“You guys know our lives are about to get weirder in some insane way that we can’t possibly predict?” Margo said as she looked around her at her friends, taking it all in, and ready to solidify their place in this new Fillory by pushing the button and letting the Fillorians out of the seahorse.
“Yes,” replied Fen, Alice, and Josh all at once.
Smiling, Josh continues, “But I find that somehow, perversely comforting”
“So do I,” Alice said, “And that’s how I know it’s our story.”
Margo grinned, truly excited for the adventure about to unfold, and pressed the button.
As soon as she woke up, the first thing Margo heard up was Josh saying, “Ugh, my head hurts. What happened.”
Sitting up and looking around, Margo was shocked to find herself in the last place she thought she’d be. “We’re back at fucking Brakebills?! Christ on a cracker what the fuck is going on.”
Alice put her head between her knees as she sat up. There was a headache coming on from this, she just knew it.
“Well, it looks like we’re back on earth.”
“No shit, Sherlock.”
“Quiet Margo, please. I can literally feel my brain throbbing. And I don’t know why we’re here. It could be anything. New Fillory itself kicked us out, one of the Fillorians we let out zapped us here, literally any other thing since our lives are so weird. Also Fen isn’t here, so maybe we can use that as a clue.”
Josh thought to himself for a second before replying, “Well since we’re at Brakebills, let’s go see Dean Fogg. Maybe someone on earth did something.”
“Maybe,” Margo said, “And Fogg is pretty useless, but fuck it, we have nothing better to try. Let’s go find him.”
Margo stood up with Josh and Alice following suit. The walk from the lab where they appeared to Dean Fogg’s office was not a long one, but it still felt strange. It had been a while since they had been to Brakebills with no students around in classrooms or in the hallways.
“So… where do you think everybody is?” Josh asked.
“My guess is that In earth time Brakebills isn’t even in session. It’s probably the end of summer so they should be running the exam soon,” Alice replied.
Margo nodded her head impressed, “Maybe you do have all the answers blondie. I know I’ve spent so much time in Fillory I haven’t paid any attention to earth time, and can only assume it’s the same for Josh.”
“You got that right. All that timey-wimey nonsense in the Neitherlands, back to Brakebills for a bit, then to Fillory, back to earth, and back to Fillory again. Now we’re here. Time is an illusion and I have no idea what day of the week it is, let alone what month it is. Who knows, I might not even know what year it is!”
Both Margo and Alice laughed at that, so that was a success in Josh’s book.
Once she finished laughing, Alice said, “It’s not that difficult to figure out though. It’s hot out, and there’s no one here. There’s not many times in the year when Brakebills is totally empty. They do have some summer courses.”
Margo hummed in agreement. The rest of their walk to Dean Fogg’s office was in silence, none of them quite sure what to expect, and just hoping that Fogg was there. Once they arrived, Margo opened the door to Fogg’s office and they all walked in and sighed in relief as Fogg was sitting at his desk.
“Fuck, it’s you three. Why wouldn’t you be here? I suppose being able to escape you all, although it seems like that isn’t possible. You and your group of friends are worse than the entire class of ‘16.”
“But I am part of the class of ‘16.”
“Can’t you see how that makes it worse, Mr. Hoberman? It means you have gotten yourself into trouble more times than I care to begin counting.”
Josh awkwardly grimaced, mimed pulling his collar, and looked away in response to that. Not like he could argue against it.
“Not that you two are much better,” Fogg continued on his tirade and turning his gaze towards Margo and Alice, “Becoming a niffen, going to Fillory, and then staying to rule it. All of you disappearing without a word. Not a single one of you or your friends bothered to drop out either. Your files are an absolute nightmare.”
Alice took a step forward towards Fogg. “You’re right. We didn’t drop out. So what does that mean? Are we still enrolled at Brakebills?”
Fogg sighed deeply before replying, “I wish I could say no, but technically yes. Everyone in your friend group is still enrolled. You would need to test out of year 2 and complete year 3. By all means though, fill out the drop out paperwork. It’s bad enough some of you have decided to come back to complete their third year.”
“Some are coming back? Who?” Margo demanded.
“The rest of your little group, quite annoyingly.”
“Yes, Ms. Wicker took the year two test. I’m sure she could have passed the third year test but she wanted to stay with her friends. They have all been living in the cottage since you three left and Ms. Orloff-Diaz missed a payment to the Baba Yaga and got herself evicted. It’s a funny story actually.”
“Once we don’t have time for,” Margo interjected. “Why are we here? Did someone perform a spell to call us back? And why isn’t Fen here?”
“To answer your questions in order- I don’t know, I don’t know, and to be honest I do not care. You’re back. So please either fill out the dropout paperwork or I will see you all in class in two weeks. I have too much to prepare right now. Good day to you all,” Fogg said as he waved them out of his office.
As soon as they left, Margo angrily said, “I knew talking to him was going to be useless. And now what? Everyone is going back to school like nothing ever happened? Fuck this, we’re going to the cottage now and finding out what the hell is going on.”
Sharing a look and a shrug, Josh and Alice just followed Margo. They needed answers and if anyone was going to get them, it was Margo Hanson.