For the first time in his young life, Dmitry had a roommate.
That didn’t have to be a bad thing. His mother had told him stories from when she and Aunt Ika were roommates together at RMI, and though she had never used the phrase ‘best friend’ it was obvious that they were, or at least good enough friends for Aunt Ika to be his aunt without being related. Dmitry had never really had a best friend before, so this could be a good opportunity for him.
However, he wasn’t sure what he thought about Nathan yet. They had met on the walk over to Cetus House, and had more time to talk after Professor Mikkindy finished the tour. He seemed nice and had returned Dmitry’s formal introduction with an explanation that he was American but his family was Greek, which Dmitry had appreciated. As their conversation went on he realized that, strangely, Nathan seemed to know a lot about Greek culture but didn’t actually speak Greek. Of course he was polite when he asked why not, and the other boy didn’t seem to mind the question, but then when Nathan casually said “so I guess ya probably speak Russian since you live there?” and Dmitry corrected him that he spoke Russian, Ukrainian, and Mandarin, Nathan had gone quiet and evasive, sort of like when his sister Nadia was mad about something she thought was his fault.
They hadn’t talked for the rest of that first night and he still had no idea why. All he knew for sure was that being silent didn’t make it any less awkward to try falling asleep with another person in the room. Even with the curtains on the four-poster bed drawn shut for privacy and his streeler Artem casting a faint purple glow inside, it had taken Dmitry ages to fall asleep. (True, his body still thought it was daytime in Vladivostok, but normally he could make himself fall asleep even when he wasn’t tired, so that couldn’t be a huge impact.)
This morning he had overslept and Nathan was already gone when he woke up, so he dressed alone - no traditional clothes today; just a standard button-down shirt, trousers, and navy blue blazer under his school robes - packed his school bag, and went for a quick breakfast. He ate alone, not hungry for much more than yogurt, before hurrying behind a group of other younger students to their first class of the day. Seeing a familiar face as their professor today was reassuring, as was the realization that despite oversleeping there were still students arriving even later than he had, and Dmitry assessed the open seats for a moment before taking one in the middle of the room.
Following along as best as he could with Professor Mikkindy’s description of wands, the brown-haired boy diligently took notes - in Russian, as it came easiest to him. Translating so quickly was difficult and his notes weren’t the most detailed, but they got the point across. The whole thing about how what a wand was made of could affect how well you did different types of magic was something Dmitry had heard from one of his tutors before, but it had been presented to him as a myth and that all magic was easy with the right training. Professor Mikkindy was sort of saying that, but also saying wands still mattered anyways. Huh.
Turning to the student beside him, Dmitry offered a smile. He hadn’t met this student before, so rattled off his usual introduction. “Hallo, my name is Dmitry, of da Ukrainian Kovalchuk and Russian Rojkovsky families. Do you want to be being partners today?” Once the other student had given some sort of agreement, he pulled out a fresh sheet of parchment, but didn’t make a move to start writing anything about himself. He was still struggling with what Professor Mikkindy had said and after a moment he asked his new partner, “Do you agree that wands have a big part in doing magic? To me it sounds... fake. Many people are not even needing wands to be doing magic.” Both of his parents could do all sorts of things only by speaking a word, and sometimes stayed completely silent. Dmitry couldn’t remember the last time he saw either of them carrying their wand around.