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by: Fierro Darque
Thursday May 10th, 2012
6:15 p.m.
Tutaminis Manor
Capitalum Building, Kara’s Office

The citizens inhabiting the manor were already getting used to the new way of things, which was a breath of fresh air. Fierro was getting fewer and fewer dirty looks too, which meant everything he’d been working toward was moving in a positive direction. Rumor had it, he was seen more as a respectable member of their compound, which pleased him, to a level he hadn’t felt since his time as a Minister. He thought back at those times here and there. Fierro held a seat of power, coveted and high enough to let him rule the Wizarding World with the flick of the wrist—but he gave all of that up the day he walked away.

A lot of people asked why…

Why did he walk away? He was forced to torture his own daughter. And yes, while folks felt the need to bring up the fact that she was a Black and not an actual Viridian, Fierro raised her. Not Sirius. Alexandra took on most of that work after he left that life behind to pursue his seat with the Death Eaters, but he was paying for it now. Fierro had been trying this hardest to make up for the lost time, and make up for everything he’d done to harm her. Kara had grown into a strong woman, as expected, since Fierro had seen so much of Alexandra in her, even at a young age.

But that was just part of it. Fierro had already had a sense that he didn't belong there, at Puxley, with the rest of them. Plans and coups and the art of diplomacy and intrigue simply wasn't him anymore. Every trip to Azkaban, every irritating word exchanged at the business meetings now and then, and every swipe and kill for the sake of the Dark Lord...he was done.

When he reached the door, he used one hand to knock, since he’d been carrying a tray of food to her office. He hadn’t seen her leave all day, and the cooks in the mess hall mentioned she hadn’t been by much later, and that was very concerning. It was another habit of Alexandra’s too, to pass up a meal in times of stress, so Fierro found himself in a familiar position bringing her some form of sustenance so she wouldn’t fall too weak. They needed her at her best, at all times, after all. Jaleth had kindly offered to come tend to her, but Fierro insisted he be the one to check on his own daughter. The professor had a bit of work to do with his new pupils and their spell-work, and Brenna Fox seemed to take care of the ambitious lot who wanted to go spar on the training grounds, so Fierro was free as a bird.

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by: Kara Viridian
There she was, standing in the window again. She’d been pacing some, for a minute, biting her nail and chewing on her lip like a madwoman. Kara was mulling over the details of the meeting that was going to happen the next day, and the nerves were intense as hell. Why? Because she invited oil and water to mix tomorrow. Casey, the Captain steering the ship on this operation with their allies in America. Jace, the unpredictable garou who was starting to work alongside her as opposed to stepping on her toes or crushing her hopes to become a more effective leader. Contrary…he was admittedly helping her. She’d sent memos to both parties, wanting to get them to convene here in her office and discuss and plan together, united as a front, instead of separate entities who would be scrambling to get a grip on whatever page they were on. Kara just wanted them to be on the same one before any of that mess happened.

Casey. Jace. In one place, with her to mediate. It was almost unsettling. No, it was very unsettling.

…Not to mention, she still hadn’t seen Jace since their little sparring round went awry at the training grounds the other day. It was nothing, right? He’d simply used that as a distraction to let her guard down. It should have pissed her off more than she was—but it was just confusing her more than anything. Perhaps that’s why she stayed in her office most of the time, to avoid seeing him? What was she, a kid? She didn’t have to hide from this stuff anymore, did she?

Wait, what was this stuff?

She sighed, and peeked up when she heard the knock. Kara blinked a couple of times, feeling the weight of the circles under her tired eyes and she rubbed them briefly before calling back: “Come in.” But then she wondered…Was it Jace? Oh, no…he shouldn’t see her like this, should he? Her hands idly brushed off her blouse from wrinkles (but that didn’t help any) and she flicked her hair over her shoulder to hang comfortably behind her instead of tousled in her face.

No, Kara, why the hell does it matter? He knows you run this place. He knows you’ve been running yourself ragged. Why does it matter?

To her surprise, it was Fierro, and that made her smile for the first time in what felt like days. A true, genuine smile at that. “Hi.”
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by: Fierro Darque
In her black blouse, her pallor was quite noticeable. Fierro stepped into the office and closed the door behind him, carefully carrying in the tray of food as not to spill any of it on the floor. It was dimly lit, too, with the sunset just falling low enough in the sky that the orange hues cast a lazy haze of lighting into her office where her curtains were almost completely drawn. All but one window, of course. The one she liked to stand next to, the one right behind her desk. Fierro placed the tray on the open space of her desk and gestured toward it.

“You need to eat. You need to rest, my dear.”

They were words she probably didn’t want to hear, and rightfully so…but Fierro was doing the fatherly thing, for her benefit of course. “When is the last time you had a full night’s sleep?”

Probably a dumb question, but it was another one of those mandatory asks that he had to go through to show her that he was worried. Fierro didn’t bother to take a seat either, especially if she wasn’t going to right away. He moved toward her wet bar and filled one of the tumblers with water from the carafe nearby. It was still half-full so he assumed if she’d grabbed it this morning she was still in dire need of hydration. “Is something wrong?”
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by: Kara Viridian
She was quite grateful at the sight of the food, and held her smile as he told her to eat and rest. The aroma that came with it was even better. Bits of sirloin with mash and gravy, steamed veggies with it. It was one of her favorite meals, just like her mother used to prepare at home in those summers between years at Hogwarts. How strange a simple meal and all the scents mixing and mingling with one another could bring back so many memories, back when times were far simpler. Or at least that’s how she saw it. Kara was young during the trials of Potter versus the Dark Lord of that time, but things were easier then since she was just a child with little responsibility other than her own need to stay alive.

Now, here she was, years later, watching over a herd of people, followers, believers, refugees and other members…The burden had fallen onto her, almost unexpectedly even though she’d sought it out all this time. It was stressful moments like dealing with the new recruits and training and scheduling meetings that she’d grown a great deal of respect for her parents for having done their part with all of the responsibilities of their time. Then of course when it came with the specific dealings like with Stana Chastaine’s release into the Lucky 7, and having to prove her worth to the garou…

…and facing Jace Bryden for the first time.

Kara kept thinking about him, as if all trains of thought had one stop. Jace. That was of course, until Fierro broke the silence with other queries.

She huffed at the first: “A few years, I’m sure.” She hadn’t slept well at all since her last release from Azkaban. Or was it before that? Maybe the last time she saw Liam? Kara sighed. Maybe not even then. Everything was pins and needles and eggshells since Markus sent her out of the prison. Everything was thin ice. Lava. Whatever the floor was, it was dangerous. Quicksand, it felt like. In her delirium, she was sinking into a pit of quicksand and there was no one there to pull her out. Jaleth and Jon, despite their best efforts, had other things to worry about than Kara. Jon had a charge now, and a handful of healers to train. Jaleth had students to tend to in the compound, not to mention Diana who had been at his side since their arrival.

That was one hell of a night. Kara opened her left palm and traced the scar over it. She cut her hand and shook on a deal with Jace that night to save her father and save the Order. At first it felt like a mistake, but looking back on it from here, she didn’t know how she would have found her voice if he wasn’t constantly challenging her. That damn Alpha complex…

Then he asked if something was wrong.

“Hm?” She looked up again. There went her thoughts, completely run amuck as they settled on Bryden again. “Oh I’ve just got this meeting tomorrow and it’s got me all…” She swirled her hands by her ears. That’s exactly how she felt…crazy.

“Casey is supposed to be back by and we’ll be discussing plans with Jace.”
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by: Fierro Darque
“Jace? Bryden?” He nearly choked on his breath when he heard the name. “What—you’re bringing him in on the operation?”

Kara had discussed some of the details about the plans they had made with Casey in America, but hadn’t fully described the operation in full. She was rather exhausted after her trip, and then things here were rolling non-stop for her, which is why Fierro chose not to press. She’d offered enough for him to comfortably understand that there was something ready to roll as soon as things were in place, so he was content with that information. But now, Bryden? Would Winslow agree to this, let alone his allies?

Granted, the need or rather use of a garou force would give them a decent advantage on the fighting front, so Fierro understood Kara’s play. Whether or not it would gel right away, was the question. Fierro still had the glass of water in hand, so he took a seat on the couch which was a few feet away from her desk, near the unlit fireplace. He patted the open seat beside him to have her join him, and set the water down on the coffee table.

“Come. Sit…please.” Fierro was willing to listen to her if she needed to vent. This was so much to be thrown onto a brand-new leader, but she was taking things in stride after hitting the ground running at full speed, that is. “I take it things are better between you two?” He’d left that inquiry open, since he was rather curious to know how things were going on all fronts. If Winslow was making her happy as her current companion, and if Bryden was still antagonizing her.
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by: Kara Viridian
Kara grabbed a couple of the veggies from the tray and took a bite. Delicious. It truly had been a while since she sat down for a proper meal, but she had very little appetite right now so that little bit would suffice. She’d re-heat that food later if she wanted, but when Fierro asked her to sit, she did so. Kara grabbed the glass of water and sat back, tucking a leg under her as she did. She’d rested her head on Fierro’s shoulder as he’d opened his arm to her and rested it on the back of the couch, and there she was again, traveled back in time to years ago, sitting on the couch beside her father, as they talked about what was going to happen her first year at Hogwarts. Kara just smiled as she closed her eyes, lost in that little moment of time that mirrored her current situation. She was so overwhelmed and stressed over her first year at the magic school, and Fierro, then known to her as Nicholas Viridian, held her and told her things were going to be alright.

“Yes. That Jace Bryden, in on that operation. It seems silly, doesn’t it?” She chuckled softly before she leaned forward to take a sip out of the glass of water. “Things are…” Kara gave her answer some thought, because she was just thinking about that. Two months ago, Jace was ready to tear them and the Order apart, either by sheer force or with his own morale-breaking words. Now here she was, wondering if he could sit still for just an hour or so, or however long it would take, to have him fit into the new plans. The time between, with Stana and their skirmish…

Kara cleared her throat. “Things are going surprisingly well. He’s kept to his end of the deal without much of a fuss as of late. I didn’t think it was possible Bryden be anything but brash, but he’s been quite accommodating to my transition into all of this.”
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by: Fierro Darque
Bryden was at the forefront of her mind then? He assumed, raising a brow as she answered his question. Then again, it wasn’t fair to gamble on that given his lead in had stemmed from his own shock that the Alpha would be present.

“Accommodating?” Fierro’s eye narrowed as he looked toward Kara. “Are we still talking about the same one, the one who, I dunno—stole this eye from me?” There was still a hint of bitterness for that, but Fierro knew it was a small price to pay to get back to his daughter alive. Still, he forced a chuckle and shook his head as he rested his cheek on the top of Kara’s head. “But that’s good though. Makes me feel I’ve done something right here. It only took a couple of months, but progress is progress, right?” His remark had been laced with some resentment toward Winslow’s initial opinion on bringing the Lucky 7 here at all. The three of them had a brief chat about it and he, much like most of the Order, had been less than thrilled about it, but since the dynamic had somewhat shifted between Kara and Jace, Fierro was more relieved.

“I saw you the other day,” Fierro paused, and he scratched the back of his head before returning his arm to drape over her shoulder. “Training?"
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by: Kara Viridian
Kara just winced as he brought up his injury: the eye that Jace had damaged prior to their arrival. Fierro had a way of bringing it up almost every time Jace was brought up in a conversation, even in passing, but his commentary had become more lighthearted and joking compared to the earlier days. She knew it was a big change and would take some getting used to from everyone, but at least he was finding some humor in it now. “Yes. Still the same one. Not too many with that name, innit?” She nudged him gently with her shoulder. “Of course you’re doing good around here, dad…everyone sees it, and you don’t know how grateful I am you’re with us.” It always hurt her a little to hear him say things like that but he was doing his best.

Things for her and her father had gotten off to a very rocky start here with the Order. Kara saw little confidence in her ability to stand as a leader, and Fierro had dealt with a lot of wary Ministry-haters cursing at him, spitting at him, or avoiding him altogether. It was already improving, with the positivity and progress happening throughout the compound, and for Fierro’s sake, she was glad. After everything he did to break out of his position and all of the sacrifices he made to turn his life back around, Kara knew he needed a break.

Kara chose to take another sip of water at the worst possible time, when she heard him say the words she didn’t know she’d be dreading until he said them. “You saw…what?” She felt cold, and probably ran paler than even her exhausted gaunt could provide. Kara stared out in front of her somewhere, and refused to look at her father because it’d give away everything she’d been trying to forget about until after tomorrow, unless it was miraculously brought up sometime between now and then.

Oh, the damn training grounds incident…why does it haunt me like this?
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by: Fierro Darque
Fierro couldn’t help but smile when he heard her call him ‘dad’. Father, he’d been accustomed to. She’d even used his name from time to time, but the term ‘dad’ flowing so casually and freely from her always warmed his heart. Considering their history and the dark period when they were on opposite sides of the battlefield, Fierro didn’t think he’d deserve to be called that anymore, but it was always cherished. “Thank you, darling.” This was so wonderful, he thought. There wasn’t much of a chance to just sit here with her and have a talk about something other than situation reports and training goals. Much like when she’d ask him for advice about school and things like Yule Ball or flying lessons on her broom…He missed so much after he left, and he regretted that.

He didn’t miss that her ears sort of perked up when he mentioned that day, but he didn’t think too much of it. “Yeah, I saw you both out there dueling. Blades of course since he doesn’t have a wand—and thank Merlin for that—“ Fierro just shuddered at the thought of a ferocious one like Jace wielding magic, “looks like he put up a hell of a fight. But then again, you did too.” Their little bout was clearly seen from where he’d been standing that day, along the outer rung of the courtyard, on a stroll to get some fresh air.

Fierro brought his hand to Kara’s arm and gently squeezed, “You looked like your mother out there, I was proud of you.” Alexandra was an auror and a skilled fighter too, and she had such finesse that could only be described as a graceful dance when she fought. Most of her moves were magical but she was quite handy with a blade as well, and her hand-to-hand combat was on par with Fierro’s, when he was younger, that is. “But it looked like he’d stabbed his own hand to get out of that grapple? Now that was something.”
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by: Kara Viridian
She nodded as Fierro went on with his account of what went down that day, and listened carefully to whether or not he was still around for the ‘grand finale’. Ugh. She shouldn’t even refer to it as that because it was nothing. Right? It meant nothing. It was just a ruse, a trick, a distraction. Right? “Yeah. Something.” Kara blinked. His re-telling of their fight made her re-live it all over again. She could still smell the sulfur from the exploding targets, feel the weight of one of Jace’s blades in her hands, the force of his strikes and her throbbing muscles after running their skirmish—and she tried not to settle on just how close she got to him.

Kara couldn’t help but smile when he mentioned her mother. It hadn’t been the first time she was compared to her, and part of her hoped it wouldn’t be the last. She completely admired her mother, and found it the greatest compliment, especially coming from Fierro. She relaxed further as he didn’t mention anything further because that meant he didn’t see much of anything after that. Stana hadn’t either, it seemed, the poor girl sounded like she got a bit of a scolding for the unfortunate hazing she’d been put through by one of the 7.

“I don’t know why this has been the most stressful things, and it’s just a meeting. What could possibly go wrong, right?”

Everything, she thought. As she’d said before, it was oil and water. Or perhaps a volatile substance and an open flame? “I haven’t seen Casey since Salem, either. It’s all just…” She trailed off, and brought the glass to her lips again to sip at the remaining bit of water in the glass. Even though she wanted to get a little more as she still felt a bit parched, Kara let the glass rest in her lap. Casey… If only they had a chance to just run away and hide from all of this political nonsense, right? She hadn’t had a proper holiday since her honeymoon with her late husband and even that felt rushed because of travel restrictions.
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by: Fierro Darque
It an entertaining bout to say the least, Fierro knew. Unfortunately, he hadn’t seen the rest of it after that since he was called elsewhere, but from what he did catch, he admitted it was impressive, though mostly that Kara could even keep up with him up until that last moment. It gave him an idea of what Jace was capable of; He’d survived this long and protected the other six in his pack for this long, that there was a bit of faith that if this alliance held and it came down to it, Jace could take care of Kara. He could watch her back, if they fought together. That was the goal Fierro had in mind, in so many words, so many jumbled words that were had that first night.

Fierro pat her on the shoulder to let her know he was going to stand up, only to move back over to fetch the carafe of water for her emptied glass. He poured some more into it and set it on the coffee table for convenience, before returning to his seat beside her, with his arm draped over her once again. “Don’t look at it that way, or you’re just going to walk back in here tomorrow already feeling the negativity. If you’ve got things sorted out with Bryden, it’s just a matter of lining up the ideals with Winslow. It might seem easier said than done—” He put his finger up, knowing quite well she’d interject with a comment there, “but I know you. As much as you are a fighter like your mother, you’re also a damn good diplomat.”

Kara needed to hear that because he wasn’t sure if her friends, her other advisors, Jaleth and Jonathan said that enough. Regardless, Fierro knew he needed to instill that confidence in his daughter since she needed to take a step back, relax, and let the meeting play out in whatever way it was going to unfold. He probably wouldn’t wander too far when it happened anyway, so if anything got out of hand, he’d be here to help her extinguish that fire.

"I have done this too myself more times than I could count. The stress will just cloud your judgment, your thought process and you should be at your best especially with contenders like Bryden and Winslow. Don't let them run you over with their opinions, you are just as important, if not the most important factor of this meeting, as you're representing the Order, on Order grounds...so, maneuver. Manipulate. Dicate if you have to, but of course hear them out." It was advice she probably didn't need, but he let it all flow to give her an idea of what she could be in for. "Keep a log, or an agenda of points you'd like to touch on and stick to it. Say your piece, hear their side and compromise. Other than that, it's going to be fine. I mean, who knows? They might surprise you."

And what, be well behaved? Oh, that just made Fierro laugh. Silently.
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by: Kara Viridian
Of course, he knew her too well. They might have lost over a decade of time while he went away to assist in ruling the wizarding world—but Fierro knew when Kara was about to interject. That made her snicker. He was right, though. She was the neutral party, the link between these two. Kara had finally broken through to the Alpha, to the point to where she could guess what he was going to say or do based on her own actions. In all honesty, it was a little weird being able to do that since she hadn’t been able to pick out mannerisms that clearly with anyone before and she knew for a fact she wasn’t a seer or any sort of clairvoyant. This never occurred with Jaleth, or Liam, and especially not Casey. It was as if the books were more and more ‘closed’ as her love life progressed.

But this wasn’t a matter of love lives, it was a matter of reading other people. Right?


It was just easier to compare Jace to the other men in her life, as he was instantlypromoted to up-close-and-personal rung when he strolled into the compound. But compared to Casey, for instance? One thing she could guaran-damn-tee, was that he and Jace were opposites. Even though they’d come to somewhat of an agreement to keep business affairs out of their personal life after he’d helped her retrieve Sirius’ book, Kara thought she had his demeanor, ticks and manners all figured out, but he was difficult to read sometimes, behind that steely stoicism.
“Like you,” She chimed in, unexpected by her father it seemed, and she smiled. She plugged that in right after he made the compliment of her being a good diplomat. It didn’t have to be inherited through blood, that trait. His personality must have rubbed off on her somewhat as she grew up in his care.

As her glass of water was refilled, she took a pretty big gulp out of it, still trying to recharge and rehydrate from the hours of drinking she’d done alone the night before. Kara listened to her father as he explained his methods, nodding in appropriate places to show she was listening and retaining this advice. It was solid stuff, too, stuff she’d have to remember to do when things started to get steered off course…because as she was trying to keep it real with herself, she figured things would veer off fairly quickly, and get out of control.

“Might surprise me? What? Do you actually think they could get along?” Kara turned her head to look up at him, her eyebrows raised. “Because I was sure I’d need a miracle or some sort of divine intervention for anything like that to happen.”
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by: Fierro Darque
"Hm." Fierro just smiled. He brought his hand up to her hair and brushed it softly before kissing her on the forehead again. She was just like Alexandra, it was uncanny. "You know, your mother used to worry so much she would make herself sick."

Kara huffed, "Really?"

He tilted his head down to look at her, and watched her expression as he nodded. "Oh yeah. Operations, meetings...The first time I met your grandparents? She panicked. She'd fidget, just get so anxious and pace a bit. And every single time, I'd tell her the same thing. I'd say she needed to relax. Have some confidence in her ability to charm a room with that smile of hers--I swear, that right there, was magic." He gushed. Fierro's late wife was a beautiful woman, and the resemblance with Kara's mother was striking, even in a physical sense. "I'd tell her, Alexa--Miracles or magic, whatever the case may be? I know you'll be able to handle it. Whatever comes of it, you'll find a way to either get through it or simply fix it. You always do." Those same words applied here, he knew. Kara was showing these exact same signs of anxiety over a situation she couldn't control, a situation that hadn't even happened yet and Fierro was trying his best to keep her focused and keep her calm. "So keep that in mind, and everything is going to be alright."

Kara nodded, as she was grateful for the support he'd given her thus far. "Thank you."

She managed to smile for him, that same gorgeous smile he'd seen from Alexandra from time to time. It made him think back to when things were at their best, when Kara was young. He truly loved Alexandra, just as deep down inside, he knew he loved Kara since her birth. Despite the wrongdoings he'd committed as Minister, Fierro was so grateful she'd forgiven him for that, because he was enjoying his time with her now.

The energy around her seemed to be at peace, so Fierro considered this a job well done. He'd be back to check in with her after the meeting tomorrow. "Come on...now dinner, because you need your strength, and then it's off to bed with you, darling. Between those two, you'll need to be at your best." He winked. Getting back on the parental wagon was certainly different, but enjoyable. Fierro knew he could get used to this.
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