‘So, this is home for the next five years,’ Tiberius said, and he didn’t sound thrilled about it.
‘We’ll get used to it,’ said Normal, and then he added, ‘won’t we?’
Normal climbed up and dropped himself down on the upper bunk. The room creaked again. Tiberius’s head appeared looking up at him from below. He smiled.
‘We’ll more than get used to it,’ he said, ‘we’ll be kings here.’
Normal forced a smile.
‘I feel like a minion at the moment,’ he said.
He glanced around and followed the patterns of cracks in the ceiling, little silver webs decorated the four corners. It wasn’t like home.
‘Let’s go exploring,’ said Tiberius, ‘see what we can find.’
The room creaked again as he shifted his body off the bed.
‘We haven’t unpacked,’ said Normal.
‘We’ve got five years to do that, ‘ said Tiberius and he lumbered out into the corridor.
He immediately bumped into someone coming down the corridor. ‘Oof!’
‘Watch where you’re going young man,’ said the other person, holding him at arm’s length. ‘What’s your name?’
Tiberius looked up at the man staring down at him. He hardly noticed the face because his gaze was captured by the line of medals on the man’s chest. Impressive was not the word for it.
‘Tiberius, sir. Tiberius Sky.’
At that moment Normal stuck his head around the door to get a better look. The man in the corridor was sandy haired and quite obviously a teacher. He wore a smart blue blazer with lots of shiny, gold badges stitched above his breast pocket, and sharply creased light blue trousers. The boys could see he was an organised kind of man, strict perhaps, but somehow kind with it too. Hopefully.
Mr Quintius looked down at the two small new pupils. Admittedly one was a lot smaller than the other, but compared to the gangly fifth formers with their big hair and their swaggering appearance these new arrivals looked positively tiny, as if they might slip down the school drains if they didn’t watch where they were going. It was always the way. Even after what seemed like two hundred years of teaching at Guardian Grange, Quintius never failed to be concerned about the ability of new pupils to survive the rigours of school life without their parents to run around cleaning up behind them. The larger youngster raised his hand to speak.