Freshman orientation day was busy. Jean was glad he had Marco to lead him around, as the other boy had apparently come down to TU on various occasions during high school for integration events and such, thereby already knowing most of his way around. They were supposed to make their way to one of the auditoriums – TU had three of them – and Jean was still half asleep. Marco was an early riser, Jean had come to realize quickly. Marco went on hour-long morning jogs that started at five everyday. He had invited Jean to join him but waking up before the sun was not Jean’s cup of tea and Marco never pushed the subject after a bit of minor teasing.
“We can get you coffee after the welcome speeches,” Marco assured him, noticing how Jean dragged his feet and continuously yawned. It was rather obvious.
“Mhmm,” Jean mumbled. He was trailing sluggishly behind Marco, just trying to keep his eyes open long enough to avoid crashing into people or walls. One mug of coffee was not enough for him to be functional before ten a.m., much less when it was only half past seven and he had been up until around three.
Since Marco was one to be early, they didn’t have to push through a crowd of incoming freshman to get into the auditorium that Marco said was reserved for the drama department. As the place was mostly empty and neither of them knew anyone else, they decided to sit together along the edge of the middle section of seats. Jean flopped down in the cushioned folding chair with a heavy sigh, head tilted back, eyes closed, arms limp over the arm rests, and legs sprawled as far as the compact seating allowed.
“Really not a morning person, are you?” Marco chuckled from next to him.
“It’s been near a week. If you haven’t figured that out by now, you’re kind of a fucking retard,” Jean murmured.
His dickish tendencies had, as Jean predicted, come to shine over the course of the past couple days. Still, Marco was convinced he was a genuinely nice person and refused to believe otherwise. Jean let his roommate believe what he wanted; he’d realize the error of his thinking sooner or later. Probably sooner.
Jean almost fell back asleep but someone knocked his head to the side, bending his neck in a way necks shouldn’t be bent.
“Hey, watch where you’re going!” he scowled, massaging his neck. He looked up and saw a boy with green eyes and short black hair. He was with a shorter boy with longish blond hair and blue eyes.
“Jean,” Marco whispered next to him in an attempt to calm him down, but Jean’s scowl turned murderous when he recognized the green-eyed boy who was staring down at him.
“Jaeger!? What the fuck are you doing here?” Jean shot up from his seat, every detail of sleep forgotten from his mind.
“Kirstein,” Eren sneered.
Jean and Eren stood face to face, glare to glare. Jean found spiteful glee in the fact that Eren was still shorter than him as, had they been on even ground, Eren’s eyes would be a good couple centimeters down.
“Jean,” Marco tugged on Jean’s sleeve. Jean saw that Eren’s blond friend was doing the same to Eren.
“Eren, we’ll get in trouble,” the short blond boy whispered to Eren.
“Boyfriend?” Jean scoffed. He didn’t notice Marco wince.
“I could say the same to you,” Eren retorted.
Jean rolled his eyes, ignoring the jump in his chest and clenching of his stomach at the idea of Marco as his—nope. “Roommate,” Jean said curtly.
“Best friend,” Eren replied just as shortly.
The blond boy sighed and looked to Marco, “I’m sorry.”
“Me too,” Marco replied.
Jean and Eren’s heads snapped to their respective pacifist, “Why the hell are you apologizing?”
They turned to glare at each other, “Piss off!”
“Stop copying me!”
“Fucking quit it—”
They stared at each other in shock. The silence lasted all of two seconds.
“What the fuck did you call me?!”
“Oi, brats, that’s enough!”
Both Jean and Eren found themselves crouched on the floor nursing their now throbbing heads as they moaned in pain.
When they looked up, a very short man with cropped black hair and thinly framed glasses perched on his nose was glaring down at them. Eren’s friend and Marco were standing pale faced, unsure as to what to do. Jean noticed that the auditorium had filled up since he had been half asleep and they were the center of attraction.
“Professor, we’re so sorry,” Marco stuttered.
The small man narrowed his eyes at Jean and Eren, “Get up, idiots.” Jean and Eren obeyed immediately when it looked like the professor was going to strike them again. “Classes haven’t even started yet and you’re already causing problems. I don’t care what petty squabble you two find yourselves in; I will not be lenient the next time you cause a disturbance. Understood?”
“Yes, sir,” Jean and Eren replied. For a tiny man, he was terrifying. He oozed authority and dominance, eyes a stone cold grey.
When the man walked away, Eren and Jean scowled at each other before Eren’s blond friend pulled Eren away and Marco tugged on Jean’s arm to make him sit down.
“Care to explain?” Marco asked in a hushed whisper.
Jean grimaced, “Eren Jaeger, dickface extraordinaire. He’s an arrogant asshole with a holier-than-thou attitude off the charts.”
Marco raised a brow, “That doesn’t really explain why you two seem to hate each other’s guts.”
“We don’t ‘seem’ to. We do. His school came over to mine for some sports event thing and we’ve hated each other since we met. Why the fuck is he at Trost? And I’m not a horse, the fucking prick.”
Marco bit his lip and Jean glared at him harshly.
Marco shrugged and raised his hands defensively, “To be fair…your face is a bit long so I can see how that nickname came about.”
Jean’s glare intensified, “I know where you sleep, Bodt.”
“It’s not a bad thing. Some people do look weird but you look attractive and…uh, I mean,” Marco’s eyes widened and his face lit up as he stumbled over his words.
Jean’s scowl weakened as he felt his cheeks heat up in response to the compliment and Marco’s flustered flailing.
Marco trailed off into silence, face burning, and freckles shining like tiny little stars as he fidgeted in his seat and looked at his lap.
Jean rubbed the back of his neck, “Uh, thanks, man.”
“No problem,” Marco squeaked, still completely embarrassed.
Feeling as if he needed to say something more in return, Jean added, “And, uh, you’re pretty attractive too, like, pretty cute.” That was not what Jean had wanted to say and he quickly added, “But you know, not in the gay way. Like, I as another dude can see that chicks would find you attractive, you know? The chicks that go for the cute freckled guys ‘cause they’re adorable and you want to, uh, yeah, you know…”
Now Jean was red faced and stumbling over his words. Being nice was not something he was used to. He just sounded like the most awkward teenager ever. Being a dick was much easier.
Marco was rubbing his hands together and didn’t seem able to look at Jean, not that Jean could look at Marco either.
“Uh, so why did you call Eren an incestuous bastard?” Marco asked.
Jean was grateful for the subject change and replied, “There’s been rumors of him boning his sister. I’ve never met her but I bet she’s just as annoying and ugly as her brother.”
Marco raised a brow, “Your insult was based on rumors?”
Jean shrugged, “It was a common rumor, easiest way to get him pissed and off his high horse. He’s super sensitive and defensive about anything to do with his sister, which is why the rumors came about. Apparently she’s just as protective of him or something.”
Marco didn’t get a chance to comment as the lights dimmed and a man with a prominent square jaw and slicked back blond hair, who Jean vaguely recognized as someone important in the school, stood to the podium.
Everyone quieted down and Jean relaxed into the seat, ready to be bored out of his mind.
The man stood straight and cast a calculating gaze over the other freshman before beginning.
“Good morning…” and that was where Jean zoned out.