Elliot was coming back to RMI after a summer abroad.
Just kidding. He liked the way that sounded, a summer abroad, but in actuality he and his dad had just gone to Japan for a one-week gaming expo, with some extra days tacked on for sightseeing. His little sister Ariana had been a bitch about not getting to go for the entire month leading up to the trip. It was stupid, because she’d gotten to go to the con in March in San Francisco, and she got to go to literally every other event that happened while he was at school. But apparently Mama felt bad for her (or more likely got tired of Ari’s bitching) because while Elliot and Dad were gone, she treated Ari to a week of spa days and took her to see a Broadway show. It was unbelievable how Ariana got prizes for being annoying when Elliot hadn’t even gotten detention last year (unless you counted the tapestry incident, which he didn’t, for obvious reasons). Meanwhile Ari had initiated a very stressful game of “hide the passports” that NO ONE had enjoyed, and she still got to go see Phantom. (Not to worry: he’d gotten her back.)
But all that was more or less okay once the trip finally started. They’d taken a plane because Dad’s company was paying for it. Compared with every magical mode of transport, planes were a terrible way to travel because they took for ev er and you just had to sit in the same spot, but at least they’d upgraded to business class, there was a TV in the back of the seat in front of Elliot, and there was some turbulence over the Pacific on the way there that made the whole plane shake, so that had been pretty cool. And Elliot got to try some new Nintendo games that hadn’t been released yet, and they went to some wild theme parks, and ate, like, so much sushi, so it had been a great way to round out the summer.
Now back at RMI for his fourth year, several inches taller and able to say “with wasabi, please” in Japanese, Elliot headed over to the Aquila bonfire and took a seat, waving at any of his friends he saw on the way (and glaring at the back of Kit’s fire-red head for good measure).
The opening speech was just about the same as always, with people clapping for first years and Head Students and Prefects. Elliot would be up for the badge next year, but he had no Prefectorial aspirations. According to Spiderman, great power was supposed to come with great responsibility, but it didn’t seem like Prefects had any great power to speak of, other than Super Narcing and The Ability To Destroy Fun in a Single Punishment. Then again, unless the staff awarded a fresh-off-the-Floo transfer a title, the race for Aquila Prefect would be between Elliot, Violet, and Gigi. Elliot could not think of a less-qualified batch of candidates. So he reckoned he had a 33.3% shot of getting it.
After the blah-blahiness of the speech, it was time for the best part of September 1st: RMI’s food. Elliot grabbed a bowl of ramen topped with an egg. Despite his vacation, Elliot had failed to master using chopsticks for any task except transporting a piece of sushi to his mouth, but the house elf serving the ramen only had chopsticks on his tray so Elliot would have to work with that. His opening move was to stab the egg so it leaked yolk out into the bowl. So far, so good.
“What’s up? Have a good summer?”
Elliot looked up from the delicate operation that was corralling his noodles to see one of the Fitz twins—they had practically the same name so it was hard to remember, but Elliot was pretty sure Jace was the one in Aquila. “Yeah, it was great,” he said. He didn’t want to sound like he was bragging, but he was also still pretty jazzed about the trip, so he said, “My dad got to go to Japan for a week for work and brought me with him, so we played a bunch of games and went sightseeing and stuff after the expo.”
It felt weird to then say what did you do this summer? like Jace should have something equally rad, so Elliot added as a segue, “And the rest of the summer was pretty chill too, a lot of gaming and prank wars with my little sister. She’s still mad, she’s probably going to try to send me a dungbomb in the mail or something.”