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just a little bit cool in college

Chapter Text

Evan felt anxious.

What a surprise.

It was just the day before he was going to college. A community college just twenty minutes from his house. The mother and son duo were packing up the last of Evan’s things.

His mother, Heidi, had put together enough money for him to live on campus - something she claimed would be good for him. And Evan believed it up until now.

Now all he could think about was having to eat in a room full of strangers, who would probably think he was a loser, cuz he was honestly. He’d go to class all alone and not know what to do. Alone.

Evan wished Connor would be at college with him but his boyfriend was going a university about an hour away. Connor insisted he’d only be a call away but still, it wasn’t the same.

There was Jared too. He was taking the year off to “relax”. For the most part, that meant sleeping in and playing video games. Evan didn’t want to bother him but maybe he wouldn’t mind.

“Evan,” His mom said softly. “Are you okay?”

He sputtered out, “Of course, I just - I’m just - um. . . Just thinking about college - college stuff.”

Heidi smiled in a knowing way. “It’s gonna be hard at first but I promise it’ll be so great. You’re gonna love it, honey.”

Evan just nodded, not having the energy to tell his mom what was going through his head. That he didn’t want to go anymore and that things wouldn’t be great and how he’d be all alone. . .

He suddenly felt his phone vibrate in his pocket. Pulling it out, he say a text from Connor.

dinner tonight?

Evan typed back a quick yes please.

It wasn’t long before Connor pulled into the driveway. Evan went outside to meet him and gave the much taller boy a long hug. He held onto Connor until the dark haired boy announced, “I brought you a college gift.”

Evan stepped back and noticed the small, brown paper bag his boyfriend was holding. He smiled and blushed, “You really didn’t have to do that - I didn’t get you anything, I’m sorry -“

“Ohmygod, Ev. I don’t care if you didn’t get me anything. Just - here.” Connor handed him the bag.

Evan looked inside and almost melted. “Connor, this is so sweet - I’m sorry-“

His boyfriend rolled his eyes at Evan’s apologies and added, “I thought you could put it in your dorm, ya know.”

Evan took out the gift. It was a potted succulent. Super small, super cute, green succulent. He could tell Connor had painted the pot a light shade of blue. It was a bit messy and the original pot color showed around the edges - but that made it all the more perfect.

“I have no idea when you’re, like, supposed to water it or whatever. I didn’t read the tag and I threw away the little sticker it had on it so. . .”

Evan threw his arms around Connor, stopping him from rambling about it. It was so perfect. He felt like he could cry, but didn’t want to ruin their last day together.

“So,” Connor said, practically having to pry Evan off of him. “Dinner?”

“Of course.”

Chapter Text

Michael was at 7/11. Who would’ve guessed. He filled the large styrofoam cup with slushee all the way to the brim.

He needed as much as he could get with his five dollars. . .

As he walked to the register, the girl behind the counter asked, “Large? What’s the occasion?” Michael feigned a desperate voice as he replied, “It shall be my last slushee for nine months.”

She chuckled, punching into her register, “Didn’t ping you for the college type.”

“In all my years of going to 7/11, of barely exchanging more than a few words with you each time, you never thought of me as a college type?”

“Nope.”

He huffed and admitted, grabbing his slushee as he walked out, “Neither did I.”

Michael drove home from 7/11 as he tried to keep from being upset. This was the place he grew up and became the person he was. Maybe not a super great person, but still. Everything he knew was here. Except Jeremy. He’d be coming to college with him. To be honest, he wouldn’t have gone if not for that skinny, brown haired dude.

It was June when Jeremy had brought up post-high school plans. Michael was smoking in his parents basement as his friend tried to talk him into it.

“Michael, you really should go-“

“I’ve told you a million times,” he responded, taking a drag. “It’s not worth it.”

“You always said ‘We’ll be cool in college, just wait ‘til college’. Now it’s here and you don’t even wanna go!” Jeremy exclaimed.

He looked so funny as he mimicked Michael’s own voice.

Michael scoffed, “Damn right I don’t. It’s just more school and living with strangers and eating in a cafeteria for four more years.”

His friend was quiet for a moment. Michael thought he’d finally shut him up but then he smiled, leaning back in the worn out arm chair.

“At least it’s better than getting stoned in your parents basement.”

Michael opened his mouth but shut it when he had no response. His eyes narrowed at the boy across from him. He finally muttered, “It’s not that bad. . .”

“You could be doing that at a dorm. With your best friend and a roommate and all the other great friends you’ll make.” Jeremy countered, crossing his arms and grinning.

He looked so cute, a grinning idiot. His curly, brown hair framed his adorable face.

Michael sighed. He didn’t really want to do anything. At all. But he was right. If Jeremy was at college, he’d be alone. Might as well join him and get an education while doing it. Plus, Lord knows he couldn’t say no to Jeremy.

“Ughhhh. . . Fine.”

That was two months ago. Now it was the day before he’d actually be going to college. Needless to say, Michael didn’t want to.

He pulled into his driveway, breathing heavily from having a lump in his throat. Things were changing too much and too soon. Sure, he had months to prepare. But he still didn’t want to leave.

Michael clutched onto the steering wheel, knuckles white. He hated how he’d do anything for that boy. Buy new video games, hang out whenever he wanted, do whatever he wanted, bend over backwards and forwards.

Even go to college.

Michael hated how he’d loved him so much. That clueless, stupid boy. Who dragged him into going to community college an hour and a half from home.

He knocked his head on the wheel, as if it could knock any sense into him. Groaning, he felt tears sting his eyes.

Just as he was about to let them come, his phone rang.

Jeremy.

Michael wipes his eyes and held his breath as he answered. “Hey, dude.”

“You wanna come over and do some last minute packing with me?”

And of course Michael said yes.

Chapter Text

Evan swore the drive to the campus took two hours. His mom was babbling on about how she was just two exits up on the highway. Just twenty or so minutes. But to him, the drive was eternity.

On the way there, all he thought about was whether he could really do it. There were so many things that could go wrong. He could get all nervous and make a wrong impression on his roommate. Worse, he could have a full blown anxiety attack in front of his roommate. Then, he’d think that Evan was a psycho or crazy person. Or maybe he’d be cool with it or understand.

He clutched the small potted plant Connor gave him. Holding onto it for dear life.

“Do you wanna stop and get some food?” His mom asked, her voice chipper and sweet.

Evan shook his head. He felt overwhelmed - and he wasn’t even on campus yet.

No, he thought. I’m gonna be fine. College is going to be fine. It’s gonna be so much better than high school.

Evan tried to fake it to himself. Convince himself he was going to be just fine. Nothing was going to go wrong. Everything would be totally, completely fine.

Suddenly, the car swerved to the left and Evan slammed his head on the window. He heard Heidi lay the horn down and shout, “Watch it, jerkoff!”

“Mom,” Evan groaned, rubbing his head. “They - they can’t even hear you.”

She mumbled a ‘sorry’ while picking up speed.

Before he knew it, they pulled through the college gates. The arch above them read:

‘Experiential Docet’

“What’s that?” Heidi asked, amused. Evan mumbled, “It’s latin, I think. Experience. . . Something. I don’t know what the second word is.”

He was more familiar with scientific names, not actual words. Even though he took two courses of Latin in high school, none of it stuck in his brain.

His mom shrugged as she pulled into a parking space in front of the dorms. The campus was already packed with students and parents alike. Students dragged luggage behind them, hugged their parents, or some were chatting up with other students.

“Maybe we should check in and then come back for your things.” She suggested, putting the car in park. Evan nodded, unbuckling his seatbelt and reaching for the door handle. He felt glued to his seat and for a moment almost asked to go home. But then he heard his mom say excitedly, “They have a community garden, Evan!”

Evan smiled faintly, worry still evident all over his face. Carefully, Evan set the plant into one of the cup holders. He got out of the car, following his mom to a tent. Evan stared at the ground, noticing how green and neatly trimmed the grass was.

While his mom checked him in, he took the opportunity to look around where he’d be living for the next year. The four dorms made a rectangle, each facing each other towards the middle. In the middle of the dorms lay a beach volleyball court , a few picnic tables around the edges, and a fire pit.

“Evan,” Heidi chimed, nudging him towards the car. He popped open the trunk, grabbing his suitcase and slinging his backpack over his shoulder. As he reached for the little box of extra things they couldn’t stuff into his bags, his mom quickly grabbed it first.

“Let me get this, hun.”

“No, it’s fine I got -“

“Evan,” Heidi insisted. “I got it. Can you hand me the bedding from the back seat?”

He nodded, quickly getting it and helping his mom put it onto her shoulder. “Alright,” she grinned. “Let’s go check out your room!”

After grabbing his plant from the front seat, Evan followed her to the North Dorm. According to his mom it was the closest to the cafeteria. He guessed that was a plus. Did he even have to be on time to eat? What if he forgot? Could you forget to eat?

Heidi scanned the keycard and the heavy door unlocked. Evan held it open for his mom, following in behind her. Inside, it was strangely quiet. To the left there was a long hall, doors on each side. A few students were talking in the hallway, but he assumed most were in their own rooms.

“Second floor,” she said, walking up the stairs in front of the entrance. Evan followed, sighing quietly. “So, the lady said your roommate is already here. That’s exciting, right?”

“I guess. . .”

They reached the second floor and Evan felt lightheaded. Maybe it was from when he hit his head in the car. Or he was just so out of shape going upstairs did that.

His mom called him over, already standing in front of his new room. He trudged over and Heidi unlocked the door.

Evan didn’t know if he expected better or worse.

The room was completely white, from the linoleum floors to the cinderblock walls.

At least it’s not some wacky color like bright orange, he thought, smiling to himself.

There were two beds, one vertical and one horizontal. Both pressed into the corners. His roommate, whoever it was, had taken the horizontal one on the right side. Speaking of, his roommate was no where to be found. Though, his things littered the bed and floor around it.

Evan’s mom set the bedding on his bed and put the box on the nightstand that sat at the foot of his bed. Underneath each of the beds was a dresser. There were two wardrobes on the same wall as the door. Evan leaned his suitcase against the one on his side and set the plant on his nightstand.

This will be perfectly fine, Evan told himself. A bit compact, but that makes it minimalistic, right?

Heidi was already making his bed and going on about how the room was cute and she was sure they could hang things on the wall or decorate.

“Do you want me to stay and help you unpack?” She asked sweetly, already reaching for the box on the nightstand. “No, no it’s fine.” Evan assured her. He knew she still had a night shift that night and didn’t want to keep her late.

“You sure?”

“Yeah, I’m fine, Mom. Just - just. . .” He wandered off. It suddenly dawned on him that she was going to leave. For real. “Thank you, Mom.”

“Aw,” she cooed, pulling Evan into a tight hug. “I’m so, so proud of you. Already.”

They held onto each other for a moment before Heidi pulled away. She wiped away a couple tears before reminding, “Just a call away. I love you!”

“You too,” Evan mumbled as she walked away, closing the door behind her.

Now it all began.

Chapter Text

Michael had already checked in and thrown his stuff in his room by the time Jeremy arrived. He was in the middle of helping him unpack when Jeremy asked, “What do you think of the college?”

Michael had to think about it before answering.

The campus was more or less what he expected - nothing particularly special but nothing was wrong with it. The students what he was more interested in.

It was a pretty diverse school socially speaking. Michael could definitely pick out the people who were playing sports there, ones who very clearly were forced by their parents, and the ones who didn’t care.

He planned to associate with the latter most.

“It’s pretty good, I guess,” Michael stated, hanging up another of his best friend’s shirts. He added, winking at Jeremy, “I saw some cute girls who looked like they had low enough standards for you.”

“Oh, shut up. ” Jeremy laughed, tossing a balled up hoodie in Michael’s face. He grinned, folding up the hoodie and stacking it on top of the wardrobe. After tossing him another shirt, Jeremy inquired, “How’s your roommate?”

“No clue.”

“You didn’t meet him?”

“No, I’m too busy unpacking your shit.” Michael retorted, folding up the last hoodie Jeremy brought. His friend jumped off his bed and laughed, “And thank you for unpacking my shit.”

Michael mumbled a ‘no problem’ before turning to face Jeremy. He stared at him as the smaller boy made the bed. Michael couldn’t help but notice the way Jeremy’s brows furrowed when the fitted sheet kept coming undone. Or how he smiled to himself so cutely when he managed to get all corners covered.

“Can you hand me that sheet?”

Michael suddenly snapped back to reality. He grabbed the gray sheet and handle it to Jeremy, blushing when his hand brushed his.

God, I’m so stupid. This is so stupid he thought, turning to leave.

Michael suddenly couldn’t take being in the room with Jeremy.

He called back to his friend that he was going to his own room to ‘unpack his own shit’.

Michael briskly walked out of the room and down the hall to the exit. Shoving open the door, he ran right into a guy trying to get in.

“I’m so sorry,” he apologized, helping the other guy up. “That’s my bad, I’m sorry, dude.”

“No. . . No worries. See ya around.” The guy quickly said. He walked into the dorm, leaving Michael outside as the door locked with a click.

He was just so great at being a dumbass around guys.

Shrugging it off, he made his way to North Dorm. Thankfully, Jeremy was in West Dorm so it was just a dozen feet or so.

He made his way to his room. Unlocking the door, he opened it to find his roommate.

The boy wore a pale blue polo shirt with jeans, New Balance sneakers, and had neatly kept blond hair. His eyes were wide and even from the doorway, Michael could see the large bags underneath them.

“I- um. . . I’m sorry - I’m sorry I was just unpacking,” he stammered, fidgeting with the edge of his shirt.

Michael was confused to say the least.

Why the fuck was he apologizing for unpacking?

Ignoring the apology, Michael asked, stepping into the room and shutting the door behind him, “What’s your name?”

“Evan Hansen,” The blond boy answered. “Um. . . What’s - what’s your name?”

“Michael Mell,” he replied, walking over to his bed and pushing himself up onto it. He lie face down on it. He hadn’t even put sheets on it yet so the smell of the old, white mattress greeted him unpleasantly. Michael could only imagine the nastiness that had been on that mattress.

“What brings you to this hell hole?”

Evan replied, stuffing pants into the dresser under his bed, “My - my mom made me uh. . . Live on campus.”

Michael rolled over to face his roommate.

“No way. Me too, except my friend dragged me here.”

Evan smiled for a second before going back to unpacking. He shoved his empty suitcase under the bed and stood up. Michael watched him empty a box of things into his wardrobe and place some of it on his nightstand. Everything Evan did was careful.

He gingerly placed items into drawers, never slamming anything shut or stuffing things in recklessly.

Startling Michael out of his thoughts, Evan asked, “Do you - do you need help - um- unpacking?”

He sat up and replied, “That’d be great, thanks.” Then, he pushed himself off the bed and over to where Evan awkwardly stood above his suitcase.

The blonde boy offered, “I can - I can hang up the clothes in the closet.”

“Thanks,” Michael grinned, happy to have someone to help him unpack.

His roommate didn’t seem half bad.

Chapter Text

Since moving in, there were two nights until classes officially started. The first two nights went pretty smoothly for Evan; he sometimes ate with Michael, continuously texted Connor and his mother, and didn’t have any breakdowns. Yet.

Now it was the day before classes started. He could feel the dread creeping up on him as the day began, but he pushed it to the back of his mind. Evan was still determined to have a good college experience.

Or, at least, better than high school.

He shoved himself further under the blankets, ignoring the loud creaking of the bed beneath him. Hoping no one would disturb him, he shut his eyes and tried to focus on sleeping.

Wham!

The door to his dorm slammed into the wall, causing Evan to shoot up in panic.

“There were no French toast sticks left! Am I paying thousands of dollars for there not to be French toast sticks?!” Michael shouted, though he was turned away from his roommate, instead towards someone in the doorway.

Michael’s antics, including shouting about any minor inconveniences, had become normal to Evan. He barely even flinched when the dark haired boy yelled anymore. So, Evan turned his attention to the guy he was talking to.

It was a guy with a blue cardigan loosely hanging off his skinny form, loose khaki pants that looked oddly neat, and a wrinkly, striped shirt. His brown hair was messy - but not in the styled way. It was messy just because it was ten am. His face was fixed into a grin and he laughed, presumably at Michael.

“Oh yeah,” Michael called back to the guy. “This is my roommate, Evan.”

The guy nodded and introduced himself. “Jeremy Heere.”

Evan suddenly felt very uncomfortable with Jeremy being here. He hadn’t even gotten out of bed to change. Hell, he hadn’t even showered since arriving at college.

“Nice to. . . Nice to meet you,” Evan mumbled, awkwardly waving. Jeremy smiled back at him.

They all stood in weird silence: Evan trying to inconspicuously fix his hair, Michael fumbling around and grabbing clothes from his dresser under the bed, and Jeremy leaning in the doorway, staring at the floor.

Michael held up a flannel and blue jeans as he called to his friend in the doorway, “You can come in, you know. Evan doesn’t bite - or at least not that I know of.”

Jeremy scoffed, “You’re so funny, Michael,” walking over to the bed across from Evan, he hopped up and joked, “What’d you do to get stuck with Michael?”

Evan feigned a smile, “Must be karma.”

Michael probably told him how you haven’t gotten out of bed since lunch yesterday. That’s why he’s talking to you, he feels bad.

“So. . . Where you from?” Jeremy inquired.

Evan told him he was from just up the highway, thinking about how dumb it was all while saying it. He looked anywhere but at Jeremy; his hands, the dirty linoleum floor, even Michael. The two of the sat in silence, only listening to their mutual friend fumble around the room looking for things.

Eventually Michael broke the quiet, “Ev, are you doing the barbecue thing tonight?”

He had no idea what his roommate was talking about.

“Um. . . The barbecue thing?” Evan shakily replied.

“Yeah, they’re doing a barbecue in the commons area for dinner tonight. Everyone is gonna eat and play volleyball and do whatever college kids do. It’s gonna be fun - I think.”

Evan looked at his feet, mumbling incoherently about some excuse or another. It felt like too much. There was too much going on.

And it’s the actual school part hasn’t even started.

Jeremy added, cheerfully, “There’s gonna be s’mores!”

“I mean,” Evan sighed. “Who can say no to s’mores right?”

It was more of a ‘who can say no to two people peer pressuring you to say yes’. But still.

“Awesome,” Michael exclaimed, elbowing his cardigan covered friend. “Now it’s a trio.”