Location: Airport > Alpha Prep
Blake awoke to a sharp slap to the back of his head, lurching forward with a surprised grunt and half-choking on the snore he'd been half way through when his nap was so rudely
interrupted. His face twisted into a grimace as he rubbed his head, casting a side-long glare at his father in the driver's seat. As it had always been, looking at his father was like looking in a slightly gray mirror. A few wrinkles here and there, to be sure, but as of several months ago, they had even turned out the same height. It was invariably eerie. Now, though, his father's usually grim expression was broken by a broad grin, the bright shine of pride in his eyes as he gave a much gentler slap to his child's shoulder.
"We're here, kiddo. Just a plane ride away and you'll be starting a whole new life.""Hey, hey, come on old man- you make it sound like I'll never see you again. We both know I'll sleep through the first semester and be home by the second to keep your wrinkly ass safe."
He pulled himself from the car as he spoke, partly to get his bags-- and partly to avoid having to look at his father. His jest aside, they both knew there was a real possibility that this was
the last time they'd be seeing each other, at the very least for a long, long time. The rusty old truck's suspension creaked as Blake reached into the back and heaved the pair of duffel bags he was taking with him out, letting the weight of both settle onto one broad shoulder while his gaze ran over the airport. This was it, the threshold. The furthest Samwise had ever traveled from the shire, the edge of the valley, the palace walls. This was where he took the first step to, dare he say... A whole new world.
His silent thoughts were interrupted as his father's scarred hand fell to his shoulder again. There was no hug for them, no shared glance, because neither wanted the other to see the tears welling in their eyes. It just didn't befit guardians like themselves. Blake heard his father clear his throat, a sound that was suspiciously choked, though his words remained level as the pair started towards the airport doors.
"Listen, Kiddo... I know you don't think this is the job for you. I know you'd be content coming home and taking my job when I'm too old to do it, but they picked you for a reason
. You try your hardest. Make some friends, but don't be used by anyone. Show them what you can do, but never lord it over them. Expect the best of others, and if they don't deliver, then help them to. And... You know what your mother would say. Three meals a day. Keep yourself clean. Never forget to call your brother and I."
The airport doors loomed before them, surely a dozen times larger than they had any right to be, and by far the most intimidating thing Blake had ever faced. He dared not say a word, lest his voice fail him, and he slipped from his father's grasp with reluctance, the old man's voice fading behind him as the doors closed the gap between.
"Goodbye, kiddo. I love you."
The plane ride had been awful, and Blake had been certain there was no way the day could get worse. The van ride proved him severely wrong. Surrounded by four other kids in a van packed full of their bags and themselves, with a brute of a driver, for hours... And not a damn word said between the lot of them. He'd given up enduring the silence halfway through and dug his headphones free of his bag, spending the latter half of the ride pretending to nap, the familiar sounds of music filling his ears and his head. He'd almost managed to actually drift off despite his nerves when he felt the change in the van, cracking an eye open to see what had happened. Met immediately with the sight of the mansion that would be their home, Blake barely managed to keep his jaw from falling open.
Houghton was a mining town. He lived on a river, at the foot of a mountain, surrounded by forest and buried in snow nine months a year. He was used to nature, and to its beauty, but this was like something out of a television show. The sort of mansion that the generic English family lived in, getting into sit-com antics with the help and playing games of snooker with their comically long pipes. With barely hidden awe, he reached up to tug his headphones out, just in time to hear their driver's speech."Alright, now that we're all here I want you to listen up and listen well. I won't repeat myself. I am sure most of you are wondering what you are doing here. I am Councilman Corbyn. The council has been watching each and every one of you closely and we are pleased with what we see. You have many of the qualities we are looking for in Alphas, however, the path to leading a Pack is a long and rigorous one. For the next four years, you will be attending Alpha Prep, a school designed to prepare young Wolves such as yourselves to become great Alphas in the years to follow. Over half of you won't make it through your first year; half of those that do, won't make it to graduation. Some of you may even die. Those of you who do make it to graduation will be rewarded the title of Alpha, and rewarded with your own pack territory where you will start your new lives."
He paused, and Blake briefly felt the man's eyes upon him, as if sizing him up. "Now then, welcome to Alpha Prep."
As the speech ended, Blake let his gaze drift over each of the others in the car, before it was inevitably drawn back to the mansion they would be staying in, learning to be alphas in. He saw the wolves lining up to see the new bloods, instinctively drawing himself up in his seat against their gazes, squaring his shoulders. Faintly, he heard one of the girls in the van ask where he and the others were from, and he answered without really thinking about it, running a hand through his hair idly."Houghton, Michigan. Little mining town in the U.P- my pack kept to the forest."
He was going to talk more, his nerves bringing him to be chattier than usual, and found himself instead silently relieved that his train of thought was interrupted by another short speech by their driver, followed shortly by a barked order for them to pile out of the van. Slinging his duffels back onto his shoulder, he was one of the first ones out, finding himself somewhere in the middle of the gathering group of other new students. Without really thinking about it, he gravitated back towards the girl that had spoken earlier, Rust-Orange gaze giving her a swift once over now that they were out of the van. She was shorter than he was, though that was nothing new to him, and looked like the type of girl that would kick him in the groin over a stupid question. He liked her already."Name's Blake, by the way. Blake Russ."