Two young men sat in the shadow of one of the Black Forest’s taller trees, one with black hair, the other with pink. They were resting after a hard day’s work of purging hog-sized pill bugs from the garden that they’d been set to watch over
One of the boys was wearing a set of headphones that were likely purchased from one of the myriad curios and tech stores that could be found in the academy city.
The other simply lay sleeping, lying on his side, on a particularly comfy heap of leaves and grass. Seeming unconcerned with picking up any unwanted little passenger. Possibly because any such critters would find themselves sinking through his clothes. Pulled into his flesh as if were quicksand.
They sat like that for nearly an hour’s time, sitting in silence, till the boy with black hair could no longer take it anymore and was driven by a need to fill that silence with words.
“By Odin’s beard it’s hot!”
There was no response from his sleeping compatriot.
“I said…by Odin’s beard it’s-….”
“I heard you the first time, Jack. What the hell do you want me to do about the weather? Neither of us is a grand mage. Hell, I’m pretty sure we don’t even count as full apprentice mage’s yet. We’re just outer-students.” said the sleeping boy. His still closed though his brow had furrowed with annoyance.
Young Jack Hu blinked as if not expecting to be responded to so seriously. As if he hadn’t even been thinking of the day when their magical prowess would be great enough to allow for a limited control of the weather. To be fair, he wasn’t.
Then he smiled, for while the response had been a bit out of left field, he’d achieved what he’d intended by getting any sort of response at all.
The smile quickly flickering out of view as he turned to the other boy with a look of mock surprise.
“Ah…Samhain, did I wake you, old boy? Dreadfully sorry about that.”
The other boy just grunted as he sat up. Yawning, picking leaves out of his pink hair. Stretching as he tried to get comfortable with the new position.
Jack knew that the other boy was still half-asleep. It was as good as confirmed when the boy pulled a bottle of soda from thin air.
Revealing powers that he normally tended to hide or at least downplay when he was more self-aware.
Feeling like testing the waters, Jack nodded towards the drink and said,
“Hey, Sammy-boy…did you bring some for the rest of the class?”
To Jack’s surprise the boy just sleepily reached into an empty space and brought out yet another ice cold bottle.
As Jack received it he corrected his prior assessment, his friend was “mostly”, if not entirely, asleep right now, not half asleep. If he were half asleep calling attention to what he’d done would have at least made him freeze up for a bit, even if no denials were forthcoming.
Things like floating instead of walking, suddenly appearing without explanation or means of entrance, levitating objects instead of using his hands, or pulling objects from out of nowhere, where things the other boy only did, whenever he was too preoccupied or out of it, to be aware of what he’d done.
And as a whole they made for some interesting entertainment for Jack, who held the seat of the other boy’s only audience. The only person that the boy named Samhain spent any real time interacting with.
Their friendship was a curious thing. Despite, the faint smile that the pink haired boy seemed to always wear, he was largely dour and unpersonable. Polite yes, but decisively distant.
At first he’d seemed a bit of a dullard, and even now there were a few that thought the lanky teenager a bit of a lunk. Dull eyed, soft spoken, and extremely aloof to everything happening around him. All this in combination with the permanently affixed grin he were led to many thinking the boy wasn’t all there.
There were many who’d questioned just how the boy had gotten accepted into the school. There were many who believed that there was something “off” about him.
Jack would freely admit to having been amongst that number. The very beginning of the two’s relationship had mainly centered around the sly boy’s realization that the other boy a very handy human shield.
It had started unconsciously. One day, a wolf-sized hornet nearly ran him through with its stinger, what saved him was a certain pink-haired blur that appeared right in front of him before from out off nowhere. His broad back blocking both the sun and the body of the killer insect.
The next day whether purposeful or by accident Jack would end up sticking next to Sam. Several other close calls both on the field making him realize how handy it was to stick next to the boy.
Whether it was giant moles, monster centipedes, or blood sucking beetles, though the boy was slow to speak, it gradually became clear that he was quick on his feet.
Jack had been one of the first people to realize that standing next to the skinny pink haired kid was actually the safest place to be for an outer-student.
He was also the first to realize that this protection extended off of the fields.
As a boy who was far too clever and far too loquacious for his own good Jack Hu took no time at all in making enemies amongst his fellow students.
The outer-students had factions, same as the inner and core students, same as teachers even.
Staying an independent and not falling under someone else’s control required strength. Strength that Jack knew that the other boy had. Strength that was confirmed for him and the rest of their fellow students again and again whenever somebody would try to pull in “the Samhain”
The pink haired boy would eventually grow notorious this way because interactions things would always go down the same route.
First there’d be an introduction from some youth who looked and acted like he was somebody who mattered.. Usually it would be whole group of such individuals, at least five or ten. Then the dull eyed boy would look through the group like they were air. Unresponsive towards both their bribes and their threats.
Ignoring them in a way that even a fully matured immortal Saint might have had trouble dealing with, or accepting.
Naturally the group of smug youths would get angry, and then someone would do or at least threaten to do, something violent and unwise.
After which just like clockwork the group of aggressors would be put down…hard. Sometimes entire factions would be demolished. Disappearing overnight.
If they were true disappearances, then they’d be accompanied by the disappearances of entire clans and families in the secular. Otherwise most of the key members of each faction would eventually emerge from hiding, usually bad bruised and worse for the wear. All of them having suddenly attained an anathema for boys with pink hair.
All together it was a somewhat worrying thing to see from the outside. Enough so, that most of the other students in the outer-class made a point of avoiding the boy, lest they get implicated by the association.
Little Jacky Hu, didn’t have that problem. If being implicated by association was a concern, then Jack had feeling that one that should be concerned was the pink haired boy.
While little Sammy only had a few enemies here and there, made from school time hijinks. The Hu were a clan that enemies from all across the world and countless generations.
It was for this reason that he’d tried to test the other boy. Giving out a hint of his less than ordinary circumstances. Wanting to see how the other would react, wanting to see if the other boy was a plant like he expected, from either the family or the family’s enemies. Or whether he’d change his tunes after hearing that the “Hu” in Jack’s surname was spelled in gold.
Unfortunately things didn’t even get that far, unexpectedly or perhaps perfectly expectedly Sam didn’t react. He was just as dull eyed as usual, more interested in his lunch than in the fact that his only friend was at least “part” alien. Descending from a woman who hailed from one of the many strange alternate earths.
Jack finished his soda and then realized that he didn’t know what to do with it. Rattling the bottle with a slightly perplexed look as the nearest trashcan was at least “a” mile from where he sat, if not several miles.
“Uh…a little help?” said Jack. Noticing that Samhain’s soda seemed to have disappeared just as magically as it had come into being in the first place.
“Do I look like a garbage man?” said Samhain. Frowning while disposing of the other boy’s soda anyway.
“Ah…Sorry, Sorry….Sorry and thank you, oh benevolent, sir..” said Jack his words slightly sing-song.
The other boy just groaned and grumbled, not bothering to answer Jack’s unserious response with words.
Then he got up and walked away, heading off to do whatever it is he did when he wasn’t working in the garden or just hanging out in the outer-student’s’ portion of the campus.
Teleporting when he thought himself out of view of the other boy.
Naturally Jack had followed as he always did, taking a small amount of pleasure in foiling the other boy’s meagre attempts at discretion.
Then Jack turned and headed his own way to carry on with his own secret exercises and cultivation practices.
As he did so, he decided that he’d stay friends with the other boy after all. If things got dangerous, troublesome or even worse, boring, they could always break things off later, but for now, it’d be too much of waste.
Fascinating individuals with sincere intentions like the pink haired boy were rare finds. Only an idiot would throw-away such a high quality toy.
If possible Jack would very much like to make use of him in the future, or in the case that the boy was as a big a fish as he seemed to be Jack didn’t mind being made use of.