Madzie loves her giant family filled with warlocks, daylighters, vampires, shadowhunters, werewolves, a couple of seelies, the occasional mundane, and people who fit into a mix of those categories or none of them at all. However, her absolute favorite person in her family (with the exception of her mom who is totally her BFF to the point of them putting those Gilmore Girls to shame) is Raphael. She owes him big time for agreeing to enroll in the same school as her, so that she wouldn’t have to suffer through high school alone. He had agreed to give it one year. (Catarina, Magnus, and Alec had been for it, and once Madzie had given him The Look, Raphael had given in without much of a fight.) Madzie, however, knows that if she plays her cards right that he’ll likely remain for the full four years. Her first goal though is just to get both of them through their first day.
Catarina appears at the doorway of Madzie’s bedroom and raises one blue eyebrow. “You bellowed?”
Madzie gives her a sheepish grin. “Sorry, but I can’t decide on which scarf to wear.”
Catarina sighs but steps into the room. “Well, that is certainly an emergency, isn’t it?” she teases.
“Well, when everyone has to wear the same uniforms, it makes the accessories crucial.”
The school uniform is actually quite fashionable, much to Madzie’s relief, landing somewhere on the scale between Hogwarts and Vampire Academy in terms of style. However, with as loose as the rules are regarding adding accessories to their uniforms, Madzie is imagining some of the uniforms are going to be more reminiscent of Gossip Girl. Madzie is just relieved that since she can wear her collection of scarves, she doesn’t have to worry about explaining to any mundanes about her gills. True, she could use a glamor or just hope that no one has the sight, but she wants something that will set her apart (aside from her colorful hair) and the scarves give her an air of mystery. At least they do in her opinion, and that’s all that matters.
After a few minutes, they decide on a shimmering silver scarf, and Madzie feels completely confident about her first day of school look as they sit down to breakfast. Breakfast is always a bit quiet. Both of them are familiar with waking up early, and the morning is always filled with conversations yelled across the apartment to each other as they both rush around getting ready. The exception is breakfast. Breakfast always begins the same way: with cups of tea that are drank in a reflective silence. It’s the one bit of calm they always manage to fit into their days. However, the moment they both place down their mugs, it’s back to their conversations.
“Do you think Raphael’s regretting this?” Madzie asks while poking at the fresh fruit sitting on top of her yogurt. She really does want her best friend at school with her, but she also doesn’t want to force him.
“Didn’t you say he seemed interested during orientation?”
Orientation. That had gone over interestingly. Everyone had been lumped into the auditorium of the school to listen to announcements about extracurriculars, important dates, rules, and just about everything else. Then the first years had been separated out and divided into small groups with senior mentors who showed each of them to their lockers and then used their schedules to help them find their classrooms. Apparently, it was one of the benefits of going to a smaller private school. Raphael and Madzie, who had been placed into the same homeroom no doubt due to their parents pulling some strings, also had the same senior mentor showing them around and were able to easily keep up a series of whispered critiques as they walked around the school.
“He liked a few parts.”
“Well, Magnus has assured me that Raphael is going into this with an open mind, so you don’t need to worry about it. Trust me, you and Raphael might be best friends, but I have known him for many more years, and he doesn’t do anything that he truly doesn’t want to do,” Catarina assures her.
“If you say so.”
“I do. However, I will also point out that running late on your first day and making Raphael wait on you might not be the best way to convince him to stick it out for the whole four years.”
Madzie glanced at the clock. “Oh sh-snickerdoodle!” she exclaims, jumping up from her chair. “I’ve got to go! Love you, Mom!”
Unlike the Loss house which bursts to life as soon as the sun rises, the Lightwood-Bane apartment is slow to wake. Even the many cats sleep in, knowing that their breakfasts would be served around mid-morning when their “owners” finally rose. That morning though was unlike any other in the apartment. Chairman Meow, an incredibly light sleeper, is forced from his slumber by the sounds of Raphael’s bedroom door opening. He jumps up, ready to attack any possible threat to the daylighter who sleeps next to him, but he quickly settles down when he sees who it is entering.
“Good morning, Chairman,” Alec greets in a whisper, reaching down a hand to scratch behind his ears as he prefers. “Thank you for watching over him again.”
Chairman Meow responds with a slow blink then hops off the bed to head to the couch for some more sleep, certain that nothing more dangerous than an early morning wake up call was about to befall his charge.
Alec takes the spot on the edge of the bed that Chairman Meow had vacated. “Raphael,” he calls out softly, giving him a gentle shake to wake him. “You have to get up now, sweetheart.”
Raphael groans but shoves himself up. His curls are twisted in all sorts of directions, and even the small amount of light in the room seems blinding to him. “It’s so early,” he hates how whiny that sounds, but it is early. It’s hours before he’s used to having to wake and actually function.
Alec chuckles. “You’ll get used to it. Now, go shower and get dressed. Your papa will have breakfast for us by the time you’re ready.”
“Papa’s awake this early?”
“Yes, it’s only fair that if we’re making you get up this early that we also get up and at least join you for breakfast.”
Raphael grins at that. “And Papa’s not dying?”
“I’m seen him more alert,” Alec admits. “He wanted to wake you himself, but I thought that you might not enjoy any of his possible methods.”
Raphael nods, imagining the buckets of cold water or the piercing shriek of twenty alarm clocks that Magnus might try. “Thanks for that.”
“Of course, now go ahead and get ready. You don’t want to be late on your first day.”
By the time he’s ready, Magnus has breakfast on the table. It’s all of Raphael’s favorites which Raphael isn’t sure is just a sweet move or an attempt to appease him. Either way, he appreciates the gesture. Magnus swoops down to kiss him on the cheek as he takes his own seat, and Alec copies the move a moment later when he places Raphael’s mug of blood in front of him before grabbing his and Magnus’s cups of coffee. During the meal, everyone chats about their plans for the day and what time they will be home and what they should have for dinner. Then they get onto the topic of school.
“Don’t forget to not use your supernatural abilities during gym,” Alec reminds him, and when he gets up to refill his coffee, Magnus leans towards Raphael with a conspiratorial look.
“Pop culture has informed me that gym is the absolute worst. Tell me now if you want notes to get you out of it. I’ll write them. I can come up with something that has you sitting out for the whole year.”
“I am certain gym’s only the worst if you don’t have supernatural abilities to climb ropes and run laps. Even if I tone it down, I can still do all that stuff easily,” Raphael replies. Having to pretend to struggle to throw a ball seems better than sitting bored on the bleachers for the period.
“Well, that same offer stands for Madzie.”
Alec sits back down, and from the look on his face it’s clear he’s heard what Magnus was offering. “Do you really think Cat would allow that?”
Magnus gives an exaggerated pout. “I’m just looking out for my son and my niece. What if they break something during dodgeball or whatever sweaty sport they are forced to play?’
“Ah yes, the daylighter and the warlock who fight demons on the weekends getting gravely injured by a dodgeball, why didn’t I think of the risks?” Alec deadpans, and Raphael smirks at them over his cup of blood. The two of them are always entertaining.
“Make sure you finish that,” Magnus instructs, suddenly serious. “I’m going to be staying at home today, and I’ll have my phone on me at all times. If you find that you need more blood or anything else, you call me. I’ll find a way to get you whatever you need.”
“I will be fine. I can go more than eight hours without blood.”
“Yes, you can, but it doesn’t mean it’s healthy to do so. Are you sure you don’t want me to pack your lunches? I can always just mix some blood into whatever I prepare for you. After all, only seniors can leave campus for lunch anyway.”
“Let’s see how the first few days go before you start panicking,” Raphael advises.
“Fine, but you’ll be having another mug for an afternoon snack as soon as you’re home each day.”
“Whatever you say, Papa.”
“And remember, if you can’t reach Magnus for whatever reason, call my cell or their institute,” Alec adds.
A knock sounds on the apartment door, and Raphael jumps up and grabs his backpack. “That’s Madzie. I’ve got to go! Bye, Papa! Bye, Dad! See you this afternoon!” He kisses both of them on the cheek then darts out the door before either can insist on something as embarrassing as first day of school photographs. It doesn’t quite work. The door flies back open behind him, and Alec and Magnus stand grinning on the other side.
“Say cheese!” Magnus shouts, holding up his phone. Madzie and Raphael are both so startled that both he and Alec manage to get in a few shots before the students come to their senses and race out of the hallway.
“This is why I said I should be the one picking you up at your place,” Raphael announces the moment they are outside of the building and hopefully out of the range of any kind of cameras.
“Yeah, but your apartment is between mine and the school, so what sense does that make?”
“Lack of blackmail opportunities.”
“Eh, they probably didn’t get any good pics anyway. They’re both old. How good could they be at taking pics.”
Both their phones buzz as a over a dozen photos get sent to them, showing them just how good both Alec and Magnus were at quickly snapping photos.
“Well, at least they texted them to us instead of posting them online anywhere,” Madzie said weakly. Then their phones buzzed again with Snapchat and Instagram notifications.
“You were saying.”
Madzie huffs out a sigh. “Well, at least you’re the one with the embarrassing parents. They’re just my uncles.”
“Just wait.” Sure enough, Catarina wasted no time in commenting on and sharing the pictures. “I bet she’s showing them around the hospital too.”
“It’s like parents make it their mission to curse our Internet presences.”
Their commute to school is not too bad. A short subway ride and then a slightly shorter walk before they reach the campus which stands out from the rest of the city with the amount of trees surrounding the elaborate opening. Students actually rush up the stairs even though everyone is early, and it takes little time for Raphael, Madzie, and the rest of the first years to realize that that the place to be in the mornings is in the courtyard around the back of the school. Upperclassmen are already gathered there with their overpriced lattes and scones, and as the first years awkwardly attempt to find a place to find their own, the upperclassmen whisper things that make Raphael bite back some cunning remarks. In particular, a group of four stand out as particularly irritating. Two boys sitting with two girls. All of them have out journals and their phones and are doing their own version of a casting call in what seems to be their version of making friends.
“How’s that one?” One of the boys says to the others. The voices are crystal clear to Raphael. Unlike the others the group is making no attempts to whisper.
“Scholarship kid,” one of the others replies with a look of distaste.
“It could improve our charitable image.”
“So could a few hours at Habitat for Humanity, and we can easily ditch that whenever. Next one please.”
The four appear to have reputations so notable that even some of the first years are watching with bated breath, hoping to be one of the chosen ones. They call them the “Elites” as if that’s original at all. Madzie glances over to them, and Raphael sees her analyzing the situation.
“Let me guess, we just found the Blair Waldorfs of the school?” she asks.
“Elites,” Rapahel hisses out the word. Some things never change about schools. “By the way, has anyone ever told you that you watch too much tv?” He really doesn’t want to admit that he understood that particular reference, but Magnus does watch a lot of Gossip Girl, and sometimes Raphael gets sucked in.
“I have to study if I want to be successful in my future,” she replies easily. “You know the goal: actress then director.”
“You know you’re on the wrong side of the country for that.”
“That’s why we have portals, my dear." Madzie's gaze flicks over to the group of self-entitled seniors again. "Have they judged us yet?"
"Not yet." With Madzie's gaze practically drilling holes through them though, the four of them soon look their way.
"Eccentric or fashionable?" one asks.
"Too early to tell. Do you think they're a couple?"
"I think they're those cousins, the ones with the parents who work for some underworld criminal organization or something."
"The ones the headmaster was freaking out about? Those are really the ones?"
"They do kind of look like it."
Raphael relays their words to Madzie, and she smirks. "We should have known our parents would make a questionable impression. I wonder how they got criminal organization."
"It was totally my parents. Your mom would have just said she worked at a hospital, but who knows what mine said to give off such an impression."
"At least no one should bother us then."
They find a spot for themselves out of sight of the four where they can relax in the shade until the first bell. Madzie wants to lie on the grass, but it’s still wet with morning dew, so she sits on the bench next to Raphael and compares her schedule to his. Seven classes in a single day. It was ridiculous. The block system meant she didn’t have to lug so many books home every night.
“We have homeroom together, of course,” she reads off. “Then we both have AP English. After that we get separated. I have AP Biology while you have AP History. Then you have Biology while I have Geometry. You have Algebra I while I have History. Oh look! We have gym together after lunch! I can’t believe that’s required for first years here. Gross. We both tested out of Spanish, so I got stuck in French.”
“I tested out of French too,” Raphael replies smugly. He had attempted to test out of all the school’s languages in order to get a free period, but apparently he’s a little rusty on his ancient languages.
“Yeah, I kind of noticed the AP Latin course here instead. Traitor. And then you were an even bigger traitor because you didn’t pick Drama like I asked you too. Music? Really?”
“I like music.”
“I know. You’re just after an easy A.”
Raphael snorts. “Well, what were our other options? We already learned all the computer stuff from helping out at the institute. Enough to make me bored of the subject anyway, and Aunt Clary would never forgive us if we didn’t go to her for art lessons first. That left music and drama, and no way am I doing drama. I get enough of that from dealing with all of you.”
Madzie rolls her eyes and sticks her schedule back in her bag. “Aunt Clary would be heartbroken if she didn’t get the chance to be the one to teach us to draw,” she admits. “Remember when we-well I was was little, and she used to always buy me paints?” Sometimes it was easy to forget that Raphael wasn’t the same age as her even if he did look it.
“Didn’t she only stop buying them after you painted yourself blue to look like Aunt Cat?” Raphael asks Clary had thankfully went the longest without treating him like a child, but she too had succumbed to the habit after being around the others too long. While she was buying Madzie paints, she bought Raphael charcoals and dragged him out to parks with her on her days off claiming him as a drawing companion while everyone else was busy with work or school. Calling her “aunt” took slightly longer. As it had with the rest of the family, the title had started jokingly until after a while it had become comfortable and then natural. Lately, Raphael finds himself not only speaking as if he were younger but also feeling like it. The fact that his aunts and uncles are beginning to show their age and the fact that he’s standing around in a tailored high school uniform only fuels that feeling of being young.
“Aunt Clary still bought the paints for me after that. She just told me to hide them from Mom and taught me what stuff easily removed paint from skin,” Madzie admits.
“Why am I not surprised by that?”
The first bell for homeroom sounds, and Madzie takes a steadying breath. Raphael is not nervous, but she is. Even though she knows that high school is not the most important part of life, it certainly feels like it at that moment. Raphael notices, because of course he does. He slips a hand in hers and tugs her up, giving her a reassuring smile as he does.
“Come on. It’s only four years of your life.”