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In hiding

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It’s early when Coco wakes up one morning. She throws her blanket over her head to avoid the sun hitting her eyes. Normally, she would be downstairs excited for whatever adventure she would be going on, but today all she wants is to sleep a little more. She stayed up late last night practicing her magic and this is her consequence. 

She starts to drift off again and her dreams start to come back slowly. The dreams are hazy and it’s hard to tell the difference between the characters who show up in her mind since they all look blurry. Eventually, Coco snaps out of her half asleep state and peeks outside her castle made of blankets. 

The sun is coming up. Bright orange and yellow flecks dance as they fall through her window. It hurts her eyes slightly, but she still finds the morning light pretty. It almost looks like magic in a way. Coco yawns and rubs her eyes before throwing her blankets off of her. Although her bed is comfortable, she can’t exactly learn new types of magic in here. As she sits up, the smell of food hits her. It’s warm and for a second it reminds her of her old home. 

Hunger shows up to interrupt her remembrance of her past. She sighs and gets out of bed. Her feet hit the cold floor and she starts to make her way downstairs to get breakfast. Her hand trails against the wall as she walks. She considers waking up the other girls but decides against it. Agott’s always extra grumpy when she’s woken up. Even if Coco found her senior’s irritation towards mornings funny, she isn’t in the mood to deal with being yelled at so early and continues going down the stairs. 

The morning sunlight warms her as it streams through the windows. Coco hops off the last few steps and lets out another yawn as she walks towards the kitchen. As she turns the corner, the smell of food grows stronger, strong enough for her to fully identify it. Pancakes… Really sweet syrup… Coco’s favorite! 

Excited by what they’re having for breakfast, Coco runs to get as fast as she can to get to the kitchen. She’s about to open her mouth to yell first call on getting served first, but something stops her dead in her tracks. Her eyes widen and she hides so she won’t be spotted. 

It’s no surprise that Professor Qifrey is up this early. He’s always made breakfast for his apprentices every day without fail. No, it’s not her professor cooking that surprises Coco, it’s the other witch he’s with. Orugio! He’s never up this early… 

Coco leans against the wall and pokes her head out a bit to see what they’re doing… Maybe she could even catch a glimpse of their conversation. Although she knows better than to be sneaking around like this, she can’t help it. Something tells her not to barge in like she always does. 

Professor Qifrey’s humming some sort of tune as he looks over the pancake in the process of being cooked. He smiles and adjusts his glasses for a moment before turning to his friend. They talk for a moment, their voices are low and Coco can’t hear them. Maybe it’s just her imagination but professor Qifrey looks different now. The caring warmth he shows his students shines brightly in his eyes, but it’s different somehow. It’s directed only at Orugio. 

Coco isn’t sure what any of this means. She peeks at her professors as best she can without accidentally revealing herself. Her face burns at the idea of being caught by them. She’s dealt with her fair share of embarrassments but the thought of her professors catching her sneaking around makes her want to hide away in her room forever. 

Qifrey’s soft laughter snaps Coco out of her embarrassment. Although they’re both extremely powerful witches and could easily cook their food without much trouble, for some reason they’re using the stove this time. Guess pancakes are harder to make magically, she thinks. 

Coco looks over to see her professor laughing at Orugio’s cooking. 

“You’re going to burn it!” He says as he tries to contain his laughter. 

Coco’s unsure if the other man’s face is red due to the heat of the stove or because Qifrey keeps poking fun at him. He rolls his eyes and mutters something like ‘shut up’. His sarcastic tone gives away any serious facade he attempts at pulling. 

“I’m joking, Oru. I’m sure the girls will love your cooking.” 

He rolls his eyes again, “Sure they will. Last time I made something Tetia spat it out!” 

Coco shudders at the memory of Orugio making food. He made dinner for them once, using a stove rather than magic, and made them spaghetti. He seemed so proud of it too, and the four young witches were somewhat excited to taste it since he had boasted that much about it. 

It was horrible, so horrible that at first Coco thought it was magically enhanced to taste that bad. The four apprentices froze as the taste overtook their senses. Her, Agott and Riche had managed to fool their teacher by smiling and saying it was delicious. Tetia, however, didn’t even bother at keeping up the act. Her face scrunched with disgust and right after spitting it out whined about how her favorite meal had been cursed in some way. 

It was decided that Qifrey would make the meals for the girls from then on. 

Once again, the sound of laughter forces Coco out of her thoughts. Her professors are muttering something to each other. Qifrey smiles as he leans against the counter, close to Orugio. 

“I like your cooking.” He says. 

Orugio rolls his eyes, “You’re just saying that.” 

“I’m serious.” 

And then something happens. From her hiding spot, it’s barely- barely visible. Qifrey moves even closer and kisses Orugio on the cheek. Coco’s eyes widen and she covers her mouth to keep from gasping. She panics behind her wall as her face burns because that’s definitely something an apprentice shouldn’t see. Now, she’s unsure what to do. Does she just walk in? Does she ask about what she saw? 

“Morning Coco!” A voice from the top of the stairs says. It’s Tetia. Her usual energetic self isn’t fully awake yet and she yawns as she walks down the stairs. Her pink hair is a mess and Coco would’ve laughed and said it looks like a lion’s mane if she wasn’t panicking right now. 

Tetia turns around the corner, “What’s professor making-” 

Coco doesn’t think, she just grabs the young witch and pulls her close to keep from entering the kitchen. She needs to tell someone or else she’s going to scream. 

“Coco,” Tetia says as panic rises in her voice, “What are y-” 

Coco covers her mouth. 

Tetia’s eyes widen, “Mmm!” 

“Shh! I’ll let you go if you promise not to cause a scene.” 

You’re the one causing a scene, a tiny voice inside her head says. Coco shakes her head and looks down at Tetia. 

“You promise not to make a scene?” 

Tetia stays quiet, seemingly lost in thought before nodding. “Mmhmm!” 

Coco slowly drops her hand from Tetia’s mouth. She pulls her closer and leans down to whisper what she saw. The witch’s eyes widen and her mouth opens to yell. Coco feels her body fight to break free of its restraints so she can yell to her professors about their secret relationship. Coco covers her mouth again. 

Tetia glares at her, “Mmmm! Mmmm-” 

“I’m sorry!” Coco whispers. “But I know you and you have to keep this a secret. I don’t think this is something we’re supposed to know about yet. Please, Tetia, please don’t say anything to our professors.” 

“What are we supposed to not know about yet?” 

Coco jumps. It’s Agott! She’s almost down the stairs and she covers her mouth as she yawns. Like Tetia, her hair is messy, but it seems she brushed it before she left her room. 

“O-Oh Agott!” Coco squeaks, “I-I-It’s nothing! Hahaha-” 

“Mmmm!” Tetia yells. 

Agott raises an eyebrow at them. She shakes her head. It’s too early for her to be dealing with this. 

“Can one of you explain what’s going on?” 

Tetia, either through magic or pure will power, breaks free of Coco’s grasp on her. She pushes herself away from Coco and with her eyes wide, points to Agott. 

“Professor Qifrey and Oru are in love! They kissed like grown ups do and- and-” 

Agott blinks before shaking her head again, “You two are such children. You’re supposed to be witches in training and here you are making up stories like that.” She turns the corner to enter the kitchen, even as Coco and Tetia plea to not go in. 

Agott’s eyes widen and her face flushes pink before she turns away to join her fellow apprentices in hiding. She sighs and leans against the wall. 

“I don’t think we are supposed to be aware of our teachers’ relationship.” 

“That’s what we’ve been saying!” Tetia interrupts. 

Agott rolls her eyes, “Well we know now. I’d say we shouldn’t interrupt their moment, but what exactly do we do? We obviously can’t stay here forever... I’m hungry…” She turns to Coco, “What’s our next move?” 

Coco blinks, “Why do I have to decide? You’re the older one! Decide!” 

“I’m only older than you by a couple of months. Besides you’re the one who got us into this mess-” 

“It’s not my fault our teachers decided to be gross and kiss at seven in the morning! I just walked in!” 

That gets a laugh out of Tetia. Agott groans and soon the three of them are planning a way to get into the kitchen without it being awkward. Their plan is formed under the light of the morning and whispered in hushed voices. They nod and are about to enter the kitchen when Riche walks past them. No good morning, no yawn, no sound of her walking- nothing. She had completely slipped under their radar. 

“Riche!” Coco says as she tries to grab her so that way she can explain the plan. Her senior ignores her and even in a half asleep state, dodges Coco’s attempts at holding her hostage. 

“Mornin’ professor…” She mumbles sleepily. 

“Oh! Riche! Good morning-” The three remaining girls hear Qifrey say.

“What is that idiot doing?” Agott whispers angrily, “She just waltz’s in like it’s no big deal-” 

“Where are the rest of the girls?” Oru asks eventually. 

Riche shuffles around the kitchen and goes over to their hiding spot. She points at them before muttering something about getting first serve on pancakes and leaving. The three of them are frozen as Qifrey smiles warmly at them. 

“Girls, what are you-” 

“You like Oru!” Tetia spits out as her face flushes the color of her hair. 

“Tetia!” Both Agott and Coco yell. 

“You and Oru kiss and- and you like him! We saw!” 

Qifrey blinks, “Ah…” 

“We’re sorry for sneaking around professor, it was an accident! Really!” Coco says. 

The man laughs. His laugh is warm and bubbly and it eases his students instantly. He isn’t upset at all. He laughs so hard that it manages to get the attention of Orugio. The other man raises an eyebrow at the show going on before him.

“What’s going on?” 

Qifrey wipes a tear from his eye as he regains control of himself. He smiles for a moment at the other man before turning to his students. 

“Yes girls, I care about Oru very much. Although I would have preferred you coming to me directly about it rather than hiding…” 

Orugio’s face turns a bright red color. He clears his throat before waving a hand around and saying how breakfast was getting cold. 

“Ah! That’s right!” Qifrey says happily, “The pancakes we made are probably cold… I forget non magical food does that… Come on girls, let’s go now.” 

It all happens so fast. One moment Coco’s hiding the next she’s at the table pouring syrup on her food. It’s sort of loud in the morning. Tetia’s yelling about a dream she had, Agott’s asking her teachers if she could go on another mission with them, and Riche’s practicing her magic rather than eating. Her professors are laughing at some inside joke between them. She blinks and looks down at her pancakes. She cuts herself a small piece before allowing it to go past her lips. The food isn’t bad at all.