A/N: Guess what? Update time! Sorry for taking so long to update (this and everything else too XD). I've been busy, and it took me a while to decide the direction I wanted to take this little story. This chapter is just one short scene, but I wanted to go ahead and upload it, because it will be setting the stage for the Sword in the Sword story, and showing the aftermath of Hocus Pocus. Plus, the next chronological thing happening is pretty unrelated and needs its own chapter. Anyways, hope you enjoy this one.
Merlin poured himself his morning cup of tea, and had his enchanted tea set prepare a second cup in front of the empty seat across the table. Merlin was very insightful about future events, and he could see that young Mr. Hawkins was going to pop into his office that morning. Merlin wanted to make sure that the boy was treated with his usual hospitality. He looked down at his pocket watch.
"Hmm," Merlin mused to himself, "Jim should have popped in by now. I wonder if-"
Before Merlin could finish his sentence, a knock came at his office door.
"Ah, there you are!" Merlin began, "Come in, come in!"
The door creaked open as Jim entered into the office.
"Good morning Professor Merlin," Jim said.
"And good morning to you, Mr. Hawkins," Merlin replied, "Come and sit down, won't you? Have some tea too."
Jim sat in the arm-chair across the table from Merlin and took the pre-poured cup of tea.
"Thanks," Jim said, "Listen, Professor, I need to talk to you."
"Well then talk away, my lad," Merlin smiled over his tea.
"Earlier this morning, I was out in the graveyard," Jim began.
"The one behind Gracey Manor?" Merlin inquired.
"Yes," he answered, "I spent the entirety of last night fighting off the Sanderson sisters who had come back from the dead."
"Ah! So you're the virgin that lit the black flame candle!" Merlin proclaimed, "Yes, Mrs. Tremaine was flabbergasted by it. Well, admittedly, that was a rather asinine choice to make, but I'm glad you handled it before anyone was hurt."
"But that's just the thing!" Jim said, "Someone was hurt! Or, rather, some cat was hurt. I don't know. I'm still working out the details."
Jim rubbed his eyes and let out a sigh.
"Thackery Binx?" Merlin asked, "What happened to him?"
"His curse was lifted and his soul was free," Jim explained, "And he tried to warn me about something. He told me that I needed to talk to you about something important. But, before he could say what it was, he was engulfed by green fire."
"Oh dear...," Merlin said gravely, "She got to him first."
"She?" Jim asked, "Who is she?"
"I cannot tell you," Merlin began, "Not yet. You will be told soon enough."
Merlin's cryptic words frustrated Jim. It felt like he was holding back a very important piece of information. Jim needed to know who killed Binx so that he could stop them from hurting anyone else.
"I'll tell you what, Jim," Merlin continued, "How would you like for me to be your magic teacher from now on instead of Mr. Alagud?"
"What? You?" Jim asked perplexed, "What does that have to do with anything?"
"Would you like for me to be your teacher or not?" Merlin reiterated.
Merlin was easily a better choice than Alagud, but he was being strangely cryptic. It made Jim frustrated.
"I want you to tell me what's going on," Jim stated.
"And I will, in due time," Merlin replied, "But I must personally tutor you in magic first."
"Ok, fine, sure," Jim agreed, still not sure at all what was going on, "Just as long as I get some answers."
"Oh this'll be so much fun, Jim, my boy!" Merlin proclaimed, "It'll be just like old times with Arthur when he was a boy. You can be the greatest wizard of our time! I can already see the magical aptitude bubbling in you right now, boy!"
"Umm... thanks," Jim replied, not sure if anything bubbling in him was a good thing.
"I'll contact Ms. Del Ray," Merlin continued, "From now on, on your B-days, you'll report to my office for first period instead of Mr. Alagud's classroom. Let's see, today is Saturday, and Friday was a B-day, so I'll see you for the first session on Tuesday!"
Jim had no idea what he had just agreed to do, but he supposed that anything had to be better than suffering through Alagud's class again. Jim stumbled back to his dorm room, his lack of sleep from fighting witches all night had finally caught up to him. A nice long day of sleep was exactly what he needed right now. As he entered his room, he found Peter had already crawled back into bed to nap the night's adventure off. Jim smiled a bit to himself. At least something good came out of last night. He and Peter had finally kissed, and, because of it, Jim's world felt like it was still together even after the tragedy with Binx. Jim climbed into his own bed and slid between the sheets. He took in the smell of the sheets and let himself relax. Everything would be alright because Peter would be there. Together, they could do anything. Jim closed his eyes and let himself fall into a deep, well deserved, sleep.