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Higher Education

Discussion in 'Realistic' started by othyrworld, Nov 18, 2018.

  1. othyrworld

    othyrworld Abyssus Abyssum Invocat

    It had only been an hour and Levi was already done with college. While he couldn't say he'd willingly finish all the work he and Flora had put into sending out applications and letter and scraping to get scholarships down the toilet by never finding his dorm and driving off into the sunset, he could say he wasn't liking his experience here so far. He was lost. Utterly and completely lost. And sure, this might've been his fault- he had forgotten to pick up a map of the campus at check in- but that didn't mean he wasn't pissed about it.

    The dorms remained elusive, even after forty-five minutes of searching. Even after an hour of searching. When Levi finally found his damn dorm, he nearly cried in relief. Of course, he still had to unpack all his shit. With no help. While disturbing his roommate, who had probably already moved in and made himself comfortable. At least beds and desks were already provided so he didn't need to go through the hassle of setting up furniture.

    He grabbed his two biggest bags and walked inside, praying that his roommate would be out or come in later than Levi had even as he braced for angry questions and confusion.
  2. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    Winston didn't know what to think of college yet. He'd studied and researched this damn place from afar since the moment he'd decided NYU's offer was the best scholarship he was going to get, but as anyone wise enough to know will tell you, research and experience are two entirely different things.

    He'd found his room assignment with little issue (thanks to said research), and despite having to share the room with a total stranger he could deal with the size, but the air here felt... heavy. Like it was weighted with the expectations placed on him just by being here. Madi would have spouted something about the ghosts of old students and given him a bunch of rocks to put around the doors, but she wasn't able to do that from 150 miles away. He had to deal with this place on his own, and hope his sisters could hold the fort without him...

    He'd just barely finished unpacking his (addmittedly minimal) belongings by the time the front door's lock jiggled, the sudden noise causing his hand to go straight for the switchblade in his jacket pocket. He was not ashamed of its presence, especially not in an unfamiliar environment, but he did keep it closed and hidden in his hand until absolutely necessary. Just in case. And this decision was proven wise when the person at the door (some white guy taller than Clarisse) came in with armfuls of luggage and the air of someone even less sure than himself that they were going to enjoy their experience here.

    "Am I safe in assuming you're my roommate?" He asked the man, just to confirm. He did look a little old to be rooming with a college freshman...
  3. othyrworld

    othyrworld Abyssus Abyssum Invocat

    Levi stood up suddenly, relaxed posture going ramrod straight when he heard Winston's voice. The canvas bags creaked in his newly tightened grip. It was just his roommate. Just the person who had asked him a question and was expecting him to say something back. In a split second, he let his shoulders sag again and attempted to answer before his roommate labeled him completely incompetent. "Yes." Should he elaborate? He didn't like talking very much, but he remembered someone had told him to try and make a good impression on his roommate. "Uh... I am. I'm Levi. Nice to meet you."

    His roommate was tiny. That was the first thing Levi realized when he actually took him in. That he could probably fling the kid over his shoulder and carry him around, even though he'd never do that. He shook his head slightly, clearing the random invasive thoughts from his head and setting his bags down on the empty bed. Should he unpack or go back to the car and grab the rest of his stuff? Wait, he shouldn't leave while his roommate was talking to him. Right? Or was the conversation over now that he'd introduced himself? The best idea would just be to wait and see if his roommate had anything else to say.
    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
  4. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    Nervous wreck. That was the first impression Winston's roommate had left on him. The man was a nervous wreck, despite all outward factors indicating he had little reason to be. Winston wasn't complaining, it meant the wall of muscle would likely not bother him too much. A blessing in disguise? Maybe just a blessing.

    The man had found enough courage (or perhaps just courtesy) to at least introduce himself after confirming his status. Levi. Short name, easy enough to remember. No extra formalities or nicknames or anything of the like, just a name and a 'nice to meet you'. Which meant a returning pleasantry was in order, but compared to what could have been, he'd take that easily.

    "Winston." He replied to the greeting, starting with his name so the still-potentially-unpleasant individual would not get a chance to poke fun at it. "Likewise."

    Hoping and implying the conversation would end there, Winston pulled his laptop out of its bag (the machine only a few years older than the norm) and set it on the desk nearest the bed that was already made. He'd just taken his black bedding from home, none of his belongings too personalized or decipherable. He was here for a law degree, not an interior design degree. But with that thought, he opened up his laptop to check his class schedule for what may be the hundredth time today, and the millionth since he'd recieved it. If he couldn't get ahead on taking the classes, then he would at least make damn sure he knew what to prepare for.
  5. othyrworld

    othyrworld Abyssus Abyssum Invocat

    Levi nodded and then realized that Winston wasn't looking at him anymore. It looked like the conversation was over. Thank god. In the back of his mind, he'd been dreading having to answer someone's questions and deal with someone trying to buddy up to him only to inevitably realize he was nobody special and stop paying attention. When people didn't pay attention from the get-go, things went so much more smoothly. Levi got to avoid hurting peoples feelings and people didn't need to put effort into a relationship that would probably fail.

    He jolted himself out of his thoughts when he remembered that he needed to grab the rest of his stuff. Right. The things going on in his head weren't as important as the things that he needed to do. Even if the things going on in his head always managed to suck him in. And there he went again, thinking useless things instead of doing what he had to.

    It was hotter outside than ever once he finally made his way outside and down to the car. Three more bags, all much smaller than the two he'd brought in first. Carrying them upstairs was easy. Soon he was unpacking his shit, wrangling sheets and blankets onto the bed, and squirreling away his toiletries. His notebooks, electronics, and charge cords were all put away in the desk. Now what was he supposed to do? There weren't any classes today, so should he hang around the dorm? Or would Winston want him to leave?
  6. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    Winston mostly ignored his roommate's unpacking exploits, though he did spare the man an occasional glance and get further out of the way if more space was required. There wasn't much for him to do in this time, there was only so much screwing around he was willing to do on his computer and Levi never really seemed to need any help that wouldn't be considered overstepping. So he just stayed out of the way, until Levi looked to be finished with his work and he could finally stand back up.

    His first move was to grab his keys (dorm key freshly attached to the set), and his next... he was probably going to regret this, but there were more pros than cons to at least attempting to be nice to this guy.

    "I'm going to get a better look around campus." He told Levi as he walked to the door, voice even and intentionally unemotional. "You're welcome to come along, or stay. I don't particularly care."
  7. othyrworld

    othyrworld Abyssus Abyssum Invocat

    Levi wanted to go as soon as he heard the proposition, immediately latching onto the barest hint of a plan for the day. He didn't want to piss off Winston, but he also knew that he'd sit on the bed and wait until 7- when he was supposed to video chat with Flora- if he didn't go out and do something. Besides, Winston wouldn't have invited him along if he didn't want him to be there. Well... he wouldn't have invited him along unless he felt it would benefit him somehow. Winston didn't seem the type to make friends with random strangers.

    "I'll come." As soon as the words were in the open and out of his head, he wanted to take them back. questions flew through his head at lightning speed and he did his very best to brush them off. He said yes, he wasn't going to go back on what he'd said at risk of looking like an absolute idiot, and there was no point in doubting himself. Ever since he'd left his father's house, he had been uncertain. It was for the best- there was no denying that- but he still missed it. Knowing what to do.
  8. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    ...Honestly, Winston was kind of surprised Levi had agreed. The guy had no reason to, except maybe to stave off boredom, yet he had just a hint of desperation in his immediacy in agreeing...

    Well, it wasn't any of his business why the giant wallflower had decided to come along on the world's most pathetic 'adventure'. They'd both dug their graves, now they both would lie in them.

    "Alright." Was all he said in response to Levi's decision, the slightest of shrugs on his shoulders as he turned to open the door. "Come on."
  9. othyrworld

    othyrworld Abyssus Abyssum Invocat

    How much of campus would they cover? While Levi didn't have a map, he did have a few blurry memories of himself and Flora pouring over a pdf of NYU campus. From what he remembered, there was a central area with 30 or so buildings and the rest of the buildings were scattered around a small part of the city. Were they going to try and visit all the buildings, or just check out the main campus?

    He followed Winston out the door, keeping all his questions firmly inside his head. No need to bother someone who didn't seem to care about what he thought. It would only make things uncomfortable.
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  10. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    If Levi wanted to take a peek at Winston's phone, which he'd pulled out as soon as they'd exited the building, he would see not a map, but a class schedule. Winston's entire plan was literally just to map out the travelling routes to each of his classes so he wouldn't chance being late when the classes actually started. He wasn't about to say that out loud, but it might end up becoming obvious if Levi had any deduction skills worth his height.

    That was actually half the reason Winston had even invited him. He wasn't really expecting to get jumped his first day on campus, but if anyone were even to think about maliciously approaching the guy who was well-aware of how nonthreatening he looked (he still resented that one time he was compared to a K-Pop performer), those parties would think twice upon seeing the much more threatening person in his wake. And it only took one sighting for rumors to spread, so he would hopefully be set for at least a semester.

    Call it cruel if you want, but Winston considered it survival. Upon checking between two tabs on his phone (one of which being the PDF of the campus map), he realized the first building on his list was not too far to walk, so he started heading in that direction.
  11. othyrworld

    othyrworld Abyssus Abyssum Invocat

    Levi plodded along behind Winston, taking in things that might serve as workable landmarks in case he needed to come back here later. Winston was messing around on his phone, fiddling between two tabs and Levi realized he had left his at home. Fuck. What if something happened and someone tried to reach him and he couldn't be there? What if Elowan got in another fight and needed him to pick her up? What if something happened between Flora and Sequoia and he needed to be there to support her? He was being ridiculous, some part of him knew that, but a larger part of him was paralyzed with fear. He needed to be prepared in case something happened and without his phone, he couldn't.

    But he also couldn't stop Winston in his tracks. After all, he had agreed to come out here and walk around. What kind of impression would it make if he sprinted back towards the dorms just to grab his phone? They probably wouldn't be gone long anyways. Yet most of his brain was panicking, running through every single worst case scenario it could generate. Levi swallowed, mentally smacked himself across the face, and kept moving. And if he were moving a bit more slowly, tossing cautious glances over his shoulder every few minutes because WHAT IF SOMETHING HAPPENED, that was nobody's business.

    He needed a distraction. To keep himself from fraying at the edges until he collapsed. Surely asking what building they were going to couldn't hurt. "Where are we going?"
  12. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    "Vanderbilt Hall." Winston replied, hardly looking at Levi as he started memorizing his route. The guy looked nervous, but by this point Winston was just learning to expect that. If Levi had a legitimate issue, he would hopefully be reasonable enough to speak up or take care of it. If not, then that really wasn't Winston't problem. Whether 'that' was having a legitimate issue, or being reasonable about said issue, the statement applied either way.

    Back to business, Vanderbilt Hall definitely seemed within walking range. They'd only been walking for a few minutes and were halfway there. Some of these other classes, however, may end up requiring his bike. A waste of gas in his opinion, but that was what he got for attending a larger college. Making it over 3 miles in fifteen minutes? Yeah, no. He wasn't Clarisse. But he didn't have to rush right now, so he could at least save gas today. Only thing he really had to worry about was how long Levi was willing to walk, but he could worry about that when it was reasonable to do so.
  13. othyrworld

    othyrworld Abyssus Abyssum Invocat

    Vanderbilt hall. Levi let that soak around in his mind above the litany of unanswered questions and frightening hypotheticals. It sounded fancy, but everything at this school seemed fancy from the sparely decorated dorms to the towering buildings. Everything at this college seemed bigger and more modern, but that was probably New York's influance creeping in.

    The fact that he was in New York of all places was incredible and terrifying all at once. There was an air of success in New York, even though it was similar to every other city Levi had lived in. This was the big apple. This was where artists and fashion designers made their big debuts. This was the heart of American culture. This was a place a hundred miles away from any Levi had ever known, and three thousand miles away from Flora. A place whose crime rate was three times higher than he was used to. A place where street muggings were common.

    That thought fed his paranoia even more. What if he and Winston got separated and Levi needed to call the cops? That situation was highly unlikely- Levi had been in the army damn it, he knew how to take care of anyone who wanted to hurt him- but it still filled him with dread. He checked behind him one last time- making sure nothing bad was going on- when he caught sight of a seedy looking guy.

    It shouldn't have been a big deal- New York was full of weird looking people- but something niggled in his gut. Something about this guy wasn't quite right. A block later, he checked behind him again and sure enough: there was the guy. His oversized green parka hid most of his torso, and the upturned hood prevented anyone from catching a glimpse of his face. Shit. What could he want? "Hey Winston, look behind me."
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2018
  14. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    They'd almost made it to the hall by the time something inevitably went wrong. Because of course something had to go wrong, Winston was surprised it took this long.

    He fought the shiver that went down his spine when Levi spoke up, sensing the warning under the casual prompt, and fought the urge to stop or even slow his walking. The only thing he didn't fight was the hand that reached right back for his switchblade, as he turned his head over his shoulder with a short hum to oblige Levi's request.

    ...Okay, who the fuck wore a parka in August?! Someone whose attention Winston did not want to cultivate. He turned back to face forward with a slow inhale, so he could keep his voice even as he said "If you don't know whoever that is, I will be forced to take action. Please tell me you know who they are."
  15. othyrworld

    othyrworld Abyssus Abyssum Invocat

    Levi picked up the pace a bit, urging Winston to follow suit with a muttered 'move faster'. While he didn't know how skilled Winston was at fighting off creepy strangers, he could assume the answer was 'not very'. The guy following them moved with the kind of reckless abandon Levi had seen on the face of his mother before she moved away. Intense need for something. And no amount of self-defense classes could prepare you for getting accosted by somebody on the street.

    "I don't. Don't fight him, keep moving. We're almost there." If they got inside the hall, they were much more likely to be left alone. Witnesses were more likely to be hanging around and there were better places to hide from this guy. Even if he hung around, they could call 911 and get the situation handled.
  16. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    Winston reluctantly took Levi's first piece of advice, keeping pace with the taller man as best he could. Even though it forced him into an awkward half-jog because goddamnit not everyone had tree trunks for legs. But despite that fact he still tried to keep their appearance as casual as he could. His 'new friend' was just 'in a rush to get inside', nothing to make the shadowed parka man suspicious.

    When Levi tried to dissuade him from fighting said parka man, he could not even stop himself from rolling his eyes despite how little the overall situation called for it. Really? This guy thought he was that stupid? The knife was a last resort, if anything! By 'taking action' he'd meant thinking up an escape plan! Which he was still doing, by the way. If Levi's plan was to get inside, then he could simply get out through a back entrance, go a couple more blocks to give the guy the slip, hide in an indiscriminate spot for a few hours, and return to the dorms to resume his tour another day, once he was sure he wasn't being stalked.

    That started with getting inside Vanderbilt Hall, which was thankfully not difficult despite classes not starting for another several days.
  17. othyrworld

    othyrworld Abyssus Abyssum Invocat

    Parka guy didn't seem put off by their fast pace, he simply increased his stride to match. That wasn't ideal. Actually, nothing about this situation was ideal, but Levi didn't need to dwell on that right now. It was easy to get inside the hall, which was depressingly empty, and hurry to the back. He slowed down slightly when they got inside the building, letting Winston stop jogging to keep up with him if he wanted to. The guy loitered outside for a few minutes- probably weighing the pros and cons of entering the building- giving everyone some time to think.

    Unfortunately, Levi's brain was being its usual unhelpful self. He didn't know what they should do or where they should go now that they were inside the building. Getting inside had kind of been where his weird little plan ended, and now that they were inside he had no idea what they should do. Hopefully, Winston would be a little more forward thinking. "What should we do?"
  18. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    "Come on." Winston didn't hesitate to reply, his skin already itching from the pause they'd already taken. Bringing Levi along in his escape wasn't exactly part of his plan, but the guy had clearly pegged them as a duo and (curse whatever drops of blood his heart hadn't bled out yet) he wasn't about to leave someone that desperate out in the cold.

    So he grabbed Levi by the sleeve and started dragging him through some hallways. As soon as he was sure he would still be followed if he let go, he did, and kept moving until he found the most nondescript door to outside he could manage. Once they were through that, he didn't stop, eyes on as many of his surroundings as they could possibly take in. They needed to be out of that guy's sight, and stay that way.
  19. othyrworld

    othyrworld Abyssus Abyssum Invocat

    Levi followed Winston without question, staying a few feet behind him at all times as he searched the surrounding area for the guy in the parka. They seemed to have left him behind in the building, but Levi wasn't going to calm down until he felt reasonably safe. The encounter sent strange little shivers down his spine, though he had a hard time pinpointing why. Was it the fact that he had no reason to chase them? Was it the fact that he was wearing a gigantic parka in the middle of summer? Or was it the fact that Dagger seemed to know what to do in this situation?

    He didn't know, and he wasn't going to explore the questions. Winston had helped him out, and now he needed to pay back that favor somehow. Once they were out of danger of course. And only if Winston didn't seem too opposed to it. Winston didn't seem like the kind of person who'd like some stranger giving him a random gift or owing him a life debt or something cheesy like that. Right now, he should just ask what they were doing next. "Back to the dorms?"
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  20. TatlTails

    TatlTails They Can't Order Me To Stop Dreaming

    "No." Winston replied, his voice low but still filled to the brim with scorn. He didn't stop moving, but he turned just for a moment to look at Levi and continue speaking. "Not yet. Not until we're sure we're in the clear. The last thing we want is to telegraph to a stalker where we both live. We'll keep going, find somewhere nondescript, blend into the crowd, then go back in another hour or so."

    He was probably saying too much by this point. He was saying way too much, but as tall and old as this stranger was, he needed the help. Winston did not by any means have a hero complex, but he had spent a long time looking after people younger and less... cunning... than himself. Near-parental instincts were a bitch to kill when adrenaline kicked in, especially when someone was as accepting of aid as this Levi had been. Didn't mean he was trustworthy, but it meant he was easier to let one's guard down around. Bad idea, that was always a bad idea...

    "After that, you can do whatever you want. Call the police or whatever, I don't particularly care. Just leave me out of it."

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