Monday, April 16, 2018

11 ~ The Academy Chronicles

This is a group of small, stand-alone chapters for some of the other characters found in the Academy to help celebrate one-year with this story. I hope you enjoy, and I've got another chapter coming out soon to look forward to!
Happy Anniversary, Where the Willow Walks!



I Got You

There were eyes everywhere - all of them watching his every move.
“This is what it is to be a McNeel, Stefan. Straighten up.” 




Stefan stumbled and landed hard on his knees, “no… I can’t do this… I can’t keep up!”
“You are to inherit everything, Stefan! The future of our family is riding on you to get this right!” 




He buried his head into his hands. “No… don’t say that! I don’t want to mess this up!”
“You already have.”

Stefan jolted awake suddenly, clutching his chest.


“Did you have that nightmare again?” Sam mumbled from his bed with his eyes still closed.
“It’s getting more frequent.” Stefan slumped back into bed, his eyes watering as he looked at the ceiling. He’d been having this dream ever since his father let him know that the family empire would be handed down to him when he graduated. “I’m not cut out for this, Sam.”


“Bull-shit.” Sam grumbled.
“I’m going to mess it up, so I don’t even know why I’m bothering to try.” Stefan swallowed, despite his throat clenching.


Sam moved slowly at this point, sitting up with deliberate movements as he rubbed his eyes. He let out a stretch with a yawn while Stefan looked that way and shook his head. “Sorry to wake you, go back to bed.”
“Nope.” Sam answered defiantly, pulling himself standing. “Too late.” He shuffled the few steps over and nudged at Stefan’s legs with his hand. “Scoot.”


Stefan moved towards the wall in bed, making room for Sam to plunk down next to him, resting his head up on his hand. Stefan groaned, looking back up towards the ceiling. “It’s either these stupid dreams of failure or ones of that girl I’ve never met before. I’m so tired of this shit.”


“Do you want to inherit your dad’s business, Stefan?” Sam prodded, looking at him through half-closed eyes.


“Not if I’m going to mess it up.”
Sam shook his head. “Fuck that, if you could inherit the business knowing you’d never mess it up, would you want it?”


Stefan pursed his lips and shrugged. “I mean… I guess so? I’ve never really seen myself doing anything else. I’m just not ready to lead people and make decisions. My dad has always been good at it, why does it have to come to me so soon?”


“I swear to the gods Steffy, you are by far the most qualified person for this job. You took on one of Malice’s henchmen and won. Not many people can say that, especially not at fucking ten-years-old.” Sam reached over and tapped a rhythm on Stefan’s chest. “If someone who can overpower one of the God of the Night’s goonies at 10 can’t run a business, I don’t know who fucking can then.”


“Sometimes I wonder if that was just a fluke.” Stefan murmured.
“Fluke my ass.” Sam smirked. “I know it’s tough to accept that you’re the most badass vampire who ever lived, but you know, you gotta take one for the team, Steffy.”
They both snorted into laughter and Stefan shook his head. “Fuck off.”


“See, look, you’re already giving orders like a boss-man. You’re overqualified at this point.” Sam grinned.
“That’s not what the voice in my head tells me.” Stefan admitted quietly.


Sam poked a little harder at Stefan’s chest as he tapped away some new composition with his free hand. “Well tell that little voice to fuck off and listen to my beautiful voice instead. Stop. Worrying. You’ve got this.”


Stefan nodded, letting the words take root. “You’re right.”
“Mhm.” Sam had shifted so his head was now on Stefan’s pillow, his eyes closing again. “Just promise me you’ll move the business to Bridgeport when you take over, Mister Big-Shot. Midnight Hollow’s gonna be too far away when I’m making it big.”


Stefan grinned, “that’ll be my first order of business.”
Sam smirked with his eyes closed. “Second. We all know your first order of business is to figure out who that girl is from your other dreams.”


Stefan tried to shrug, but he couldn’t shake her eyes from his mind. “Mom says it’s a common thing, she’s been calling it my ‘blood-link’ and getting gooey over it.”


“Kissy-kissy.” Sam made his hand into the shape of a hand-puppet. “I guess the dreams of you marrying Sarah and being my brother that way are out the window?”
“Well there’s still my sister.” Stefan laughed. “But I wouldn’t subject you to her.”


“She’s like… 10.” Sam groaned.


Stefan laughed, “13, but same difference.”
“Am I going to come to your wedding to this chick?” Sam asked as his breathing began to slow.
“Nah, you’ll be too busy being my best man.” Stefan nodded, feeling his own eyelids getting heavier.
“Right-on, right-on.” Sam slurred and Stefan laughed loosely at it.


Stefan shifted once more, getting comfortable again in bed. “Hey Sam?”
“Hm?” Sam was already dosing off.
“Thanks.”


“You… you always got me, bro.” He yawned.
Stefan yawned back, feeling himself dosing. “Right back at you.”


Sleep came much easier after that.



Part of the Plan

Isidore Svard was taller than average.


Years of hard labor on his parent’s farmland made him stronger than average.


Born with a stutter on top of a thick Aurora Skies accent kept him quieter than average.


One night saving his sister from wolves left him more scarred than average.


It couldn’t be more obvious that he wasn’t cut from the same cloth as the other students here who were well-read, well-fed, and well-said.
He didn’t belong here.
Sure, he had inventions and patents - ways to make farming so much easier. Everyone back home thought he was a genius but here? Here he paled. Here kids whispered about him.


Do you think he killed someone?
He’s terrifying!
Nothing but a brute, what are you doing here?



It never mattered though, because he wasn’t staying here.
He would get his degree, sell his patents, and go home to his family where he belonged. He could buy them all proper beds and even pay to get the roof fixed. They could get a fence to keep the wolves out so Lettie could go outside to play again.


Lettie was getting so big. He hated being away this long. Rodon and Teague would be men before he knew it. He thought of his grandparents, of his parents, of his siblings; all of them in that one bedroom at home with the leaky roof.


His room at the Academy that he shared with no-one was half the size of it. The sheer luxury of this place got under his skin some days.


The attitude of the students - they were all the same.
He endured it. It was his plan.


She, however, was not.
Chrysanthemum Puccihini.


She arrived six months after he did. They shared several classes where she always arrived fifteen minutes ahead of schedule with her hair perfectly brushed, her pens organized in perfect rows, hands folded perfectly on her notes with her elbows off the table and her blue eyes fixed on the board.


Rigid, they called her. Stuck-up.
She ate alone, like he did.


She studied alone, like he did.


She kept to herself, like he did.
She wasn’t there for anyone else, just like him.
Unlike him, however, she was perfect.


He put a hard stop on the students who would whisper about her. Anal. Rigid. Arrogant. Usually a glare was enough to shut them down, but he even occasionally broke his code of silence if that was required. People could say what they wanted about him - it was mostly true anyways. Well, except that he had never killed anyone, anyways.
Her, though? They didn’t understand.


He likely didn’t understand either, but he tried to.
For the past two years Isidore had watched her, yet no one else ever saw what he did. Family day was just a reminder of this.



She cleaned and scrubbed her shared room for days leading up to it. He saw her as he would head out to run or head to class. She never made her roommate clean - she did it all herself, and he could see the fret in her normally-calm eyes.
“My parents are extremely particular on how things are cleaned.” He overheard her saying to her roommate.
She stressed and cleaned and fussed and organized until the very last possible moment. Then all the families would arrive… but hers never did.


Being quiet let him listen.
“Something came up, it’s no big deal.” She would say when her roommate would ask. “I forgot they said they couldn’t make it. Ah well.”



She had never forgotten anything in all of the time he’d watched her.
She would climb the stairs and hide in her room for a few hours before putting on a brave face and reading in the library.


It was all so clear to him, yet no one else noticed. For all the smart people that went to this school, it sure felt like all of them were either stupid or oblivious. Perhaps both.


She was a single child from the city - an ocean away from his home in Aurora Skies.


She had a pleasant face she put on when talking to others, but when she would see flowers or eat one of the stews in the dining hall is when she would really smile and it made his knees weak.


Her voice was warm and he could depressingly count on one hand the number of times she’s actually laughed, but he remembered each time perfectly.


He had never had it so bad before.


She was never part of the plan, but there wasn’t a day he didn’t wish she was.





For the Good of the Pack

Mincia’s paws dug deep into the earth as she kept up pace through the outskirts. It was safe to run here, but she still felt exposed. This was nothing like the woods back home, but she’d gotten used to it. The trees were sparse, yet no one could see her. At least the Academy came prepared with accomodations for Werewolves.


It had taken so long to convince her Alpha that coming here was for the benefit of the pack. Her mother had tried to talk her out of it, but even her mother knew that holding the ideals of women not being educated was outdated at best.


Yet being the Alpha’s daughter had come with a steep price. She was expected to marry out for the sake of the pack, just as her older sister had, and just as her younger sister would. Be the bringers of peace everyone told her she needed to be.
She wanted more than that, though.


She didn’t want to be a homemaker. She didn’t want to learn to cook and clean and have dozens of pups for a man her parents picked for her. These things were not her life choice.
Especially knowing they’d marry her to a brute - another Alpha. That’s how it was.


The Alpha leads the pack; he’ll marry an alpha’s daughter from another pack as a show of goodwill; he’ll have boys who will grow to take his place and the girls will be married out to continue the cycle.
Mincia loved her pack - her family, but she didn’t want to be part of that cycle. So she convinced her Alpha - her father - to let her study.


It wasn’t even about the marriage part of it - that actually didn’t bother her that much when she’d initially petitioned to come to the Academy. Yet it was surprisingly turning into that the longer she was here.
Being with someone not chosen for her would be disgraceful.
Being with someone who wasn’t even a Werewolf?
...


Completely unthinkable.
“Hey Robert, what-chya readin’?”
Robert’s eyes glanced up at her before looking back down at the page. “Hey Mincia. Just rereading Beowulf.”


“What class is that for?” She squinted to look at the book he had open.
“No class, just for fun. It’s one of my favorites.” He responded, touching the margins of the book carefully.


Mincia placed herself onto the bench beside him carefully. “Isn’t that book like, really old?”
Robert laughed, “yeah, it’s one of the few texts that survived the Mystic Era’s Week of Darkness.”
She remembered them talking about that in history at one point, but she had honestly slept through it. “Is it good?”
Wait, he had just said it was one of his favorites. She spoke too soon.


“It’s fantastical, really, which makes it amusing to me. It also gives me a glimpse of what things were like before the Week of Darkness hit, as no one has much to go on.” Robert paged back a few pages in the book before flipping back to where he originally was. “Did you just come in from a run?”
“Huh? Oh, yeah! The weather outside is finally cooling off, which makes running so much nicer.” Mincia shifted before pulling herself standing. “I should probably clean up though.”


Robert waved at her slightly before putting his nose back into his book. “See you later!”
She waved at him as she moved for the door. “See you at dinner!”
Mincia would always do what was good for the pack.


But why did it have to be so hard sometimes?



Another Day

Students began packing their bags as Professor Clemence dismissed them and Cain slung his bag over his shoulder before stopping by Ming’s table.


“Cain!” She greeted him with a bright smile. “I really loved your interpretation today - you put into words what I was struggling to!”
“I wouldn’t have been able to if you hadn’t given me that springboard.” He found himself smiling right back at her.


Her face turned a shade of pink and she looked away bashfully. “Oh? I’m glad I could help! We make a great team!”
They really did. “Hey, I’m heading upstairs to do a bit of studying for the exam on Friday, do you want to study with me?”


Ming brightened, nodding quickly. “That’d be great! Two heads are better than one, right?”

~

Ming sat across from him in the library, her dark hair framing her soft face and Cain found himself easily distracted.


Why was this so difficult? It didn’t need to be so difficult. He could sense that they both likely liked each other, yet each time he would try to say something he would chicken out. He wasn’t a coward, so why was he acting like this? Despite all the magic he had that let him see others’ emotions, in a way he still wasn’t sure.


She looked up at him and he looked back down at his textbook, trying to not heave a disappointed sigh in himself.
He was sure, but he couldn’t be sure? Something like that.
What if he was wrong?
“Hold still, Cain...”


He froze in place as Ming suddenly was leaning across the table. Her fingers carefully came close to his face and he stopped breathing in that moment as the tip of her first finger made contact on the top part of his cheek. Her face was focused and it made his heart pound a little louder in his chest.


Was something going to happen now? He hadn’t been prepared for this. Perhaps he should move in to make the first move while she’s here?


“You have… an eyelash… got it!”
With that her hand vanished from his face.


“That would’ve been painful if it had gotten into your eye! Funny how that works, right? Eyelashes are a huge part in keeping things from getting into our eyes yet they’re practically the first thing that ends up in our eyes anyways!” She laughed, her face becoming pink once again.
She was still so close, yet she was retreating back to her seat.


“T-Thank you.” He tried to not sputter.
And just like that the moment had passed and they were back to square one.
Perhaps another day?


He looked defeatedly back down at his book.
Another day.

~

“Hey Ming, you’re up late!” Cain waved down the hallway as he spotted Ming appearing at the top of the stairs.


Ming brightened and nodded. “Shì, my family apparently just got a phone so they wanted to test it out and tried calling me. It took me a few minutes to explain they didn’t have to yell into it to talk to me.”
Cain imagined Ming’s parents shouting into the end of their phone and laughed with her. “I’m sort of glad that Dragon Valley is still stuck in the past. It’d be terrifying seeing my family with a phone. My sisters would probably never get off it.”


“Oh, but your sisters are so sweet! If they had a phone you know they’d call to check on you every day!” Ming chimed right back.
Cain shrugged, yet felt relief in him. “Once again, thank goodness they don’t.” She laughed and he carried on. “Are you heading to your room? I could walk you there.”


Ming beamed and immediately latched onto his arm, a movement he became particularly aware of that made him grin reflexively. She laughed. “You know, my grandmother asked how you were; she was quite taken with you when she met you on Family Day!”
“It’s the hair, isn’t it?” Cain looked up at his pink hair with a smile and hidden disdain. This world was not kind to anything different - especially anything Nymphen - and he out of all of his siblings inherited his own grandmother’s coloring. It used to be a source of pride in him… until he realized that racism spread far deeper than he thought. Dragon Valley was a completely different world than France, and coming here to study had been a rude awakening.


Ming giggled though, and it shook away the darker thoughts. “A bit, she really liked it actually. Said all the other faces were so forgettable but not yours!”
“I’m surprised, I… I didn’t really expect that reaction after…” He trailed off, slightly uncomfortable at remembering the first Family Day they shared together.


“After… my father?” Ming looked at him hesitantly. It was hard to forget his racist rant that happened a year ago, though Cain had tried very hard to put it behind him.
That was the other reason he didn’t push things too quickly with Ming.
He couldn’t stand making her choose between her family and him. This Family Day gave him a strange sense of hope, as her father was much more mild.


“Yeah… Can’t say he was really a fan of me.” Cain tried to make light but shook his head as they approached her door. “But that’s ok, I get it.”


“It’s not ok though.” Ming stopped, and caused him to stop with her. “It’s never ok. My mother really chewed out my father when they got home for it. I was so angry with him. I still am, kind of. I care about you a lot… I don’t want you to think that I think like that… or that I think him thinking like that is ok.”


Cain was surprised, almost speechless. “Y-You do?”
Her eyes widened in response, her face turning a deep pink. “I… of course I do! I thought… I thought it was obvious!”
They both shifted in the quiet of the hallway and Cain’s mind was moving a mile a minute.
It was now or never.


With nervous energy, he moved quickly, closing the space between them and pressing his lips onto hers before she could even register the incoming kiss. His anxiety got the better of him and he pulled back immediately, his wide-eyes matching hers.



“HOOO-HOOO FUCK YEAH!” They both swiveled their heads in time to see the crash of Sam, Stefan, Robert, Jacob, and Mincia onto the floor from around the corner where they had been spying. They all scrambled to their feet, giggling and cheering as they ran down the hallway and vanished from sight.
Cain turned his gaze back onto Ming and both of them burst into laughter at the same time.
“Were they spying on us?” Ming asked with her voice lowered.


Cain nodded his head with a sigh. “Yeah, I think so.”
She shook her head, glancing back that direction. “Our friends…”
He took in a deep breath before risking it all. “I really care about you, Ming. I… I always have, but I guess I was too afraid to say it.” Ming’s face was brightening with every word he spoke which egged him on further. “So… would you… would you go on a date with me? I mean if not, that’s fine too we don’t need to change anything about-”



She jumped him then, squealing as she hugged him tightly. “Yes! I’d love to!”
“Would Saturday after the exam work?” Cain grinned into her shoulder as he hugged her back tightly.
“Saturday is perfect!” She pulled back, revealing how excited she was in the look on her face. She giggled happily, planting a kiss on his cheek and was suddenly away from him, moving for her door. “I’ll see you tomorrow at breakfast?”


Cain stood stunned for a second before he finally nodded with a dumbfounded grin. “I wouldn’t miss it.”
She waved at him cutely before sneaking into her room and closing the door.
For once he couldn't wait for another day.



~ Next Chapter Coming Soon ~

3 comments:

  1. Shiiiiiiittttt
    This was so cute, I'm slayed!
    First with Stefam, this pure ship that I didn't know I needed. God I love how comfortable they can be with each other and how Sam immediately got onto COMFORT STEFAN duty, like I adore.
    And then we had this new boy Isidore whose an absolute sweetheart, and gosh that was just really SWEET. Poor Chrys goddamn, her parents never even BOTHERED to show up.
    And then babe Mincia pining on Robert awwwww
    And then fuck the kicker, Cain and Ming. That was so cuttteee, and then the gang just SPYING on them ahahhahahaha I died way too many times in this chapter this was too much, shiiitttt
    Can we have more of these little day to days, just seeing everyone interact like this is wonderful (flails)

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  2. Heehee, this lookin on the teenagers lives was sweet!
    Sam and Stefan make me 'awwww'. These kids have a lot on their shoulders! Stefan, Chrysantheum, and Mincia all have the heavy weight of their parents' expectations. I would've added Ming as well, since becoming a doctor isn't an easy feat, but she seems motivated and content.
    Isidore and Robert are in a type of their own, since they put the pressure on themselves.

    The gang is really cute, I love how they were all watching Cain and Ming kiss haha

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  3. I have no words.

    There was an adorableness overload in this chapter.

    I really hope chapters like these become an anniversary thing *hint hint*

    ReplyDelete