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Timeline Twenty-Three

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Henry Fogg, distinguished dean of Brakebills University of Magical Pedagogy, sat at his desk, stacks of paperwork and magical glowing globes decorating it's vast surface, not that he paid any of it any kind of attention.

No, for the twenty-third time, he sat at his desk, decanter of his favorite bourbon sitting before him with a healthy amount poured into the signature crystal tumbler in his hand. After Quentin dosed him with truth serum a few days previously, he'd seriously considered giving up the bottle, but here he was, drowning his sorrows.

He'd thrown Eliza - Jane! - out an hour ago, tired of her endless excuses for using children to fight this ongoing battle with her bastard of a brother.

To think he'd been a fan of those books when he was a boy.

What he wouldn't give to have to deal with Rupert instead of these two, but the best of the Chatwins was long dead by this point in time, killed by the very brother he tried to protect and then stop.

Fogg raised the glass to his lips and swallowed over half of the alcohol, trying to dull everything to a distant buzz.

One would think he'd be used to this by now. Losing his students, that is. Not just Quentin and Julia, and those two loud-mouths Margo and Eliot, but all his students. They all left Brakebills eventually, and not all of them voluntarily, or even in one piece. Back before battle-magic was banned, they lost an average of three students a year.

But here he was, drowning his sorrows in expensive booze, and when that ran out, the cheap swill he had as backup, mourning students he never particularly liked. No, that wasn't entirely true. Julia was a gem, the first truly gifted student who'd come through the doors of their illustrious institution since Fogg himself. A real protege, and he'd lost her to this senseless family feud.

In a sudden fit of drunken rage, Fogg reared back and hurled the tumbler in his hand across the room with a wordless scream, shattering the expensive crystal on the wall and staining it with the bourbon.

He put his face in his hands and let the sobs come. Crying not just for the lives lost, but also for the certainty that he'd have to live through this again. And again. And again and again and again, until either these students - these children! - finally managed to beat a master magician that even gods feared to face, or until Jane gave up and moved on to something else, finally giving him peace.

Not likely to happen in the immediate future.

Hopefully his future selves would learn from these past mistakes and not get too attached this time, certainly not like he had in the beginning, trying to actively assist them and all them, all of which led to his extremely painful demise.

No, better that he remain a rock in this ocean of emotional bullshit, letting these insignificant millenials break upon and around him, unfeeling, swept away in a confluence of events outside their control.

Fogg blindly reached out and grabbed the decanter and raised it to his lips.