Removing Your Biggest Stressor Means You Can Go Back to Having Low Key Days
“So how long before we can start bugging the new guys?” Isaac asked, leaning against a wall.
“Maybe let them put their things down,” Peter suggested. “Before you try to take their pants down.”
“I could,” Isaac offered. “But you don’t know that they’re not into getting blowjobs while holding all their stuff.”
“That seems like not a kink people have,” Nicholas muttered.
“Oh, what the fuck would you know?” Peter asked.
Nicholas rolled his eyes. Neither he or Peter seemed upset, and they’d come to hang out with Isaac in the hallway together, so Isaac tried not to worry about it. “So hey, you’re really not taking any classes this term?” Nicholas asked Isaac.
Isaac shook his head. “I’m taking four. Only one taught at the academy, but… four.” They’d wanted him to meet his new sorcery teacher tomorrow, but Oliver had told them that Isaac deserved the same break that everyone else had, so he was meeting the guy next week instead.
“I can’t believe the academy’s letting you do that,” Peter said, shaking his head. “I’m glad they are, but I’m really surprised they let you.”
“We didn’t, uh, really give them a choice,” Isaac admitted. “I kind of went to the archmage’s office with Oliver and Yancy and Lee and we all just told him what I wanted. He tried to say no and Lee called him a dictator. Then Yancy agreed with her. It was actually kind of cool.”
Isaac was still a little worried that the archmage was mad at him, but that worry was nothing compared to the relief he still felt at knowing he’d be able to eat and sleep regularly next term. It wasn’t like he wasn’t going to be doing anything. Just he’d be doing stuff that made sense.
Inasmuch as witchcraft made sense, but whatever. He hadn’t used to think magecraft made sense, and now he was better at it. Maybe if he actually had time to be in his lessons and pay attention to them, he’d figure out whatever the trick was to being a witch. It might be being naked all the time. Definitely a theory worth testing.
“That does sound cool,” Nicholas said. He nudged Isaac. “Must be nice to be the chosen one.”
Isaac laughed. “You know I’d swap with either of you in a dickbeat.”
“We’re good,” Peter told him. “Though I wouldn’t mind coming to a few of your classes.”
“Same,” Nicholas said. He was crouched on the floor, and shrugged when Isaac looked down at him. “What? I’m allowed to want to learn shit too.” He looked up at Peter. “Promise not to come to any of the classes you’re crashing.”
“Whatever,” Peter muttered. He tapped his cane on the floor, just once. “Okay, I feel like it’s weird that just the three of us are in here hanging out. I’m going back to the room.”
They were just in one of the common rooms. Isaac had been having his first nap in two months and both of them had just been here when he’d woken up. “See you,” Isaac said, giving him a kiss.
Peter nodded and headed for the door. He’d only just gotten there when a younger boy stuck his head inside. “Hi. Uh, sorry to interrupt!”
He was one of the new boys moving into the dorm today. Isaac had met them all briefly a few weeks ago when he’d snuck into the Hall with Vinnie and Hemi to calm them all down one night. His name was Cormac. “This is a common room, you’re allowed to just come in,” Isaac told him.
“Right!” Cormac nodded, coming properly into the doorway. He was bulky and a little dark and had curly hair that was in his eyes. “Uh. I’m, well, we’re lost? Could you tell us how to get to room sixty-eight?” He spoke with a bit of an accent that Isaac couldn’t place, not that Isaac knew fuck all about accents.
Nicholas stood up. “That’s across the hall from my room,” he said. “You’re on the wrong floor. Come on, I can show you where it is.”
“Oh. Thank you! See, I told you guys if we just asked someone would help!” he said, over his shoulder.
“And I told you Vinnie said it was on the fifth floor,” another boy’s voice said.
Isaac gave Nicholas a kiss too, and he left behind Cormac and his roommates.
Now that he was alone in the room, Isaac got bored in about two seconds, so he left too, thinking he could go back to his room as well, but that boy had said Vinnie had told them where to go. That was weird, since nobody had told Isaac, Peter, Spencer and Skip where to go on their first day here. They’d just been given a room number and Spencer had had to find the room for them.
So he went downstairs, keeping to the side when another group of four boys went past him up the stairs, chatting to each other about bunk beds. They seemed so cheerful. Isaac was really glad that he’d gotten his shit sorted out before they all moved in, so he wouldn’t be a huge downer to every new student he met this week. Hopefully instead he’d bring their spirits up, in addition to other parts of them.
In the entry hall, Vinnie was standing there with a group of four more boys, pointing in different directions. Isaac hung back a little, waiting until he’d sent them up the stairs, and then he went over to him. “Hey. They made you be the tour guide?”
“No,” said Vinnie, shrugging. “I remember thinking I’d have liked one when I moved in.”
Vinnie nodded. “There’s supposed to be an apprentice and a faculty member supervising the dormitory, you know.”
“Yeah,” said Isaac, frowning. “I remember Oliver saying something about that when they brought me in. Never seen a hair on either of their asses.”
“Same.” He sighed. “They assign new people every year, but usually they don’t bother to do anything. And I get a teacher not wanting to like, live with us and stuff, because same. But I figure an apprentice at least being here wouldn’t be the worst if something happens .”
“But you’re not an apprentice.” Vinnie should be entering his last year as a student. Isaac happened to know he hadn’t decided if he even wanted an apprenticeship after he graduated.
“No. Do you know George?”
“Uh.” Isaac thought about it. “The name’s familiar. Elijah’s apprentice, right?” Isaac may have met him once.
“He works with Diana, I think. He’s supposed to be the dorm supervisor this year. I went and talked to him and told him that even if he doesn’t want to live here and spend all his time telling us not to run in the shower or whatever, it would be helpful for the new kids if he could be here today.”
“And he said no?”
“Yeah. He said they didn’t need a babysitter and they could find their rooms on their own just like the rest of us do.”
“Jerk,” Isaac muttered. It wasn’t like it was the most evil thing ever, but what better way was he going to spend his hour than helping some new people be less stressed?
Vinnie nodded. “Right. So I’m doing it. Just seems fair.”
“Makes sense to me.” Isaac smiled. “You going to move into the big room?” The dorm supervisor had a bigger room to himself on the main floor.
“Uh.” Vinnie blinked. “Well no, I don’t need to do that.”
“Why not?” Isaac asked him, leaning against the wall again. “If you’re going to be the dorm supervisor you may as well get the perks in addition to the work, right?”
“Well, yeah but I’m not actually going to be the supervisor. I’m just doing this one thing.”
“Okay,” said Isaac. “I think you’d make a good supervisor.”
“Okay.” Vinnie was smiling a little and trying to hide it. “I guess I could ask if…”
“Or,” Isaac interrupted. “You could do what worked for me, and just do it without asking.”
Vinnie looked at him, his smile getting a little wider until it almost matched Isaac’s. “I’ll think about it.”
“Okay. I’m going to go have a shower,” Isaac said, patting Vinnie’s shoulder and grinning. “There’s a big bed in that room, you know. A good size for someone with more than one partner, not that I would know.”
“Oh?” Another group of boys came into the dorm, and Vinnie turned his attention to them. “Hi,” he said. “I’m Vinnie. Can I give you a quick intro so you know where stuff is? Oh, hold on one second,” Vinnie said. “Isaac.”
Vinnie smiled over his shoulder. “Don’t run in the shower.”
Isaac laughed, feeling like he’d done something good today. He’d forgotten how it felt to just do one thing and feel like that was enough, let alone to know it was. It was a good feeling.
He went down into the shower. At a walk.