chapter one

chapter one

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closed chapter one

Post by Matthew Lestrange on Fri Jan 20, 2017 5:25 am

Muggle travel had always been an interesting experience for Matt. For some reason he had come to the conclusion that travelling with as little magic as possible would reduce the likelihood of drawing attention to himself. His preferred muggle form of travel was trains, it was cost effective and railroads stretched all across Europe. He usually traveled during the later hours of the day because it meant that there weren't many people on the train. This way if he noticed something sketchy it would be easier to deal with; less muggles meant less mess to clean up afterwards. It also meant that he could read without running the risk of being interrupted; reading had become a favourite pastime over the years. There was not much to be done in the time between missions or movements but reading was easy. All he had to do was keep a book in one of his bigger than normal pockets and he could bring it out whenever he had the time. His travels had proceeded rather uneventful after the discharge. At least the American organization had a bit more of a code of honour than the British one. He wasn't running the risk of death after the resignation. To cross the great pond he had decided it best to use a portkey but the only one available was the one he used to get to †America from Russia. So from Russia he had been taking buses and trains.

Before he left the good ol' US of A he had sent a letter to Jack Dyllan, informing her of his return. He had been so enthralled in his own world he had nearly forgotten the woman existed. It had been years since he had contacted anyone outside of America or Russia and he was a little hurt nobody tried to contact him. He understood it would be risky and could compromise his objective but he was hoping for at least some kind of attempt. Nevertheless, he was glad that he would be returning home soon; well, what was left of home anyway.

This particular train ride had Matt at a borderline panic. It had been years since he had stepped foot on British soil let alone London. Would he even remember his way around the city? Where would he stay this evening? Is Jack even still alive? Is the Order still functional? Well, functional was a relative term. And for the first time in a long time, as he felt the darkness of what he left in America slowly fade away, he genuinely chuckled at the thought. He had suddenly realized, however, that there was an individual that had been watching him rather intently from a seat on the other side of the train. He hadn't looked up from the book he was reading but out of the corner of his eye it's almost as if as soon as he noticed the individual reacted. Matt slowly put the book down and made to look like he was heading towards the bathroom; which was towards the man. As he got closer the man shifted something inside his jacket, noticing that the carriage was empty except for the two of them. He stopped in front of the man.

"Whatever you are holding in your pocket I would advise you place on the table right now." he said calmly as he brought his wand out and point it at the man. The eyes of the man locked with his own and he saw nothing but contempt in them though he didn't recognize them. As he slowly pulled his hand out of his jacket, Matt grabbed it with his other hand and guided it out. Without hesitation the man dropped a gun on the table in front of him; a muggle. "Oh for God's sake," he muttered as he realized the man was indeed nonmagic and the cleanup he'd have to deal with. This guy was just a crook, probably wanted Matt's money or even his book. He let the man's hand go and picked up the gun. "Obliviate" he said as he waved his wand at the man who's memory had now gone blank. Matt sat back down at this seat, stuffed the man's gun in his own bag and continued to read; want at the ready.

Eventually his pleasureless train ride would come to an end. He could see the lights of the city beyond fields of the country that were racing by as the train sped on into the city. He could breath a sigh of relief, he was finally home. Hopefully Jack had gotten his letter and was ready to meet him at the train station in London. As his arrival drew nearer he picked up his bag and moved to a different compartment, away from the man who nearly killed him. There was a mother in this carriage with two boys; one sleeping on her lap and the other playing a handheld videogame. He sat in the seat adjacent to them and just listened to the sounds coming from the boy's game. He almost dozed off but was startled when the train came to a screeching halt; he was in London. Oh how he'd missed the glorious city in all it's...well it's grey. He picked up his bag once again and intentionally let a 50 pound note fall out of his pocket in the isle between himself and the woman. He ignored her calls that he dropped something as he got off the train and walked on to the thinly populated platform; scanning for Jack.
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Post by Jack Dyllan on Fri Jan 20, 2017 6:08 pm

Jack Dyllan, stood with hunched shoulders, hands in pockets, eyes staring forward at the platform, her classic don't-bother-me frown settled comfortably onto her features. A chill had crept in her bones and she cursed herself for once again letting laundry get so bad that she had been given very few choices, leaving her with a sweater that looked a lot warmer than it actually was. The chill of winter seemed intent to stay as long as possible, and though she didn't mind bundling up, she was certainly looking forward to the reintroduction of the sun into their atmosphere. Any day now, sun, any day.

The letter that had summoned her had been unceremoniously stuffed into her pocket, where many other items of importance often ended up. It was just Matt's style really - radio silence and then a sudden announcement of his arrival, and a 'meet me there' direction. Jack supposed the radio silence was a two-way problem, though she had not wanted to risk blowing his cover. Mira was still off - Italy? Or Hong Kong now? - and Jack didn't dare reach out. Every few months, the blonde managed to get in contact with Jack and pass along an update and that was enough. Jack had supposed Matt would contact her if he needed her. And if things had kept on-

Well, Jack had become accustomed to expecting the worst.

But he was on his way, from America. She had a lot of questions about the Death Eaters in America, having realized Russia was still in the hands of Elkin about a year prior and things were probably getting worse under her capable leadership. America, though, claimed to boast no major Death Eater activity. A peer into their law enforcement logs would indicate otherwise. And then there was the strange scrap of information she had come upon. A message, passed on years prior, or a potential spy in the Ministry. But surely, years later, that spy would have been known?

She supposed she was looking forward to catching up with him, as well. They had been friends, once upon a time, but things had gotten complicated. Something about Nemo had made them competitive, had made his trust in her a reluctant thing rather than a certain one. There had almost been hatred in their voices when it came to discussions of how to get Nemo out of the clutches of the Death Eaters. Shortly after, Matt had disappeared. And Jack had done what she needed to do, all on her own. And that's how she remained for quite awhile. Matt had come back in time to get introduced into the Knight's Watch and then take a mission that sent him sprinting across the globe.

How long had that been?

Jack heard a whistle and glanced up, checking one of the clocks in the station. Her hands slipped from her pockets and she began to shuffle closer to the incoming train, eyes scanning the windows. She wondered if she wore all of that passing time in her face. Around her neck and tucked under her sweater was a chain that bore a golden chess piece and a silver ring band. Was the evidence of loss and love worn on her face as well? Could he tell she had become a guardian? Had been married against her will? Had taken on a job she almost lost for... doing the job she was given? Could he see how deep her resentment went for their government? She doubted it. She had learned from the best how to keep all of that off her face. She only worried that one question would continue to fight its way to her lips.

Did you ever see him?

Before she could suffer over this question for too long, she spotted a similar gait beginning to stroll down the platform. She held up a hand and called out his name, beginning to make her way over to him.

"How was the trip?"

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closed Re: chapter one

Post by Matthew Lestrange on Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:19 pm

Three years, three years without breaking a single genuine smile. Three years not being able to breath the 'clean' British air. He heard the familiar accent over the PA system and again, a smirk crossed his lips. He was overcome with the feeling of home that a single tear welled up on the corner of his eye. He took a moment so sink everything in before wiping it away and walking closer to the exit and where, hopefully, he could see a familiar face. His hopes were a little higher than they would have usually, but again, three years. Stepping through another archway onto another platform he saw the familiar red hair of Jack Dyllan and began to walk towards her small frame. She was shorter than he remembered.

Now, to say that for the last few years Matt had been feigning almost every emotion would be an accurate statement. Especially in America, where he felt even more foreign, natural emotional responses from him were rare. What would have been a smile and most likely the biggest hug Jack had ever gotten was replaced with a straight face and not even so much as a handshake. He definitely wanted to hug her, but he couldn't bring himself to do it. Any human contact he had during his years was fighting or handshakes; and then it was usually men. He was almost afraid to touch her, he felt sad. Well, more sad than he had felt a few minutes ago...which wasn't much happier.

How was the trip?

Oh boy, a question that should not have been as loaded as it actually was. It was certainly a long trip, not one he wanted to make again. It wasn't necessarily boring but there were a few close calls with familiar faces who seemed to be following him. But that could just be Matt's paranoia breaking through the surface and messing with him. Not uncommon in these later days of his life; big government was everywhere. Perhaps over the past three years Jack had changed; she looked older. Much older than Matt would have expected - like she's been run through the mill a few times over. As happy as he was to see her she looked sad; Matt got the vibe that he had missed so much.

"Well, it was certainly long." he croaked out as he stepped in front of Jack.

There was a moment there, he could sense it. A moment where both of them were glad to see each other but neither of them were happy. Oh how rare it is to be happy these days in the world. What does it really even mean to be happy. It was obvious there was relief to see her alive, but he still felt upset. Jack was always good at keeping her emotions far from the surface but Matt excelled at looking beyond the surface. He just looked at her, not being able to look her in the eyes - he was scared. He had learned that the best way to learn a mans true intentions was to stare at them directly in the eyes. It was like he was meeting a stranger for the first time but he was happy to see them, but he was sad.

Oh boy Matt thought, I'm more messed up than I thought.
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Post by Jack Dyllan on Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:42 pm

Jack had never been known for her warm, welcoming nature, nor had she ever had a particular talent with social situations. She was quick to quip, and bold with banter, but comfort was out of her... comfort zone. Reaching out and bridging a gap, especially as run down as she felt these past few years, that was not something that came naturally to her. It was what had surprised her so much about Albus. How easy it was for her to bring him out of the rain and into the warmth of her company.

Point was, he was the exception. And somehow, knowing Matt for as long as she had made it even harder for her to ease what seemed to be obvious uncertainty. Especially considering just where their history intersected - Nemo and the Order? It was as though they were guaranteed to be unable to truly comfort each other, no matter how much they might want to. Those problems meant too much and had gone so. very. wrong.

Still. She had to try.

"Come on," she said, clapping a hand on his shoulder.

Once they got somewhere they could apparate, Jack whisked them off to her neighborhood and strolled up to her messy little cottage. She opened the gate, immediately greeted by her gytrash in his usual form of a white wolfhound. She patted his head, offering a gruff, "Elliot. Mind the vines." She directed the second part of that towards Matt, indicating Sunny's Creepy-Crawly vines which loved to reach out and sweep people's feet from under them.

In through the door and into the kitchen. Jack pulled out a chair from the table and headed over towards her drink cabinet. "Do you drink whiskey? Or want a beer?"

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Post by Matthew Lestrange on Mon Jan 23, 2017 9:00 pm

Jack's pat on the shoulder was much more comforting than it would have been under normal circumstances. It was nice to feel a genuine human interaction, as strained as it may be, especially from a friend. Matt was aware that the very obvious tension was bound to be normal but it just seemed so abnormal. He knew Jack was trying her hardest and the notion that she cared enough to at least try made him smile. He got the sense that Jack was about as out of her element as Matt was; this was something that only alcohol or therapy could solve. But, seeing as Matt wasn't a therapist he hoped Jack would be willing to offer him some of the hard stuff.

Luckily for him she had just that.

Apparation had become such a foreign feeling to him; not that he really enjoyed it much before. But wizards in the US seemed to do more walking. Then again, things were a lot more compact and close together in America that taking a walk from the American Wizard Congress from your own home was actually possible. Still, the feeling of apparation was familiar and, feeling a little dizziness, he found himself and Jack on a quaint little road. As Jack began to walk he stopped and took in a breath and just enjoyed the fact that he didn't have anywhere to be anymore. He didn't have to answer to anyone; he was his own man again.

Jack's home was just as quaint as the street, a small cottage. No more than Jack needed. That was very like her, he thought to himself. Matt stopped to look at the dog-like creature before him. He had never seen anything like it. He made sure to carefully work his footing around the tendrils and into the cottage. The only word Matt could use to describe her place was that it definitely felt like a home. He followed Jack into the kitchen and sat in the chair adjacent to the one that Jack had pulled out. He had not said a word since their initial meeting. He looked up at her as she reached into her liquor cabinet.

"I would like the strongest whisky you have in that cabinet." he said, confirming her question. "And you should bring the bottle out too, I think we have lots to talk about Jack."
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Post by Jack Dyllan on Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:42 pm

((Head's up it's a two story cottage that's much bigger on the inside. Like 4 bedrooms I think))

Jack nodded curtly at his request, a smirk forming on her face as though to say as if I would have anything but the strongest whiskey. She pulled out two glasses, dropped a few ice cubes in each, and poured the whiskey. He looked in the mood for straight liquor but she pulled out a bottle of cola just in case, setting the glasses and both bottles on the table between them. She then went back for the cupboard, pulling out a half empty bag of chips and dropped it onto the table, before dropping into her seat.

"I shouldn't probably warn you-"

That's when she heard the sound of the back door opening and closing, and then a curse, followed by a shocked "Ooooh" and then a shush. Jack sighed and stood, turning to block the door of the hallway as her younger cousin Charlie, back from Amsterdam this time, came down the hall, Sunny her shadow.

"I've got company," Jack said, as the young eighteen year old gave her a questioning look.

"Cool stuff," Charlie chirped, slipping past as Sunny, at the ripe old age of nine now, bounded alongside. "We need some of the raw veal I picked up. We haven't figured out what sort of plant it is I found over there, but it seems to like meat."

"I've named it Greg," Sunny said.

"Did someone call me?" came a gruff voice from upstairs. Jack rolled her eyes and mumbled something about no privacy in the house as Charlie busied herself in the freezer. Sunny had now turned her gaze on Matt.

"Who are you?" she asked, tilting her head as mud fell from her coat onto the floor.

"An old friend," Jack answered for him, walking over to the freezer to help Charlie. "Matt, this is my niece Sunny. Sunny, Matt."

"I'm Charlie," Charlie said, abandoning the freezer now that Jack was handling the situation. She pointed at the ceiling. "Greg's a ghoul."

"No, he's not," Jack said, pulling out the wrapped meat and tossing it to her cousin, who caught it deftly. "He's my dad."

"Same thing," Charlie quipped, glancing at Sunny for affirmation. The little girl sighed and shook her head. "Inappropriate." The little girl turned and stalked out in a huff, causing Charlie to roll her eyes and trudge after.

Jack sunk back into her chair. "Yeah, I've picked up a few strays. Charlie'll stick around until a friend wants her to check out Brazil or Nepal or something. And Sunny- well Sunny's been around for a few years now." Wow. A few years. And the little muggle girl was already trying to con her way into Hogwarts. Jack let out another sigh and then reached for her drink, finishing it smoothly in one gulp.

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closed Re: chapter one

Post by Matthew Lestrange on Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:14 am

Jack had barely finished pouring Matt his drink and put it on the table before he had his hand on it; and in less than 5 seconds it was back on the table and empty. He looked across the table at her; she was the nicest sight he had seen in months. He shifted his gaze down to the empty glass he had in his hand and swirled the ice cube around in it. This was his first true moment of peace in months; he wanted to enjoy it - really take in the fact that he may be home. Unfortunately, the universe had other plans as Jack began to speak but ended abruptly and his peace broken. He had grown used to abrupt change but he had let his guard down and it had caught him off guard. His initial reaction was to reach for his wand - which he did. He just managed to catch himself before he had gotten near his pocket, reminding himself he was no longer at risk.

He turned around in his chair to see the figure and Jack speak, Charlie and her niece Sunny. All of a sudden there was talk of a carnivorous plant, veal, and ghouls. Matt's figure softened however, when Sunny had asked who he was. Jack had answered for him but he reached his hand out and shaking hers.

"Pleased to meet you Sunny." he said with a soft smile. He turned to Charlie, "Matt," he said with a nod and a small smile. He didn't stand up from his seat however.

It seemed as though Jack had gotten herself a little family. He couldn't help but feel a little jealous but also happy for her. Matt had always thought that Jack was someone who really needed a family. People that were there for her practically always; he knew that's what he always wanted. Never getting a real chance to taste what it meant to have a family, a safety net. Although of all people Matt hadn't quite expected her dad to be living with her. Then again, Jack and Matt never talked about family much. However he did pick up on Jack's sigh and as her glass hit the table he was quick to poor herself and him a very generous amount of whiskey.

"I never expected you to be the mom type." he said with a bit of a smirk. "I mean I knew you were a good babysitter and everything."

He began to drink his second glass, enjoying it a bit more this time.

"This conversation needs to be like a band aid, Jack." he sighed, not taking his eyes off the glass he was holding. "Tell me the worst so we can get it over with. I'm sorry if it's a bit rushed but I've had three years of practical radio silence"


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Post by Jack Dyllan on Thu Jan 26, 2017 5:34 am

They were gone, leaving a vacuum of silence that the cramped house of Layabout Lane was not accustomed to. Jack's eyes fell on Matt's glass and filled it again, filling her own as well. His statement caused a wry grin on her face, and she shook her head. "I'm not," she said, a bit of amusement in her tone. "I'd say I'm more like the old maid aunt. Not so great with the whole safety and rules stuff."

In reality, there were days when Jack questioned whether or not she should have ever took on the role of guardian. Sunny hadn't been much of a choice, Charlie commanded by the Ministry, but Goose had certainly been on her own volition. She had felt more capable with Max to help, the Morrison man had been practically designed to take care of kids. Jack was great with the crushing bugs and defending their home, but the whole meeting benchmarks and kissing foreheads...

She was vastly unqualified.

"Bandaid," she repeated. She smirked and then put a finger to her nose. "Nose goes. You first, cowboy."

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Post by Matthew Lestrange on Sat Jan 28, 2017 6:34 am

There are moments in life where you could be sitting in front of your best and it could feel like you were about to talk to a stranger. These situations can come at you from out of nowhere and hit you like a brick wall. Matt had been wracking his brain for a word from the moment his final train left the station. He was definitely feeling the emotion behind the world, he just couldn't determine the word itself. And, as he sat there, in front of his friendly stranger - it clicked.

Apprehensive

Apprehensive is a word which here means 'when two friends are sitting at a table and one of them is fearful that the conversation will turn unpleasant for the pair'.

Matt was extremely apprehensive about being the first to talk. He was definitely hoping Jack would jump start the conversation and discuss some more domestic items. Things like what the the ministry has been up to, how Hogwarts was doing, or what sort of crap the Order has been trying to pass off as 'official' unofficial business. But, it seemed like it was up to Matt to be the bigger person and get over his feeling of apprehensiveness. Matt downed his drink once again.

He let out a deep breath, "Well, Russia is essentially f-cked. Sofie has the government completely under the Death Eater control." He didn't intend on pausing in between his reports but as the words left his lips he was suddenly brought back to his time there. All the people he had been ordered to kill; the feigning of enjoying it. He ranked higher in the Russian Death Eaters by faking it than he ever did in the UK syndicate when it was legitimate. "I never quite made it into her inner circle but that Sofie is something else."

"Fortunately, however," he began "the American's aren't quite as organized." He began to explain to her in detail the state of the American Death Eaters and how he had been slightly less successful there. "America was a nice change, they are definitely more slack over there. It was easier for me to get away with slip ups and so I could let my guard down a little bit. That may have been a crutch however, the leader of the American sect never gave himself up."

The American Death Eaters didn't really hold conventional meetings. They were sent orders and if they weren't doing a job for the group they were working; not so much in government but regular muggle jobs. It was interesting to see the American wizarding culture.

"All I know is that the head of the American Death Eaters works in the American government." it was all he could get out of his 'fellow' members.



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Post by Jack Dyllan on Sat Jan 28, 2017 10:02 pm

Jack stayed on drink duty, refilling their glasses as they emptied, and Jack had to remind herself that, while day drinking was a favorite hobby of hers, this situation probably didn't need to be made any worse with drunkenness. She reached for the bag of crisps, taking a handful and scattering them in front of her eating one at a time as she listened to Matt's account, knowing before he even opened his mouth that it was going to be a doozy of a story. She knew an exhausted spirit when she saw one. †

In truth, there would always be a part of her that felt guilty. She had brought Matt into the fold on the Knight's Watch and sent him away mere weeks after he had settled back in. She had barely had enough time to catch him up on her life before she sent him out of it. If she was fair with herself, and the growing coldness in her certainly helped, Matt had a choice. He was an adult and he could have pulled away at any time, could have backed out. But she knew Matt, and she had sent him. She would forever be responsible for whatever damage was done to him.

Jack had never been great with releasing herself of responsibility. Hence all the strays.

She sighed as he advised her on Russia, running a finger along the rim of her drink as she thought through it. They had suspected as much, but the confirmation was much needed. The last Jack had heard of Mira Anderson, the woman had to abandon the Russians and go to France, and the redhead desperately hoped Elkin hadn't found her blonde comrade. From what Jack knew, Sofie had come to England to learn under Aaron Marcheti, who was strangely almost an ally of Jack's.

Apparently those lessons were proving more than successful.

Jack reached up, massaging her cheeks vigorously as her eyes fluttered closed. "Yeah, I thought as much," she said, her voice a little resigned. "Luckily, she's never seemed too interested in pushing past borders. Can't really help Russia out 'til we get ourselves sorted. Might see if the Order can go and sweep through, see if we can help extract anyone." She hated the idea of leaving people to suffer through an unfair regime, but they simply didn't have the manpower.

The American Death Eaters was a problem Jack knew even less about. They had tried to gather information before but had only ever found the ghosts of hints, never really anything substantial. The spy rumor had shaken her, but here they were, years later, and nothing had come of it. She could only assume no news was good news, but she supposed Matt had the power to change that.

She groaned as he summed up what he knew with the Americans and drained her glass again, before deftly topping it off. "Fantastic," she said dryly, looking at the amber liquid as she swirled the glass thoughtfully. "At least we know it's Sofie over in Russia. Whoever has America is nameless at this point." She sighed and then screwed up a grimace of a smile and shrugged. "Hey, at least all the rumors about a spy in the Ministry turned out to be fruitless."

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