Alex Orrick didn’t know what the hell she was doing. She was normally very good at keeping things to herself. She didn’t see the point in sharing personal information with just anyone. People had to earn her respect and trust. Had to earn the right to know about her past and her secrets. And yet, here Alex was, leading Valerie Vargas, a Snake of all people, to one of her most private secrets.
Weaving through the halls seemed to take longer than usual, and the duration only seemed to make Alex that much more paranoid. She wondered if it would have been better to agree to Valerie’s statement that a guy had gotten her all flustered and nervous. Because it was true. Well, sort of. Keane Wade was a complication. One that sent her normal life spiraling out of control. And Alex didn’t know what terrified her more. The fact that it seemed she was no longer content with being alone, or the fact that she was thankful for that.
Grimacing slightly, Alex paused outside of Professor Solo’s classroom door. Looking back over her shoulder slightly, she forced a half smile. “So, um, I'd appreciate it if you keep whatever happens in this room between the two of us.” Alex didn’t wait for an answer. Waiting would mean more second-guessing and that was one of the Ravenclaws least favorite things to do.
She opened the door a took a step inside. The jingling of collars and clawed paws met her ears and she suppressed a smile as she shut the door behind her and Val. Solo’s two dogs, Howard the golden retriever and Donovan the mixed-breed terrier, were bounding down the stone stairs at the back of the room, tails wagging frantically in the air. Alex grinned and crouched, opening her arms. “Hey guys!” She smiled as the dogs slid into her, tongues lolling outside of their mouths. She scratched Donovan behind the ears and Howard on the chest. “Where is he? You didn’t eat him, did you?” She asked the two animals with an exaggerated excitement. Her answer was a slightly tilted head from Howard and a small woof from Donovan.
And then she heard him. Glancing up, she watched as he emerged from Solo’s back office and took the steps slowly. Hopping onto each level, a pause to make sure he was okay, and then onto the next step. He tackled the stairs like a champ, the first time she’d seen him actually get up the courage to do it. He normally just looked to the stair and then back to her, a ‘fuck-that-you’re-carrying-me’ expression on his face. But maybe he was just showing off for Val. Alex wouldn’t doubt it.
Finally, when he reached the bottom, he picked up speed, his little legs shooting him forward. His collar flapped against his tiny chest and Alex grinned when he tried to stop, only to slide right into her leg.
“Hey little man,” she said, scratching him behind the ears. He let out a small yip and reared up on his hind legs, front paws scratching at her leg. She laughed and hoisted him up into her arms. He went right for her thumb, clamping down on it with his tiny teeth. She’d let it go for now. It was too damn cute to tell him no. But she’d have to ween him off of chewing or else Solo would kill her.
Sighing, Alex Orrick turned to her companion with a hesitant smile. “So,” she began, “this is Axel,” she grinned down to the small puppy in her arms. “And he’s kind of mine.”