Woah. This turned out way longer than planned. Hope you like! fimyuan
The bell rang, signalling the end of the school day.
Nico gathered his books from the desk, half hearing the history teacher tell the class what chapters to read for tomorrow, half thinking about how little he cared about it all.
He was having a tough time adjusting to this new school, having made no friends in the past week and a half that he’s been there.
At least there was one redeeming quality to the establishment: an excellent athletics program.
He shouldered his bag and followed the last of the students out into the hallway, making his way towards his locker. He kept his gaze down, careful not to bump into anyone. He didn’t want to befriend the blonde barbies or jocks. Besides, he was kind of afraid what this hetero-normative society would say about.. well, you know.
He turned the dial of his lock and opened the metal door, aware that behind him a sea of teenagers moved in an excited 10-minute rush towards the buses that would take them home. He was in no rush, though, as he wasn’t going home today. Not right away.
He grabbed his drawstring from inside, replacing it with the backpack, and closed the locker, heading towards the third-story bathrooms. Nobody would be there now, which is why he wanted to change there instead of the change rooms.
Like he predicted, the third floor was empty when he stepped into the boy’s room. He locked the door and quickly pulled off his black jeans and T-shirt, replacing them with the running shorts and tank top that were in his drawstring. When he was done, he admired himself in the mirror, bouncing on his running shoes, and stepped out.
Back on the first floor, the crowds had cleared, and he found himself wondering which was way he needed to go to get to the field outside.
"Track and field?" a male voice called to him, and he whipped around.
A tall, brown-haired boy wearing similar attire to his own and holding a clipboard in his hand walked towards him.
"Me, too!" He said, sounding like he didn’t see how little Nico felt like talking. "I’m Connor, the captain of the team."
Nico wondered why a track and field team needed a captain, but when Connor joined him, he followed him. “Practice is an hour long, right?”
"More or less," Connor said. He had the slim but solid body of a runner, and Nico tried hard not to stare at the way his bony ankle fed into his low runners. "You’re new, aren’t you? We stretch, then we run. Simple stuff. Were you on the team at your old school?"
"Great, we could use experienced runners. The first meet is in a month, so we’ve got some serious training to do."
Connor led them left, then right, and down a long hallway that ended at a door. He held the door open for Nico with his free hand, and Nico felt relieved when he saw the grassy football field surrounded by the running track. There was a football practice going on, and he wondered how they would manage not to hit any of the runners.
Connor walked to a small group of teens who were waiting for him, and Nico stood behind him. “Alright, let’s start. Stretches, everyone!”
After they got their bodies ready, the group walked to the track. Nico hadn’t said a word to anybody else yet, but he was happy to see a mix of boys and girls on the team.
"Let’s start with some simple relay race. You run a lap, then pass the baton to the next person. Frank, you start. Everyone else line up here, behind Hazel."
Nico got the impression that the two were together, but didn’t say anything. He got in the back of the line, and Connor stood with his clipboard and a stopwatch on the side.
"Get ready, go!"
Frank, who seemed rather chubby for a runner, began making his way around the brown-red track. Nico shielded his eyes from the sun, shifting his weight from one foot to the other, and glanced at the footballers.
They were wearing their team uniform, silver and black for Ravens. He couldn’t see them in too much detail as they ran around with their helmets, but one in particular on the bench caught his attention.
He was blonde with light skin, and he cheered for his friends who were playing. He couldn’t see much detail from this far out.
Before he knew it, Nico was next in line for the baton, and he watched the boy in front of him complete the lap and pass the stick to him.
His feet pushed him forward, and suddenly he was running. The winds whipped in his face and the track was unfamiliar, but he felt right at home, connected with the ground in this way. While he ran, he sneaked glances towards the football bench. The blonde wasn’t there anymore.
He completed the lap and joined the rest of the team. Connor offered him a water bottle, and he gratefully took a swig. “Good timing, team. Now, pair up for a few laps.”
Everyone quickly found their partners, and Nico was left alone. Typical.
"Hazel!" Connor called. "You’re with the newbie here. I’ll take your place with Frank."
Hazel, a dark skinned girl, nodded and jogged to Nico. “Hi,” she said. “You’re pretty fast.”
"Thanks," he said. "I’m Nico."
"Ready to run, Nico?"
A playful smile crept onto his face. “Are you?”
Connor and Frank took off in the lead, and the pairs gradually took off after them. Nico kept in pace with Hazel, keeping his eyes on the backs of the pair before them.
"So you’re new?" Hazel asked when they completed the first lap.
"That’s cool. I haven’t seen you around."
Suddenly Nico saw a flash of black and silver before he collided with the boy, and before he knew what had happened he was knocked into Hazel, and the three of them fell over.
"Ohhhhh…" Hazel groaned. "Get off me, please."
Nico pushed the footballer who had knocked into him off, and helped Hazel up. She had scraped the skin on his arm on the track, and Nico was pretty sure he’d sprained his ankle.
"Watch where you’re going, next time," he said to the pile of football uniform.
He tried to kick the football that had caused the collision, but his foot hurt too much. The footballer slowly stood up, taking off his helmet. Nico was surprised to see the blonde boy who he’d been looking at earlier. Up close he was tall, at least 6 foot 1. He had a small scar on his lip, and gorgeous blue eyes. If Nico wasn’t so pissed at him, he’d have been starstruck.
Connor ran to them. “You guys okay?”
"No," Hazel said. "I need to get to the nurse to bandage me up."
"And you? Sorry, I still don’t know your name."
"Nico. And I think I hurt my foot."
"Great," Connor muttered. "I’m going to talk to the coach here after about changing their practice times. Do you need help to walk to the nurse, Nico?"
"No," he said, then winced as he tried to put pressure onto his foot. "Well, maybe."
"I’ll do it," the blonde said. He was flushed, and Nico was surprised that he’d even stuck around. The game had gone on.
Connor nodded. “Thanks, Jason. Please be more careful around my guys in the future, I need them whole.”
Jason put Nico’s arm around his shoulder, and helped him as they walked off the field, trailed by Hazel. “I’m Jason, by the way.”
"If you wanted to say hello you could have done it more subtly," Nico muttered. Jason chuckled. "I promise that next time I’ll just ask you on a date."
Nico nearly fell again. He was.. he was what he was? That thing he wouldn’t tell anyone about, not after what happened back at the old school?
"I’m the damsel in distress here, hello!" Hazel cried behind them. Jason looked over his shoulder. "Can’t you see we’re having a moment?"