It was clear that Phil was anxious. He kept shifting his weight from side to side, his hands were sweating, and he had so much nervous energy he could run a mile or two. But still, Phil had to continue with the cause of his anxiety. Phil had to walk through the barrier, leaving his family behind.
He had to go to Apharce Academy.
He would've told his parents that he would stay in contact, but he was not permitted contact with anyone outside Apharce. His family would have never sent Phil here if it wasn't law that they had to.
Phil was obligated to go to Apharce Academy because he was "different".
Phil didn't want to be telekinetic and chlorokinetic. He could care less if he could control plants, or move objects with his mind. He just wanted to be with his family.
Phil hugged his parents one last time, forcing himself to stay strong, to not cry. If he cried, so would his parents. He didn't want to make them upset.
Empty promises of seeing each other soon were made, even though everyone knew exactly what they were: little lies, to help ease the pain of not seeing each other for four years. Phil wasn't allowed to leave until he was twenty.
Phil finally left his parents, and walked through the forcefield.
Phil was now standing on a bridge, a grand castle before him. I'm attending Hogwarts, aren't I? Phil thought.
The castle was incredible, with beige stone building up to present rose pink and pastel blue peaks. The turrets made the castle double in size, and seemed to hold either classrooms or dormitories. Phil had been told the word Apharce came from Latin, translating to "evergreen", and soon Phil realized where the school got its name from. Surrounding the castle was a bright forest, a meadow filled with wildflowers being the only thing separating the castle from the evergreen.
Phil didn't even notice the man who had approached him from the castle because he was staring at the castle.
"You're Mr Lester, am I correct?" The man said. His voice was sweet but stern, and he had authority placed throughout his facial expression.
"Yes, sir." Phil responded weakly.
"I'm Professor Baker, the headmaster of Apharce Academy. Welcome, Mr Lester. Come, let me show you around, and escort you to your dormitory. Your bags will be in your dormitory when we arrive there."
Phil had almost forgotten about the suitcases and backpack he had brought with him. He set his backpack on the ground with his suitcases, and followed Professor Baker down the bridge, and through the archway connecting the bridge to the courtyard.
Professor Baker showed Phil where his classes, the dining hall, library, and common areas were, but Phil barely payed attention. He was too caught up in noticing all the plants adorning the corridors, and discretely helping wilting ones perk up once more.
"And lastly, this is your dormitory, floor five, room B20. You have a beautiful view of the courtyard and forest, I wouldn't have requested a better view for myself. You'll have your first classes tomorrow, but for now, get settled into your room, and join us for dinner in the dining hall."
"Thank you, Professor," Phil said as Professor Baker left Phil alone in his new room.
The room was quite bland. There was a dresser at the end of the a full bed, a small beside dresser next to it. There were a couple shelves on the side of the wall near the door leading to the corridor, and on the side of the room opposite the bed there were two doors: one a small closet, and the other a bathroom with a shower.
Even though the room was bland, Phil believed the Buffy posters and family photos he brought would help bring a more homey feel to it.
Professor Baker was right, Phil's bags were already in his room. Phil decided to unpack before dinner, hanging his posters, attaching a string of lights to the shelves he had previously adorned with a few books, school supplies, and his ukulele, and thumbtacking the pictures of him and his family on the wall near his bed. He even added the houseplant that he was able to save after being mangled in a suitcase to his bedside table. Phil was just happy to have a plant in his room, as a little reminder that why he was here was a good thing, not a bad one.
As Phil unpacked his suitcases and started putting away his clothes, he noticed the school uniform in the closet: black dress pants with a white shirt and a black blazer which had an evergreen tree embroidered onto it, along with a black tie. Phil decided to wear his own clothes to dinner, bringing one last reminder of the morning with his family with him.
Phil had almost made it completely to the dining hall himself when he noticed someone: the boy had his blazer unbuttoned, and his tie was hanging around his neck, undone. His shirt collar wasn't folded down neatly, instead it was standing upright around the boy's neck. His curly hair was neatly in place, and he had an expression on his face that Phil thought was the definition of "I don't give a shit".
Phil didn't realize he bumped into him, literally.
"Oh, I'm so sorry," Phil stumbled over his words as the boy turned around.
The boy smiled, slightly amused. "What's your name?"
"Well, watch the hell where you're going, Lester." the boy motioned with two fingers towards Phil's legs, and almost instantly, Phil was knocked over by a gust of wind.
"Cut it out, Howell! Leave him alone!" Phil heard someone yell at the boy.
"And why should I listen to you, Liguori?" The boy asked, even more amused than before.
"I don't think you'd like to end up in a weekend detention for attacking the new kid who's rumored to be just as powerful than you."
"Bullshit," the boy spat.
"He has two abilities too. You're not the only one. You always were, but now you're not. So I suggest you leave, before you find out exactly how much it hurts to be bitten by a fox."
"Screw you," the boy said, and made his way to the dining hall, clearly mad.
Phil saw a hand extended towards him, and Phil grabbed it, getting to his feet.
"Sorry about him, he's like that with everyone. I'm PJ."
"I'm Phil." Phil smiled.
"You can sit with me at dinner, if you'd like." PJ offered.
"I'd love that, thank you." Phil followed PJ through the doors of the dining hall.
"Who was the kid that knocked me down?" Phil asked PJ as they walked.
"That's Dan Howell. He's trouble, and he's powerful too. He can control fire, air, and water, and he's omnikinetic - which is easiest described as mind control. You're supposedly the only one as powerful as him."
"Really?" Phil questioned, "I'm only telekinetic and chlorokinetic. I'm not really that special, unless you count being able to turn off the lights from across the room and reviving dying plants special, that is."
"That sounds pretty special to me. Plus you have two abilities, which is more than everyone else but Dan. So you're already close to matching him, and he's not gonna like that."
Phil and PJ arrived at the table they were going to sit at. There was a girl sitting there already, playing with a ball of lightning between her hands.
"Phil, this is Dodie,"
"Hi!" Dodie said, still playing with the ball of lightning sparking from her fingertips.
"Ms Clark, put the lightning away!" A teacher passing shouted at Dodie.
"I hate Professer White so much," Dodie mumbled as PJ and Phil sat down across from her. "He hates when we use our abilities, but I think it's just because he's scared." Dodie looked annoyed, but quickly smiled at Phil. "What can you do, Phil?"
Phil looked at the book Dodie had sitting on the table, and Dodie smiled as she watched it float into the air, and slowly fall back down. Phil then noticed a flower Dodie had tucked behind her ear looked as if it was wilting, so with two fingers, he motioned upward at the flower and it looked like it was freshly picked.
"You have two abilities?" Dodie asked.
"Wow, Howell's not the only one now," Dodie smiled.
"What is his problem anyway?" Phil asked.
"That's the thing: no one knows," PJ said.
"No one knows because no one's been his friend. He's not the friendly type," Dodie added.
"Oh," Phil responded quietly.
It was that moment that Phil promised himself something.
Phil would not be scared of Dan Howell like everyone else was.
Phil woke up to the sound of his alarm going off, and threw his pillow at his alarm clock in a desperate attempt to get a little more sleep.
He only woke up when he heard the sound of ceramic falling over on his dresser
"Planty!" Phil cried when he realized what the sound was, and finally got out of bed to check on his houseplant.
Planty was still in tact, just tipped over, some soil spilling onto Phil's dresser. Phil sighed, relieved that his plant was still alive, and scooped the misplaced soil into his hands, carefully adding it back into the plant's pot.
Phil's alarm went off again, and Phil shut it off, giving up on his last attempt at sleep to get ready for school.
* * *
Dodie had promised Phil that she would help him find his classes since she had all the same classes as him. She and Phil walked into their first period class, and Dodie took her seat, motioning to the only empty seat for Phil: one right next to Dan.
Everyone in the classroom gave Phil pitiful looks as he walked to the empty seat, true sympathy displayed on their faces. But Phil didn't care that he was sitting next to Dan. He was happy he was. He wanted to get to know Dan more.
Phil sat down in the desk next to Dan.
"Hi!" Phil said quietly to Dan.
Dan looked at Phil, studying him.
"You're that kid from last night. Lester, right?"
"I'm gonna say this once, and hopefully I make it clear enough the first time. You think your power is a blessing, that this place isn't as bad as it seems?" Dan whispered.
Phil nodded again.
"Well, I'm sorry to break it to you, but it's a goddamn curse. This is a hellhole, and the people here don't give a shit about you. The only person that cares about you is you, the other people here could shrug off your death. Your just a number. A statistic. Not even a face. You're insignificant. You're not going to get a good job, or have a family. The same for everyone here. We're different, Lester, and we're gonna get shit for it for the rest of our lives, so accept it now. And while your at it, leave me the hell alone."
The bell rang for class to start as the teacher walked in, and Dan leaned back in his chair, resting his feet on his desk, leaving Phil taken aback.
* * *
"You wanna talk about it Phil? I saw him snap at you first period," Dodie said softy to Phil, who was sitting next to PJ at lunch.
"I'm fine, I just...I guess I didn't realize he was that cold."
"That was nothing compared to other things he's done," PJ said, "he set a kid's hair on fire once. Be glad he just got mad at you"
"Point taken," Phil said.
"You have your training next, right Phil?" Dodie tried to change the subject.
"Yeah, it's with Professor Baker," Phil said, reading his schedule.
"Baker never gives training to anyone. Well, anyone except Howell," Dodie said, clearly shocked.
Phil looked up from his schedule, and saw Dodie's expression. He turned to PJ who had the same shocked expression as Dodie plastered across his face.
"Great," Phil said, sarcasm lacing his words. "I love being special."
"It might not be a bad thing. All the other teachers are terrible at training. Baker is the only one who seems to know what he's doing," PJ added.
The bell rang for last period, and Phil said goodbye to his friends before heading to his training.
* * *
Phil was greeted in a completely empty room by Professor Baker.
"Hello, Mr Lester," Professor Baker said. "Today, we will be testing how powerful you are, and the current limits of your abilities."
"Okay," Phil said, trying to hide how nervous he was.
"I want you to start by growing plants out of the floorboards."
Phil nodded, and sat on the ground, touching the floorboards on either side of him with his palms. Phil shut his eyes in concentration, and soon, grass and wildflowers surrounded the room, only small circles where Phil sat and Professor Baker stood were left untouched.
"Thank you, Mr Lester. Now, can you make a flower crown out of some of the flowers you grew?"
Phil smiled, and pointed at two flowers. They floated out of the floorboards, and Phil started intertwining them in front of Professor Baker in the air with one hand guiding them, the other hand picking up new flowers and adding them to the crown. A few minutes later, a perfectly woven flower crown floated towards Phil and landed on his head.
Phil looked at the walls, and saw them inching closer.
"Stop the walls." Professor Baker now smiled.
"What the hell?" Phil mumbled, and put his hands out, trying to stop the walls with his telekinesis. the walls halted for a moment, but soon started to move in again at a much slower pace.
Phil pushed as hard as he could, now almost screaming, trying to gather as much force as he could.
Soon the walls stopped moving, and Phil collapsed to the ground, breathing heavily.
"Right. Well, that was enough for today Mr Lester."
Professor Baker then noticed Phil on the ground.
"Mr Lester, are you okay? Do you need to go to the infirmary?"
"No, I'm okay," Phil said, finally standing up after he caught his breath.
"Well, you can head to your room until dinner, and I'll see you tomorrow at this time."
"Thank you, Professor." Phil said leaving the room, still wearing the flower crown he had woven.
* * *
Phil made his way to his room, but halfway there, he started to feel dizzy.
Shit, he thought as the room started to sway. He moved as fast as his could for how disoriented he felt, trying to find someone. He saw a blurry figure he couldn't make out right before he collapsed onto the floor, unconscious.