GoGo pulls herself into one last curl up before the alarm telling her it was time to get ready for school starts going off. She grabs her towel and starts wiping away the sweat as she goes to take her shower. Most people thought she was crazy for getting up so early to work out, but if she wanted to make it onto the varsity track team and prove herself to be the best, then she had to do it. Being the fastest mattered more to her than anything else. Well… Maybe there was something (or someone) slightly more important, but she wasn’t about to let that distract her from her goal--or at least that’s what she told herself. Forcing images of soft brown eyes and a strong, broad shoulders out of her mind, she focuses on showering down so she can get to school.
Across town, Fred was reading comics as he waited for his family’s butler and driver, Heathcliff, to pull the limo around front (God he hated the fact that his parents made him ride in something so ostentatious to school when the last thing he needed was to stick out like a sore thumb more than he already did, but there wasn’t much he could do about it.) As it was, he was trying his best to get lost in his world of superheroes before having to face the reality of school that day. The series he was currently reading wasn’t something he’d normally have checked out, but when he’d seen the heroine on the cover he’d had to get it because she totally reminded him of his crush, Honey Lemon. Just like the princess in the story, she was totally out of his league--he was a lowly nerd who played D&D on the weekends while she was the girl campaigning for and favored to win homecoming queen. Still, that didn’t keep him from dreaming, and he could only hope that someday, somehow, he might just get the courage up to talk to her, or maybe even ask her out. It was probably just a fantasy, but that had never stopped Fred from chasing his dreams, no matter how impossible.
GoGo grunts as she shoves a heavy circular saw across the floor of the school’s workshop to it’s new spot along the back wall. Yes, it was probably something she shouldn’t be trying to do on her own, but she was too stubborn to ask for help. And she wasn’t about to complain about all the manual labor she was assigned whenever she came here to help the shop teacher--not only did being a teacher’s aide make for good extra credit, lifting and moving heavy supplies and materials did make for an awesome workout. And, beyond all of that, there was also the benefit that the school robotics team came in here during this period to practice, and GoGo wasn’t about to complain about getting to watch Tadashi Hamada, the team captain, working on the team’s robot, often stripped down to just worn blue jeans and a plain white t-shirt that would showed off his lightly sculpted abs, his usually flawless skin streaked with motor oil and grease. Oh yeah--all the hard work she did was definitely worth it if it meant getting to watch that every day.
Unfortunately, some days, she got a little too distracted and didn’t pay enough attention to what she was doing, and today was one of those days. Before she even knew what was happening, she went from standing upright to finding herself sprawled across the floor like a rag doll. She quietly curses as she spots the screwdriver someone had carelessly left on the floor--she was lucky that she hadn’t broken an ankle thanks to that dumb thing! Wincing in pain, she picks herself up off the floor. As ashamed as she was to admit it, a small part of her had been hoping that Tadashi had seen her fall and would come over to help her--anything that would give her an excuse to talk to him while being able to convince her brain that she wasn’t going soft by seeking out a guy. But he didn’t--he was too wrapped up in his own little world of inventing to be able to notice anything at the moment. He probably wouldn’t have even noticed if tornado sirens had started going off he was that engrossed in his work. Groaning quietly and limping a bit on her injured leg, GoGo gets back to work, doing her best to act like she wasn’t still watching Tadashi when she knew how stupid she was being, thinking she even had a chance with a guy like that.
Fred was on his way to his last period, hurrying up the stairs, only to come to a standstill when he spots Honey Lemon just above him on the stairwell, hanging campaign posters. As usual, she was surrounded by a group of friends and admirers, although it was clear from her sweet, sunny smile and the way she was making sure to include everyone in the conversation that the attention wasn’t going to her head. That’s one of the many things Fred found so amazing about her: even though she was so popular, she still remained such a pure-hearted soul. And it was one of the many reasons he wished that he was at the very least friends of her, even though to date he’d been too shy to do much more than wave and squeak out a “Hi” whenever she passed. It wasn’t like she ignored him purposefully--he was pretty sure that it was just that, with so many people and important things occupying her thoughts at all times, he wasn’t even on her radar. Why should he be? It’s not like they even ran in the same social circles or had any classes together. He only ever saw her from a distance in the hallway.
Still, as Honey Lemon passes him on her way down the stairs, suddenly she looks over at him and for a moment he has a heart attack thinking that she’s going to bust him for staring at her. But instead, she offers him a brilliantly sunny smile and chirps, “Oh, hey Fred!” before continuing on down the stairs. The poor fanboy was pretty sure his heart was about to beat out of his chest as she continues on her way. She knew his name! She actually knew his name! (Wow, that sounded kind of pathetic even in his own head, but hey, it was a start!) He was so excited over this positive turn events that he felt like he was floating on Cloud 9 as he starts back on his way up the stairs--only to promptly trip over a backpack that someone had dropped and faceplant right onto the linoleum.
“Hey!” GoGo looks up to see Fred heading towards her, grinning and waving, and with a wry smile she waves back. Most people didn’t understand how they were best friends--they were total opposites, both in looks and personality. But ever since GoGo had saved Fred from the bullies at daycare when they’d been only four, the two had stuck together like glue, and no one and nothing could tear them apart, not even growing up and going in slightly different directions.
“Hey yourself,” GoGo answers as she unlocks her bike. “How was your day?”
“Ugh--killer,” Fred groans. “I totally faceplanted right after Honey Lemon actually said ‘Hi’ to me! Can you believe it? I must have looked like such a dork...”
“At least she said ‘Hi’ to you,” GoGo quietly grumbles. “I tripped over a screwdriver and almost sprained my ankle while Tadashi was, like, five feet away, and he didn’t even notice!” The fanboy was pretty much the only person she was honest to about her feelings, and it was nice to have someone to talk to about it who actually understood her situation.
“Aw man--that royally sucks,” Fred tells her, sympathetically shaking his head. “We both had really rough days, huh?”
“Definitely,” GoGo agrees, finally getting her bike free from the bike rack.
“Want to head to Toybox Comics to drown our sorrows in sugar and superhero stories?” Fred offers, naming their favorite hangout.
“Sounds perfect,” GoGo answers with a grin. “Wanna ride with me?”
“Yes please!” Fred replies, climbing onto the back of her bike--they’d been doing this for years, and even if both their parents worried about how safe it was, GoGo had yet to have a wreck and the fanboy felt perfectly safe riding with her.
Half an hour later they pull up outside the local comic book shop and, after locking up GoGo’s bike, they go inside and head directly to the gaming room--a sort of hang out area filled with tables and comfy chairs so that people could play tabletop games, read, or work on their favorite hobbies. It was a little patch of nerd heaven, and the best friends had spent more hours here than they could care to count ever since they’d been old enough to start coming here by themselves. As usual, Fred heads over to check the bulletin board on the wall where people posted notices for special services or events--one never knew when the next Marvel movie night or cosplay contest might be! But the fanboy lets out a quiet groan when he spots a familiar face on a poster right smack-dab in the middle.
“She has posters up here too?” he sighs--was there no escape from the reminders of the person he wanted to date but probably would never be able to actually so much as have a full conversation with?
“She’s not the only one,” GoGo answers, pointing to another poster trying to recruit new members for the robotics team.
“Seriously--why are we both stuck crushing on people we can’t even so much as get a word out to?” Fred complains, sinking into a nearby beanbag chair.
“It’s so stupid!” GoGo agrees, plopping down next to him. “I mean, they’re just people--why can’t we have a normal conversation with them?”
“I mean, it would be so much easier if we had it reversed--I would have no problem talking to Tadashi, and I’ll bet you and Honey Lemon would get along great since you both love science so much!” Fred huffs.
“You have a very good point there,” GoGo agrees, raising an imaginary glass in a toast to their mutual frustration.
They sit there in silence for a full minute, and then suddenly Fred almost leaps out of his chair.
“What is it? Did you get bit or something?” GoGo asks, suddenly nervous that the admittedly old beanbags might have an infestation.
“No, it’s not that!” Fred quickly reassures her. “But I think I might have a solution to our problem!”
“You do?” GoGo asks incredulously. “What is it?” As much as she loved her best friend, he was known for his harebrained schemes and she wasn’t really in the mood to be sucked into one of those right now.
“What you said--we can swap!” Fred declares with a proud grin.
“Uh, Fred? I hate to break it to you but I don’t think me hitting on Honey Lemon is going to be happening any time soon, and I don’t see how that would even help either of us…” GoGo answers, raising an eyebrow.
“No, not like that!” Fred answers, waving aside her concerns. “I meant what if we became friends with each other’s crushes so we can talk each other up to them? We be the ultimate wingmen! Wait, no, you’re a girl, so wingwomen? No, that’s not right either! Wingpersons? Or maybe--”
“It’s okay, I get what you’re saying,” GoGo tells him, trying to forestall any more rambling, before chewing thoughtfully on her lower lip. “All right, I’ll be honest, your plan sounds a bit crazy. But… It might just be crazy enough to work.”
“Really?” Fred brightens at that, pleased that she was taking his idea seriously.
“Yeah,” GoGo agrees, the start of a smile forming on her face. “Let’s do it. It’s not like we have anything else to lose, right?”
“Right!” Fred answers before putting out his palm and spitting into it. “Spit swear?”
As childish as it might seem to anyone else, a spit swear meant more to those two than to any other promise in the world, and so GoGo does the same before shaking his hand. “We’re in this ‘til the end,” she states firmly.
“To the end!” Fred agrees with a grin.
The next day, their plan goes into action. First things first--GoGo went to the front office as soon as the school doors opened the morning to get herself switched from third period AP chemistry to eighth period--the same class Honey Lemon took. With as busy as Honey Lemon was (she seemed to be on the chair for every possible committee in the school on top of running her own campaign for homecoming queen), the two friends had determined that the best time for GoGo to try to get to talk to her would be during a class--and not just any class, but her favorite class, meaning that she would hopefully be in a really good mood during it, making it the optimal time for speaking to her. Their plan in place, GoGo enters the door to the classroom at 2:30 p.m. and scouts around for the girl she was supposed to be befriending. As it so happened, it wasn’t hard to find her--not only was Honey easily the tallest girl in their class, even without the platform heels that she always wore, but she always dressed in bright colors, making her stand out like a daisy on a cloudy day. Her work station was, of course, right at the front of the room so she wouldn’t miss out on a single moment of class, and while GoGo usually preferred to sit in the back, away from the hawk-like gaze of most of her teachers, she decides to just suck it up--Fred was going to be going out of his comfort zone for her too so she could do this for her best friend.
“Hey,” she greets Honey Lemon when she reaches her station, gesturing to the empty seat next to her. “Anyone sitting here?”
“No, actually,” Honey answers, giving her a friendly smile, her emerald green eyes sparkling, but seeming a bit hesitant. “I don’t exactly have a lab partner at the moment. My last one--well, they sort of quit because they felt my chemistry was a bit too… ‘extreme’ was the word I think they used.”
“Extreme?” GoGo repeats, raising an eyebrow.
“My side experiments that I work on when I’m done with the main assignment tend to get a bit… colorful,” Honey Lemon answers with a sheepish grin.
“Ah.” That’s right--GoGo remembered hearing rumors of Honey Lemon’s somewhat illicit experiments in the lab. Still, that wasn’t about to scare her off, not when she was on a mission.
“Hey, I like to live a bit on the extreme side,” she tells the other girl with a slight shrug.
“Well… All right then!” Honey Lemon beams at her. “In that case, you’re more than welcome to be my lab partner!”
“Great!” GoGo grins at her and takes the empty seat.
“I don’t think I’ve seen you in here before,” Honey Lemon notes once she’s given her a chance to get comfortable in her seat.
“I transferred in from an earlier time,” GoGo answers carefully, not wanting to give away everything just yet--she had to play this off as casually as possible. “It just worked better with my schedule.”
“That makes sense!” Honey Lemon agrees with a grin before adding, “It’ll be nice having another girl in the class! It’s really sad that there aren’t many other girls in the advanced science classes here… But hey, at least I have you now, right?”
“Right…” GoGo replies before quickly adding, “Although I’m not exactly a girly-girl, so if talking about makeup and boys is your thing I’m not really into that…”
“Oh, don’t worry!” Honey Lemon hurries to reassure her with a small giggle. “That’s perfectly fine, makeup isn’t everything--there are so many other fun things to talk about! And as for boys, trust me, you definitely won’t catch me swooning over some guy!”
For a moment GoGo relaxed, glad that she’d found a somewhat kindred spirit, only to freeze when she realizes that part of what she’d just said was majorly counter-productive to what she was doing here.
“I-I mean not all boys are that bad!” she quickly says, trying to make up for her mistake. “Like my friend Fred--he’s a really nice guy!”
“Oh, you mean Fred Lee?” Honey Lemon asks. “Yeah, he’s definitely a sweetie! But not exactly my type…”
“What’s wrong with him?” GoGo demands, feeling more than a little bit defensive. “Any girl would be lucky to date him!”
“They definitely would!” Honey Lemon hurries to reassure her. “I’m not saying they wouldn’t be! But like I said, he’s just… Not my type.”
“Then what is ‘your type’?” GoGo huffs. Any information she could get that would give Fred an advantage was crucial right now.
“I-I’m not sure exactly…” Honey Lemon starts to stammer out.
“Then how can you know that he’s not it?” GoGo presses.
“Why this so important?”
“It just is!”
“That’s not a good enough answer!”
“Neither is yours!”
“Just answer the question already!”
“Honestly?” Honey Lemon’s tone changes for a moment, losing all of its friendly warmth--it almost sounded like she was snapping. “I’m just not in the position to be dating anyone right now, okay? Let’s just leave it at that!” For a moment her cheerful smile slips away--just long enough for GoGo to recognize a look she’d seen on her own face in the mirror enough times to know what it meant: she was done talking about the subject and that pushing her any more might result in things taking a major turn for the south. So GoGo stops.
“Sorry,” the girl mumbles, now feeling slightly bad for having gotten that aggressive about it. “I didn’t mean to--”
“It’s fine,” Honey Lemon cuts her off with a tiny shrug, making it clear that she didn’t want to say anything more about it.
“Oh. Okay then…” GoGo wasn’t exactly sure what to say--she wasn’t exactly good with the whole feelings thing, so she had no clue where to go from here. Of course she was worried about what Fred was going to feel when he found out that his crush wasn’t interested in him back (it might help soften the blow that she wasn’t interested in anyone, but it would still hurt.) Until she could talk to him, though, she had to figure out how to keep things from being super weird with her new lab partner for the rest of the class period.
Honey Lemon seems to notice her discomfort and, after taking a moment to compose herself, offers GoGo a friendly smile that seemed to say that all was forgiven. It was a bit disconcerting to see her mood change so suddenly, but before the other girl could think about it too much, Honey lowers her voice and asks in a conspiratorial whisper, “Wanna see something cool?”
“Um, sure, I guess?” GoGo answers, not sure where exactly this was going but deciding to just play along--anything was better than the awkward silence they were currently in.
“Great!” Honey Lemon beams at her before starting to pull several small bottles of brightly colored liquids and powders out of her purse.
“What are those?” GoGo asks, feeling equal parts concerned and oddly intrigued.
“You think I’d leave the house without my own personal chemistry kit?” Honey Lemon answers, a mischievous look in her eyes. Before the other girl can ask any more questions, she starts pouring different chemicals together in a beaker, the mixture starting to fizz in a slightly dangerous manner until--
“Whoa!” GoGo quickly scoots her chair back as the mixture overflows onto the desk, quickly hardening into solid pink foam.
“Oh, don’t worry!” Honey Lemon tells her with a grin. “It’s perfectly safe--you can even touch it if you want! Trust me, I wouldn’t make anything that would harm another student! It just looks really awesome, doesn’t it?”
“It’s certainly… pink,” GoGo answers, unable to keep from smiling slightly as she pokes the foam with her finger--it actually did feel kind of cool.
“See? Science can be fun!” Honey Lemon declares.
“True,” GoGo chuckles, shaking her head in slight amazement--this was certainly a side of Honey Lemon that she hadn’t known about before. Still, as she watches the other girl snapping selfies with her latest chemistry experiment, even pulling GoGo into a few and making the other girl roll her eyes at her silliness, she couldn’t help but smile. As much as she hated having to be the bearer of bad news to her best friend, switching classes hadn’t turned out to be a total loss. Honey Lemon actually seemed like a pretty good friend to have, and for once she felt like she actually had a reason to look forward to coming to class.
Fred, for his part, was trying his luck with Tadashi and the robotics club. He’d written down the room number for where the team met from the flyer in the comic book store, and directly after last period he set out to try to find it. As it turned out, the club room was down in the basement, and he feels just a bit nervous as he goes down the dark, rickety old stairs and knocks on the closed door of the classroom. Still, only moments after knocking the door opens, revealing a warmly lit room that looked like something of a nerd’s paradise and any reservations he had were quickly swept away.
“Hello, can I help you?” the guy he knew from GoGo’s descriptions and the few times he’d seen him in the hallway as Tadashi prompts when the fanboy, who was practically drooling over the vintage sci-fi posters, fails to say anything for a full minute.
“O-Oh, yeah, sorry!” Fred apologizes, flushing slightly in embarrassment, before answering, “I saw your flyer in the comic shop saying that the team was looking for new members and, well, here I am!”
“Really?” Tadashi’s eyes light up when he hears that. “Awesome! Yeah, we’re definitely looking for new members! Do you have any experience working with robots?”
“I-- Not really, no,” Fred admits before quickly adding, “But I’m a fast learner if you could use an extra pair of hands!”
“I like your attitude,” Tadashi chuckles before looking him over and saying thoughtfully, “I feel like I’ve seen you somewhere before… Wait! Are you in Dr. Richardson’s AP English class?”
“What? Oh, yeah!” Fred answers, feeling a bit caught off guard by the question but deciding to just see where the other guy was going with this.
“I thought so!” Tadashi grins at him. “I’m his student aide--I’ve seen you in the classroom talking to him a few times after class!”
“No way!” Fred gasps. How had he missed him?
“If it’s okay for me to say this--your writing is really good,” Tadashi tells him before adding earnestly, “I mean, like really, really freaking good.”
“T-Thanks!” Fred flushes at the praise--it was nice to have someone actually appreciate the fact that he was a good writer for once instead of just hating him for killing the curve.
“Y’know…” Tadashi says, looking at him with renewed interest, “With your writing skills, I actually just might have something I could really use your help with!”
“Name it!” Fred answers eagerly--this was awesome progress, it was just a short jump from helping Tadashi out with something to getting him to actually go out on a date with GoGo! (Alright, so maybe not an exactly short jump, but it was a start in the right direction!)
“For our robotics competitions, we don’t just have to turn in a robot,” Tadashi tells him. “We have to write a paper and give a presentation on the the theme of the year’s competition--you actually get points on how well you do with them that help your overall score. I usually have to do it all myself because the rest of the guys on the team aren’t exactly writers--there’s a reason we’re all future engineers instead of future English teachers. I’m not a bad writer, but I’m not great at it either, so we don’t usually get too many points from the presentation portion. If I had you helping me out, though--!”
“Say no more!” Fred answers, grinning eagerly. “I’m all over it!”
“Great!” Tadashi beams at him. “I have to help out with finishing off the robot and practicing driving it around our practice course up in the workshop, but since the others need to practice too I usually have some free time during our meetings and maybe we could work on it then?”
“Sounds perfect!” Fred agrees, beaming back.
“Perfect!” Tadashi repeats before asking, “Do you want to come in and meet the rest of the team? I mean, you are a member now and you’ll probably be seeing these guys coming in and out of here a lot while we’re working on the paper and presentation.”
“Absolutely!” Fred tells him--hey, it wasn’t like he had anything to stand to lose by meeting them, and the sooner he could get integrated into the group, the sooner he could start talking to Tadashi about GoGo, right?
“All right then!” Tadashi waves for him to follow him inside.
Fred does so, unable to believe that there was even more nerd swag in here! But his attention was quickly claimed by the rather eclectic group of nerds who were actually occupying the room.
“Okay guys!” Tadashi says, calling the others to order and putting a hand on the fanboy’s shoulder as he prepares to introduce him. “This is Fred--he’s going to be helping me with writing the paper and making the presentation, so you slackers can stop trying to wimp out of doing it since I finally have some actual help!”
There was a collective round of cheers, and the fanboy felt himself blushing slightly and also grinning--it was nice to have people cheering for him for once instead of booing him!
“Fred, this is the rest of the team,” Tadashi tells him, continuing with the introductions, pointing to each member of the team as he says their name. “That’s David, a.k.a. Wasabi--nicknamed because of an incident with sushi that is not to be spoken of. Over here we have Hunk and Pidge. This is Hiro, my little brother--and yes, he doesn’t just look young, he really is twelve because he’s a super genius who managed to pass all the tests to be in high school already!” He beams proudly at the boy before continuing, “That’s Eza, Hiro’s best friend, and Sabine, Ezra’s older sister. And those two lovebirds over there are Keith and Lance!”
“We are not ‘lovebirds’,” the dark haired teen who was apparently named Keith groans, shaking his head.
“We kind of are, babe,” the brown haired teen next to him, Lance, answers, playfully pecking him on the cheek and making him blush bright red.
Okay, this was a bit different than Fred had expected, but he could definitely roll with it--he had a lot of gay friends that he’d met online and at conventions, so he was totally chill with it! Actually, he thought it was pretty cool that they were so open with their relationship, and he asks curiously, “How long have you guys been together?”
“A year in January!” Lance states proudly.
“Nice! That’s really awesome!”
“Thanks!” Lance grins back at him before adding playfully, “We’re pretty much the only official couple in the group, but we’ve been trying to get Tadashi here set up with a date. He’s about to graduate, and he’s never been on a date, can you believe it?”
Well, Fred hadn’t expected this blatant of an opportunity, but he wasn’t about to turn it down!
“Hey, it’s cool if he hasn’t,” the fanboy says mildly before turning to Tadashi and adding, “but if you’re looking for a date to the homecoming dance or something, I have a friend who I think would definitely be interested!”
“Oh, wow… Um, that’s really nice of you,” Tadashi mumbles, turning a bit red, “but I’d really rather get to know anyone I date before actually asking them out, y’know?”
“Fair enough,” Fred agrees, hoping that he hadn’t crossed any boundaries. “Just thought I’d let you know in case you ever want to talk to her!”
“Oh man, it’s a ‘her’?” Lance shakes his head slightly. “Nope, that’s definitely not happening, then.”
“Why not?” Fred asks, although he was beginning to get a sneaking suspicion.
“Dashi’s gay as a rainbow flag, duh,” the boy Tadashi had introduced Hiro answers with a wry smile. “I thought everyone knew that!”
“I… Honestly did not,” Fred admits, thinking just how crushed GoGo was going to be when she found out. But then he realized that his reaction might leave Tadashi thinking that he wasn’t okay with him being gay, which he totally was, and so he quickly tells him, “But hey, awesome! Some of my best friends are gay, and I say it shouldn’t matter who you’re attracted to as long as you’re happy!”
“Wait, you’re not gay?” Pidge asks, raising an eyebrow.
“Uh… I don’t think so?” Fred answers, feeling completely thrown by the question. Where had that even come from?
“Huh… Interesting.” For some reason Pidge didn’t seem fully convinced, but before they can say anything else, Tadashi quickly steps in, “Well, I think that’s enough with the introductions for one day! Fred, would you be okay with meeting me here tomorrow to start working on the paper?”
“S-Sure,” Fred answers, still feeling a bit shaken by what had Pidge said (why was it bothering him when he knew that he wasn’t interested in guys?) but deciding to just go with it--anything that would get him out of here for the moment. Honestly, he had bigger problems to deal with right now--like telling GoGo that the guy she was crushing on wasn’t going to be able to reciprocate her feelings. That was enough of a mess without questioning his own sexuality.
“All right then.” Seeming to sense his discomfort, Tadashi gently starts guiding him towards the door. “I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”
“R-Right,” Fred agrees, flashing him a small smile and not completely sure that he’d actually be coming back but wanting to act friendly all the same. “See you then!”
And then, with one final awkward wave, he heads towards the stairs, missing Tadashi’s rather lingering gaze on his retreating figure.