The city centre was a world within itself, completely separate to the outer city slums that occupied most of the radiation clear zone. The buildings here were made of white sandstone or slick steel. There was no rubbish or people begging on street corners. There were even area of green grass and trees outside. Harry got off outside the college and walked across the parking lot to the main building. Ethan had already sent him a message saying he was waiting in the cafeteria. Harry found him sat at his usual table, two empty styrofoam cups already piled in front of him. A third cup was between his hands, steaming.
“You realise there's such a thing as drinking too much hot chocolate right?” Harry asked, sitting opposite him. Ethan looked up, shaking his messy black curls from his blue eyes. Which were blinking quickly, showing he was leaving whatever daydream he'd been in. “Or maybe there's an exception for you,” Harry added, smiling.
“Family thing, didn't sleep till three,” Ethan explained, leaning forward and drinking more. Harry shook his head and went to the bar to get his own drink. He didn't share Ethan's aversion to coffee and got a double shot of espresso. When he sat back down Ethan looked a little more alert at least.
“So why are you in today?” Ethan asked.
“Didn't want to hang around the house all day,” Harry shrugged. Ethan knew nothing about his real life of course. He knew he lived in the outer city, but that was it. Harry planned to never introduce him to Justin. He could just imagine how Justin would act. He hated the people who lived in the city. As far as he was concerned, they were as bad as the Templers.
“Why? Fight with your parents or something?” Ethan asked, frowning.
“No,” Harry said, thrown by the question. Both he and Justin had no clue who their real parents were, not that Ethan knew that.
“Oh, sorry,” Ethan said. “You just look bothered by something.” Harry shook his head, looking away. He couldn't exactly explain everything that was bothering him. He couldn't believe Justin had acted so nonchalant about being sent to crater point of all places.
“Why do people keep thinking I'm a type C?” he asked. Ethan choked on his drink and gulped it down quickly.
“What?” he asked, his voice hoarse.
“Nevermind,” he muttered.
“Since when were you a C?” Ethan asked. “Do your parents have a problem with it?”
“I'm not a type C. I'm a type A, I like the opposite sex” Harry said. “Jeez,” he muttered.
“Well, then what's the issue?” Ethan asked, frowning. “Nobody cares about that stuff anymore, anyway. Except maybe the genetic perfectionists who have issues with guys liking guys anyway.”
“Do I just act funny?” he asked. Ethan shook his head, looking away with a barely suppressed smile.
“Not the guy to be asking,” he said. “I'm still currently hiding it from my parents, remember?”
“Yeah, but it doesn't sound like they're the judgemental types,” Harry replied. Ethan snorted, leaning back on his chair so it was standing on two legs rather than four.
“They are. Just about the wrong things,” he murmured. Harry frowned at that, but the bell rang before he could ask more. Ethan stood up, hefting his bag on one shoulder.
“I got to get to the gym. More listening to Mrs Darlton scream at me,” Ethan sighed, rolling his eyes. They both knew he enjoyed exercise, why else would he pick it as one of his classes? Harry had once asked him if he was interested in joining the Templers. Ethan had looked at him for a moment, thrown, before bursting out laughing.
“Have fun,” Harry said after him, just before he disappeared out the cafeteria's double doors and round the corner.