Having opted to walk to the dorms, the pair walked down the enlightened path for a silent and very long ten minutes. While somewhat athletic, and fairly healthy, Dakota would have much preferred to take the bus that had been seen rolling by a few minutes prior. A quick note was made to learn the schedules later if they were going to be a regular thing on such a larger campus. Still, if Jorlydin was really having such a difficult time adjusting, it wouldn’t have sat right to abandon him on something so simple as a walk.
At last the pair made their way toward a row of apartments, large clusters of living spaces lining the road like some kind of gated community. The majority of the other students were shuffled along the same direction as they had been, a few exceptions routed in a completely different direction toward what Dakota assumed to be special living accomodations. What set those few students apart, the young mage couldn’t tell, but the thoughts were only present a few moments before other details took the spotlight.
Before they were allowed entrance into the housing units, the students were shuffled through a gate dotted with security guards. As expected, their ever watchful eyes scanned the scores of people for any signs of trouble that might arise. Dakota assumed they were keeping eyes out for weapons of any sort, or faces that didn’t seem like they belonged in the crowd, but as Joryldin and Dakota passed through a shiver ran down Dakota’s spine. A pair of eyes fell upon the back of the mage’s head, lingering for a few moments longer than what made them comfortable before the sensation was lifted. Dakota fought the urge to turn around and stare back at the guards, demanding to know what it was that they did, instead forcing their focus forward at the housing units they were now quickly approaching.
Dakota slowed their pace, allowing Jorlydin to take the lead at this point. Standing back a few feet, the young mage watched the vampire open a mailbox that had their names engraved on a plaque. Inside was an envelope, which he swiftly produced a key and approached the door. Breath held in anticipation, Dakota had to fight a small squee of excitement as the key turned in the lock, door swinging open so that the pair could enter.
“Wow… I don’t think I’ve ever seen an apartment this nice.
” Dakota had to agree. The Brookes weren’t from a low class family by any means. They always had food on the table, they took regular vacations, and the house that they lived in was rather nice as well. There was, however, something completely different about the space the pair were entering from Dakota’s old house. Somehow, it just felt fancier. Almost as if they were entering some hotel suite at an expensive retreat.
Stepping after Jorlydin, Dakota gently shut the door behind the pair and made to enter the space after their partner. As quick as they entered, lights around the space began to turn on, leaving the mage temporarily blinded as their eyes adjusted to the sudden change in lighting. Blinking the spots away, Dakota chuckled and made their way slowly toward the kitchen space to thrown away the disposable plate they had been eating from. Somewhere behind the youth, the fridge could be heard opening and closing before a gust of air took off into another direction.
Wandering about the main living space, Dakota’s eyes were drawn first to the flat screen which had already been switched on. There were a couple of gaming consoles the mage had packed that would easily fit if organized right, though it seemed that somebody else had the same idea by the looks of a Nintendo Switch already in place. A small smile curled the corner of Dakota’s lips at the sight. The pair might end up getting along better than Dakota originally anticipated.
Eventually Dakota’s eyes fell upon the casually dressed vampire, large sweatpants and a hoodie a clear indication that he was already trying to make himself as comfortable as possible in the situation.
“I’ll take the room on the left since it’s smaller. I don’t have much.
” The boy said, walking over and opening the curtains to the unit’s only glass portal to the outside world. Just on the other side of the sliding doors was a furnished patio and backyard, artificial lights shining softly across the landscape.
“I’m gonna head to bed… You enjoy the sunrise, ok?
” Before Dakota could say anything more, Jorlydin had already disappeared to the room he had claimed as his own. The mage heaved a sigh, eyes lingering down the hallway for a few moments after the vampire had taken his leave. From the short time they had spent together, Dakota had learned quite a lot about the boy they were partnered with. Whatever happened in his past was business to be delved into at a much later time; first they had to work on building some sort of trust between them.
At first glance, Jorlydin looked like the reserved, independant type but Dakota knew better. It wasn’t so much independence out of choice as it was out of necessity, a learned habit born from mistrust and seen often in kids that had been abused. The mage wondered if they would ever know the specifics but knew better than to push for such information. It was clear, gauging from the incident back at the welcoming party, that Jorlydin had little trust for others and even less so for himself. It wouldn’t be easy, but Dakota wouldn’t feel right leaving him to suffer in silence when it was all so obvious.
Another sigh, Dakota shook their head and slapped the palms of their hands against the sides of their face. With Jorlydin now in bed, Dakota had the entirety of the space to explore alone. The space was beyond impressive to the human, wide eyes taking in every detail that they could possibly manage. Before long, Dakota had found their way back to the bedrooms, making their way quietly so as not to disturb Jorlydin. With the size of everything, not to mention the sheer quality of building materials used, Dakota doubted there was any risk of being a nuisance… but they thought it better to be safe rather than sorry.
Dakota’s jaw dropped as they entered the room, eyes widening with renewed excitement as they entered the space. Any previous hesitations at Jorlydin’s request for the ‘smaller’ room were quickly dashed as it was made clear just what sizing scale they were talking about. The room was easily the size of the Dakota’s parent’s master bedroom. It even had a private bathroom attached, something the mage was looking forward to after years of sharing with their younger siblings. Looking around the room, Dakota noticed that their belongings had already been loaded up into the room, something immediately nagging at the back of their mind.
When they had arrived, both occupants belongings had already been delivered to the apartment. As they had not been out in the living room when they entered, it could only be assumed that the suitcases had already been shuffled into the rooms to await unpackings.The rooms had already been decided…
The thought was a short but important one, something dawning on the mage as they pieced things together. Either someone had predicted that Jorlydin would want the smaller room, or the vampire had gone through the trouble of moving all of Dakota’s belongings just so that he could give them the larger living space. Another mental note was made.
After spending a little time getting used to the new surroundings and unpacking some of their belongings, Dakota made for the kitchen and rummaged around the cupboards. Picking a dark mug from the cabinet, Dakota set to brewing some tea before opening the sliding glass door and exiting into the crisp morning air. The sun had just begun its daily ascension above the horizon, the sky streaked with pastel colors growing more intense with every passing moment. Dakota wasn’t used to being outside at sunrise, usually held up in some makeshift workshop or completely lost in the action of a video game. It was strangely nice to be able to witness the start of day, especially when sunlight was to be a scarcity for them moving forward.
Taking a seat in one of the patio chairs Dakota sipped at the scalding tea, too impatient to wait for it to cool any further. Off in the distance voices could still be heard, no doubt fellow mages that chose to stay up to watch the sunrise or had yet to adjust to the new sleeping schedules required of their new lifestyle.
It was probably about ten before Dakota felt their eyelids growing heavy, the mage stretching as they finally stood from the chair. Switching off all the lights their house was in control of, Dakota retreated back inside and set the mug in the sink to be washed later. Returning to the sliding doors, Dakota pulled the curtains closed in case Joryldin had some sleep walking habit he had not made anyone aware of. Just before making the trek back to the bedrooms, the envelope that had been in the mailbox caught the mage’s attention. In the excitement of discovery, the paper had all but been forgotten by Dakota, the secondary key still inside.
Picking up the letter, Dakota scanned its contents for anything that stood out as being important for the pair. The mage thought it strange at first that the pairs would be separated for their orientations, after all they were all new to the school, but the more thought was put into it the more it began to make sense. Despite the things both parties would have to learn together, there was more than likely twice as much that did not apply to the partnerships and thus would have no need for the other to cover. Taking note of the start time, Dakota planned out the morning to fit the most amount of sleep while still allowing a moment for food. Schedule folded neatly, the mage placed it gently back down on the table before walking away.
Looking around at their personal belongings, Dakota realized that only a fraction of their belongs had actually been unpacked and placed. With a shrug of their shoulders, the mage decided the task could be done at a later time and dressed for bed. Shutting off all the lights, Dakota crawled into the large bed and passed out.
If the mage dreamed, there was no memory upon awakening. Glancing at the clock, Dakota groaned to see the time hadn’t even reached seven yet, the mage turning over and zoning out for a while until the distant sound of a running shower broke the trance. Rolling out of bed, Dakota shuffled sluggishly toward the bathroom and spent nearly a whole minute just staring at the reflection in the mirror.
Having taken it down to sleep, the brown locks stood out in several directions giving the appearance that a brush had not touched them in at least a month. A large yawn broke the silence of the room, followed by the sound of running water from the sink. Hair pulled back, Dakota splashed the cool water into their face before setting to brushing their teeth. The idea of a shower ran through the mage’s head, but Dakota knew the warm water would just end up too relaxing; an embrace threatening to pull its occupant back into the depth of slumber.
Shutting off the water, Dakota made their way back into the main part of the room to change. Clothes were among the few things the mage had gotten around to unpacking before sunrise, shortly after the most important of the electronics, and before the school supplies that had been packed on Dakota’s behalf. While the clothes from the party had been nice, it was far too stuffy for the youth’s tastes.
“It’s just orientation… Shouldn’t be too bad, right?
” With a sigh, Dakota pulled a soft yellow button down shirt from the wardrobe. Eyes shifting downward, the mage debated a few things over in their head before reaching back into a different door to produce a sports bra. All the days to come, Dakota was far too lazy on this particular one to deal with a proper binder. Tops in place, Dakota retrieved a pair of brown pants and squeezed into them before snagging a jacket from the nearby closet.
A soft buzz from the bed drew the mage’s attention, the small blue light indicating a text message had been sent to her device. At this time? Who in the blazing fu-
Pressing the power button, the light from the phone’s screen illuminated the immediate area and half blinded the unprepared Dakota. The number that appeared on the screen was not one the mage recognized, unsaved to any name, but the words speaking of familiarity.
-Is it safe to come out yet? I’m all packed for the day but I kinda need your help with something before we head out…
Despite being unsure of when Joryldin had acquired said phone number, Dakota shrugged and exited their own room, crossing to knock on Joryldin’s.
“Don’t worry, I closed the curtains before I went to bed in case you needed something while I was sleeping. You can come out now.
” Flinging the jacket over their right shoulder, Dakota stepped back and awaited for the vampire to make his appearance.
“How can I help?
” They followed up, sincerely pleased that Jorlydin would already be trusting enough to ask for assistance despite his gloomy disposition.