Mika Barton's roommate had been found dead last night. It's what the entire boarding school was talking about that day. This had been the third murder in the area that year and the first boy to ever reportedly die on the premises of St.James Academy. The worst part about the whole situation was that it was his roommate who was dead. Not that Mika had ever especially liked or cared about Jacob Shaw to begin with. The issue was that due to this event a new spotlight at the all boys school had fallen directly to him and suddenly people kept coming to him with questions as if he and the poor dearly deceased Jacob had been best pals.
Ah, and speak of the devil.
A swarm of second years suddenly flooded him. Honestly, if Jacob wanted to go off and die couldn't he have gone about it at least slightly less dramatically?
"Mika, did you see Jacob before he turned up dead?"
"Did Jacob ever say he was seeing anyone? Maybe he had a lover! Maybe his lover is the Wakefield ripper!"
"C'mon Mika, he must have dropped some hints to where he was going last night."
"Well I think I have been dropping hints that I don't want to talk with any of you." He glared at them, his grip tightening on the book he had been trying to read.
"Come on, aren't you a little nervous the killer might be coming for you next?"
Mika shook his head, frowning. "That's absolutely absurd. Seriously, you're all idiots for caring about this so obsessively. We don't even know if he was really murdered. It could have just been an accident."
One of the second years rolled his eyes. "Accident my ass. I heard about how mangled the body was from Charlie, it was missing its eyes! It was the Wakefield ripper for sure!"
Charlie had been spreading rumors about Jacob's death? Mika made a mental note to yell at him later.
"Suuuure it was. Now would you all please leave me the fuck alone?"
"God you're such an ass...oh shit." The second years gaze caught on a figure coming towards them. "It's Mister Keeley, let's go."
Oh great, just what he needed, Raymond Keeley, a new history teacher at St.James and honestly one of the most annoying people Mika had ever met, which was saying a lot. He was...peculiar to say the least. He was young, so much so that Mika had assumed he must have had some sort of connection with the school to get a job so quickly. Mister Keeley had a tendency to creep some of the younger students out. His skin was pasty white and his black hair was always ruffled leaving the students to wonder if his hairs dishevelment had been meticulously placed that way. He always had bags under his pale blue eyes and had a rather strange habit of popping up out of nowhere. His large black coat fluttered behind him now as he made his way toward Mika like he was some horrendous overgrown spider.
"Mister Barton, a word please." He rolled the r in Barton. Who the hell did that?
"The headmaster has requested your presence in his office. I trust this is not an inconvenience to you?"
"Wonderful, hehehe, fantastic!" Mister Keeley smiled. That was another thing that was creepy about him. He tended to smile a lot but it was always a little too wide and all in the mouth, never the eyes. Mika smothered the small shiver threatening to creep up his spine at interaction.
As Mika made his way to the headmaster's office his shoulders sagged. Whatever reason he was being called here for it couldn't be good. He either was about to be forced to talk about the unfortunate demise of Jacob Shaw for God knows how long or the school had finally found out about that copy of Hérode et Mariamne Mika had borrowed from the library indefinitely.
When Mika was finally called into headmaster Kane's office to his surprise he saw a boy standing beside him. The boy was dressed in the St. James uniform but Mika was sure he had never seen him before. He would have remembered someone like that. The boy was short and scrawny with light blond hair that puffed up like it was the head of a dead milkweed. He wore large round glasses that were much too big for his face and a dusting of light freckles brushed across his pointed nose.
Headmaster Kane stood up. "I want you to meet our new student. His name is Andreis Emsworth. He's going to be your new roommate. I thought you could show him around the school."
Christ, this boy was an Emsworth? St. James was filled with rich boys from wealthy families and notable lineages but even to them an Emsworth was loaded. That meant this boy was the worst of the worst. Mika assumed he had everything handed to him on a silver platter.
Mika already hated him.
Andreis stepped forward offering his hand and Mika shook it reluctantly. "I'm Mika Barton. It's nice to meet you." That was a lie, it was most certainly not nice to meet Andreis goddamn Emsworth.
The headmaster nodded. "I'll leave you two to it."
"Let's go to the dorms first," Mika said curtly before turning to the door. He walked briskly, forcing Andreis to catch up to him.
"Mika? Is that Russian?"
Oh great, he wanted to have a conversation with him. Maybe if he was rude off the bat the brat would leave him alone the rest of their time together.
"Yes, my father was English, my mother was his mistress, a Russian whore. I'm his only living son though so...he makes do."
Andreis clearly hadn't expected that answer. "Oh."
They arrived at the room and Mika opened the door ushering Andreis inside. All of Mika's things had been meticulously arranged around the room. He noted with dismay that while he was out the boy's things had already been set up. God he better not be messy.
"That's your bed." He pointed to it. "I'm just going to tell you this now before you hear it from anybody else. The boy who used to sleep there's name was Jacob Shaw, he was found dead last night."
Andreis's eyes widened. "What?"
"Yeah, they found his body inside the school's Cathedral. I never saw the corpse so don't ask me about it. Charlie Hawkins found it but he seems to be exaggerating the initial story already so I would take anything that comes out of his mouth with a grain of salt." He gestured to the room. "As long as you don't bother me too much and you don't completely remain in a state of desuetude when it comes to cleaning up around here there shouldn't be a problem." He suddenly noticed that the Emsworth boy was staring. "I'm sorry? I didn't realize my face was the next exhibit at the natural goddam history museum."
Andreis immediately dropped his gaze to the floor. "I'm sorry it's just...your eyes are very green."
Oh Jesus fucking Christ he was a freak.
"And that interests you, why?"
The boy shook his head. "No reason. I was just trying to be nice."
"That's not called being nice. That's called being a freaking weirdo."
"Are you going to show me around the rest of the school?"
"Figure it out yourself," Mika retorted, grabbing for his book.
"But you told the headmaster you would show me around."
Andreis looked slightly ruffled for a moment but then he slowly bowed his head. "I understand. I'll look around the school a bit myself. Thank you for showing me our room." Then he turned and left. Mika watched him exit before he plopped down onto his bed and flipped open his book.
Maybe if Mika hadn't let Andries Emsworth walk out of the room alone that day a year from now the boy might still be breathing.