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The music was thumping in the dorm, and the air was thick with the scents of sweat, alcohol, and weedsmoke. Thankfully the last dean had quit, so they were currently under fairly minimal supervision. Not that anyone could have stopped her classmates when they decided to throw a party.

Aranea took a small sip out of the red cup in her hand and felt the warm liquid slide down her throat. She smiled to herself briefly. For all the self-proclaimed “party animals” and “degenerates” at this school, she was one of the better ones at holding her liquor. She raised her cup, a bit of its contents sloshing onto the ground, and mentally thanked her absentee mother for leaving her in a country with a low drinking age for the majority of her life.

Hmm. That wasn't very like her. Maybe she was getting tipsy. That would probably be a bad idea, considering the fact that they had a test tomorrow in Mr. Droog's class.
"Heyyy, Sercatch~" Aranea spun around, only to find herself face-to-face with a sharp-toothed grin that would better suit a crocodile than a teenage girl.

Aranea nodded curtly, not meeting the taller girl's eyes. "Nice to see you too, Meenah, but my name is Serket, like the goddess." In her mind's eye, she could see her mother giving the same pretentious speech. It felt odd for Meenah to be talking to her, since she usually didn't interact with anyone.

The Crockercorp heiress waived her hand dismissively. "I know dat, girl. But I was callin' you that for a different reason." She leered at Aranea again in a way that would have seemed cruel or rude had that not, sadly, been the girl's only smile. "Heard everyfin's over between you and Maryam, amiright? Doesn't that mean you're back in the game, no relationships attached or something like?"

The shorter girl's shoulders stiffened. "Porrim and I...." Aranea glanced out to where the graceful girl stood alone, slowly swaying in time to the beat in the middle of the room. The tattoos that she kept mostly covered by her school uniform were clearly visible snaking all over her body...indeed, Aranea had gotten to see even more of the black spirals before the pair's recent break-up. Right now she looked so beautiful, Aranea could've sworn she was glowing in the dull light.
Or maybe she'd just gotten high off of the marijuana smoke Meulin and Kurloz were sitting in a cloud of on the couch that was currently causing the former to laugh hysterically. Aranea preferred to just stick to her alcohol, but many of her fellow students didn't.

"Ey, girly. You here for another hookup, or nah?" Meenah leaned against the wall casually. "It's not like you've got many options, but I'm sure either Megido, Zahakk, or Ampora would love to get their paws on ya." She paused, and flipped one of her long braids over her shoulder, and amended her statement. "Plus anyone else with more than three braincells, but they're not likely to just get the frick on after just one boozy night, ya got it?"

Aranea glanced over to the punchbowl, where a pasty boy stood with an unlit blunt in his mouth and slicked back hair like some Danny Zuko wannabee. "I'd rather keep away from Cronus, and besides," she flexed her fingers, examining her blue nails, examining them for damage, "I think it'll be good for me to spend some time out of a relationship, and sleeping around won't do anything to make me happier."

"Huh." Meenah looked like she didn't believe that for a second but didn't press any further, thankfully. She pulled a loose threat from her distressed crop top, a tasteful black tank that she had attacked with scissors and glitter fabric paint spelling out 'BAD BITCH'. "So, are you enjoying the party? You don't really come to these very often. Any special reason, apart from--uh," Meenah jabbed a thumb in Porrim's direction.

As always, she was anything but subtle.

Aranea shrugged, and dug a lithe hand into her short, dark hair. "No particular reason. Just here to peoplewatch, maybe drown my nerves in spiked punch before English tomorrow."

"Well, ya picked one helluva place to peoplewatch." Meenah gestured around the room, where all but three of their friends were in various states of shenanigans. Cronus was strumming his guitar (out of tune, like always) by the punchbowl, glancing longingly at Porrim, who was still dancing by herself, now singing softly to some pop tune Aranea wasn't familiar with. Meulin and Kurloz were now making out, sloppily enough for Aranea to want them to go back to their rooms...But on the couch was potentially the most upsetting, but least unexpected, sights of the party.

Damara Megido, the class' least-favorite pervert, was watching some anime of the rather sordid sort on the couch without headphones, and her hand was below her waistband.

Aranea gagged, and her eyes widened. "Seriously?"

Meenah shrugged. "Same old Damara. Are you even surprised?" She twirled her braid. "Honestly, at least she's just masturbating 'steada bothering anyone. Fuckin' skank." She rolled her eyes at the girl who was currently to busy to notice her.

Aranea winced. She wasn't a fan of Meenah's judgments of other people, and the girl was as blunt as a lead instrument...but you couldn't exactly defend Damara when she was literally watching hentai without headphones in the middle of a party. Really, it was a wonder that no one else had noticed, but this thing did tend to happen quite often around here. "Maybe she'll go somewhere more decent? Or even back to her dorm?" There was a hopeful uplift in her voice.

"Nah. Fairly sure she gets off on doing it in public."

Aranea sighed, and took another sip of her drink. "That would explain...quite a lot, actually. At any rate, I'm getting the feeling that it might've been a mistake to come here."

The taller girl pouted. "Aw, c'mon Sercatch! The party's barley started!" She made a dramatic show of slumping back against the wall. "I feel like we don't talk enough. Outta all these shrimps you're the only one I really think I can stand, even if you are a fuckin' nerd."

Aranea's blue eyes caught Meenah's deep fuschia ones, wondering again if they were contacts. She wanted to thank the other girl, and to try and ensure that they'd talk again after the party, but what came out was a short, clipped "Damara's gone to the bathroom."

"Really?" Meenah looked surprised, and uneasy. "That's...not very like her. Say, uh, you wanna ditch this party? We could go down to the town if you want, go get milkshakes." It was clear that Meenah was nervous, something about Damara leaving the couch--but why?

"Why are you so eager to leave already?" Aranea furrowed her brow. "What's wrong with Damara going somewhere more decent to keep messing around? Isn't that better for all of us?"


"The bathroom's already occupied, girl."


Aranea threw her hands up in the air. "Why on earth is that our problem?" She seemed exasperated.


Meenah bit her lip. "It's occupied by Rufioh and Horuss."

A scream echoed from the bathroom, followed by the sound of contact against blunt metal against skin.