[Samuel x Roman]

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R✿bbit

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e d e n

Eden was seated by a table in the cafeteria eating his lunch and staring into his math homework as he ate. He was occupying a table for four all by himself, which he usually did unless some people he didn't know asked to sit because there were no other empty spots.Eden liked to spend a lot of his lunches alone. It wasn't like he had that much of an option or anything, or well he could always sit with Stella and June and their friends, and when he didn't share his lunch period with Stella he knew he was welcome with her friends but he wasn't always super comfortable with that. they were nice people but he didn't really feel like he belonged there without Stella or June at least.

The thing was though, that eating lunch by himself allowed him time to study. It was a little hard to focus in the cafeteria, but the thing was tat ven on his medication Eden tended to have a bit of a hard time focusing no matter where. And he also still forgot things a lot of the time. So even if he was good at school and liked studying, he'd forget his books at school sometimes, or even just get wrapped up in something else and just not do his homework at home, unless one of his dads reminded him. But if he did it at lunch, he didn't have to worry bout forgetting something.

So he liked it. He wouldn't mind sitting with someone, but he just didn't really have many close friends and he didn't mind being alone either.
 

lxngdon

a mountain biking vampire witch from the future
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m a r i s o l
Marisol had a decent amount of friends, but quite often she just liked to hang out by herself. She liked solitude because it helped her work on her projects, listen to music, and read without disruption. That wasn't to say she was antisocial, though -- she literally just liked to have some occasional time to herself.

But when she saw someone else sitting by themselves, if she knew them, she would quite often go up to them and join them. Hell, even if she didn't know someone, she was no stranger to striking up a conversation with them, just because she didn't want people to feel left out. She knew, from when she had moved to this country, what it was like to feel excluded, and she wouldn't wish that on anyone else.

Which was why, when she saw Eden sitting by himself in the cafeteria, she didn't hesitate to come up and sit beside him. "Hey," she said brightly, pulling her lunch -- which consisted of homemade enchiladas and fries -- out of her bag. "Watcha workin' on?"

Marisol hadn't spoken to Eden since the time she had saved him from the Zeke Gang, but she had kept a lookout on him when she could just so she could interfere if she saw anything else cruel happening again. She liked Eden, and she didn't want to see him suffer in any way.
 

R✿bbit

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e d e n

Eden jumped a little when someone suddenly interrupted his focus, not because it was jarring but because he got a little nervous. But then he saw that it was Marisol, and instantly got a little calmer. He supposed that was the effect saving you from dumb idiots had on you. He felt like Marisol wouldn't do anything bad or mean, because if she did want to hurt him she would have just let Zeke torment him.

Eden had seen her around. He had debated saying thanks or hello so many times, but he always got to shy and didn't do it. She was in the year above and in his opinion, pretty cool, so she probably didn't care about him and probably didn't want to talk to him. At least that was what he had assumed. But now she was there, randomly eating lunch with him and asking him about his homework.

"Oh uh-- Um, just something for math," he said, quietly, but looking at Marisol with the widest of eyes, almost as if he couldn't believe she was there, because he honestly couldn't, "... Uh... I''m... Don't you have other people you'd rather sit with?" he asked, because clearly Marisol was very nice since she had saved him from Zeke even though she didn't have to, so obviously she was just there to be nice, not realizing that Eden didn't mind eating by himself. Because he didn't.
 

lxngdon

a mountain biking vampire witch from the future
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m a r i s o l
Marisol peered over Eden's shoulder for a moment to check out what he was working on, grimaced because she didn't like maths, and then leaned back in her seat to take a bite of her enchilada. Everything just came so naturally to Marisol. She had no concerns or qualms about sitting with this guy she barely knew, because in her mind, they were friends already. She was just a naturally sociable and amicable person who enjoyed getting along with other people.

"Well, I have some other friends I could sit with if I wanted,"
Marisol said with a shrug. "But I wanted to come and sit and have a chat with you." She gave him a kind smile. She understood that Eden wasn't the most sociable of individuals, but that didn't mean she wasn't going to try to have a friendship with him.

Marisol decided to switch over to Spanish, because that was what had helped them bond the last time they had interacted. "Have you seen that show about the animal rescue people? It's kind of sad to see the animals hurt but they're all so cute and it's really nice and sweet when they get fixed."
 

R✿bbit

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e d e n

She wanted to sit with him? Eden didn't know what to make of that. He felt like people didn't really want to sit with him most of the times, and it was kind of his own fault because he was quiet and didn't always like to talk much. sometimes it wasn't even a shy thing, it was just that he didn't feel like talking at that moment so he wouldn't do it.

Today he didn't mind though, but the situation was very different so that might have been why, and maybe it was also the Spanish that got him a little excited. He knew he wasn't tied to the language by blood, in fact his daddies had told them they had tied to Bosnia through their birth parents but Eden didn't want to think much about them. Spanish was still his language though, because it was his family's language, something they could all bond and connect over. Hearing someone else speak it was really nice. It was kind of like Marisol was in on this secret thing only a few people was in on, except Spanish was a huge language so a lot of people spoke it.

"Yeah, I think I've seen that, I love watching things about animals," he said, surprisingly his shyness faded a little in the other language, the fact that other people couldn't understand always calmed him a little, "I also watch this channel on Youtube with a woman who finds and rescues little kittens, it's kind of the same thing, it's really sad for the kittens at first but they get better and it's cute. We actually rescued one of our cats that way and her videos helped a lot,"
 

lxngdon

a mountain biking vampire witch from the future
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m a r i s o l
"Oooh, I love kitties," Marisol replied, a bright smile crossing her face as she mentioned the furry little animals she adored so much. It was true that she loved all animals of shapes and sizes, but kittens were among her favourites.

Marisol took a bite of her enchilada and took a look around the room as she ate. All around them, people were sitting and chatting with their friends. People were integrated into massive friendship groups that contained heaps of people. How was it that Eden was alone? Why did he have such trouble making friends? He seemed like a lovely boy to Marisol -- she couldn't imagine what he had done to deserve being shunned.

Or was it his choice?

"I think bunnies are my favourite, though,"
Marisol admitted. "They're just so cute and fuzzy."
 

R✿bbit

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e d e n

It seemed like Marisol was kind of making Eden's shyness slowly melt away. In par it was the language, but she seemed so naturally social that it was easier to talk to her. In some cases when people were like that it would just mean they talked over Eden, or didn't understand why he was so quiet sometimes, but Marisol was just engaging him in conversation and it was great.

He practically gasped a little at the mention of bunnies, "I have a bunny! Her name i Vivvi, but it's short for Vivaldi because I really like classical music," he explained, excitement seeping through his voice as he got to talk not only about animals but about his own animals, since everyone else he talked to mostly was family there obviously wasn't much of a point to that. "she super adorable and soft, and really calm and stuff, like she'll hang out in my room for ages when I'm doing homework or playing video games!" he smiled as he thought about his little bunny at home, he almost wanted to ask if Marisol wanted to meet her if she loved bunnies, but having someone over seemed scary.

"My favorite animal is horses though, I love them they are really cute," he said this and then blushed a little, he knew he had already been kind of girly by gushing over bunnies, but horses were another thing. It was so stereo typically girly. There was nothing wrong with it, but sometimes he got self conscious about it.
 

lxngdon

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m a r i s o l
Marisol was very excited to learn that Eden had a bunny. "I have bunnies too! I have three, their names are Coco, Pumpkin and Lassie, they're super sweet and cuddly and we have a hutch for them in the backyard, but we bring them inside a lot and they come and sit and watch TV with us sometimes."

Bunnies were just so sweet and adorable, and Marisol was glad she had made a friend who liked them too. "We should meet up after school sometime and bring the bunnies, we can all play together," Marisol suggested with a happy smile.

Then Eden mentioned horses, and Marisol cocked her head to the side inquisitively. "I've never actually ridden a horse," she confessed. "What's it like?"
 

R✿bbit

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e d e n

Eden could barely believe Marisol had actually suggested the thing he had thought about suggested but been to shy too. She still moved on from the subject right away, so it wasn't like it was something decided but it was exciting. Eden was pretty sure he hadn't been invited to hang out with anyone after school for years. He didn't mind that much, he liked just going home, and hanging out with people as much as his siblings did sounded kind of exhausting. But playing with bunnies always sounded like a great idea.

Talking about horse back riding though, he was less sure off. Expressing that he just liked them was one thing, telling people how far his interest for Horses really went was another. But Marisol was clearly very nice and just seemed genuinely curious.

"Well, It depends a little on what type of horse it is and how big it is yanno? But the thing I really like about it is like, they are so huge and powerful, like they could really hurt you, but they are also so kind and they are just letting you ride them, and you kind of bond a little with the horse you're riding too? Because when you know what you're doing it's really team work." he explained, and then realized he had rambled a little, "sorry I just really like horses, I know it's kinda weird,"
 

lxngdon

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m a r i s o l
Marisol genuinely listened to Eden has he talked about horses. She wasn't particularly interested in the animals themselves, but what she found fascinating was how much he adored them. Marisol had noticed over the years that people just looked so much happier when they got to talk about the things that they loved.

"Hey, it's not weird,"
she reassured him, a gentle but serious look on her face. "There's nothing weird about it at all. If you like something, you like it, and that's just how it goes. Don't worry that people think you're strange. If they do, then that's their problem."

Marisol could not, for the life of her, figure out why someone wouldn't want to be friends with a boy so kind and sweet like Eden Hemlock-Ortega. He was just fun to speak to and get to know, and even if she didn't wish any hardship on him, she was sort of glad she had run into him that day she had saved him. Because she could tell that this was the start of a beautiful friendship, and she was very excited to see how it went.
 

R✿bbit

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e m m a - m a r i e

Emma-Marie could tell something was up with Harper. She was her best friend and she could tell when something was bothering him. Most days he seemed fined, when they were just hanging out talking bout whatever, they were both happy, it was just that sometimes, when she saw him lost in thought it seemed like there was something he wasn't telling her.

She had long since excluded the idea that someone was giving him a hard time. They had had some problem with that in the past, people being mean to Harper for being feminine and whatnot. And she had always been able to tell that kind of thing bothered him a lot. But right now he was probably one of the most popular boys in his year. Most girl adored him because he was sweet, and boys liked him because he was fun to be around. So she hadn't seen anyone be directly mean to him in ages.

But she had also come to another conclusion, the discomfort always reappeared when Emmie would talk about boys. Not like boys in general, but the ones she thought was cute or about celebrity crushes she had. Things like that. And she hadn't been able to push that day in the oval out of her mind. She wasn't dumb, she knew what this meant. There was a possibility that Harper liked guys. She had no idea to what extent, and it could just be something he was considering but really would just turn out to be some confusion. No matter what was bothring him though, Emmie wanted to talk to him about it. Not to push it out of him before he was ready, but because she could tell this was affecting him and she suspected he maybe needed someone to talk to.

She had invited Harper over one weekend. She was at her dad's house, which meant more people around but she always got privacy in his own room. Well most of the times. Sometimes Jojo would barge in unannounced, or her dad or Gabi would come to call for food or something. But they were alone in a comfortable environment. They had worked little on some home work at first, obviously they didn't have the same but they could always help each other anyways, and now they had retreated into the cluster of stuffed animals that was Emmie's bed to maybe watch a movie or some youtube videos. But Emmie actually had other plans and as she started her laptop she said, "So um... I just...I've been wanting to ask you if you're okay?" she started almost a little awkwardly, "it just seems like something has been bothering you for a while now, so I thought I'd ask?"
 

lxngdon

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h a r p e r
Months had passed, and Harper still didn't understand his own feelings. He had seen several guys and thought that they were pretty, amazing, beautiful even. But then he had snapped out of his trance and experienced nothing but confusion and anxiety. It had gotten to the point where he couldn't watch romantic movies anymore, nor could he watch kissing scenes of his favourite shows. Sometimes, he couldn't even stomach Emmie talking about boys she found attractive.

Because no matter what he did, Harper just couldn't help imagine himself in the position of whoever the guy was kissing, and in the case of Emmie, he thought of the boys he had had those feelings before. And it always made him feel sick. Not sick with disgust, but sick with confusion. Because Harper knew what this could mean, but he didn't know if he could accept it if it were his truth.

He knew that there was nothing wrong with guys liking guys. Hell, he had two dads. He had been raised knowing and believing that the LGBT community was valid and should be treated with the same level of respect as any heterosexual person. But Harper felt so conflicted because even if his own family was accepting, that didn't mean the rest of the world was going to be. And many of his friends had told homophobic jokes on occasion. He didn't think any of them were truly prejudiced, but would those feelings changed if one of their buddies ended up liking guys?

"I'm fine,"
he said to Emmie -- but he clearly wasn't fine. He had literally lost sleep over this issue. His under eye areas were dark and his skin seemed sallow. He wore a dull grey shirt and black shorts today because he had been subconsciously making an effort to veer away from more feminine clothes. And he just seemed miserable in general. "Thanks for asking, though."
 

R✿bbit

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e m m a - m a r i e

Emmie would have for sure thought Harper would tell her when she asked. She thought that all he needed was a reminder that she was there for him. But apparently not. She let out a small sigh, not an annoyed one, a sad one, and closed the laptop again. That would have to wait.

"Harper, I know something is bothering you," she said, her tone serious but gentle, she placed a hand on her friend's shoulder to show him that he very much was there for him not matter what, "I don't want to force you to say anything if you're not ready, but you can talk to me, i really want to help you and if you just deny it I can't. I'm just worried about you, alright?" She let his hand gently rub his back. He didn't even look like himself, no happy pastel colours or cute accessories, and on top of it, no happy smile.

She bit her lip, wondering if it would be alright to try to pinpoint the exact reason. She could be wrong of course, but she didn't think she was. But even if she wasn't wrong it could be insensitive of her to just assume it, she didn't want to hurt Harper... But then again he was clearly already hurting, "Is this about like... Is it about liking guys, because if it is you know I don't care right? It's okay if you do, I promise,"
 

lxngdon

a mountain biking vampire witch from the future
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h a r p e r

Emmie had always been such a good friend. She had always been someone Harper could talk to if he needed to -- they would just tell each other their problems always. Which was why it had hurt him so much to feel like he couldn't voice his thoughts now. It wasn't as if he though Emma-Marie wouldn't be helpful or wouldn't want to listen.

He had literally just kept them to himself because he didn't even know how he felt.

But hearing her say it out loud, the first time someone had ever directly asked him if he liked guys, just made it all click in Harper's head. He knew it. He knew he did. He wasn't stupid, and he couldn't ignore the feelings he had towards other males. He liked guys, but he also knew he liked girls too. He, Harper Alexis Hemlock-Ortega, was bisexual.

It felt relieving to admit it to himself, but also horribly overwhelming and he couldn't help but burst into tears. He turned his head and leaned it against Emma-Marie's shoulder as he cried. They were rough and emotional tears, but he let them all out, because if there was one thing he believed with every fibre of his being, it was that boys were well in their right to cry.

"I ... I do,"
he said after a few minutes, during which he managed to get it all out and just let it go. "I do, Emmie. B - But I don't know what I'm meant to do about it."
 

R✿bbit

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e m m a - m a r i e

Emmie hated seeing Harper cry like this. He seemed so terribly upset, just by her question. It had to be true, or else he wouldn't have reacted so strongly. She wrapped his arms around him, closeness between them had never been weird because they truly were best friends, and she kept soothingly rubbing his back until he seemed okay enough to speak again, and even then she waited patiently for Harper to speak.

Hearing Harper admit to what had been bothering him would have been more of relief if he didn't just start to cry. But it also really was a relief. Obviously it wasn't good that something that would have been expected to be easy for him considering what his family looked like clearly was hard, but Emmie also felt like if her guess had been wrong, it could have been something much much worse. Harper liked guys and that was okay, and it would be better as soon as Harper came to terms with it. It had to be.

"You don't have to do anything about it," Emmie said gently, "it's just like liking a girl, I imagine, no one expects you to do anything about it Harper. If this is who you are it's who you are. But if you want to you can tell me about it. I'll always listen to you if you need to talk, now isn't an exception, okay?"
 

lxngdon

a mountain biking vampire witch from the future
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h a r p e r
"I know no one expects me to just do something about it," Harper mumbled. He pulled back and ran a hand through his hair. His face was red and his eyes were damp, and he was very clearly distressed. But now that he had admitted it to Emmie and to himself, it all just started to come out and he didn't know how to stop it.

"But, I don't know how I should be acting now -- I know I like girls. I always have liked girls, and I've liked dating them and kissing them and holding their hands. And I want to do that with guys too but I've only ever liked girls so I don't know how to approach guys?"
Harper didn't know if he was making sense, but he didn't even know how to filter his emotions in that moment.

"And, like, I don't know if I'm too girly for girls to like me or too masculine for guys to like me -- I just, like, fit really weirdly in the middle and I don't know how to dress and behave so things work out." Harper sniffled again. "And my friends at school ... I don't even know if I should tell them. I don't think they'll take it very well."
 

R✿bbit

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Scifi, high fantasy
e m m a - m a r i e

"It's not like most girls doesn't think feminine guys can be cool, it's 2040, not like 2020, people are more reasonable than that," She wasn't going to pretend as if Harper would be everyone's cup of tea, at least not at first glance. But in this case it really was his confidence that was the issue, not other people. He wasn't to feminine for girls or too masculine for guys, it was just the he was scared he was.

"Just... Haven't you seen picture of your dad when he was younger?"
She knew he had, obviously, since Emmie had seen them too, the Hemlock.Ortega family had a copious amount of photo albums, and those photo albums contained herself and her family so on a couple of visits she had looked them through with her dad, Gabi, and Jojo, "He used to always wear make up and stuff, and he was always really popular with both guys and girls, right? And now he has a husband. And look at my dad? He doesn't particularly care about putting himself in a box either, and now he's married to Gabi?" she was just using the examples she could from their own life to reassure her friend. She would have thought it was weird for him to think this way when they had these people in their life, but it wasn't all that weird. Harper's experience was his own, not their parent's, he was figuring himself out and worrying was part of that.

"And I can't say anything about your friends. You don't have to come out to them until you're ready, or at all, but I'm your school friend too, and I'm okay with it, logically they should be okay with it, at least more of them than there will be who won't"
 

lxngdon

a mountain biking vampire witch from the future
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h a r p e r
Of course Harper had seen pictures of his dad when he had been a teenager. Harper's dad was one of the people he looked up to most in the world. He looked up to both of his parents, but his dad was just so confident, so cool and suave in everything he did, and he had always been so sure in his sexuality despite having been married to a man for almost twenty years. Roman Hemlock-Ortega was one of Harper's idols, and he had been for a while.

Perhaps it would be beneficial for Harper to talk to his dad about his sexuality. After all, he was one of the few bisexual people Harper knew who was as equally in touch with their feminine side as their masculine side. Perhaps Roman could offer some insight Harper really needed.

"It's not just about what my friends will think, though,"
Harper mumbled. "Me and the twins and Letha, we've always had homophobic people tell us that gay parents shouldn't be able to have kids because it will teach them to be gay. And I know that that isn't what happened, I know that I would have turned out like this regardless of who adopted me. But what if I come out and my parents start getting even more hate and harassment than they already do?"
 

R✿bbit

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e m m a - m a r i e

Emma-Marie frowned a little as Harper put forward a very valid concern. She hadn't even thought about that. In her mind it had been all about Harper, and how he felt and what would make him comfortable. He was her best friend and she just wanted him to be happy and comfortable with himself. But to him this was not just an issue abut himself, it was about his family and wanting to give the people who had harassed them over the years a chance to think they were right.

Emmie hated that the world was as it were. She knew it was better from when their parents were young, she had heard stories from her own parents and other people in their group of friends, and stories from the kids who had parents in same-sex relationships, and there were way less people looking to discriminate and push people down. So as someone who was not only straight but unlike Harper also had parents who at least were in straight relationships, she didn't really think much about things like what kind of things Harper and his family faced. He was right to consider that, but she also didn't want it to be cause for him to not feel like he could be himself.

"Look Harper, I... I can't pretend I know what it's like for you right now, like not even with your family," She said, making sure she wasn't trying to invalidate his feelings, "But those people are wrong to begin with. I get that you don't want your family to be bullied, but... I guess what I'm trying to say is that I don't want you to let people's homophobic views affect you like this. It's probably easier said than done but those people are wrong, even if they say hurtful things they are wrong. And you know that so you can't let them feel like you can't be yourself. It's what they want and they are going to be against your family no matter what,"
 

lxngdon

a mountain biking vampire witch from the future
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h a r p e r
Emma-Marie was right, of course. They lived in a changing and developing society and it was realistic for Harper to assume that the majority of reactions to his coming out would be positive. However, that didn't automatically erase his worries. The old fanatical homophobe still existed even in their modern society, and quite honestly, it made Harper worried to even think about it.

"You're right,"
Harper murmured, rubbing his eyes and leaning his head against Emma-Marie's shoulder again. "I'll think about it," he promised her. "Maybe I'll talk to my dad first, since he's bi too and he knows how I'm feeling."

Harper wasn't even sure if that was true, though. His dad always seemed so confident in his sexuality, and he had mentioned that he hadn't had the same sort of crisis with it as Papa had when they had been younger. So would Dad even know what Harper was trying to say?

He didn't know. And he didn't particularly want to know, at least in that moment. For now, all Harper wanted to do was watch videos with Emmie, forget everything, and not think about it until the next day.

But he had to admit ... knowing that Emmie knew ... it was like a weight had finally been lifted off his chest.