Sky’s the Limit
Part III: Meeting the Class
The academy was so huge but Sij’s instructions were good and we quickly found the dorm. We exchanged names, although he seemed very distracted. It looked like Allen’s stuff hadn’t arrived yet. I left my stuff on my bed to unpack later. I found my tablet quickly and scanned our class schedule.
“We still have a few minutes but do you want to head to Homeroom now?” I asked, pulling Allen away from whatever he was thinking. I tried not to be too self-conscious of his starring.
“Sure,” he shrugged.
With some comparing of our tablet maps we eventually found the room. It seemed like the simple task calmed Allen down a lot. I hovered outside the door, not wanting to interrupt if another class was going on in there. Allan had no such qualms apparently. He pushed the door open a crack and confirmed it was empty. I took in the large desk, electronic whiteboard and sixteen desks.
“So, what do you do?” Allen asked, watching me carefully. I felt embarrassed talking about my abilities when I was sure everyone else must’ve had a really useful, fighting ability.
“I help people,” I said, my hands fidgeting awkwardly in the air as I spoke. “I can sorta ease mental distress and physical pain.”
“Oh,” he said, his expression a mixture of emotions. “So you’re gonna calm villains to death?” he said, cocking an eyebrow.
I felt my cheeks redden immediately at the comment. I opened my mouth searching for a response that maintained some dignity but the door opening cut me off.
“Ah, I’d been told you had both arrived,” a tall, muscular black man said. He had a greying hair and beard and dressed in simplistic military cargo trousers and a simple white t-shirt. “I’m Mr Martin, it’s a pleasure to meet you both. Class will be starting soon so pick a chair.” Allen nodded and sat down at the one next to the door.
I made a point of sitting a few seats over from him. I got that he was obviously unnerved, but he also seemed mean. Maybe it had just been a badly thought through joke? The door opened shortly and new people poured in. I gulped at the new faces. Mr Martin introduced us to the group and I felt far too on show. Maybe I should’ve worn something less bright?
“Hey again.” I froze as the person from earlier took the seat next to me. “My name’s Allison.” they said, absentmindedly turning on their tablet.
“Sage.” I managed to mumble. Control your blushing. What were the chances?
“That’s such a cool name. I never bothered to pick a name myself.” they said. Wait, were they non-binary as well? That would explain why they looked so androgynous. “Oh, sorry I assumed you picked it because Mr Martin used Mx and it’s not a name I’ve heard before,” they said.
“Oh, no, I did pick it. I picked both my first name and surname.” I explained awkwardly.
“Your accent’s so cute.” they laughed. It took me a moment before I could mumble a thank you.
“I should probably do quiz thing.” I said, trying to hide the blushing by looking away.
“Oh, right, sorry.” they apologized. I immediately felt bad. I hoped they didn’t get the wrong impression. I chewed my lip nervously as I worked, shooting Allison side-glances. They were focused on their own task.
“…genefreak …” both me and Allison looked up at the word, exchanging a confused look. I looked over to see the other new guy, Jaeger, speaking to Allen. If I was going on expressions he was having difficulties.
“Some people really don’t know anything,” Allison said, trying to shrug it off.
“I have that in Iceland, but most people don’t use foul words. They just expect you to have all the answers,” I replied. Allison laughed, shaking their head slightly.
“I know what you mean,” they murmured. I felt a happy quiver at having made them laugh. What was I doing? I was acting like an idiot preteen.
“…trannys?” I jumped at the word and I saw a expression of shock just like mine on Allison face. With lips parted we looked over to see similar horror on Jaeger’s face. He barely controlled the volume of his voice in replying. I was pretty sure others in the class were very well tuned into the conversation at this point.
“Why’s a douchebag like him in Ravenhold?” Allison murmured.
“I never asked him what he could do,” I shrugged, matching her low volume. Mr Martin observed the exchange carefully from behind the desk as well.
“Allen, are you finished?” he called out. The black guy jumped at Mr Martin’s loud voice before nodding. “Right, follow me outside please.” I think everyone in the classroom shared a breath of relief the moment the door shut.
“What the hell was that?” someone called. I glanced up to see a boyishly dressed Latina girl had been the source of the words.
“I’m sure there’s an explanation,” another girl with long white hair said, her facial expression taut. I noticed she had transgender and asexual bracelets on her wrist. Wow, I’d never been in the same room as so many other trans people before.
“Well, if it happens again I propose group intervention.” the first girl said. No one objected the idea. Quiet murmuring continued for a while after and I took my time studying people. There was an impressive paramorph who seemed gender neutral but that could just be a result of the paramorphism. I noticed the Itharii and had to stop myself squeeing. They looked adorable. Hopefully I wouldn’t act too weird around them. No one else stood out but I wouldn’t assume that meant it was just me, Allison and the white haired girl were trans.
“Who are those two?” I whispered.
“Charlie and Caroline.” They replied, pointing them out respectively. I made a mental note to speak to Caroline later about her bracelet. I definitely had to get one. All I had was rainbow themed jewelry. Allison went on to tell me everyone else’s name, hopefully I would remember them all. I finished the quiz and looked over to see Jaeger had finished it as well.
“Be right back.” I said. I stood up and took the seat Allen had vacated to the alarm of Jaeger for some reason.
“Hello?” he asked, making the one word sound like a question.
“Hallo.” I replied, beaming. I’d already figured out his accent was German. He blinked at me before launching into fast German. I quickly waved both palms in surrender. “I only know a small amount,” I admitted sheepishly.
“Ah,” he said, chuckling softly. “You’re European as well, right?” he asked.
“From Iceland,” I answered. “Although I’ve been told Sanjay is from England,” I said, motioning to the Indian boy who was engrossed in his tablet. Jaeger glanced over his shoulder at the boy.
“Oh, he’s the one I’m roomed with. Guess I should say hi at some point…” Jaeger trailed off.
“Heh, lucky…” I murmured. He raised an eyebrow. “My roommate is Allen.” I explained.
“Scheiẞe.” he murmured. Even my minimal knowledge of German could translate that to ‘shit’, which I most definitely agreed with.
“Hopefully Mr Martin stops it,” I murmured.
“What pronouns do you use?” Jaeger asked.
“Oh, they.” I answered, surprised to be asked. Then again he had gotten pretty mad at Allen for using the T-slur.
The door opened behind us, letting in a very petulant looking Allen closely followed by Mr Martin who looked just about ready for a week off.
“Jaeger, you’re up,” Mr Martin said, rubbing his eyes briefly.
I quickly stood up and raced back to Allison. I felt Allen’s eyes following me and wondered if I’d pissed him off by taking his seat. I hoped not, he didn’t seem like the type of person anyone should piss off. Especially not when I was stuck in the same room as him. I fought an internal groan at the idea and mentally prepared to educate him on transgender people.