Making the Grade
Prompt found here
Read it on AO3!
“Dude, why did you even sign up for AP Biology in the first place?”
“Because I was a lovesick fool!” Lance moaned melodramatically.
“Wait, wait, back up.” Hunk looked confused, and Lance realized belatedly that he had never mentioned his real reason for taking the class to his best friend. “Lovesick? What does love have to do with biology?”
Lance resisted the urge to make a crude joke, as his plight was serious. “Never mind that now, I’m barely scraping a D! Hunk, I need your help!”
Hunk shrugged helplessly. “You know I’m more of a physics guy. But seriously, are you in love with some genius? Is that why you took AP Bio?”
Lance’s lack of a response was apparently telling enough for Hunk. He let a whoop of delight. “I knew it! It’s Allura, isn’t it? Tell me it’s Allura.” Allura was Lance’s vice president in the Voltron High School Student Council, and many of their fellow seniors shipped them.
Lance shook his head. “We’re not having this conversation. I need to figure out how to get my grade up by the end of the term, which I might remind you is in three days!”
“Well, whichever vice president has captured your heart, maybe ahe’ll be able to help you get that grade up.” Hunk waggled his eyebrows.
“Hunk, you absolute genius!” Lance hugged his friend. “Of course Pidge will be able to help!”
“Pidge? As in, Pidge Holt? You mean the super short girl who skipped a grade and never talks to anyone?”
Lance could have kicked himself. “Nobody was supposed to find out about that.”
“Why not?” Hunk was laughing now. “Loverboy Lance, heartthrob of Voltron High, falling in love with the one girl who isn’t falling over her own feet to date him – it sounds like the plot of a Disney Channel show!”
“Oh, shut up,” Lance grumbled.
To Katherine Holt
Subject Research project help?
This is Lance McClain, from AP Bio (and, you know, the student council and stuff). So, I was wondering if you’d maybe possibly be willing to help me with the research project that’s due the day after tomorrow… which I may or may not have procrastinated starting until just now…
As soon as he sent the email, Lance was filled with apprehension. There was no way Pidge wouldn’t judge him – what a great way to win a girl’s affections, Loverboy, he mocked himself. He wondered if leaving the heart next to his name had been too much, even though it was sort of his signature thing.
He didn’t have long to overthink things. Pidge must have been sitting at her computer when the email arrived, because she emailed him back right away.
To Lance McClain
Subject RE: Research project help?
Meet me in the library tomorrow after school.
Lance did a silent victory dance.
Pidge’s gaze flicked between the library door and the clock, pausing every once in a while to glare at the obnoxiously loud sophomore girls occupying the table adjacent her own. It had been nearly twenty minutes since the end of school, and she was beginning to wonder if Lance had just been messing with her.
Shouldn’t have gotten your hopes up, she chided herself. That the ultra-popular student council president everyone seemed in love with would give her the time of day was laughable at best. More than likely, he was having a good laugh about his clever prank with the idiots on the student council or a bunch of airheaded girls like the ones prattling away near Pidge.
Twenty-five minutes passed. Then thirty. The librarian began giving Pidge dirty looks. The sophomore girls got up and left in a perfume-scented pack. Pidge had just decided to do the same, minus the perfume and the pack, when the door creaked open, and there he was.
When Lance McClain entered a room, the room knew it. The door would slam open, and he would positively explode in with no end of pick-up lines, dazzling smiles, saucy winks, and finger guns. A trumpet fanfare and confetti cannon would not seem out of place.
Which is why the first words out of Pidge’s mouth were “Who are you and what have you done with Lance?” Though he shared Lance’s features, the impostor seemed nervous and unsure of himself, hastily shutting the door behind himself the moment he was through and approaching Pidge hesitantly.
“Loverboy Lance is unavailable,” said Lance. “Today you get to deal with failing-bio-Lance.” Pidge caught a hint of red in his cheeks as he sat down next to her, dragging his textbook and binder out of his bag.
“Why me?” The question slipped out before she could stop it, and Pidge cursed her lack of a brain-to-mouth filter.
Lance blinked at her. “I dunno, maybe because you’re hands down the smartest person in our grade? And there’s also… well, never mind.”
Pidge shrugged. “If you say so.” She made a mental note to ask him about it later. “So, what do you have so far?”
Lance dramatically flipped open his binder. “Absolutely nothing!”
“So… you’ll need a lot of help, yeah?”
“It could take hours. Are you sure you’re okay to help me with this? I mean, I could always–”
“It’s fine,” Pidge hurried to reassure him.
At that point, the librarian approached their table. “I need to lock up, so you two need to take this somewhere else.”
Pidge gave him a distracted nod and turned back to Lance. “You’d be welcome to come to my house for a while.”
Lance put up a hand to rub the back of his neck, his face cracking into a smile. “Sounds great.”
“Down, Rover.” Pidge stroked her overenthusiastic dog’s ears as he dropped back onto all fours, panting with excitement. “Lance, this is my dog, Rover. Rover, meet Lance.”
Lance followed Pidge through her front door and stooped to pet Rover. “I’ve never actually met a dog named Rover, despite the stereotype.”
“Well, his full name is Moon Rover Alpha-K-9, but we call him Rover for short,” Pidge explained as Moon Rover Alpha-K-9 slobbered all over Lance.
“That you, Pidge?” called Matt from somewhere deep within the house, most likely his room.
“Yep,” Pidge called back. “And I’m going to be helping a friend with his homework, so stay out of my room for a while.”
With a loud clatter, Matt materialized next to her, slightly out of breath. “A friend, you say?” He scrutinized Lance. “What’s your name? I’m Matt.”
“Name’s Lance. Nice to meet you.” Lance held out a hand to shake.
“Wait, Lance?” Matt’s eyes widened, and a hard knot of dread coalesced in Pidge’s stomach. “As in, Lance Lance? Lance McClain? I’ve heard a lot about you.”
“Wait, you have?” Lance glanced between Pidge and Matt.
“No, he hasn’t,” Pidge corrected, glaring daggers at her brother.
Matt cheerfully ignored her. “Well, I’ll just let the two of you get on with your homework.” He winked at them before vanishing back into his room.
“What was that all about?” Lance asked as soon as Matt was out of earshot.
Pidge felt as though her face was aflame. “Nothing.”
Lance stared at the screen of Pidge’s computer. “I’m never going to finish this,” he lamented.
“Maybe we should take a break,” Pidge suggested gently.
“This paper is due tomorrow!” Lance protested.
“Yes.” Pidge sounded exasperated. “But the more you psych yourself out and overwork yourself, the longer this is going to take!”
“Fine.” Lance stood and stretched until his back popped, then sat down on Pidge’s bed.
She plopped herself down next to him. “So, um… earlier, you mentioned a reason for wanting my help in particular.”
“Yeah…” Lance sensed a minefield ahead. “I already told you, you’re the smartest person in our class. I think you know that.”
“You mentioned another reason,” Pidge insisted.
“I did, didn’t I? Heh…”
“So what was it?”
“I… er… mayormaynothaveahugecrushonyou.” Lance couldn’t meet her eyes.
“Oh.” Her tone was completely neutral, and when Lance glanced up at her face, it was carefully composed to reveal no emotion.
“So… yeahhh. That’s a thing.” This is so awkward.
“Hmm.” Pidge crossed her arms. “I have an idea about your research project.”
“What’s that?” Lance leaped at the opportunity to change the subject.
“I’ll give you a kiss if you get an A on it.”
One week later saw the beginning of the second term and the release of students’ report cards. Lance found that he had managed to scrape a C in AP Biology, but the report card gave only his overall grade. After class that day, he lingered to talk to Mr. Harris.
“What do you need?” his teacher asked, looking a little annoyed but mostly exhausted.
“What did I get on my research paper?” Lance blurted.
In response, Mr. Harris dug through a pile of papers on his desk. “Here. I was going to hand them back tomorrow, but you can have yours now.”
Lance’s eyes immediately flicked to the top of the page. 81% was written in red pen and circled, and his heart sank. “Mr. Harris, what letter grade is an eighty-one?”
“B minus,” Mr. Harris replied distractedly. “Why?”
“No reason.” Lance turned and left the room, only to find Pidge waiting for him outside.
“Did you find out how you did?” she asked eagerly.
Lance nodded listlessly. “I got a B minus. I guess that means no kiss?”
“Not for the grade, no,” Pidge agreed, and by her smile, Lance figured she was just as glad he hadn’t gotten an A.
He began to walk away and was startled when she followed him, keeping pace beside him. “Where are you going?”
“Lunch.” Lance increased his pace, but Pidge grabbed his arm, forcing him to stop.
“Look at me.” Reluctantly, he obliged. She was still smirking at him. “You didn’t get an A, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still want to kiss you.”
Before Lance knew what was happening, Pidge’s lips were on his, and despite the uninspiring setting and their fellow students catcalling, Lance gave his first kiss an A plus.