Hello, diary, my lovely friend. How have you been? Safe inside your cage of clothes I don't intend to wear and random things I jammed in my suitcase to make my parents less suspicious about how empty it was?
I hope so, because for the next few weeks, we are going to be good friends. Close companions, even. 'Cause diary, you ain't never gonna believe what I'm about to write on you.
...shoot, no, first dramatic entry of the season and already I'm littering it with pop culture references that – where did that one even come from? Where did I hear that? I don't even remember.
Alright, alright, let's try again.
So. First week back. Everything seems – safe. Pleasant, normal, stable, boring.
I haven't been able to really go over anything with the 'rents (nope, not using that phrase, tried it, didn't like it, won't keep it) that's of more than marginal importance. Made friends? Discussed. One of said friends plans an immense social reform to integrate the concept of science with magic and the other accidentally-maybe leaked the secret of my magical marriage to the whole rest of the academy? Not discussed.
Doing well in school? Discussed. Learned spells that reveal the secrets of the universe? Not.
And so on and so forth.
You see this pattern, diary? This is a disturbing pattern we are seeing here. A disturbing pattern I would not hesitate to break if I wasn't aware that the consequences may include the death or complete memory wiping of them, and of me.
But you were with me last year, diary, you already know all this junk. Blah de blah de blah, Illi vents, you sit here patiently and let me jab my pen inelegantly into your pages. You know the drill.
Secrets. Mysterious secrets. And somehow, that's just not was fun as I thought it would be.
This might be a chance to make real progress – I have a few months with them now, instead of just a few weeks.
I'm conflicted. Telling them outright is… no. not an option. I'm not sure how they'd know – the arcane council, Potsdam, I dunno, whoever's in charge – but wouldn't it be just typical if they swooped down the second I confessed everything to my parents? I'm not willing to lose knowledge of this so quickly. Aunt Petrie and Uncle Andrew have spent their whole lives chasing after a hint of what I've got.
And then… how could I let them search in vain, never knowing if they were a step away from a real discovery, or wasting their time on a foolish pursuit?
It's not even so simple as that – and it was frustratingly complicated to begin with. No, not only would I have to find a way to tell them, figure out what to tell them, they would have to believe me. Unconditionally and fully. Any less than that and the risk of exposure would be too great.
I would be memory-wiped. I would lose myself. But if I don't tell them, I would lose them. And I can't lose them.
But I've discussed this extensively, diary.
I am a seventeen year old girl, I am semi-educated (which is to say, have been fantastically educated up until this point, and should I continue in this way for the next four plus years, as I plan to do, I will be able to think of myself as sufficiently schooled), I like slushies and snow cones and shorts and capes, I'm much too fond of silly little things, and I am not at all fit for anything of even marginal importance.
I am also a witch of no small power (I think, I mean, I have absolutely no real standard to hold myself to), I have been married for matters of grave magnitude, and I am in just the position to bring about changes in both this world I live in, and this new world which begins to exercise it's claim on me.
Not exactly… the markers of a healthy mind, I guess. Or. Wait, that's not the right phrase. The… ingredients for? It's driving me batty, anyway.
The first two parts of this – the age and the education – can really only be changed with time. And I thought I'd have time, time enough to wait until my senior year, to wait until I had lived two decades, before I set out to change two hundred decades worth of rules.
But. This is looking to be an error in judgment.
I'm not looking to force something over the summer, so with any luck, I'll be able to vent and ponder in here, and then keep other thoughts of it to the margins.
I'm not sure I have much to do here. Television? Music? Skating? Slushies? …ooh, slushies. I can make do with that.
But seriously, I have all of summer break – way more time than I usually get, and way more than I know what to do with.
An embarras de choix.
No, I don't speak French, what's the point of putting it there?
Look, see, diary? Already going stir-crazy enough that I'm trying to write phrases in a language I am obviously not fluent or competent in.
I am going to wander back to the Academy as a brain-dead disgrace.
Okay, so. Something to occupy me. That shouldn't be too hard, right? I've got an entire library at my disposal (which I've rooted through a thousand times), a town full of people to talk to (who are all quiet and withdrawn and distrustful), trees to climb (which are – okay, those are perfect, not gonna lie)...
Books to read.
Yeah, books. Books are good. Plus, there's probably going to be some problem with the online grading that will take weeks to sort out, and which I won't get done if I wait to the last minute, never mind the fact that they have not informed me of any.
Alright, that's enough whining for today. Try to get comfortable in your new and... temporary home, I guess.
She shuts the pages with a small whumph, pushing it, and her pencil, under her pillow.
This done, she flips onto her back, limbs splayed and her still-damp hair fanned out around her as she looks up at the ceiling.
That's one thing she's not going to miss – communal showers. (In normal circumstances, a near-endless supply of hot water would be enough temptation to stay, but... magic. Magic outweighed most things.)
There was more to it than what she'd written – there always was.
Her parents had ruffled her hair and smothered her in hugs and called her pet names until she was nearly drowning in affection.
It's something she was used to, but no longer.
She stares up at the ceiling a moment longer, trying to block out thoughts and just take in the paint-speckled surface.
...huh. She never did do anything about the ceiling back in her room –
In her dorm room. Not her room. It wasn't hers.
This is a lie.
There, she knows where everything is (even if it's because there's not much to find), she knows everything around her, she knows how it looks and how she's changed things and how she could continue to change things.
Here… she's forgotten which draws are hers, and there's too much stuff – little toys piled up on the dressers, notes she can't remember reading, or writing, and it's like she's wandered into a sitcom house. Everything's hers and supposed to be hers, but it feels like it's all designed to placate her.
And this, here – this is not home, not any more. Even putting aside the fact that she basically hasn't lived in it for the last three-fourths of a year.
Her parents are basically strangers.
When they – and she doesn't know this 'they', doesn't know who it was that caused her so much trouble – took away her parents' memories of magic, it seems as though their curiosity was taken as well. Everything that made them… them.
Safer this way, she supposes. If you believe that ignorance really is safer. (And again, after this, after all this, she isn't so sure.)
Ellen had said before... that her parents thought they sent her away because she'd done something wrong, because they couldn't remember the real reasons.
Illia's parents are not the same, but somehow this is – well, it feels worse. They think they sent her to the Academy to find herself. To teach her whatever she needed to know to decide on a path for her life, and that she'll talk to them about what she's learned if she wants to.
And then she groans, rubbing at her temples.
She was not made for this sort of soul-searching. And she's had much too much of it recently.
She is seventeen years old, and she is allowed to act like it.
She's allowed to be childish and clueless and confused, and -
Well. It's the first day back.
She has a million exciting things to do and oh gosh laundry.
Right... she managed to get out of doing it before by using small-scale cleaning spells (alright, they're more than that, but it's how she's going to refer to them) and waiting until break, where she'd plead with her mother to do them since she 'didn't know how to do such small loads of laundry' and teaching her at the moment was too much of the hassle.
She's pretty sure that's not going to wait when she's got all of summer break to learn now.
She hisses a breath through her teeth, then smiles. Oh well. It's not so bad, right? At least she gets to spend time with her parents now.
And this is how she spends the first day.