Author Note- Didn't post as a chapter of We were Cadets because this is not very long.
The week had been uneventful, Hil had gone home with an exclamation that he doubted that he would ever survive if he was there any longer. He was happy to report the events to his parents who had smiled at his story, this would definitely be an interesting year of letters.
It was the evening before classes started, emotions of students were one extreme or the other. Excessively calm or nervous and edgy. Those who knew what they were in for the next morning acted as if it was any other day, because in fact, it was. New cadets, though, would explain it as that nervous stomach flutter that all teens seem to get when thinking of the unknown. This was different than school at home, this decided your career. Fail this and you were stuck with some menial job for the rest of your life.
Though the evening had turned into night it was still incredibly warm and sticky, making sleep something unheard of. The two who inhabited room 225 had doused their lamps hours ago in an attempt to get some sleep before the bugle rang out at five the next morning. The window was open and a slight breeze played through the open curtains but it was not enough to make the room comfortable. The last time either had looked at the clock before finally drifting off it was one in the morning. Classes would be torture.
Rolling onto his back and staring at the ceiling Winn issued a curse under his breath, he'd slept for two hours before waking again. He raised up onto his elbow when he heard his friend across from him, Lo was muttering to himself and it took a moment to sink in that the other boy was still asleep. He listened in silence, trying to catch something he recognized. The sleeping cadet's brow was furrowed in either confusion or anger, Winn stood slowly, concern growing at the obvious agitation that plagued the sleeping teen.
Just as he was about to reach out and wake the other cadet, Lo shot up into a sitting position with a cry. When his eyes adjusted and he realized who was infront of him he visibly calmed but was still very upset. The dark haired teen sat on the edge of the bed and laid a hand on his friend's shoulder.
"It was a dream Lo," He spoke calmly, though obviously worried.
"No, that was too real." His vision was blurry, he hadn't cried in at least ten years. That dream had been convincing, like he was experiencing all of it. He was too shaken to explain. The concern his friend showed only made it worse, John had been right. They were inseparable, brothers even.
They sat in silence, Winn wouldn't push his friend. Lo would explain if he wanted to and not before.
"Go back to bed Winn, I'm fine. We have to be up in a few hours anyway."
The teen hesitated before going to the other side of the room, trying to get comfortable once again he sighed heavily.
It was going to be a long night.
The next morning they had gone to their classes without a word, both too tired to do anything other than make it to the building of their first classes. Of course Mr. Brown was the instructor, lucky them.
He noticed the circles beneath both cadets eyes and refrained from the usual battle they started. They looked like they deserved a break, though he would never admit that if questioned on the matter. He knew they had barely paid any attention to the 'welcome to West Point' lecture, but had not mentioned anything to either of them. Lunch in the Mess Hall was a silent affair also, George Pickett looked across at his friend.
"Lookin' a little low, Lo." He grinned at his own joke.
The boy couldn't help but grin at the bad pun, "I am a bit peeked."
George turned to the other, "How's your first day?"
Winn stretched his arms out, uninterested in the food in front of him. "Fine I s'pose, though I could have skipped orientation if I knew they'd be repeating themselves today."
The one good thing about classes at West Point was that you were finished by three o'clock, the rest of the day was yours to study or to waste away. Their duties in the barn had ended earlier that week so the rest of the day was spent with George Pickett who continued to introduce them to other students and show them parts of the grounds they hadn't seen yet.
By the end of the day they were both exhausted, Winn tossed his jacket onto its hook and opened the window.
"Going to be as hot as last night." He said with a sigh, worst time to start classes, he couldn't concentrate. Lo stared out the window at the grounds and finally spoke.
"Winn, can you promise me something?"
"No matter what ever happens, know that, to me, you're like a brother."
Winn raised a brow, surprised but honored at such a declaration. Though they'd only known each other over a month they had immediately become close.
He nodded and tried a smile, "Of course, we're called 'the inseparables' after all." He hesitated, unsure what had his friend so shaken, though he guessed it had to do with what had woken the other cadet the previous night.
Lo leaned against the sill and looked out over the court yard. "I've never had a dream like this Winn, I could smell everything. I could smell the smoke, the sweat, the grass. I could barely see anything."
Winn stood in silence, listening intently.
"It was mass confusion, crossing a field, though I don't know why. It was loud and horrifying and incredibly hot. We had one goal to reach but it was unimaginably far, it didn't make any sense, until I reached a stone wall."
His expression was calm, though the scenes he described were awful.
"I reached a stone wall, somehow I knew you were there but I couldn't see you. The smoke was too thick."
He looked his friend square in the eyes, "The smoke cleared a bit, and you were on the other side of the wall. I had crossed that entire field to stand against you."
Winn's eyes were wide but he didn't speak, finally clearing his throat he spoke quietly, looking out the window.
"It was a dream Lo." He turned to look his friend in the eyes, "Even if something were to ever happen you would always be my friend. Don't ever doubt that."
"I don't." Lo sighed heavily, "Just remember what I said."
They leaned on the sill, looking out over the campus until Lo spoke again, in a much lighter tone. "Bugle call's at five Winn, we should go to sleep."
The dark haired teen collapsed on his bed, glad to change the subject. "Maybe he'll change the tune a bit for us tomorrow morning."
Lo smirked before closing his eyes, silently praying that he'd sleep better that night.
"Go down and ask him sometime."