“…n…an…Jean, Jean, wake up.”
Jean moaned low and slowly cracked one eye open as he tilted his head up. Marco was looking down at him from an angle.
He blinked blearily and realized he was leaning to the side, his neck was cradling something warm and firm, and his head was nestled comfortably in something.
The first something was Marco’s shoulder. The second something was the junction between Marco’s neck and shoulder.
Jean shot up and looked around, trying to figure out where he was.
“The drama department’s auditorium at TU,” Marco supplied. “You fell asleep as soon as Mr. Smith started talking.” There was an amused lilt to his tone.
Jean yawned and rubbed his eyes, “Not like I missed anything important.”
Marco stood up and shrugged, “Depends on what you consider important. We’ve got the actual orientation in a few hours. They split us up into groups that we’ll find out right before the official tour.”
Jean nodded and got to his feet, stretching his arms over his head. “Coffee. I really need coffee.”
Marco laughed and the two walked out of the empty auditorium, heading for the small café that was a five-minute walk away.
The coffee shop was packed. Jean groaned at the line that was much too long. Honestly, even if it had been just one person it would have been too long for him. He wanted his coffee now.
Marco gave him a sympathetic pat on the back, “Think you can hold on for a bit longer?”
Jean pondered for a few seconds before asking, “Do we have time to go back home, get our fill of coffee and then be back in time for orientation?”
Marco blinked, “Yeah, actually, that’s a much better plan. We’ll have plenty of time. We’ve got to be back in the main courtyard by noon. We can even make a quick snack since lunch won’t be until pretty late.”
Jean needed no further discussion and grabbed Marco’s hand, pulling the slightly taller boy out of the coffee shop and towards the exit. With his mind so focused on the promise of several cups of coffee, Jean was completely unaware that he had been holding Marco’s hand with a firm grip the entire short walk to their apartment. It was only when he moved his right hand to try and get his key from his wallet in his back pocket and felt a second hand on his ass, did he realize something was amiss.
Jean dropped Marco’s warm and slightly calloused hand like it was a blue flame. “Shit, sorry, I didn’t mean to—I was just, um, coffee.”
Marco, face red and unable to look Jean in the eye, shrugged, “It’s fine. Seriously. I should have said something but…”
The two stood staring down at their own feet in front of each other. Awkward tension permeated the air and Jean was doing his goddamn best to forget how empty and cold his right hand felt all of a sudden. Jerkily, he went for his keys again and after fumbling with the lock, managed to open the door to their apartment. Jean immediately went for the kitchen; specifically the coffee machine he had bought for the apartment almost immediately after finding out Marco didn’t have one.
Coffee would make things better. Coffee would clear his head. Coffee would make him stop thinking about how fucking adorable Marco looked all sheepish and shy and embarrassed and flustered and how it would have felt like if Marco’s palm, rather than the back of his hand, had been on his ass.
Jean drank the entire pitcher of coffee before looking to see where Marco had disappeared to.
The German boy was in the bathroom, Jean concluded after hearing the toilet flush and tap run.
“Marco, you want coffee?” Jean knocked on the door.
“I’m good,” Marco replied. Jean frowned at his tone. Even muffled through the wooden door, something sounded off.
“You okay?” Jean asked, resting his knuckles against the door.
Jean was not convinced, but he left Marco alone and went back to the kitchen to make a quick snack. They had a good hour and a bit until they were due back at the university.
Jean decided to whip up some bruschetta. It was easy and quick and he was grudgingly grateful that his mother had forced him to learn how to cook during the previous year. Overprotective as she was, at least he knew he wasn’t going to starve or turn to instant noodles and takeout for every meal.
Marco joined him in the kitchen and appeared to be normal enough, with the exception of he collar of his shirt looking damp, but Jean only told him to dice tomatoes. They worked in companionable silence, and before long, their snack was sitting between them on the island in the kitchen, quickly being devoured.
“So how are the groups going to be split?” Jean asked as they were cleaning up.
“Mr. Smith didn’t say. Probably by last names though,” Marco replied.
Jean nodded before cursing loudly when realization struck.
Marco jumped in alarm, “What? What’s wrong? Did you get hurt?”
Before Jean could reply and correct the freckled boy’s misunderstanding, Marco had Jean facing him so he could look and feel for any signs of injury.
“Whoa, Marco,” Jean almost squeaked as a shiver ran down his spine when Marco’s hands flitted over his chest. “I’m f-ah-fine!”
Marco’s hands froze, one on Jean’s chest and the other on his side. Jean couldn’t help but be glad that Marco’s hand was on the right side of his chest. It made the possibility of the other boy not knowing how fast Jean’s heart was racing a bit higher. His cherry red face however was clear evidence of how affected he was. Along with the slight stir below his waist.
The two boys stood stock still, seeming to have a competition to see who could turn the most red.
Marco was the first to snap out of it and backed off quickly, as if Jean were raw electricity.
“S-sorry,” he sputtered, biting his lip.
Jean took a few seconds to get his body under some semblance of control before replying somewhat shakily, “Uh, it’s fine.” He almost thought that it would be more than fine if Marco put his hands back on him, but Jean shut that thought down almost as soon as his brain decided to think it. “Let’s get going.”
Marco nodded without a word and the two left their apartment. The short walk differed greatly from the previous two times they had made it together. Charged silence shrouded them and neither could look at each other. Jean practically ran away from Marco after they saw where the groups were meeting.
The chest touching incident where Jean most certainly did not feel a pulse of heat go straight to his dick was brought to the forefront of Jean’s mind when he met up with his orientation group and saw Eren talking to some other students. The catalyst of the aforementioned incident was when Jean had realized that if the groups were indeed organized by last name, the odds of Eren being in his group were annoyingly high. Marco had misinterpreted his dismay for pain and well… the aforementioned, never to be thought about again, incident had occurred.
So, obviously, it was all Eren’s fault.
Jean looked away from Eren’s head, disappointed that the oversized body part hadn’t spontaneously combusted, to see who had called him.
A tiny blond girl who looked incredibly familiar was grinning at him. She had big blue eyes that were reminiscent to a glistening precious stone, like she was some sort of angelic deity. It took a moment for him to remember her name.
“Krista,” Jean greeted before frowning. “You’re a student here?” She looked more like a high school freshman at best.
Krista nodded, “Yes. What a coincidence! But who were you glaring at?”
Jean glanced over to scowl at Eren’s back before replying bitterly, “Just an arrogant prick.”
Before Krista could further question Jean, a piercing whistle echoed in the air and everyone jumped, turning to the source of the sound. Jean almost groaned. It was the midget professor.
The new students gathered in a semi-circular pack, facing the incredibly short man who still managed to be the most intimidating person Jean had ever met. It was more than mildly disconcerting.
The professor looked incredibly bored with the slightest hint of irritation flickering in his sharp grey eyes. “Okay, brats. If you do not know, I’m Levi Ackerman, Professor to all of you, whether I teach you or not. Pay attention, no questions until the end, and keep up.”
Without another word, the professor turned on his heeled boots – that didn’t do much for his height, in Jean’s opinion – and headed for the nearest building which was the campus bookstore.
It took a moment, but soon, the group of freshman hurried to catch up. For a man with such short legs, he could move incredibly quickly.
Professor Ackerman gave curt explanations of the buildings they passed. Pointing them out with disinterest and ignoring any questions some people unwittingly asked. Jean just tried to keep up with the short man. He was wary of the professor’s deceptively dainty hands. While slightly feminine, they packed quite the punch and ghost pains throbbed at the back of Jean’s head whenever he glanced at them.
In no time at all, they were shown which buildings contained which department, recreational areas, the main cafeteria, campus minimart, main offices, auditoriums, library, dormitories, campus security, and the two coffee shops.
Jean didn’t pay much attention to the areas that he knew he wouldn’t venture to. All he needed to know were the buildings in which his classes were located and where he could get food. And maybe the library for when exams or due dates for papers were approaching and the Internet or his textbooks weren’t being helpful.
They finished the tour at the cafeteria where a buffet of sorts was set up for the starved students. Jean was rather glad he and Marco had had a snack. Many had muttered quietly about being famished halfway through, but none dared say anything to Professor Ackerman after he soundly cut down one girl who had asked when lunch was.
Jean ignored the long line and went to find a seat. He wasn’t in the mood to be shoved and elbowed. He found a circular table near a corner and plopped down, tilting his chair back to balance against the wall. It wasn’t long before Krista showed up, frowning in concern.
“You’ll fall,” she said.
Jean shrugged, “I’ll be fine.”
“Okay,” she replied, not entirely convinced. “Are you going to get anything to eat?”
“I’m waiting for the line to shrink. And I had a snack before coming back for the tour so I can hold off a bit.”
Krista smiled, “That was a smart idea. Mind if I sit with you?”
Jean waved to one of the chairs and Krista took a seat. They both chatted about what they thought of the university as they waited for the rest of the freshmen to grab their food and then a seat. Jean found himself glancing around and taking note of his potential classmates.
He saw Eren and his blond friend standing in line talking to a girl dressed in black leather. Her blond hair was moderately short and tied back, but Jean couldn’t help but think she was the poster child for a biker chick. She had been in his group too, but stuck to the back, ice cold blue eyes observing everyone else like a scientist watching insects. Her features were sharp and fierce. Jean knew she wasn’t one to be messed with.
“Who’s that?” Jean asked Krista, tilting his chin in the biker chick’s direction. While he had been antisocial during the tour, Krista had mingled with various people during the professor’s silences between destinations. She was a social butterfly, he quickly figured out. She easily fit in with people with her polite and angelic demeanor.
Krista looked over her shoulder, “Who?”
“The blonde girl with Jaeger and his friend.”
“Oh, that’s Annie. Annie Leonhart. And Eren’s friend is Armin Artlet. Why?”
“No reason really, just curious. And she looks like she wouldn’t hesitate to rip my head off my shoulders if I accidently offended her.”
Krista laughed. Just like her appearance, it was delicate and airy.
Just then, a giant of a woman came towards their table. Jean frowned in confusion when she marched straight for Krista.
“Hey, Kris—“” his warning was cut off when the approaching dark skinned woman called out Krista’s name.
Krista beamed as she turned around, “Ymir!”
Jean watched with a dropped jaw as Krista was lifted out of her seat and into Ymir’s arms, the two then sharing a rather heated kiss although it was obvious that Krista had intended for a light peck. When the much smaller girl was set back on her feet, her porcelain skin flushed a healthy, cheerful red, Jean was reminded of a tanner, taller, broader, freckled person with flushed skin.
And immediately threw that thought right out of his head.
“Ymir,” Krista rolled her eyes.
Ymir simply grinned and then caught sight of Jean, eyes narrowing, “The hell are you?”
Jean raised a brow in surprise. What had he done?
“Ymir!” Krista reprimanded. “This is Jean, he’s the one who helped me the other day.”
“Oh,” Ymir’s glare softened and the grin was back on her face. “You’re not so bad then.” She plopped down onto a chair, pulling Krista down next to her and pushing their chairs close together, slinging an arm around Krista’s dainty shoulders. Ymir pecked Krista’s head then turned a sadistic grin towards Jean, “But if you do anything to her, I will gut you like a fish and string you up by your dick after taking a vegetable peeler to it.”
Jean’s face blanched and he could do nothing but nod fearfully as his hands went to his lap to cover his crotch protectively.
Krista groaned and rolled her eyes, “Ymir.”
Ymir’s grin turned loving as she looked to her girlfriend, “Just telling it how it is, babe.”
“Um, so, how long have you two been together?” Jean asked, thinking it was a safe question.
“Three years,” Krista beamed, Ymir following suit and Jean was glad he asked the right question.
“Cool. Are you a freshman too?”
Ymir shook her head, “Nah, one year older than you guys. I volunteered to help out with orientation but they wouldn’t let me pick the group I wanted to lead. Got stuck with this group with this one kid that was definitely dropped on his head as a child. Prof A wasn’t too hard on you, was he? The guy’s got the biggest stick up his ass, I swear.”
“He wasn’t that bad. He yelled at one person but that was it,” Krista replied.
“He’s got one hell of a hand though,” Jean muttered, rubbing the back of his head.
Ymir’s eyes widened, “Holy shit, that was you? Man, you are screwed if you’ve got any classes with him. How did you manage to get on his bad side so quickly?”
“It wasn’t just me,” Jean defended. “That dickface Jaeger started it.”
Ymir shrugged, “Fuck who started it, you and that other guy are on A’s shit list. You taking business or law classes?”
“Yes… I’m majoring in law.”
Ymir burst out laughing, “Oh man, I wish I was in one of your classes. You’re in for quite the next few years. Prof A teaches pretty much all the law classes and a good number of the business ones.”
Jean groaned and got to his feet, “I’m gonna go and kill myself by over eating now.”
By then, the line had shortened considerably and Jean didn’t have to wait long to get a plate full of greasy French fries and several slices of pizza. As he headed towards the drink dispensers, eyes on the Cherry Cola, he barely avoided crashing into someone.
“Hey—” The rest of his words were caught in his throat as he stared slack jawed at the girl-woman in front of him. She was the most beautiful person he had ever seen. Her hair. It was short and silky, black as ink. Thin lips and a red scarf around her neck that stood out against her milky skin. Her features were elegant, tied strongly to her obvious Japanese heritage.
“Sorry,” the girl said, stepping back and putting some space between Jean and herself.
Jean blinked and shook his head, “Oh, no, I mean, I’m sorry. I should have been watching where I was going. I’m Jean Kissme—I mean, Kirstein, Jean Kirstein.”
The girl stared at Jean with mild curiosity. As she was about to speak, another voice, one Jean really did not want to hear, called out.
Eren came up to Jean and Mikasa, glaring at the former.
Jean returned the glare.
“Stay away from my sister, Kirstein,” Eren growled, stepping in front of Mikasa.
Jean’s draw dropped for a second time. This time in horror. “What? There is no way your ugly face is related to her!”
A hand placed itself on Jean’s shoulder as he and Eren made a move towards each other. Eren’s blond sidekick, Armin, had come up as well and gripped Eren’s shirt, Mikasa had gone for his arm and Eren seemed to be in pain from where her grip was.
Jean looked over his shoulder to snap at whoever was trying to get him to not smash Eren’s face in and blinked in surprise at seeing Marco’s big brown eyes.
“Jean, you’re going to get in trouble again,” Marco said, gently tugging him away. “You can have your standoff with him when you won’t get kicked out before classes even start.”
Jean was reluctant, but when Marco attempted to look firm, he relented and let Marco lead him back to the table with Krista and Ymir. Another two people had joined them, a red haired girl and bald headed boy who seemed to be having a private eating contest of foods made from potatoes.
“You’re gonna end up with a reputation if you keep this up, Jean,” Ymir said as Jean sat down and started stabbing his food.
Jean grumbled in response before reaching for his drink, only to realize he never got it.
“What do you want?” Marco asked, getting up from his seat. When Jean only frowned in reply, he added, “To drink. I’m going to get iced tea.”
“Oh, Cherry Cola. Thanks, man.” Jean’s bad mood instantly disappeared as he watched Marco grin and head over to the dispensers.
Jean tore his gaze away from Marco when he heard an odd sound and frowned at the knowing look Ymir was giving him.
“What?” he asked.
Ymir hummed, “Oh, nothing.”