» Chapter 30

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[Warning for mentioned/implied major character death and panic attacks towards the end]

---- From chapter 29 ----

T: R E D. A L E R T.
J: Baby, calm down
J: Which room?
T: the science room on second floor
J: Ok
T: Why do you have the keys
J: It's not important, you good now that you've got your book back?
T: Yessir, thank u sir


The air conditioner in the back of Jason's second period AP science class was broken. It was the only class he didn't have with Tim that semester, because Tim had taken science last semester while he'd been stuck in maths, and now their positions were reversed.

The air conditioner was broken and it was second semester, May, which meant as the weather got hotter it was used more and it rattled constantly, right behind his desk in the back row. The loose screw and it's tinny clatter was the backdrop to Jason's inner-monologue for an entire seventy-five minutes every weekday, a quiet form of inanimate laughter when he wished Tim was there for what was probably the seventh time of the hour.

He would have been able to deal with it- honestly, he dealt with worse on a nightly basis- if Tim had been in the class with him, either because Tim would have fixed it, or because, admittedly, the corners of Jason's vision got a little blurry when he was looking at Tim, everything else fading to white noise or shapeless forms. Every morning, the coming summer sun was bright in his eyes, but all he could see was Tim and the half-moons weighing down his expression.

His science teacher announced that they had a test next Friday, and Jason lazily made a note on the top of the page in front of him.

He was whipped, he knew- and if he didn't already, Dickie told him often enough that he didn't have a choice but to be aware of it- but it's not like he can be blamed. Tim was nothing holy. He wasn't like Dickie, weighed down by a halo on his head. He wasn't made of anything ancient and foreign. He was just a person, but he was amazing. He was soft and gentle and so, so smart, and one of the last genuinely good people in the whole godforsaken city, but he was also aggressive and depressed and sometimes he made Jason so angry. Angry because he was petty and stubborn, but also angry because he didn't sleep when he should and he was blind to how much he meant to the people around him and it was infuriating.

Really, he was Jason's only analgesic against the steady poison of the city around them.

It was worth noting that Jason had his lowest mark in this class.

His phone buzzed in his hand a few times, and he had closed out of his life story à la Instagram and opened his conversation with Tim before he even thought to be subtle about it.

The air conditioner laughed behind him.

There were thirty minutes left of class if the top of his screen was to be believed, so Tim texting him wasn't out of the norm. Their lockers were about as far apart as they could get, considering Tim's last name was still legally Drake- though Jason had plans to change that- so they usually met up at the cafeteria or by front doors, depending on their lunch plans, and one of them occasionally got held up with something. That was, of course, on days which they both actually went to class, which Jason knew Tim had not.

Instead of the message that he was expecting- some conspiracy about gas prices or something- Tim had left him a chain of incoherent sputtering with varying levels of intensity. He scrolled past them all, only reading the last four.

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