank also, since...you know" he lowers his gaze

"then eat a slice of pizza and i'll let you go"

Connor scoffs "i can go anyway"

"you can, but i'll keep bothering you until you eat"

Connor narrows his eyes at her and then looks at the pizza with a frown

He lifts it and takes a small bite

"see, wasn't that hard was it" she teaees

Connor rolls his eyes quickly eating the slice so he can go to sleep

When he finishes, he gets up and makes his way to the fort

"night sleepy head" she calls out to him

Connor waves a hand at her crawling into the fort

He lays down with a sigh letting sleep overtake him once more

Chapter Text

Connor wakes up to Sumo licking his face. He giggles gently pushing the dog away.

"I'm glad to see you're not that sad anymore Sumo" Connor smiles petting the dog.

He places his hand on his head as he sits up with a sigh. His head feels a bit better compared to before, however it's still pounding a bit

"Connor you awake?" North calls out

Connor rolls his eyes as he crawls out the fort. "Obvoiusly. Didn't you hear me talking to Sumo" he says.

North huffs and places her phone down. "feelin' better?" she asks

Connor tilts his head while scrunching his nose. "I'm feeling a bit of deja vu" he states warily stting down

North leans back looking at Connor carefully. "right, but how are you feeling?"

"er, my head feels a bit better" Connor says

North waits for him to go on.

When he doesn't, she groans saying "and what about before, the thoughts, where are you on the scale"

Connor bites his lip in thought. "still a seven" he mumbles

North frowns, thinking 'should i tell Hank or not. Connor didn't say not to say anything, but he doesn't have to really, he obvoiusly doesn't want me to, and he wouldn't tell me anything again if i do' she debates to herself

It's quiet, the only sounds being from the the TV and the whirls from the strong wind outside

"do you think it's gonna snow soon?" Connor brings North out of her thoughts

North glances to the window. "most likely, it is detroit after all"

Connor frowns pulling his legs to his chest and hugging them with a shiver. "i hate snow" he mutters

North looks at him carefully. "i know" she says sympathetically. "but it's inevitable"

Connor frowns "i know, but that doesn't make me not hate it any less"

"you not going to school tomorrow right" North questions

"Hank's making me to stay another day, why?"

"i'm just asking, jeez"

North checks her phone with a sigh before standing and making her way towards the kitchen

Connor and watches her in confustion. "what're you doing?" he calls out to her

"just a moment" she says opening a cabinet and taking something out

Sumo barking makes Connor turn his attention to him. "what's wrong Sumo?" he questions to the dog pawing at the wall

Connor stands and gently moves Sumo out the way to see what he was pawing at.

"oh, it's just a spider Sumo" Connor pets the dog with a small smile

Sumo whimpers hiding behind Connors legs.

Connor laughs. "it's just a small spider, it's not gonna hurt you"

"huh, a spider?!" North shrieks from the kitchen. "kill it" she demands, slowly walking towards them as if the spider will attack at any moment

Connor frowns. "no, i'll just take it outside" he says reaching for it.

North screams while shuffling backwards as Connor grasps the spider. "but what if it comes back in!" she yells

Connor walks towards the front door. "it's cold outside, there are probably more inside" he shrugs much to the horror on Norths face

"kill it!" she exclaims running after Connor

Connor ignores her and opens the front door which causes a huge gust of freezing wind to blow through

He ignores the biting cold and Norths protests as he lets the spider crawl out his hand

Once the spider is off North grabs him and yanks him inside while quickly slamming the door shut before the spider can come back in

"I told you to fuckin' kill it!" North yells

Connors flinches and holds his head. "if you want it dead so much, why didn't you kill it yourself"

"y-you didn't give me a chance to"

Connor scoffs. "you were too busy screaming and moving away"

"it was huge" North pouts crossing her arms

Connor rolls his eyes going back to the sitting room.

North walks back towards the kitchen grumbling under her breath

Connor sits on the sofa with a deep breath and surfs through the channels

For some reason High School Musical is on at this time of the night. Ater watching five minutes of High School Musical, North comes in with two mugs and a plate on her head

"North!" Connor exclaims standing to grab the plate before it could fall

They sit on the sofa and Connor balences the plate of cookies on his leg as North hands him a mug with loads of fish desgins

Wrapping his hands around the mug, he sighs as the heat radiating from the mug warms up his cold hands.

Peering inside he sees that's its hot chocolate topped with whipped cream and marshmallows.

He furrows his eyebrows but gives North a warm smile. "Thank you" he says sincerely

North shrugs looking away. "yeah, alright"

Connor leans back into the sofa and holds out the plate to North who takes a cookie and dips it in her hot chocolate

Connor grabs a cookie and takes a small bite

"seriously, High School Musical" North rolls her eyes

"it's the only good thing on at this time, and besides, you love High School Musical"

"no i don't" she mutters, but Connor knows shes lying as she very quietly hums to the music

Connor rolls his eyes and takes a sip of the hot chocolate. He feels himself relax as the warm liquid warms him up slightly.

"who's your favourite character?" North questions taking another cookie from the plate

Connor looks up in thought. "i don't know. Maybe Ryan, he's always so happy and himself"

North nods taking a bite of the cookie. "true. My favourite is probably Sharpay, she knows what she wants and doesn't give up"

"that's true" he says

Half an hour passes as they keep watching the movie. Connor is focused on the movie but Norths mind is somewhere else

North reaches for another cookie and takes a bite while in deep thought.

"why do you want to kill yourself so much" she quietly questions

Connor freezees feeling his heart race at an alarming rate.

"w-wha, i, can we not talk about this" he stutters keeping his eyes on the TV

"you never want to talk about it, sure it'll get worse if you do, but it gets worse anyway. It might help if you talk"

"to who, you"

"why not me? If not me or Hank or the counselor, then who else" North narrows her eyes

"i don't want to talk about it" he says firmly

But North is just as stubbon. "Connor you never tell us anything. Please, after what happened those times...it was so close, too close" she whispers

'not close enough' Connor thinks

He takes a deep breath putting the plate on the sofa before wrapping his arms around his legs and holding them to his chest. "i just don't know how much i can take it"

North nods for him to continue.

Connor sighs. "i just...i'm weak, pathetic, pointless. I'm so weak, i really can't take this anymore"

"take what?" North asks carefully

"life"

"but Connor-"

"-i don't really see the point either"

North takes a deep breath. 'maybe i shouldn't of started this conversation' she thinks to herself, as she's starting to worry if she might of make things worse

"what do you mean by that" she says carefully

Connor narrows his eyes. "that i see no point in life" he states

North shakes her head. "i mean, why don't you see the point?"

Connor lowers his gaze in thought. "i just don't. There's no point, no meaning"

"so you think mine and Hanks life has no meaning"

"no!" Connor exclaims

"if your life has no meaning, then neither does mine or anyone elses"

"but-"

"-Connor i don't understand how you feel because i don't feel like that. There are times where its hard, but i fight against it, no matter what. I'm gonna hate saying this, but you're amazing, as much as you're annoying, me and Hank think the world of you"

Connor lowers his gaze thinking of Hank and how he clenched onto him in the hospital the first time he...How North cried and slapped him for nearly taking her baby brother away from her. How Hank cried while he thought Connor was sleeping. How Hank nearly lost another son

'but i'm not his son' Connor thinks with a sad sigh. 'i just caused him to have bad memories and had him waste money. If only it worked, then everyone would be better and happier and everything would've been fine'

Connor sighs biting his lip. "i don't know how to describe it, but its like...being trapped in a storm. Theres no way out, you are blinded by all the thoughts and everything is horrible and dark. There's no way out. Or like a dementor i guess. All you can think about is horrible things, the worst things, and it gets hard and you just want it to stop"

"why don't you cast a patronus"

"i'm guessing you mean metaphorically because it's not phyically possible. But in that analogy, i can't. It's too strong. In the moment, nothing matters"

North frowns in thought. "have you spoke to the counselor about all this"

Connor sighs. "it took time, but yeah"

"is it not helping?"

"i don't know, please can we stop talking about this now" Connor pleads

North wants to continue but she's worried that Connor is near breaking point. She nods and turns the TV up

Connor sighs in relief and mutters a "thank you"

His heart is heavy and the thoughts are stronger. He shuts his eyes for a second before while taking deep breaths

"you okay?" North turns to him worriedly

"i'm fine"

"Dont lie, you're not fine. Where are you on the scale?"

Connor contemplates lying, but it's his mission to tell Hank or North when if it gets too bad, or over an eight. He knows its a way to use him to do things to their advantage, but its still a mission. And he always accomplishes his mission

"...an eight"

North cusses under her breath and hits her head. Her thoughts are running all over the place. 'shit, fuck. He was better before and i made it worse. If something happens...' she takes a deep breath. 'i need to think of something to distract him'

She glances around in thought. "do you wanna play a game or something?"

"honestly, i just want to sleep" Connor mutters

"it is late" North glances to the clock which shows 00:45am

"see, lets go to bed" Connor stands

"as long as you promise not to do anything stupid"

"like what?"

"kill yourself"

Connor blinks at that. "its not stupid" he mutters

North doesn't hear him. "tell me or Hank if you get worse"

"you two are very overbearing"

North sighs. "I'm letting you go to a different room and not watching over you constantly, but only if you promise and make it your mission to say if you get worse"

"its my mission. Good night" Connor walks towards his room

North is about to call out to him before deciding against it and walking to her room

She doesn't want to patronise him or anything, it might make things worse, she already fucked things up enough

She lays on the bed unable to sleep, her mind is racing.

'i need to sleep, there nothing i can do' she snuggles into the blankets and shuts her eyes. But she just can't sleep.

She glances to her slightly open door, wondering if she should check on Connor.

She listens carefully for any noise. Any russling, him leaving the room, him walking around or anything. The house is deadly silent making every sound heightened and loud.

She doesn't know how much time passed but she flinches when she hears the front door open and close

'Hank must be home' she thinks to herself. 'should i tell him or not. But what if something happens tonight or something'

After some debating with herself, she makes her way down the hallway and looks to Hank in the kitchen

He jolts at the sight of a figure in the shadows before sighing in relief seeing that it's just North

"what the fuck, don't do that" he hisses

"sorry" North mumbles

"what the fuck are you doing up" he checks the time. "its nearly three in the morning" he exclaims lowly

"couldn't sleep" she frowns

Hank furrows his eyebrows. "anything going on that you have to tell me now which can't wait for the morning"

"Connor is at a eight" North cuts to the chase

Hank freezes and blinks at her. "is he sleeping? What happened? Did he try something?" he rambles

"he's sleeping. No, not that i know of, i listened out for any noise from his room. I couldn't sleep just in case..."

Hank pulls her into a hug. "i know, i know"

North holds onto his jacket and silently cries into it

"i'm gonna check on him. Go to sleep, you have school" Hank gently says after a while

North nods with a yawn. She rubs her eyes and makes her way to the bedroom but waits until Hank goes into Connors room before making her way to bed

She shuts her eyes but her thoughts are racing. All she can see is Connor in hospital

 

_______

 

Hank walks towards Connors sleeping form and sighs in relief when he his steady breaths

He carefully pulls the blankets up, making it cover him more.

Connor stirs slightly. "wha"

"shhh, go back to sleep" Hank hushes him

Connor sighs and shuts his eyes.

His steady breathing shows Hank that he's alseep again.

Sumo laying by Connors feet looks at him carefully. "watch out for him" Hank whispers to the dog who licks his hand in responce

Hank takes a deep breath and leaves Connors door slightly open

He goes to his room and changes into a shirt. Before going into bed he makes sure to leave his door slightly open so the sound travels better if anything happens from Connors room

He flops into bed and lets sleep overtake him

 

___________

 

 

North hisses as Hank opens the curtains. "it burns" she pulls the covers over her head

"get up, it's already late" Hank orders groggily

North groans snuggling into the blankets

Hank rolls his eyes saying "wakey wakey eggs and bakey"

North slowly peeks her head over the covers. "really?" she questions

"no, now get up" Hank points to the door

North fowns and pulls the covers over her again. "well, just for that i'm not getting up"

She sighs as she hears footsteps leaving the room and snuggles closer into the warm blanket shielding her from the biting cold that surrounds her

A few moments passes and she feels her eyes slowly start to droop

"AHHH" she screams as the blankets is thrown off her and freezing cold water drenches her.

She snaps her head up to Hank standing with a huge bucket.

"what the fuck!" she exclaims with a shiver trying to grab the dry part of the blanket to shield her from the biting cold which is now intensified from the freezing water

"get up" Hank orders crossing his arms

Her bed is drenched in cold water and North feels her teeth cluttering. She scowls at him and jumps off the bed, shoving Hank roughly as she stomps out the room with a growl

"oi, who do you think you're pushing" Hank calls after her

She ignores him and pushes a confused Connor out the way as she stomps into the bathroom

Connor stumbles slightly but manages to get his balence back. He glances to Hank with his eyebrows furrowed.

Hank shakes his head with the wave of a hand. "nothing"

Connor looks at him in disbeilef but decides to leave it. He walks towards the kitchen and sits with a sigh.

Hank makes himself a coffee. "you feeling better?" he questions

Connor nods. "my head still hurts a bit, but i do feel much better"

Hank nods sipping some coffee and sitting down with a sigh.

"what about those panic attacks? You had any more?" Hank questions trying to stir the conversation to how Connor is feeling and his thoughts

"no, not really" Connor mumbles

Hank sighs. "i may not be good at it, but you can talk to me about anything you know"

Connor narrows his eyes. "North spoke to you didn't she"

Hank blinks. 'kid's still very sharp' he thinks to himself

Hank takes a sip of coffee. "shes doesn't have to, you had quite a few panic attacks yesterday and spoke very lowly of yourself. I'm here if you wanna talk" he says

"okay" Connor says

Hank looks at him carefully. "where are you on the scale?"

Connor lowers his gaze. "right now...a seven"

Hank sighs. 'at least it got a bit better' Hank thinks to himself

Before Hank could reply North comes running in.

"you must leave now, or you're going to be late" Connor states

North rolls her eyes. "good morning to you too" she mutters

"you gettin' a lift from one of ya friends?" Hank questions

North nods sitting down. "yeah, Simon is picking me up, so it should be alright"

They sit in silence each doing their own thing.

Connor looks at Hank. "I'm feeling much better, you don't have to stay with me"

Hank shakes his head. "no, i'm staying"

Connor fiddles with his coin. "if you want to go to work you can"

"what makes you think i want to go" Hank scoffs

North looks at Connor carefully. "you feelin' better?" she questions

"i'm fine" he says

North sighs checking her phone before standing up. "I'm going to school, see you guys later"

"be home before six" Hank calls out

"i know" North grabs her bag

She runs outside and hops into Simons car.

 

__________

 

Hank takes a sip out of his coffee. "you wanna talk about it?"

Connor furrows his eyebrows. "what?"

"those thoughts ya having"

Connor tilts his head. "how, what-"

"-Connor, i've been there, and i really understand. I'm not gonna say that what you're feelin' is not real or anything, because it is, it's very real. Just, please talk to me before it gets bad"

Connor lowers his gaze. "it's hard"

"i know"

"why do you care though?" Connor questions

Hank takes a deep breath. "look, i know you find it hard to believe, but you kids mean the world to me"

Connor is about to retrot but Hank holds a hand up cutting him off. "Kid, you a whole life ahead of you, there will be ups and downs, but just hold on, you'll see how life does get better, i didn't think so, but it sure proved me wrong, there are hard days, but i keep going. And you'll always have me and North"

Connor sighs. "what about after school, or if i mess things up, you won't want anything to do with me, which i understand but-"

Hank interupts him. "-if you or North do end up moving out for college or whatever, i expect loads of visits from you kids. Don't think that you finishing school or whatever will change anything. You'll always have a home"

Connor nods slightly but still doesn't believe him. "can i go back to bed, i'm very tired" Connor asks

"of course, i think i'm gonna have a power nap myself" Hank stands with a groan. "don't forget to tell me if it gets worse, and you can always talk to me if you wanna"

Connor nods before making his way to his room and flopping onto the bed. He stares at nothing a bunch of thoughts filling his mind.

 

_______

Chapter Text

Connor wakes up to a clutter from the kitchen. His head feels much better and he sits up with a small smile.

"My head feels so much better Sumo" Connor smiles stroking the dogs head

He slowly gets off the bed, careful not to shake his head up and feel dizzy or worse

Connor can be very sneaky and quiet when he wants to be. He makes his way to the kitchen and sees Hank slouched over the table holding two picture frames in his hands

Hanks mind seems to be elsewhere. His eyes are so focused on the two picture frames that he didn't hear Connor coming or notice his presence.

Feeling himself tense as he tip toes forward, Connor tries to resist the urge to reach for his coin.

The air is cool and crisp. He wraps an arm around himself as he slowly steps forward

"Hank?" Connor brings him out of his thoughts

Connor watches Hank keep his head down as he quickly stands while rubbing a hand across his face.

He walks towards the counter turning his back to Connor

"Whats wrong, you alright?" Hank asks, his voice wavering

Connor furrows his eyebrows. "are you okay?" he questions

Hank turns to him with slightly puffy red eyes. "of course i am" he scoffs. "But, er, tell me, how are ya feeling" Hank says walking towards the sink

Connor furrows his eyebrows but decides against saying anything about it. Instead he says "My head feels so much better"

Hank nods taking a sip of water. "You alright to go to school tomorrow?"

Connor nods with a small smile as he makes his way to the sitting room

Looking in the fridge, Hank frowns when he sees a pizza box inside. 'Connor must not have finished it' Hank thinks as he pulls the pizza box out and peers inside to see whats on it

With his face scrunched in disgust, Hank shoves the pizza box on the table before turning back to the fridge and shuts it with a loud groan when it starts to beep

Hank rubs his eyes once more before glancing to the sitting room. Connor's laying on the sofa with Sumo draped over him like a heavy blanket.

"You alright there Con? Not drowning in the fluff?" Hank chuckles at the scene in front of him

"I'm fine" Connor says

Hank walks forward crossing his arms with a small smile. "But doesn't Sumo layin' over you like that get uncomftable?" Hank questions

"No. I don't know why, but i like the pressure, the heaviness"

Hank nods. It's not the first time Connor did this, ever since the kid first met Sumo, he had the dog lay over him and has been doing that ever since, much to Hanks horror and worry about the big dog crushing him.

"I understand, but come to the kitchen to eat, you haven't eaten all day" Hank jerks his head towards the kitchen

Connor frowns. "I'm not hungry"

"Tough. You need to eat. Come"

Connor stays laying down. "I'm not hungry" he repeats

"You need to eat"

"but i'm not hungry, maybe later"

"the pizza you had is still cold, but come to the kitchen now so we can talk" Hank says

"talk about what"

"just get up" Hank crosses his arms and gives Connor a pointed look

With a pout, Connor carefully moves Sumo off him. He won't admit it but he is actually kinda hungry, which is weird for him, he's hardly ever hungry.

Hank makes himself a sandwich as Connor sits at the table. "Careful, it's just out the fridge so it's very cold" Hank says as he butters the bread

Connor pokes the pizza with two fingers to feel how cold it is. Feeling that it's too cold, Connor licks his fingers clean and wipes them off with a tissue before reaching for the rubik's cude which lays on the table

"How are your thoughts?" Hank asks slapping some ham in his sandwich

Connor lowers his gaze. "I don't know. Not that good" he mutters

Hank turns to Connor with concern. "You sure you'll be alright to go to school"

"It'll be fine. Besides, i can't wait to get back into a proper routine"

"Did the incident trigger it, or was it getting worse before?" Hank questions

"...it was there before. But it did get worse after. I'm sorry for ruining everything and being a burden-"

Hank holds a hand up cutting him off. "-how many times, you are not a burden. You have nothin' to be sorry for"

Connor nods absent mindly, taking a small bite of the pizza

Hank sits at the table with his sandwich in hand. They eat in a comftable silence, the only sound being their chewing and the rain pouring loudly outside

Connor lowers in gaze in thought. "Have..." he trails before shaking his head. "doesn't matter"

Hank gestures for him to go on. "No, tell me"

Connor fiddles with his fingers while rocking back and forward slightly. "Have--did, er...no, er forget it" he splutters shaking his head

Hank furrows his eyebrows trying to read him, but doesn't push on. Instead, Hank says "You ready for tomorrow?"

"Yeah" Connor says looking at nothing

"You don't have to go if you don't wanna"

Connor shakes his head. "No, it's okay, my head feels better. Anyway, i'm already far behind, i can't miss anymore days"

Hank takes a bite of his sandwich. "But if ya not feelin' well, then you don't have to go. It's better to miss another day, then have you go and end up feelin' worse"

"I'll be fine" Connor insists with a tight smile

Hank shakes his head. "I never thought i would have to convince a teenager to actually go to school" he mutters under his breath

Connor ignores him and pets Sumo who's staring between the food and Connor with pleading eyes

Hank crosses his arms. "Is the bullying still going on? And don't lie"

Connor lowers his gaze. There's no point in lying. "It's fine, school's nearly finished anyway"

Hank sighs shaking his head. "Don't let people walk all over you"

"I don't" Connor insists

Hank scoffs. "Oh really, so all bruises you sometimes get are from the tooth fairy then"

Connor tilts his head. "The tooth fairy doesn't exist" he states

Hank shakes his head then leans forward with a small smirk. "Tell me their names and i'll plant some drugs in their lockers and then arrest them"

Connor shakes his head with a small smile. "You know you can't do that"

"Unfortunately. But you know how to fight. Tell me again, why don't you?"

"It'll make things worse, and i don't really want to be suspended or expelled. It's bad enough that i already got suspended that one time, and it doesn't look good when applying for college" he says

"But if you do nothing it's just going to continue"

"School's nearly finished, and i'm not getting in trouble right when school is about to finish"

Hank sighs. "And the school does nothing. The school haven't done anything about it huh" he grits his teeth. "I feel like going down there and-"

"If you do anything i'll never tell you anything again" Connor threatens with a frown

Hank sighs running a hand over his face. "You told any teachers?"

"Now that would definitely make it even worse"

"You don't have to full on fight, just defend yourself. If they go for a punch, catch their fist. If they shove you, shove them back, or be your usual sassy self, because damn, the sass is real with you" Hank chuckles

"What makes you think i don't defend myself" Connor says

Hank gives him a look. "Because i know you. Also you wouldn't have any bruises if you did"

Connor scratches Sumos head with a sigh.

Hank takes a bite of his sandwich then continues. "And i didn't get any calls or anything from the school for you fighting, because we all know that teachers are blind to bullying but once the person fights back, they suddenly see it and the bully is the victem and it's the end of the world" he rolls his eyes shaking his head

"But if i say anything to them or defend myself, they will start a 'full on' fight" Connor says

"Defend yourself. If they say you were fighting, say you were defending yourself. The teachers know you get bullied but don't do anything. Fighting and defending yourself is different"

"but what about when the parents get involved, then..." Connor trails off

"Then they find out what their kids are doing, some might not believe it, but what can you do" Hank shrugs.

Hank puts his sandwich down and leans forward slightly. "But know this," Hank points. "I will always be on your side. And i'll always have your back, no matter what"

Connor smirks slightly. "Even if i become a criminal mastermind?"

Hank rolls his eyes with a smile. "Sure, mister 'please can this old cat full of fleas stay for the night before i find her owner or a new home' "

Connor crosses his arms. "It's not her fault she had fleas. And it's not like i could leave her hungry and alone in the pouring rain" he exclaims

Hank shakes his head fondly. "Sure whatever"

Finishing off the slice of pizza, leaving just the crust, Connor shuts the box and pulls it away from him as he throws the crust on the floor for Sumo

"You spoil him" Hank says

"He deserves everything"

Hank nods taking final bite of his sandwich before wiping off his hands. "He's a good boy. But why he didn't he do deep pressure therapy when you had those panic attacks"

Connor strokes Sumos head. "He normally licks first, he's very licky, but then he does it"

Hank nods. "It really helps huh?"

"It really does" Connor says with a smile.

"Good" Hank stands reaching for a beer from the fridge

Connor frowns. "You should stop drinking"

"Give me a break" Hank goes to open the beer

Connor reaches for the beer and holds it away from Hank as he splutters and tries to reach for it

"Oi, give it back" Hank orders

"No. And you're going to work later, you can't drink"

"One beer aint gonna get me drunk" Hank tries to grab it but Connor pulls back right in time

"it's only around 2 or 3 in the afternoon, it's too early to drink"

Hank huffs. "Why are you trying to ruin my life"

"I'm trying to extend your life" Connor says with a frown

"One beer ain't gonna kill me"

"i'll only let you drink it if you don't drink for the rest of the week"

Hank splutters. "w-what, its only the begining of the week! And who are you to tell me what i can and can't do"

"i'm the person who's going to have to sober you up and deal with the aftermath"

"It's only one drink" Hank insists

"That's what you always say" Connor lowers his head

Hanks about to say something but he notices Connors shaking form. "Alright, alright, if you don't want me to drink that much, i won't"

Connor keeps his head lowered and nods his head.

Hank furrows his eyebrows. "Kid, what's wrong. I'm sorry. I seriously won't drink if you really don't want me to, i mean, it's gonna be hard, but i'll try. Things just get hard, and that's my escape"

"I-i understand" Connor mumbles placing the bottle on the table

Hank lowers his head to try and get Connor to look at him. "Talk to me"

Connor runs a hand over his face. "I don't like you when you're drunk"

Hank sighs. "I'm sorry, i do try to stop for you kids, but sometimes it just gets hard"

Connor rubs his eyes and turns away from Hank. "I understand"

Connor hears Hank stand and make his way besides him. Before he could say anything, he's pulled into a huge hug and Connor just feels himself fall apart

He grips onto Hanks shirt staring at nothing. "I'm sorry" he whispers into Hanks shoulder

Hank shakes his head. "Nothin' to be sorry for, nothing at all" he sooths

"I'm being pathetic" Connor quietly says pulling away and rubbing his eyes

"No, you've had bad experiences, especially with people drinking, it's understandable" Hank says feeling rage and guilt boil in his stomach

Connor sighs. "I forgive you. You, i forgive"

Hank doesn't feel any better, he feels like he's being ripped apart. "I know sorry doesn't cut it, but i truely am"

"I know. And i know alcohol effects peoples thoughts and judgements"

Hank pats his shoulder with a tight smile. "Alright, enough with this depressing shit. Lets watch some TV or something"

Connor nods following Hank to the sitting room. He sits on the sofa letting Sumo lay over his legs.

Hank surfs through the channels and Connor beams when he sees that 101 dalmatians is about to start. They sit back watching the movie in a comfortable silence, the TV and rain filling the silence.

 

________

 

North stuffs her things in her bag with a groan. "I can't wait for this day to be over" she mutters to herself

Markus didn't bother going to school at all. Which makes sence, theres no point coming to school only for a bit having the teachers be suspicious of you when you suddenly don't go to other lessons, might as not go and say you were sick or something

Standing with a sigh, North makes her way to her next lesson but stops when she sees Simon across the hall. "Oi, Simon" she calls out

The blond turns round glancing around the crowd looking for who called him

North makes her way to him. "You ready" she questions moving to the side as loads of people rush to get to their next lessons

They make their way outside as their class is out of the main building.

North says something to Simon with a sigh.

"Seriously!" Simon exclaims in a loud whisper, his voice echoing across the deserted school grounds

"Keep your fuckin' voice down" North hisses glancing around.

Luckily the rain drowned out his voice slightly and almost everyone is inside hiding away or in a rush to get out the rain that they ign them

Gripping tighter onto the yellow umbrella that she stole from Connor that morning, North starts strolling forward

Simon pulls his black umbrella closer to him as he follows with a sigh. "Look North, it's bad enough that you're making me do this-"

North turns round to him holding a hand up. "-Woah. I'm not makin' you do anything"

Simon shakes his head. "Do you really think it's a good idea-"

"-It's a great idea"

Simons about to respond before Josh comes up to them. "Why aren't you guys going to class" he questions pushing them forward

North rolls her eyes but makes her way to her next lesson, saying goodbye to Simon and Josh as they all seperate for their next class

 

______

 

Some time into the lesson, Simon feels himself get nervous as more time passes.

Startling when his phone buzzes saying he has a text, he glances to the teacher and he sighs in relief when he sees them distracted by someone

Opening it he sighs shaking his head slightly. Quickly sending a reply, he glances to the time and starts biting his nails seeing that class is nearly over

Once the bell rings signaling that class is finished, Simon quickly packs his stuff and makes his way through the crowd as he opens his umbrella rushing outside and standing besides a tree waiting for North and Josh

Joshs car is broken and is currently getting fixed.

Simon stands for a while watching people hurry home while trying to shield themselves from the pouring rain.

"Hey, you not going home?" Simons twin brother Daniel questions walking towards him. "We said we'd bake cookies with Emma"

Emma is their foster parents biological child. She loves to bake and they promised they'd do it while her parents where out for dinner

"I know, i'll go to the house around seven or so, i have some things to deal with"

Daniel lowers his gaze and voice. "You know John hates it if we come home late"

Simon sighs. "I know, but i really don't care. We're nearly finished with school and going to college, they won't have to deal with me soon"

Daniel frowns. "They love us"

Simon shakes his head. "I'm not having this arguement with you. Just go to the house, and if they ask anything just say i'm doing a project with a classmate or something"

"Whatever" Daniel leaves with a frown

Simon sighs holding his umbrella tighter. Seeing North and Josh run up to him with their umbrellas shielding them from the rain, he starts walking towards them meeting them in the middle

"Hey, lets go, to that new cafe, i hear they have great cakes" he says making his way to his car

"Don't have to tell me twice" North says skipping along

 

_________

 

After watching a few movies, Hank glances to the time and sees that it's nearly six. He stands and starts getting ready grumbling under his breath

As Hank scutters around the house, Connor turns the TV down and fiddles with his colourful tangle, right when North arrives home with a loud sigh

"Hey" she greets Connor flopping onto the sofa with a loud groan

"Hello, how was school?" Connor questions

North groans again. "Long, i thought it would never end"

Before Connor could reply Hank strolls into the sitting room. "I'm off, you kids be good okay" he says with a pointed look

"Of course, when are we never" North smirks

Hank rolls his eyes petting Sumo who's by his side. "Watch out for those dumbasses"

When he says that Connor startles up suddenly remembering Chloe. He glances to where the paper with her phone number would be. 'I forgot to text her, but maybe she just wanted to be nice and she doesn't actually care' Connor thinks to himself

As Hank leaves, North turns to Connor. "How are you feeling?" she questions

"My head feels much better"

North nods. "That's good. What about your thoughts?"

Connor shrugs lowering his gaze. "I don't even know, i'm at a six which is good"

North nods picking up her phone and sending a text. "I have a huge favour to ask" she says

Connor waits for her to go on

North puts her phone down with a sigh. "I have to quickly go shopping for something, i forgot to go on the way here. Will you be alright by yourself for a bit"

"Oh, that's fine. Go, i'll be fine" Connor says

"Call me if you feel worse or if something happens. And don't do anything stupid" she says standing up. "I'll see you in a bit" she says walking out the sitting room and slamming the door behind her

"Is it me or is that strange" Connor says out loud to the dog

Connor strokes Sumos head with a sigh. He smiles when the dog stands and starts licking his face. With a giggle he gently pushes the dog away.

Surfing through the channels, Connor searches for something interesting to watch. With a chuckle Connor sees that High School Musical 2 is on.

"North's going to regret going" he chuckles slightly, turning the sound up

After a while Connor glances to the time and sees that five minutes has passed. He stands and walks to the kitchen to get a glass of milk. As he pours it, he sighs thinking of what might happen tomorrow.

He tries to plan out the day in his head, so he can be ready for what's going to happen, and what might happen.

He takes a sip of the milk as he makes his way back to the sitting room.

Subconsciously playing with the tangle as he watches the movie, he startles when the doorbell rings.

"Did North forget her keys" Connor wonders furrowing his eyebrows

Standing with a groan he opens the door and is startled by who is standing before him

"Oh, er, hi" stutters a drenched Markus with a small awkward smile

 

______

 

Simon and North watch from inside Simons car. They dropped Josh home, he'd never agree to this and would give them a lecture. So it's just North and Simon.

They are parked a bit far away from the house but close enough to slightly see what's happening. It's raining so much that Connor and Markus shouldn't be able to notice the car much less that they are inside.

"Told you it would work" North smirks

Simon shakes his head. "It's not over yet, lets just hope it works out"

Chapter Text

Simon sighs as North is pratically beaming.

He shakes his head. "You know that getting in a relationship can make things worse, especially if it doesn't last. Also, say they get together but end up breaking up. And what about your friendship with Markus"

Norths smile falters slightly as she lowers her gaze. "We can still be friends"

Simon shakes his head. "What if the break up is so bad, from either Connors side or Markus', or even both actually. It'll be awkward between you"

He leans back with a deep sigh. "And i don't think you'd want to be friends if he ends up hurting Connor--not that he'd do it on purpose or anything, but you know what i mean"

North frowns. "Well...it's too late now to stop anything"

Simon sighs deeply. "I guess"

North shrugs forcing a smile. "Besides, they might not even get together or anything" she says but even she doesn't believe her words

Simon gives her a pointed look before sighing. "Look, what's done is done, let's just hope that things work out if they do happen"

 

____________

 

Markus is drenched head to toe from the rain

'He looks so hot like that' Connor thinks to himself before shaking his head slightly. 'stop it'

Markus shivers as a huge gust of wind blows, targeting the pouring rain to hit him harder.

Markus grumbles thinking to himself. 'Fucking Leo stole my umbrella and i forgot to get a different one because i was in such a fucking hurry' he grits his teeth

"Er, hi. How can i help you?" Connor questions biting his lip

"Hi, i-is North in--i mean it is nice to see you, i'm glad you're doing better. Er, it's just she wanted me to get her something" Markus splutters gesturing to the box in his arms which is protected by a plastic bag

Connor nods, his cheeks flushing. "Sorry, she's out, i could give it to her" he holds his hands out

Markus wraps his arms around the box holding it tighter with a shudder. "Er, it's something very dear to me--no offence or anything--i just would rather give it myself" he says

Connor lowers his head with a small frown feeling his chest tighten for some reason. "I-i understand. Er, you can come in, it's still raining a lot and you can wait for North here--if you want to of course"

Markus pulls his coat around him tighter. "Don't worry, i can come back later or something" he forces a smile with a deep breath

Connor shakes his head. "It's fine, you're Norths friend, and you...you helped me"

Markus furrows his eyebrows looking at Connor carefully. "Of course, y-you looked like you needed help, and i was not g-gonna just leave you or anything"

Connor bites his lip but doesn't say anything, and just moves to the side gesturing for Markus to come in

Markus shakes his head waving a hand. "Seriously, it's fine-"

"-You look like you need help too Markus" Connor cuts him off

Markus bites the inside of his cheek. "I'm fine. I'll-"

"-Just come in" Connor says firmly

Markus is about to deny, but he notices the look of determaination on Connors face and decides that he's too cold to keep arguing outside in the rain. 'What the hell' he thinks carefully stepping inside the house

As Connor shuts the door Markus glances around the house

"Shall i take your coat" Connor asks his arms already out

Markus places the box on the floor and shuffles out his long coat.

"Thanks" he says picking up the box and holding it under his arm

Connor hangs the coat up then walks into the sitting room gesturing for Markus to follow

Connor stumbles on the side of the sofa and his arms spin round trying to keep himself from completely falling

Markus goes to reach for him, but stops when Connor manages to find his balence.

"You okay?" Markus asks

Connor nods keeping his down as he rubs his hands together

"Would you like anything to drink? There's coffee, milk, chocolate milk, apple juice, orange juice--"

Markus holds a hand up with a chuckle. "--It's okay, i'm okay thanks"

Connor forces himself to look at Markus' face, but focuses on his eyebrows which gives the feeling to the person that he's looking in their eyes.

Eye contact is hard

Connor always gets in trouble for not making eye contact. People see it as rude.

He always tries to keep eye contact, but most of the time he looks at different parts of the face which gives a similar feeling of eye contact

So in a conversation, it's one of the things on his check list

Eye contact is hard

But with those intense eyes, it's impossible

Connor fiddles with his hands and tilts his head. "Right, thats good, but you didn't say what you wanted to drink, and you didn't let me finish" he says before listing the rest of the drinks

Markus furrows his eyebrows but smiles slightly as Connor rambles about which drinks he has and then somehow turns the conversation onto different teas and their effects on peoples sleep patterns.

A few minutes pass, and Connor finishes with a deep breath.

After the effort Connor went through to list all the drinks, and somehow rambling about different teas and their effects, Markus feels awkward if he doesn't accept a drink.

"Er, i'll take a coffee please, little bit of milk with two sugars" he says with a small smile

Connor nods walking towards the kitchen

Markus glances around the house, sighing as the warmth heats him up and calms his shivering.

A cold wet bump touching his hand makes Markus flinch and furrows his eyebrows looking down at what it is.

"Oh, hello" he beams kneeling down and stroking the big dogs head

Markus laughs as Sumo licks his face. "You been up to any more mischief huh?" he strokes the dog with a giggle

"No, he's been very calm actually, he seemed quite sad also, but i'm glad he's feeling better" Connor slowly walks into the sitting room carefully holding a mug and not taking his eye contact off it

Markus grabs the mug sighing when the heat from it warms up his cold hands. He looks inside and his eyebrows raise in suprise at the marshmellows floating over the dark liquid

Connor bites his lip tilting his head. "D-Do you not like marshmellows? I can make a new coffee if you don't. I know i should've asked first. I don't know why, but i wanted it to be a suprise which is weird because i'd normally never do that. I never take risks. It's stupid, i should've--"

"--I love marshmellows" Markus cuts off Connors nervous rambling with a smile

Connor sighs in relief giving Markus a small smile. "I never normally take risks like that when the percentage is quite low, i don't know why i did it"

"Life's about taking taking risks"

"I know, but it's best to think before you do things"

Markus glances around taking a sip of his coffee. "You have a nice home" he changes the subject

"Thank you" Connor lowers his gaze. "You never came here?" he questions tilting his head

"Er no, i actually never came here before. We don't really go to eachothers houses, we mostly hang out at the park or a cafe or something"

"Why?" Connor questions honestly

Markus shrugs lowering his gaze and biting his lip. "We just do" he states firmly

Connor misses the 'dont say anything else about it' tone from Markus. He furrows his eyebrows in confustion. "But don't friends go to eachothers houses" he wonders

Markus holds onto the mug tighter. "We just prefer to hang out elsewhere"

Connor tilts his head in confustion, but despite the amount of questions he has, he descides it might be best not to ask anything else about it

Instead he asks "Is it to your standard?"

"Huh?" Markus furrows his eyebrows in confustion

"The coffee, is it to your stardard?"

"Oh, it's good, yeah" Markus nods watching Connor take a seat on the sofa

Markus carefully sits on the sofa taking a sip of his coffee. "You're watching High School Musical" he states

"Er, yeah. It's not that bad"

"North loves it" Markus rolls his eyes fondly

Connor lowers his gaze. "...yeah"

Markus takes a sip of coffee. "What's your favourite movie?" he asks

"My favourite Disney movie..." Connor tilts his head in thought

"Any movie, not just Disney"

Connor blinks at that then looks up in deep thought. "I don't have one specific favourite, for either, i really can't pick only one"

Markus nods his head. "I understand, i don't know if i have a favourite either"

A semi awkward silence fills the room. Markus focuses his attention on the TV while Connor brings Sumo impossibly closer to him

'Where is North?!' Connor desperately thinks, his palms get very sweaty and his heart beat faster

He takes a deep breath. 'calm yourself'

"Do you have any pets?" Connor asks suddenly

Markus sits up glancing to Connor. "Some little birds, but that's it"

"What kind of birds?"

"Er, i actually don't know the specific breed, er, they're yellow..."

"So are many others"

"Sorry but i don't know. Anyway, do you know North will be back?" Markus asks taking a sip of the coffee

On the outside Markus may seem calm. But on the inside Markus' heart is racing and he feels his cheeks heat up in a blush. 'Where the fuck is North. I'm making a huge fool of myself in front of Connor' he thinks biting his lip

Connor looks up in thought. "She told me she had to buy something she forgot on the way home. I don't know when she'll be back, she's very spontaneous and she takes different amounts of time to do something depending on what it is she's buying, or the day and so on"

Markus furrows his eyebrows. "Did she tell you i was coming?"

Connor hugs Sumos closer to him. "No"

"Huh" Markus says distantly

"Why?" Connor furrows his eyebrows

"No, nothing, i'm just thinking" Markus says staring at the TV

"What about? Do you think she invited you here for no reason or something" Connor tilts his head

"No, it's just she--nothing, forget it"

Connor stays quiet at that. He has it own thoughts on what's happening, but he descides to keep quiet about it.

He feels a itching urge to get his coin or something to stim with, but people hate when he does that, they think he's showing off or not paying full attention, even though he actually is.

So instead he rubs his hands and pulls Sumo closer to him before fiddling with the collar.

"Thank you by the way" Connor runs his hands over Sumos collar. The texture and smooth bumps of the colourful jewls calming his racing heart

Markus furrows his eyebrows still looking at the TV. "W-What for--Oh, i already said there's no need to thank me, you looked very unwell" he scratches his neck with a sheepish smile. "And i did push you to the ground"

Connor shakes his head. "I am thankful for your assistance that day, but i was talking about Sumos collar. You didn't have to buy one let alone customize it, and i don't know if North thanked you or anything, but i'm thankful for it"

Markus lowers his head hiding his sheepish smile. "Oh, it was no problem. North told me Sumo needed a new collar, and yeah..."

The TV and pouring rain fill the otherwise looming silence.

Connor holds Sumo closer to him and runs his hands over the dogs soft fur. He wipes his sweaty brow and holds tightly onto the dog as his pulse pounds against his head

Markus clears his throat. "Er, you know, i never got to finish watching the High School Musical series, its a secret favourite of my dads, he says its a classic"

"No, i didn't know you never finished it. But yeah, it's the same for Hank, though he'd never admit it"

Markus nods taking a sip of his coffee. "It's very unrealistic though"

Connor shrugs. "It is, it also really gives a unrealistic expectation for people just starting high school, but it's the meaning behind it, the 'just be yourself' and 'don't judge others"

Markus nods before gulping down the rest of the coffee. "Yeah"

He raises to a stand, making his way to the kitchen and going to the sink

Connor furrows his eyebrows, before jumping off the sofa while shaking his head when he sees Markus start to wash the mug

"You don't have to do that" Connor insists

"It's fine" Markus shrugs lifting the soapy mug up. "see, it's nearly done" he smiles rinsing the mug

Connor bites his lip

Markus is leaning over the sink with his sleves rolled up showing off his muscular slightly wet arms, which makes Connors cheeks flare up into a soft blush

Connor lowers his head and scratches his neck

"Er, r-right" he splutters

Markus dries his hands and sends Connor brilliant smile.

Connor fiddles with a lose string on his big fluffy jumper

Markus slowly walks back into the sitting room but he trails to a stop staring at something

Connor walks towards him and follows his line of vision

Oh

Connor lowers his head and glances to the door hoping that North will walk in at any moment

Markus smiles slightly at the picture of a boy no older than six or so. He points to the picture

"Is that you?" Markus questions

Connor fiddles with his hands and shakes his head

"No, that's Cole, he was Hanks son"

Markus notices the 'was' and squints his eyes shut

"sorry" he winces

Connor shakes his head. "No, it's fine. You couldn't have known"

Markus opens his eyes and gives Connor a tight smile. He quickly tries to think of something to change the subject

He then notices a maybe more recent photo of Connor, North, and Sumo at the beach.

Connor looks like he's full on laughing, his beaming smile nearly breaking his face as Sumo licks his cheek. North is mid eating an ice cream while looking into the camera with a wide smile.

They look so happy

"We went to the beach for the weekend once, it was a great day" Connor brings Markus out of his thoughts

Markus turns to Connor and sees him looking at the photo longingly

"What did you get up to?" Markus questions

"There?" Connor asks pointing towards the photo

Markus bites his back a smile and nods

Connor looks to the photo once more. "It was actually our--mine and Norths, first time at the beach. We went swimming, played some volleyball, and loads more. It was great"

"That's nice" Markus says

Connor sits back down on the sofa. "Yeah, it is i guess"

Markus flops onto the sofa. "How's your head by the way, do you feel better?"

"I feel much better, i'm going back to school tomorrow also"

"That's great--well, great that you feel better, school not so much huh"

Connor shrugs. "I had to go back eventually, besides it'll be good to go back into a proper routine"

"Did you ask any of your friends take notes? I'm sure it'll be alright"

Connor holds back a wince

Friends

He sighs. "Er, no i didn't, but i'll catch up quickly"

Markus tilts his head looking at Connor "I've never seen you in class or around school. Ever."

Connor shrugs. "It's a really big school. I've never seen you either"

"Do you take mostly normal or AP classes?"

Connor lowers his head. "I take AP classes" he mutters

People hate him for it

Markus raises his eyebrows. "Oh that's cool, probably partly why i never see you i guess. It must be stressful though"

Connor blinks at Markus' reaction. He didn't think he was showing off or a 'smartass'?

"Er, it can be. But it's alright"

Markus hums. "I was thinking of taking a few AP classes, but i didn't want to get too stressed, and i--er, i wanted to focus on art"

Connor nods.

Markus furrows his eyebrows. "But i still never see you in the corridors or lunch hall"

Connor shrugs. "Like i said, it's a very big school with loads of people. Also, i dont eat in the lunch hall, so that's probably why you don't see me there"

Before Markus could reply, Connor glances to his phone tilting his head. "Should i call North? To see where she is"

Markus startles up. 'Oh yeah, i forgot about her' he thinks to himself

"Er, sure"

Connor grabs his phone and dails Norths number while walking to the kitchen

After a few rings she picks up

"Ello?"

"Hello, Markus is here waiting for you. Where are you?"

"Woah, i'm fine thanks for asking"

Connor furrows his eyebrows. "But i didn't ask"

He hears North sigh through the phone, the sound of the rain hitting the car in the background

"Whatever. I'm stuck in some traffic, don't know how long i'll take"

"Markus has been waiting for a while, hurry up"

"Jeez Connor, you can't magically put all the traffic away"

"Your friend came all this way to give you something and is wasting his time waiting for you"

North sighs. "Whatever, i'll see you later"

"Wait, how long--" Connor starts but the sound of the call ending cuts him off

"Everything okay?" Markus questions strolling into the kitchen

"She's stuck in traffic"

"Right"

Connor sighs. "I'm sorry about all this"

Markus shakes his head. "Its not your fault. And by the way, my time is not wasted, i'm here with you after all" he says with a small smile

Connor returns the smile and makes his way back to the sitting room with Markus following

 

___________

 

As North puts her phone away, she sighs leaning back

"You should probably go back soon" Simon says

"I might go in a minute or so"

"How is Connor by the way?" Simon questions

North shrugs. "Fine i guess"

Simon shakes his head. "I mean...you know, how is his head"

"Oh, he says he feels better, and he's going to school tomorrow"

"That's good"

North nods looking to the house.

Simon glances to North. "And how are things with...you know"

North sighs lowering her gaze. She knows exactly what he means. "He got to an eight yesterday"

Simon snaps his head to her wide eyed. "And you left him alone in the house for a while today! What if he did something!" he exclaims

"Of course i wouldn't leave him if he felt that bad!" North yells

The accusation that she'd just leave Connor like that felt like a stab to the chest.

"I asked before i left, and he said he was at a six. I wouldn't leave him if he was that bad!"

Simon sighs running a hand over his face. "Right, right. Sorry, but you did say he was at an eight only yesterday and didn't say he was at a six today. I was just worried"

North leans back with a deep sigh. "Whatever" she mutters

Simon is the only one in Norths friend group who knows about Connors...thoughts. After all, Simon was there the first time, when North got the phone call from Hank about what happened. He was the one who drove her to the hospital

"I really hope that getting in a relationship won't make him feel worse, and if they break up..." Simon trails off

North lowers her head. "This probably was a horrible idea"

"I hope Markus doesn't catch on that we tried to set him up" Simon says

North sighs. "Oh well, we can't change the past. And if they get together, good. If not, okay. If they break up...i'll be there."

Simon nods. "It's out of our hands"

North reaches for the shopping bag in the backseat.

She did do a bit of shopping, but just left it in the car, when she went to the house earlier. "You want some chocolate or something?" she asks

Simon shakes his head. "Nah, thanks anyway"

North shrugs taking a bite of chocolate. "Whatever"

 

__________

 

A comfortable silence fills the room, only the TV and rain making any noise

Connor's watching the movie with Markus, absent mindly stroking the dog draped over his legs

"Who's your favourite character?" Connor breaks the silence

Markus lifts his gaze in thought. "I don't know"

The sound of the front door opening stops Connor from responding.

Sumo jumps up and sprints towards the front door

"Ugh, get off me" they hear North groan

Connor and Markus stand as North walks in

"Hey" she greets before plopping the shopping bag on the table in the kitchen

"Hi, i have the thing you wanted" Markus says reaching for the box covered by the plastic bag

"Thanks" North says reaching for it. "So, what did you two get up to?" she smirks slightly

Markus narrows his eyes. "We hung out, it was cool" he says

"Right..."

Markus shakes his head before turning to Connor. "Anyway, thank you for everything. I'll see you around hopefully"

"Er yeah" Connor smiles

Markus gives North a tight smile before grabbing his phone

"I'll walk you to the door" Connor says

"Thanks"

They silently make their way towards the front door.

"So, i'll see you around i guess" Connor says

Markus nods. "I'll see you around, good luck at school tomorrow"

"Thank you"

Markus gives Connor a tight smile before putting on his coat and opening the door

He glances up and sees that it's not raining as much as before. He gives Connor one last wave before running towards his car

Connor squints his eyes as Markus runs towards his car

He waits until Markus is safely in the car before shutting the door with a sigh

"You missing your boyfriend already" a voice teases

"He's not my boyfriend" Connor says walking into the sitting room

"Ha, you didn't deny that you miss him" North smirks

"I don't"

North rolls her eyes. "Sure"

Connor narrows his eyes. "By the way, i know you did that on purpose"

North looks at him innocently. "i don't know what you mean"

"You asked him to come here, but left before he arrived so we'll talk and 'hang out'. Either this is an attempt to set us up, or for me to make friends"

North holds back a look of suprise. 'Heh, maybe he'll be a good detective after all' she thinks to herself

North shrugs and tries to look as casual as possible. "I don't know what you mean"

Before Connor could reply, North continues. "Anyway, tell me what you guys did and got up to"

"Why do you wanna know"

"Just tell me"

"Nothing much, we spoke, i made him coffee, and we watched a bit of High School Musical"

"Nothing else?"

Connor shrugs

North narrows her eyes. "Whatever. Anyway unlike you because you got to miss school, i have loads of homework to do. So i'm going to my room, you'll probably not see me for the rest of the night"

"You're not gonna eat anything?"

"I ate on the way back from the shops, i'm alright. But what are you gonna eat?"

Connor shrugs. "I'm not hungry, besides i still have the pizza"

"Still?!" North exclaims

"I might eat some a bit later, but i'm actually very tired" he glances to the time. "So I'll see you later or tomorrow"

North nods making her way to her room. "See ya"

Connor goes to him own room and flops onto the bed with a small smile

'Hopefully i'll see Markus tomorrow' he thinks to himself. 'But i'll most likely not'

He turns around and reaches for the book on his bed. Connor opens up the book with a sigh

But he can't focus on it. His mind keeps thinking about school.

What will and might happen.

Chapter Text

'Look at the freak' a low voice calls out

The group surrounding them laughs loudly. 'Why is it even still here, doesn't it know it's better off dead'

Connor lowers his head, gripping tightly onto the side of the desk while staring intensely at the sheet in front of him

'Probably not, it's an idiot'

The words and numbers are all mixed up....

'Oi freak'

Connor furrows his eyebrows but as he moves to look at them everything turns white

 

'Who let the dogs out, who, who, who who'

Connor jolts up in a cold sweat as the music pierces his ears and throws him into reality

It was just a dream

He swipes the alarm off and rubs his hands together. He feels his speeding pulse pounding against his head

Well, more like a memory

He glances to the time with a hitched sigh and slowly lifts himself up

Connor stretches with a silent yawn then sags forward

"Morning Sumo" he greets the dog laying at the foot of his bed, his voice husky and laced with sleep

Stroking the dog woth a small smile, he feels a pit in his stomach. "Sorry but i won't be home most of today, i have to go back to school"

Back to school...

Back to the taunting

Back to the gossiping

Back to the constant anxiety

Back to the hateful words and comments

Like being drenched in frozen water, Connor jolts wide eyed and feels his heart drop, his stomach twisting and turning

It just hit him

He knew it, but it didn't really hit him.

It didn't hit him until now

The realisation of what he's going to have to face and dealt with

Heart pounding, he squints his eyes shut tries to control his quickening breathing.

He gasps for air while grasping his tightening chest

Out of breath, unable to breathe, Connor holds his knees to his chest. Still siting upward, he sqeezes himself into a ball. Trying to make himself look as small as possible, he wraps his arms around his legs, hiding his head in his arms

The stabbing sharp pain in his chest tightens. His short gasps for breath hitches.

A wet substance slobbers over his arms and Connor peers up to see Sumo licking his arms

Sumo jumps up and carefully places his paws on Connors shaking form.

The pressure grounds him

Connors can hear his pulse drilling in his head. Pulse pounding and beating against his skin.

Sumo gets off Connor and gently places his paws on his shoulders, making Connor lie back down

Sumo crawls forward and lays over him.

The familiar warm comforting pressure makes Connor sigh and tightly hold onto the dog while running a hand through his smooth fur

After a few moments and quick shakey breaths, Connor stares at nothing holding onto the dog tightly

Connor subconsciously strokes Sumo and manages to take a few deep shakey breaths

"T-Thank y-you Sumo" he whispers

He squints his eyes shut. 'Why am i so pathetic' he winces

Connor breathes in and slowly breathes out

'If i can't deal with high school, how am i going to able to deal with everything later in life'

He pets Sumo and gives the dog a huge hug before gently pulling him off him

He slowly sits up and runs a hand over his face, is pulse calming and steadying

"I have to go to school today" he sighs

Sumo looks at him blankly

"They're all gonna ask questions"

Sumo responds with a low bark

"I can't tell them to fuck off or mind their own buisness Sumo, i don't really want to get a worse concussion" Connor shakes his head

Sumo places a paw on Connors leg

"Right, i know that i know how to fight and they have nothing on me, but i'm not gonna get expelled or anything on my last year of school"

Sumo responds by tilting his head

"Do you think i should fight back?"

Sumo barks

Connor nods tiredly. "I know. But it'll just make things worse"

Sumo licks Connors hand

Connor sighs. "You're lucky, you know. You don't have to do loads of work, have people expecting so much from you, have people with very high expectations of you. You don't have to deal with life..." he trails off

"What do you live for huh?" Connor tilts his head scratching Sumos head. "Food? W-A-L-Ks? Hank? North? Me? Or just so you can chance a squirrel" he laughs slightly

Sumo gives Connor a doggish smile.

Connor kisses the top of Sumos head and jumps off the bed, running to get ready

 

_________

 

Markus stares at the celing with a sigh. He still has a bit of time before he has to get up, but Markus couldn't sleep properly anyway

He managed to fall asleep around 2am. His thoughts finally calming after hours. But the buzz and excitement waking him up early

Markus bites back a smile as he thinks of Connor. Hopefully he'll see him today. But considering he's never seen him before, he most likely won't.

However he's never looked for him, not really, he was too nervous to actually seek him out.

But now, Markus ponders about the day ahead and where Connor could be

Markus scrunches his face. 'i guess i am being a starker' he thinks with a frown

Shaking his head, Markus sits up and stretches with a loud yawn.

'Where could he be at lunchtime' Markus wonders. 'Probably with his friends somewhere'

Markus bites his lip with a frown. 'It might be best not to bother him then, but i'll look for him to just say hi at least'

With a nod to himself, Markus jumps off the bed and slightly skips towards his wardrobe

Scanning through his clothes, Markus bites his lip lifting two shirts and inspects them. He deems them unworthy, shoving them back them a groan

He pulls out a black jumper with some white wording on it. Glancing over it, Markus pulls it towards his chest checking how it looks in the mirror.

He shoves it back

With a groan, Markus glances around in frustration. 'I have no clothes'

He pulls out a stylish dark red shirt and looks at it carefully

He pulls off the cozy Black jumper he sleeps in, and puts the shirt on which clings against him comfortably.

Markus tilts his head at his reflection who mirrors his every move

Maybe...

He sqeezes into his tight dark blue jeans and looks over his reflection in the mirror

He glances back to his wardrobe and glances over his jumpers

While debating what to wear, Markus tries to think about the day ahead and is pratically bouncing on the balls of his feet in excitement

 

__________

 

Tiptoeing to the kitchen, Connor slowly opens the bag of dog food and pours a fair amount into Sumos bowl

He opens the backdoor to the garden and shivers as a gust of wind blows.

Sumo runs out and starts sniffing the ground

Connor shuts the door and starts making a coffee for Hank.

Once it's done, he places it on the table and sits with a sigh

Footsteps strolling towards the kitchen makes Connor lift his head.

"Good morning" Connor greets

Hank grunts, his eyes drooping slightly

Soft scrapes at the door stops Connors train of thought as he jumps to open the door for Sumo

"Hey boy" Connor smiles petting the dog before scanning the garden

North strolls into the room and slouches over the table with a groan, sitting next to a gloomy Hank

Connor shakes his head. "You two are so grouchy in the morning"

"Shut up" they grumble in unison

Connor narrows his eyes but doesn't say anything. Instead he flops onto the chair fiddling with his coin

North stands and starts making some cereal.

Hank gulps some of his coffee. "You eaten yet Connor?" he asks

Connor bites his lip

He can either lie, resulting in Hank seeing stright through it, interrogating him further.

Or tell the truth, and have Hank and North try to force him to eat

Either way he can't win

"No, but i'm not hungry" Connor runs the coin over his fingers

Hank rolls his eyes. "Everyday. Every fuckin' day" he gestures for North to give him a bowl. "Come on, you have to eat" he says placing it in front of Connor

North places the milk on the table and the different cereals. "I will never understand how you're never hungry" she says sitting with her cereal in hand. "Food is life"

Hank nods, lifting his mug in agreement. "Hear hear"

Hank pours milk into a bowl and pours some chocolate cereal before taking a huge bite

Connor sighs. He mostly eats only once a day. And that's only because Hank and North forces him to

To be fair, not eating does cause issues with ones health, but Connor just doesn't feel hungry. His appetite always going

Connor doesn't even have the will to care

Hank and North look like they are going to try to convince him to eat

He needs to get out of this

Connor glances to the door and grabs his bag. "I have to go, i'll see you both later" he says sprinting out the door

Smooth

Real smooth Connor

He forces himself forward as a gust of wind pushes him off balence. Fighting against the wind trying to blow him back, he makes his way to school

Normally he has a different way of going to school, but due to his concussion, it would be unsuitable and not adviced.

'Maybe i can do it tomorrow' Connor wonders

The streets are deserted and quiet. Blue strands overcoming the darkness of the sky into a new dawn.

A distant thuding aproches. Taking no mind to it Connor moves to the side so they can pass easier

"Oi, wait up" a familiar voice calls out

Connor spins round to see North sprinting forward.

"There are peole still sleeping, don't shout" Connor scolds

North breaths in deeply, her chest tightening

She just sprinted all the way from the house to catch up with Connor, first she finished her food of course. But Connor left before her

"why didn't you wait for me?" she grits out

Connor narrows his eyes. "why are you walking anyway? Aren't one of your friends picking you up?" he questions turning round to continue walking.

North rolls her eyes and strolls besides him. "well--wait, why didn't you wait for me"

"Because, i wanted some peace and quiet before school"

North scrunches her face at him before rolling her eyes. "You ready for today?" she changes the subject

Connor narrows his eyes but doesn't mention it, instead he replies with "I am..at least i think so"

North glances to him. "If anyone gives you trouble, tell me so i can punch the living daylights out of them"

Connor shakes his head with a sigh, feeling butterflies in his stomach he fiddles with his hands. "I can deal with it. And you know you're on your last strike, one more fight and you have a high risk of expulsion"

North shrugs. "How about i prank them instead or something, can't expel me over that"

Connor shakes his head. "I can deal with things myself" he states

"Right, because letting them bully you and killing yourself is dealing with it" she mutters

Connor jolts upright and glances around. There's no one except them, but the streets are quiet hightening every noise

"Leave me alone" he hisses through gritted teeth, power walking forward leaving North behind

North facepalms. 'Why the fuck did i say that' she thinks to herself

Things have been hard, but it only seems to get harder

She sighs and jogs forward to keep up with Connor. "I'm sorry, i shouldn't have said that" she leans forward trying to look at his face, but Connor has it turned to the side

Norths chest tightens. "I'm sorry, i'm just on edge. And those shitheads at school don't help"

Connor stays quiet

North runs a hand over her face. "Are you going stright home after school?" she changes the subject

Connor snaps his head to her. "Where else would i go North, it's not like i have anywhere else to go" he grits out. "And you know i always go home after school, what kind of stupid question was that"

Norths eyebrows nearly fly off her head as she raises her hands in defense. "Woah, easy tiger. I was just wondering"

Connor breaths out and looks away

North narrows her eyes. "You sure are being a jerk right now" she mutters

Connor takes a deep breath squinting his eyes shut, trying to calm the boiling pit in his stomach and his pounding heart.

They are both very on edge

He relaxs slightly with a sigh. "I'm sorry. I'm just really dreading the day ahead"

North deflates and nods. "I get it, i get it. Just don't take it out on me"

"I'm not, at least i didn't mean to, sorry"

North shrugs. "Whatever" she mutters.

They stroll in silence, the birds and few cars on the street being the only sounds heard. They are both on edge, dreading the day ahead.

As they approch the school, Connor slows with a deep breath, prepearing himself for the inevitable

The streets are now busy and hectic with the buzz of people outside. The roads busy as cars honk waiting in traffic.

Whispers and mumbling surround them as they make their way forward.

"I'll see you later?" North says glancing to Connor

"See you" Connor nods scurrying towards his locker. He tries to tune out the whispering, quickly plopping his textbooks in the locker, ignoring the foreign pieaces of paper with hateful words which lay inside.

He slams the locker shut and runs towards his class, ignoring the laughing surrounding him

________

 

"Yo" Markus greets sliding into his seat and flopping his bag over his deak

Josh scrunches his face at him. "Don't ever say that again"

Markus chuckles slightly, shaking his head and leaning back into the chair. "You finished off the math homework?" he asks

Josh gives him a look. "Of course i have, who do you take me for"

Markus shrugs. "Just asking, it was so long and took forever" he shakes his head in annoyance

Josh nods. "Well, it is our last year, it's gonna be hard"

Markus hums. "Yeah. Hey did you know that Connor takes AP classes? Very cool huh"

"Very stressful" Josh states

Markus lowers his gaze. "Yeah, and he missed a few days"

Josh looks over to Markus with sympathetic eyes. "I'm sure he'll fine" he reasures. Josh takes a deep breath and moves his gaze. "Look, I don't want to sound like a jerk or anything, but this is our last year and it means everything, you need to focus on yourself and your studies"

Markus rolls his eyes. "Alright dad"

Josh narrows his eyes. "I'm serious, you'll regret it if you don't"

"Everything will be alright, don't worry"

Josh sighs shaking his head but descides to stay quiet.

 

__________

 

Connor carefully slides into his seat, placing his bag over his desk which is in the second row closest to the door. He pulls out a book and leans over it, trying to make himself look as small and invisible as possible

He tries to ignore the loud whispering surrounding him as he holds the book closer to him and tries to focus on the book

There's a bit of time before the teacher comes

Connor winces when a shadow looms over him.

He doesn't look up

He keeps his head down staring at the words, unable to focus with the person standing in front of him

"Er, hi. Sorry, but you're in my seat" a voice says

Connor furrows his eyebrows and glances up

Icy blue eyes meet his

Connor instantly directs his eyes somewhere else.

He shifts his vision so he focuses on the space inbetween her eyebrows instead

The person standing before him is someone unfamiliar. Connor has never seen them before

Connor fiddles with his hands. "This is my seat" he states

The person narrows her eyes. "I've been sitting here for the past few days, and i've never seen you before"

"I've been...unwell, i haven't been in school this week. But this has been my seat since the begining of the semester"

The person falters and she lowers her head with a slight blush.

"Oh" she mumbles. She looks up and sends him a small smile "S-Sorry, i'm new here, so i didn't know, sorry"

Connors shoulders relax slightly. He shakes his head. "It's okay"

The person nods with a tight smile. "My name is Kara"

Eyebrows furrowed, Connor fiddles with a lose string from his jacket. "My name is Connor"

The person--Kara, gives him a tight smile. "Anyway, sorry about that Connor"

Connor shakes his head. "It's okay, you didn't know"

Kara gently places her bag onto the desk besides Connor and sits down. That desk belongs to someone else but the person is not here yet.

Another burst of whispers fill the room, but Kara doesn't seem to notice, or she chooses to ignore it as she turns to Connor with a small smile

"What are you reading?" she asks glancing to the book in his hands

Connor furrows his eyebrows. 'Why is she making a conversation' he thinks to himself

"A book"

Kara chuckles. "Well, yeah. But what is it about?"

"It's about solving a crime" he simplifies

"My little sister, Alice, loves 'Alice in wonderland'." Kara smiles at that.

"Because they have the same name?" Connor wonders

Kara looks up in thought. "I think that adds to it, but it's not the whole reason" she mumbles the last part distantly

"I couldn't possibly choose a favourite"

Kara shakes her head. "Me neither"

Connor furrows his eyebrows and looks at her in interest. "You said you're new here, where did you come from?"

Kara lowers her gaze. "I'm originally from Detroit, but my family moved to Canada for a while, and then we moved back here"

"Do you miss Canada?"

"Sometimes"

Connor nods and looks away thinking of something else to say.

"I like dogs. Do you have any pets?"

Kara blinks at him with the shake of the head. "Er, thats random" she chuckles slightly. "but no, it would be cool but, er, a member of the family is allergic"

Connor frowns. "That's unfortunate"

Kara forces a smile with a shrug. "It's fine. What about you? You have any pets?"

Connor lights up with a beaming smile. "I have a dog, his name is Sumo. He's a St Bernard, he is very slobbery and always steals the housekeys for some reason. He loves to lick people--he's very licky, but i dont mind, however my sister hates it, she's always pushing him away. Sumo doesn't deserve that, but she never listens. He's quite big, but thats normal for St Bernards. He gets very excited and loves to lay down most of the day"

After Connor finishes his rambling. Kara leans back with a smile. "Sumo sounds so cute. That's actually an interesting name though, who named him?"

Connor falters slightly but forces himself up. "The exact word, Sumo, comes from a form of competitive full-contact wrestling. But did you know, 'Sumo' also means juice in portuguese"

Kara blinks at him. "Actually, no, i didn't know that"

Connor nods. "It does" he glances to the time with a frown. "Mrs Thomas is going to be late"

Kara sighs. "It's going to be a long day"

"Are you enjoying Detroit so far?" Connor asks

Kara shrugs. "It's okay, gives me memories of the past though--back when i lived in Detroit"

Connor furrows his eyebrows and tilts his head. "Is that bad?"

Kara lowers her gaze. "Anyway," she goes to change the subject "is the teacher always late? She was never late the past few days"

Connor shrugs. "She is sometimes late, she never explains why though"

Kara nods with a tight smile, but before she could say anything the room turns silent as someone stomps up to them and clears their throat

"Get out of my seat" a guy orders with a growl

Kara narrows her eyes but stands anyway

The guy glances to Connor and scrunches his face. He looks up with a smirk.

"Actually, sit" he points to the table. "you'd be doing me a favour, i won't have to sit next to it anymore" he glances at Connor with his face scrunched in disgust

Connor lowers his head, but glances up at Kara, and to his suprise, she's staring at the guy wide eyed, her mouth agape.

Shock

But in half a second it snaps to rage as her eyes narrow and she grits her teeth

"It?!" she exclaims

The guy scoffs shaking his head walking towards his laughing friends.

"You actually want to hang around that thing?" someone mockingly asks

Kara turns to them. "Firstly, he's a person, not a thing. And why wouldn't i"

"Just leave it" Connor whispers to her

Kara ignores him and glares at the many eyes staring at them. She opens her mouth to call out to them, but the teacher rushing in stops her

She scrambles to her seat but sends Connor a small reasuring smile

Connor tilts his head putting his book away. 'Why is she being so nice' he wonders

Before he could question it further, the teacher clears their throat, the hushed class turning quiet as the teacher starts the roll call

Connor fiddles with his hands, the urge to get his coin being like an unreachable itch. Once he was fiddling with his coin, and the teacher confiscated it. And many times, people yank it out of his hand and don't give it back

"Connor Stern"

Connor snaps his head up and ignores the burning glares surrounding him. "Here" he responds lifting his hand up slightly

The teacher doesn't look away from the computer or acknowlede him as they call out the next persons name

 

______________

 

As the bell rings signaling it's the end of registration, Connor stands with a sigh carefully glancing around

Kara stands and lifts her bag before sending him a smile. "What class do you have now?" she asks

Connor furrows his eyebrows and tilts his head before jolting up in realisation. 'She probably wants me to show the way or something' he thinks

"I have math. But would you like me to show the way to your next lesson or something?" he says ignoring the burning glares surrounding him as they leave the classroom

Kara brightens slightly. "I have math too. AP?" she questions

Connor lowers his gaze with a nod.

"Lets go then, we don't want to be late. Mr Robins hates when people are late"

Connor furrows his eyebrows but doesn't say anything, he lowers his head making his way to class with Kara happily following him

 

____________

Chapter Text

Kara slides into her seat with a glance to Connor who's hunched over himself across the room. Unfortunately their seats are completely on opposite sides of the class

'Connor seems interesting' Kara muses. All the other people she's meet so far seem mean or fake with sickening sweetness.

But Connor seemed nice and genuine

'Maybe i'll have a friend here after all' she thinks feeling lighter

"Hey, Kara right? You're new" a voice calls out

Kara turns to them with a smile. "Yeah hi"

The girl smiles introducing herself and the girl in front of her with a smile.

Connor glances to them and sighs. 'I knew she wouldn't actually want to be friends with me'

Kara and the two girls burst out laughing which brings the teachers attention to them as he shushes their chatter

Connor bites his lip. 'They're laughing at me' he thinks, his heart pounding in his ears, suddenly self conscious, freezing to keep himself from looking stupid

He hunches over his desk and zones in on the textbook in front of him. The noise however, seems to just get louder and louder. Connor takes a deep breath and tries to focus on the work before him

Kara holds her stomach, her laughter finally calming down.

"Oi" the teacher points to them. "stop the talking and get on with the work"

They all turn to their textbooks letting out final chuckle. When the teacher turns to a student with their hand raised, the girl taps Kara on the shoulder

"I saw you speaking with...with--" the girl snaps her fingers trying to remember the name.

"Stern" the girl in front of her answers

"That's it" the girl clicks her fingers in realisation. "Stern, i saw you two talking at registration"

Kara glances to Connor. "He seems like a cool person"

The girl shares a look with the girl grimincing in front of her.

"I really suggest not hanging out with the likes of that" the girl whispers

Kara blinks

The girl in front nods and looks at Kara with pity written all over her features. "Seriously, you'd be much better off"

Kara feels something boil in her as she grits her teeth nearly slamming her fist on the table.

She's only just meet Connor but he seems so nice and genuine

"Why does everyone hate him?" Kara questions taking a deep breath

Maybe there's a rational explanation

"It's a smartass know-it-all" the girl spits out. "It's a stupid freak that is seriously better off dead"

Nope

Scratch that

No rational explanation. People are just cruel

Kara frowns. "He's not an it. And what did he ever do to any of you? He seems like a nice person"

Before they could say anything, the teacher stomps up to them red in the face. "What did i tell you three, no talking!" he grits out. "Right, Chapman," he points to Kara. "you switch seats with Mr Mitchel"

Kara frowns and glances to where a guy stands across the room

She packs her things ignoring the whispers floating around the class

At least she'll be away from those two

She slides into her seat with a sigh and runs a hand over her face, deciding to focus on the work

 

_______________

 

Markus lifts hand, gently placing the brush on the canvas and flicking it up in a quick, short motion

"Mr Manfield" the teacher calls out

Markus turns to her with his eyebrows furrowed

Ms Smith strolls up to him with a smile. "I forgot to ask, how did the art project you did for the compition go? Did you get the results yet?"

Markus shakes his head biting his lip nervously. "No, i didn't yet them yet, but i feel like i did well" he says lighting up

Ms Smith nods patting his shoulder. "I have no doubt you did well. But even if you don't win, i know you did well. Art is unique and theres no two pieces that are exactly the same, there can be similar copies, but everyone is different" she rambles before shaking her head. "Anyway, it's not about winning, and don't let it get you down"

Markus nods with a smile. "Thanks, and i know it's not about winning, i don't mind for it, i just...i don't know, i just love art"

"That's good, hold onto that passion, too many people do it just for the sake of it, or wanting quick and 'easy' money. Anyway, keep going you're doing a great job" she says before making her way to another student

Markus sighs staring at his half finished painting. He bites his lip and dips the paintbrush in the blue paint before dabbing it on the canvas

He huffs and slams the paintbrush down.

'I'll just do the rest tomorrow' he thinks with a sigh before making his way to the sink

"Yo Manfield" a voice calls out

Markus glances towards it. "Hey, how's it going?" he asks returning his attention to washing the paint off his hands

"Fine. Hey did you hear--"

"--You know i don't care for gossip and rumours" Markus sighs

"Right, but did you that the freak, Stern, is back in school. If it knew what's good for it, it wouldn't bother" the guy laughs

Markus grits his teeth with a scowl.

"HE" Markus says slowly as if talking to a child. "He is not a freak. You all need to stop with that stupid bullshit"

The guy furrows his eyebrows and barks out a laugh. "Woah man, keep your hair on"

Markus grits his teeth, his stomach boiling with anger. "He's a person, and a cool one at that"

"You met it? I get that you're friends with it's foster sister, but i've heard you've never met it. Well, even so you always defended it"

Markus glares at him from the corner of his eye. "I met him, and he's cooler than you and those dickheads who bully him and turned the whole school against him"

People prefer to turn a blind eye

Of course, it's easier to follow the crowd than to stand up for what is right

"Dude, but have you heard about it has and what it did--"

"--I don't listens to gossip and rumours"

Well, not the bullshit anyway

Markus leaves without another word and starts packing his things away.

Luckly the guy left him alone

Lucky for himself as well as Markus, because Markus was on his last nerve with him

 

____________

 

After the bell rang signaling it's the end of class, Kara quickly packs her things and navigates through the crowd of people, making her way to Connor

"How did you find the work?" she questions holding tightly onto her bag

Connor glances to her with a shrug. "Fine why?" he replies sharply

'Why is she talking to me, she and those girls were just laughing at me,' Connor thinks scrunching his face. 'maybe she's being nice for a joke or prank'

Connors mind is whirling. 'Maybe she's going to pretend to be my friend and try to find out my secrets or something and tell everyone, or use it against me, or blackmail me or--'

"Connor!" Kara calls out throwing him out of his thoughts

"Huh? Sorry, what were you saying" Connor blinks up at her

Kara looks at him carefully. "You alright?"

"Fine, sorry i just zoned out. What were you saying?"

"It doesn't matter" Kara shrugs. "Anyway, what lesson do you have next?"

They discuss which classes they have as they shuffle out the classroom, unfortunately they don't have the same class next

Kara frowns. She wants to spend more tine with Connor, so far he's one of the only people she can actually stand being around at this school. "Oh, well i'll see you around then. Want to meet up at lunchtime?" she questions

Connor tilts his head. 'Why does she want to hang out with me' he wonders

"Er, i'm busy at lunchtime, and i have a lot of work to catch up on"

"Oh," Kara frowns. "But aren't you going to eat?" she questions

"No, i'm never really hungry"

"But you should eat"

"I'm not hungry though" he insists

"But--"

"--I'll see you around Kara" Connor lowers his head and power walks towards his class

Kara watches after him with a sigh.

'Judging by how people treat him he's probably not used to people being nice' Kara thinks to herself making her own way to class

At the mocking laughs and whispering across the corridor and classroom...

Her own experiences...

Kara knows for sure

People are cruel

__________

 

Connor scutters into the classroom and lowers his head racing to his seat.

He couldn't avoid it forever

The class is hushed with loud whispering.

But the teacher is not here yet

"Huh, so you're alive. I thought you've done everyone a favour and kill yourself already" a sharp voice laughs loudly

"Didn't Stern try to already"

"Wait, did it?" someone exclaims

"Yeah, didn't you hear?"

"Shame it didn't work" Another voice adds

Connor ignores it and fiddles with his hands. He squints his eyes shut and takes a deep breath

"We didn't really get to talk to it at registration, the new girl Kara, was talking to it and then even defended it"

"Why did she defend it?"

The voices get louder and louder

"But there's no Kara to defend it now"

"I was hoping we won't have to see it anymore"

"Seriously, it would be best for everyone if it just disappeared"

"Stern, why do you even bother, you know everyone hates you"

"Use bleach!"

Loud laughter fills the room

Heart pounding, Connor grits his teeth and tightly grasps onto the edge of his desk, his knuckles turning white from the grip

As the taunting continues, Connor tries to take deep breaths and tune it all out

It doesn't work

"Why haven't you been at school?" a rough voice breaks through the overflowing voices turning the room deadly silent

Connor jolts and bites his lip desciding to stay quiet

"Come on, tell us why you didn't come to school, too chicken and wanted to hide at home?" he mocks

The once loud classroom is hushed with the every so often whisper.

"Like the coward it is, it probably did want to hide from everyone" someone cackles

Connor glances up at the multiple glares burning into him. "I was unwell" he mumbles

Gavin scoffs from his desk. "Seriously..."

At Connors furrowed eyebrows and confused look, Gavin stands crossing his arms. Like a lion slowly stepping towards it's prey, Gavin moves forward

"Seriously, and they let you get off?" Gavin shakes his head in disgust. "If it were any of us, they wouldn't care if we were throwing up like no tomorrow, but with you," he points a finger at Connors face. "they let you do whatever huh"

Connor shakes his head firmly. "No, they don't. In fact they--"

"--Shut it, no one gives a shit"

Gavin slowly steps closer to him and peers down at him.

But before he could do anything, the teacher comes strolling in and looks at them with their eyebrows furrowed. "What's happening here?" they question

Gavin shrugs returning to his desk. "Nothing"

The teacher narrows his eyes and glances to Connor who lowers his head and fiddles with his hands

"Right..."

Rolling his eyes, the teacher glances over the class and starts the lesson

_____________

 

Mrs Jones bangs a hand on her desk looking up with a glare. "Miss Traci" she calls out

North glances up. "You talking to me?" she points to herself with a smirk

"Of course i was. And if you knew what's good for you, you'd stop playing those games"

Silence fills the room as North waits for the teacher to continue.

After a bit of silence, North rolls her eyes. "Well, what do you want"

A few giggles run through the class.

Mrs Jones' glare hardens as she jumps to a stand and slowly moves towards Norths desk which is found towards the back

"Don't talk to me like that young lady, i don't have the patience for you today. Anymore, and you'll be getting detention for the whole week, do i make myself clear"

North glares up at her gritting her teeth. "Crystal"

"Good, now i want to see you actually doing the work Miss Traci, and i expect it to be all done by the end of the lesson"

"ALL?!" North exclaims

"All" Mrs Jones confirms. "You spent nearly all the lesson daydreaming, it's no ones fault but your own. Now, i suggest you get started"

North frowns, she couldn't stop worrying about Connor, those pricks are probably making his life hell right now, and she and Connor didn't exactly leave on a good note. As much as she hates to admit it, she feels bad.

Mrs Jones strolls back to her desk with a final glare.

North seeths, leaning forward and banging her fists on her desk making a few people nearly jump out of their skins

Mrs Jones gives her a pointed look

'The fucking nerve of that bitch' North growls in her head

North moves her glare to the sheet in front of her, pratically burning a hole in it. She leans back and runs a hand over her face. "Fuckin' school, can't wait until it's fucking over" she grumbles under her breath

"Everything okay North?" a soft voice questions

North turns and sees Amelia plaiting a strand of her blue hair looking at her in concern.

Norths last name is Traci, however it's also Amelias last name--no relation. Which is how the nickname 'Blue haired Traci' came about, since Amelia has long blue hair.

However, most teachers as well as classmates, who they don't consider friends, call everyone by their last names, so most of the time it's a confustion, but North finds it something amusing to annoy and mess people with

She waves a dismissive hand with the shake of the head. "I'm fine, just fed up with all this bullshit"

Amelia chuckles. "Same, i can't until we are just free to do whatever we want to"

"And the semester literally just started" North crosses her arms and leans back with a groan.

"How are things with deciding on what you want to do after school?"

North sighs biting her lip. "Don't know" she shrugs

It's actually going terrible, but she's not going to say that or go into it when there are loads of people around and probably listening in

Amelias girlfriend, Blaire, turns to them from where she's sat in front of Amelia, sending North a small smile. "I'm sure things will work out, just give yourself time to think properly about it. Everything will be alright"

North shakes her head. "You're always so annoyingly positive"

Amelia looks at Blaire, a warm smile gracing her face as she lovingly strokes Blaires cheek. "Well, it's great to have some light in the darkness" she says looking deeply into the others eyes

North rolls her eyes and fakes a gag at their cheesy interaction. "Are you two going to the same college?" she questions

Blaire and Amelia glance to North, then eachother before turning away and lowering their heads. "We want to, but we'll have to hope and see how things go" Blaire says

"I'm sure things will work out" North says not really sure what else to say, she's not that good at giving advice

A bang at the front of the class, from the teacher hitting her fist on her desk again, stops their train of thought.

Mrs Jones glances around, now talking to the whole class. "I want complete silence for the rest of the lesson, anyone who talks will get detention for the whole week"

Groaning and yelling fills the room, before a single glare from the teacher shuts everyone up

Everyone knows not to fuck with Mrs Jones, she always sticks to her word when it comes to detention

North frowns and looks down to the sheet before her, her mind whirling rapidly

'Hope Connor's okay' North thinks with a sigh

 

_______________

The bell ringing jolts Connor out of his focus and concentration.

Shit

Heart pounding, he shoves everything into his bag; he can fix it later, but right now he needs to get out of here

And fast

He jumps to a stand bolting towards the door

"Stern stay behind for a moment please" the teacher calls out to him

Connor blinks and bites his lip.

He could pretend he didn't hear them, but the teacher will keep calling him down the corridor which will draw loads of attention on him

Connor sighs as he moves to the side ignoring the snickers and pointing, as his classmates leave for lunch.

Once the room is empty with only himself and the teacher, Connor walks towards the teachers desk with a sigh

The teacher shuts the door and sits on his desk crossing his arms.

Mr Peters is an ignorant, close minded man in his late sixties, who is very stubbon in his old fashioned ways

This is not going to end well

"How are you feeling?" Mr Peters questions

Connor tilts his head and furrows his eyebrows.

"I'm alright, much better now"

Mr Peters sits up with a frown. "Look, this is your last year. You can't skip any more classes, and if you actually care about your future you will refrain from continuing"

Connor jolts up. He thought he was skipping class?

"Er, no sir. I was not skipping class, i was unwell"

The teacher grits his teeth. "Just because your guardian allows you to lie and skip school, doesn't mean i or other members of staff will stand for it"

Connor feels his heart drop, his stomach twisting with anxiety.

"Sir--"

"--No. And if you didn't do that huge cry for attention, you would've finished school already"

Connor grits his teeth, taking a deep breath to try and control his breathing

The teacher shakes his head with a frown. "Stern, you were meant to go up a few grades--you did at one point, you were top of the class, but then you wanted more attention--"

"--No sir, that's not--" Connor pleads trying to make him understand

But Mr Peters is not having it. "--No. You may be extreamly advanced, but that doesn't allow you do whatever you want"

Connor blinks at that

The teacher leans forward with his face scrunched. "You may think your supiour to everyone--"

"--I don't"

"--Do not cut me off" the teacher yells.

Connor shuts his eyes

Mr Peters shakes his head. "And i don't, and will not, stand for special treatment, regardless of whatever mental illness or disability you claim to have"

Connor takes a deep breath, trying to calm the boiling fire in his chest flaring across him

"Firstly sir, i have was diagnosed by professionals, i never claimed to have anything. And my guardian gave the school a hospital note, i was actually unwell"

The teacher scowls, face turning red. "Don't play smart with me. And you could've still come into school" he insists stubbonly

Connor sighs. It's best just to leave it or he'd risk getting into more trouble

"Sir, i don't wish to keep you any longer from your break and lunch. You deserve a break, you don't have to waste any more time with me" Connor tries to convince him to let him go

Mr Peters looks at him and hums in agreement. "That's the only right thing you've ever said. I hardly have any breaks. Go," he points the door. "get out of here, and i listen to what i said, i don't wanna have this conversation again"

'Actually, i'm nearly always right' Connor thinks, biting his lip trying very hard not to say it out loud. But he does bounce slightly on the spot never the less. 'I can't believe it worked'

"Right Sir, i'll see you next time" Connor says racing towards the door

Hopefully no one is waiting for him

As he leaves the classroom, he spots a group of people besides the classroom. Eyes wide, he whirls around and sprints down the slightly empty corridor

"Oi freak!" one of them calls out

If he stops, they will taunt him and the possibity of a fight is very high

However, if he keeps going, the next encounter will be worse

But it would've been bad anyway

Connor keeps running down the corridor, ignoring the speeding multiple footsteps racing after him

"Get back here!"

Connor's also healing from the concussion, the last thing he needs is them making it worse

Connor slams into the wall as he tries to make a sharp turn to the right, stumbling slightly, he pushes himself off the wall and sprints faster

"NO RUNNING IN THE HALLWAY!" a teacher bellows to them

Connor manages to sprint past the teachers, but as he keeps running he hears loads of commotion behind him

Three teachers managed to stop the group running after him.

"Get back here boy!" one of the teachers yells to him

Connor normally follows orders and does what he's told no matter what.

But the adrenaline pulsing through him, pushes him forward like he's being pulled by something, like an invisible force, like an overflowing endless energy that he just has to burn

With a breathless chuckle, Connor holds tightly onto his backpack as he races down the corridor, the thril of the chase pulsing through him

_____________

Chapter Text

North flops onto her seat with a sigh. "Just kill me now" she mutters

Josh furrows his eyebrows taking a bite out of his apple. "Everything alright?"

"Just so sick and tired, i can't wait for all this to be over" she whines, dramatically ploping her head on the table with a bang

Josh and Simon share a look but shrug it off

North glances up between Simon and his food. Before Simon could comprehend what's happening, she swiftly steals a chip and shoves it in her mouth

"OI" Simon exclaims reaching for it, but obvoiusly too late

Josh sighs. "You wouldn't like it if any of us did that, so don't do it"

North lifts herself up, scrunching her face at him. Right when she's about to retrot, she notices something. Glancing around, she furrows her eyebrows. "Where's loverboy?"

Josh rolls his eyes. "He said he has things to do"

"Connor?" Simon smirks slightly

North chokes on her own spit and slaps Simons arm cackling. "Oh my gosh"

Josh narrows his eyes. "It's not funny" he says

North rolls her eyes taking a huge bite of her sandwich. "No but really, is everything alright?"

"Think so, must be just last minute homework or something," Josh shakes his head. "even though that's bad, and he should've done it already"

"How's Connor?" Simon switches the subject. "He's back at school no?"

North nods with a frown

Josh glances around narrowing his eyes. "Did you hear what everyone is saying about him?" he questions, but already knows the answer, of course they have, it's all everyone is talking about. "Seriously what did he ever do to them"

"Nothing" North grits out. "He's done nothing at all to deserve any of this. I'm on the brink of expulsion, so as much as i wanna punch the living daylights out of them, i can't. But i swear on the last day of school, i will fight everyone who's ever made his life hell"

Simon nods. "I'll help"

Josh glances between them. "No guys. As much as i hate how he's being treated, because he doesn't deserve it, fighting is never the answer" he exclaims

North grits her teeth. "How would you feel if it were your sibling being bullied or something"

"I still wouldn't fight, maybe tell the teacher--"

North scoffs. "--Like that does anything"

"Josh, you don't have siblings, so you probably don't completely get it" Simon sighs. "Sure, siblings annoy the hell out of you, and you sometimes just wanna kill them, but if anyone hurts them...good luck"

Josh glances to Simon

Simon shrugs. "If it were Emma or Daniel, i'd feel exactly the same"

North waves a hand wildly. "You see"

Before Josh could reply, a figure rushes up to them panting. "Yo, you guys have to come see this" they exclaim

North scrunches her face. "What is it? I'm not leaving my food"

Simon turns around and spots some commotion heading towards them. North follows his gaze and rolls her eyes. "So what, you want us to break up the fight"

The person shrugs. "Nah, it's just quite the show, those two idiot dumbasses are going at it again, thought you'd like to see"

Josh crosses his arms. "We aren't interested in violence" he says just as North jumps up

"You might not be, but i am, it's the only entertaining and interesting thing that goes on in this hellhole" she says pulling a reluctant Simon reaching for his food along with her towards the crowd of people

Josh rubs his forehead tiredly with a sigh

 

_________________

 

Markus strolls across the unfamiliar corridor, glancing around warily. He searched for Connor around the school for a while now, but still no sign of him. Markus normally doesn't go through these parts of the school as he doesn't have any classes here, but maybe Connor does and he can bump into him

Markus bites his lip. 'Maybe i'm too late, or his classes aren't here' he thinks as he see no sign Connor or anyone really

He griminces. 'i sound like a starker'

Markus turns a courner and something slams into him, throwing him to the ground with a loud thump. Sharp pain flares across his body as he hits the floor with the person falling on top of him

"I'm so sorry" the person exclaims

Wait

The voice is familiar

Markus forces his eyes open through the wince and sharp pain, and sees Connor staring at him with his eyes blown wide in horror

Huh

'When i said i wanted to bump into him, i didn't mean it so literal" Markus thinks to himself as if he were talking to the universe, annoyed at how much it likes to mess with him

But despite himself, Markus lets out a chocked chuckle. "I always keep falling for you"

At Connors furrowed eyebrows and confused look, Markus jolts, realising he said that out loud

Shit

"Er, i mean--you know, because i keep falling and--er, bumping into you..." Markus stutters out, rubbing the back of his neck with an awkward smile

"Right..." Connor trails off. "But are you okay? Are you hurt?" he questions glancing over Markus worriedly

Markus shrugs with a smile. "I'm fine" he lies

A sharp pain is running up his wrist, he must have landed on it when he fell. But Markus bites his tongue, it should be fine

"What about you?" he questions. "are you alright?"

Connor nods. "I'm okay"

They stare at eachother for a moment, still sitting on the floor, before turning their gazes away.

Connor stumbles to a stand and holds a hand out for Markus

Markus stares between the hand and Connors sincere face, before reaching for it with his non injured hand, a small smile gracing his face

"Thanks" Markus lowers his head to hide his blush

Connor nods reaching for his and Markus' bags which lay on the floor. He hands over Markus' bag. "Here"

Markus takes it with a nod and pulls it over his shoulder. "Thanks" he smiles. "So you just came from class?"

Connor bites his lip. 'Kinda' he thinks. But instead he says "Yeah, teacher wanted to talk to me"

Markus nods

Connor furrows his eyebrows, a thought just hitting him

"What are you doing here?" he asks

Markus doesn't have any classes on this side of the school, well as far as he knows, but he's never seen him around before

"Er..." Markus scratches his neck.

What can he say, he can't say he was looking for him, can he. If he says he was looking for him, Connor might think he's a starker or something

"I, er--" he stutters. "I just--OH" he exclaims, a thought just hitting him, which is the truth actually, but not said in a somewhat creepy way. "I wanted to see how you were. And how your first day back was--er going..." he trails off, realising how horribly it must be going, based on how people are talking about him and normally treat him

Like shit

Connor bites his lip with a shrug. "Fine"

Markus sighs feeling a pit in his stomach, there's nothing he can do. No matter how many times he defends him, no one listens and prefers to follow the crowd and majority

Markus gives Connor a reasuring look. "Don't listen to them, they just want to take out all their anger and issues on someone, to try and hide or ignore their own problems and insecurities"

Connor furrows his eyebrows and tilts his head.

Markus gives him a firm look and continues. "You're more than what they say. You're more than that"

Connor furrows his eyes, not believing it for one second. But somehow he feels himself lighten slightly, a small smile gracing his lips as he lowers his head

Despite himself, his heart flutters. It's nice having someone say something like that

But why would he?

Is it a joke or prank?

Maybe North told him too?

Like being dunched in freezing water, Connors heart drops as realisation hits him

Oh

Now that, makes a lot more sence

Connor fiddles with his hands. "I'm not very sure how to respond to that, thank you i guess"

Obvoiusly he's not going to say that he doesn't believe him, and he knows it's a joke or that North told him or something

Markus gives him a sympathetic smile. "Hold on just a little while longer, everything will be alright"

Connor feels his heart lighten slightly

Markus furrows his eyebrows glancing around. "where are you going?"

"I'm a bit behind on work, so i'm going to get started on completing it"

"You're not going to eat?"

Connor resits rolling his eyes. Why are people so obsessed with food and his eating patterns.

"I'm not hungry" he states, ready for the follow up on how he needs to eat

"But--"

There it is

Before Markus can finish, Connor sighs and moves away. "--I know. I'm just not hungry. Anyway i need to get going"

He needs to go to the library to finish off his work, and get there before anyone sees him

"Oh, er okay" Markus blinks biting his lip.

He wants to spend more time with Connor.

Maybe...

Markus takes a deep breath. "Do you, er--want--actually nevermind"

Connor tilts his head. "What were you going to say?"

Markus fiddles with his hands. 'Come on, you can do it Markus, it's not that big of a deal' he thinks to himself

He opens his mouth, but ultimately shuts it waving a dismissive hand. "No nevermind, it's okay" he sighs losing all confidence

Connor blinks at him. "O-Okay, sorry but i really have to go. But it was nice seeing you Markus" he says before running down the corridor

Markus watches him go with a deep sigh, the pain in his wrist dulling slightly.

At least he saw him.

To be fair, considering how Connor is being treated and how his day is going, Markus can't hold it against him that he wanted to get out of here quickly

Markus runs a hand over his face

He could made Connors day a bit better if he just had the courage to ask if he wanted to hang out after school

Not as a date or anything

No matter how much Markus likes Connor, they only just properly met. Markus wants to be friends with him first and get to know him properly.

He sighs pulling out his lunch from his bag as he makes his way outside to one of the nearby benches

He doesn't bother going to North, Simon and Josh, they'd just ask loads of questions

Markus flops onto the bench with a sigh

He should've just spit it out and asked him

 

_______________

 

Simon drags a jumping excitable North back to their table

North childishly skips with each step. "Did you see that punch, and the way he throw him into the tree. Damn, it's a shame the teacher stopped them, it was just getting good" North exclaims wildly.

As they approach their table, Josh crosses his arms. "So, did you two enjoy watching two people act like wild animals"

North rolls her eyes as she flops into her seat. "School's so boring, these things are the only things that keep me somewhat sane"

"You call yourself sane?" Simon retrots

North shrugs with a smirk as she bites into her sandwich. "You're just as sane as i am"

Simon furrows his eyebrows. "Is that a Harry Potter reference? Seriously?"

North points a finger at Simon. "Luna's amazing, don't come for her. On this planet and the whole universe, we love and accept Luna Lovegood"

As Simon and North squabble between them, Josh sighs. "Where's Markus, he's not as childish and unbearable as you two"

"HEY" Simon and North exclaim at the same time snapping their heads to him

Before Josh could reply, an alarm on his phone rings signaling it's nearly the end of lunch

"We better get going" he says putting his phone back in his pocket

As Josh stands, North holds a hand out signaling for him to stop. "No wait, what do you mean we're childish--"

"--Come on, we don't want to be late" Josh cuts her off cleaning up his mess

Simon sighs and stands.

North glances between them with a pout. "Wait, i didn't get to finish my food"

Josh rolls his eyes. "Just eat it on the way"

"But--"

"--If you wanted to finish all your food, you shouldn't have gone to see the fight" Josh points out

North frowns, but Simon drags her up. "Come on, we can't change the past, just eat on the way North"

North grumbles but reluctantly stands with her lunch in hand

 

_________

 

"Hey Connor" Kara brightens when she spots him entering the room

The class has not offically started yet and the teacher is not here, so Connor makes his way towards Kara's desk

"Hi Kara, is everything alright?"

Kara nods. "I just have a lot of work to do"

"Me too" Connor sighs. "But it's okay, i don't mind, it gives me something to do"

Kara furrows her eyebrows. "You don't have any hobbies?"

Connor tilts his head with a frown, looking up in thought. "I do. I like to play with Sumo, do puzzles, run, solve crimes, read and much more, if those count as hobbies. But work is more for focus and keeping the brain active, and it gives you something to think about and do"

"Yeah i guess" Kara hums in thought with a nod. "Hey, did you at least eat something at lunch?"

"Yeah" he lies.

If he wants to, Connor is an expert at lying, well, at least to people who don't know him that well

Just keep eye contact, but not for too long, and don't make any gestures or touch any part of your body, like your nose or ear

Kara smiles. "That's good, food is very important"

"I know"

Of course he knows, but he when it comes to himself, he doesn't care

Kara furrows her eyebrows. "You got to finish off your work?"

"Most of it, i still have a bit to do, and todays included" he sighs

"Do you wanna hang out after school?" Kara asks

Connor jolts

Did he just hear that right?

"Huh?"

Kara shrugs. "I mean, we can just hang out at the park or something, i have to pick up my little sister first, but she'll like you"

"Why?"

Kara furrows her eyebrows. "What?"

"Why do you want to 'hang out' with me?"

Kara smiles slightly. "Don't worry, it's not a date or anything. You just seem like a cool person"

"I'm not cool, i'm actually quite warm right now" Connor tilts his head

Kara chuckles slightly. "I mean you seem like a nice person, nicer than most people here that's for sure"

A few people around them whirl their head round to them, scrunching their faces in disgust

Kara either doesn't notice or ignores their glares

Connor bites his lip. "I don't know"

"Why?" Kara furrows her eyebrows

"I have quite a lot of work to do"

"Oh. We can do the work at the park, and if we work on it together we might finish quicker, and i can help you with the work you missed out on" she suggests. "Only if you want to though, i won't be offended if you don't want to"

Connor bites his lip in thought

He hardly knows her, what if something were to happen, or if its a joke or prank

Besides he has a schedule

*Finish school
*Get home and play with Sumo for half an hour
*Do homework for two hours
*Do his chores which lasts over an hour
*Read for an hour

Etc
Etc

If he goes with her his schedule will be ruined, and the day won't go as planned

The day will be ruined.

Connor sighs

But he can't help but think back to North, and how she used to mock and make fun of him. How she later tried to set him up with her friends, claiming he needs friends and can't make his own

Connor strightens up. "Actually, that sounds like a good idea, however i can only spend two hours there before i have to get home. Do you want to meet outside the school after classes end?"

He can spend at least two hours at the park after school, he can push his schedule forward and pull out the slots he uses for his own time, like reading and doing puzzles, and switch it for the time he spends at the park

Kara brightens. "Awesome. We can meet outside the school and go pick up Alice on the way, or do you prefer to meet at the park?"

"No, it's okay. I don't mind going with you to pick up your sister, you sure she won't mind if i go with you two?"

Kara shakes her head waving a hand. "Nah, it's fine. And i invited you to the park, not her, she's just tagging along with us. Besides, she'll just play around the childrens area, she won't bother us that much"

Before Connor could reply, the bell rings again, and the teacher comes walking in. Connor makes his way to his seat, thinking about the rest of the day ahead

 

He hopes he made the right decision

 

___________

Chapter Text

Kara silently strolls across the street with Connor in tow.

The streets are loud with people and schoolchildren running around, each having somewhere to go. Screaming kids racing around, and cars beeping loudly at the slow traffic. The smell of pollution and musk filling the air

"So, what do you want to do when you finish school?" Kara breaks the silence between them

Connor bites his lip. "Go into law enforcement"

Kara hops with each excited step. "Interesting, anything specific though?"

Connor chews on his lip. "Detective maybe"

Kara nods. "That's cool, i think you'd be good at it"

Connor glances to her. "What about you?"

Kara shrugs. "I don't really know yet, i have a few ideas, but i'm not very sure yet"

"My sister is the same"

Kara glances to him. "How is it going for her?" she questions

"Not well"

Kara gives him a sad tight smile. "I hope it works out for her"

"Thanks, i hope so too, and for you as well"

Kara gives him a smile. "Thanks" she sighs slightly. She then looks at him in question. "So do you have any more siblings?" she asks

Connor frowns slightly thinking of Cole. "Just an older sister" he mutters

He never got to meet Cole, but he would've liked to. Hank doesn't really talk about Cole because it makes him sad, but from the little stories hes heard, Cole seemed very nice

Connor glances to her. "What about you?"

Kara rolls her eyes. For a moment Connor thinks she's annoyed with him for asking, but he then notices the small fond smile on her face

"I have a older brother Adam, then it's just me and Alice" she smiles

Connor nods. "That's nice"

"Are you from Detroit?" Kara questions

Connor nods. "Yeah"

"Do you plan on staying in Detroit?"

Connor shrugs. "Don't know, maybe. Detroit is my safe space, i know it, if i leave i have to completely start over"

Kara glances to him. "But starting over can be a good thing"

Connor bites his lip. "Maybe, but i don't mind Detroit. I would like to travel prehaps, experience different cultures, but i don't really like change"

"Where would you like to go?"

Connor lowers his gaze in thought. "Don't know, haven't thought about it much, but anywhere really" he shrugs slightly. "The world is big place, well, it's as big as we'll ever know, but once you know it, it'll become small i guess"

"Makes sense, it seems big now, but once you've seen everything, you have nothing new to explore and it gets smaller"

"What about you? Do you plan on staying in Detroit?" Connor questions

Kara looks up in thought. "I'm actually not sure myself either" she hums. "I might go back to Canada, but Detroit is not how it used to be, at least for me, which is a good thing i guess"

Connor furrows his eyebrows. "What'd you mean?"

Kara shrugs and waves a hand. "Don't worry about it"

Connor tilts his head but doesn't push on further. Instead he says "How was your first day at school?"

Kara sighs with a frown. "As well as the first days of school can be"

"Horrible?"

Kara nods. "The not knowing anyone, the not knowing where the classes are, just being new" she sighs. "It was quite bad"

"It's better now though, right?"

Kara nods with a smile. "Much. I also have a friend which is great"

Connor frowns slightly. 'If she has a friend why is she hanging out with me, won't she want to hang out with them'

Before Connor could question that, Kara turns to him with a frown. "Why do you let people treat you like that?"

Connor wraps an arm around his stomach. "Like what?" he pretends to be clueless

"You know what" Kara deadpans

Connor sighs with a shrug. "If i did anything it would just make things worse, also it's the last year and i don't want to get expelled or anything for fighting"

"But you don't have to fight, just defend yourself"

"Which will result in a fight" Connor points out

Kara sighs. "I understand, i didn't really have the best time at school before i went to Canada" she confesses

Connor furrows his eyebrows. "Can i ask you a personal question, Kara?"

He has loads of questions, but he knows that people have boundries and want privacy.

Kara glances at him curiously. "Er, sure i guess"

"Why did your family move back to Detroit?"

Kara looks up in thought. Well, it could've been a worse question.

"No reason in particular" she shrugs. "We just descided to move back really. Well, and because of a job change"

"Oh"

Kara shrugs. "It's okay, i don't mind. I know Detroit, so it's not that bad"

Connor nods. "It would've been worse if you had to start somewhere completely new"

Kara smiles. "Yeah"

Connor glances up in thought. "Why do you hate snakes so much?" he questions, remembering Kara mention it once that she hates snakes

Kara furrows her eyebrows

Random

She scrunches her face. "They're just freaky with their beady eyes and long tongue, and some are poisonous"

Connor frowns. "Not all of them are poisonous. And snakes are very misunderstood"

Kara shakes her head with a shiver. "I don't know, they are just...bleh"

Connor shakes his head with a small smile

Kara skips with each step. "Right, so tell me, do you have a girlfriend?" she playfully wiggles her eyebrows at him

Connor jolts slightly

"Er, no"

Kara jokingly narrows her eyes further, a playful smirk forming on her face. "A boyfriend?"

Connor shakes his head biting his lip.

"Which do you prefer, or do you like both? Don't worry i won't judge"

Connor shrugs. "People are people, i don't really care as long as they're a nice person"

Kara blinks looking up in thought. "That's fair i guess"

Connor turns to her with a smirk of his own and narrows his eyes playfully. "What about you? You got a girlfriend, boyfriend or partner?"

Before Kara could reply, a voice calls out

"KARA!" They yell

Oh. They approched the school already. They were so into the conversation that they didn't notice. And Kara already knowing the way, just moved automatically, not really paying much attention to her surroundings

A small figure slams into Kara, stumbling her back slightly.

"Hey Alice, you okay?" Kara smiles gently stroking Alices hair

Alice nods with her face burried in Karas stomach. She slowly pulls away and glances to Connor, eyes widening as she races behind Kara, holding onto her tightly as she peeps her head through the side nervously

Kara gives Connor a awkward smile. "She's a bit shy around new people"

Connor glances to Kara before squatting to be leveled with Alice and sending her a small smile.

"Hi Alice, my name is Connor" he greets

Alice holds a hand up and waves slightly. "Hello"

Connor stumbles slightly as the a gust of wind blows, he shivers but manages to maintain his ground

"Alice is a nice name, do you like 'Alice in wonderland'?" Connor asks, remembering Kara say it's her favourite book

Alice brightens instantly and moves out of her hiding space behind Kara, shuffling forward with a smile. "I love it, it's my favourite book ever!" she exclaims

Connor smiles. "Who's your favourite character?"

Alice looks up in thought for a second. "Alice!"

Connor chuckles slightly. "So, are you excited to go to the park?"

Alice furrows her eyebrows and glances up at Kara, a beaming smile forming on her small face. "We're going to the park?" she sqeals

Kara nods. "Connor and i have some work though" she smiles sadly as Alice pouts. "but there should be a little bit of time for us to play a bit if you want to" she adds with a reasuring smile

Alice has Kara wrapped around her little finger. Alice is her baby sister, they've been through so much and Kara just wants the best for her

Alice beams bouncing on the spot, grabbing Karas hand and pulling her forward. "Awesome"

Kara and Alice are walking ahead, with Connor following them a bit far behind. He's is distracted by his thoughts as he follows them on autopilot

Alice glances back to Connor before turning to Kara with a smirk. "You got a boyfriend already?"

Kara shakes her head with a roll of he eyes. "He's just a friend"

"Soon to be boyfriend" Alice giggles.

"Girls and guys can be just friends Alice"

Alice shrugs. "He seems nice"

"He is"

They make their way towards the park, Alice excitedly skipping happily with each step

 

______________

 

North, Josh, Simon and Markus are sitting in a small cafe. There's not that many people and its cozy with the warm colours and a wooden theme.

North claps her hands. "Well, now that baby brother is okay, i don't have to be home any time soon" she exclaims happily

Markus frowns thinking of Connor and how he missed his chance to hang out with him

Josh glances to North and shakes his head. "Nice to know what matters most to you" he says sarcasticly

North rolls her eyes. "Of course i'm happy he's okay and everything" she gestures wildly. "but i don't have to go home and babysit, so that's great"

Simon sighs. "But i have to be home a bit early, at least before four-thirty" he states sadly

North snaps her head to him. "What? Why?" she demands

Markus and Josh glance at eachother before looking at Simon in question

Simon flinches slightly at their piercing gazes. "They wants us--Daniel and i--to be home to look after Emma while they go out to a dinner"

North grits her teeth, her stomach boiling as a flash of pure anger flares through her. "I swear those two only fucking fostered you and Daniel to do all the housework and babysit their kid" she spits

Josh and Markus wince and shake their heads, signaling for her to stop.

It may be the case but she didn't have to tell Simon that and make him feel bad

North catches their looks and shakes her head. "No, i'm not gonna stop, it's not right, they shouldn't fucking--"

"--North, stop" Markus cuts her off with a firm pointed look

"No" Simon speaks up, a sad smile forming on his face. "She's right. But it doesn't matter, it could be worse"

North slumps, angrily gripping the warm mug before taking a huge gulp of her hot chocolate

"Can't only one of you look after Emma?" Josh questions

"Well we can, but they want us both there. I guess they like to be in control and show that they are the boss"

Markus scrunches his face. "Why though? Why are they like that?"

Simon shrugs. "Don't know, don't care. As soon as school is over, i'm gone. I'll still see Emma--if they let me. And if they don't, hopefully she'll want to see me when she's older--but anyway, after school they won't have to deal with me anymore"

Josh sighs. "I'm sure they actually do care for you two, why else would they foster you, and even buy you both a car"

Simon scoffs. "To show off that they have money" he states. "And we're a free maid and babysitter. They also get a better reputation for fostering us, it's a win for them"

Markus gives him a sad smile. "You know, if you ever need a place to stay after school finishes or something, you can always stay at mine, though you'd have to sometimes deal with Leo"

Josh furrows his eyebrows. "He's still taking drugs?"

North narrows her eyes. "I thought you said he's trying to stop"

"Emphasize on trying" Markus sighs.

Simon smiles at Markus. "Thanks for the offer, i wouldn't want to intrude or anything though"

Markus shakes his head. "You won't be, i'm sure Carl would like to have you there as well"

Josh gives Simon a small smile. "I would offer as well, but my parents are always fighting, and...well, it's not fun"

"Same, i'd offer too" North joins in. "But you know..."

Simon lowers his head to hide the blush from all the caring support and thoughtfulness of his friends.

"Thanks you all, it might not be needed, but i appreciate it"

Markus gives him a smile. "It's alright" he says before turning to the others with a girm look. "By the way, it goes for everyone, if any of you need a place to stay, theres mine, but unfortunantly you'd have to deal with Leo though"

North glances to Markus, eyes peeping out from the rim of the mug. She pulls it down with a smirk. "Maybe i should visit, knock some sense into him"

Markus griminces. "I'd rather you didn't" he mutters. "The first and last time you came to my house, you broke his nose"

North turns to him affronted. "Er, he deserved it" she exclaims

Markus shakes his head, before taking a sip of his coffee with a frown. "The only reason i don't invite you guys to my house is because of him, he's very aggressive when he's on drugs, and is always asking for money"

North pats his shoulder. "Don't worry, we understand" she gives him a firm nod. "and it's not just you, we all have our own reasons to not wanting eachother at our houses, and its okay"

Josh nods. "For once i agree with North" he says. "Trust me, you don't want to be around when my parents are arguing"

Simon frowns. "I'm not allowed to bring guests over"

North gestures to everyone. "See" she proves her point. "And i just worry about you guys seeing and having to deal with Hank drunk"

Josh furrows his eyebrows. "I thought you said he's trying to stop"

North sighs. "He is, he is. It's just the odd days really, or if something happens"

Markus frowns remembering about the photo of the little boy no older than six. He was Hanks son.

Markus sighs. It must be hard

Josh notices a figure in the courner of the cafe. "Doesn't that girl look familiar" he whispers subtly gesturing to the figure sat in the booth by themselves

Markus and North look in that direction while Simon turns in his seat to look back, much to Joshes distressed and worried "No guys, don't make it obvious"

Simon turns back and Markus looks away but North keeps her eyes on the person.

North stands much to the confustion of everyone and turns to them. "I'll be back" she says making her way despite Markus, Josh and Simon whisper-yelling for her to come back

As North approches, she's greeted by curious bright blue eyes. "Hello" they greet

North feels her stomach flutter and flip at the bright smile gracing the persons face.

When she first met Chloe in the park, she somehow managed to keep her composure, but now there's no one else here but her, no one to take the main attention off her

And Chloes beautiful, how can one stay calm around her

"H-Hi" North stutters out

Dammit

"Chloe, right?"

The person--Chloe nods her smile widening. "Yeah, and you're...North, no? I think that's what Connor called you"

North glances back to where the guys are. Simon, Josh and Markus are staring at her. They jolt, looking away when they notice her sharp gaze

She looks back to Chloe and nervously twirls with a loose lock of hair. "North, i mean, yeah that's my name"

Chloe chuckles, a beaming smile on her face. "Delighted to meet you North"

"Yeah" North nods. "Er, look, i just want to thank you i guess, for helping Connor that day"

Chloe blinks at her. "Oh, it was no problem" she reasures. "He looked like he needed help, and after all, he did help me, it's the least i could do"

"Right" North nods, fiddling with the ketchup sitting on the table. "You come here often?"

Chloe chuckles. "Is that a flirtation?"

North flushes. "Wha--no, i was just wondering, i've never seen you around here before"

"I never came to this cafe before, someone recomended it to me"

"But have you been in Detroit all this time? I'm sure i would of noticed you before"

At Chloes small smile turning slightly into a smirk, North jolts up, just noticing what she said

"I mean, you know, er whatever" she mumbles, trailing off

"I don't really go out much" Chloe answers. "I'm kinda like an introvert" she smiles slightly

North nods

Chloe glances to something behind North before looking up at her. "Your friends are waiting for you it seems" Chloe gestures to where Simon, Markus, and Josh are staring at them, the guys snap their eyes away again when they notice Chloe and Norths looks

North shrugs waving a dismissive hand. "Don't worry about it"

Chloe takes a careful sip of her tea

North nervously scratches her neck. "You here by yourself?"

"I'm waiting for someone, he should be here soon"

Oh

North forces a smile. "Oh, right then, i'll see you around then"

Chloes smile falters. "Okay, see you"

At that, North whirls round and makes her way back to the table, flopping onto the seat with her head lowered to hide her blush. She grumbles, ignoring their questioning looks

"I just wanted to thank her for before" she says sharply

North glances towards Chloe and feels her cheeks heat when they lock eyes, Chloes curious gaze staring at her. North breaks the eye contact and turns to Markus.

"So Markus, did you hear about the fight?" she tries to change the subject

Markus, Simon, and Josh, glance between her and Chloe in confustion, but shrug it off and allows the subject to be changed

 

_________________

 

Connor and Kara flop onto the ground with a sigh. The sun is shining brightly, the rare warm heat a nice huge difference from the cold. Kara turns to Alice and grasps her arm before she can run off.

"Listen, we'll be over here if you need anything. Don't talk to strangers--"

"--Don't take candy from strangers, don't go with strangers, i know i know!" Alice exclaims bouncing up and down. "Please let me go"

Kara sighs and releases her arm. She watches her go race to the kids playground and run towards the slide

"You okay?" Connor breaks her out her thoughts

Kara turns to him and nods with a smile.

Connor glances between her and Alice, who's sliding down the slide. "You very protective over her" he observes

Kara glances to Alice. "She's my baby sister, she means a lot to me"

"That's understandable"

North turns to him. "Are you and your sister close?"

Connor blinks at that. Are they? They tell eachother everything, he trusts her with his life, and in the end, they always have eachothers back

"...Yeah" he trails off. "At least, i think so" he furrows his eyebrows

Kara smiles at him before pulling a textbook out of her bag. "Do you wanna start with math?"

Connor blinks, throwing himself out his thoughts. "Sure"

"So you were sick these past few days right?"

Connor nods distantly. Technically he not 'sick', but he's doesn't want to into it, so he just nods

Kara gives him a sympathetic smile. "It sucks"

Connor nods

Kara flicks through the pages. "So we worked on this these past few days..." she trails off, pointing to the diagrams

 

_______________

 

Simon checks the time on his phone and sighs. "I better get going" he states

North frowns. "Just tell 'em you can't, that you have a project or something. Or that Daniel can do it by himself"

Simon shakes his head. "Can't" he sighs. "Besides, that would just make things worse. Don't worry, it's fine"

Markus frowns. "Its not fine"

North grumbles. "I'm finally free to stay as long as i want, and you have to go home early"

"It's not my fault" Simon crosses his arms

Josh places a hand on Simons shoulder. "Go, you don't want to be late which will make them yell at you"

Simon nods, rapidly shoving his phone in his pocket. "I'll see you guys tomorrow" he stands with a small wave

They wave to him as he makes his way out the cafe.

"I'd better get going too" Markus sighs placing his phone away

"What?!" North exclaims

Markus holds his hands up in defense. "I have an art project i have to finish"

North groans and looks up in despair. "I literally get to spend as much time as i want out, and everyone wants to go home early"

"It's not that i want to go home early, i have work to do"

North grits her teeth and stares out the window

Markus rolls his eyes. "There's other days North"

North turns to him. "But it's our last year...we hardly ever see eachother as it is. And when school ends, we'll probably never see eachother at all"

"Are you nervous about missing us" Josh teases

"Fuck off" North flips him off

Markus pulls her into a side hug from where they're sat. "Don't worry, everything will be alright"

North leans into the hug. She doesn't want their friendship to go, or disappear like most friendships do once school finishes

Markus comfortingly rubs his hand up and down her arm and glances between her and Josh. "I can drop you both home if you want" he says

Josh gives him a greatful smile

North grumbles nonsence but moves to stand anyway

They walk out the cafe and towards Markus' car

"I want my own car" North sighs, longingly tracing her hand over the shiney black vehicle

Josh glances to her. "You should've saved the money from that job you had, instead of spending it on all that shit"

North scowls as she slides into the car. "I needed those things, and i didn't know cars were this expensive"

Josh rolls his eyes flopping into his seat. "Right, because you needed a new phone and all those clothes"

"My phone was broken" North exclaims with a frown

Markus cuts in before the arguement can continue. "Guys stop, what's done is done you can't change the past"

North crosses her arms. "You're not one to talk rich boy. Daddy bought you this car and buys whatever you want"

Markus frowns turning the car on. "Not everything" he mutters

North scoffs rolling her eyes. "Sure"

 

_______________

 

Simon makes his way through the door with a wince. There was loads of traffic and he's ten minutes late.

"WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?!" A voice roars from across the hallway

Simon griminces. "Sorry, there was loads of traffic"

A tall figure makes his way forward, but another figure races up to him and attacks him into a huge hug. Simon stumbles back slightly but pats her head. "Hey Emma" he whispers as a tall looming figure appears from behind her

John, his foster dad, crosses his arms, a deep frown on his face. "We took into account that project you have to do, and specifically said for you to be home at a certain time...and this is how you repay us"

Simon pulls Emma behind him, who runs away to play. "I'm sorry, there was loads more--"

"--I don't wanr to hear it!" John roars. "You never listen to us. You're always out until very late, you are always home late. Simon, this is unacceptable, and now we're going to be late for the dinner"

Simon spots Daniel nervously hiding behind the wall and peeping through every so often to see what's happening

John grits his teeth. "You're meant to be here to look after Emma and do the housework" he spits

Simon bites his lip. "I'm really sorry"

"We take you, and your brother, in. We feed you, give you shelter, we even gave you ungrateful brats a fucking car each. And this is what you fucking do"

Simon winces as Johns voice gets louder and louder.

"I'm sorry" Simon whispers

John crosses his arms. "You will be if you keep this up" he points a finger in Simons face. "You're on very very thin ice young man, i'm sure you don't want a reminder of what will happen if you disobey us"

Simon winces

"No sir, i'm so sorry"

John sneers and stomps away

Simon scrunches his eyes shut with a deep breath

That's not even the worst of Johns tempers

"You okay?" Daniel asks slowly walking up to him

Simon opens his eyes and frowns. "Amazing, never better" he mutters sarcasticly

Daniel frowns. "No need to be like that"

Simon sighs. "I'm going to start dinner for us and Emma" he says making his way to the kitchen

Daniel follows after him. "I already started, since you were late"

Simon frowns. "Whatever"

Daniel crosses his arms. "You know Johns right, they took us in and--"

Simon shakes his head. "--I'm going to do my homework. See you around" he makes his way to his room, ignoring Daniel calling after him

He flops into his bed with a sigh, glancing to the calendar on the wall counting down till graduatuion

Still a long way to go

____________

 

North frowns at the lights still switched off around the house as Markus drives up to her house. She glances to him and Josh. "Right, see you guys later" she says jumping out the car

"See you" Markus and Josh wave after her

North opens the front door, her frown deepening at there being no source of light anywhere in the house. "Hello?" she calls out turning the light on

She rolls her eyes at Sumo barking at her, but she breifly strokes his head before gently pushing him away. "Connor?" she calls out

She strolls into the sitting room and turns on the lights. She glances around the sitting room and kitchen

He's not here

He's normally long home by now. And he even said he was coming stright home

Strange

Wait

North jolts up, her heart dropping before rapidly beating as fast as the speed of light

"Connor?!" she sprints towards his room, snapping the light on and glancing around the room

He's not there

She bangs on the bathroom door. "You in there?!" she yells

She barges in and rapidly scans the room

Nothing

She bites her nails. 'What if something happened?' she rapidly thinks to herself

North swiftly pulls her phone out and debates on calling Hank. 'He might know where he is, or can look for look for him'

Heart pounding, she jolts and rolls her eyes at herself

She was so worried she didn't even think to call him first

'Stupid' she facepalms

She scrolls through her contacts and calls Connor

After a few rings he picks up

"Hello" he greets

North lets out a huge sigh of relief, before she grits her teeth and feels her stomach boil. "Where the fuck are you?!"

"Oh, you're home early"

North takes a deep breath, somehow resisting the urge to scream at him

"Right, but where are you? Are you okay?"

"i'm fine. I'm sorry, i assumed you'd be home much later as you don't have to be home early anymore, so i didn't bother to tell you i'd be home late"

North furrows her eyebrows. "Where are you?"

"At the park"

North tiles her head with a frown. "Right.. Whatever, just let me know next time, jeez"

"Where you worried about me?" Connor teases

North rolls her eyes. "See ya" she hangs up without waiting for a responce

She turns to Sumo looking up at her with his head tilted.

North scoffs shaking her head. "Stupid brat is at the park"

Wait

Hold on

"Wait, if you're here" she points to Sumo. "then why is he at the park" she scrunches her face

She rolls her eyes. "Ugh whatever"

Chapter Text

"I should've brought Sumo here, he would've liked to be at the park" Connor frowns slightly

Hank sent a message saying the new leash arrived this morning

"Do you have any photos of him?" Kara glances to him in question

Connor rapidly nods his head, briskly pulling his phone out. "Of course i do"

He doesn't even have to scroll to find a photo, as literally the first photo on the camera roll is of Sumo. He clicks on it and shows the photo to Kara

The photo was taken from a low angle. Sumo is sleeping on the sofa, his head resting on his paws as the new dawn sun shines through the window, lighting the room into a soft warm glow.

"Aww he's so cute" Kara beams

Connor smiles slightly, turning his phone away and scrolling to find another photo. He shows the new photo to Kara

The photo was taken from a high shot, Sumo staring up into the camera with a doggish smile, his tounge sticking out slightly

"Those photos were taken very well" Kara nods, impressed

"Thank you" Connor lowers his head slightly to hide his tiny smile

"What's your favourite animal? Dogs?"

Connor glances up, pure conflict in his eyes and written on his face. After a few moments Connor finally opens his mouth. "I like dogs. But i also like fish, cats, birds and many more, i honestly don't know what's my favourite"

Kara nods. "That's okay you know, loads of people don't have a specific favourite, it's hard to choose"

Connor glances to her. "Do you have a favourite?"

"Cats" she states without any hesitation or second thought

"I brought a stray cat home last week, and she instantly found out how to open all the doors" he chuckles, the memory flashing through his mind. "Hank woke up to her sleeping on his stomach, he was not happy about that"

Kara chuckles but furrows her eyebrows. "Who's Hank?"

Connor blinks

Oh

"He's my..." he trails off deep in thought. He doesn't have any friends, so he's never really had to explain or say who Hank is. Also most people already know through gossip

Foster dad

He doesn't like saying it, not because he's embarresed or anything, but because of the follow up questions and pity that comes after

And Hanks more than that

He's like an actual father

"He's my dad" Connor states with a small proud smile

Kara nods. "And what happened after? Why did you bring the cat to your house in the first place? Was Sumo okay with her?"

"Well, Hank was annoyed, but it's not the first time i bring strays home, so he just grumbled and went about his day"

Kara chuckles. "He's so chill"

Connor looks up in thought "Yeah, i guess he is" he says distantly.

He shudders to think about what Amanda would do to him if he ever did that

"Anyway," Connor brings himself back. "when i bring strays home, i make sure they and Sumo don't see eachother. I hide the strays in my room or the garden, until i go to bed, then i put Sumo in the bathroom until the stray is in the sitting room or something, then i let Sumo out and instantly bring him to my room and close the door--he does bark more often, but only for a while--and then i put the stray in the bathroom, so they don't mess anything up"

"And your dad is okay with you bringing strays in? Even if my brother weren't allergic, i don't think i could get away with it"

Connor bites back a smile. It's strange having people refer to Hank as his dad. Not foster dad. But dad. It's nice

"At first he was so pissed off, saying how 'We are not a damn animal shelter. Those animals are gonna ruin my house. If one of those animals ruin my things i swear...' " Connor imitates Hanks gruff voice perfectly. He chuckles slightly, "but now, he does still get annoyed, but he's softened up a bit, and doesn't really care as long as they don't mess anything up"

Kara chuckles. "What about your sister?"

Connor shakes his head. "She hates it" he chuckles. "once i brought a poor dog in, he was malnourished and soaked from the rain. I gave him a bath, and dried him off, but the dog was so nervous he ran off and accidentally peed in her room"

Kara gasps. "Oh my gosh, what happened?" she whispers, leaning in slightly as if it were a huge secret

"She yelled at me and kept complaining to Hank. Ever since then, Hank has been a bit more strict on me bringing strays in, at least being more strict in making sure they don't mess anything up"

"What do you do with them in the end? Keep them?"

"I make sure that they aren't missing pets or anything, but i mostly bring them to a shelter--a no kill shelter--the people there are very nice and let me see the strays i found and let me know if they've been adopted"

Kara stares at him in awe. "That's so cool"

Connor lowers his head with a small smile. "Thank you"

"No really" she exclaims. "that's seriously is so amazing and cool, not many people would do that, or even take one in, let alone go through all that effort"

Connor fiddles with his hands. "I--Er yeah"

Kara notices his uncomfort and descides to change the subject. "So," she glances around the park. "what do you think of that guy over there?" she nods her head towards a guy playing with a dog across from them

Connor tiltes his head and scans him

The guy has long brown hair and pale white skin, he's wearing just normal jeans and a black jumper

Connor shrugs. "Don't know, why?" he furrows his eyebrows. "Are you attracted to him?"

Kara shakes her head. "Nah, i'm just wondering what's your type" she glances around. "Actually tell me, what is your type?"

Connor blinks

"I don't mind what gender, but honestly, i'm not that attracted to women--no offence" he says quickly

Kara shrugs. "Each to their own. I play for both teams, but sometimes prefer men, but sometimes prefer women"

Connor tilts his head. "What team?"

Kara chuckles waving a small fist. "Wildcats" she mutters mostly to herself

Connor blinks at her. "what does High School Musical have to do with this?"

Kara shakes her head waving a dismissive hand. "Don't worry about it"

Connor blinks again but shrugs slightly before looking up in thought. "I guess i like someone who's funny and can make me laugh...someone who's passionate...someone who's not that outgoing but likes to do some crazy things. Someone who's...a nice person...something like that"

Kara glances around the park again. "What about that guy?" she points towards a group of people, but singles out a guy with long black hair wearing stylish clothes,

Connor shakes his head. "They're a very loud person who talks a lot and like to be surrounded by loads of people"

Kara looks at him in confustion. "Do you know him?"

Connor shakes his head. "No, but you can easily tell"

Kara furrows her eyebrows glancing at between him and the guy. "How? Because of the amount of people? He might not actually like being there"

Connor shakes his head. "His posture is relaxed and open, he's not closed off in any way or fidgiting, so he's comfortable around them. And judging by the wild gestures and amount he's talking, he's very social and talkative"

Kara stares at the guy for a while before turning to Connor with a amused smile. "Huh, all right Sherlock" she chuckles

Connor tiltes his head slightly. "My name is Connor" he states

Kara shakes her head fondly before glancing around the park once more. After a while she jolts slightly and turns to him. "Do you have a crush on anyone?"

Connor blinks and tiltes his head in thought

Does he? He doesn't really know that many people outside of his family. No friends. His classmates aren't that nice. And he's had past relations but those didn't end well.

Connor bites his lip. "No not really" he says distantly

Kara sends him a small reasuring smile. "That's okay you know, you might one day, and even if you don't, that's still okay"

Connor nods. "Thanks" he smiles. Connor glances down in thought. "There is one guy, he helped me and was very nice to me, but i don't think i have a crush on him"

Kara smirks. "Sounds like true love to me"

Connor misses the teasing tone and shakes his head. "I don't love him, i hardly know him" he states

"Then get to know him"

Connor shakes his head. "He wouldn't want to be around me, he was probably just being nice for the sake of it, or because i'm his friends brother"

At the realisation that it's a friend of his sister, Kara misses the self-loathing comment. Her eyes bug out slightly. "Oh, he's your sisters friend"

Connor nods. "Yeah. Although, i wouldn't be suprised if they stared dating" he frowns

"Do you think he likes her like that?"

Connor shrugs. "I don't know, i don't really know him, well, apart from what i've seen and heard of him, but North--my sister--didn't tell me she has a crush on him, but she might not want to tell me"

"Guys and girls can be just friends you know"

"I know, it's just...i don't know, they seem so close and North sometimes talks about him a lot, i just wouldn't be suprised"

"I don't know, but it wouldn't hurt to find out, ask your sister, or hang out with him one of these days or something, and get to know him"

Connor bites his lip. "But with school nearly finishing, i don't want to get into a relationship. High school love hardly ever lasts, and i want to focus on my studies"

There's more but he doesn't want to talk about it

Kara frowns in thought. "...But what if it ends up lasting" she tries

Connor gives her a look

Kara sighs with a nod. "I get it, i get it. But still, i think you should give it a shot, you never know until you try"

Connor wraps his arms around his legs. "Have you ever had any past relations?" he changes the subject

Kara blinks at him

"You're so formal sometimes" she chuckles. "but to answer your question, yes i have. All of them have been experiences, i learnt from them, sure the outcome was awful and even some of the relationships, but i learnt from them" she distantly shrugs

Connor shakes his head. "I'd rather not risk it, and what's the point on going through all that just for it to end badly, and then going through more"

Kara stares at the ground in thought before looking up towards Connor. "Just take a chance, you never know"

Connor lowers his gaze. He bites his lip shaking his head. "I'm alright as i am" he says but looks longingly into the distance.

Kara narrows her eyes but nods slowly. She glances to the textbooks laying in front of them. "You know, not many people understand this" she changes the subject, pointing to the numbers and diagrams in the textbooks. "and you understood it stright away despite not being in the class"

Connor misses her questioning tone and tilts his head in confustion

Kara waits a bit for him to reply, when he doesn't and furrows his eyebrows, she pulls the textbooks closer. "I mean, i didn't even have to explain much as you've heard of it before"

"So..." Connor trails off in confustion

"So!" Kara exclaims pointing to the diagrams. "how did you know?"

Connor lowers his head with a shrug. "I'm good at math"

Kara scoffs. "Good? I'm good at math but you're on a new level of amazing, i saw you today, it took you less than ten minutes to do a piece of work which took most of the class nearly the whole lesson just to understand"

Connor fiddles with his hands and bites his lip, unsure of how to respond

Kara gives him a small smile. "It's not a bad thing, that's actually freaking awesome" she laughs slightly

Connor shakes his head. "Most people just say i'm a show off"

Kara furrows her eyebrows. "Why? Because you're very smart?"

Connor shrugs and sighs. "I guess so... I understand the work quickly, i finish the work quicker than them, i get high grades..." he trails off staring at nothing

Kara frowns. "They're jealous of you" she concludes

"I don't know. But I'm not trying to be a show off, i just...know the work"

Kara looks up in thought. "I don't think you're a show off. You're just very quick and smart, besides you never even put your hand up in class even though you know the answer, you never draw any attention to yourself. If you were a show off, you would gloat and boast about your grades and knowing the answers, but you don't, you keep to yourself and don't say that you know"

Connor bites his lip, unsure of how to respond. "Yeah, thanks i think" he mumbles.

Kara sends him a smile. "You're my friend, if they give any trouble let me know"

Connor blinks

Wait...

Friends?

"Friends?" he accidentally finds himself saying out loud

Kara slowly nods. "Unless you...don't want to be, i guess--"

"--No, it's fine. I mean, it'd be a pleasure to be your friend Kara" Connor finds himself unable to stop the small genuine small forming on his face

Kara smiles and closes the textbook, gently placing it in her bag and handing Connors over to him. Connor places it in his backpack and sighs. Pulling out his phone he sees that two hours has almost passed. "Sorry Kara, but i must get going"

Kara jolts up. "No wait--" she reaches for him as he stands

"--sorry, two hours have nealy passed and i must get going"

"Oh right, but still i didn't mean to offend you or anything--"

Connor shakes his head. "--You didn't. I've really enjoyed hanging out with you"

Kara stands. "By the way, if a relationship is not what you want, then don't force yourself, do whatever feels right"

Connor gives her a tight smile. "Thanks"

Kara picks her bag up and sighs. "It might be best for Alice and i get to home too" she glances to Alice before grimincing and hitting her forehead. "I said you'd play with her a bit"

Connor glances between them, his face written with conflict. "Sorry but--" he starts

Kara shakes her head and gently places a hand on his arm. "--No no, i completely understand, she'll be alright"

Connor bites his lip. He already changed his schedule a lot, and he really needs to get home or the rest of the day will be ruined. "Only two minutes" he finds himself saying holding back a wince, he really needs to get home, but he doesn't want to disappoint the little girl

Only two minutes

Kara shakes her head. "No it's fine. Seriously," she smiles slightly. "maybe next time"

Connor winces. "Are you sure?"

"Yeah, go before she comes here" she gently pushes Connor forward

Connor slowly nods. "I'll bring Sumo next time"

Kara beams. "Yeah! That would be cool"

Connor nods and starts making his way. "I'll see you tomorrow?"

Kara nods with a wide smile. "I'll see you tomorrow"

Connor starts making his way out the park, skipping slightly with each step and feeling very light

Is this what having a real friend feels like?

 

______________

 

A bang ripping through the deadly silence startles Simon as he whirls round in his office chair towards the door, his heart leapping out of his chest

"Simon, lets play" Emma exclaims running in the room

Simon takes a huge breath and pinches the bridge of his nose. "Emma," he says slowly. "do not open the door like that. Do you hate me so much that you want to give me a heart attack"

Emma misses the teasing undertone of sarcasm and rapidly shakes her head, her eyes bugging out. "No no, i'm so sorry, i forgot" she exclaims

Simon sighs. "It's fine, it's fine. Just please remember to knock, unless you want a ghost haunting your room"

"I will, i will. I'm so sorry"

Simon fully turns to her from where he's sat at his desk. "It's fine, but i can't play right now, i have loads of work to do" he states. "Ask Daniel"

Emma pouts. "But he said he's busy too"

Simon sighs. "Play on your tablet or computer for now, then we'll play a bit after dinner"

Emma sends him puppy dog eyes with a pout. "Promise?"

Simon chuckles despite everything. He holds his hand out and sticks his little finger out. "Pinky promise" he smiles

They lock pinkys, Emmas tiny finger wrapped over Simons

"Go play," Simon smiles, gently pushing her towards the door. "The sooner i finish my work, the more time we'll have to play"

Emma races towards the door, but looks back, bouncing on the spot. "Have fun with the work" she smiles before racing out

"Shut the door!" Simon yells after her

Emma groans, running back and slamming the door shut

Simon scoffs lightly to himself. 'Kids' he shakes his head fondly

With a sigh, he gently rubs his temple to help relive some stress as he hunches over his desk and glares at the textbooks in front of him

Emma runs to her room and flops onto her bed with a sigh and grabs her phone to call her friend

'Hey, everything okay?' her friend answers

'Fine, just bored. Simon was late again and dad shouted at him' Emma responds with a sigh

'Why was he late?'

'Dont know, but i hate when dad shouts, Simon needs to stop coming late so dad can stop'

'Did you tell Simon to stop'

'I did but he still does it'

'Maybe...tell your dad to stop shouting 'cause it scares you'

'It doesn't scare me!' Emma insists

They continue their conversation, the topic changing to gossip about who has a crush on who and what's the homework about

 

____________

 

"Well, well, well, look who it is" a loud voice calls out. Connor turns round to see Reed and Chen strolling up to him with a smirk. "It's the freak of Detroit" Reed states gesturing to Connor

Connor frowns and glances around. The streets are semi empty, only the odd car racing down the deserted road. He holds himself high and gives them a blank look

Gavin narrows his eyes, his smirk widening. "Where are you going? Are you going home?"

Connor furrows his eyebrows, unsure if it's real question or not. "Why do you want to know?"

Reed snickers with Chen, their loud mocking laughs echoing down the quiet street. "You really are as stupid as you look" Chen shakes her head

Connor stays quiet, deciding that's the best option right now

"So," Reed glances around. "where's your girlfriend?"

Connor furrows his eyebrows. "I'm not in a relationship"

Reed scoffs. "Well, look at that. Even the new girl wants nothing to do with you and be with your stupid ass"

The urge to retrot and correct Reed by saying they are friends is on the tip of his tounge, fighting through him, like an itch you just have to scratch

Connor takes a deep breath

"I have to go" he manages to grit out, not waiting for a reply as he turns on the heel of his foot and whirls around

"Hey wait up freak" Reed calls out

Connor hunches over himself as Reed runs up and walks besides him, Chen walking besides Connor on his other side

"Now now, did we say the conversation was fucking finished" Reed hisses, he glances to Chen and snickers. "Looks like it needs to learn some manners"

Connor jolts, his heart somehow pounding even faster against his tightening chest. "I have to go" he mutters before sprinting forward, gripping onto his backpack tightly

"Oi" Reed yells

Connor keeps running, his feet stinging with each step as he races down the street, trying to ignore the yells and fast footsteps getting louder and faster

The air is kicked out of him when a sudden force yanks him backwards, nearly falling if it weren't for something holding his backpack. Connor glances back to see Reed pulling on his backpack with a sneer

Connor pulls against him, pushing himself forward trying to pull the bag out of Reeds firm grip. "Let me go"

"No" Reed growls

A hand with a fierce tight grip yanks his shoulder. Connor jolts, the touch ripping through him as if being burnt. Sharp. Uncomfortable. And flaring through him.

Connor grits his teeth. Something snapping in him like a twig. He whirls round scrunching his face at Gavins wide smirk. Connor grabs the hand and yanks Gavins fingers backwards. All the built in pain and anger from everything edging him on as he swiftly bends them back with a crack

A painful ear-piecing scream rips though Gavin and echos across the street. Gavin drops to the floor as Connor pulls his fingers back impossibly even more.

His loud scream rips across the deafening silence

The scream snaps something in Connor

Connor flinches back and throws the hand away as if he himself was hurt. He stares wide eyed in at Reeds face scrunched up in pain

Shit

"THE FUCK FREAK?!" Chen screams, dropping to the floor where Gavin is kneeling and gently grasping his fingers

Connor stumbles backwards, mouth agape frozen in realisation.

Shit

He was so angry, aggravated, and on edge from everything that's been happening, that he didn't realise what he was doing, he didn't realise his strength, he was not even thinking

"I'm so sorry, you--i--" he glances around to see a bunch of adults running towards them

Shit

Heart pounding against his head, each bang like a bullet ripping through the air, Connor stumbles back before breaking into a run. Not wanting confrontation, not wanting to deal with everything, not wanting to be screamed at.

Dread pulses through him. His heart erratically pounding, and breaths out of control

______________

 

North sighs running a hand through her hair. 'This is so stupid' she thinks shoving the textbook and notebooks forward before falling back against the bed with a grumble

She grasps her phone with a sigh. "Just five minutes" she mumbles to herself as she rolls over and lays on her side while scrolling on her phone

Her stomach grumbles as she scrolls apon a photo of a burger, the melted cheese dripping onto the crispy bacon laying ontop of the burger

'Maybe i'll call Hank to bring some burgers for dinner' she wonders to herself

North grits her teeth and grumbles when Sumo starts barking wildly. She stands and stomps out of her room, but the front door slamming open then shut stops her in her tracks

"H-Hello Sumo" the familiar voice coos but slightly out of breath

North lets out a small breath of relief that it was not someone breaking in, but furrows her eyebrows. 'He was running?' she thinks to herself

With a small shrug to herself, North strolls towards him rolling her eyes and crossing her arms before leaning on the wall. "So..." she starts. "where have you been?"

Connor places his backpack on the kitchen table, North closely following him. "At the park" he states taking a deep breath

"Why would you go to the park without Sumo"

Connor grabs an apple shaking his head. "Why? Why you care?"

"Just answer me"

Connor turns to her with a frown and opens his mouth to answer. With his mouth half open he blinks and shuts it with a frown.

No

He strolls towards the sink and washes the apple. "Why are you home early? I thought you'd love to not have to deal with me anymore" he changes the subject

North notices and frowns. "Why are you changing the subject?" she demands

Connor grabs a knife and starts to slowly peel the skin off the apple. "Why aren't you answering me?" he points out

North stomps towards him and yanks the knife out his hand. "Did something happen?" she demands

Connor tries to take it back but North pulls it out of reach. "You know that's very dangerous North, what if you accidentally stab yourself?" he says trying to take it back again

North holds the knife behind her back and out of reach of Connor. "Then stop trying to take it back and answer me"

Connor scowls crossing his arms. "I'm not answering until you give me the knife" he states stubbonly

North shakes her head. "No, i know you'll keep trying to change the subject" she knowingly says. "What's the big deal, just tell me"

Connor stands still, waiting for the right moment, before he swiftly reaches for it again, however, knowing Connor for as long as she had, North sees it coming and pulls it away just in time.

"HA! Nice try"

Connor frowns. "It's not a crime to go to the park North"

"I know that, dumbass. Just tell me what you were doing"

"You're not my mother, why the fuck do you want to know"

Defensive

"Oooooouh" North teases. "you just swore, it must be a secret--OH" she sqeals at a sudden thought. "--DO YOU HAVE A SECRET BOYFRIEND?!" she exclaims with a face splitting grin

Connor rolls his eyes. "No" he deadpans

North narrows her eyes. "Not a girlfriend is it? I thought you liked guys more"

Connor takes Norths slight confustion as an oppertunity to swiftly and quickly grab the knife.

Success

North reaches for it but fails as Connor pulls away. Connor frowns at her. "Leave me alone, don't you have homework to punch"

North grits her teeth with a deep breath. "Did something happen?"

Connor blinks at the the sudden change in subject after North was so stubbon and adamant about his whereabouts. He shakes his head. "Er no" he shrugs biting his lip

North narrows her eyes. "Thats a lie, i heard what people where saying around the school"

Connor heart leaps out his chest, for a moment worried she knew about what happened with Reed. "Since when do you listen to gossip?" he mumbles, continuing to peel the apple

"I don't but it's not hard to miss, especially it being literally the whole school and the bullshit they were saying"

Connor grits his teeth. "It's not my fault is it"

North crosses her arms. "I know that, but don't you see with people like that, how can i not ask where you were and if things are okay"

Connor chuckles. "You worried about me?" he teases

North frowns. "No" she exclaims crossing her arms. A deafening silence filling the room

Connor sighs cutting the apple into pieces, the sound of the knife slashing like a ticking bomb, the deadly silence suffocating. "How was your day?" he breaks the tense silence

North narrows her eyes and stares at him for a moment. With a huff she flops onto a chair. "Well apart from hearing the bullshit people say about you, it was whatever"

"It's not my fault" he says placing the knife onto the counter. He lowers his head with a sigh, holding onto the counter as he leans forward slightly. "i genuinely don't know what i did to have people hate me so much" he says lowly, staring at nothing.

North glances up to him with a frown. "You did nothing, people are just fucking assholes"

"It must be something" he whispers lowering his gaze

North jumps up and shoves Connor to the side, effectively bringing him out of his thoughts as he stumbles to the side exclaiming "Hey!"

North points at the pieces of apples with a scowl. "Those ain't for me are they" she changes the subject

"You like apples with nutella" he states furrowing his eyebrows looking at her in confustion

North glances to him in confustion. "Well, yeah. But why would you--wait, did you steal one of my things?" she narrows her eyes wondering why Connor would do this

"No"

North scrunches her face. "Then why would you do this for me? Did something happen?"

Connor rolls his eyes. "Unlike you, i actually like to be a decent nice person"

North pushes him away with no real force and grabs the nutella. "I'm a very nice person for your information" she dips the apple in the nutella and takes a huge bite

Connor scrunches his face. "I don't know how you can do that" he mutters as North dips a new piece into the dark gooy liquid

North shrugs shoving the whole piece into her mouth. "Whatever"

Connor fiddles with his hands and jolts when Norths phone beeps loudly, signaling that she got a message

North wipes her hands and reaches for it furrowing her eyebrows. She clicks on something and the silence of the room is filled with the sound of a video playing

'Oi!'

Connors heart leaps out his chest at the familiar voice coming from the phone, eyes widening as Norths confused face turns deadly

Connor freezes from where he's stood

Someone filmed him

North glares up at him. "So something did happen" she grits out

Before Connor could reply, a loud scream from the phone makes them jump. Norths mouth snaps open in suprise, her eyes widening at what she's seeing

Connor winces, that scream and look of pain on Reeds face will never leave his mind. The fact he became what he hates, makes his heart drop

Once the video finishes at Chen screaming 'WHAT THE FUCK FREAK', North blinks and stares up at him. Connor opens his mouth to explain but North flops the phone on the table and looks at him a huge wicked smile. "You kicked Reeds ass" she exclaims

Connor frowns. "It's not a good thing North, i might get in a lot of trouble--not might i will and i--" he cuts himself off taking a deep breath and squinting his eyes shut

"Don't worry--" North starts

Connor cuts in snapping his head up and staring at her wide eyed. "--Don't worry? Don't worry! North i may have even broke his hand, and there's video proof and--" Connor stops staring at nothing, his eyes somehow even wider. "--what if he presses charges or something?! What about school?! People must have seen--it might make things worse now--Reed is gonna kill me--wait, what if the school expells me?! What if i go to jail?! I won't be able to become a detective--"

North places her hands on his shoulders to ground him and try to calm him down. "--Connor, take a deep breath. Worrying won't change anything, and things will work out, we just need to think"

Connor shakes his head squinting his eyes shut

North sits him down and slides into her seat in front of him. "If it comes to that, Hank won't let you go down"

Despite everything Connor furrows his eyebrows. "Go down where?"

North huffs with an eyeroll. "He will help you"

"There's nothing he can do though"

Before North can reply Sumo barks loudly, a second later the front door opens and closes.

Connors heart leaps out his chest and rapidly pounds against his head. He glances to North who bites her lip. Connor rapidly shakes his head, telling her not to say anything

Before North could respond Hank strolls into the kitchen with a bag in hand. "Hey guess what i--what's wrong" he cuts himself off and frowns at their faces

North forces a smile and jumps to a stand. "Nothing, but i'm staving let's eat" she declares grabbing the bag and placing it on the table, sending a quick look to Connor

Connor lets out a deep breath, slowly standing and goes to wash his hands, already dreading the the rest of the night and day ahead

Chapter Text

The quiet night looms over them, only the faint pitter patter of the rain hitting the window filling the otherwise silence. They are sat around the table, each with a burger from the chicken feed sat in front of them with fries and a soda on the side. The suffocating air is so tense it could be sliced through with a knife. North is nibbling on a few fries while Connor pokes his burger with a deep distant frown.

"So," Hank breaks the awkward tense silence, swallowing the food in his mouth before gulping down some soda. "what's goin' on?" he wipes his hands and mouth with a grunt

North and Connor glance at eachother

"What do you mean? Nothin' is going on" North says quickly, too quickly

Hank narrows his eyes with a sarcastic single nod. "Right, and I'm an Easter bunny...." He slowly sarcastically says. "Cut the bullshit" he exclaims strictly, "what happened?"

North reverts her eyes and takes a huge bite of her already half eaten burger, slowly chewing and using that time to think of an excuse.

Hank opens his mouth but something catches his eye before any noise comes out. He shuts it with a clang and narrows his eyes at Connor. "You not gonna eat that?" he points to the untouched burger and fries in front of Connor

Connor glances down and griminces. "I'm not hungry" he states, fiddling with his hands. "North can have my burger and fries if she wants"

North shrugs and reaches for a handful of connors fries but Hank slaps her hand away before crossing his arms and narrowing his eyes at Connor. "What did you eat today?"

Connor bites his lip and fiddles with his coin under the table, the already warm metal from being grasped in his sweaty hand for so long, sliding across the top of his knuckles. Connors chest tightens. There's no point in lying, Hank can see right through him and will only interrogate him further. He has no choice. "...Nothing" he ends up muttering

Hank takes a deep breath and pinches the bridge of his nose. "You're not goin' the whole day without eatin' anything," he states. "so for all that is holy, eat that damn burger"

"I'm not hungry"

Hank nods sarcastically. "oh, so you're planning on not eating anything for the whole day. Well that's a great idea"

Connor furrows his eyebrows and tiles his head, completely missing the sarcasm.

Hank crosses his arms and leans forward gritting his teeth. "You are not going the whole day without eating" he states. "Either you eat just the burger and free me from a headache, or you sit here until you do, even if it's all night or until you get ready to go to school"

North glances between them, the hard glares burning into eachother. North rolls her eyes and straightens herself on her chair. "I don't mind eating some of--"

"--stay outta this North" Hank cuts her off firmly

North narrows her eyes and glances to Connor, sharing a look with him. "Have you been drinking?" North questions

Hank splutters and chokes on his drink. Connor pats his back but Hank flicks his hand away while still choking. North raises her eyebrows. "Is that a yes?" She chuckles slightly at the burning glare Hank sends her.

"NO" he yells, "and even if I did its none of ya business" Hank crosses his arms.

"Your breath smells of beer" Connor speaks up

Hank sends him a glare. “Imma grown man, im allowed to drink one beer or more even if i wanted to.” he informs. “But for your information, i only drank one beer, because i think im still allowed to ain't i”

Connor opens his mouth to speak but North holds her hand up and shakes her head, signaling ‘its not worth it’.

“Besides,” Hank goes on, “don’t change the subject, you have to eat and tell me what’s up with both of you because you're both hiding something”

North and Connor blink at that, actually thinking that they were subtle and were good at hiding it. They send eachother a look. “Nothing is going on” Connor speaks up much to Hanks deep frown of disbelief. North nods along with him, “you know we would tell you everything”

Hank stares at her. Blinks. Then nods to himself “now i know something is definitely up”

North waves her hands in confusion,but Hank just crosses his arms and stares between the two of them, waiting.

The pitterpat of the rain hits harder, harder, and harder. Like small beads pounding over them. Neverending. Continuous. The air is suffocating around them, strangling like a scarf. Hank looks towards Connor and points to his food. “Eat” he orders. “or you sit all night until you do, even if it's until you go to school”

Connor hardens his eyes and glares at Hank. "Really, you know that didn't work out well for you the last times, North gave me my homework and then i just sleep here"

Hank scrunches his face. "But this time..." he trails off in thought. A thought comes to mind which came before. This has been a constant battle which he's never won, and he just wants the best for him. It's bad, it's dirty. However considering Connors work ethic and how its the last year, it should work. What else can he do. "...North is not gonna get your homework"

"I'm not?" North furrows her eyebrows, a fry hanging off her mouth

Connor blinks and glances between them. If North doesn't get his homework, then he can't finish off his work. Connor blinks. "I need to finish off my work, this is my last year, and i have to do it"

"Then eat"

Connors stomach twists as he stares down at the large amount of food before him. To him it's a lot of food anyway, North and Hank always are still hungry.

He opens his mouth to retort but blinks as a he thinks twice and properly. He pokes at the burger with a deep frown before grabbing a fry and gobbling it with a sarcastic 'are you happy' pointed look at Hank

Hank sarcastically nods with a thumbs up. "Now eat the rest"

"If thats how its going to be, i'll just get it myself, or even not listen and just go to my room" he steadily glares at Hank. Connor takes a deep breath, he doesn't know where all this came from, he's not even thinking, the words are just spilling out of his mouth before he can even register what he's saying

Hanks eyes widen and he clenches his jaw. But before he could retrot, Connor crosses his arms. "What are you going to do about it"

Mouth agape like a fish, Hank stares at Connor, stunned into silence. North blinks. Blinks again. Her cackling laughter cracks the looming silence. Hank and Connor snap their head to her, furrowing their eyebrows and glancing between eachother exchanging a silent 'What?'

North runs a hand over her face, her boisterous laughter slowly dying. "Oh my gosh" she croaks, wiping her face with a snicker. "goody two shoes obedient Connor is rebelling” she laughs again

Hank takes a deep breath as North and Connor squabble between eachother. Hank sighs ‘at least he’s acting like a normal teenager for once’ he thinks to himself despite everything. “Enough!” he stops Connor and Norths argument. He turns to Connor, “Just eat the burger and we’re good, okay?”

Connor stares down at the burger, his stomach twists and swirls like a washing machine. But he doesn't want to argue with Hank any more, so he takes a small bite with a grimace.

“Well done” Hank praises with a small smile, knowing how hard it is for Connor to eat

North frowns. “Damn i thought you were rebellious now”

Connor rolls his eyes fondly.

Hank looks between them, “But what happened, i know something happpened”

“Nothing happened” North insists

Hank stares at her for a moment in disbeilef. "you know what, fine, i'll pretend i believe you"

Connor bites his lip. "I may have broken Reeds hand" he blurts out, not able to hold it in, especially not with his nerves and stomach dropping in worry and guilt

Hank blinks. "Wait what?"

"Reed. Hand. Broke" Connor lifts his hand to further emphasize it

Hank scrunches his face and glances between North and Connor. "So you're tryin' to tell me, that you" he points to Connor. "got into a fight after being so headstrong about not fighting back"

North smirks. "I know right" she laughs slightly with a proud smile

Hank ignores her comment and looks at Connor carefully. "Are you okay?" he questions gently

Connor continues to stare at nothing, his thoughts so loud in his head that he didn't even hear what was said. He went through all this effort to not get expelled and he goes and does this. Hank waves a hand in front of his eyes to try and get his attention, knowing from the past that it's best not to touch Connor when he's like this. Brown eyes blown in worry snaps up to him. "Hank what if i go to prison--"

Hank holds a hand up and leans forward. "--Connor take a deep breath, we will work it out and everything will be alright, okay? Just take a deep breath with me" he takes a deep breath for Connor to copy

Connor shakes his head, taking a shakey breath. "I-I--"

Hank stops him. “Just take deep breaths, everything will be alright”

 

_______________

 

Markus grips tightly onto the paintbrush, his eyes blankly boring into the canvas, mind blank trying to think of something to paint. He groans, flopping the paintbrush on the table and running a hand over his face, marking his cheeks with faded streaks of blue paint.

"What you up to?" Leo strolls into the studio

Markus glances to him narrowing his eyes. "What do you want?" he frowns

Leo blinks. He then shakes his head, crossing his arms and leaning forward with a snicker. "What, i can't even ask what you're up to, is it a secret or something"

Markus grits his teeth. "You don't care, you want something"

Leos smile drops and he glances around before slowly stepping forward. "You think you're so perfect and amazing don't you" he grits out

Markus takes a deep breath and stands his ground. "No--"

"--You think you're so perfect, but you're nothing"

Markus' glare hardens. "Are you high?"

Leo rolls his eyes. "So what, you think i'm always high and that i can't punch the living daylights out of you anyway"

Markus takes a deep breath. "I don't want to fight" he states

Leo narrows his eyes. “Dad never wanted anything to do with me for years, YEARS, but he went and adopted you, because you’re so perfect right and im not”

Markus sighs. “Not this again, Im sorry about--”

“HE NEVER LOVED ME!” Leo screeches breaking down in tears and falling to the floor, “he doesn't love me” he whispers

Markus drops his paintbrush and goes to the floor with Leo, “He does--”

“--Leave me alone”

“No, he does, of course he does. You're his son…” Markus trails off thinking about how he's not his real son, but he shakes his head, ‘Carl treats me like a son, of course he cares about me, right?’ he thinks to himself

Leo glares up at Markus. “If it weren't for you, it would be just me and my dad, and we would be happy, you ruined everything”

Markus takes a deep breath but remains quiet, shifting away slightly from Leo

Leo goes on, and on and on. Markus’ heart drops and shatter with each word, but still he remains silent, knowing its best, otherwise Leo will get aggressive and start a fight

Leo suddenly stands up and wipes his face walking towards the door

“Where you going?” Markus questions

Leo ignores him and walks out heading out the front door

Markus furrows his eyebrows. ‘How strange’ he thinks

Chapter Text

Connors eyes flicker open, blinded by the rays of sunlight beaming through his window. He blinks and moves his head away from the blinding sun, wincing as memories of yesterday flash though his mind. Breaking Reeds hand, the panic attacks, everything's going through him in a blur. 'Was everything a nightmare? ' he wonders to himself, glancing around, the memory still fresh in his mind.

Sumos boof brings him out of his thoughts as he licks his face. Connor chuckles, “Good morning Sumo” he smiles, gently pushing the big dog out of the way.

Sitting up, he sighs and glances at his hands before touching his lips. ‘How can one have such power to cause harm?’ he thinks to himself staring at his reflection in the mirror which slags over and stares back. Harm. Careless words which pours out of people's mouth cause harm. Hands, clenched into a fist causes harm. Why does one have such power to harm others.

With a sigh, Connor forces himself out of bed, the soft fluffy carpet tickling his feet. “If only i was a dog, no worries in the world” Connor pets the excited big dog who licks his hand in return. Connor sighs with a soft smile, the worries of what might happen today rushing through his mind.

A knock at the door stops him in his tracks. ‘It's way too early North and Hank are normally still sleeping’ he thinks to himself alert. The door opens before could respond or think twice. In enters a rugged dressed North with a big yawn as she enters the room with her eyes closed. “Morning?” Connor tilts his head as North groans and flops onto his bed She snuggles into the blankets but groans again with a deep sigh.

“It's way too early for this bullshit” North grumbles

“You came into my room” Connor points out, tilting his head in confusion North ignores that comment but glances up at him in concern.

“You going to school today?” she questions absentmindedly stroking Sumo who tilts his head at the rare affection from the girl, Connor notices and furrows his eyebrows but doesn't comment. Instead, he glances out the window with a shrug. “I have to”

“You don't have to” North shrugs with a smirk Connor sends her a look, North raises her hands. ”Alright, alright. Whatever goody toe shoes”

Connor rolls his eyes. "I can't avoid or run away from my problems, I must face them"

North glances up to him. “If you need backup just let me know”

Connor chuckles slightly. “I won't, But why are you so concerned, is it that you love me” Connor teases
“Noooo” North grumbles

Connor hums. “Sure”

Before North could reply, Connor walks towards his wardrobe. “I must get ready for school,” he glances to her “so should you”

North huffs and leaves the room without a comment

Connor faces his wardrobe and sighs, pulling out his shirt he normally wears. He spots a little stuffed brown dog hidden in the corner, he picks it up memories flashing through his mind.

____________

Little Connor wrapped his arms tightly around his stomach, wrapping the blanket tighter around him as he glances around the house.

A slightly older looking girl with her long hair braided glances up to him and jolts, throwing the tablet that was in her hand to the side and jumping off the sofa before stomping up to him. "Who the hell are ya?" she demands crossing her arms Connor shrinks and tries to make himself look as small as possible, the girls firey hard glare burning a hole in him

"--North," the lieutenants gruff voice cuts in. "this is Connor, be nice." he pats her head walking by with the shopping in hand.

North continues to glare at him. "If you're gonna hurt me, then good luck, I'll fight ya" she holds her fists up Connor rapidly shakes his head mutely. North narrows her eyes. "Ya don't speak?"

At that point the lieutenant strolls in and squats to be leveled with them, he places a hand on Norths shoulder and another gently on Connor. "Connor is gonna be stayin' with us for a bit--"

"--Why?" North cuts him off, her face scrunching in confusion

"Because," the leutemdent pats her head with a small chuckle. "Connor needs a place to stay"

North narrows her eyes. "Did someone hurt him?" Connor flinches slightly at that, a small shiver passing through him. He tightens his arms around his stomach and hunches over himself. The lieutenant gently pats Connor back, taking his hand back instantly at the flinch giving him a reassuring look before turning to North

"North, you don't like when people ask you those kind of questions, so don't force others to answer if they don't want to" the lieutenant sternly says

North crosses her arms and looks away with a small pout. "Whatever" she mutters

The lieutenant gently pats her shoulder. "I'm gonna get started on dinner, how about you show Connor the house and a few of your games"

North crosses her arms with a pout. "Whatever" she mutters before turning to Connor, her gaze burning like white fire. "come on" grasps his arm and yanks him forward her grip is tight

As they walk up the stairs Connor grips onto the blanket tighter.

North glances at him. “Hank ain't so bad, so don’t worry about him” she wisely says, as if she was reading Connors thoughts

Connor blinks. “I guess…” he trails off, remembering how Hank saved him

North opens a door. “This is my room” she cuts Connor out of his thoughts

The room of the little girl is light red with twinkling lights illuminating the bright room.

Something catches his eyes, a small stuffed dog hidden amongst all the other toys.

He reaches for it only for North to slap his hand away.

“What do ya think you’re doin’?” she hisses

Connor flips his hand back and shuffles away from the intimidating girl. “Sorry, im sorry” he chants it over and over again, memories of Amanda flashing through his mind whenever he did something wrong which was most of the time, according to her

Connors heart speeds, his breathing erratic and heavy. He grasps his chest, unable to breathe.

“HANK!” North screeches

Not a second later Hank comes rushing into the room. “ What's wrong?!” he worriedly says before he spots Connor hunched in the corner of the room breathing erratically and uncontrollable.

Hank kneels down to his level and carefully speaks. “Connor look at me,breath with me” Hank takes deep breaths for Connor to imitate.

“I-I cant” he manages to whisper out

North peers over Hank “What’s wrong with him?”
Hank glances towards her “its called a panic attack”he says before turning his attention back to Connor whose face is wet with tears.

“I-im sorry” Connor whispers

North stares wide eyed at the scene before her, before jolting as an idea flashes through her mind. She grabs the stuffed toy and hunched down towards Connor who shuffles away from her in fear.

“Ya don’t have to scared of me” North frowns hurt

“Im s-sorry”

Hank glances to North sternly “what did you do?”

North holds her hands up. “Nothin’ “

Connor wheezes as he tries to catch his breath. His heart pounding out of his chest

North hands out her hand which holds the stuffed dog. “Ya can have it if you calm down”

Connor glances between the girl and the stuffed animal. Not trusting her, knowing it might be a trick, Connor shakes his head, grasping for breath.

But North is not having it, “here” she shoves it into his hands

Connor holds the stuffed animal tightly, his breathing calming down slightly as he squeezes the stuffed dog tightly towards his chest

Moments later, once his breathing calmed down. Hank sighs taking it all in. He had experience with panic attacks since he started working for the police, but seeing Connors small form shivering with fear chanting sorry over and over again, left something in hanks heart.

North raises her eyebrows “if ya wanted the toy that badly you could have just asked” she says oblivious to the real reason for the panic attack

Hank shakes his head. “It ain't that North, he has been through a lot, just like you, the dog just calmed him down a bit"

“Don't ya have toys” North questions Connor

Connor shakes his head, “N-No”

North frowns. ‘How can one live without toys?’ she shakes her head in disbelief. "You can keep him if ya want” she says sternly

Hank blinks, “North that's nice of you, but are you sure?”

She nods her head firmly and then glances to Connor. “Take good care of him”

Connor beams, ”Thank you” he nearly shouts

______________

Older Connor holds the stuffed toy to his chest with a small smile before placing the stuffed animal on his desk as he gets dressed for school

He picks out his shirt and puts on his trousers. Glancing to the stuffed dog, he smiles once more. ‘Maybe not all people are that cruel’ he thinks to himself

As he trots down the stairs he lets Sumo outside before turning back and fiddling with his coin, the only thing Amanda has ever gave to him. He keeps it to think that not everything was so bad and there is some good, besides he loves fiddling with it, and for some reason it doesn't give him any bad memories, only the good one of when she gave the coin

Chapter Text

“Ya ready for school today Connor?” Hank grumbles as he takes a sip of his coffee

Connor glances up at him from where he’s sat fiddling with his coin. “Y-yeah” he stutters out

North scoffs. “Sure, you barely survived before all this happened, how do you expect to survive now”

“Because im John Wick” Connor tries

North chuckles and mutters “dumbass” under her breath. She sobers up and looks at him sternly, “If you need backup…” she makes a signal and points to herself

“I won’t, but thanks i guess” Connor says weakly

Hank claps his hands startling Connor and North, “Right,” Hank grunts “you two need to get to school”

Connor sighs

Time to face the music

 

___________________

 

As they arrive at the school, the chatter simmers down and a looming silence runs over them. North is the first to speak out with a firey “WHAT”. At that everyone turns back to the conversations but changing the topic as they whisper about connor under their breaths.

North pushes Connor forward with her and she confidently strolls into the school like nothing happened. Unlike Connor who hunches down and stands behind her

Once they are in, North glances to Connor. “Will you be alright?” she questions

Connor nods but feels his stomach twist and twirl. “I-I’ll be fine”

North looks at him unconvinced, but she has to get to class and unfortunately they don’t have any classes together. “Alright, I’ll see you around, don’t let them mess with you, fight back”

Connor shakes his head. “It’s bad enough already with Reed, i can’t get into more fights “

North shakes her head. “No, if it’s to defend yourself then i don’t care John Wick”
Connor blinks at being called John Wick, but glances around to find everyone staring at him. A shiver runs through Connor. “I’ll see you later North” he says before walking away without waiting for a response.

“Bye then!” North yells after him

Connor makes his way to his locker ignoring the whispering around him

“The freak broke Reeds hand”

“He should be dead, why does he bother”

“I hope it gets expelled”

“Surprised it didn’t hide at home like the coward it is”

Connor shoves his books into his bag and makes his way towards class, ignoring the mean comments surrounding him

He rushes into class, ignoring the comments being shouted at him

Kara slides into her seat with a glance to Connor. “You okay?”

Connor fiddles with his hands. “Fine”

Kara shakes her head. “I saw the video, what you did was pretty badass, but what made you do that? I mean i know Reeds a dick, but you always go on about not wanting to fight”

“...He pushed me to the edge, I couldn't help it. I didn’t even think, it was like an instinct”

Before Kara could say anything, the teacher strolls in and starts the lesson with a “Good morning class”. The teacher looks at Connor sternly. “Ah Stern, stay after class, we have to talk

Connor nods weakly and opens his textbook with a sigh, It's going to be a long day

 

____________________

 

“Stern!” the teacher calls out to him once everyone in the class has gone

Connor gulps, knowing what's going to come. “Yes sir?”

“Why did you attack Gavin Reed?”

“I didn’t attack him--”

“You did, you broke his hand out of nowhere--”

“It wasn't--”

“I don't want another word out of you, now leave and don’t start any more fights”

____________________

 

At lunch time, Connor makes his way to the library sighing at how every teacher and the headteacher lectured him over the video of him breaking Reeds hand and him being in at the hospital.

The memories of the headteacher shouting at him rushes through his mind. “WHAT YOU DID WAS UNACCEPTABLE” she screeches. “Reed is in hospital because of you, and you broke his hand. This is an assault, tell me why I shouldn't call the police or expel you”

Connor pleads and apologies, explaining what happened and begging the head teacher not to call the police or expel him

“Please don’t, i didn’t mean to” Connor pleads

The head teacher is having none of it, “You are suspended for two weeks, I don't want to see your face until then.”

“What?!”

“You're lucky I didn't expel you, now go home”

Connor sighs and makes his way out of the office

Before Connor would walk through the exit of the school door, he hears a familiar voice shout his name. He turns around to see Markus running up to him. “Connor,” he breathes. “Where are you going? You shouldn’t skip school because of what happened, it will be okay”

Despite everything Markus makes Connor chuckle slightly. “I'm not skipping, i’ve...i’ve been suspended”

“WHAT?!”

Connor chuckles again then sighs with a nod. “It’s either that or the police”

Markus shuffles closer to Connor, now in his personal space, but Connor doesn’t mind, in fact, he shuffles forward too. Markus stares down at Connor, his eyes flickering down to Connors lips. “...Erm” Markus trails off

“What is it?” Connor whispers up at him

Markus blinks out of his trance and steps back, making Connor frown slightly and stare at him in confusion. “N-Nothing” Markus scratches his neck before taking a deep breath. “D-do you wanna hang out?”

Connor blinks “What, right now?”

Markus nods meekly, “Er, yeah, i mean only if you want to. I don’t need to go to my other classes and--”

“--You can’t skip class” Connor cuts in

“I can and I will”

Connor shakes his head but before he could say anything, Markus says “I'm rebellious, what do you expect”

Connor chuckles. “Fine, but if you get in trouble don't say i ddnt warn you”

Markus beams. “Really, you want to hang out with me?”

Connor smiles. “I would love to”

“Park?”

Connor nods.”Sure”

They both head out of the school, not even glancing back as they make their way towards the park

Chapter Text

Markus and Connor walk across the street towards the park in a comfortable silence, walking in their own little bubble that not even the cars or busy sounds of the street bothering them. Markus’ heart is beating out of his chest.’I can't believe I asked Connor to hang out’ he exclaims inside his head. His mind running into overdrive from excitement and as he focuses on not making a fool of himself in front of Connor.

“So…”Markus trails off, “you go to the park often?” Markus winces after that. ‘What a stupid question’ he tries to resist facepalming himself

Connor thinks otherwise, he glances to Markus with a small smile. “I do”

Markus gulps at the precious tiny smile Connor sent him. “Er yeah” Markus replies awkwardly

Connor glances to Markus, “Do you?”

“Do w-what?” Markus stutters out, his face heating up with a small blush on his cheeks

Connor rolls his eyes with a small smile. “Go to the park often?” he clarifies

Markus gaze flickers to Connor lips as Connor spoke. Markus takes a deep breath and manages to nod his head slowly. “Y-yeah”

The park is huge with loads of small daisies dancing in the wind. As they reach it Markus heads towards the empty swings, as all children are at school, the park was almost empty with the odd few joggers running around. He sits on the swing and start to swing with a beaming smile

“Isn’t that for children Markus” Connor approaches closer with a small confused frown

Markus slowly stops and stares up at Connor. “Im embracing my inner child, you should too”

Connor furrows his eyebrows thinking about his childhood and how it had nothing to do with swings. “I-I don’t know” he says nervously

Markus nods towards the swing next to him. “Come on, it’s fun”

Connor sits on the swing but doesn’t move.

Markus stares at him, worried he did something wrong. “What’s wrong? If you don’t like swinging we can go sit under a tree and talk or something if you want” he rambles off

Connor shakes his head, “No,” he states, “I just never used the swings before and there's a chance of injury--”

“--You never been on the swings before?!” Markus stares at him in shock

Connor hunches down into himself and shakes his head. Amanda never allowed him to do childish things, she only just trained him and mentored him harshly. Swings were foreign to him, even though he’s seen children do it, he’s never been on one and it’s a bit nerve racking

“Oh” Markus says softly. “Why?”

Connor squints his eyes shut, there’s the dreaded question. He stares at Markus wondering if he should tell the truth or lie. Connor sighs, “My mother, well, adopted mother, wouldn’t let me, she thought it was too childish” he finally says but is quick to say, “don’t pity me, it’s fine,” he says sharply

Markus shakes his head. “I don’t pity you, but your mother is kind of harsh though”

Connor shrugs

Markus notices the air becoming awkward, so he quickly stands and moves behind Connor. “Hold on tightly onto the swing--”

“--Wha?” Connor splutters

“Trust me, it’s fun”

Connor holds on tightly, knuckles turning white from the tight grip as Markus gently pushes him. Connor can’t help but smile, it is fun, “It’s like flying” Connor beams

Markus smiles and pushes harder, a huge smile on his face at hearing Connors laugh. ‘It’s a beautiful laugh’ Markus thinks, heart pounding into his chest. ‘I'm glad i asked Connor out’ he thinks with a small laugh mixing with Connors contagious one

As the swinging come to an end, the sky darkens and they decide to sit under a tree together. The sky is dark with sprinkles of white stars dotted across it. The air is cold and chilly.

Connor sends North and Hank a text that he’ll be home late before pulling the thick heavy blanket up that Markus brought and snuggles into it.

Markus smiles wistfully at Connor before turning his gaze back to the sky. "Do you believe that there are other beings in the universe?" he questions

Connor glances at him furrowing his eyebrows before looking back up at the sky. "There has to be...if we exist, there has to be other beings. There's a whole universe out there, if we could evolve from nothing...there just has to be other beings. They may not look like us, or have the same anatomy or anything, because we evolved on earth, and they evolved on a different planet with different climates, but they are still living beings"

Markus smiles slightly, humming in thought. "Yeah. There's a whole universe out there...so big, bigger than all of us, than everything we have ever known, than we'll ever know...we can't be the only ones"

Connor glances to Markus and bites back a smile. "What brought all this up?"

Markus turns to Connor and shrugs. "Don't you ever have existential thoughts?"

"Nearly all the time" Connor confesses

Markus turns to his side and looks at Connor with a small smile. "Tell me one of yours"

"What do you mean?" Connor furrows his eyebrows

"One of your existential thoughts"

Connor bites his lip. "It's quite deep no? I can't ever talk to anyone about these kind of things"

Markus shuffles closer to Connor with a shiver as a gust of wind blows over them. "Well now you do. But talk about it only if you want to, i'm not forcing you"

Connor glances to him. "I know" he whispers

A comfortable silence forms between them, the soft blows of the wind and leaves rustling in the background

Markus thinks Connor is not going to say anything, before he sees Connor take a deep breath

"...What do you think is the meaning of life?" Connor breaks the silence after a moment, turning on his side and pulling the blanket up a bit more

Markus looks up at him before glancing to the sky in thought. It takes a few beats before Markus finally comes up with an answer. "...I think...it's to be happy. To do whatever makes you happy and just be yourself"

"Do you ever think that it's pointless?"

Markus furrows his eyebrows and turns to Connor, concern written on his face. "What'd you mean?"

"We are all going to die eventually. And say in a thousand years, no one is going to remember us, it will be as if none of us existed...there's no point really"

Markus bites his lip. "...Which is why we should make the most of life. Sure, there may be no point, but it's our lives, and it's what we experience and feel that makes it different to any other"

Connor lowers his gaze

Markus bites his lip. "In fear of living and trying to find answers we can't answer, we forget to live"

Connor stays quiet lowering his gaze in thought

Markus watches him for a moment. "Is everything okay?"

Connor keeps his gaze down, deep in thought. "Fine..." he mutters out

Markus shuffles closer to him.

"Connor..." he trails off, worried about him.

Markus hesitantly reaches for Connors hands, taking the cold hands into his own.

Connor sighs slightly at the warmth of Markus' hands over his own, he shuffles closer

Markus laces their hands together. "Maybe, life is about living for the moment. There are up and downs, but there's also..." he takes a deep breath, a wistful smile forming on his face. "...so much laughter, and love, and fun"

Connor glances into Markus intense eyes

Markus smiles despite himself. "It's to try new things, make friends, hang out with family, travel, make your own family if you want to, and just so much more"

Connor lowers his gaze. "You're very positive"

"Not really, i'm more realistic. I just think that life is something very precious, it can be bad but also so good. But, when there's so much bad, we forget the good and the hopes and dreams we once had"

"Markus..." Connor trails off

Markus furrows his eyebrows. "What's wrong?" he asks

Connor shakes his head. "Nothing"

Silence flows over them. Their soft breaths loud against their ears, as they shuffle closer to each other, sharing the warmth radiating from their bodies between them

Staring into Connors soft brown eyes that never seem to look properly at him, Markus finds himself hesitantly placing a warm hand on Connors freezing pale cheek

Connor sighs leaning into it, the warmth making him feel lighter and filling some sort of void he couldn't fight off

"You're amazing you know" Markus states

Connor flushes lowering his head to hide his blush and small smile. "No i'm not"

"You are" he insists

Markus subconsciously rubbs his thumb across Connors flushed cheek. "You, Connor Stern, you make mud look like jewels"

Connor shakes his head with a huff. "If that's so, i weaken in comparison to you, Markus Manfield"

"Nah"

"Yah"

Markus lean in with a smile. "Nope"

Connors small smile widens. "Yup"

They stare at each other, taking in the beauty of the other like it's the first time seeing them. A warm orange glow from the dawn of a new day reflecting on their faces

Connors normally pale skin is softly glowing gold with the rays of the sun rising. His normally dull cold brown eyes, bright and full of light, full of hope and happiness

Beautiful

Markus takes a deep breath smiling slightly

He slowly leans in glancing between Connors mouth and soft eyes.

Their quick breaths are hot on eachothers cold faces, the soft warm huffs warming up them up as they subconsciously lean in closer

Just inches away from each other, Markus' breath hitches "Can i--"

The ringing of the phone cuts him off, throwing them into reality and out of their own world and bubble.

Yanking away from each other as if they were burnt, Connor flushes and turns away staring hard at the sky while Markus lowers his head to hide his blush as he reaches for his phone

The moment ruined, Markus and Connor shuffle away from each other, an awkward silence filling the air

They just almost kissed

Connor furrows his eyebrows, pondering about what and why as he glances to Markus muttering on the phone

Chapter Text

Connor glances to Markus tilting his head as Markus turns to him with a frown before turning it into a tight smile. "It was my father," Markus starts, "I forgot to tell him I was out and he was worried as its literally sunrise"

All Connor can do is nod, too speechless to talk

Markus coughs. "right, er..."

Connor nods again as if reading his thoughts. "Yeah, we should get going"

Markus sends him a tight smile with a single nod.

The air is tense and awkward, both flushed from what nearly happened.

Markus grabs his things and jumps to a stand. Scratching his neck, Markus gazes down at Connor who is still sat down. The light glow of the sunrise turning Connors eyes a light golden whiskey brown.

'Beautiful' Markus muses before shaking his head 'stop' he tells himself

Markus gazes down at him. "You not getting up?" He questions

Connor blinks, snapping out of it. "Er, yeah, sorry" he slowly stands deep in thought

"You don't have to be sorry" Markus insists furrowing his eyebrows

Connor smiles tightly. "Right..."

"Right..."

An awkward silence looms over them.

"Er, right" Connor rubs his ear nervously

"Right" Markus nods

Connor nods "Right"

"Well, I should go" Markus points behind him awkwardly, "will you be alright?"

"Yeah"

A sudden thought runs through Markus and he tries to resist facepalming himself. "Do you, Er, want me to walk you home?"

Connor blinks. "There's no need"

Markus shakes his head. "No I'm walking you home"

Connor narrows his eyes. "I don't need to be walked like a dog"

Markus shakes his head and waves his hands. "No no, I didn't mean it like that, just walk you home to make sure you get home safe"

"I can take care of myself" Connor insists slightly offended

Markus nods his head "I know you can, I just...want to Er, spend more time with you" Markus reveals. 'Also its what one does after they hang out' he thinks to himself

Connor stares at him before slowly nodding. "I'd love to spend more time with you Markus, but are you sure? "

"Absolutely"

"Okay then, let's go" Connor nods sideways towards where he lives.

"Actually, I know this amazing place with a beautiful view, come, let me show you" Markus grabs Connors hand and pushes him forward before Connor could say anything, flushing at the fact he's holding Connors hand

 

_______________

 

"I'm a vampire, get away" Adam hisses as Rose opens the curtains

Rose rolls her eyes and shakes his shoulder. "You need to get up"

Adam shoves his face into his pillow with a groan. "five minutes" he mumbles

"It has to be now, we need to leave before five" Rose states

They are going on a trip to the heart of Detroit. Kara is taking some time off school, and she won't be missing much, she's very smart. Rose contacted the school and gave an excuse.

Adam ignores her and feels his eyes droop as he snuggles closer into the bed.

Adam loves to sleep, sue him

The air is silent and chilly as the morning sun slowly raises turning the sky into a soft purpley blue colour

Rose crosses her arms. "Get up, or we'll go without you" she threatens

"No you won't"

"Oh yeah, try me"

Adam glances to Rose

Her eyes are boring into him. A frown on her face as she taps her foot impatiently

She's completely serious

With a groan, he jumps off the bed and stomps towards the bathroom shoving Kara out of the way

"Oi" Kara calls after him but Adam replies with a slam of the door

"what twisted his knickers" Luther mutters seeing the scene

Kara shrugs unfazed. "don't know, don't care"

They both do last minute checks in their rooms to make sure they have everything

____________

 

Adam slumps into the kitchen and flops on the chair with a groan. His muscles burning with each aching movement

"Did you at least sleep well?" Rose questions placing a plate full of eggs, bacon and toast in front of him with a cup of coffee besides it

Adam grumbles nonsense before reaching for the mug and gulping down some of the dark liquid.

Rose chuckles with a small smile. "Right right, i know, no talking until you have your coffee"

Adam doesn't reply, he sighs slumping over the table and wrapping his hands around the mug, the sensation of heat radiating from the drink, warming his numb hands

Quick steps racing down the stairs brings him out of his thoughts. "GOOD MORNING!" a high voice exclaims cheerfully

Adam winces scrunching his face. "Jeez Alice, i don't think the people in australia heard you, do you wanna scream louder" he mutters sarcastically

Alice slides into her seat and bites her lip, glancing between him and Rose worriedly. "Sorry" she apologises

"Good morning sweetie" Rose smiles placing Alices own plate of eggs, bacan and toast in front of her. "And don't mind Mr gloomy grump over there" Rose nods towards Adam. "he needs to finish his magic coffee to help him wake up"

Alice giggles, swinging her legs back and forward excitedly.

"You both packed and ready?" Rose questions

Alice nods rapidly, a beaming smile nearly breaking her face as she bounces in her seat.

"I packed my toys and Kit the fox, not all my toys though, 'cause you and Kara said to pick just three, but i also want to take Kitty the cat, please can i take her also" Alice pleads with a pout

Rose sighs.

The problem is, if she makes an allowance for one, then the others will complain about unfairness

Adam wants to take his tablet, laptop and portable games.

Kara wants to take all her bath bombs and spa products

And Alice wants to take all her toys

Besides they have a limit on how much they can take

Rose wants to make the kid happy, but she has to be strict but reasonable. Also if she allows this, then Alice and the rest will think they can get away with most things, and think they can get their own way all the time

"Sweetie," Rose sooths. "we are going on a trip, and there will be loads of things to see and do, we are gonna have so much fun that you won't even have time to play with them"

"But Kitty wants to go too"

"In that case, how about you leave one of the others"

Alice rapidly shakes her head.

Rose runs a hand over her head. "Since you'll be very busy, your toys will be upset that you won't have time for them, you don't want that do you"

Alice slowly shakes her head

Rose continues. "Besides, Kitty loves to sit by the window and watch the crops grow, how about you leave her by the window and she'll be happy and protect the house"

Ignoring Adam scoff, Rose runs a hand through Alices hair with a warm smile. Alice looks up in deep thought and then slowly nods.

"Kitty does love watching the plants grow, but hates going outside" Alice glances to where the plush cat sits by the window

Rose kisses the top of her head before sitting at the table, right as Kara strolls in, sliding into her own seat

"Good morning" Kara greets with a small smile

Alice beams. "Good morning, are you excited for today" she asks

As the two talk about the day ahead, Rose stands and starts making Kara and Luther their breakfast

Adam runs a hand over his face in annoyance. "Can you two shut up, your energy is draining what little lifeforce i have" Adam grumbles

Kara snaps her head at him with a glare. "Don't ruin our spirits just because you're grumpy, if we're annoying you then go somewhere else"

"Why don't you, i was here first"

"We're not the ones complaining"

Rose places a plate of eggs, bacon and toast in front of Kara, and gives her and Adam a firm look which shuts them both up

With a satisfied nod she glances upstairs. "Luther! Breakfast is done!" she shouts

"Coming!" He yells

Rose chuckles and places the plate of food in front of where Adams and Luthers seat are

"Alice what's wrong, aren't you going to eat?" Kara questions worriedly

Rose glances to Alice and sees she has not eaten. "Sweetie you have to eat so you have loads of energy for the day ahead"

"I'm not hungry" Alice mumbles

"you need to eat to before it gets cold" Kara says

"I'm not hungry!" she exclaims with a scowl

Adam frowns, irritation boil through him. It's way too early for all this. He just wants peace and quiet. "Just eat the food already so we can move on with our lives" he mutters

Alice crosses her arms definitely

Adam rolls his eyes. "You know, there are staving people out there"

Alice glares at him. "I don't want to eat" she insists shoving the food away with a scowl

Adam rolls his eyes and grabs her plate. "then stave"

Before anyone could process whats happening, Adam quickly pours the eggs and bacan into his own empty plate

"Oi, what are you doing, that's Alices food" Kara exclaims

Rose pulls Adams plate away, ignoring his protests.

"She said she didn't wanna eat, it's not my fault" he insists with a frown making grabby hands for the plate

"Adam, if you want more food, i can make more, you don't have to steal Alices" Rose scolds pouring the food back into Alices plate

"Aren't you always banging on about how we shouldn't waste food"

Rose sighs running a hand over her face.

"It's too early for this" she mutters placing the plate back in front of Alice who glares at the food with a frown

 

_________

 

Orange overflows the darkening blue of the sky. Strips of purple, pink and red slashing across the sky as the sun begins to rise

"The view is beautiful" Connor muses with a small smile, trying to ignore the tightening in his chest

Markus tears his eyes from the sunrise to look at Connor, his smile dropping at Connors forced smile and trembling form

Markus hesitantly reaches for Connor but last minute decides to hold back. "Are you okay?" he questions

Connor turns to him with a hitched breath "Fine, why?"

"No really, what's wrong? Are you cold?" he asks already going to pull his coat off before Connor grasps his hand, stopping him

Connor shakes his head. "No, i just..." he trails off shutting his eyes. Connor opens them with a deep breath "i...i don't really like heights" he whispers

"Oh"

Markus bites his lip and feels like banging his head on a wall. 'I shouldn't of brought him here then, damn it' he cusses himself for his stupidity

"If you want to we can go back inside" Markus offers

Connor bites his lip and glances to the door longingly

"I don't know"

Markus revealed this secret favourite place to him, and if he leaves, it's like he doesn't appreciate it, when he does

Shuffling closer to Connor, Markus hesitantly grabs his cold hands. The chilly breeze flows over them making the strand of Connors hair flutter in the wind

Markus steps closer and holds Connors hands tightly. "I won't let anything happen to you. I won't let you fall"

"How can you stop me from falling though" Connor whispers

"We aren't that close to the edge, and i've got you. I have your back, i won't let anything happen to you"

Connor bites his lip and for a split second looks into Markus' bright eyes before the eye contact becomes too much.

Markus rubs his hands over Connors cold ones to try and warm up the trembling mans hands.

"But we can go if you want to"

Connor glances to the view once more. "Can we step further away please"

Markus nods and moves further away from the edge pulling Connor with him. "Do you want to go further back?" he questions

They can't see the view below anymore, only the view across

"It's okay now"

They are standing so close, they can feel the others warm breath on their faces

Markus looks at Connor with a sigh. He has a few freckles dotted over his face, his whiskey coloured eyes filled with warmth and hope

Markus bites his lip and looks into Connors soft eyes, subconsciously leaning in. "Hey..." he trails off glancing at Connors lips

"Yeah?" Connor whispers

Their lips nearly ghosting over each other, Markus feels his heart pounding rapidly against his chest.

"Can i kiss you?" Markus whispers glancing between Connors soft lips and eyes

"...Yeah"

They slowly lean in, the world stopping around them as if its just them and nothing else matters

Slowly leaning forward, Markus sighs at the sharp cold against Connors soft lips, time stopping and all he can focus on is the cold soft lips filling him with warmth. He gently rests a hand over Connors cold check, and slowly pulls back with his eyes still shut, resting his forehead over Connors

'Wow' he thinks

Markus slowly opens his eyes to see warm brown ones staring back

"That...Er, woah" Markus stutters with a small smile

"...yeah" Connor beams

"i have to go to school" Markus whispers grabbing Connors hand

"Go, we'll talk later"

Markus kisses Connors warm flushed cheek

"See you"

"See you" Connor waves

Chapter Text

"Where have you been all night?" Hank crosses his arms as Connor walks through the door

Connor stops in his tracks, "With Markus" he blurts out before his brain could catch up with his words

Shit

Hanks eyes pop out of his head but before he could say anything Connor is quick to add with a shake of his hands "Nothing happened"

Hank raises an eyebrow

Connor frowns. Well something did happen, he kissed Markus, but nothing happened like Hank probably thinks

Hank furrows his eyebrows. "Isn't Markus Norths boyfriend"

Connors heart drops

"I think he's just her friend" Connor says hopefully

Hank shrugs. "I saw her messaging that Markus boy and there were heart emojis"

Connors heart drops

Hearts can be platonic right?

Connor slumps over himself, knowing he's just trying to deny it

So Markus is her boyfriend

Shit

But why would Markus kiss him if he's with North. Unless...it's a joke or prank. He was so into the moment he forgot

Connor slumps over himself. Just when he thought someone was actually interested, it turns out to be a joke. He let his guard down

Connor suddenly jumps up at a sudden thought, 'I must tell North' he thinks, 'Markus doesn't deserve her if he cheats on her'

"Is North home?" Connor questions urgently

Hank silently points towards her room and Connor races there without another word

He knocks on the door urgently, and waits tapping his foot until North opens the door with a "What?"

Connor barges inside her room. "Markus kissed me" he blurts out instantly

Norths eyes are blown open as she blinks then blinks again. "Wait, what?"

Connor nods. "Im sorry, I completely got caught up in the moment--"

Norths beams. "YOU KISSED MARKUS!"

Connor furrows his eyebrows at her gleaming smile. "I thought you and Markus are together--"

"--huh?" North cuts him off scrunching her face

"I said--"

"--i know what you said, what ever gave you that idea?"

"You talk about him a lot--Hank said, and...i don't know"

"We're not together, I even tried to set you two up" she accidentally blurts out

Connor narrows his eyes. "I knew you set us up that night"

"You're welcome" North smugly smiles crossing her arms

"I didn't thank you"

"You should loverboy, now tell me more about you and Markus" she leans in with a gleaming smile

Connor turns away flushed, “No”

North pouts. “Oh come on”

"No"

North grumbles and points to out her door. "Then leave"

Connor shrugs, leaving without a word

It then hits him

North and Markus aren't together

That means he has a chance with Markus, and he kissed him so that must mean he likes him.

'But what if its a joke or prank?' Connor thinks stopping in his tracks. It's not the first time someone has done that...

The memory is still fresh in his mind

Younger fifthteen year old Connor kisses his boyfriend at the time with a smile. They've been dating for over three months, and for Connor it was going well, at least for Connor. The other however pulls back with their face grimaced and twisted. "What'd you do that for freak?!" he spits wiping his mouth disgusted

Connors heart drops. They've been together for three months. It's not the first time they kissed. Why is he acting like this?

Connor feels himself shaking slightly, dread filling his broken heart. "Wha--what do...what?" he trails off

"You thought i actually liked you?" the guy scoffs. "I was dared to date you for three months for one hundred dollars, as if anyone could actually like you" the guy stares him down in disgust

Connors heart shatters

So he's been faking all this time? Connor shakes his head. But he was so sweet at first, giving him flowers, chocolates and...love

He'd shared secrets that he has not told anyone

"You said you loved me..."

The guy sends a look of pity. "Your own birth parents didn't love you, how can you expect anyone to love you."

Connor feels a fire burning through him at the mention of his birth parents

The guy scoffs. "Even your adopted mother left you for dead. You're own parents didn't care whether you lived or died, why should you?"

Connor grits his teeth, balling his hands by his side. The betrayal of a guy he once liked teering him into a ball of anger.

"YOU BASTARD" He punches the guy in the face. "AMANDA WAS AN OBSESSED PERSON" He punches the guy in the face again. "SHE INTENDED TO MAKE THE PERFECT SOLDIER! WANTED THE PERFECT SON! SHE DIDN'T CARE ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE"

Connor takes a deep breath, his anger flaring through him. "How dare you trick me!" he proclaims.

To think he actually thought he was different

When the guy grunts and reaches to punch Connor, Connor grabs his fist in time before it could hit his face. "How could you" is all Connor can grit out

"OI BREAK IT UP" A teacher yells racing towards them. "Break it up i said!" the teacher pulls the guy away from Connor

Current older Connor shivers at the memory

He'll never let himself get tricked like that again

Is Markus tricking him?

Connor sighs. 'I need to stop thinking about it' he thinks to himself as he sits on the sofa

Hank walks into the room and plops besides Connor. "What's wrong kid?" he questions

Connor shakes his head. "Nothing"

Hank narrows his eyes. "Did that Markus guy hurt you in any way?"

"NO--erm, no" Connor exclaims. 'At least not yet' he thinks as an afterthought

Hank nods. "Right. If he does, I'll hide the body don't worry"

Connor misses his joking tone and shakes his head. "You know you can't do that"

Hank looks at him seriously. "What makes you think i can't"

Connor realises how serious Hank is and shivers slightly. Hank can be terrifying at times.

Hank leans back. "What did you and Markus do? Or do i don't want to know?" he teases slightly

Connor shakes his head, a tiny smile forming on his face. "Just talked"

"All night?" Hank raises an eyebrow

Connor nods and strokes Sumo who flops onto his lap.

Hank stares at him for a moment before nodding. "Okay" he says. Hank crosses his arms. "The school called..." he trails off

Connor slumps over himself. "Yeah?" he says though he knows exactly what's it about

"I'm not disappointed in you, what you did to Reed was self defense. I had a long chat with them but they just won't budge, sorry kid"

"You have nothing to be sorry for, it's not your fault" Connor says staring at nothing.

"It's my responsibility, you're my responsibility" Hank says. "You don't deserve to get hurt like you do, I should be able to do better"

Connor glances to Hank and sees him very beat up about it as he slumps over himself looking at Connor with a look he can't distinguish

"It's not your fault" Connor says firmly

Hank sighs. "I should be able to do better"

Connor shakes his head. "You're doing your best, and for what its worth, you're doing a good job"

"You think so?"

"I know so" Connor firmly says. "If it weren't for you, I'd be dead, and who knows what would happen to North, she'd probably be dead as well." Connor bluntly adds much to his own shiver at the thought of North being dead and a memory that flashes through him

Hank shivers slightly and looks at Connor. "You really don't beat around the bush huh"

"Beat around the bush?" Connor tilts his head

Hank rolls his eyes fondly. "It means bluntly"

"Im only saying how it is"

Hank nods slowly and gently places a hand on Connors shoulder. "You're a good kid, don't let anyone tell you otherwise"

"...Everyone says im a bad person and better off dead" Connor confesses lowly

Hank blinks. Realisation of how bad things are flashing through him. He turns to Connor and looks at him seriously.

"Don't listens to them. You're a good person, and you deserve to live" Hank firmly says

"But--"

"--No buts. You're an amazing kid, don't listen to those who say otherwise"

Connor slowly nods. Still not believing it but wanting this conversation to end.

Hank smirks. "So you and that Markus boy huh?" he teases

Connor flushes. "We just talked"

"I didn't say otherwise" Hank points out

Before Connor could respond, North comes rushing in looking for something.

"Where is my purse?!" she exclaims

Connor scans the room and points to the kitchen table. "Over there"

"Thanks"

North takes her purse and looks at Connor. "I'm not finished with you" she says

Connor only huffs much to Hanks confusion. "What are ya talking about?" Hank questions

"Nothing" North and Connor say at the same time

"Right..." Hank says

North jolts. "Anyway, I have to get to school, aren't you going to get going Connor, you'll miss the bus"

'Oh yeah North doesn't know' Connor thinks to himself. "...i've been suspended" he says much to Norths surprise

Norths eyes pop out her head as she shakes her head slightly. "Wait--what. YOU got suspended, for what?"

"For breaking Reeds hand, it was either that or the police getting involved"

North waves her hands wildly. "But it was self defense!" she exclaims

"I know, but the damage was still done. Besides, they didn't care to hear my side of the story"

North is seething. "BUT THAT'S NOT FAIR"

Connor sighs. "Life's not fair" he says defeated

Hank gets up and places a hand on Norths shoulder. "Calm down, i know it's not fair, i've had a chat with the school but they just won't budge. Just let it be, don't get yourself into trouble as well over it" he says wisely, knowing North very well

North grumbles nonsense and shrugs Hanks hand off her. "Whatever" she says, but with a small gleam in her eye

She has plans for Reed

He made Connors life hell, she's not letting him get away with it

North seethes. 'Just you wait till the last day of school' she thinks to herself

Connor pets Sumo and looks up with a small smile despite everything. "Have a good day at school"

North huffs and waves a hand. "Yeah yeah, whatever"

Hank pushes North towards the door. "Scram, get to school you pest"

North whirls round. "Hey!" she exclaims

Hank chuckles. "Go, you don't want to be late" he pushes her further

"Fine, fine, i'm going," she says, "see ya later guys" she says before running out the door and getting into the school bus.

Simons not going to school due to being beaten very badly by his foster dad. North feels rage boil in her. 'If I find that man on the streets..." she seethes

Simon phoned her pretending to be sick but North saw right through him and he confessed the truth

'Im gonna kill that man' North growls slightly

As she arrives at the school, she hops off the bus and enters the school, ignoring the whispering surrounding her

North rolls her eyes 'don't people have better things to do' she thinks to herself

____________

 

The day does by in a blur. Its now lunchtime and North spots Markus sitting by himself on the bench.

North strolls up to him. "Hello loverboy" she greets

Markus furrows his eyebrows. "What'd you mean 'loverboy' "

North smirks. "You and Connor"

Markus pales slightly and feels a bit of anger boil in him. 'Talk about kiss and tell' Markus thinks.

"He told you" he says tightly

North notices his tone of voice and frowns. "Only because the idiot thought we were together"

"Oh" Markus says. "but why did he think we were together?"

North shrugs with a scoff. "No idea, but we're not, so you and Connor can have your happy ending and get together"

Markus smiles slightly. "What did Connor say?"

"Nothing"

"Nothing?"

North huffs. "No he wouldn't tell me anything" she grumbles out

Markus smiles. So he didn't say anything.

North bids hello to Josh who sits down at their table. "Why didn't Simon come to school?"

North fidgets in her seat slightly. Simon asked her not to tell anyone.

"Don't know" she lies easily

But Josh sees right through her. "You know don't you. Don't tell me he skipped school, its really not the right time for that and it's not like him"

North sighs. "He asked me not to say anything"

Markus frowns. "His foster father beat him again, didn't he?"

It's happened many times before, where his foster dad beat him so badly he couldn't walk

Markus frowns further, he's glad it's the last year so Simon can leave that house once and for all

North slams her hand on the table, startling both Josh and Markus. "He did, that fucking bastard. If I see him on the streets I don't know what I'd do"

Josh frowns. "You better not do anything, the Phillips are a powerful and influential family, you'd be straight in jail if you do anything"

North grumbles nonsense taking a bite out of her sandwich

Markus sighs. "I always say for him to stay at mine"

"Yeah but his foster parents don't like that"

"I know" Markus frowns feeling bad for his friend, he doesn't deserve it, none of his friends deserve to get hurt in any form.

North doesn't deserve what happened to her

Josh doesn't deserve to constantly hear his parents fight

Simon doesn't deserve to be beaten

And Connor, Connor doesn't deserve anything that's happening to him

As they chat the time flys as Josh stares at his watch wide eyed. "We have to go to class"

They get up and separate to get to class

____________

 

At the end of school North makes her way home. They all have too much homework that needs to be done.

“Hello North” a soft voice calls out

North whirls round to find Chloe walking behind her with a small smile.

Norths cheeks heat up. Flushed, North coughs and scratches her neck. “Hi” she breathes

"How are you?" Chloe questions smoothly

"F--Fine" North stutters out. "How are you?"

"I'm good, but i just got bitten by a stray cat earlier"

North winces. "Ouch, why'd you go to the stray cat though?"

"I wanted to pet it, but he didn't like the idea of it"

North chuckles in wonder at the girl in front of her

"You okay though?" North questions

Chloe nods with a bright smile. "Im fine"

They stand there in an awkward silence, well, awkward for North, Chloe's in her own little world

"Would you like to hang out?" Chloe questions dreamily

Norths heart pounds out her chest. Huh. Did she hear that right. This beautiful soul wants to hang out with HER.

North forgets all the homework and stutters out a small "S-Sure"

Chloe beams. "Yay, let's go to a nice cafe i know"

"Sure" is all North could say as she follows Chloe in a now more comfortable silence

Chapter Text

Gavin sits grumpily on his bed and glares a hole in the wall.

"Gavin," his mother calls out to him. "stop acting like that, we know you have been terrorizing that boy, what he did was self defense"

"No it wasn't, it broke my hand"

"HE, now Gavin, how did you feel when people used to call you it or she back in middle school"

Gavin grumbles under his breath.

His mother nods. "Exactly, you need to stop acting like how you do, it's toxic and unacceptable how you act"

Gavin rolls his eyes. "The freak was asking for it"

"No," his mother scolds him. "and don't call him a freak. He didn't ask for it. That boy has done nothing to deserve all the bullying he goes through thanks to you and everyone else"

Gavin stares at her

"Yes I know that he's being bullied, it's not the first time his foster father has spoken to me and others about what you and everyone do to that poor boy"

"He broke my hand!" Gavin exclaims. "shouldn't you be on my side, as your son!"

"I'm on the side that is right, you provoked that boy until he snapped, you're not getting away with it"

Gavin huffs

Gavins mother looks at him in disappointment. "I thought I raised you better than this, I'm very disappointed in you"

"Everyone at school acts like this, everyone at school hates Stern, it's not just me" Gavin tries to defend himself

"So if everyone at school jumped out a window would you do it too?"

Gavin grumbles and looks to the side

"Exactly," his mother says. "don't follow the crowd, be your own person"

"Whatever"

_______

 

North slides into her seat with a small smile. “S-So, you co-come here often?” she tries to say smoothly, but fails completely.

Chloe smiles with a nod. “I normally hang out here with my friend and sisters”

North nods as she glances around

The cafe is small but cozy with soft music playing in the background

“So,” North starts, “why exactly did you ask me to hang out--not that I didn't like it, but why?”

“Because, you’re interesting North, and I'd like to know more about you” Chloe bluntly says with a small blush

North flushes. “W--Well there’s nothing much to say”

Chloe shrugs slightly. “Tell me anything”

North narrows her eyes slightly. “Why though?”

Chloe smiles. “I’d like to get to know you more North”

“Yeah but why?

“Because,” Chloe starts, “isn't that what people do on dates?”

North chokes on her own spit. Huh. Did she hear that right.

“Wha?”

Chloe frowns slightly. “Unless you don’t want it to be, I mean--”

North cuts her off shaking her hands. “--NO, no. I’m glad you asked me, I just didn’t realize it was as a date”

“It doesn’t have to be if you don’t want it to be”

North shakes her head. “No,” North smiles. “I’d like it to be”

Chloe beams

North coughs and scratches her neck. “Well, my name is North Traci, I'm in my last year of school. I live with my foster brother and a foster dad, they’re great but annoying at times,” she rolls her eyes fondly. “And, er, I don’t know what I wanna do after school.” she frowns slightly

Chloe tilts her head to the side. “What things do you like to do?”

North leans back in her seat. “I don’t know,” she shrugs, “watch TV...eat..." she trails off

"Do you like cooking?" Chloe suggests

North scrunches her nose. "No, not really, I just love to eat"

Chloe chuckles

North looks towards her with a smile. "So, tell me about you"

Chloe looks up in thought. "Well, I like to cook, do the housework, I'm a very organized person, I can manage to do your appointments for example"

North chuckles. "The perfect waifu"

Chloe giggles. "You think so?"

"You like to cook. clean, are very organized, beautiful, of course you are"

Chloe flushes. "You're so modest"

North scrunches her face. "Not really, to be honest," she says. "I'm more brutally blunt and to the point"

Chloe nods. "So, tell me more about yourself, what hobbies do you have for example?"

North glances up in thought before turning to Chloe very seriously. She points a finger. "You can't tell anyone about this"

Chloe frowns slightly. "Okay?"

"I'm serious"

Chloe straightens up and looks to North with a hard firm gaze. "Okay," she says firmly

North glances around, looking slightly ashamed. "I...like to...knit..."

Chloe blinks. Blinks again. "I thought you were going to say you like to murder people or something"

Chloe leans back with a chuckle. “It’s not a bad thing, you know”

North flushes. "Well, people normally tease me for it. Hank and Connor do."

"That's not nice of them" Chloe frowns

North waves a dismissive hand. "It's only teasing, like a family does, I tease them about their interests as well, it's just how we roll"

Chloe nods in understanding. "I understand, my sisters and I tease eachother all the time about things like boys, or girls in my case"

"You like only girls?" North blinks surprised

Who's that guy she hangs out with nearly all the time then?

Chloe nods. "Yeah, I'm a lesbian, what about you?"

North shrugs. "Don't really have a label, I just like people for their personalities"

"So pan?"

"Maybe"

"Do you have a crush on anyone?"

North blinks. "If this is a date, why are you asking if I have a crush?"

"Because," she says, "I need to know I have competition" she jokes

North laughs slightly. "Well, I'm sure you'll be glad to know you have no competition"

'No one can beat Chloe anyway' North thinks to herself

Chloe leans back with a chuckle. "Good, I'm sure you'll be delighted to hear its the same for me too"

North chokes on her drink.

This beautiful soul actually likes her

North coughs, "You're really something else Chloe" she smiles

"Is that a good thing?" Chloe smiles back

Norths breath hitches at Chloes bright smile.

'Beautiful' North thinks to herself

"Yeah" she breathes, definitely a good thing

Chloe chuckles. "You too are something else North"

They continue chatting about all sort of things, from their favourite TV shows to their families

"I live with my friend Elijah and my sisters" Chloe says

North blinks. "What about your parents?"

Chloe shuffles in her seat with a frown forming on her face. "I have no parents"

Norths heart drops. "Oh," she says, "sorry, it sucks"

"Yeah, it does," Chloe says, and forces a smile on her face "but I have my best friend Elijah and my sisters, so it's okay"

North nods. "At least you're not alone" she frowns thinking about how after school Connor and Hank might not want anything to do with her, a constant thought that itches in the back of her and she's sure Connors mind, they both wonder if after school they will still have a home with Hank

Chloe frowns. "What's wrong?" she notices Norths drop of happiness

North waves a hand with a forced smile. "Nothin', just thinking too hard"

"You can talk to me, I'd like to be your friend North"

"Not my girlfriend?" she jokes

"I'm your friend first, I'm here for you"

North sighs. "Just thinking too hard, its nothing"

"If you say so"

They continue chatting without a care in the world

________

Connor stares out the window, watching the little bit of snow flutter from the sky before hitting the ground

Connor winces as they hit the ground, a memory flashing through him…

Younger Connor walks towards the edge of the roof. Standing a bit away from the edge, he sighs peering to the view before him.

The looming night is cold as a chilling wind blows. Little flakes of snow flying over Detroit.

The snowy streets are silent and deserted. Not a single person or car in sight.

The silence deafening.

Connor takes a huge breath chocking out a sob as he looks up at the sky.

'I'm so pathetic' he thinks trying to gulp for air. 'Why am I so weak'

Connor doesn't realize he's crying until a burst of saltiness fills in his mouth.

He thinks of Hank, and how much the gruff man helped.

Hank saved him that day.

Right when he thought it was the end, Hank saved him.

He was left in the blizzard, unable to see or find his way as freezing snow attacked him for every corner. He remembers screaming for help, for her, for anybody. His throat hoarse for screaming as the unforgiving snow kept attacking him.

Hank saved him

But Connor doesn't deserved to be saved

'He should have just left me there to die' Connor bites his lip stepping forward

Hank doesn't actually love or care for him. He's just a replacement for Cole. He can't ever be his son. Hank already has one and he can never see Connor like that. Hank just pitied Connor. The pathetic lost boy who was left for dead in the snow

Connor then thinks of North. Even with her past, she did not hesitate to help him. Maybe because they are both so similar. She tried to help him understand sarcasm, but he still doesn't get it most of the time. She stood up for him, more times than he could count.

'She shouldn't have bothered' Connor thinks stepping forward

Connor thinks of the things people have said and done to him. The punching. The horrible words. The taunting.

'Freak'

'Scum'

'No one cares for you'

'No one loves you'

'No wonder they left you'

'The Hank doesn't actually care for you, he just pitied you'

'You see that Stern boy, he's just a replacement for the son'

'You're nothing'

 

The list is endless

 

Connor takes a step forward running a hand over his face and wiping the tears that never seem to stop falling.

He then thinks of Amanda. He tried so hard to do everything right, to succeed, to be perfect, to make her proud.

But it was never good enough.

She was never satisfied. Everything he did was somehow wrong. No matter how hard he tried, it was never good enough. Her harsh cutting words never seem to leave his mind, no matter how hard he tries to forget, it's always there, judging him, mocking him, reminding him of all his faults and how he deserves nothing

He takes a step forward

'This will be the best for everyone' Connor breaths out

"You're trespassing, you're not allowed up here" a harsh voice calls out

Connor keeps his gaze forward "Don't worry, I'll be gone in a moment"

"You have to leave now, you can't be up here"

Connor turns around with a sigh

The man in front of him furrows his eyebrows stepping forward.

"I know you..." he trails off a bit. "You're Connor, Hanks kid"

Feeling his heart race, Connor squints his eyes tightly shut.

The man, Captain Allen, slowly steps forward. "You can't be up here, you're not allowed and it's dangerous. You're coming with me"

Moving sideways. Connor keeps his eyes focused on the snowy ground.

"Stay right there" Captain Allen points

Connor ignores him and starts stepping back towards the edge.

"You don't understand" Connor mumbles. "I can't do this anymore" he quietly says, but the silence of the night makes his voice sound almost like a yell.

"Don't do this" Captain Allen says worriedly, suddenly realising the real reason Connor is up here. "Don't do this, let's talk it out" he says holding his hands up

Connor steps up onto the short barrister that surrounds the roof, balancing on the edge of life and death

"Connor!" Captain Allen shouts

With a deep breath, Connor allows himself to shift his center of gravity backwards.

 

Allowing himself to fall

 

"CONNOR!" Captain Allen screams running forward "CONNOR!"

Captain Allen feels his chest tighten painfully as he can't do anything but watch the kid fall.

Captain Allen freezes as Connor hits the ground with a loud thump. Shaking himself out of it, he quickly calls for an ambulance and starts sprinting downstairs to see if there's a chance of saving him

 

______

 

It's almost ten when Hank reaches his limit and slams his fist on the table.

"Where the fuck is he?" he growls to no one in particular

North shrugs taking a bite out of a cookie. "So what, he's being a rebel, just ground him when he gets home"

"What if something happened huh, the kid won't answer the fuckin' phone" Hank shoves the phone to the side before reaching for a beer

North lowers her gaze but doesn't say anything

Hank takes a swig of the beer. "This is not like him"

North sighs. "Look, just calm down. His phone probably died and he's stuck in traffic or something"

Hank runs a hand over his face. "If he's not home by midnight I'm gonna look for him"

Before North can say anything, Hanks phone rings

Hank fumbles for it and quickly answers "Con--oh sorry hello"

The colour from Hanks face slowly drains and his eyes turn cloudy and distant.

"w-wha, no--er right" Hank stares at nothing his hand slowly from his ear. "Connor no" he whispers

North waves her arms. "What happened?" she questions urgently

Hanks phone slips out from his hand. His chest tightens and his vision becomes blurry

Hank breaks into a sprint, racing across the room to grab his keys

"H-HANK" North yells biting her lip nervously

Hank fumbles for the keys, his breath hitching as he lowers his head squinting his eyes tightly shut

North grabs Hank by the shoulders and turns him to her. "What happened?!" she urges

"W-we need to get to the hospital. Quick" he stutters power walking towards the door

"Hank, w-what---"

Hank shakes his head rubbing his eyes. Before North could process it, Hank grabs her by the arm guiding her towards the car

 

_____________

 

Connor wakes up with a groan as the intense white lights blind him for a moment.

Blinking, he tries to focus his blurry eyes on his surroundings

'Wait, what's happening' Connor thinks reaching to rub his eyes but a hand on his stop him

He looks to the source of the hand and finds Hank looking at him with bloodshot watery eyes.

As soon as he sees Connor start to wake, Hank jumps up from his seat and runs a soothing hand through Connors hair.

"Shhh, y-you're alright, I'm here, everything will b-be alright" he croaks out

Connor feels his heart drop. 'Oh, it didn't work' he thinks to himself biting his lip

A doctor comes him giving him a small smile. "Hello Connor, how are you feeling? Any pain in your back?"

Connor furrows his eyebrows. "Why aren't I dead?" he questions

The doctor smiles slightly. "Looks like you have someone looking out for you. The height of the building should've created a huge impact when you hit the ground, but you hit a tree and a family tried to catch you as you fell, thus creating less impact on your back, which is why you survived, that and Captain Allen called for an ambulance"

Connors heat drops

Oh

But why?

Why must he survive?

Seeing Hanks face, Connors heart drops even more. Hank nearly lost another son

'But I'm not his son' Connor thinks

North stomps into the room before he could say anything and slaps him across his face. "How could you?!" she croaks out, tears prickling her eyes

Connor grasps his cheek and feels his own tears prickling his eyes, not because of the slap but the trouble and pain he's caused to everyone

"I-I want to die" he whispers

Hanks and Norths breath hitch

The doctor looks at him sympathetically. "You'll be watched over for a while, and be put on medication.”

Connor can’t do anything but nod, feeling his chest tighten

____________

 

Current Connor shivers at the memory

Thoughts whirling across his mind

It felt like only yesterday he tried to kill himself

Connor sighs

‘I hate snow’ he thinks to himself

Chapter Text

A few hours pass and Connor feels himself self destructing

Memories of the past haunting him

The doorbell knocks him out of his thoughts

‘Huh? Hank went to work and North is out'’ Connor thinks ‘North must have forgotten her keys' he concludes

Connor gets up with a sigh and pets Sumo who barks and wags his tail excitedly.

Connor opens the door and to his surprise sees Markus standing with a small smile

"Markus..." Connor says, memories of the kiss flashing through him

"Connor..." Markus trails off before hesitantly cupping Connors cheek.

Connor flinches away slightly but then melts into the warm touch

“How are you?” Markus questions

“Fine” Connor lies easily

Markus looks at him. “No you’re not,” he notices. “sorry I didn’t come earlier, I didn’t have the courage to see you”

Connor nods with a tight smile. “Feel bad about tricking me?” he questions with a touch of sarcasm

Markus furrows his eyebrows, taken aback.”Huh?” he says

“You kissed me as a joke or prank” Connor states

Markus slowly shakes his head, taking the information in. “No, I didn’t”

Connor blinks

Should he believe him?

“...Really?” Connor says

“Really” Markus states, “I would never do that to someone, how could you think that?”

Connor lowers his head. “It would make sense, everyone hates me and it has happened before”

Markus is about to retort until...

Wait

Happened before?

“Someone tricked you?” he questions, finally understanding

Connor merely just nods meekly.

Markus’ heart drops

Oh

And he hasn’t seen or spoken to him for hours, Connor probably thought the worst

“I'm sorry” is all Markus can say

Connor shrugs “It’s not your fault”

“No, I'm sorry I didn’t see or talk to you since the kiss, you must have felt bad”

Felt bad?

Understatement of the year.

Connor shrugs meekly. “It’s fine”

“No,” Markus firmly says “it’s not fine, you don’t deserve that”

Connor looks up at him. “So it wasn’t a prank or joke?”

Markus shakes his head firmly. “No” he says sincerely.

Connor scans his voice and his body language for any lies

None

So it wasn’t a joke or prank

Connor finds himself smiling slightly. “I’m glad” he says

Markus beams. “You’re amazing Connor” he states “you mean a lot to me”

Connor lowers his head to hide his blush. “Thanks”

A comfortable silence falls over them

Connor snaps out of it as he sees Markus shiver slightly. "Come in" he says gesturing towards the inside of the house

Markus nods with a blush. He enters the house and takes his coat off which is dusted with snow. The heat from the house warming his cold skin

Connor takes his coat and hangs it up.

Sumos bark breaks through the silence and Markus smiles. "Hello Sumo" he beams, stroking the big dog

They head towards the sitting room and sit on the sofa, the TV being the only sound surrounding them as they silently watch the screen

Connor looks towards Markus.

Markus is biting his lip, staring intensely at the TV.

Connor feels his palms sweat as he rubs them across his jeans

Markus looks towards him with those intense beautiful eyes which look like they glow against his dark skin.

Markus beams towards him

Connor feels his breath taken away.

‘Beautiful’ he muses

Markus slowly lifts his hand, gently placing it onto Connors flushed cheek

This time, Connor doesn’t flinch away from the touch, instead leans into it shutting his eyes

Markus rubs his thumb across Connors cheek. “You’re amazing” is all Markus can mutter out, all that his mind could process while being this close to Connor

Connor opens his eyes to see Markus slowly leaning in with his eyes shut. Connor shuts his eyes and slowly leans forward towards Markus

Fireworks fly as their lips connect once again.

Pulling apart, Markus rests his forehead over Connors, staring into those warm brown eyes which never seem to look at him properly

Connor leans into the touch, breathing heavily. He pecks Markus soft lips and presses his forehead over Markus’.

“What are we doing?” Connor whispers

Markus pulls back and blinks. He grabs Connors soft warm hands and lifts them towards his lips, pressing a kiss onto Connors knuckles.

“Connor Stern, will--” before he could finish his sentence, Sumo jumps off the sofa and starts barking wildly just before the front door opens

Markus and Connor flinch away from each other as if they got burnt and sit a few feet apart as North walks in

North stops in her tracks and stares at their flushed faces. “Did I miss something?” she wonders out loud

Markus coughs. “No, nothing.” he flusters

North narrows her eyes. “Right…”

Connor looks towards her. “Where were you all this time, it’s…” he looks towards the clock. “It’s nearly seven o’clock”

“Why do you wanna know?” she says defensively

Connor misses her defensive tone of voice and says “Just wondering, like how you always ask me”

North shrugs.”It’s none of your business”

Markus stands. “Right, well, I got to go. See you” he races outside the door before any of them could respond

North looks at Connor. ”What were you and Markus doing?” she questions with a small smirk

Connor narrows his eyes. “Like you always say, it’s none of your business”

North chokes on her own spit

Huh

‘At least he’s his usual sassy self’ she thinks to herself

North shrugs. “Whatever, see if I care”

“Clearly you do or you wouldn’t have asked or get defensive”

North just rolls her eyes and walks towards the kitchen, dropping her bag onto the table and flopping onto the chair with a deep sigh

“You alright?” Connor questions getting up and sitting in front of her

“Fine” she says sincerely with a small smile that can’t help but form on her face

Connor narrows his eyes. “Okay…”

North rolls her eyes before jolting upright then groaning.

Connor tilts his head. “What is it?”

“It’s my turn to do the shopping, and I forgot” she groans

Connor looks towards the time. “It’s not too late, you can still go”

North groans. “I hate this bullshit” she grumbles standing up

“If you were to live alone, you’d have to do this anyway all the time” Connor says

North rolls her eyes. “Not looking forward to that”

North grabs her bag and makes her way towards the door, calling for a taxi on the way. As she leaves she accidentally doesn't close the door properly, leaving the front door slightly ajar

Connor doesn't notice yet as he checks through the window in the sitting room that she’s actually gone

When he sees the taxi arrive and pick her up before driving away, he turns around with a deep sigh

Memories of his past haunting him as the snow falls

Connor looks up in despair, a bad urge itching underneath his skin

He makes his way towards the bathroom and slams the door shut

__________

 

Markus sighs as a gust of wind blows across him. He locks the car and makes his way towards Connors house, he notices the door slightly open and peeps his head through the door. He spots his coat hanging on the coat hanger and grabs it with a sigh

He put on the coat and shivers slightly walking towards the sitting room

No one is there

Markus furrows his eyebrows

He heads towards one of the doors and knocks

No response

He opens the door and finds a dark red room surrounded with twinkle lights.

Markus shuts the door and heads towards another door

He knocks and hears a scutter and something falling on the floor with a clang

He furrows his eyebrows and opens the door

Markus stares wide eyed at the scene in front of him

“Connor…” he trails off

“GET OUT” Connor yells

Markus slowly steps forward grabbing Connors arms

Markus gently rubs his thumb over the sensitive broken skin. "Connor..." he trails off, at a loss for words.

His chest tightens sharply seeing the neat cuts running over Connors wrists, blood slowly seeping out.

Connor yanks his arms back. "Leave me alone" he whirls away from Markus, his heart pounding against his tightening chest

Connor hates this. Markus was never meant to find out, no one was. He doesn't want their pity looks, worried glances, looks of disgust.

A looming silence falls over them, the every so often drip from the tap ticking like a clock, slowly building up, like a bomb ticking down, waiting to go off

"Connor...just why?" Markus small voice breaks through the looming silence

Connor bites his lip and shakes his head. "Leave please Markus"

Markus' heart shatters and stops for a moment. He takes a deep breath, taking a careful step forward towards Connor

"I'm just worried about you"

Connor grits his teeth

Worried

Worried

Worried

Everyone is apparently so worried for him

No one ever cared for him before.

Despite living with Hank and North for a while, the fact that people worry over him, for his well being, is still a bit foreign for him.

It's strange

Connor still having his back to Markus, takes a deep breath, biting his lip at the drops of blood trickling down his arm

"Leave my house"

"Wait--

"--Get out!" Connor commands

"But--"

"--Leave me alone" he sternly grits out

Markus wants to push further, ask more questions, pull Connor into a tight hug, clean his wounds

Make sure he's okay

Connor still has his back to him, his shoulders tense and high.

Markus glances to the door.

But what if something happens...

He can push further

Or leave like Connor wants

Or...

Markus bites his lip. "please don't do anything rash"

He slowly walks to the door, waiting to see if Connor calls out to him to stop.

He doesn't

Markus glances back to Connor, his heart pounding rapidly, sweat dripping down his forehead.

He leaves the door ajar and waits for a moment before sliding down the wall beside it, his chest tightening as his heart beats loudly in his ears

Why…

Markus bites his lip

Should he tell North?

No, otherwise Connor would never trust him ever again

Before he could think twice, Connor leaves the bathroom and spots Markus sat on the floor

Connor has a long sleeve shirt on which slightly shows a bandage wrapped around Connors wrist

Markus points to his arm. "You can see the bandage slightly" he says meekly

Connor glances to his arm and quickly pulls his sleeve more down.

"I said for you to leave" Connor states

Markus glances up at him. "I'm worried about you"

Connor sits besides Markus with a deep sigh. "It's a way of coping with everything" he whispers

Markus thinks about everything Connor goes through and sighs

Markus looks at him seriously. "But it's not healthy, there are other ways of coping with things" he says

"Like what? How? What do I do?" Connor asks in despair

Markus glances up in thought. "...I don't know, I'm not a therapist" he says defeated "Paint maybe, play the piano, read, those are the things I do to distract myself" he states "What do you like to do?"

"I like to read, do puzzles, play with Sumo, find lost strays, play the guitar and much more"

Markus grabs Connors hands. "So when you feel the urge to cut, do those things instead" he pleads

Connor stares down at their hands, Markus' dark ones intertwined with his light ones. "I try, but it doesn't work" he whispers

Markus looks down. “Does North or your foster father know?”

Connor jolts upright. “No, and they’re not going to find out!”

Markus winces. “You can’t hide it forever, they’re going to find out sooner or later”

“No, I've done this for years and they never found out. And they won’t find out unless you tell them”

“Connor, you need help--”

“--You won’t tell them right?!”

Markus sighs defeated. He wants Connor to trust him, but should he tell someone or not? But what if something happens.

“Fine, I won’t say anything” he mutters

Connor sighs in relief. “Thank you Markus.” he beams

Markus’ breath hitches at the beaming smile Connor sends him

So beautiful

Markus sends him a tight smile. “No problem, just promise me that you’ll be careful and try not to do it”

“Okay” Connor says

Markus stares at him. “Promise?”

“Promise”

Chapter Text

After Markus left, Connor sits on his bed and places a hand over his wrist, blood slowly seeping onto the bandage

He sighs

Will Markus keep it a secret?

Connor hopes so, otherwise he has everything to lose

Markus already thinks he’s a freak, now he has proof to it

Connor bolts upright startling Sumo who’s laying over his legs.

What if he tells people at school?

He can’t have them find out and think he’s even more of a freak

He especially can’t have North or Hank find out, not now, not ever.

“What do I do Sumo?” Connor wonders out loud

Sumo gets off his legs and runs towards Connors shut door barking

Connor quickly pulls his sleeve down and gets up furrowing his eyebrows. ‘What’s wrong with him? Did someone arrive home?’ he thinks to himself

Connor opens the door and hears the front door opening. Sumo runs happily barking as North walks through the front door with the shopping in her hands.

Connor sighs in relief

He helps her carry the shopping to the kitchen and rolls his eyes when he notices three jars of Nutella in one of the bags

“I can see these will last you only about three days” he jokes slightly picking up the Nutella

North rolls her eyes. “Shut up”

Connor chuckles and shakes his head.

“So,” North starts while putting the shopping away “how was life at home?"

Connor shrugs. "Boring" he admits

North looks at him carefully. "You alright?" she questions as Connor is shaking from where he stands

Connor is thrown out of his thoughts. "Huh? Oh fine" he lies

North narrows her eyes noticing the lie

"Where are you on the scale?” she questions shocking him

Connor splutters. “What? Why?” he questions

‘Did Markus tell her?!’ he rapidly thinks to himself

North turns to him and narrows her eyes further. “Just wondering, there’s no need to get like that, unless you're high on the scale?” she raises an eyebrow

Connor lowers his gaze, scratching his wrist while being careful not to show the bandage. He can't lie to her, she can see right through him. “I’m around an eight” he whispers

North drops the bag of pasta that was in her hand, and runs over to him. “What? Why? Did you do anything?”

Connor resists rolling his eyes. Well, technically he did do something, but he knows that’s not what she’s referring to. “No I did not swallow any pills, I don’t even know where you and Hank hide them” which is true, he has no idea where they are. Hank and North are the ones who give him his medication in the morning and at night, and he can’t follow them to see where it is, he tried it one time and they just changed hiding places.

North sighs in relief. She was worried he went searching for the pills or something. North narrows her eyes, “you look guilty of something”

“Wha?”

North looks at Connor carefully, he’s fidgeting slightly and playing with his hands.

A thought comes to North

No

He can’t have done that

There's no way he's turned to that

Connor tries to stay as calm as possible, since he was caught by Markus, he’s more nervous now than he ever was before about being caught.

North races over to him and before he can process what’s happening, she pulls his sleeve up

Connor gasps at the action and yanks his arm back.

North looks at him in confusion

Connor looks down

Oh

She pulled the wrong sleeve up

She pulled his left sleeve up

Connor cuts with his non-dominant hand, his left hand, to his right arm. But he’s right handed, so she probably assumed it would be on his left arm

Connor startles upright

She’s onto him

He needs to do something

“Why did you do that?” he questions pretending to clueless

North points at his arm. “I--just...i thought...nevermind” she shakes her head and goes back to putting the shopping away

Connor softly sighs in relief.

She didn’t find out

But she’s onto him

It’s only a matter of time before she checks him again but this time both arms.

Connor helps put the shopping away to try and occupy his racing worried mind with something else

Why did she do that?

Why now, out of these years, is she onto him?

Markus can’t have said anything, he promised he wouldn’t

It must be because now he’s more nervous since he got caught before he was not as nervous about being caught

And she nearly caught him

‘I need to find a new place to cut’ he concludes as he puts the rice away

He places a hand on his shoulder, ‘Next time I will do it on my shoulders, it’s more uncommon and I'm less likely to get caught’ he figures out

“I can hear you thinking from here” North calls out breaking his thoughts

Connor shakes his head. “That’s impossible”

North rolls her eyes. “It’s a saying”

“Oh”

North nods sarcastically. “Yeah”

Connor frowns. “Okay, you don’t have to be mean”

North sighs as she puts the last of the shopping away and flops onto her chair with a groan

Connor goes towards the sitting room and plops onto the sofa with a sigh, thinking about Markus and everything that happened

Markus found out one of his deepest secrets

Can he trust him?

He has to, there’s nothing else he can do

_________

 

Josh sighs as he lays across his bed, he can hear his parents fighting from his room

“This is all your fault!” his mother screams

“My fault?!” his father bellows. “It’s all your fault, you useless women!”

“Useless?! Who is the one who does all the cooking and cleaning”

“Me! You do nothing in this house!”

Josh winces and grabs his phone and headphones, he puts his headphones on and plays music very loudly to try and drown out their voices

It doesn’t work properly as his parents voices are so loud that he can still hear them despite the music playing on the loudest volume

An hour passes and their screaming finally drowns out

Josh takes his headphones off to find they have stopped shouting

‘One of them must have left’ he concludes

A knock at his door brings him out of his thoughts

“Come in” he meekly says

His mother walks in and leans on the doorframe. “Sorry” she says sincerely

“For what?”

His mother sighs sitting on the edge of his bed

“For you having to hear your father and I argue with eachother”

Josh smiles despite everything. “It’s fine”

“No, it’s not. It’s not good for you and you must feel awful.” she states

Josh doesn’t have a response for that, everything she said is true

His mother groans. “I try not to argue but your father makes it impossible, he’s always picking at me and putting me down, you understand right?”

Josh sighs.

Everything she says is a lie, she’s the one who picks at him and puts him down Josh has noticed over the years

His father merely just has no patience for her and her bullshit

She does nothing around the house, doesn’t cook or clean, his father is the one who does all the work including working a full-time job while his mother does nothing

Josh sighs not wanting another argument but with him this time so he just agrees with her saying. “I understand”

His mother smiles. “I knew you’d be on my side”

“I’m not on any sides” he says

His mother looks at him offended. “So you agree with your bastard of a father?!” she exclaims

Josh sighs. “You don’t do anything around the house and don’t have a job, while dad has a full time job and does all the housework”

“So you agree with him! Well I didn’t expect that from the child I gave birth to, I’m the one who gave you life you know, without me you wouldn’t exist”

And there’s the guilt tripping

Josh looks to the side. “I know that, but that doesn’t excuse the fact that you do nothing around the house which is why dad gets so stressed all the time”

“I do plenty around the house!”

Josh sighs. He doesn’t want to argue or fight. “Okay okay” he says

His mother narrows her eyes. “You’re not just saying that?”

“No” he lies

His mother smiles. “I knew you wouldn’t disappoint me”

His mother gets up and walks out of his room, shutting the door behind her

Josh sighs once again.

He can’t wait to leave this house

_________

 

Markus flops onto his bed with a sigh

He glances towards the window, watching the snow gracefully fall

He smiles

'Snow is so pretty' he thinks to himself

Markus bites his lip. Thoughts of Connor racing around his mind.

He can't believe Connor cuts

Though what he goes through, it's understandable. 'I can't imagine what would happen if people at school found out' he winces

If only Markus could protect Connor from all the bad in the world

A knock at the door startles him out of his thoughts. "Come in" he says

Carl comes wheeling in with a small smile. "So you don't greet a man when you come home anymore?" he jokes

Markus sits up and smiles sheepishly. "Sorry Carl, I just wanted to drop into bed I'm so tired"

"It's okay Markus, I'm only teasing you"

Markus nods with a deep frown.

"What's biting at you?" Carl questions as he watches Markus stare deeply at nothing

Markus wonders…

He looks up at Carl and sighs. "What would you do if someone you care about does something bad to themselves?"

Carl looks at Markus carefully. "One of your friends are harming themselves?" he questions

Markus bites his lip and fiddles with his hands. "...Yeah"

Carl sympathetically looks at him. "I would tell their parents, so nothing bad happens to them just in case"

"But I'll lose their trust!"

"Sometimes you have to do something for their own good, even if you have everything to lose"

Markus frowns feeling his chest ache

What should he do?

Carl looks at him carefully. "Tell me which friend it is"

"No"

Carl frowns. "I can't have the knowledge of someone harming themselves and not do anything. What if something happens?"

"Nothing is going to happen, they promised to stop"

Carl sighs and calls it a day, he'll talk to Markus about it tomorrow. "We'll talk about it tomorrow, rest and think about it. Goodnight Markus"

"Night Carl" he calls out as the older man wheels himself out of his room

Markus lays back with a sigh

What should he do?

___________

 

Kara walks down the street with Alice in tow, they are window shopping while Rose, Adam and Luther are in a games shop looking for a new game

Kara walks into one of the shops and looks around with a beaming smile

Alice looks up at her.”Why are you so happy?”

“I just love shopping”

Alice scrunches her face. “I hate shopping, it’s so boring”

Kara chuckles. “You might find joy in it when you’re older”

“Doubt it”

Kara grabs a pink flowery shirt and holds it up to her chest. “What do you think about this?” she questions

Alice smiles. “It’s very pretty”

“It is isn’t it,” Kara muses. “should I buy it?”

“Yes!”

Kara drapes it over her arm and looks around some more

After searching around for more clothes, Alice whines. “Kara, I’m bored”

Kara sighs. “Fine, let me buy this and we’re going”

Alice claps her hands in excitement at the thought of finally leaving the clothes shop

She wants to look at the toys

“Kara, can we go to the toy shop next?”

“Sure”

As they stand in line Alice bounces impatiently on the balls of her feet. “Kara I wanna go” she whines

Kara sighs. “Just wait a little bit more”

As they reach the till, Kara spots a familiar figure at the till next to them

“Todd…?” she trails off

Todd whirls round to them. “Kara…Alice…”