So, some background on the setting first: The school that these characters go to is a magical school where humans and weird mutated humanoids can get together and learn without judging each other based on appearance and species. The character Anderson is quite human, while his friend Rico is definitely not.
Despite being September, the air still felt heavy and summer-like. Tonight happened to be the night of the school’s welcoming ball, where students in semi-formal wear would partake in some festivities and meet with friends.
Well, for most students, the only type of friends they’d be meeting with tonight were new friends.
Anderson, apart from occasionally socializing with others or putting some form of food in his mouth to feign participation in the event, was engrossed in his phone. He had recently made friends with some other guys over an online game, and didn’t expect the school or any of the students in it to yield any good friends or memories. There was one major reason that he was here—basically, get away from the toxic home that he was previously part of. He did tell himself at one point that he’d turn his life around and do all these good things, but that was spontaneous and totally untrue to his current self, so… Well… School life was expected to be the same for him.
This oddly familiar voice cut through everything that could have been going on in Anderson’s phone. “What?” he asked, staring in circles around him. Huh, weird. He couldn’t spot anyone.
“Down here,” came the voice, which revealed itself to be a walking ball of fury known as Rico. Anderson's buddy from... middle school? Elementary? Birth? Who knows. “Remember me?”
Anderson turned around, looked down, and flicked an earbud out of his right ear. He took a long look at Rico, and then stifled a bit of laughter. “What?” Rico asked. “What’s so funny?”
“No, it’s nothing,” Anderson said, averting his eyes and drumming lightly on his phone case. “Well, just that… you really haven’t changed at all.”
Something about Anderson’s tone, or the look on his face, seemed to irk Rico. The boy standing in front of him was extremely tall, with dark hair and icy eyes that almost made him unrecognizable from before. What happened between five years in the past and now? Wasn’t Rico the taller one back then? Stronger too, and smarter, and more confident…
“You seemed to have changed a bit yourself,” Rico stammered, looking around. He didn’t want to look up to his former pal. It didn’t feel right. “Andrew.”
The boy before Rico adjusted his glasses and sat down at a nearby bench, beckoning for Rico to sit next to him—in which he did. “Eat enough?” Anderson was partially poking fun at Rico now.
“Yes,” Rico huffed. “Unlike you, from now on I will be aging one year for every ten… so I’ll be living for a very long time.” He frowned when he caught a grin from Anderson. “What? Are you belittling me?”
“Of course not,” Anderson said. “So, five years. Feels a lot longer than it sounds.”
Rico furrowed his eyebrows. Well, yeah. Five years ago the two of them were sitting in a rotten and unfurnished room, trying to figure out what to do with a five-dollar bill that they had scavenged from somewhere. They were friends at the time due to sharing an impoverished situation and the fact that they were the only two people in their rotten high-rise under the age of eighteen, but that didn't mean that they shared any interests. Fast-forward to the present, there really wasn’t any good reason to continue being friends. Well, almost.
“Yup,” Rico said. “I missed your company. So, why are you here?”
“I’m here because my foster parents said I could be,” Anderson said, “...so yeah. Why’re you here?”
“I’m here because I was invited, and thought it’d be a refreshing break from all the shenanigans at home,” Rico said. “Make any new friends yet?”
“Not quite,” Anderson said.
“That’s very like you,” Rico replied, fighting a smile from creeping across his face. He felt a bit relieved; they seemed to get along, and he now had a friend at the school. But against his morals, Rico knew he was relieved solely because he could assert himself at the top of Anderson’s friend list again, and that this guy would depend on him first before anyone else.