El is dropped off by a giant of a freshman at room 222, which has stairs leading down to it for some reason, like it's tucked in a gap in the central gear system that doesn't quite line up with the floor level - it might be, actually. It's weirdly brightly lit, with fully a dozen cheerfully burning wall sconces. They are evenly and symmetrically spaced, so they are all real wall sconces, probably. El finds a seat in the middle and tries not to look at her desk so her schedule will appear.
Lissa probably needs a new bag, one she can carry from class to class easier. She's taken out most of the original contents, leaving only what she thinks might be necessary for class, and heads for her room after finding a map. Well, she actually needs several maps, but she does make it. Upon seeing El, she immediately perks up, sliding into the seat next to hers.
"Hi El!" she exclaims.
"Uh, hi. It's... Lissa?"
Annaka, of all people, comes up to Julia's room just after curfew ends to walk her to homeroom.
"You're getting as bad as Mom," says Julia, who isn't done with her makeup and who went no-shampoo for the Scholomance but is worried her hair's not doing so well - maybe these pillows are bad for it? She should ask Lucy for silk ones. "Do you like my room?"
"You did a lot with it!" says Annaka. "This says 222 -"
Julia snatches the sheet back. "Look," she says, "I am not stupid enough to refuse to let an upperclassman walk me to class just because she's embarrassing as all get-out. But you are not going to read my schedule to me and tell me what to change like I'm an idiot. We did mock schedules a week ago. And three weeks ago. I'll try to get Shop and Lab early in the week because the supply cupboards refresh on Monday, but absolutely not first thing in the morning, make sure there are some seniors in that room before I am. I can't move Maleficaria Studies, there's only one English section. History and lang lab don't matter, I'm outsourcing those. Math and Lit should be in top-floor classrooms and if they're not I should try to swap into a session that is, and if I'm in a weird math class that looks like it might only have ten students I can always request algebra, which has hundreds. Don't have anything Friday afternoon if I can avoid it because that's when most assignments are due and I'll want to be doing, or copying, my homework. Do you think this shade of lipstick makes me look slutty."
"No," says Annaka. She does look reassured, actually. "Get moving, I don't have all day."
So Julia walks with her to room 222, and Annaka leaves at the door before Julia has to hiss at her under her breath. No one else from New York, looks like, but she knows Marcy from Boston and one of those poor Chicago randos is in this class too.
Lucy and Wilbur meet up first thing, at the midpoint between their rooms.
They are not in homerooms close enough that they will be able to compare schedules, it turns out. This is not surprising but it is a bit disappointing. Oh well, their ability to coordinate was limited by the fact that they were on different tracks anyway.
She enters homeroom. And recognizes three of the people already there! Admittedly one of them is a doomed muggleborn and another is the New York girl they sold Wilbur's slippers to, but the latter isn't all bad. She considers whether it's too soon to ask who she's making the shirt for, decides it probably is, and gives her a small nod of acknowledgment, and goes to sit with El and Doomed Muggleborn.
"So how was the rest of your evenings?" she asks them.
"I bought several months of bodyguarding services with my senior outfit. It's kind of weird."
"That's kind of weird! --I'm trying to think of a non-self-serving way to comment that you can totally buy a new outfit off us by senior year but I had to give up."
"I'm sure buying it off you would result in a better outfit than crocheting it out of a dead kid's blanket but remains to be seen what I'd swap for it."
"We have years to worry about it! I'm not going to pitch you too hard now. Still owe that one guy from the three-way trade last night, anyway."
Okay, that girl looks... weirdly creepy... and that other girl looks also weirdly creepy, not in a vibes way but in a, what, albinism way? He can't remember whether albinism is a maleficer sign sometimes. Not that he isn't himself a maleficer, or planning to be one, but, uh, all the more reason not to hang out with other ones, really? That would look suspicious.
He will instead sit down by the girl who seems to be wearing - makeup? Really? Here?
Well, whatever. He's pretty sure makeup isn't a sign of being a maleficer, just a sign of... possibly weird priorities. That seems fine, given that he's only here for this one day, and only to pick classes.
That is definitely a maleficer. Ghassan will route around the obvious maleficer when deciding where to sit- he's already been a little too friendly with Masozi. He does recognize Owoye (Lagos); he finds a seat near him.
Marcy's enclavemates all ended up in the same homeroom as each other, which is awesome for them, and it looks from the size of this room like Marcy's going to have plenty of other people to swap with. Now, where to sit? Not under the vent, not that it'd be that much of a problem on day 2 but you don't want to look like the chump who takes the vent seat. Not next to the girl who, despite not having anything visibly wrong with her, comes off as being up to no good; her dad always said that when your instincts say someone is bad news your instincts might know something you don't. She wouldn't've minded Julia sitting next to her if she'd come in first, but she's not going to do anything that looks like she cares what New York thinks. Especially not New York's greatest manifestation of vanity and frivolity who spent last night having lackeys decorate her room.
She can, on the other hand, take the seat two over from her, on the other side of the black guy she hasn't met yet and within easy paper-swapping distance of the pale girl with the sweet-looking blatantly magical silk outfit. (Marcy's clothes are cotton, soft and durable and safer around fire than polyester, with their own protective spells woven in. Nothing much to look at, so that it won't be as bad a contrast when they end up old and worn, but expensive and worth it.)
Elizabeth walks in almost right on Marcy's heels. She glances around, recognizes El from yesterday's bathroom run, offers her a quick smile of greeting, and goes to sit near her after double-checking vent placement.
"Yeah!" says Lissa, in response to El's question. She smiles at Lucy when she comes in as well. "I got a spellbook! I guess the wards worked because I'm still here and I didn't get nibbled even a little." She waves her hand to show off her pristine unnibbled flesh.
Oh hey, it's - Ghassan? He thinks? That was probably that guy's name. If he's sitting near him then he can't have been too rude about brushing him off for dinner, that's something. He should talk to him, make it clear that he just actually does have a lot of enclave people to get to know and doesn't specifically think he's better than him. "Hey, Ghassan. Know what classes you're going for?"
"You probably wouldn't have anyway, the first few weeks of term are the safest. But it's best to pick up good habits."
"True that. Hey, you're Lucy, right? With the spiders?"
Malak arrives, only slightly late and only slightly out of breath and surveys the room, looking for new people to acquaint herself with.
Oh, hell no.
Looking at the open seats, her options are:
(1) Sit alone, in the more dangerous seats.
(2) Sit next to Marcy, who is cool and who it would be good to know better, but who she does not want to appear to be sucking up to and a third interaction in the first two days would absolutely give that impression
(3) Sit next to that girl who is either one of the Chicago mundanes or from New York. If the former, she's useless as an acquaintance, if the latter - that is even more obvious sucking-up, and to New York of all places.
(4) Sit on the edges of the gaggle of kids gathered around the girl who looks like she's been maleficing since she was eight. Given that no sane person entirely possessed of their own mind would want to hang out with someone who's been maleficing since she was eight, that option sounds like an invitation to permanently and involuntarily join that gaggle. No thanks.
5: "stand around in the doorway indecisively" is definitely worse than (2) or (3). She approaches the made-up girl.
"Excuse me, Chicago or New York?"
"That's right! I don't think we talked yesterday, what's your name?"
"New York! I'm Julia. Do you want to do my history homework, I'm looking for someone to do my history homework."
Damnit. She had been planning to, if this kid was from New York, say 'Oh, I'm sure you don't want me here then' and sit with Marcy. That would've let her not be sucking up to New York and also not be insulting New York, but that doesn't work when the girl has already offered her a job.
"Oh." She does her best to look crestfallen. "I'm garbage at history, I wouldn't do a very good job. Sorry."
She walks down a few desks and sits next to Marcy.
"Hello again. Marcy, right?" And then, in lower tones that should not carry across the room,
"...Are all those kids sitting with the maleficer chicago mundanes who don't know any better, or...?" I'm not here to suck up to you, have you seen the other seat options?
"Congrats on not getting nibbled, you have outperformed the average Oreo," El tells Lissa, "did you get anything good in the spellbook? - good means cheap or quick or efficient or for something you need all the time, ideally several."
"Yup that's me!" Marcy says brightly. She isn't sure whether either Malak or Julia noticed how quality of a burn "Chicago or New York?" was but it was a top quality burn and she's entertained. Then in the same undertone, "I have no idea why they're all sitting with her but some of them definitely aren't Chicago." Instead they're brave or stupid or possibly hypnotized though the latter would be alarmingly fast.
Malak is well aware of how insulting "Chicago or New York? Oh, New York? I'll go sit somewhere else then" can be and is desperately hoping the New Yorker isn't.
"...Yikes. My top theory - with 30 seconds of thought so there's probably better ones - is that she's got an affinity for mind control."
"There was a spell for repelling mals when they try to bite you?" notes Lissa. "Although I think it might not be very cheap, I tried to do it this morning and didn't have the energy for it. And it sounds like it won't be very useful for this first week anyways."