Stones

- September 30th, West Twins, Stonegrove Institute, Morning -

Kadison's slender figure stood from his desk amidst the silence shattered by scribbling pens. Around him the other students were still working, most seemed flustered or out of it. Slouched down in the seats with their identical attire. Like copies of one another.
His eyes wandered over the kids either focusing or ignoring the work. A head peeked over the dividers to throw a crumbled paper across the room at him, a cheeky grin following with pearly white teeth. Kadison tried ignoring Oliver as best he could when it hit his leg with a crinkle. He listened to his footsteps on the tiles as he laid the paper on his professor's desk who had been stuck in a book. He shot his friend a mocking grin being the first to complete. Oliver shook his head and went back to work.

This was one of their first important tests in their mathematics class. Kadison was a second year college student studying herbalism and botany.
At just sixteen, Oliver Bishop was a high achieving eleventh grader from the academy's lower floors which held the junior high and so on. He'd been interested in biology, specifically genetics. He made him self well versed in studying blood and often babbled on about his tests. The kid bounced all over but his brain was more than prepared. Recently an interest had sparked in immunology after reports of the plague had begun to spread and he was more than curious to study it. He was taking on a college schedule after exceeding in lower levels previously. But good gods was the kid determined. And rightly so.
Both boys were quite focused on schooling and education, making quiet change as much as possible with what they could. And both were sharp in mind as well as appearance.

Kadison's parents, Horace and Miranda Larcher, were keen on having their son be the perfect gentleman and their daughter be ladylike and appealing for older rich suitors. Basically good manners, proper language, and loyalty to Dusk were expected of the siblings. The son followed pretty well but the daughter, Fawn, strayed further away from what they wanted her to be every day. An unwed dancer stuck working a theater-- now closed with fear of falling into the outbreak --surrounded by freaks that the city chose to discard. Viewed for the entertainment of others like animals in a cage. Despite Horace's words, Kadison's best friend after Oliver was indeed his sister.

The tall boy removed his hat and ran a hand through his raven hair disrupting what his comb had done as he sat in the uncomfortable chair awaiting the others to finish. Kadison smoothed his blazer in a bored manner. He was still adjusting to the new environment; he'd transferred over from the East Twins Academy due to plans of expansion but also to be closer to his family and friends all located on the other side.
Stonegrove was one of four schools in the city that when compared to other academies it was slightly more affordable. Saving money was in his parent's best interest. Greedy bastards.
Being the lower quality of the educational bunch, the rules there were very flexible on anything except uniforms. Stonegrove students there often caused trouble and it wasn't surprising to be worse than petty theft or vandalism. The young man let out a sigh. It wasn't the best place to further his studies but being closer to home was much more pressing in his eyes. Still, he strove to better his thoughts and maybe he really was in the wrong place.

*****

- Afternoon -

"You mean to tell me I was wrong for trashing his essay?"

"You're going to get beaten up is all I'm saying," Kadison shot his short friend a look, they travelled down the stone steps almost in unison. "Jason is a tough guy and doesn't take too kindly to being beat." He stopped Oliver at the bottom with a hand to his chest, "Neither does his father who keep in mind runs this place. Powerful enemies aren't something you want. My father makes plenty and he was nearly killed right in his office."

"Yeah I know that, but he took the entire thing from me, word for word. And he turned it in early so I found it and burned it. What I get for lending it to him as an outline... but it was only fair. I crammed an entire month of studying into that!"

"How did you even get it?" A group of female students smiled at the two, Kadison tipped his hat as they passed with a smirk in return, Oliver ignoring them completely.

"And that is why people think you're an ass," Kadison retorted looking forward as they walked down the stone opposite the girls.

Oliver snapped his head around to look at the group, "Shit. I didn't even--," he shook his head briefly with closed eyes and caught up to his friend who'd gotten ahead, snickering. "Professor Gibson left the essays laying on his desk for the whole city to see," Oliver replied quickly and Kadison looked down at him with a questioning stare.

The brunette boy scoffed but grumbled after a moment, "I dug through his drawer when he was out for lunch, 'kay? He's slow and forgetful."

Kadison chuckled and called on a cab once they crossed the stone street, "Assuming you picked the lock yourself?"

"Yeah, actually. Why does he make the codes so difficult, or even use one in the first place? It's just tests from people who're stuck here and don't even try."

Kadison tossed the familiar driver a few crescents with a nod, "Bishop's Residence, please." He hopped into the carriage with his book bag over his shoulder, Oliver followed with his own and seated himself opposite.

"Right. It's not like people would walk in and tamper with them." Kadison's sonorous voice bounced off the carriage walls.

Oliver looked to him with a half serious glare. "Would you rather me get blamed for copying? If there's one thing they're hard-asses on it's cheating. You know I don't cheat."

"Look I doubt he'd be convinced that you copied from a guy with a likeness to that of a stone," Kadison eyed the small window on the door. "But that's just cruel," his dark eyes landed on his friend,
"to the stone."

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