It was my first day of University—the alma mater of my parents and grandparents—and I'd fucked it up entirely. My best friend Anya's hat had blown off in the wind and like an idiot I dashed after it without looking. We'd been friends since kindergarten, and I'd been crushing on her since high school, so I wanted to impress her. Unfortunately, I ran straight into Ashleigh Abhartach; wealthy, handsome, talented—and Anya's fiancé. In other words, my hated rival whom I'd never met until then.

"Misha! Are you okay!?" Anya rushed over about the same time as Abhartach's goons, who pushed me off him and helped him to his feet.

"Shit," I mumbled once I had my wits about me and realized who I'd bumped into, "I'm sorry—"

"You're gonna be real sorry in a second," a burly guy growled.

Anya helped me to my feet and glared daggers, straightening my coat and tie. I blushed profusely. Abhartach had come to as well, sporting a bruise under his bandaged eye where my head had collided with his. Shit, I'd hit him right in the eye socket. Shit shit shit.

"I'm sure Mr. Silvasi didn't mean to be so clumsy," Abhartach murmured in that silky smug voice of his that I already hated—how did he know my name? Had Anya told him?

"Sorry," I rubbed my forehead with a wince.

"Mikhail was going after my hat," Anya fixed my hair as well, "Are you alright, Ash?"

"Of course," he replied, and something about his bemused gaze told me that I should transfer to another school. Anya had told me he'd been injured in some accident years ago, but what she didn't tell me was that his remaining eye was spooky as fuck. It was gun-metal grey and nearly silver around the iris. To top it off, he had the thick eyelashes that girls seemed to swoon over.

"I'm really sorry," I said again; I couldn't decide if I was going for the award for Most Pathetic or Exceedingly Apologetic.

"Don't worry," he smiled and I noticed he had perfect, white teeth. "We'll be seeing a lot of each other, Misha; I am your dormitory assistant after all."

Anya said something cheery about it being 'great' and 'having someone to show me about the Hall', but I was too busy staring. Ashleigh Abhartach, whom I'd loathed ever since Anya told me about her arranged marriage, was going to be staying in the same dorm as me—hell, he'd even be conducting my room inspection!

To make everything worse, the Abhartach Family had been Inquisitors since anyone could remember; if you fucked up bad enough, you got sent to whatever Abhartach held the position at the time and bam! your magic's gone. I'd heard stories they'd been stuck with the job since Abhartach the First was buried alive for witchcraft.

"I'm so jealous," Anya bumped my shoulder, "My DA is such a bitch; I ran into her this morning and she stole the champagne my mother gave me—not to throw it away either; I smelled it coming from her room!"

"Which is why she's called 'Classy Clarice' when her back is turned," his lips twitched up in a smile that didn't reach his eyes—well, his remaining eye.

"Ugh, that will be fun," Anya stuck out her tongue. "Well, we're going to be late to class! Let's go, Misha. It was nice seeing you, Ash!"

"The pleasure was all mine," he smiled at me again and it made my skin crawl.

Ashleigh Abhartach: 1, Mikhail Silvasi: -3. This was going to be a miserable year. Anya linked arms with me and led me away from Abhartach and the friends he hadn't bothered to introduce. I glanced behind; Abhartach was still chatting with his cohorts, but he looked over as if he'd sensed me. We made eye contact. I turned around.


Classes were nothing but introductions, except for my Beginner's Hex class where a girl had come in with a cold and the Professor gave a lecture on recognizing unfriendly magic—which she ended by saying that a Dayquil would work just as well as a counter-hex. Anya nearly snorted her coffee. I could already tell I'd enjoy the class.

Unfortunately Abhartach was in Advanced Healing. I was pretty good at healing spells, so I'd tested into the Junior-level class with ease. Luckily he was already seated on the opposite side of the room when I walked in, but I could see his cronies glaring. I wondered if he paid them to follow him around.


Later I sat on Anya's bed helping her sort through herbs for class. The poor girl couldn't even tell mint from sage without tasting them. Not that I was complaining; I liked helping her study and it meant I got to spend extra time in her room.

She was already in her pajamas, and she even made pink cutesy-rabbit print look good. Her shoulder-length curly chestnut brown hair was pulled into a messy ponytail that puffed up from the abuse and she'd taken off her make up for the night. Ironically, it only made her more beautiful. I think her bright hazel eyes were my favorite feature—her dark skin made the green shine in comparison.

"Quit staring and help me!" she snickered, shoving my arm.

"I can't help anymore; you're just going to have to stick every plant in your mouth and hope you don't get a poisonous one!"

"Misha!"

At that she hit me with a pillow, and we both laughed. As much as I wanted a sexy pillow fight, Classy Clarice must have heard my voice because less than a minute after 10pm she was banging on the door to demand my departure. We groaned at the same time.

"He'll be right out!" Anya called, sticking her tongue out. "You're lucky you got Ash."

"I'll trade you," I scowled at the thought as I collected my coat. "I'm pretty sure he hates me already."

"You're imagining it; he's really nice! Stop by his room anyways and apologize again," she added.

She hugged me before I left, and I did my best to enjoy it simply as a friend. Classy Clarice glared at me as I left the room. Anya was right; she did smell like champagne. I held in a laugh until I'd left Waterhouse Hall, which was newer and a lot more organized than the men's dormitory.

Junius Hall dated back from before the Revolutionary War and was practically a labyrinth. Originally it was a mansion, but the occupants had fallen on hard times so the University bought the building. Back then, all of Hypatia University had been located in the mansion as the student body had been so small.

There was a rumor that some of the old classrooms were still intact, especially in the basement areas. Lucky for me my family had a high standing so I was situated in the part of the Hall with wifi and remodeled showers. I got lost several times, but I finally made it to my section of the dorm.

The entrance was sealed shut with a piece of chalk placed in a cubby nearby; if you wanted in you had to place the proper sigil. I scribbled it in, and it briefly flashed gold and disappeared before the bricks slid away like pebbles in a river. I loved it; at my house we just had to mutter a password or two.

I passed Abhartach's room on the way, his being the second most secluded in our hall. My family ranked higher than his, and I wondered if it annoyed him since as the DA he deserved my room instead. I sighed; it was stupid of me to hate him so much, he probably had as little choice in his engagement as Anya had. I was about to knock on the door when I heard a moan of pain.

"Abhartach?" I heard another moan, "I'm coming in!"

I unlocked the door with a spell—surprised at how hard it was to break the lock—and barged in. Ashleigh Abhartach sat unharmed on the floor looking rather amused by my arrival. I stared at him blankly for a second before taking in the rest of the situation; he had three of his intimidating goons with him, all four were down to their shirtsleeves before a spell circle and some candles, and the burly one was wincing and clutching his bleeding forearm—Abhartach held a knife.

"Oh," I said stupidly.

"'Oh' indeed, Mr. Silvasi," he smiled in a way that made his eye darken. "Gentlemen, we'll have to conduct this little experiment at a later date—lock the door behind you."

"I-I can go—" I stuttered like the coward I am.

"Nonsense," Abhartach stood up and stretched like a cat. "I wanted to see you anyways; you missed the floor meeting."

"I-I f-forgot," I heard the door click shut behind me—great, I was trapped with him. My eyes were fixated on the knife, and with another languid grin he cleaned it off and placed it away inside a drawer. The spell circle he smudged with his sock before I could read it, but I'd already known it was blood magic anyways.

"Keeping Anastasia company I suppose, eh Misha?" I reached for the door knob but his hand snaked over my shoulder to rest against the door. He was taller than me by a couple inches and, if his toned arms were to hint at the rest of his body, more muscular as well.

"It's not like that—"

"Oh, I know what it's like," he whispered soothingly, "you're a proper gentleman, and I'm sure nothing scandalous happened. In fact, I'd bet money on it."

"Th-then why…?"

"Because you barged into my room, and you hurt my eye," he pointed a black leather gloved finger up at his eye patch. If I wasn't terrified I'd be wondering why he still wore gloves and why his eye patch was a simple drug-store white bandage patch instead of something more fitting to his station.

"I thought you were hurt—I didn't mean to!"

"Like you didn't mean to fall in love with Miss Clark?" he tilted his head and smiled.

"What!?"

"Don't lie to me, it's obvious."

He rolled his eye and turned around to slink back to his four-poster bed, gesturing for me to join him. Ensnared, I reluctantly did. He brushed his pale ash-blonde hair from his eyes and watched me for a moment or two. His hair was layered and down to his chin, at least three inches longer than my own messy black locks.

"Lusting after your superior's future wife and breaking into his room? Tsk tsk Mr. Silvasi," he murmured.

"I don't 'lust' after her—and I said I thought you were hurt!"

"That's not the way I would tell it—"

"You were practicing blood magic!"

"Who would you tell—my father?" Abhartach laughed. "That's adorable, Misha. I think I'll have to keep you."

"K-keep me?!" I stuttered, wishing he didn't look like he'd just found a new toy.

"If you'd prefer getting kicked out of school—and Anya finding out about your dirty little secret…"

"No!"

He grinned wider at my outburst and shit did he have a spooky eye. It was like the thing lit up with his manic glee. Abhartach tossed me a bottle of hand sanitizer from his bedside table before retrieving the knife. I blanched and cast him a pleading look.

"Use it," he demanded softly.

"Wh-what are you going to do?" I asked meekly; God I definitely won the Coward Award.

"Just a little insurance," he held the blade of the knife in one gloved hand and sliced his palm with a grimace, glove and all. "Give me your hand, Misha."

I really hated the emphasis he put on my nickname. Reluctantly I held out a shaking hand. He took it with a gentleness that surprised me, inspecting my fingers before looking back into my eyes.

"This will only hurt for a moment," he whispered, and for some reason it sounded lewd—but then he was dragging the tip of the knife across my palm and I couldn't think of anything else. He clasped our hands together tightly, fingers interlaced, and then his mouth was on mine. I made the mistake of gasping, and it only allowed him to shove his tongue inside.

I'd never been kissed by a guy before—where his lips supposed to be soft? His mouth was hot and his spit tasted like bergamot. His tongue rubbed against mine—and I finally regained enough of my wits to push him off, wiping my mouth.

"Wh-what was that about!?" I demanded, flustered.

"Sealing the deal, of course," he smirked and licked his lips before handing me a tissue for my hand. "You've just engaged in blood magic, by the way. Welcome, accomplice."

It was too much; I fled from the room and I could hear his chiming laughter behind me.

Not sure I like the title, but it'll do for now. Please follow and review! ;) It makes me happy.