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by: Kara Viridian
Tuesday, February 21st 2012
3:20 p.m.

It was another decent lunch rush for a Monday afternoon. Kara was at the bar jotting notes in the ledger while Seamus and Henrietta cleaned up before they shut the doors. They usually closed around 3:30 for a couple of hours to prep for the dinner rush, a schedule incorporated during the slower days of the week to save payroll. Writing a few numbers onto the papers Kara sighed, and began tapping her pen against the book.

"You alright there, boss lady?" Seamus peeked over at her as he wiped down the bar counter. He threw the towel under the bar afterwards, into the bin with the rest of the dirty rags.

"Hm?" Kara looked up, and blinked a couple of times. "Yeah, I'm fine thank you..."

He didn't seem too convinced, but he carried on with his closing duties.

"I'm heading out now, Kar." Henrietta swung her bag over her shoulder and half-hugged her on her way out, ducking into the light drizzle that was starting outside.

She waved at Henrietta before closing the ledger and she took the book upstairs to the office. Setting it on her desk, she sat there for a moment, simply staring at the wall. There were various pictures there, on her bulletin board; Her and Fierro, Her and Lana, Jaleth and Lana, and of course, her wedding photo with Liam. It was a beautiful day, a gorgeous summer day in the meadows. It was private, with only a few people from the bar in attendance, and of course, her father. He managed to take a photo of the happy couple, holding hands, a candid photo that instantly became her favorite when it was developed. When she tugged on that photo to pull it down, she noticed another photograph fall from behind it.

She reached for it and turned the photo over, and discovered that it was one of the oldest photos in her possession, and one that she was surprised she still owned. It was back from the old days, her auror days. More importantly, it was a photo of her and her old partner, Markus. Then she remembered how embarrassed she was the night he had come to the bar. It was roughly three weeks ago, he was with a strange woman, she was wearing a strange face, and nothing went right that night. She hadn't seen him since that night, and was wondering if she would ever see him again as she hadn't heard from him at all since he left her on New Years, which also ended on very unusual terms.

Kara sighed and proceeded the pin the photo to the board, when she heard the bell ring from the door downstairs.

"Sorry, mate. We're closing up until dinner." Seamus greeted the incoming customer with an apology, but it was the best way to handle the situation as not to come off as rude.

Making her way to the door, she stood at the top of the stairs, looking down at the entrance to see who had come in. Much to her surprise, it was a face she wasn't expecting, but one she actually wanted to see.
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by: Markus von Wolfram
The past few weeks had been hard needless to say. On the up-tick they had finally, or rather that werewolf had dealt with the killer, though there was a great deal of collateral damage in that whole process. That was followed up by debriefing after debriefing after debriefing; a suspension while IA did its thing; a press release; a meeting with the Minister to find out he’d lost his job only to be given a new one with ‘less field work’.

Yes he was still considered a Captain of the guard, just in a different area of expertise. To top it all off, the past few days had left him with enough down time and lack of things to do in it, that his thoughts continually turned toward his shattered life. Truth be told, he wasn’t dealing with the loss of his sons well at all. Combine that with Kirsten walking out on him to be with that asshole in her team… No it was safe to say Markus wasn’t in a good place at the moment.

Honestly the only good thing in his life right now was Anne and she had been nothing but supportive, but even she couldn't dodge the Ministry idiots and was currently there leaving Markus to his own devices. It was only after he had decided he needed to get out that he figured perhaps he should go visit an old friend. He took his time getting there but eventually is feet had lead him to the well word door of the Abby.


With a sigh Markus knocked and was eventually greeted by, if he remembered correctly, one of the bartenders, and told they were closed and he should look elsewhere. ”Look I’m just looking for Kara,” he told the man as he placed a hand on the door to prevent it from closing in his face. ”Just tell her it’s Markus and that I could really use a drink….”
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by: Kara Viridian
"Sorry mate, boss is out for the evening. Come back at--" Seamus started to dismiss the visitor.

Kara was already half way down the stairs when she called out to him. "Let him in, Seamus. It's alright."

He turned to look at her, clearly giving a what the hell are you thinking glance, but she just nodded. Seamus sighed and allowed the gentleman through without much more of a fuss, though his expression then turned into dread. Kara figured he was going to be upset, and possibly think that he would have to stay later than he wanted.

"You're free to go, Shay. I'll lock up."

Seamus was elated at the news of going home early, but not thrilled he would be leaving his female boss with this stranger. He soon recognized that it was the man from the other night, the gentleman with the blonde, who suffered that unfortunate spill by their clumsy girl Kat. Putting the equation together in his head, Seamus assumed the stranger was going to give Kara an earful for what he had to endure that night, and took heed to her wishes to escape while he could. He left after sizing the man up, though, giving him the glance that would offer the impression that he would definitely find the man and punish him if Kara came to any harm.

"See you tomorrow, Ms. Kara." He put on his hat and coat and left through the front door.

Kara was already down the steps and behind the bar, waiting for Markus to come in and take a seat. He looked terrible. "You look like you've been through the ringer, partner." She expressed, freely. Still, the sight of him made her heartbeat pick up. Her nerves were on overdrive. She didn't know how this was going to turn out, not one bit.
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by: Kara Viridian
She took his silence as her cue, and walked towards the Guard Captain. There was some hesitation in her steps. This, of course stemmed from the fact that the last two times she saw her old partner--Kara stumbled and fumbled and made herself out to be a complete idiot. The first, being on New Years, it was the first real outing she had since her latest escape from Azkaban. It was New Years, an she met up with Markus by random happenstance. He was alone, away from his wife and she was also alone, without her husband. Perhaps it was alcohol, hormonal overdrive or just the fact that she needed to be needed by someone. Markus was her only real contact with the world, as she'd been banished from the magical realm without much travel in between, due to her release and constant monitor of her activity. Jonathan was her messenger, her liaison to the magical realm, but she still used him rarely, as his status as fugitive was still very much intact.

The second occurrence of her blatant stupidity came on the third of February; The Abby was very busy due to the early celebration of St. Valentine's day. Singles came out to visit and fraternize, couples came out to have dinner and the bar thrived on their funds rolling in from the popular event. The funny thing was, Kara noticed that Markus had come all the way out to this humble, muggle pub -- the famous pub that was also well-known to their magical kindred, but he was not alone, nor was he with his wife. Kara hadn't seen Kirsten in years, but she wouldn't have recognized Kara behind the guise of the strange muggle woman, Kat. Yes, Kara managed to topple over, splashing the drinks of Markus and his stranger-date in the process. It was an embarrassing moment for herself and for the pub, and Markus had no idea it was really her.

The fact that she cared for Markus was much stronger than her hormonal outbursts. Merlin, she felt like she was in Hogwart's all over again, the terrible teenage years. All of her adolescent fears had come about. Kara took a deep breath, grabbed Markus' usual beverage and gestured over toward the table she frequently used when she wanted privacy. It was the same booth he and Anne Fernsby were sitting in on that night.

"What...What brings you by?" She started simple, to break the ice.
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by: Markus von Wolfram
Markus did not miss the cold reception he was getting form the larger man. Even with Kara's assurance, the captain didn't miss the way Shay had sized him up but couldn't even drum up enough emotion to care. Honestly he wasn't even sure why he had decided to come here. The last few times he'd been alone with Kara things had gone awkward if Markus was being honest with himself. If anything he should probably have reached out to Anne, whom he'd not had a chance to talk to since their return. It was just things had snowballed so fast... what with the internal review, the media, the school, Kirsten... The man let out a soft sight at Kara's quip about him looking like he'd gone through the ringer. Hell he sure felt like it and apparently it showed. He tried to say something, wanted to say something but the words just caught in his throat.

When Kara gestured over to an open booth he moved to meet her there. He slid in and was more than thankful that Kara had brought a drink. He had a feeling he was going to need more few before this night was over. Markus looked up at her when she spoke again and offered her a smile though there was no real warmth behind it. It was hard to be happy after everything that had happened but he was going to at least try.

"Hey, sorry, I just needed to not be at home. Maybe hang out and talk with a friend for a bit if you aren't busy?"

It wasn't the greatest of explanations but it was more than most people got when they asked how he was doing.
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by: Kara Viridian
As Markus walked towards the booth she'd pointed to, she studied his face and gathered that this moment would be in dire need of the bottle of his favorite liquor, not just one glass. She snatched up the bottle and an extra tumbler and followed him, sliding into the open chair on the opposite side of him. Kara slid the filled glass toward her old partner and poured herself one, setting the bottle within reach for easier access when they would need refills. She nursed her drink for a moment, centering its position in front of her, holding it in place by her fingertips.

Kara let out a breath, the soft hiss of the air leaving her as she puckered her lips draped a veil of awkwardness to their fleeting conversation. "Is everything alright at home?"

It was a ridiculous question, since she a: knew that things were terrible, mostly because he had been spotted on his date with that Fernsby woman. Kara knew it would be bad form to bring her up this early in their stunted conversation but she left the topic of the woman on deck as she knew she would have to present the identification card before he left today.

Kara wanted to kick herself. When did she become this bad at conversing, much more conversing with her partner? She and Markus did a lot of things, stakeouts, raids, strikes, missions that required support and undercover work, and knew each other for a very long time, yet here they were, at a loss.

She took a big drink and swallowed hard.
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by: Markus von Wolfram
Her question had slightly caught him off guard even though it shouldn't have. Logically it was a sound follow up to his earlier response. It wasn't like he'd gone out of his way to visit Kara outside of regular visits on behalf of the Ministry, especially after the last two times the pair had hung out it had ended in a bunch of awkwardness, but he had no doubt that she was still as perceptive as ever. He could always lie but that would defeat the entire purpose of asking Kara if she was free to talk like they did back in the old days. even with all the awkwardness from before he trusted her, and she was one of the few people he felt he didn't have to tip-toe around for fear that she was a Death Eater, a resistance member looking to recruit, or a Ministry Investigator on the lookout for blood-traitors. Kara was someone he could be himself around.

"Yes...no, not really." Markus eyed the drink Kara had poured for him and after a small hesitation picked up the tumbler and took a healthy swallow. The amber liquid burned and it felt good. "Actually that's an understatement," he said followed by a long sigh. "Its been anything but alright. Kir left. Served me with papers a few days ago." He felt his chest constrict as the words tumbled out. Even though he'd known they were drifting apart months ago (even before Anne was truly in the picture) it still hurt. First the kids, then his wife....ex-wife now. This last case had taken everything from him.

Markus took another long pull of his drink now that that small tid-bit of information was out in the open. He hadn't come with the intention to get drunk, but it certainly wasn't going to hurt if he drank just enough to dull the edge and steel himself for questions he knew would follow an admission like that.
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by: Kara Viridian
She tried not to react in such a grand fashion to his response, but one thing was for sure: Kara did not expect that answer, at least not so sudden. The scarred one watched as her partner took the drink into his hand and threw it back, her eyebrows raising slightly. His wife left him, and it was official, it sounded like. Papers...In any realm this could only mean one thing: the separation was meant to be permanent.

"Oh...I-I see."

Then her mind started to race. Was this because of New Years? Was this because of that blond woman?

Kara hated sounding so vain and self-centered that she would be the root cause of a ruined marriage. Hell, it wasn't her first rodeo, although the man she'd been dating for sometime now (if you could call it that) had a long story full of excess baggage and twists and turns she couldn't even fathom to pile onto hers. Between that and her history with Jaleth Lenor... Merlin... she thought. If it was about her silly little crush and drunken mistake that they hadn't even bothered to discuss, then she would never be able to forgive herself.


If this was about the blond woman, that Anne woman, she was wondering if he would surrender the details without her having to pry. Nevertheless, she made note of the way he looked after he set the empty glass down. He didn't look the same. She didn't look the same either. They had turned into very different people since they officially worked together last, but it was still a wonder that they managed to find each other and the time to see one another after all of the chaos.

Kara reached out to the bottle, pouring another round for them. "I'm...I'm sorry, Markus." She said it.

And she meant it, too.
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by: Markus von Wolfram
Markus tried to shrug off her apology. He knew she meant the words, and if he was being honest with himself he felt like an ass for not trying to say something to make this whole thing less awkward. Truth was, no words would come. Even something as simple as, "It's ok," or "I'll be fine," refused to be spoken. The captain knew he needed to talk to someone, the quacks the Ministry was making him see all but said he needed to deal with this.... thing was, even with Kara, someone he knew he could trust explicitly, he didn't want to talk about what had happened.

Absently he fiddled with his now empty glass up until Kara took the time to pour another round. He looked up at her and offered a sad smirk. "Nothing for you to be sorry about. It was a long time coming... the school fiasco just made it worse." He took a small sip of his drink once he'd finished talking. Things had been so much simpler before the Death Eaters took over. He blinked hard in an attempt to keep his emotions in check as the silence stretched on. Maybe a change on topic would help. "So how have you been holding up these past months?"
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by: Kara Viridian
What a loaded question, She thought to herself.

"I've been..." Kara started to say, but she hesitated. Markus knew her better than most, than perhaps Casey or even Liam, but she had to find the right words to explain to him her feelings as of late without leaving too much room for assumption or implication. She sighed and took a sip of her beverage before continuing. "Surviving. The usual, you know. There's not much one can do with this." She pointed at the tracker in her wrist and raised her eyebrows.

Kara took another sip. In her head, she was arguing with herself to spill the beans; she knew where his wallet was kept, the same billfold that held his identification, for both the muggle and magical realms, a few notes and even his Captain's crest, his official badge. She wondered how long it took for him to realize he had lost it at all, and if he'd retraced his steps back to the pub when she was not on duty. Now, the trick was going to be how she would fold this into the conversation. "And I know it's not your fault, I just hate being so confined to certain spaces sometimes..."
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by: Markus von Wolfram
Markus visibly winced at the mention of the tracker. It hadn't been his best idea or his greatest idea... hell if he'd know the prisoner he'd been told to release he never even would have brought up the option with Sark. Even then it had to have been a better option than rotting in Azkaban right? It still didn't stop the captain from feeling like as ass for following through with it, especially since he hadn't been around since New Years... Bloody hell... he ran a hand through his hair and took another pull of his drink. If he was being honest with himself he'd been so wrapped up in the case and it's fallout he'd completely forgot about checking in with Kara and instead pawned the assignment off on a younger member of the guard.

"I.. " Markus didn't even know what to say to her. "I can relate to the confined feeling... Hogwarts, now my desk cause IA is breathing down my neck... hell I can't even take a breather in the muggle world cause I misplaced my wallet and the Ministry is taking its sweet time re-issuing it..." The captain let out a soft sigh and took another drink. "The Abby isn't that bad of a place though right, has to be better than the alternative."
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by: Kara Viridian
"IA?" She narrowed her eyes. Most of the department names had changed when Williams took over, but nothing could be mistaken for those two, gut-turning, chill-inducing letters of I and A. "Merlin, Markus--that's no joke, what did you do?" Internal Affairs was a department scary enough to rival the Dementors themselves; often described as the trenchcoat wearing, hard-ass Investigators who loved to grill you, and used the spell-words Obliviate or Veritas as part of their regular speech. But when Markus followed up that he'd been in trouble because he'd misplaced that billfold, Kara bit her lip and nodded, solemnly.

"One moment." Kara excused herself from the table after she set her drink down and she stalked up the stairs. She had every intent on returning this to him. Even though she could have kept this hidden away for a later time, and maybe use it as a summoning tool, there was no point in keeping it from him now, especially if it was causing such trouble at work. She turned the combination to the locked safe and pulled the squeaking door open. After retrieving the old wallet, she smacked the old leather against her open palm and stood there, staring at the badge as it flung open in her grasp.

So what'll it be, Kara? The truth, or the half-truth? She wanted to confess about the whole night, but then again, Kara also wanted to see if he would tell the truth before doing so. He couldn't be upset with her because they'd played the spy game before. Even though her outings as Katarina, the muggle officer who came by once and never again were simply for leisure to both keep an eye on the pub and to keep her busy, Kara wasn't prepared to see Markus appear at the realm's frequented pub with a date. She took a breath and shut the safe door, walking down towards the table again, hoping he hadn't just up-and-left. She grew tired of the vanishing act; between Jaleth, her step-father, and oftentimes Casey (back in the day, not now), the men in her life liked to get up and leave for days or weeks without so much as a word to let her know that they were okay or they weren't angry with her for some reason.

"I think I have something that belongs to you." Kara approached the table with her hands behind her back. She could have meant his cloak he'd left at her old place after she left the prison, but it wasn't that. It could have been the old bottle of scotch he had her store here since he couldn't bring it to his office. It wasn't that, no. It was more important than any of those things. For some reason, her heart was pounding, and she didn't know why. She didn't do anything wrong, and if anything--she was doing him a tremendous favor. "Surprise."

Kara presented the wallet, intact and wiped clean from the faint traces of alcohol that might have splashed on it that night. She smiled, though awkwardly and nervously, hoping that he wouldn't be upset she had it all this time.
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by: Markus von Wolfram
At Kara's questioning of what he'd done to get IA on his case, Markus gave Kara a confused look. It had been all over the Prophet... unless...

"I'm guessing you haven't read the Prophet lately have you," he called out to her retreating back when she said she'd be right back. Why he voiced the question he had no idea. It was blatantly obvious that she hadn't or she never would have asked about IA in the first place. That also meant she probably didn't know about the boys... He certainly hadn't had the chance to tell her and honestly the captain was still working on that particular grief issue. Markus leaned back in the booth with a shaky sigh and wondered how long Kara was going to be. Absently he began to drum his fingers on the table before eventually reaching out to grab his drink. He took a sip and set the glass down but didn't let go.

It couldn't have been more than a couple of minutes before Kara was back and Markus noticed she was hiding something behind her back. "I have something that belongs to you." He gave her a questioning look. She had something of his? Markus rapidly tried to come up with something he might have given her or left with her at some point but was coming up blank on all accounts, so his surprise was genuine when she placed a familiar worn wallet to him. The captain let out a small laugh of disbelief and reached out to take it, casually flipping through it with both hands. Everything appeared to be there. Papers, his badge, a picture of his family... Markus blinked back a few tears and reached up to wipe away one that had escaped, attempting to hide the move by running a hand through his hair. After a moment he popped a couple of buttons on his jacket and slide the wallet into an inside pocket. "How did you- where did you find this old thing?"
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by: Kara Viridian
When she returned, Kara shook her head. "Unless Jon manages to leave one here--which I promptly stash in my office--I only get my news from those passing through." She didn't want to bring up Casey or the fact that she'd been hiding in plain sight just to get into the rumor mill around here, as she wasn't sure if that would trigger any ill feelings from the Captain. She was smiling, beaming almost, still proud to have kept it safe after all this time. If only she had a legitimate way of travelling through to fetch her news herself, she would have been able to return this to him sooner rather than now...as it seemed that things might have taken a turn for the worst, by the looks of it.

"You...left it here, one evening. It was such a long time ago, and what, with the fact that I can't so much as breathe without this tracker going off, I had to keep it safe. I'm sorry if it's gotten you into some trouble, then..." She responded. As much as she needed to confess about the happenings of that night, she refrained, just for a little bit longer. Kara slid back into her seat across from him, settling back into their private little booth. "Markus, what did you mean by that--what was in the Prophet?"
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by: Markus von Wolfram
He'd left it here? Markus wracked his brain to remember the last time he'd been to the Abby... There was New Years.... but that couldn't be what she was referring to. No it must have been when he'd brought Anne out on a date that had gone anything but right. In the mess with their server he must have dropped or left the wallet behind when they'd left. Bloody hell...

"Thanks for holding onto it for me. Saves me the trouble of hounding the Ministry for new documentation." He let out a soft chuckle at her mention of it getting him in trouble. The wallet had never been the issue... and now Kara was asking for clarification on what he'd meant earlier when he'd asked if she'd read the Prophet. He took a long pull on his drink until it was empty. This is why he'd come in the first place right? To talk. To get things off his chest? But where to start and how much did he want to fill her in on? The beginning he decided might be the best place to start. After all if Kara decided to do some digging on her own afterward she would find out most of what happened anyway.

"Well back around the beginning of December there was a mass murder in Hogsmead... 10-12 dead all verying ages. I got called in to be lead investigator on it to try and figure out what the hell had happened. It took a bit but we realized we had a serial killer on our hands and he was liked to a few murders we had earlier in the year. Our investigation lead us to believe our killer had set himself up in Hogwarts so at the beginning of January the guard was sent in..."

"It got bad. For whatever reason the Ministry didn't want to out right shut down the school and things got real bad. We just didn't have the resources... I think by the time everything was said and done there were nine, maybe ten deaths before we got the guy..."
Markus felt his throat constrict at that moment but he opted to not go into details.. he couldn't deal wit the boys on top of everything else right now.

"Ministry needed a fall guy to save face and since I was lead investigation it fell on me. Hauled in on charges of incompetence and negligence... psych evals, IA sessions. You name it. Pretty sure the only reason I still have a job is because someone who had enough clout convinced the heads to tie me to a desk for the time being... It's been a bloody nightmare."
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