The Ministry formally advises that all contact with muggles and their world be kept to a minimum. Muggles are an admittedly useless creature, far inferior to our abilities and knowledge. The Ministry advises those who have made it clear they are blood traitors are not to be reckoned with or kept informed of the goings on within our world as they have made their choice.
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by: Matthew Cox
June 4th,
Carver's Cut restaurant

Hands washed and dried, Matt headed back out into the small restaurant's dining area. An odd smell hit his nose centered on...

Who the hell was that, and what the hell was he? And why the hell was it talking to Cora? Matt gritted his teeth and tapped his way back to the table and 'accidentally' let his cane whap against the man-blood-night-thing's leg.

"Oh. Pardon me, am I at the wrong table?"

Of course he wasn't, but the façade had to be maintained in public. Matt let a confused and innocent expression cross his face before cocking his head.
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by: Everett Cooper
Perfect. The blind man was going to the restroom. Not that the guy hadn't caught his eye too, but he smelled... strange. Like 'I'm pretty sure I don't wanna eat that' kinda strange. But the woman? Now she smelled like a good time.

Everett flagged down the waitress and asked her to bring the woman's drink refill to him so he could deliver it personally. With the rum and coke in hand and Mr Magoo tottering off, the vampire made his way over to the table. He slid the drink in front of the pale beauty and gave her a charming smirk, looking up from under his lashes with his gold-blue eyes.

"I hope you don't find this rude, miss, but you were just too gorgeous to ignore," he drawled, playing up his Georgia accent. It seemed to drop panties over here like a charm.

Cora blinked up at the man and was struck by the beauty of his oddly- colored eyes. "Oh, well, I... thank you," she stuttered slightly. A pink blush rose on her cheeks at the unexpected compliment from the (rather handsome) stranger and Cora found herself at a loss for words. Luckily for her, but not so lucky for the stranger, Matt returned quickly.

"I'm not sure, friend, are you looking for the table with the angel sitting all by her lonesome looking like the prettiest little thing on God's green earth?" Everett quipped back with a cheeky wink at Cora.
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by: Matthew Cox
Hmm. Southern accent, odd scent, attracted to Cora...nope. Matt was going to remember this man's shape and smell and hunt him down later. His instincts were screaming 'predator' and Matt felt his hackles raise on edge.

"That WAS the table I stood up from," Matt confirmed and took his seat, "but I don't remember ordering anything American off the menu."

His tone was slipping into a cold and aggressive tone. If it were up to him, he'd have dragged this interloper away from the table by force. Appearances were necessary, though, and he wasn't anything official to Cora. If she...what if this was one of her American contacts? What if she wanted the attention? Could he really be okay with her flirting with someone right in front of him?
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by: Coraline Larson
Cora was glad for Matt's timely return and slid around the curved booth to be closer to Matt. There was something... unsettling about the charming stranger but she wasn't sure exactly what, and there was no need to be rude was there? After all, he was just complimenting her...

Cora smiled and placed her hand over Matt's as it rested on the table, looking slightly askance at the mutant for his cold tone toward the man. She tried to smooth the awkwardness between the three of them so as not to cause a scene. After all, this was supposed to be a nice evening out for her and Matt as a thank you for the lovely birthday date he had put together for her the night before.

"The waitress was probably blocking him from seeing you from where he was sitting, mo diabhal," she replied. Cora smiled politely at the stranger. "But thank you for the drink, mister....?"
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by: Everett Cooper
Everett grinned at the woman and made a playful little half-bow as he introduced himself. "Cooper, miss. Senior Chief Everett Cooper, actually. Recently retired from the United States Navy," he answered with a smile, careful not to reveal his fangs.

"And I really meant no harm with the compliment to the lady, friend," he added to Matt. "Just bein' friendly, that's all. Can I join y'all and buy the next round as a peace offering?"

Maybe if he played up the tourist angle he could end up with a two- course meal tonight... Of course, he would be honest with them about his intentions once he got to know them a little better and determined if they were going to be amenable donors, but for now, he was just a tourist.
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by: Matthew Cox
No wonder the Yankee was hitting on Cora. The poor sod couldn't help himself if he was US Navy, and enlisted to boot.

"Oh Jesus, Mary, and Joseph and all the ministering saints and angels, US Navy? I thought this place had class!"

Matt let the outburst come with a grin and a chuckle. The turnaround in tone was built off of a century old friendly rivalry between allied forces. He'd better explain himself, Matt rationalized.

"Matt Cox, recently retired Colour Sergeant of her Majesty's Royal Marines. What brings a colonial squid out here? And since I'm not driving tonight, sure, a round will be a fine how do you do."

Military he could forgive and relax around, even if he did smell weird...
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by: Everett Cooper
A genuine peal of laughter bubbled out of the vampire at the man’s good-natured jab at the US military. Everett grinned like the charming idiot he was and shot back with a chuckle, “You say that like we aren’t the epitome of gentlemanly superiority! The nerve!”

If the guy was joking like that he had to be military himself, or maybe he was a military brat. Everett smiled again when the man proved his assumption correct and introduced himself as a former Royal Marine. Ev nodded and waved the waitress over politely, ordering another round for the table.

“So a Royal, huh? And a Color Sergeant to boot?” He made a soft whistle of appreciation and chuckled in good-natured humor again. “And damn… I thought I might catch a ride home from ya after we were done,” he quipped back in response to Matt’s driving jab.

“And for the record, I’m not your typical Navy squid, Cox,” he added, rolling up the sleeve of his left arm to show off his SEAL tattoo, obviously more for Cora’s benefit than Matt’s. “Twenty years as a SEAL. I’m a frogman, and proud of it.”
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by: Matthew Cox
Frogman? Well, well, well...

"Is that so? Worked with a few of your bullfrogs myself. Have to say I've always been impressed with their bearing and training, so I'll extend you the same hospitality they gave me once upon a time."

He leaned over to her and asked a whispered question.

"I know you wanted a special night out...are you okay with sharing a table with him for dinner or would you prefer I schedule a frog-night to grumble about military service on another night? Your call."

He cocked a half grin at her and turned his hand under hers so they were palm to palm. Matt didn't want to steam roll her with his decisions; a fellow spec ops soldier was a rare find and Matt was eager to make a friend, but not st the cost of the friendship he had with Cora of that was the cost.
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by: Coraline Larson
Cora listened to the exchange between the two men with interest, sipping her drink while they talked. She hadn’t been intending to have their night be more than just her and Matt, but this was supposed to be a thank you to him for the lovely birthday dinner he had put together, so if Matt was happy so was she.

“Tonight was for you, mo diabhal. If you’re happy, so am I,” Cora murmured back, kissing his cheek softly. “Besides, this seems like it’s gonna be fun,” she added with a soft giggle. It was probably safe for her to be out. She hadn’t had an episode with her darker half since she had been dosing herself with a draught of peace twice a day, even if she hadn’t made any real progress on breaking whatever the thing in her head was. Maybe a night out would be just what the healer ordered?
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by: Matthew Cox
Matt trailed a soft caress across her jawline and smiled.

"Thank you. I promise not to leave you out of two grunts gabbling about the good old days."

The kiss on his cheek soothed his worries and softened his smile. Matt turned back to the other frog, gaining an eager shading to his stance.

"Care to join us for the evening?"
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by: Everett Cooper
Everett sat quietly, giving the couple a chance to talk between themselves for a moment. After all, it seemed he had interrupted a date. He did feel slightly bad about that, but things were certainly taking an interesting turn, Ev felt. It wasn't often you found another special forces soldier out and about. And he hadn't gotten to talk to another soldier at all since... It had been a while.

When the woman gave her assurance that she didn't mind his company, Everett smiled again, his hunger pushed to the back of his mind for the time being at the prospect of a night out with a fellow frog. "Well, that's mighty kind of y'all. I'd like that. Been a long while since I had a drink with a lovely lady and a fellow frog," the vampire drawled, genuinely pleased by the offer.

"So, Cox... I take it you're a froggy too? How long?"
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by: Matthew Cox
"Eighteen of my twenty. Our training is set up that you go through basic and serve as a rifleman for two years before applying to a specialty. Everyone does the basic grunt work and you prove yourself there first...I understand your training and selection process is different?"

Matt planted his elbows on the table and leaned forward, eager to get into the nuts and bolts of conversation. He pushed his glasses up, then settled in to listen and commiserate with his new friend.
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by: Everett Cooper
"Yeah, ours is more competitive and selective up front," Ev answered, nodding and sipping his drink. "For an enlisted like me, you go through Navy boot camp and train to take the SEAL Physical Screening Test at a SEAL prep course. That's about 8 weeks, then if you actually pass your PSTs and the course, you get shipped out to Coronado for BUDs. Otherwise known as the worst 24 weeks of your life," he added with a good-natured chuckle.

"Then it's on to Parachute School for three weeks. If you pass that, you get to go to SEAL Qualification Training for another 26 weeks. You pass THAT and you earn your trident," Everett finished with a nostalgic sigh. He chuckled again and continued. "Most people think that's it then, but you go through another 18-24 months of advanced specialty training after that before you're even considered for for deployment."
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by: Matthew Cox
Damn that was a long time.

"Ours is thirty two weeks. The first week is soft. It's a required course where you're told what to expect, given evaluations and interviews to see if you're even fit for applying, and a pre-screening to weed out the gung-ho Harvey's who don't know how to hear a 'no'. Once you qualify through that, the next thirty one weeks of misery transform a rifleman into a frog...well, we also train with SAS up to a point, but they don't do our open water canoe tests, combat dives, or ten meter underwater swims."

An indulgent smile came to his face when he considered Hill Training.

"I don't think I ever want to repeat the endurance march...sixty four klicks in twenty hours wearing fifty nine kilos of dead weight while ALSO carrying full gear and rations, going straight up and down in the fucking highlands...there's a reason so many service members hate Scotland and it's not because of the haggis, mate."

Fond memories tugged at his heart. He'd never be able to reclaim the young and idiotic energy he had at nineteen when he started his application...hell, nobody would even look at him anymore and thing that he had been SBS...that was a kick in the gut, wasn't it?
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by: Everett Cooper
"And they say the SBS's training rivals the SEALs for difficulty... Psh," Everett jabbed at the marine with the playful humor of soldiers. Thirty-two weeks wasn't much, he thought, at least not compared to the amount of time it took to become a SEAL, but he supposed it was a bit different since you didn't go right into SBS training like you could with SEAL training.

Everett perked up at the mention of the Special Air Service. "I took my specialization course with the SAS actually. Or one of 'em, anyway," he added.

He smiled as he thought back to his training days and his training with the SAS in particular. It had been grueling, almost moreso than Hell Week at BUDs training, but well worth it in the end. His advanced close quarters combat training was by far some of his most useful and, oddly enough, most enjoyable aspects of his job as a SEAL.
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