((Hannah Kendrickstone Pregame Start))
S...S...S...Sa...Sc... Ah! Sh!
Shakespeare, William. For a library, there really wasn't much of selection when it came to Shakespear. Sure, there was Macbeth, Hamlet, even Twelth Night, but no Julius Ceaser? No All's Well? No freakin' Merchants of Venice? Still, they had Taming of the Shrew for some bizarre reason, and that was what she needed. Saved her a trip, and the hassle of digging out one of the many library cards that accumulated in drawers when you didn't count them.
It was quiet in the library. Sure, that seemed like a bit of a dumb thing to say, but it was quiter than usual. Perhaps those who made the most noise also ate the most. It was lunchtime after all. She was probably the only girl who cared about this thing for Shakespear anymore, hell, probably the only girl who cared about the library for reading books. She'd seen borderline fights break out in between the bookshelves.
Like, seriously, what was that kid doing? What was the point of going to the library, only to stare at a bloody laptop screen the entire time? She went closer. Maybe it was justifiable and he was writing something and cross referencing a book, or maybe he had just come to a place to quietly game.
She realised it was Wade stupidly late. She was ninety-nine percent sure he was a furry, but the topic had never come up in the chats they'd had. She walked closer and jostled his hair, before sitting down on the desk where he was working, all thoughts of the sanctity of the library forgotten.
"Wade!" She whispered loudly, "what're you working on today?" Cartwright was a bit of a spacer, and probably one of the only people who could match her love for literature punch for punch, so it'd seemed natural when they'd become friends. What was he doing in the library though? He was more a fan of writing stories than reading them, and he didn't have a book out, so the only logical explanation would be his webcomics. Time to find out if her hunch was right.
(WADE CARTWRIGHT: PREGAME START!)
"What're you working on today?"
The sudden half-whisper took Wade off-guard. He was immediately startled into focus, having been so absorbed in his latest reading that he hadn't noticed Hannah approaching (or sneaking up on?) him at all. His first instincts told him to be defensive and to keep the conversation away from what it was he was doing.
He wasn't particularly ashamed or guilty about being a furry. Alone, he was actually somewhat proud of his achievements within it. But he'd learned painfully, especially during his rocky start in the community almost ten years ago, that a decent amount of the population found it distasteful and were often overtly hostile to it. As a result, he almost never 'outed' himself outside of the fandom and only interacted with others in those spheres of it where he was actively participating.
This approach put him somewhat on edge about browsing webcomics and art sites, even though it practically never seemed to draw attention from others even in open environments. He kept things discreet when doing so, sticking to one window or tab that he could easily close if there was ever too much attention being paid. He wiped histories, made omissions, and avoided leaving trails of any sort in general. He'd only been confronted a few times and always managed to deflect it away.
All this worked. Wade was perfectly happy keeping his life compartmentalized, and could emotionally afford to do so. It would be neat and tidy; there was furry stuff, and there was everything else. Two sides, and never the twain shall meet.
Until the day came that he or his work became too prominent (yeah, as if that would ever happen), or someone publically confronted him regarding the former, or some snooping individual, a hacker or reporter or his own parents, maybe, opened up the vault of his past. Then the distinction would come crashing down and he'd be forced to be open.
But that was either buried in the deep past or shrouded in the foggy future. For the here and now, it was just Hannah. And Wade always considered her a friend, if he wasn't wholly open to her. Under normal circumstances, he would have kept his guard and avoided revealing this part of his interests.
There was something different this time, however. The tone of her voice and the way she had just barged in, carrying herself and sitting like that... it all bore hints of anticipation. She was waiting for something. Maybe, just maybe, he told himself. Take a gamble, what have you got to lose?
He ignored the twisting feelings in his stomach and angled the monitor just into her field of vision, allowing her to just see just what was on it. Lightly gesturing to the screen, he struggled to think of words. They came up immediately and were surprisingly painless to get through: "I-I'm just, uh, keeping up with Charity and the gang here. I already finished my studying a while back. What about you? How's your latest play going?"
He still came across strained and forced. For that, he cursed himself internally. His voice was always far better in his mind's ear than in reality. But it was too late for any regret; now he would personally find out how Hannah truly felt.