It was like jumping head-first, blindfolded, off the Empire State building, praying with all your might that the net waiting for you at the end was ireally going to be there/i, except the chances of dying were significantly less, unless you were reckless enough to die from alcohol poisoning or stress.

College was a growling, dangerous monster that lurked in the shadows of every optimistic student's mind. The transition was enough to make the weak crumble from the pressure, and the classes were geared to seem easy at first, but to nail you in the end when you came to the realization that you either didn't attend class enough, forgot to do two hundred pages worth of reading, or simply did not learn the material. College was the pitfall.

And yet, it was a godsend. An escape from home and a new beginning.

When Sora signed up for this class, he was under the assumption that Roxas was going to be there alongside him, learning the craft of the witch. What he didn't foresee was the math major dropping it in favor of statistics, leaving Sora in a class full of mostly sophomore and juniors who were only taking the class on witchcraft to fulfill their last general education requirements. If Rate My Professors was at all creditable, he was to be stuck with a lullaby for an hour and a half twice a week, coupled with the impossibility of achieving an A. What could have been an amazing class detailing the history of witchcraft, goblins, and the like, morphed into the dread of the week – or at least, Mondays and Wednesdays.

The first week of college was said to be forgiving and the ease-in phase. Sora had to disagree.

By the time Sora dragged himself to 'witches' at two on the first day of class, he was exhausted. There had barely been time to snag a lunch (from the café, not the dining hall because he couldn't wait in line that long), and he almost wound up lost. But he had made it just in time to snag a seat in the middle of the lecture hall that probably contained two hundred tired teenagers.

In walked the professor, right alongside two teaching assistants. Her hair, flowing down to her waist, was a bland black, dry, and perfectly straight. Sora found it amusing that such a teacher was going to be teaching a class about iwitches/i when she looked like one herself.

Sora settled into his seat further, pressing the back of his palm to his forehead. It was smoldering. Not even his light t-shirt was adequate for this heat. Where was his notebook? He dug around briefly in his bag, producing a few writing utensils and books before he noticed someone was actually seated beside him. In his flustered entrance, he had failed to spot the guy beside him. Definitely not a Senior but…

"…I forgot my book," Sora said to himself under his breath, eyes widening. Of icourse/i he'd forget it the first day of class. Could he be so lucky not to?

An amused scoff came from Sora's right. "I almost did that," he said, adjusting the small turntable that was attached to the lecture-seat. "If we really need it, just look on with me."

Relief poured over Sora and he offered a meek smile. "Yeah…thanks."

Embarrassed, still, he slouched further in his seat. "First day of classes…"

"How many did you have?"

"This is my fourth today," Sora groaned, "what about you?"

"Third," the stranger replied. "I'm Riku, by the way. And your lateness is…?"

It took Sora a moment to realize that this Riku character was asking for his name. With an awkward laugh, Sora mouthed an, 'oh right', "It's Sora. Nice to meet you. Are you …uh, a freshman or?" If he wasn't, he may have just insulted one of the few 'acquaintances' he had made thus far.

"Yeah. I live in the arts dorm."

"Oh! I live next to that! In the—"

Sora was about to continue, grinning stupidly, but shut himself up when he noticed the glaring eyes of the teaching assistant nearby. He hushed himself, tossed his new friend a weak smile, and continued listening to the explanation of the class. Maybe this class would be, just a bit, tolerable.

Wednesday came sooner than Sora expected.

This week, however, he was right on time for his 'class on witchcraft', which whenever he explained it to anyone else, they asked if it was a gag class or a seminar. Clearly they had no idea what the expectations were, and how much the book icost him/i.

"You're earlier today," Riku noted with a faint grin when Sora took his seat.

"Yeah, I made sure to this time," Sora laughed, awkwardly fumbling around. "Did you do the readings?"

"…Barely," Riku admitted with a nonchalant shrug. "Did you?"

"I skimmed them?"

"Same difference." Riku glanced down the lecture hall, eying the TAs with a sigh. "I can't believe we have assigned seating at college. What a joke."

Sora opened his mouth to defend the logic, but chose not to last minute. He didn't need even more reason for people to label him as 'one of those honors kids'. "I can't wait for the class to be over…I just want to go back to my dorm and sleep," he grumbled.

"I have a job interview after this," Riku responded, messing with his pen, affixing a stoic emerald gaze upon it. "To help with the cost of room and board. It's at the theater across the street."

"Oh. Well, that's convenient," Sora said, flipping through his book for no real reason considering class had yet to begin. "What are you doing there?"

"Ushering for the plays," Riku answered, "and working the music library. Nothing too big."

"Least it pays minimum wage," Sora suggested brightly, beginning to doodle. It was hard to sit still in such a stifling room such as this. "I hope you get it!"

"Hah, thanks," Riku said and laughed under his breath. "I don't do too well in interviews, kid."

"…Get nervous?" Sora wondered.

"Eh." Riku impartially shrugged. A stare through silver bangs and, "What about you? Signing up for a part-time job on campus?"
"Nah…too busy," Sora said, but then paused, "what time does that interview get out for you?"

"…Four, I think," Riku mused.

"…Want to go to the involvement fair afterward?" Sora suggested with a small shrug. "I don't know anyone else going and eh….I wanted to check out the ball-room and a few others."

"Sounds good."

In flew the witch herself, and Sora shut himself up with a quick, "Awesome."

"Should probably get your number, huh?" Riku said, looking over, whispering under his breath.


"How'd the interview go?"

"Eh…" Riku shrugged as he rounded the sidewalk with Sora at his side. The height-difference was glaringly obvious now that they were wandering campus together. It didn't help matters that flipflops were Sora's choice of shoe-wear that day, unlike his usual sneakers, which completely destroyed an inch he usually had to him. Perhaps the spiky hair made up for that loss, but nonetheless, he felt quite short and incompetent next to the tall, slender freshman beside him.

"Well, it's over now," Sora pointed out, "so enjoy the rest of your day."

Riku cracked a faint smirk. "Ball of sunshine, aren't you?"

"I try," Sora laughed, crossing his arms behind his head. "So, uh, what clubs are you looking at - …and what's your major, even?"

"I'm undecided," Riku responded nonchalantly, "and I don't really know. Whatever catches my eye…I guess. Considering fencing."

"That's cool! I was going to but…I don't think I'd be too good. I don't have much balance," Sora admitted sheepishly. "I'm an English major. Not sure…what I really want to do with that, but hey. It's fun for the time being."

"…Really? An English major?" Riku nearly sounded offended, arching a brow.

Sora briefly paled. "Yeaaaaah?" he drawled, a sense of panic creeping up on him as they entered the Student Union.

"Kinda lame," Riku confessed, but allowed a smirk to leak upon his lips. "I pictured you doing something cooler. Sorry."

Sora pouted. "That's not fair," he complained, folding his arms to his chest this time. "It is cool. I guess. Well, maybe not, but it's interesting."

"You sound like a nerd right now."

Sora rolled his eyes. "Like you aren't, arts-dorm-guy?"

"Hey," Riku said, offhandedly opening a door for the short boy as they headed upstairs, ignoring the massive crowd, "don't diss theater."

"Right, right," Sora said, gracefully bowing at the top of the stairs. "My apologies, kind sir."

"Brat," Riku decided, flicking the boy on the forehead when he reached the top. "It's crowded," he noted, peering through the glass-doors. A look to his side at Sora and he lazily said, "stay close," before heading inside.

next chapter ...