The weird thing about winter break was that unlike summer break, it didn’t feel like much of a break. Not that Elliot didn’t have enough time to screw around and play video games (he’d one hundred percented the new Call of Duty on Veteran since getting home from the fall semester), but the Harper-Phippens were always doing things in the winter. There was Phippen Christmas, and there were a lot of relatives of varying degrees of actual-blood-relation on Mama’s side that they all visited at least once, and they did New Year’s Eve at the club like always and then whoosh Elliot was back at RMI. And because winter break didn’t have three sprawling sunlit months, Elliot had to cram all the fall release gaming into a few short weeks.
So he came back to school more sleep-deprived than most people, but stoked. Even though plenty of people had implied to him over the years that learning about something fun was still work, Elliot didn’t see it that way. Especially in potions, where you basically got to be a mad scientist for a few hours a week.
And hey bonus, today’s was kind of a Defense Against the Dark Arts lesson too. Elliot loved this kind of interdisciplinary shit. Plus they could maybe get a souvenir out of it. Rob was pretty chill about letting students take things they made in class that weren’t volatile. The class had gotten significantly less explosive since Kit wasn’t there anymore (although Kit herself had gotten way less explosive toward Elliot since he had been forced to save her life during Magizoobotany), but there were still some people who were not great at keeping their cauldrons intact.
It hadn’t occurred to Elliot to ingest the silver nitrate until Rob told them not to but as soon as he said it, the silver nitrate became a Forbidden Snack, like Tide Pods (forbidden fruit gushers) and pink insulation (forbidden cotton candy). Elliot desperately wanted to lick the silver nitrate. For some reason it reminded him of the Invisible ice cream that you could get at Finnigan’s Flavors, the one that tasted kind of like pennies and kind of like butter and kind of like violets all at once, and that you couldn’t see until it started to melt and left silver drips all down the side of your cone. Same energy. Elliot wasn’t going to eat the silver nitrate, mostly because he knew it was a bad idea and also because Rob would make fun of him forever, but it was very tempting as he collected his portion from the front of the room.
Now he just had to choose a mirror. He was torn between aesthetic and utility. There were a bunch of big antiquish mirrors that looked like they belonged in a wizard’s tower, but Elliot didn’t have a Bag of Holding and a Foe-Glass wouldn’t be useful if you couldn’t just carry it around with you. There were some tiny little compacts, but they didn’t look very wizardy. Same for the little mirror on the strap that looked like it could be a watch. Elliot didn’t wear watches. He didn’t care what time it was. In the real world he always had his phone with him anyway. What would be practical but still cool?
Spotting the answer, Elliot reached for it. Then he bumped into Dakota Farnon and his brain stopped working. She was gorgeous and also ridiculously talented and he barely managed to get out a “No, sorry, my bad” an appropriate amount of time after crashing into her.
At her comment, Elliot glanced self-consciously at the mirrored sunglasses he had picked up. “What? They’re functional,” he fumbled. “You think I should pick something else?”