Chapter 1- the worst room-mate

The bags had been packed in advance, almost too far in advance. The car had been droning slowly along the highway for at least 3 hours. But despite all this the young woman squeezed onto the back seats was excited as she ever had been. She'd never thought, not in a million years, that she would be accepted into college and she'd never even dreamed that she'd get to study history there (her mother had often called her her 'little historian' when she was younger.)

She had a grin on her face the rest of the drive, barely listening to her parents give her last minute advice on 'what to expect from your college years.' She heard snippets:

"Don't be pressured into anything while you're there," her father lectured as the car turned onto the road leading to the main campus, "even if they do claim to be your friends.

She nodded absently and tried shifting her weight so she could see out of the window, which was currently obscured by a mountain of pillows she'd elected to bring and was now severely regretting it. Perching herself on top of the pile she strained her eyes to see the campus revealing itself before her. Her father continued his lecture from the driver's seat:

"And no drinking, or drugs or excessive partying, I know what these college kids are like!"

She uttered something that wasn't really a word and continued to stare out of the window. Lines of trees flanked the pathways, just beginning to scatter the first of their leaves. She wondered happily what the campus would look like in a few weeks when Autumn had truly started. The car was slowing now, weaving it's way through the myriad of other vehicles and freshmen edging away from over-emotional parents and family.

They had arrived. She almost stumbled out of the back seats, taking at least half a dozen of her cushions with her. Her father wandered away from the car to go and find a trolley large enough to handle the small country his daughter had decided to take with her.

"He's just worried about you," came a soft voice from behind her, "just have fun okay?"

"Mm," was the only reply. The tiny blonde was practically buzzing now she was actually here.

Her father returned moments later with the largest trolley he could possibly find and all of her luggage packed so tight it was half the size of what it was in the car on the journey out. It looked dangerously close to bursting as the girl took the handles from her father and insisted on going on further on her own.

"Remember everything I said," he started sternly, "but have fun, we'll see you at Christmas," he pinched her nose and promptly walked back to the car.

Her mother gave her a quick hug.

"And bring a nice boy back with you for the Christmas break," She giggled, causing her daughter to flush scarlet and pull out of a second hug.

"Have fun Christa."

A smile and a wave later they were making their way out of the overcrowded car park, almost running over another student on their way; another blonde with an angry look on her face (though that wasn't very surprising considering the circumstances!)

Christa followed the stream of fellow freshmen towards the main building. Older students were directing several groups at once towards various dormitories littered around the campus grounds. The group she had found herself a part of was halted in front of a large blonde student with fierce eyes. He cleared his throat and silence fell instantly.

"My name is Reiner Braun and I'll be directing you all today. As you can see we're in front of the main building, now if you follow me we'll be getting your dorm assignments and you'll be meeting your new room-mates before you know it!"

Christa's heart did a flip. She hoped her room-mate was someone she could talk to, she had hardly ever been this quiet in her life after all. The group followed Reiner at a distance, no-one daring to utter a word. Christa took a moment to glance at the other people she had found in her group. Most looked uninterested with what was going on, some with the same wide eyes of someone entering a new place for the first time. Two of them, a brunette and a young man with what looked like prematurely grey hair, appeared to be fighting over a large sandwich silently so as not to catch Reiner's imposing attention. Christa stifled a chuckle.

The group was lead quickly into the main building, Reiner only stopping briefly to nod to an incredibly tall brunette boy who was also helping out with the orientation. The enormous atrium was bursting with students lugging trolleys full of things in and out with their groups. Reiner walked to one of the counters and was passed a clip board by a smiling woman who looked like she was enjoying the day a little too much. She caught Christa's eye and grinned, brown eyes flashing almost manically behind her glasses. Christa smiled sweetly in return then turned to file out of the atrium with the rest of the group. Reiner turned and halted them, glowering at the two freshmen who still seemed to be fighting over the sandwich.

"Now if each of you could tell me your name I'll direct you to your room assignments quickly so you can unpack since you all seem itching to explore."

Nobody moved initially. Reiner was too bulky and scary-looking. Christa sighed deeply and rolled her trolley towards the man. Standing closer to him, it was clear he was almost double her height. The man could snap her like a twig if he wanted. Instead he smiled as softly as his features would allow.

"And what's your name, princess?"

Christa screwed up her nose at the horrific pet name but said nothing. She didn't want to start an argument on the first day, she hadn't even got a bed yet!

"Christa Renz," she answered calmly, watching carefully as he checked what appeared to be a list of names on the clip board. He nodded satisfied.

"You're in B dorm on the other side of that building there," he pointed to a large building shaded by trees on the other side of the campus, "if you get lost just ask one of the other students around they'll help you, next!"

And with that Christa was off, slowly wheeling her trolley along the damp morning pathways so she could take in everything she walked past. The fountain in the middle of the college plaza was off for the season and algae has started growing around the edges of the stagnant water left to fester for the Autumn. She walked towards the building Reiner had pointed her to, snaking between the trees with her luggage.

She noticed a few other students she recognised moving towards the same building as she was; namely the female of the sandwich duo and the blonde her father had almost knocked over when they arrived. A girl with a red scarf wrapped tightly around her neck was also wheeling her belongings towards B dorm. It's going to be an interesting year, Christa thought, pushing open the doors with the trolley.

A large sign was tacked sloppily to a cork board in the lobby. According to it Christa's room was situated on the next floor up. Unfortunately there was no elevator in this building so Christa, along with several other girls who appeared to be on the same floor began loading themselves up and waddling like penguins up to the next floor.

The rooms themselves were all labelled with who was staying there. Christa moved quickly along the narrow hallway, trying to avoid trapping anybody behind her and the two large suitcases she'd managed to lug up the stairs with her. She found her room about halfway along the hallway. Apparently her room-mate was a person named 'Ymir' but the door was unlocked and empty when Christa arrived so she clearly hadn't arrived yet. Christa wondered what kind of person her new room-mate could be as she set down her suitcases on the left-hand side of the room, deciding it was her right as first to arrive to choose which side of the room she got to sleep in.

There was a loud crash at the end of the hallway as Christa turned to go get the remainder of her belongings. The blonde she had seen earlier and the girl with the scarf were sharing a room and apparently neither one was happy with the arrangement. They didn't physically touch one another, not on the first day! But they were glaring daggers at one another and people were starting to take bets on who would swing first. Christa moved past the gathering crowd and leaped down the stairs to pick up her last suitcase and a few of her pillows.

Evening fell quicker than the freshman would have liked. She enjoyed exploring the campus but she had to unpack the rest of her stuff and finally meet her elusive room-mate. The door to her room was locked when she got back, clearly someone else had arrived. Christa produced a well-worn key from the small bag she'd taken out with her and turned it. A loud crunching echoed across the hallway and she flinched, waiting for someone to come out and see what the noise was. When nobody came she finally felt safe enough to step inside.

Her belongings were stacked neatly in front of the bed she had made earlier in the day before she had set out on her exploration and a tall figure appeared to be snoozing soundly on it. Christa prodded the sleeping room-mate, what was her name again, Ymir? Until she turned over and opened her eyes.

"What do you want?"

"You're in my bed," Christa said, gesturing to the half of the room she'd spent a good half of the afternoon working on.

"Yeah and a damn comfortable bed it is, you worked hard on it. Now I'm going back to sleep," came the sarcastic reply.

Christa stopped her mid-turn.

"Could you please get off my bed? There's a perfectly good one on your side of the room," she was irritated now.

"If it's perfectly good then why aren't you sleeping in it?" Ymir yawned.

"Because I made up this bed myself earlier now get off!"

Christa pulled hard on Ymir's shirt and managed to dislodge her from the bed. The brunette looked up, shocked, but merely grinned.

"You're damn strong for such a squirt," she said, standing and walking over to the bed on the other side of the room, "You can have your bed back."

Christa glowered at her but didn't want to start another argument with the taller girl (significantly taller now they were both standing) who was now messily making up her own bed.

"I think we're going to have fun this year," Ymir chuckled. More to herself than anything else.

Christa sat down on her bed and gulped. This was going to be a long year.