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May 05, 2021 4:53 PM
thistle and dermot brave the trials
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Despite his thoughts, she did not, in fact, know he was coming. Her apartment is as shitty as usual, and it might actually be messier than the last time he was over. Lose pieces of notebook paper, the notebooks themselves, obscure magic books, and a map of the local sewer system are a few of the things he has to step over to get into the apartment proper.

She smiles up at him from her position on the couch. "They do realize it's the twenty-first century, right? They really need to update their wards to allow cellphones."

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"They do, in 'certain approved locations which minimizes the disruption to the overall framework', which sounds like a lot of mumbo-jumbo to cover up that this is the best anyone working there can do. I bet all the private-sector magicians could do it, but Brakebills can't afford them."

He slumps onto the couch next to her, heaving a sigh of relief.

"Missed you. Don't know what they think they're doing, saying you can't take the exam. There's no way I have more magical potential than you."

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"Missed you too. And you're underestimating yourself. You have just as much magical potential as I do. We both took the same lessons when we were kids. You just have to stay calm, focus, and remember what we were taught."

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""Sure, staying calm, the thing we all know I'm great at. I'm doing okay. Not failing out yet. I just think if only one of us was going to go, it should have been you. Are you sure you don't want me to talk to the dean?"

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"If he wanted to give you an explanation, he would have already. He knows more about you and your life than you do. That's how Brakebills works. I don't think there's anything you can say that will change his mind."

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"Fiiine. Can I punch someone if he doesn't let you in next semester?"

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Skylar laughs and shakes her head. "Maybe if you pass your External Circumstances final we can look into finding you a sparring partner that can help with your compulsive need to punch people when things don't go our way."

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"Yeah, yeah. What about you? How are things going here?"

He gestures at the detritus of her research.

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"Oh! I managed to find the sister of Victoria Gradley and she gave me a really solid lead that I've been running down these past few weeks. Also, there's a dragon under the city and someone hired me to find it. So mostly I've been doing that."

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"You're still looking into that case? Brakebills clearly doesn't want anyone to know about it. If I shouldn't go up against them, neither should you."

He doesn't comment on the dragon under the city, because that's self-evidently cool and needs no remarking on.

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"We can't just ignore it and pretend it never happened. They might still be out there and in need of help. And if they don't, for whatever reason, the people that love them need answers. I can't just abandon them."

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"I know. You and your big dumb heart are going to get us in so much trouble one of these days."

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"I guess that's what I have you for. You and your compulsive need to punch everything can get us out of it."

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"Getting mad and punching are my two main skills. I should put them on my resume."

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"And your passing grade in External Circumstances. Did you bring your coursework? We could go over it, have some dinner. My treat."

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"Yeah. We both know I'm not making it through this year without you."

He retrieves his coursework, and enjoys dinner with his sister.

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When there's somewhat of a lull in conversation, he clears his throat.

Pauses.

Doesn't seem to know how to ask.

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Skye catches the train of thought anyway.

"I haven't heard from her. I know she's still at the house in Chicago and still with your dad. They had a dinner party last month, so probably they're doing fine. Didn't hear anything untoward about it, anyway." She pauses and - reaches out and touches him. Which is not something she does often. Casual or affectionate touching was always disapproved of in their family and Skye's aversion to touch is on the high end. "You should call her. I know you miss her."

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Harrumph.

"Yeah. Thanks."

Dinner. Back to more comfortable topics.

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Skylar tells him about her dragon quest! Going into detail about all the ways she's gone about finding them, the people and creatures she's met along the way. She even had a run in with a vampire and some hedge that hunts them. Which was awkward and kind of nerve-wracking, but everything turned out pretty well and now she has new friends and he can meet them if he comes around next week for dinner?

Then tells him about her progress on finding the missing students and it's quite a lot and she can literally go on all night.

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They can go on for a significant portion of the night. Dermot hangs onto every world of her adventures, since they sound so much more exciting than what he's been doing at school. He asks invasive personal questions about her new friends, cracks bad jokes about sucking, and prompts her about how exactly she did this or that impressive thing. It's relaxing, compared to hitting a wall in Brakebills. He can get back to that tomorrow. For now, he just enjoys the company of someone who actually likes him and whose expectations he's already gotten a chance to lower.

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Thistle knocks on Quentin's dorm room door, wringing her hands. She was going to just go home for the weekend, but if Quentin wasn't busy, maybe she could hang out with him instead. Would go a long way to quell the feeling that she should just go.

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Lori opens the door, threading an earring in, and smiles when she sees Thistle. 

Hey, Thistle. Looking for Q? She signs, remembering that Quentin said she preferred it. 

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Thistle knew that Lori could read her mind, or at least her emotions, but still smiled gratefully at her. 

Yeah. He in?

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No, sorry. He's gone around to the Physical Kid's Cottage. You could ask there?

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