I’m mostly apocryphal
Sun Jan 15, 2017 17:44

Russell’s water charm came out with all the strength of a fire hose, which startled Holland a bit but got the job done. Their own (more restrained) spell was a controlled stream that they used to dampen the areas Russell missed. The Impervius Charms they’d done were still holding up, and while Holland could feel mud and soot on their face and see it on their arms, their clothes seemed no worse for the wear. Better yet, their shoes were intact.

The fifth-year accepted the offered hand, using Russell to pull themselves from the pit and offering him a quick “Thanks!” Transfer or spy or whatever, Russell wasn’t dillydallying about getting through the obstacle course. Good. Professor Rasnick had said their grades depended on their speed. Holland didn’t particularly care about their Defense Against the Dark Arts grade—they were really only taking the class because Professor Rasnick liked to challenge accepted truths too—but their overall GPA mattered. Experimental charms programs were competitive.

Holland shrugged. “Looks like more smoke to me,” they said, voice slightly distorted by the Bubble-Head Charm. It was hard to see beyond the fishbowl of the charm, but they had a supply of fresh air and their eyes were protected. They couldn’t tell what this new smoke was. It was white, not greyish like the firesmoke had been, and made them think about chemtrails.

There were Muggle conspiracy theorists who asserted that condensation trails left by airplanes were full of chemicals from the Muggle government. Over the summer, Holland had read some intriguing essays by wizarding critical freethinkers that proposed chemtrails were actually modified Forgetfulness Potions that helped maintain the Statute of Secrecy by keeping Muggles from remembering the magic they noticed in their day-to-day lives. That seemed more plausible to Holland than environmental manipulation or biochemical warfare. Well, it was arguably still psychological warfare, although its goal was to actively prevent war. It was a grey area.

Grey areas were more interesting than other colors.

Apparently Russell knew an air-conditioning spell that Holland didn’t. They thought they could get through this obstacle just fine without clearing the smoke, even if it meant bumping into a few trees, but they’d rather learn a new spell. Holland gestured to the fog. “Go for it.”

  • I'm kind of symmetrical - Russell , Sat Jan 14 17:52
    As it turned out, Russell wasn't entirely the odd one out because Holland's education had almost gone the same way that his had. That was interesting. More interesting was hearing that Holland's dad... more
    • I’m mostly apocryphal - Holland, Sun Jan 15 17:44
      • And a little existential - Russell, Mon Jan 16 02:04
        He nodded and flicked his wand in a tight spiral with a mutter. This charm was one Russell had practiced a lot. California was basically all summer; avoiding the sun was inconvenient, but more so was ... more
        • But you’re less hypothetical - Holland, Tue Jan 17 15:14
          Russell’s spell worked exactly as he said it would, and Holland did their best to commit his wand movement and incantation to memory. He sort of mumbled it, so they would likely ask later. It could... more
          • That's canonical - Russell , Wed Jan 18 19:13
            "Oh, really?" was his reply as he tried not to look too relieved. He thought Holland was a little shorter than him, maybe - it was hard to tell accurately since he was still barefoot and that might... more
            • And not allegorical - Holland, Mon Jan 23 14:13
              “It’s just mud,” they said, not flinching as Russell stepped into their hand. Obviously they’d prefer not getting muddy, but it was a lost cause at this point in the obstacle course. The mud would... more
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