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[It seems like a really long time since I've updated. I'd tell you what I've been doing in the meantime, but I'm not entirely sure you want to know. (Although your not wanting to know may not be enough to save you from being told anyway at some point.)

What's new with all of you?]


It was curiously easy to write a confessional letter to Arc. It was difficult to start, but once I'd cringed my way through an embarrassed sentence or so the words just poured from me. I found myself admitting more on paper than I ever had in my own head, even. I was strangely drained and exhausted by the time I got to the end of it, much too much so to launch into a second, more restrained letter. I stuffed the explicit one into a convenient bedside book, promising myself that tomorrow evening I'd cannibalize any of it that, on sober second inspection, looked fit to incorporate into my revised, sane, shareable letter. And then I'd burn the first one, and possibly bury the ashes.

I tossed and turned all night, plagued by hellish dreams in which I was washing the Dark Schoolmaster's hair in a basin while he berated me for not being prepared. 'You are ill-prepared for the coming trial,' he kept insisting. 'A new threat is emerging on the horizon, a more sparkly, prismatic threat than you have yet faced. Oh, sure, they look self-effacing and kind, but they bring madness in their wake, and invade your dreams. You'll be talking to them next, just wait.' I tried to argue that he was the only one invading my dreams, and I wasn't going to trial, but he wouldn't listen. I woke in the morning with my hands cramped from massaging grease off his scalp, and my head positively throbbing. It made for a hellish day. I kept nearly nodding off, and whenever I did, the insides of my eyelids seemed to sparkle. Luckily I wasn't scheduled to work, so I could crash mid-afternoon. All further correspondence, I decided, would have to wait another day. Also, I was going to have to borrow a vacuum cleaner or something and get rid of the trace glitter. I could no longer deny, I mean to say, that it was affecting me quite negatively.

Back in my room, there was a letter waiting for me, tucked into the graphic novel I'd left on the nightstand (volume three of the rather porntastic Jane Bond and Clit Easewood series, in case anyone's curious). It had been delivered direct to my room by, according to the small note left with it, Josh, who also informed me that delivering messages was 'part of the family business,' whatever that meant. I assumed it was an effort to set that whole 'running from the Mob' story afloat again, and therefore treated it with complete indifference.

The letter was from Xena, which was astonishing enough, but even before I'd recovered from the thrilling shock of scanning down from the 'Hi, kid,' to see that the signature at the bottom was hers, I'd gone on to experience a whole other level of shock from the in-between, letterish bit of the letter. She'd gone, she informed me, on a short trip. 'Business more than pleasure,' she said, and added that I could feel free to hand that information on to anyone who might be wondering. Oh and, by the way, if anyone wanted to know more specific details, she was in Australia, and on that account I should expect any online contact to be sluggish at best and censored at worst.

I reeled a bit, and also, I confess, churlishly entertained the notion that I might not hand that information on at all. Dash it all, I wasn't a messenger boy. But I squashed that thought thoroughly, as it deserved, and guiltily wondered if I could perhaps send Xena a nice gift, maybe a book, to make up for what I almost hadn't done. People like books when they're away from home, right? I could get her What the Hell Are These People Saying: An Introduction to Australian English, or maybe What the Fuck Was that Noise: A Guide to Australian Wildlife. And I could march right over to see Arc in the morning, to ask her for Xena's mailing-address-while-travelling, which would be a logical way to introduce the whole subj., and hand on the news.

At which exact point I decided I ought to burn my confessional letter of the previous night. I know, I know, I'd been planning to use it as a source when I wrote the real letter, the one I would actually let Arc see. But somehow, the thought of going to see her in the morning while the first, all too honest letter still existed right here on the same plane we inhabited was just unthinkable. I was gripped by a sudden conviction she'd be able to see the contents refected in my eyes, or something, unless I destroyed it. So I opened up my copy of Gerard Way's biography, where the letter was stashed, and found, instead, another note from Joshen. 'Don't worry,' it said, with what I can only assume was inadvertent callousness. 'I got this--will deliver it to the Media Fandom librarian right away.'

In a moment of uncharacteristic religiosity I found myself praying for death--preferably Joshen's while he was en route to the library, but failing that, my own would do nicely.

I had been scheduled to work rather a lot of shifts over the mid-term break, and I now gave serious consideration to pretending to have come down with the plague so I could get out of them, but a nicely-timed call from Seldom put an end to that line of thinking.

Our Esteemed Boss, he informed me, had suddenly decided to go away for the break. She had left explicit instructions that we absolutely must work all the hours as-yet-unpaid by this term's grant, because otherwise next term's funding would shrink. So we were all to fill up as many shifts as we possibly could during her absence, even supposing it meant some of us spending nights there scrubbing the floors with toothbrushes--Ms. Silverman didn't care, as long as she returned to an immaculate archive, completed tasks, exhausted staff, and a full duty roster for which she could accordingly bill the library prior to submitting the grant application for the upcoming term. I dithered privately, but really, I could use the money. And I certainly didn't want any time to myself in which I could sit around thinking. Thanks to Joshen's over-helpiness, and my damnably well-written honesty, I could never face Arc again. And she almost certainly felt the same way--why else would she have fled so abruptly? I couldn't blame her, really. I've had stalkers myself, and, while flattering, it's mostly icky.

I felt like a crazy person, and speaking of that, I needed to buy glitter. A quick visit to the craft supplies section of the campus bookstore on the way solved that problem, but finding Mrs.Sev so I could hand over the replacement tube proved more difficult. Aside, I mean, from the fact that I was scheduled to spend every waking moment in the library, undergoing a sort of torture whereby I had to listen to the others speculate endlessly about where Ms. Silverman had gone and why. The few times I emailed Mrs.Sev, trying to set up a meeting, I got no response. That was odd. I sent out delicate internet feelers, just to make sure she wasn't dead or anything.

She had, I heard from multiple sources, been less than reachable lately, and often vanished abruptly right in the middle of IM sessions. Sadly, several of these multiple sources seemed to be bandying that about as proof that Mrs.Sev was being pulled away to visit the Astral Plane, or to commune with the Astral Plane, or whatever verb it is one does with the Astral Plane. I refused to believe it, myself. If she vanished from the lobby of the library that would be one thing, but her inability to keep up her end of an online conversation suggested nothing so much as a wonky connection. Still, I didn't like this. I was starting to feel as if everyone was abandoning me. If this went on much longer, I'd be plucking at Warr1or's internet sleeves, or clinging pathetically to Ciyerra.

Enough was enough. What I needed now was advice, or at least someone to vent to. And with my usual advisers firmly in the no-go column, what with Arc being the thing I wanted advising on and Xena being unhelpfully Antipodean, I settled on Liz as a good, sensible person to consult. Sensible about everything but men, anyway, and that was irrelevant in this case. I headed gloomily in-game.

ETA: There's a new Case story as well!

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