“If we don’t leave in the next minute, we’re going to be late,” Edwin said impatiently, tapping his foot in the doorframe with two fists on his hips and peering over his thick, gold-rimmed glasses. “I should have known you’d make us late again. Come on, you can finish copying it after hisory, if Professor White doesn’t keep us behind for being late.”
“Relax,” Alexander said, scribbling the last of Edwin’s answers to their conflagration homework onto his own sheet. “White doesn’t care if we’re late, anyway.”
Edwin looked around nervously for anything else he could do to hurry his classmate up, but the only thing missing from his backpack was the notebook he was writing in. The last time he let Alexander copy they were late as well, and the professor was clearly perturbed. He didn’t want a repeat of that shame.
“He does,” Edwin began to complain, but stuttered when the boy stood up and shoved the original notebook towards its owner, then jammed his notebook into his backpack and threw it over his shoulder.
“Let’s go,” Alexander ordered, pushing past the boy he’d copied and setting into a sprint, calling back behind him. “Unless you want to be late to lestory!”
Edwin threw his own backpack over his shoulder and only winced slightly at the weight of a dozen personal books mixed with textbooks now weighing him down, and waddled off after Alexander, who was already nearing the end of the dormitory hall and rounding the corner to the stairs.
“Wait up,” Edwin called with futility in his voice, and wobbleran down the hallway. When he turned the same corner, he was surprised to see Alexander leaning against the circular stairwell railing, waiting for him.
“Did you really think I’d leave you behind after you helped me out with homework?” Alexander smiled, then pointed at the railing. “Let me help you too. Hop on.”
“What?” Edwin’s eyes widened and he took a few steps towards the railing, looking downward six stories to the ground floor below.
“Hop on, unless you want to be late,” Alexander repeated. “It’ll be way faster. I’m air focus, remember? I can keep you balanced.”
“What if I fall?”
“We’re second year students,” Alexander soothed. “It’s not like it’s our first year with magic. I can do it!”
Edwin looked over the ledge again and swallowed loudly, before whispering, “I don’t know, Alex.”
“You know I can do it, Edwin,” Alex said. “It’s fun; I do it all the time.”
The worrisome boy tentatively lifted a leg and hopped up onto the railing, glancing nervously back at Alexander as he used both hands to firmly keep himself balanced.
“You got it,” Alexander said, smiling. “Now just let go.”
“Are you sure?”
Another student walking down the hallway passed by the doorway and Edwin was caught off guard, embarrassed to be caught randomly just sitting on the stair railing, knuckles white with a grip to keep his slightly pudgy body in place, and so he let go and let gravity and magic take hold of him, even though the student walking by never ended up glancing through the doorway.
“There we go,” Alexander said softly as he threw his hands out and balanced his homework source on the way down, who was only slightly yelling out of fright and uncertain death, or at least a potential for serious maiming. It wasn’t until he was two stories up from the bottom that he began to relax and stop fighting what felt like the beginnings of tipping over, stop yelling, and enjoy the last part.
When he was safely on the ground below, Alexander also hopped onto the railing and rode it down with arms outstretched, and only needed to push the air in his direction to correct his balance once when he got distracted glancing at a fourth year student practicing a gravity spell to levitate a stone in her hand on her walk down the stairs.
“That was crazy,” Edwin blurted when Alexander had joined him below.
“And probably fun,” Alexander added, before running off through the front door with Edwin straggling behind again. “Come on, we didn’t actually save any time with your blabbering at the top. We can still make it on time!”