Kuro walked into the library, holding the door for Nike.
“Kuro!” the librarian called happily, looking behind her and smiling, “That’s our new student, yes?”
Nike nodded timidly and the librarian beckoned her over, starting to explain the textbook and returns system.
Kuro watched the scene absentmindedly, trying not to show the frustration she was feeling.
“Make sure to not run in the halls.”
The nerve! They meet face-to-face for the first time since he became headmaster and he manages to bring up the incident with Mrs. Pumpernickel.
Of course Himura would know. He probably made it his business to know, just so he could lord it over her head.
Kuro let out a breath through gritted teeth, putting on a smile as Nike staggered over with a huge pile of books.
“Let me help you with that.” She insisted, grabbing as much as she could from the top of the pile and heading towards the doors.
“This place is amazing!” Nike enthused as the librarian waved, the doors swinging open for them.
Kuro took one final glance at the huge stained glass windows, the towering shelves and the gloriously high domed ceiling, and felt herself agree.
“I spend as much time as I can here.” She admitted as they walked out, “It’s easily my favorite spot on campus.”
“I can see why.” Nike replied, watching their surroundings with curiosity.
“What was your dorm number again?” Kuro asked, “230?”
“You’ll be on the second floor of the girls’ dorm building,” Kuro explained, “Which is just past the East Courtyard.”
“Courtyard?” Nike repeated, a remote interest in her eyes.
“We have four.” Kuro explained, “One going in each direction. Boy’s dorms are by the West Courtyard. The front of the Academy is essentially the South Courtyard. The North Courtyard leads off to the sports fields.”
Nike nodded, as if trying to absorb the information.
“The dorms are attached to the main building, so you don’t have to worry about walking around at night.” Kuro continued, trying to push away her memories of the River Mists.
They entered the hall leading to the girl’s dorms and Nike gaped out the huge windows, looking at the courtyard on their right and then the gardens on their left.
“You should see them in the spring.” Kuro commented, “When the cherry blossoms are out.”
Nike was enthralled even with the dead trees and dried bush everywhere.
Kuro glanced back and noticed with interest that Kasumi and Dai were still walking together, locked in silent discussion. That was one conversation she wouldn’t mind listening in to.
Once they reached the double doors to the dorms Kuro tapped her wand against the wrought iron handles and they groaned open.
Nike looked at her questioningly.
“To keep boys out.” She explained, “It’s almost like an ID system.”
They walked through and up one of the double staircases, past huge oil paintings of stern-looking witches.
“The first floor has a study area, snack bar, mini-gym and laundry. First years are on the second floor, second years on the third, and so on.” Kuro explained, her hand pale against the gleaming oak banister.
“Which floor are you on?” Nike asked, skipping up the steps and watching the paintings.
“I’m a third year.” Kuro replied, “So I’m on the fourth floor.”
“With your friends?”
“I guess,” Kuro said slowly, “I…joined the Academy earlier than most. As weird as it sounds, I usually hang out with first years.”
“Can I meet them?”
“Sure. You’ll probably have some classes with them anyways.” Kuro replied, walking into the dorms.
Nike scanned the numbers on each door, before stopping at one of them.
“230! This is it!”
She pulled out her key and opened the door, excitement on her face.