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by: Tristan Viridian
June 12th, 2012
London - The Abbey
2030 pm

It'd been a week since the attack at MI:5. He'd had Matt over for a few days after the chaos erupted in the streets over the explosions that shook the agency, with the offering to help him lay low for a little while. It was a surprise that he'd found his brother at all, alive and well, after believing he was dead all that time... As much lost time as he wanted to catch up on, however, Tristan knew that he couldn't let that stop him from work. He'd informed King that he had the Devil situation handled but wanted to keep any movement against the vigilante on ice. With Mae at the penthouse too, things would be surveyed anyhow since he wasn't conducting anything suspicious... they were just on his terms.

His orders from King were to continue, business as usual, and he was okay with that. The Abbey was his place of choice today, slow for a late evening on a weekend, but he didn't complain. The less people in his way, the better. There would be time to blend into a crowd if he needed to make an escape or vanish if he was spotted, but for now he was clinging to his regular tumbler of scotch whiskey in his usual booth in the corner, away from everything, but close enough to see the bar.

Tristan had been flipping through his files. More things from Welsh he wanted to give another skim-through regarding Matt and his time at the agency plus anything that surrounded the bombing. Fuck all...what a mess. Files he procured from the magical realm via a special contact, gave a report on the attack from two weeks ago. Two hits on prime Death Eater territory made him wonder if his dear sister had the balls to actually pull off something as extravagant as this. He hadn't heard back from his brother-in-law since he made his proposal and hadn't spotted him here tonight, either. He wondered how that all went. He wondered if his sister was still breathing or if the drug had even worked all, since it was still in a soft launch of sorts. Nevertheless, he'd keep his eyes up and open for anyone of interest here tonight. Family, friends, enemies. Anyone he could spot out of this swarm of muggles would make the night a little more interesting than his usual lonely drink, in the lonely booth in the lonely corner of his sister's establishment.
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by: Coraline Larson
Her hand was still shaking, she noticed as she reached for the door to the familiar pub. The flashbacks had been brutal today and the one she had had after Matt left was the worst yet. Cora had blacked out after the hellish memory invaded her mind, and had woken up crying and calling for Matt. The raven-haired witch shivered and opened the door, stepping into the oh-so-familiar bar. So exhausted and emotionally drained was she that her usual automatic scanning of her surroundings didn't pick up on the man in the corner booth, so she headed to the far end of the bar and took a lonely stool at the end.

Cora ordered a scotch for herself and hunched over her drink, listlessly swirling the ice in the glass. She had already had two glasses of scotch at home, before Matt had come to see her again, so she figured it was probably a bad idea to have more but couldn't seem to find the energy to care. Everything seemed to be falling apart around her... and it was all her fault. That was the kicker, wasn't it? She had ruined her own life right along with Matt's and his friends too. She didn't even have anyone to confess or cry to about it. Hence her intention to drink until she truly felt nothing...
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by: Tristan Viridian
Tristan raised the glass to his lips, sipping in some of that beautiful amber beverage. He'd spotted a woman across the bar, the woman he'd been looking for all this time. Whether or not she'd been connected to the Devil had yet to be seen, but since she showed up here alone, perhaps they weren't connected at all. He brought his tumbler back down and set it on its coaster. It had been years since he saw the Dark Lady and even longer before that he'd seen his best friend from school, but he wasn't going to make a scene. He could have called her out from across the way, but he didn't.

Tristan gave her a moment, going back in for another sip to help it all settle in...before deciding to fold up his notes and tuck them into a small, magically charmed envelope in his inside pocket. Those notes could be gone over later, because he had some prying to do in this long-awaited reunion with his old friend. He picked up his drink, coaster and everything, and removed himself from his booth. He took a slow, careful walk over to the bar and stopped just behind the vacant stool beside her. "This seat taken?"
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by: Coraline Larson
A voice behind her, deep but gentle and friendly, cut through the noise of the pub and stopped the witch mid-movement as she lifted her drink toward her lips. As far as she was concerned she had two options. She could either assume the man was just some bar-fly looking for a date and tell him to bugger off, or she could turn around and see what the man wanted before deciding whether or not she would engage with him. With a sigh Cora placed her drink back on the bar and turned to face the man who had spoken... and nearly fell off her stool in shock as a long- forgotten memory forced its way through her mind.

/'Tris, where the hell are ya takin' me? My potions exam is tomorrow and I have to study!' A petite raven-haired teenage girl protested as a taller blonde boy playfully dragged her out of a large school library.

'Aww c'mon, Cor... you've barely left the library in a week! We haven't even celebrated our birthdays yet and mine was five days ago!' The boy countered her arguments and pouted at his friend as he tugged her outside and into the sunshine.

The two students laughed and teased each other as the boy led the girl down to the shore of a large lake, where a picnic of sweets, sodas, and a small birthday cake with two candles sat on a soft blue blanket..../

With a soft gasp of genuine surprise, Cora came out of the flashback looking slightly dazed but recovered quickly and blinked up at the tall man before her. Hesitantly, as if she couldn't believe what she was looking at, she asked a one word question. "...T-tristan?"
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by: Tristan Viridian
“Cora...As I live and breathe…” Tristan chuckled.

Tristan looked at the quiet woman through his eyelashes for a moment before taking the seat beside her. He grinned and even opened his arms to her for a hug if she would have it. Just resting his eyes on her made all worry and thoughts about her with the Devil, with Matt, were washed away. Temporarily, really, but he wouldn’t let this reunion pass. He missed his dear friend, a lot more than he missed the Dark Lady, and even though they were one in the same, Tristan still wanted to take a more friendly approach unless she gave him a reason not to.

“You’re back in London? What have you been up to?” He couldn’t stop smiling. It was such a relief to see her, so much that it warmed his heart. He missed her so much, he didn’t realize it until he laid eyes on her.
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by: Coraline Larson
Almost automatically Cora returned his brilliant smile with a delighted one of her own and accepted his offer of a hug. She wrapped her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly, a disbelieving chuckle escaping her as she pulled back and took her seat again. All thoughts of her own troubles and the things that had gone wrong in the last several days were pushed aside in favor of the seeming miracle sitting on front of her.

"Back in London?" she answered with a tired laugh. "London's been my home for the last fifteen years, Tris."

what were the odds that, of all the pubs in the city, her old friend just happened to be in the one she chose to visit on a night when she desperately needed a friend? Perhaps if she hadn't already been drinking at home or hadn't been battling the aftermath of breaking the oppressive magic in her mind, she might have been suspicious about the coincidence. But as it was, she was simply stunned and oh-so- relieved to see her friend here and now.

"I can't believe you're really here..." she breathed out in surprise again, still smiling despite her exhaustion.
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by: Tristan Viridian
He set his drink down and wrapped his arms around her waist, swinging her back and forth before setting her back down. She retreated to her seat, and he took that as an open invitation to take the seat in question. Once he was settled, Tristan sighed softly and brought his blue-green eyes back up to her. "Ahh, see, I was just testing you." He teased. "Well, mostly. I haven't seen you in ages. I hadn't seen you since..."

Tristan chuckled. "Yeah, it's really me." He examined her closer, and narrowed his eyes. She looked unusually pale. Though it wasn't out of character for the Dark Lady, the woman he'd come to visit seemed...different. There were dark circles under her eyes, as if she hadn't been sleeping much either. He tilted his head. "Is something the matter? Cora, are you alright?"
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by: Coraline Larson
Cora let out another subdued chuckle at his teasing and took a sip of her scotch at last, the joy of seeing her long-lost friend slightly tainted by the memory of the last time they had seen each other. Her smile faltered a little as she recalled the icy way the Dark Lady had treated Tristan when he had joined the Death Eaters those few years ago. He had approached her with a cheery smile and teasing - the way he always had when they were younger, Cora remembered now - and she had drawn her knife and threatened to gut him if he ever dared touch her again. Needless to say, Tristan hadn't tried to interact with the Dark Lady after that meeting...

With the repressive magic her former master had left in her mind finally broken and her memories and emotions finally freed again, Cora was ashamed of how her darker half had treated her best friend all those years ago. She knew logically it wasn't exactly her fault, that it had been the Dark Lord's magic that had forced her distance herself from others, but that didn't assuage Cora's guilt one tiny bit. She only hoped that she might be able to rebuild the friendship she had lost now that she was free and fully herself once more, although she had no chance to broach the subject as Tristan continued speaking with a reassurance of his identity. Cora shifted a little uncomfortably in her seat, taking another good pull of her drink when those sea-blue eyes looked her over a little too closely. She didn't think she looked THAT bad... did she?

Sure, she hadn't been sleeping much since 'Day Zero' and the escape from Mi5... And, ok, she had been having flashbacks and memories resurfacing sometimes painfully and for hours at a time since she had broken the Dark Lord's hold on her... And the tension between her and Matt wasn't helping anything either. In fact, Cora wasn't even sure she had eaten at all today now that she thought about it... Maybe she should slow down on the scotch, she reasoned with herself. Ok, so maybe she might actually look that bad. Dammit...

"It's... it's just been a rough couple days, Tris," she answered her friend. Cora tried to reassure him of the truthfulness of her claim with a small smile, but the gesture failed to reach her misty green eyes at all. If she looked even half as bad as she felt, the witch figured it was no wonder he looked concerned about her.
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by: Tristan Viridian
He arched a brow, and then squinted to look at her through his eyelashes. Tristan was examining his friend's face to further analyze this beyond what she'd said. It was habit, an inherent trait his mother said he'd gotten from the father he never knew, but he blamed it on his military ways. Tactics. Observation. Tristan took another slow pull of his drink, and set it down, quietly. Rough couple of days seemed like a rough week or so, given her appearance. Not that there was anything wrong with her, she just looked out of it. The woman he remembered--the girl he remembered from the old days was so bubbly and full of life and here they were years later. He was ever-curious to know what she'd been up to, though he had a slight idea of that.

"Care to share? I mean, I won't pry or anything if you'd rather not. It's just been so long, and a lot has happened." He grasped the glass between his middle finger and thumb and spun it slowly, staring into the amber liquid. Another inherent habit, he'd heard. "I have time and an open ear, as usual." Tristan was fairly quiet in school. That nerdy little kid that had an equally nerdy friend. Coraline. He'd let her talk because, quite frankly, he loved listening to her go on and on about random things, sometimes nonsense, no matter how long it took for her to tell a story because she got distracted by something in a book.

He turned to her with a genuine smile. It was nice to do so when it wasn't involved with things like work where he had to put on a stony front to scare his informants or force a conversation with his employer. Tristan felt at ease with his old friend and that was just...lovely.
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by: Coraline Larson
'Care to share?'

Oh Merlin... That one seemingly-innocent little question had so many possible answers, didn't it? Despite the myriad responses all clamoring for exodus from the roiling mess that was her thoughts, Cora resisted the urge to word-vomit at her old friend and simply returned his concern with another attempt at a smile. It seemed the years hadn't changed Tristan much after all, if his genuine concern for her was any indication at least.

Back in their school days Cora had taken such comfort in her quiet but nigh-constant companion, his willingness to learn with her or laugh with her or even defend her when she needed it never ceasing to endear him to her. They were an odd pair from an outside view, but to each other it was a perfect balance of yin and yang, one balancing the weaknesses of the other with their own strengths. Cora had been bubbly and happy-go-lucky, while Tristan had been more reserved but no less fun-loving. The two had been near equally nerdy and studious, often teasing each other good-naturedly over their exam scores and the like. With her memories of their friendship unlocked and accessible to her again Cora was nearly overwhelmed by the sudden emotion toward her long lost best friend. Genuine affection and love for the man, mixed with sorrow over how she had treated him as the Dark Lady brought tears to her eyes that Cora quickly hid with another long pull of her scotch.

She cleared her throat once she was certain the tears in her eyes weren't going to escape and give her away. "I, um... I really appreciate that, Tris... I don't even know where to start, honestly. It seems like everything has gone tits up recently. Work troubles, personal problems, hell even guy problems," she added with a sad little half-chuckle. Cora looked down into the bottom of her nearly-empty glass as if she would find guidance there, unable to look at her friend for fear she would lose all semblance of control on her roiling emotions.
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by: Tristan Viridian
He made a face and his head jut back as if hit by surprise. "Guy problems?" Of course, that would catch his ear first. Last he'd heard the Dark Lady was with the man they called 'Dark Lord' now, if the intel was any good. The rumormill was a bitch of a thing when it came to the Death Eater ranks, which frustrated and annoyed Tristan, but he kept his ears open for any news or gossip on anyone and everyone when he was with them since the right birdie with the right song could have led him to his father. In regards to Teague MacTail and Cora? While it was an unusual pairing--at least in his head because he'd known the Cora from before, it was also rather...fitting. Dark Lady. Dark Lord. The state she was in during her run as the notorious hit-witch pushed Tristan away, but if she was in better company suitable for that period of her life, then who was he to keep his best friend from finding happiness?

Nevertheless, she was here now, very real and in different spirits, so Tristan found solace in that. He also didn't look to pry unless she wanted to spill the beans on each and every one of those things bothering her.

"Well you know me, I'm not gonna prod unless you want to explain, but my offer stands. You know it does." His intentions were innocent but part of him was baiting. He hadn't asked Matt about Cora too much, and he wanted to see if either of them would explain what the hell their names were doing in the papers. He'd give her a chance, just like he'd given Matt.

Still, Tristan noted her actions since the moment she walked into the bar. Closed off. Reserved. Quiet. Tristan leaned forward and folded his hands together around his beverage, and turned his head to face her. "But I gotta say--there's just something about you, Cor. Definitely not the Dark Lady I know..."
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by: Coraline Larson
Tristan's surprise made her wince slightly, wondering if maybe she shouldn't have mentioned personal relationship problems at all. She hadn't really meant to, she supposed, but it wasn't like she was thinking quite straight after... oh, three whiskeys. On an empty stomach to boot, she realized with chagrin. Just batting a thousand tonight, as the muggle saying went...

"I know you mean it, Tris. You always were the best...." Cora trailed off suddenly as his last comment rang in her mind. 'The Dark Lady I know...' An all-too-familiar fog seemed to roll over her thoughts bringing with it a myriad of emotions and phantom memories of pain as the flashback hit hard. She squeezed her eyes shut and hunched over her drink trembling as her eyes glazed over and she got lost in the memory...

/She knelt on all fours in the dirt at His feet, her nose trickling blood and breathing labored. Another round of torture... she could feel her will to resist slipping away... It had been over a year that He had tried to break her, holding her under the Imperius and 'checking in' every few months to see if she had broken yet... For more than a year she had fought, she had resisted. As He loomed over her broken body this time... this time she knew it was over. The Dark Lord sneered victoriously as she admitted her submission to His will at last. Turning from torturer to tender master He raised her to her feet and gently tilted her head up to look at Him. "You will be my finest creation... my most obedient pet... my Dark Lady..." His voice was the last thing she heard before her mind exploded in agony.../

Cora breathed heavily, cradling her aching head in her hands, desperately trying not to make a scene as the flashback faded. In its wake she shivered and tried to calm herself, not caring for the moment she wasn't alone.
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by: Tristan Viridian
The best? He grinned, his signature crooked grin that she always laughed at in their days at the school. He took a sip of his drink and stared into the mouth of the glass for a moment before looking back at his old friend. It was so strange to see her here, of all places...

But then something changed. Tristan thought to avert his eyes to give her some privacy, but he could only do so for a moment because her behavior drew his attention immediately. Cora got lost somewhere, beyond him, beyond everything in this room. He watched helplessly as she deteriorated; Cora transformed before his eyes, into something different, and yet he couldn't believe it. ‘The Dark Lady’ he had mentioned, the ruthless hit-witch and killer behind a wand or even blade, was...meek. He gulped, pushing aside his drink for a moment. Normally he wouldn't be so shocked but she'd called him, it showed a bit of trust.

It reminded him of the old days, back at the school, that she had a want or even a need to sit with him. However now, it seemed to be a bit of a red flag, Tristan felt it also seemed like a cry for help. Tristan almost went as far as extending his hand to touch her, but he hesitated for many reasons. (Many...many reasons.) He tilted his head and whispered: "Cora?" He didn't say Coraline, as she requested. He figured Ms. Larson was too formal and wherever she'd gone off to didn't look like a good place so using her shortened first name was a safe bet…or so he hoped.
While Tristan normally hit her with quips and all of that dashing charm, he genuinely worried for her at this moment and felt the need to comfort her as best as he could.

"Cora, talk to me."
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by: Coraline Larson
'Have to calm down... can't afford a panic attack here... flashback is bad enough, oh god that's the fifth one today, shh it's ok you have to calm down you can't afford a scene have to calm down...'

Her inner monologue rambled into a flurry of desperation and fear as Cora struggled to prevent the roiling emotions of the intrusive memory from ramping up into a full-blown panic attack. The raven-haired witch trembled and hunched over her drink, her hands gripping her dark hair tightly in an effort to give herself something to focus on besides the wave of anxiety and dread threatening to overwhelm her. The thought to get up and bolt from the bar had just formed in her panicked mind when Tristan's concerned baritone voice cut through the fog of anxiety and gave her an anchor in the storm.

It took several long moments of deep, focused breathing and determination, but Cora slowly sat up in her seat and looked over at her old friend, at a loss for what to say. He was asking her to talk to him, but how did she even start? How did she tell him everything she had been through, everything she had done or caused? There was so much he didn't know... and they were in public and she was a wanted woman... she couldn't afford a scene... and if she tried to explain she knew she would get emotional... The seemingly-permanent knot of anxiety that had taken up residence in the pit of her stomach for days now once again threatened to become a tidal wave of panic as her thoughts became more scattered and fearful. Cora closed her eyes and shivered helplessly, her voice barely more than a desperate whisper.

"I... I don't know where to start... m-maybe I should j-just go..."
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by: Tristan Viridian
Tristan looked over at her. Should he have reached out to touch her—placed his hand gently on her forearm? Hell, he even thought he could move over to her side of the table, wrap his arms around her for comfort…but he didn’t. Would she have let him?

Screw it. He thought, and reached over to gently rest his hand over hers. His sea-green settled on her like a peaceful morning tide and he waited for her to break the silence. Even with the buzzing around them, he ignored everything, even the waitress who stopped by for a half a second to ask if they needed another round. Tristan focused on her, and her alone. Locked in her gaze, Tristan searched for answers that she might not be willing to say out loud.

"Are you two alright over here? Can I get you anything?" The waitress persisted when she doubled back after getting a glare from what looked like their floor manager.

"Waters, please luv." He politely turned and nodded at the girl before looking back at Cora. Water would help somewhat...that is, if she chose to drink it, in favor of their alcohol instead. Regardless, she'd still have the option.

"Right I'll be right back." She smiled.

“What happened?” He asked, as he ignored the drink in front of him for now, which was quite unusual. “That--Where did you go, just now?” It might have sounded insensitive, but the subtle tones in his voice spoke otherwise. If she didn’t see his concern, then she wasn’t seeing him at all. His thumb gently stroked the back of her palm as he met her eyes once more.
Last edited by Tristan Viridian on Thu Aug 10, 2017 9:41 am, edited 1 time in total.
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