Ethelwine: School Of Magic

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Chapter 1

August 20th, 2018

Berlin, Germany

The sound of people bustling by awoke Bartholomew, he groaned and stared up into the blue sky. Another night, another alley way. Stretching he rose from the ground and threw on his ragged and torn jacket

He pulled open his torn backpack and began his morning routine, a quick brush of his teeth and comb his hair. Bart may be homeless but he knew the importance of good hygiene...well sort of.

The familiar smell of bread filled his nostrils as the door to one of the buildings opened. Bart threw on his backpack and grinned seeing an old gray haired woman disposing burnt bread.

“Morning Mrs. Alger!”

She jumped seeing Bart not expecting to see anyone back in the alley. The woman scowled and placed her hands on her hips “Bart, what are you doing out here? You should be off the streets by now.”

Mrs. Alger ran one of the local bakeries here in Berlin and had known Bart for years. She hated seeing the young boy on the streets especially after all he’s been through. Bart enjoyed the times he was able to see Mrs. Alger, though she could be scary at times. The woman was blunt and had no patience for foolery.

“Nope. I’m not going to some Orphanage to be passed around Mrs. A.” Bart replies giving her a cheeky smile.

“This is no laughing matter boy.” Mrs. Alger scolds waving a finger at him. She tsk’d as her brown eyes examined his thin frame “You’re sleeping in alleys, your hair is so unkempt. And look at you, when was the last time you had something to eat?”

Bart waved a hand “Mrs. A, I’m fi-” his stomach interrupted his sentence by growling. Mrs. Alger rose a brow then sighed.

“Wait here.” She orders before disappearing through the door, not waiting for a reply from the blonde.

He debated if he should leave, he knew the old woman was going to give him food. Though he should be happy for the free meal, he hated handouts. He’d rather fend for himself, he’s done it this long but he knew better than to anger Mrs. Alger.

It wasn’t long before the woman returned with half of a French baguette. She held it out for him to take. “Here you go, now, I know you don’t like this but you need to eat at least something before you go off doing God knows what.”

Bart took the bread and began to eat it, for a moment he forgot about Mrs. Alger was standing in front of him. She shook her head “And you said you weren’t hungry.”

“I’m not.” He said a mouthful of bread earning a glare from the woman “Sorry.”

“Now go on and get out of here before Mr. Alger finds you.” She shooed waving her hand at him. Ah yes he wouldn’t want to be chased away with a broom by her husband.....again.

Bart chuckled and finished the last bite of bread before taking off down the alley. Now that he had a small snack, it was time for some real food.

He walked down the busy sidewalk keeping his head down. Bystanders avoided walking near him, their noses scrunched in distaste. Okay so he sort of smelled, he couldn’t help that part.

A convenience store came into view across the street and Bart grinned making his way over.

“That’ll be 6.52₤ please” The owner of a corner convenience store said to his customer. Bart browsed through the American snack section with a sandwich in hand. His pockets already weighed down by chocolates he had been sneaking . He was biding his time waiting until the owner wasn’t looking so he continue to ‘earn’ his dinner. It had been a couple of days since he’s had a proper meal besides the bread, and his stomach was growling for some food.

He glanced at his reflection in the store mirror and almost didn’t recognize himself. Before him was a scrawny kid with messy long blonde hair pulled into a low ponytail. His thick coat seemed to swallow him making him look even smaller than he already was. God...he looked awful. If only August could see him now.

It had been two years, two long years since his brother’s death. Two years of roaming the streets of Berlin trying to survive.

The customer walked out and the owner bent down to pick something up

‘Now’s my chance’

Bart stuffed the sandwich into his jacket and snatched a bag of crisps off the shelf and headed for the door.

“HEY!” The owner shouted as he leaned back up and caught Bart red-handed.

“Uh oh, busted.” He bolted out the door.

“STOP HIM!” The owner ran around the counter and out the door. “Get back here you brat!” He yelled.

Bart shoves through two people as he ran down the sidewalk. He turned back to look at the owner and laughed.

“Sorry old ma-” the next thing Bart knew, he was on the ground grabbing his head. “What the-” He looked up. He had run straight into a police officer who was looking down at him with his eyebrow raised.

“Alright kid, come on. Get up and this won’t have to get worse for you.” The young officer states in a gruff manner.

“Thank you officer!” The store owner huffed nearing the pair. He leaned his hands on his knees to catch his breath.

Bart sighed in defeat “Okay fine.” He reached up his hand for the officer to help him up. The officer grabbed Bart’s hand only for the boy to pull down yanking the man onto the ground next to him, “Sorry!” Bart laughed as he jumped up and took off down the street. He could hear the officer radioing for backup as he got to his feet and began chasing after the young boy. It wouldn’t matter though, Bart had always been faster than most kids, hell even faster than most grown adults. In fact there was a lot about Bart that wasn’t normal.

The chase led Bart into an alleyway where he found himself trapped, “Dammit.” He breathed out staring at the large brick wall in front of him. He turned around to see two cops running towards him “Come on guys, let’s talk about this!” Bart tried to reason.

All of a sudden a blinding light brightened the alleyway. Bart turned away with his eyes closed not able to withstand the brightness. Once the light dimmed down, he opened his eyes.

Standing with his back towards him was a tall slender man with reddish brown hair. He was wearing a nice suit that fit a bit baggy due to his slender composition. He turned towards Bart with a large smile on his face “Well hello there Mr. Winchester. I’m so glad to see you.” The man acted as if he knew Bart and spoke perfect German though there was a hint of an Irish accent behind it.

“I’m sorry if I startled you.” The man continued “I am an old friend of your brother. You young men are a very hard person to find. Thankfully I have found you right when you came of age.”

Bart stared at him blankly. He gave a quick panic glance at the two officers but saw they stood frozen?

“Of age.” Bart murmured to himself “So you’re from Ethelwine then.” His tone was one of curiosity and a bit of bitterness.

“Yes. You are very clever.” The man said with a smile “An-”

“You guys kicked August out.” Bart cut him off with a glare “Do you realize how that affected him?”

The man’s smile faltered “Yes well, that was beyond my control. Unfortunately I was outvoted. I never wanted him expelled but I know he would want you to attend Ethelwine. Your brother entrusted me to see to it even. He spoke about you a lot.”

Bart let out a humorless laugh “Why would I go? So you can kick me out too? No, I’m good. Thank you very much.”

The man looked at him taken back “You call this good?” He gestured around the alleyway “Honestly Bartholomew, when’s the last time you’ve had a warm bed or hot shower.”

Bart’s eyes narrowed, who exactly was this guy? “Don’t call me Bartholomew. And why should I trust you, I don’t even know who you are.”

“Okay then..” The man replied slowly “Augustus was very dear me, though he wasn’t in my class, he and I grew a bond. Now you will have to trust that I am looking out for your well being. Come to the school, if you don’t like it, I’ll bring you back to this back alleyway where we are now. At the least you’ll get a couple of nice meals and a good night’s sleep.”

Bart thought about it for a few moments, if this man had known his brother there was no harm in visiting the school. It would get him off the streets for awhile at least. “Okay fine. But I’m only going for the free food.” He says sternly.

The man gave a great big smile “Oh of course.” He said as if he wasn’t convinced. He knew the boy was somewhat curious about the school, about his brother’s past. “I’m Theodore O’Malley by the way. A headmaster at the school. ” Seeming to somewhat trust the strange man Bart let his guard down, relaxing a bit more.

“Okay do we get there?”

Theodore stepped closer “Let me handle that. Come closer and hold my hand.” He reached his hand out towards Bart who gave him a bewildered look and took a half step back. Then a big grin spread across Theodore’s face “I’m kidding.”

He pulled a wand out of his suit and waved it twice in the air. There was another blinding light, and they were gone.

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