"We fought together but-"
"Looking all witchy like that-"
"You can't be saying she's-"
"-doesn't belong lurking around here."
Mirta heard the whispers and mumbles of her new classmates as she entered Alfea on her first day as an exchange student. She had worn a lovely black dress, dressed up in celebration of the occasion. She'd tried to look formal, but apparently still looked very "witchy." She waved hello to other students as she saw them, trying to appear friendly. Some politely nodded, but quickly rushed away. Others ignored her completely, some even appearing offended that she'd try to talk to them.
"Hello," a short haired brunette greeted her. "You look new around here too."
"Well, sort of. I'm an exchange student. The name's Mirta. And you are?"
"Francis. Nice to meet you. Exchange student? Wow, I didn't know Alfea accepted any. From where abouts?"
"My regular school is-"
Before Mirta could continue, another girl linked arms with Francis, tugging her away. "What? What is it?" Francis demanded irritably.
Mirta looked downcast. The other students would soon inform her new found friend of what kind of person she was, and tell her to stay away. People would learn to not talk to her before she had a chance to show what kind of person she was, not just what kind of magic she did. Alfea seemed worse than Cloud Tower at this point. At least the witches would give her a chance to do something to be a laughing stock and then become an outcast.
Mirta hurried along the path to orientation. She'd be very early, but at least she wouldn't have to take anymore whispers or stares. Maybe at orientation, she'd be introduced, and others would know there was nothing to fear from her. Mirta tried to remain optimistic as she hurried along.
"Wow!" a kind voice with a hushed tone said to her. Mirta stopped, and looked forward to see Flora's smiling face. "You're looking very pretty today, nothing like the pumpkin from last year."
"Flora!" Mirta exclaimed, and ran right into Flora's arms.
"What's wrong, sweetie?" Flora asked as she hugged Mirta.
"Nothing- Well, something. Oh, Flora, I don't think I should stay here!" Mirta exclaimed.
"Why not? I was looking forward to having you here this year," Flora said, pushing Mirta's hair out of her face.
"You do know I'm a witch. And this is a school for fairies."
"And we can learn a lot from each others. That's why you were accepted here, remember?" Flora said.
"I know, but, well, in Cloud Tower I wasn't exactly welcomed either. They said a lot of times that they thought I was probably in the wrong school. And here, everyone's avoiding me already. Flora, what if I don't really belong anywhere?"
"Oh, Mirta," Flora said sympathetically. "Why don't you come with me?" she said.
"Come with you? Where?"
"The greenhouse. I know you're not a plant anymore, but it's still a very pleasant place to be."
Mirta nodded, and Flora took her hand, then linked arms with her. They walked arm and arm through the campus. Many students stared. Mirta was shocked. She didn't mind so much when people ostracized her, but Flora, this wonderful girl, should not be dragged down with her. "Um, Flora," she began.
"Don't we make a scandalous pair?" Flora noted, sounding amused.
"Um, yeah," Mirta said. Well, if Flora didn't mind, she shouldn't mind either. She continued walking with Flora, but now more relaxed as they laughed and chatted along the way.
Finally they were in a secluded part of the school, in a garden. Flora stopped to look at a rose bush. She clipped off a fully bloomed flower. "Here, this is for you," Flora said.
"Thanks," Mirta said, holding out her hand.
"No, wait." Flora said. She fished around in her bag a bit, then brought out a pin. She used it to attach the flower to Mirta's dress. "Oh, it's just perfect! It even matches your hair. Not that you aren't gorgeous, but now you're just perfect," Flora said.
"Thanks," Mirta said, hoping her warm face didn't show too much of a blush. She and Flora continued to walk about the garden towards the greenhouse.
"People think I'm strange too, you know," Flora said.
"Why would they think that?" Mirta asked. Flora was beautiful, graceful, and kind, the perfect fairy, Mirta thought.
"Maybe because I prefer plant company to human company," Flora mused. She shrugged. "I'm glad I made friends who don't care about it much though. I'm sure you'll find people that accept you too."
"I hope so," Mirta said, unable to mask her doubt.
"It all starts with a positive attitude. And I know you already have one," Flora said. She began to change into her fairy form. Mirta tried to be discreet, but she couldn't help but stare. Flora was beautiful, and it was nice to be able to watch her in this form without worrying about danger nearby. She was surprised as Flora picked her up. "Just relax, Mirta, I'm not going to let you fall," Flora whispered.
Mirta trusted Flora completely, her savior and caretaker from the previous school year. She allowed herself to relax as Flora lifted her higher and higher, closing her eyes and enjoying the sensation.
"Open your eyes," Flora said.
"Wow!" Mirta exclaimed, realizing how high up they were. She could see all of Alfea.
"Here's a bird's eyes view of my school, your's now too. I know you're going to make it here. When you feel you don't belong, think of being up here, where everyone pretty much looks the same."
"I'll do that. Thanks Flora," Mirta said, looking into Flora's eyes. Here's one girl she'd never have to think of being almost in orbit to be comfortable around. In fact, she felt comfortable right now, even though their faces were almost touching. If she leaned a little closer, they could...
Mirta leaned forward, then felt herself slipping, and Flora quickly caught her. "Sorry, it is a little tough to carry someone up here," Flora apologized.
"Yeah, I can understand that," Mirta said. Flora hugging her, being this close, was nice in its own way. Mirta's heart beat faster as they floated back to the ground. Though she'd been uneasy before, Mirta now felt that she'd returned home. It was going to be a great year, she was sure of it.