Jennifer Nothing was a ball of pride, though she couldn't see the source of it. Here was her son, about to go to the most prestigious school of magic in America, The New York Academy of the Magic Arts. She knew there was magic, though there was nothing much to see, because her eyes kept slipping over the building, no matter how hard she tried to look at it. Each time this happened she found her thoughts straying away from her son and his talents, and toward more mundane subjects like the flowers in the planters set in the sidewalk. She realized, with a tinge of sadness, that she couldn't accompany her son any further. "Alright, Richard," she said, grabbing him in a hug that enclosed his arms(he was already taller than her) "You be a good boy, and get good grades. I'll see you over Christmas break?" She held him at arms length to look at him once more.
"Yeah, mom," he said, pulling out of her embrace. She had picked on him enough on the bus ride over. "Bye, mom, I'll see you in a few months," he walked toward the Nyama building, turning back to wave, and hoping that none of the other students saw him and his mom.
He walked into a sort of reception hall, which was already strikingly different from things in the muggle world. There was no furniture in the room, it was just a large polished granite expanse, with a roaring fireplace(and yet, he observed, the flames cooled the room) at one end. There was a staircase leading down on the left hand side, and one leading up on the right. Various portraits lined the walls, in a neat circle around the room, their occupants muttering to each other, occasionally leaping from their frames to visit elsewhere. Above the enchanted fireplace, there were four great tapestries hanging from the ceiling, each showing the symbol for one of the elemental houses of the school.
There were students of all ages milling about, most already wearing the various house colored blazer that made the school uniform. There were a lot of students wearing same light gray blazer as Richard, and all of them looked just as curious as he did. All of them, however, were four years younger than he. He was getting looks from the older students around him; some were merely curious, some actually laughed (this group were split roughly evenly between people who were mocking him, and people who thought it was a joke). Richard wasn't too bothered, he'd have his own color added to his uniform soon... though, exactly how he wasn't sure.
At the moment, the students were all just socializing, but soon there would be a welcoming dinner. Richard checked his watch. It was five forty-eight. Just twelve minutes to go.
The old man sat at his desk, his eyebrows knit, perhaps dreading the moment when he would have to rouse himself and go down to dinner. The desk looked nearly as old as himself, and stood in a room that, while it looked perfectly normal, was situated very strangely. It looked like any other room you might find in an older house, white painted walls, hardwood floors and old fashioned windows. This was strange, however, because it was about halfway up a modern steel and glass building. It was as if a nineteenth century room was shoehorned into a twentieth century building.
"You know, John," he said suddenly, though there were no other people in the room, "Sometimes I just feel like meals take up too much time. I don't have much left, you know. I should use what I have for something important."
"Poor old Jonas," a croaking voice said, from somewhere in the less lit corner of the room.
"Poor old Jonas," the Professor agreed. "I guess there's not much more important than preparing the next generation, eh? What's more important than the children?"
"Daft old bird," he muttered, standing up to walk downstairs for dinner. There was a fluttering of black wings and a little crow flitted over to perch on his shoulder as he walked. "To dinner then?"