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Delta Juliette
Both? Both is good!
Tue Aug 21, 2018 5:20pm

As far as birthdays went, Victoria Brown's nineteenth was shaping up to be pretty rotten.

She'd graduated Hogwarts the June before, a witch ready to make her mark on the world. June had become July, and the Ministry responded to her application with a form rejection, her name misspelled on the first and only page. July had become August, and Obscurus Books, a safe bet for a Ravenclaw, even a muggle-born one, hadn't returned her owls. Now it was late September, and Brown had sent resumes to the Junk Shop in Diagon and the local Tesco.

Staying in touch with friends was proving harder than she'd expected, too. Portsmouth was a long ways from everywhere, in both the muggle and magical worlds, and there was only so much a cellphone and an owl could do to keep up with friends who were happily finding jobs, love, and other things.

On the other hand, Brown was finding books. At least there were libraries here, and authors writing about history or space or magic, close to the truth but wrong in enough ways that she could tell they didn't have a clue it was real. She could walk to the nearest library almost by habit, just a muggle with a wand in her bag and, occasionally, when nobody was looking, an owl on her shoulder.

Habit was useful, this morning- the September fog had been getting thicker over the last few weeks, until it was dense enough that it shrouded the city around the clock. Everything was muffled, the preternatural hush of a world waiting for the weather to change.

Brown's feet had carried her down to the university. Today felt like a non-fiction day, and the library there was tempting for all that it was by the water, and thus even deeper in the gloom of the fog.

It wasn't until her hand hit glass that she realized that something was wrong. Habit was habit, she'd walked to her favorite coffee shop first- except it wasn't there. The building didn't even have a storefront, for all that it was on the little high street that ran alongside the university. It was just empty, anonymous windows in a forgettable brick facade.

Wrong turns happened. Brown stepped back, looked around, confirmed her bearings. This certainly seemed to be the place- Guildhall Walk, across from the-

The New Theater Royal was missing. Mostly. There was a facade in its place, sure, white porch in front of brickwork, but it looked flat and empty, like it was painted on an unimportant corner of one of the backdrops inside.

Brown glanced both ways before digging out her wand. This smelled like magic, for all that she'd never heard of it. Some strange form of concealment charm, perhaps?

Thoughts of counterspells vanished from her mind when a thing that had once been a car drifted past. It moved aimlessly, as though it moved out of habit rather than any motive force- and instead of windows, there was just a broad black stripe wrapping around the vaguely-bloated shape.

Brown didn't run. Running was a bad idea. Brown walked quickly back the way she'd come, wand in hand but forgotten.

It was all wrong, the details washing out of the world. There had been an old half-timbered building on the corner, now it was just a boxy building, white concrete and blank windows. There had been a little restaurant, catering to students with bright text on signs, now it was just a blank wall with "pizza" painted on it. Even that was fading, flaking, vanishing entirely.

Brown made it to the imposingly-named Winston Churchill Avenue, just to find it deserted. There were no people, there were no cars, real or car-things or anything, just fog and the looming sense of buildings. She walked around the railings, looked both ways before crossing the street.

There was a building on the far side, she was pretty sure- but it didn't loom out of the fog. The sidewalk just ended, an edge opening into mist. Brown turned to go back, but there was nothing there, either- the curb-stone was the edge of the abyss on that side, leaving her on an island of sidewalk, floating in foggy nothingness.

A shrinking island of sidewalk. Every time Brown turned it had lost size where she wasn't looking, squares of concrete vanishing into nothingness. It was ten meters across, and then five, and then she blinked and it was down to a three-by-three grid of pavers, barely a meter to a side.

There were ways out of this. Brown tried to picture home, somewhere safe to apparate to. She couldn't do it- nor could she visualize the library, or the coffee shop, or the shore, or anywhere that was close enough that she felt she had a chance of getting there safely. London and Hogwarts were clearer but further, and the rising wave of panic made it clear that long-distance apparation was out of the question.

Her phone was similarly useless- low battery, no signal, no messages.

It felt like it was getting darker, or maybe her mind was playing tricks on her with nothing but fog to look at. That, at least, was fixable. Brown raised her wand, said "lumos!", winced at the sudden, clear glare of the charm.

And then there wasn't anything else to do. Brown sat, a witch in jeans and a sweater and a blue-and-bronze scarf loosely around her neck, and waited for the end of the world.

And waited for the end of the world.

And waited.

Who knew that ceasing to exist was so boring?

The next thing Brown heard, a moment, an eternity later, almost sounded like an air-raid siren. It was accompanied by something fading into existence, for once- a blue box, a police box, butted up against her square of sidewalk like a ship against a quay.

Brown tried to stand, to face the TARDIS with some semblance of dignity, just to find that one of her legs was asleep.

"Sorry to bother you, doc-" she started, as the door opened.

The person inside the TARDIS wasn't any Doctor that Brown knew. She looked like she could have been a student at the university, young and dark-haired and equal parts short and strong, as she demonstrated by casually hooking one of Brown's arms over her shoulder and pulling her to her feet.

"Not me, I'm afraid," she said, walking Brown into the TARDIS. "Call me Grace. Let's get you out of here, hm?"

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    • Re: Hello Prompt, I'm Dad.Miah, Wed Aug 22 2:40pm
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      • This is making me want more contextTomash, Wed Aug 22 4:15pm
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    • Both? Both is good! — Delta Juliette, Tue Aug 21 5:20pm
      • Nice chunk of backstory for BrownTomash, Wed Aug 22 2:02pm
        I particularly liked the description of the world fading. (Also, aren't incantations usually capitalized in Harry Potter ? I noticed on " lumos ")
    • Prompt OneSnowblaze, Tue Aug 21 6:25am
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    • Prompt 2.Iximaz, Mon Aug 20 11:01pm
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        • My thought...Iximaz, Mon Aug 20 11:58pm
 that while Jaleth was curious enough to ask, he wasn't curious enough to find out for certain, and Lorson just had better things to do with his time. As far as they're both concerned, if he can ... more
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