This was stupid. This was the most stupid thing Diego had ever done. Why was he doing this again? Why wasn't he in a very secluded art shop in a shady area? Or maybe even stealing some other kid's art stuff?
Because he had no money and was trying not to be an asshole. Duh.
Diego sighed, as he floated his way down the halls, not making eye contact with anyone who walked past him. On his way to the art class. One of the few classes he had never entered. Why? Because he was a stupid and stubborn brat, yes, Diego knew that. He got an F from art just because he didn't want to do art in front of others, which was idiotic. But not much Diego could do about it. Just the thought of making anything "artsy" in front of other people made him shake and his dad's voice echoed in his head.
But at this time of the day the class was empty. Diego had scouted for many days and made sure of that. So the coast was clear.
Diego turned the last corner, and there it was. Art classroom. Diego sighed again, but this time there was no one there to witness it. The hall was empty, or at least Diego deemed it to be so. And after waiting for a few minutes Diego floated to the door, and quietly opened it, peeking inside. Yup, it was empty. Perfect. Diego floated inside, and quietly closed the door. And then he began his search for some coal pencils that he needed for his next personal project. He started from the cabinet at the right side of the class, and began rummaging through them all, lockpicking those that were locked.
Angelo had already decided that art was not for him. He was a technical sort of person. He liked facts and figures, things he could remember. It helped, in art, to be able to hold the mental image of something in his mind. But that didn't suddenly make him an artist. He wasn't good at art. He was too focused on technical.
And a part of him thought it was stupid. He had every component. Every requisite. But he still sucked at drawing.
If he put a lot of time and effort into things, he could manage technical drawings. Like a shittier version of a photo. But in the end Angelo was just left frustrated,
A photograph just seemed better.
He sat alone in the art classroom, his pencil hovering over a mostly completed sketch. Technically correct. Technically right. But no real artistry to it.
God, he was frustrated. He wasn't even drawing, just sitting there staring at the piece, hunched over his desk, when he heard the soft sound of... something.
The hair on the back of Angelo's neck stood up. Someone was behind him.
He reminded himself that it was midday. That the sun was shining. No one was sneaking up on him, probably. But even so he couldn't help but rifling through his mental archive of powers, just to make sure a new file hadn't appeared...
It hadn't, and Angelo let himself quietly rotate in his chair to look.
It was Diego. Diego hadn't noticed him, apparently, and was... rifling through a cabinet?
Okay, so, the coal was nowhere to be found, but the first cabinet Diego opened was full of spray paints. He had actually been running low on black, and here there was a full unopened can. Surely no one would notice if it disappeared for a while, or for good. There were so many opened cans of black spray paint. Diego grabbed the can and was about to shake it, when suddenly he heard a voice behind him. Diego let out a yelp, or more like a yell shriek, dropped the can and it fell to the floor clattering loudly. Diego spun around to face whoever had busted him, his heart in his throat. And when Diego saw who it was he blinked.
"Jude? Wha- How- When-?"
Diego stuttered in his words, instinctively flying backwards and upwards, eventually bumping his head to the ceiling. Just fucking great, it had to be this dude, the boy scout and mister student council himself. Diego started glancing towards the door, there was no way Jude would be able to catch him if he flew out at high speed, and then it was just the matter of avoiding the guy and playing dumb if Jude ratted Diego out.
Angelo had been so distracted by his own stuff that, even having said Diego's name, it hadn't occurred to Angelo why he was there. In an art classroom. Getting supplies?
Did he have class?
But no - no class for another few hours, which left a great big question mark in Jude's head. The fact that the guy was floating up near the ceiling didn't strike Angelo as suspicious or anything - he'd been startled, and he wasn't the only person who reacted poorly when startled.
But the fact that he was glancing towards the door was hard to miss.
Diego had already started inching towards the door, but the question Angelo presented after a moment of silence made him flinch and Diego looked at him with a frown.
"Wh- No! I don't go to art classes, that's ga-"
Jesus, Diego had almost said "that's gay" to this guy. The guy who had dated Gabe, and probably was gay to some extent. He would've never lived that humiliation down. It just sometimes came out instinctively, Diego blamed his dad. So Diego snapped his mouth shut and ended up staring at Angelo for a moment too long. Yeah, like that wasn't any less humiliating. You're doing great, Diego.
It was just too much of a shame to leave the paint, so with one swift movement Diego picked up the paint from the ground by making a small gust of wind blow it into his hand.
"Anyway, I'm out."
Diego said, maybe a bit too quickly, and he quickly opened the door and was out of it before he could hear anything else Angelo had to say. If that guy started spreading the rumour that Diego did art or something all he had to say was that he had done some prank scribbles on a wall somewhere. Easy, right? Right?!
That's gay. That was what he was about to say, right? Jesus, what year was it? Was that cool again? To just say it? Angelo wasn't thinking of himself. No no, he was thinking about Gabe. Gabe, who he was pretty sure was definitely actually gay. Who was supposed to be Diego's best friend.
The whole situation was a train wreck from the moment Diego opened his mouth, and things got even weirder when Diego blasted out of there like he had some kind of superspeed. Okay, maybe he wasn't that fast, but Angelo was more or less just sitting there, looking incredulous as his brain tried to turn over what information he had.
The next day, he'd had time go over it. He'd had time to decide how he felt, and come up with a plan. Because, broken up with Gabe or not, this was something that required an actual honest to god plan.
Because he was going to have words with Diego.
He didn't have class. So when class let out--and Diego should have been heading home--Angelo stopped himself right by Diego's classroom, leaning against the wall and waiting for him to appear.
The next day Diego was sitting in class, his head on the desk, not even trying to fill in the math worksheet in front of him. He was feeling like shit. That one single happening yesterday left him feeling so humiliated. Angelo absolutely could tell he had been about to say "That's gay". Diego was sure about it. It had been obvious. It was painful, so cringy, why was he like this? Moreover, why was he like this over that Angelo guy? That was infuriating, Diego didn't even like the guy.
And before Diego knew it the class was over, and he returned an empty worksheet to the teacher. Diego ignored the glance he got from them, and just floated out of the class. The hallway was packed, Diego didn't have any room to fly over the crowd in this corridor. So guess that meant he had to flo-
Diego saw Angelo the moment he excited the class and he could've sworn he felt the blood drain from his face. Fuck, why was he here? To tell Diego to return the paint? 'Cos that wasn't happening. Or to pick on hi- Nah, it was Angelo, there was no way he would do that.
Nevertheless, Diego kept his eyes straight and tried to float away, pretending he hadn't noticed Angelo.
Oh no he didn't. Angelo saw exactly what he he was doing, and it was totally not happening. He slid right on over, keeping his eyes on Diego as he zipped ahead, circling in front of the floating boy.
"Oh, hey Diego! I was hoping we could talk," he said, a shade louder than usual to draw attention. There was no way for Diego to ignore him now, and he'd have to outright reject him, something he probably wanted to avoid.
He looked... nervous. Awkward. And Angelo was absolutely fucking not above playing off that. They were going to talk, one way or another.
Of course it didn't work. Angelo circled in front of Diego and forced him to look at and acknowledge him. And he said those really ominous words, with voice that definitely drew attention from around them and made Diego want to hush Angelo and cover his mouth. Diego felt fidgety, being confronted like this in front of people made him beyond anxious, and he bet Angelo could somehow guess that. That was why he had decided to ask it in this crowd. Diego glanced in all directions, looking for an escape route but not finding it. And he gave up.
"...What do you want?"
Diego said, only loud enough so Angelo could hear him. Was it rude? Yes. But if Angelo knew that Diego was awkward and still confronted him in this kind of situation Diego didn't see a reason to treat him nicely. Hell, Diego didn't even want to treat Angelo nicely, he didn't like the guy. And Diego bet Angelo didn't like Diego either.
Angelo was not a stranger to playing the long game. It didn't have to be today. It didn't have to be the next. But eventually, they were going to sit down and talk.
"I thought we could go talk in private," Angelo said, his voice back down to a normal volume. He'd already drawn the attention needed. Now people knew they were going to talk. If Angelo had to come back the next day, and the day after that, it would become obvious to anyone paying even half attention that Diego was avoiding him, and that was what he had in mind.