'All in all, you're just another brick in the wall.' -Pink Floyd, 'Another Brick in the Wall, Part Two.'
At the Bronx Magical Institute, things seem anything but magical. One girl rises above the terrible mundane.
Categories: Dark/Angsty Fics Characters:
Abuse, Self Injury, Substance Abuse
This is an idea that popped up for the March/April Monthly Challenge at The Three Broomsticks that I just had to write. That being said, thanks to my speedy and helpful beta Melissa/solemnlyswear_x. Shout out to my parents for complying with Operation Burrow and to Phil for bringing it into fruition. Also, if the real Jamie reads this, she should realise what I'm trying to scream at her.
Lots of thanks this time. Let the curtain rise.
1. The Bronx Magical Institute by Stubbornly_appeared
The Bronx Magical Institute by Stubbornly_appeared
Bronx Magical Institute
The bell rings, and another day begins. Boys shove their brooms into their lockers and girls dab on their last bits of make-up as their mirrors assure them they look fabulous. A few latecomers appear with a 'pop,' startling others into dropping their papers. Feet clack. All in all, a normal hallway: people rush and push past each other in a desperate bid to get to class before they are pronounced late.
Once you get into the classroom, the differences begin to show. You would come in and think it was a chemistry lab, but these students come in and it is the Potions room. Test tubes are heated over Bunsen burners lit with wands, while textbooks are rifled through. The teacher finally ambles in and they murmur hellos. Pledges are said to various flags (nobody really says them, though, only reciting), announcements are read (same old things), and the announcer rambles on about things nobody cares about (who gives a shit about the charity drive?).
The lesson begins.
'Raise your hand when you speak, Matthew.'
'Wand away, Tessa!'
And then a student might raise his hand politely and ask with a pretty-please if he could go to the bathroom. The teacher says yes, of course he can, if he takes the hall pass and doesn't dawdle.
Sweet little Stevie goes to the bathroom and snorts some 'Flew' with his pals. Their laughter rings in the stalls; echoes bounce where no one listens. Later, in a few months, his parents will notice the greenish pallor on his skin and the greenish powder in his pockets. Stevie will be reprimanded. He will speak to councilors who will ask why-why-why. He might even be removed from school for a few days. But eventually, he will return to his bathroom.
Back in class, Jenna just wants to learn. She really tries to listen in the front row. It's loud, though, and Tisha keeps asking her to pass a note to Tessa, while Nate pokes her with his pen. Diligently, she takes her notes on the latest draught that they can't brew until next week. Even then, she will share a cauldron with five others. Jenna needs some place better. Her parents tried to send her to Lancaster, but she wasn't old enough yet and they needed the money for her brother's graduate academy. He wants to be a Healer, and their father always wanted his son to succeed.
The teacher is nervous. He's afraid that Andrew will get that knife they used in the last lab again and cut himself. He's terrified that the students can see the sweat patches under his armpits. He's worried that his pay will be cut for the third time. Even still, he tries to teach: when he was young and fresh into the system he always said it was his passion, and deep in him, he knows it still is.
A voice crackles over the intercom like a bandage being ripped off tender skin. Everyone jerks up, waiting for the latest felony to be announced or the occasional award or rare treat. But wait- just snow. Early release. A reward, definitely.
'Well, class, it seems that I won't give you any homework tonight. Go, have fun in the snow,' Mr. Teacher says brightly, the nervousness not in his voice for once. He glances out the window hopefully; no grading tomorrow means he won't have to put off his date.
Everyone cheers. One girl doesn't. She's going home, and home is the place she doesn't want to be. As she puts her books into her bag, a small smile creeps onto her face and then vanishes again. Jamie's remembered she has try-outs for the school play this afternoon.
The bell rings.
Mr. Teacher turns on the spot, disappearing. Obviously, he's not sticking around longer than he has to. A boy rushes across the room. Rummaging in his pocket, he pulls out a wand and takes a frog out of his backpack.
'Got it, Lysander?'
Leaning back still in his desk, a boy in sunglasses and wearing the latest from Area 52 nods.
'Yeah, I got it here.' He digs in his own bag, taking out a small bottle. 'Here it is.'
Jamie leaves the room as they put the frog into the drawer and add the potion. She brushes past Jenna who gives her a little thumbs-up. She gives a glance to Andrew and Steevie but turns away like a ballerina- she's on pointe. Her flyer for the audition falls out of the pocket of her jacket. Matthew's about to light it on fire before Tessa winks at him and he hands it over grudgingly. Jamie nods, continuing on.
The books are shoved in her locker carelessly. Oh, what her father would think. Jamie shudders. Don't think of Daddy, her mind whispers. Daddy sends her to this nice school so she can learn to be a proper witch. Daddy only does the best for her. She takes a deep breath, sighing at her reflection in her tiny cracked mirror, tucking her hair into place. Gently, Jamie closes her locker (locking it tight) and walks to the gym.
She thinks that her heart skips a million beats as she walks to the door. In line, her eyes screwed up shut, she remembers the words to her song, murmuring them under her breath like a prayer. Everyone who goes before her is better. Jamie knows this because they aren't her: she will never be the best. That's what Daddy says. Jamie closes her eyes and dreams a little, picturing herself the queen of the stage, a Veela. A beautiful enchantress, like her mother. A star.
'Silencio!' Shrilly, the cry rings out in the hall. Jamie clutches at her throat, crying out silently in protest. A girl snickers.
Her nose is upturned, eyes rolling. 'That's what you get for thinking you could win, missy prissy. Retarded, slutty twit who can't even afford clothes, if you ask me,' Amanda spits. Her boyfriend on her arm laughs like a sheep. Jamie hears the bah-bah-bah. Fine wool, indeed. A wolf in sheep's clothing, more like.
The boyfriend flicks his wand and she flips upside down into the air. She grabs at her worn skirt, holding it up. Her jacket flies down over her head, the contents of her pockets raining onto the ground and tinkling on the spotty linoleum.
'What's going on here?' Mrs. Disciplinarian calls. The boyfriend swears and drops her hard. Amanda and him rush off.
Mrs. Disciplinarian rounds the corner. 'Who's there?'
Jamie pulls her sweater back down, gesticulating lamely. The older woman reads the signs then removes the spell.
'Good Merlin, these kids....' she trails off, walking outside for a smoke. Jamie murmurs a thanks.
'Butoni, Jamie,' Mrs. Librarian-Turned Theatre Expert states. She peeks her head out the door. 'Are you here?' Jamie gathers her things quickly off the floor, standing. The other sees her and pulls the handle further back so the girl can enter.
As Jamie walks up to the stage, she imagines a million eyes on her, giving her the attention she never wanted. Jamie sees the sparsely populated bleachers teeming with people who have only one name on their lips: hers. Everyone she knows is there, save one. Streamers fly from wands. Sparks spell her name in glittering letters. Cheers are called.
As Jamie walks up to the stage, her feet click on the neglected floor on a path thousands have walked. The clops of her shoes echo in the nearly empty room. The lights buzz quietly. She takes the steps up to the platform and takes the centre.
The clipboard-wielders look up expectantly. One coughs. Jamie closes her eyes, grabbing one last illusion to hold her tight.
In a startling, pearly moment of epiphany, she begins to sing. Her voice raises above the droning bulbs and the paltry silence. Mrs. Part-Time Theatre Expert exchanges a look with the other clipboard-wielders.
The song flies above the mundane. Jamie smiles for what she's sure is the first real time in at least a week or a month, and her eyes glitter and she forgets who she is and where she is and what she will go home to.
Only two thoughts run through her mind.
Oh, what Mother would say, she thinks, but that blows away from her head on the melody.
Although the lyrics are mournful, and the strains gloriously sad, there is hope. It bounces around the room like a rainbow reflected off of a billion drops of water, ignoring the rain. The ancient building doesn't even creak, for once.
So, singing to only Mrs. Make-Believe Theatre Aficionado and her band of clipboard-wielders, the flickering lights, and the invisible fans, Jamie thinks of only one thing.
This is magic.
Hey, thanks for reading. I really enjoyed writing this- the idea of an America wizarding school caught ahold of me and got me thinking. Why would a magic school be any different than some Muggle schools?
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.