Subject: Wind's changed.
Posted on: 2021-09-08 22:08:36 UTC

Mary Poppins found himself waking up earlier every morning to prepare his performances.

He felt he should have spent more time sleeping with the amount of songs he had been pumping out as of late, but hey. He was a god, and one of the more performance-themed ones at that, so he felt obliged to put a good number of them out there, sleep schedule or no.

He traced chalk along the ground, marking here, blending lines there, adding the subtle touch of magic to make the image just a little more real. Making buildings more solid and dark, the stars littering the sky slightly brighter, the grass thinner and almost alive. Mary Poppins was never an artist before the ascension, but it just came to him naturally now. It was something he tried to use to the fullest in his performances, bringing his audience on a tour through a world of chalk and stars and the beauty of life.

A dozen or so scattered Agents and Nursery kids, having gathered to watch during the hours Mary Poppins had spent drawing with chalk, milled about the Nursery foyer. A few of them were arranging chairs while they waited. One Agent was a chair, and a Nursery kid sat on top of it, and neither party seemed to mind.

Mary Poppins stood up and stepped back from the chalk drawing, looking over it and lightly tapping his signature umbrella on the floor. It was just about finished, but he wondered if he should have added something more to it. The city scene looked a bit standard at the moment, and he wanted to vary his songs every once in a while, give his audience new experiences with every journey.

He paused to take a quick glance at the milling group of Agents behind him. Then he did a double-take; the old woman he had met on his ascension day - Ananke, he thought - was standing near the front of the crowd, arms folded and eyes shadowed by her veil.

Mary Poppins turned to face Ananke and, for the sake of politeness, folded his hands together and bowed to her.

“Ahem,” he started once he had straightened back upright. “Hello again, ma’am. Um, so what brings you here?” He did his best to keep his face composed, even as his mind tensed up ever-so-slightly.

Ananke said nothing for a while. Then she gestured with a wrinkled hand towards the umbrella dangling at his side.

"May I?" she mouthed, voice barely audible over the noise of the Agents behind her.

“Oh.” Mary Poppins hesitated for a second, before nodding and letting her take it. “Sure, I suppose.”

Ananke opened the umbrella and lifted it over her head, gently waving it back and forth as if testing for something.

“The wind’s changed,” she said after a few seconds, voice clear this time, dry and hoarse and almost crackling.

Mary Poppins tilted his head slightly, and one of his fox ears twitched. He was pretty sure he knew the implication behind that statement, but he wanted to make sure he had heard correctly.

“Pardon?” he asked, sweeping his bushy tail across the chalk drawing behind him. Bits of chalk dust got caught in his fur, but he didn't notice.

Ananke didn’t respond but raised her head slightly, and Mary Poppins noticed a small stream of tears running down her face.

He blinked. “Are you, um... Are you okay?”

Ananke shook her head with a rueful smile. "I'll miss you,” she whispered.

Then she lowered the opened umbrella, separating Mary Poppins and herself. In a moment and a half, a wind somehow managed to pick up, catching the umbrella and pulling it out of the room, sweeping towards the exit and gliding out into the halls.

And in the space she used to be, Ananke was gone, and with her went Mary Poppins, leaving behind just Jiwon - stunned, lacking of godhood, and light-headed as the last few weeks of very little sleep began to finally catch up to him.

He was left standing in front of a chalk drawing he had no idea how to finish anymore and an audience he couldn’t entertain. He blinked a few times, both to comprehend what had just happened and to clear the tired haze that had set over his vision. Despite the suddenness of it all, Jiwon felt a combination of emptiness and the smallest twinge of relief.

He looked up at the Agents in the early audience, most of them having gathered to watch the exchange, and he felt his ears fold back against his head. He grinned nervously at them, even as he found himself leaning against a wall for support.

“Um… performance canceled?”

Before anyone could reply, Jiwon shifted into fox form and stumbled out of the room without another word.

“Hey, Jiwon?”

Charlie wandered around RC #724, mandola swinging at their side and tail flicking in agitation.

They wondered if all that “godhood” stuff was really getting to their partner’s head. He’d been waking up earlier and earlier every morning since that Party in the Parc thing to perform alongside all the other singer folk, and it was a tad concerning. Sure he was enjoying himself and presumably entertaining others with his fancy reality-shifting chalkland tours, but they were really getting worried for his health.

As a bard, Charlie knew a good amount about performance - and sleep was an important part of that. Even if Jiwon didn’t show it at first, they knew those all-nighters weren’t doing anything good for him. Even if he was actually a British umbrella pseudo-god or whatever, sleep deprivation was eventually gonna grab him from behind and suplex him into the ground.

They checked Jiwon’s room - empty. Charlie sighed. They wondered if a call to Medical was justified now.

They walked over to the RC door, fastening the strap on their mandola. Maybe it was time to find him and just cast a Sleep spell or something, give him a minute of shut-eye, at least.

They shook out their shoulders, flicked back their ears, and pulled open the door-

Jiwon was standing in front of the doorway, fancy British clothes and matching umbrella gone and replaced by the fancy Korean garb he had worn before his ascension. His hair, once parted, was now tousled and messy, he had bags under his eyes, and he was leaning against the door frame to stay upright, but he looked… back to normal? Mostly back to normal. He still looked sleep-deprived, in Charlie’s opinion, but he also looked relieved under the tiredness.

"Oh, hi!" said Charlie, thoughts of worry and frustration gone in an instant. "You're looking less god-ish today. How'd the day go?"

Jiwon staggered through the door and past his partner, heading over to the couch without saying anything. From behind, Charlie noticed his tail fur looked dusty and pastel-colored, and they had no idea why.

Settling down on the couch, Jiwon folded his bushy tail over his lap, visibly struggling to remain upright. He blinked a few times, swaying in his spot.

“No more performances,” he muttered, staring at his lap. "It's over." Then he shifted into fox form and promptly collapsed onto the cushions.

((Alrighty, finally got an ending typed up! Not gonna lie, I feel a bit disappointed in this one, I feel like there’s probably grammar errors and clumps of clunky writing lying around the cracks of it unnoticed and whatnot. And I’m kinda worried the story-ish thing doesn’t fit with the tone of the other three endings, since more emotional-type writing’s not really my strong suit. But at least it’s done!

Anyways, thanks for setting up the last bit of this event! I’ve been thinking about it on occasion in the past (mostly because my Agent’s personalities back then were written before I got them more settled for my second mission and so on), and it was real nice participating in it again and reading everyone else’s stuff and whatnot.

So, um. At the risk of invoking the Department of Redundancy Department, thanks again! And whatnot.


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