In previous summers Eugene had taken up a collection of artistic hobbies from pottery to macaroni art and even food sculptures, but these had all been thought 'too messy' by his guardians so this summer he had decided to keep things simple and committed to completing a series of portraits using some watercolours he'd got last winter. He was so pleased with the results he had decided to make gifts of them to their unknowing subjects: his friends. Joey, Tycho, and Sadie, had all been chosen, and so had the entire McKindy-Tennant clan, but it was Elliot’s portrait he was most proud of, and it was incredibly satisfying to know the hours spent staring at Elliot’s face had totally paid off. He arrived at RMI with the portraits rolled up under his arm and a huge grin across his face.
As he bounded around the room giving brief hugs of greeting he made sure to pass out the portraits, before finding a spot at the Lyra bonfire so he could catch up with a few of his house mates. He hadn't really written to anyone over the break but he had sent Joey and Elliot envelopes stuffed with pressed flowers (and the occasional leaf) to let them know he was still alive even if the flowers weren't. Although there had been a few near misses, including an incident with some fireworks and an attempt at cooking roast chicken that had got a little heated, Eugene had come out of summer mostly unscathed and he hoped that the school year would treat him as well, but he had his doubts.
One of the best parts about RMI ( other than the magic weather and all the kissing you got to do there ) was the absence of the meanest person Eugene had ever known - his little sister, Elisa. Elisa was always looking for ways to make Eugene cry and that wasn't something he wanted to bring to school with him, but his mom had been the opposite of understanding. Apparently it was important for Elisa to get a 'proper' education and that as her older brother he was supposed to look out for her. Eugene did not need to be told - ever since the first egg hit his head Eugene had been on the lookout for Elisa. Luckily, Eugene had grown even taller over the summer and was now inching towards 5'9, most of his old clothes no longer fit so he'd had to stitch purple pansies down the right leg of a pair of Leo's old jeans just too feel cheerful enough to get dressed, but at least it gave him a higher vantage point for spotting nefarious activity. And judging by the events of last term there was a lot worse than Elisa and a carton of eggs sneaking around RMI's hallways.
Headmaster Toby must have realised this too because he had smartly chosen Eugene to be one of the fifty year prefects. It was so exciting to have a shiny badge to signify his maturity and total commitment to keeping Drew and his family safe from Kit, and Eugene’s chest puffed out with pride as he pinned it to his white t-shirt, and accepted the honour with a shout of celebration. He was glad he had chosen to encircle his lower lid with sparkly gold eyeliner feeling it went well with his new accessory, and even happier he had discovered mascara because it served as a reminder not to get too emotional. Eugene did not normally get chosen for positions of authority but that he had, he decided he liked the feeling of being part of a team whose goal was to improve happiness and decided to ask the house elves to help him arrange a gift basket of pastries for his fellow Lyra's so they might start their first morning back with a cosy fireside breakfast faaar away from people like Elisa - who would thankfully not be following him into the creative house. Eugene sprinted back to the Lyra fire and plonked himself beside Tycho with very little grace.
“Hey Tycho,” Eugene said brightly, not yet having had the chance to speak to his roommate, and made a point of puffing his chest out some more. “Isn’t this awesome? I’m not really sure what a prefect does but I know it’s going to be super fun. Like do you think we get to plan parties and stuff? I’ve always wanted to throw a party with water balloons, but my mom never let me. I think it’s ‘cause of that one time we filled the bath with washing detergent. She did not like that.”
He jumped, suddenly, remembering Tycho’s present was still trapped under his arm. “Oh, hey, I made you something,” he said, passing the portrait over to the other boy with a dimpled smile.