Chapter One

Eva September clenched her fists in her lap, distressing the regulation plaid skirt which she was forced to wear. She knew she was crying but she was beyond caring. How dared they treat her like this? Her aunt, her mother, they had both abandoned her at this horrible school where she was apparently to be abused and insulted. She hated them. The realization was somewhat calming when it came. She would run away. The thought was slightly comforting when it first entered her mind.

"Miss September, will you please stand up!"

She squeezed her eyes shut against the request that was clearly an order. But she couldn't obey, she just could not. She wished desperately that she could simply vanish. Will herself away. Her father could have done it, he was actually magic, unlike Eva. The remembrance tasted bitter and she almost sobbed. She heard some murmurs from her classmates. She hated them too.

They were all distracted when the door to the classroom opened. In walked a tall, dark haired man with handsome features and a broad torso that was made dashing by a gold embroidered waistcoat. His crisp white shirt was rolled up to the elbows to reveal tanned, muscled forearms. His long fingers were almost beautiful in how perfectly they were carved. And he held a wand.

"Who do we have here?" Eva was so mesmerized by how warm and pleasing his voice felt, she barely recognized that he spoke of her.

"A new student, Miss Eva September," the teacher, Karina Rhodes replied, with a humph of irritation. As though she would rather not have had the interruption.

"And why is Miss September crying?" He had moved closer to Eva's seat and bent his head to the side contemplatively. Eva, for her part, realized she was staring and now looked down into her lap.

"I told her to stand up," Miss Rhodes replied with a long-suffering sigh. She wished Roger would come in when she had excellent control of her class, not when her new student was misbehaving.

"Why aren't you standing up, Miss September?"

There was silence in the room, while Eva slowly realized that this tall man was speaking to her. She felt something cool touch her chin and draw it up, so she met his eyes. His wand. He had a smile that made him look like the sweetest person imaginable. His clean-shaven jaw seemed chiseled out of marble. His green eyes were flecked with gold and brown, making her feel like she was sinking into a forest. He raised one dark brow and she guessed it was at her silence.

"That's not why," she finally said, in a tiny voice.

"What's not why?"

"She called me a whore!" There was more force in this accusation. A gasp went around the room from the other students who had heretofore been silent.

The brow rose further, and the tall man turned to give Miss Rhodes a quizzical glance. That woman flushed slightly and looked down from those inquiring eyes.

"She called you a what?"

"She called me a whore, she said it just now, that's why I'm upset."

"I didn't call her a whore, Roger." Miss Rhodes rolled her eyes and shook her head. She couldn't believe the girl was openly lying. What on earth?

"Yes she did! She said, 'Answer the question, misha.' And I know what it means!"

"Mitza," Karina repeated, realizing now what had happened.

"See?!"

"It means student, little one, don't be upset." The soothing voice came from the man beside her and a hand rested gently on her shoulder.

"It means..."

"Mitza, pronounced 'mi-cha,' means student in Mythran," he continued giving that same shoulder a squeeze. This time though, it seemed to carry more warning than comfort.

"Roger, I..."

"In a moment, Karina," the man said, with a look that made their teacher flush again.

"What was the question?"

"The question?" Eva asked, feeling stupid.

"The question Miss Rhodes asked you," he pressed, his hand still warm on her shoulder, his eyes patient.

"She asked what year there was a transition to...to the arrow network from the Carrier Service." She said finally, wishing his eyes didn't bore so deeply into hers.

"And what year was that?"

"Roger..."

He raised a hand this time, not turning from the student so enraptured in his gaze. Karina bit her lip and looked away. Why was he coming in and disrupting her class? She could have handled Eva September on her own. And of course, the girl wouldn't know the answer and it would bring into the question, the integrity of her teaching methods.

"I don't know," Eva admitted quietly.

"Should you know?" His warm cadence of his words made her relax following that confession.

"It was in our homework…I couldn't read it." His expression was enhanced by a concerned frown at this revelation.

"And why is that?"

"I don't…don't read Mythran, I can only understand it when it's spoken…sometimes." She felt comfortable providing this knowledge that had so far made her schooling an absolute misery, to this kind man, with a smile.

"I see. And do you know who I am?" His smile remained; his eyes still looked kind.

She shook her head in denial.

"He's the headmaster, you silly girl!" The words came in an exasperated sigh from Karina Rhodes, who could not understand why Roger was giving this annoying chit so much attention.

"Thank you, Karina," he said, with a soft chuckle, sending her a look that gave her pause.

"Roger Theroux Kitt is my actual name, Miss September. I am sorry to only now make your acquaintance. I do like to meet my students early in their arrival, but I have been away. Your prefect should find a time for us to meet."

He patted her shoulder once, before turning to exit the room.

"Oh!" He said, just before he crossed the threshold, almost as if he had forgotten. "Karina, do see me in my study when you're finished here."

The teacher nodded once, to show she understood, but she was flushing so much it was hard to misinterpret her nerves.

"Is the 'Roux going to give it to her?" The question was whispered somewhere in the back of the classroom, but carried due to the overall silence. There was no reply, the recipient of the question realizing that this was not the time. Karina did not bother to identify or chastise the miscreant, preoccupied with the thought of an unpleasant meeting with Roger Kitt. She wasn't a bad teacher. But she had not known that Eva September could not read Mythran, she considered guiltily.

"Please see me after your classes today, Miss September," she said with what she hoped was a smile. The girl nodded, looking a little bemused.

Eva was, in fact, a little mystified at the interaction that had just occurred. No one so far had looked at her with such kindness, even at home, only had father had shown her anything close to warmth. But this was not her father, and she was absolutely sure she was in love with Roger Theroux Kitt. The thought brought a smile to her lips, and if her awful teacher thought the smile was for her, Eva didn't care. She would be meeting him too! Whenever her prefect said it was a good time. She looked around for the curly haired boy who had been introduced to her as her class prefect. She'd forgotten his name, but now gave him an expectant look. He raised a golden eyebrow and nodded toward the front, indicating that she focus on the class. She nodded and turned back around, oblivious to the frown that crossed Karina's features.

Karina was wondering how such an airhead could have made it into Crispenwood School, and determined that she would ask Roger what her connections were that allowed her unto their campus, when she couldn't even read. She decided to ignore Miss September for now, until she better understood the situation. For all she knew, Roger had actually interrupted her class to meet the girl.

"Master Kitt, if you would be so kind as to resume the questions?"

She addressed the class prefect, George Kitt, who stood with a small bow. He picked up his book and started to read the text, pointedly ignoring the look Eva was now giving him. She had heard his last name and made the correct assumption that it was no coincidence that he shared the name of her crush. Professor Kitt, or as they called him secretly, the 'Roux, was his uncle. Since it appeared his teacher was going to allow this new girl to be undisciplined in class, he made a twirling gesture with his finger, after reading off the question and supplying an answer. She screwed up her mouth in a frown and turned back around. A small part of him found the frown adorable, but he ignored the feeling as he sat. Peter Redfern went next, and on and on the rest of class continued, until all the questions were reviewed. The bell rang just as Justine Emmett sat with a satisfied grin at her answer to arguably one of the more difficult problems. She turned to George, hoping he had been paying attention, but he was already rising, ready to meet his friends for lunch. He was almost at the door, when his way was blocked by Miss September.

"Can I help you?"

She cleared her throat and actually looked embarrassed. People were watching them, and George adjusted his satchel impatiently.

"Um…I'm Eva," she started.

"I'm aware." Why was he being short with her, he wondered. Maybe it was that cute frown and the way it affected him. He tossed his curls out of his face, considering pushing past her. It wasn't proper prefect behavior, but she was blocking the path of a dozen or so students who hadn't gotten out in time.

"Oy, have your chat, out of the way, please?" The unmistakable lilting voice of Aisling O'Hair cut into the silence.

George sighed, and drew Eva to the side, allowing his classmates to go past. He saw that Justine gave him a curious look, but ignored it. He tended to ignore most looks he received from female students. He knew he was fairly handsome, and if anyone did not know of the wealth of the Kitt family, they at least made assumptions about his connections to one of the most successful headmasters in the Northern Isles. It had inured him to much of the ways of fawning females, as he saw them. So why was he wasting time talking to Eva September? He told himself it was because his uncle had seemed to take an interest in her. Which was likely because he liked to meet the new students, George considered.

"What is it, September?"

"It's…Eva."

He let out a loud breath that covered up an unexpected laugh. Was she joking? They called one-another by their family names at Crispenwood. Unless, of course, they were friends.

"Are you inviting me to use your given name? I don't think that would be wise." He said finally. She gave that same pouty-frown, tilting her head to the side in apparent confusion.

"Okay, so I may not call you George, then?"

He actually allowed the chuckle out this time.

"Do not call me George, no."

It would be amusing for all of one day if every one of these gossipy kids took it into their heads that he had any sort of understanding with Eva September. And he knew from previous unfortunate experience that the burden of such rumors would fall on her small shoulders. Crispenwood girls were a brutal bunch when they chose to be.

"Fine," she replied, although she said it as though he was being rude. Did she know nothing of teenagers and private boarding schools? "When can I meet Roger Kitt?"

Ah, the reason she accosted him.

"It's Professor Kitt, to you, or any of us students. Miss Rhodes is one of the few people who calls him Roger."

"Is he…is he your father?"

He chuckled again and rubbed his eyebrow.

"He's my uncle," he answered without elaboration.

"Ah, I see, and so…so when will I get…get to meet him? Professor Kitt?"

Something about the way she looked, the eagerness in bright brown eyes, the way she worried at her bottom lip, even the way her hands clenched and unclenched over her satchel, turned on a bulb of enlightenment in George's head.

"Do you have a crush on him?" He laughed out loud this time, and was surprised to note he was only amused at this discovery. He had worried for a moment if he were becoming attracted to her. Even with her creamy brown skin, he could tell she was blushing. Her eyes widened in horror and she shook her head furiously. He was laughing too hard to care. She would not be the first girl to fall for the 'Roux. George would have stopped eventually, but her evident distress was too amusing. It happened quickly, one moment he was nearly doubled over with laughter, the next a small, cool hand was clapped over his mouth.

"Stop it!"

He froze, his green eyes, so similar to his uncle's, met hers. He felt his heart suddenly thundering in his ears and took a step back. She let her hand fall and looked self-consciously around, to discover that Karina Rhodes had left, as had the rest of their class, but a few new faces had joined them.

"New girlfriend, Kittles?" The laughing question came from dark skinned, tall male with curly hair that almost matched Eva's when it wasn't tamed with copious amounts of product as it was now.

"Oh fuck," George cursed, turning with disgust to find that his friends, upon his absence, had come to find him. It wasn't clear if he was cursing at her hearing the ridiculous nickname, that felt even more so now that they were almost seniors. Or if he was upset that he had been found laughing with this girl who had just put her hand on his face.

"Language, language, Kitt, there's a lady in our presence," another of the new arrivals chimed in.

"What are you doing here?" George asked, unnecessarily.

"Well, when you didn't show up for your favorite meal."

"We naturally assumed you were here shacking it up with Lady Rhodes!"

"Well fuck, Asher!" The red head of the group exclaimed, clapping Martin Asher, the shortest, a brown-haired bulky lad, on the back.

"We did not think that George," the red head, Timothy Nobel, said with a wide grin.

"Most of us, anyway," added the last, the one who had interrupted them first. Caspian Thread. Martin shrugged and winked at George in a way that made the boy actually flush. No, he had never had anything remotely similar to what Asher was implying with Karina Rhodes. But it was not for lack of interest on his part. It was well known in Crispenwood, that Miss Rhodes carried a candle for only one man, and that man was his uncle.

"We were chatting," George said, tightly. "We're done."

"No, we're not!"

Ooohs filled the room at this exclamation, from the three other boys.

"How about I email you, with a few times for meeting Professor Kitt," he snapped, wishing Eva September would shut up.

"Okay…I suppose." There was that frown again. She nodded and looked about to leave.

"What, you're not going to introduce yourself?" Caspian had moved forward, edging

George out of the way, and putting an arm over her shoulder. George frowned. His friends were so juvenile sometimes.

"Leave her alone, Cas."

"But what's your name, love?"

"Eva September," she said, stiffly, and ducked out of his hold. "I'm new."

"Obviously," Timothy commented, observing the dynamic between George and the new girl. If he didn't know any better… He raised a brow at his best friend who rolled his eyes and subtly shook his head.

"How old are you, Eva September?" Martin asked the question, probably wondering, as they all were, why and how she was so small.

"I'm four-fifteen, not that it's any of your business."

"And you're in George's class?"

"I…I suppose…"

"You suppose? Are you a genius?"

Hardly. The single word echoed in her head and she looked down at the floor.

"I'm hungry, Nobes," George cut into this questioning. He too wondered why a fifteen, possibly fourteen-year-old, who apparently couldn't read Mythran, was in a class of kids at least two or three years her senior. His uncle probably knew.

"Maybe Miss September is hungry too." Eva's stomach chose that moment to give a rather aggressive growl. Only Martin laughed, and even he bit that short.

"Timothy…" George's warning was lost on the tall red head.

"Come on, George, let's have some fun, she's clearly not been picked by the witches."

"The witches?" Eva asked, confused at this conversation that was literally happening over her head.

"Never you mind, September, let's go have some lunch." This time, it was Timothy who put an arm over her shoulder and this time, although, still looking wary, she didn't shrug him off. She didn't exactly have friends in school anyway.


A/N: Hi! Really excited to share this story! Please R&R!

Cheers!

Starox