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by: Casey Winslow
March 16, 2012
12:47 a.m.

Casey was not going to be a happy camper in the morning. He had sent out an owl to Ianto and then a second one just in case the first owl failed to find Evie's right hand. He had told him in both he could find him here in this little place called Denny's. He'd never been here before, but it was the first place he'd found that had been open.

Casey was perfectly content to remain hunkered down in the center of the large, rounded booth so he could see the lot of shady sorts who were all about this restaurant. His coffee was warming his hands, which had become more cold than he'd realized when he had been out searching for somewhere to call a meeting place. The hardest part, however, had been sneaking into the warehouse headquarters without Evie seeing him. He'd had to take a very unique route just to get to the owl and some paper and utilize it and then had to carefully take the same route out.

Casey could only hope that the man wasn't sound asleep in bed ignoring the persistent rapping of the owl's beak upon his window. Because they needed to discuss things. Regardless of what the man thought of Casey, surely even Ianto would agree once he heard Casey out.
by: Ianto Sayer
Early morning owls... or really late owls (depending on how you viewed them), were likely some of the most annoying things that could happen in a person's life. Considering that the owl had come from the states, they likely didn't think about the time difference between the two places. It was early morning for Ianto, but he hadn't been asleep when the thing arrived. Instead, he had been wide away, pouring over the notes in his coded journals while working on an equally coded report to headquarters of the things that had been happening in the UK.

He made regular reports. He got made sure to make regular reports in person, but there were times when it was tough to get away. So heavily coded reports that very few would understand even if they managed to translate them correctly into English was also normal. This morning was one of those mornings, one of those difficult times to get away, and yet when he opened and read the owl... he knew he needed to go.

What were you supposed to do when you needed to be in two places at once? Ianto didn't have to report to his fake job right away. He had a few hours to get over to the States and get back. Problem was, his "persona" was supposed to be a man of habit. If he followed his supposed routines, he'd go out for a job, grab breakfast, a coffee, and then would go into work. He'd have to come up with an excuse and pretend to be in a bad mood for the rest of the day. Well, perhaps not pretend, because he was going to be in a bad mood after this, but it was what it was.

So it was with a heavy sigh that Ianto locked everything away that needed to be hidden in his flat and apparated straight to the location that Casey had told him to meet him at. The dark haired wizard knew exactly where the Denny's was that Casey suggested. It was funny how the word was written in the parchment, because pureblooded wizarding folk never knew what to do with muggle born anything.

Ianto walked into the place in question then moved to a booth that had a view of the main entrance and the fire exit, just in case something went down. He ordered a straight black coffee to start his morning and ran a hand through his hair as he waited for the other man to show.
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by: Casey Winslow
Casey had been spaced out, absently stirring his coffee with his spoon, upon Ianto's entrance or he would have called him over to his booth. As it was, Casey was almost ready to give up and go back to headquarters. He was exhausted. He was the sort who needed and valued his sleep and always had been. Perhaps he didn't sleep as much as he had in his younger years, but he supposed that came with age and responsibilities. It was something he'd accepted as a part of life.

Casey set his spoon on his napkin and took a sip from his half-empty coffee mug then set it down as he scanned the room. That's when he spotted the black-haired man. He looked as gruff as usual, but then, Casey hadn't expected him to suddenly look kind-hearted and free-spirited. Sighing, Casey pushed his way out of the horseshoe booth, stood, and then grabbed his coffee mug as he walked over to where Ianto had chosen to sit. Another valid location. He'd just figured there'd be more space where he'd sat, and with the two of them, space was always good.

"Evening," Casey said as he slid into the booth seat opposite Ianto. Judging by his lack of a menu and his lack of a beverage, they couldn't delve into business quite yet. Someone would be bringing him something to drink at the very least soon. So, Casey sat back a little, trying to appear casual to any eyes that might be watching him since he'd moved seats.
by: Ianto Sayer
Ianto had been... tired, to say the least. He was still living a double life. Still trying to get as much information as possible back to headquarters until things started to go south with him or their plans went through. Every day that Ianto stayed there was another chance he'd get caught, but that was part of the job. He knew that. Everyone else who was currently under cover knew that as well, but that didn't mean he was immune to the stresses this took on his person. Mentally and physically. Darting all over the world, trying to appease everyone about everything. This included.

So the dark haired wizard didn't exactly feel bad when Casey slid into the booth with a mug of coffee already in hand. Ianto raised a single eyebrow at the other man, but waited calmly for the waitress to show up. He ordered a simple coffee, black, and a breakfast that he felt he was going to need, even if he wasn't exactly hungry. Eggs, bacon, and some toast. Nice and simple. Nothing that his stomach would reject if things got intense later on in the day.

"Hello." There was a slight nod of the head, but nothing beyond that. He waited until the waitress was far enough away before he brought up why he was actually here. "So... explain a bit more?" Because the owl had been cryptic. Which was good, because anything they sent needed to be coded in case it was intercepted by another team. But if it turned out to be for nothing, then Ianto was going to be very annoyed. The waitress came back with his coffee. Ianto offered her a grim smile before she left, taking a sip while he waited for Casey to answer his question.
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by: Casey Winslow
"She's getting desperate," Casey said plainly. He knew he wouldn't have to specify whom he meant to the man across from him. There was only one "she" that they both knew who would be likely to be growing desperate, and it would be better the more nonspecific they were in that arena for both their sakes. "I went to intercept an object for her. She's been busy planning, see, more recluse, and well, apparently it's not been good for her. She had me pick up a doll." Casey snorted. "You'd think she's gone mad at first, but this doll is meant to inflict pain. Apparently they're common in these parts?"

Casey hoped Ianto knew what he was talking about as he did not want to practically give it to the other man by taking it out and showing him. "But if she's relying on something like this over her own spell work, something's wrong. I don't know that she remembers this, but she lost her magic while she was first pregnant with our son. The stress of me undercover and the pregnancy took her magic. She couldn't so much as do a simple summoning spell. She hid it from me then as long as she could manage. I'm concerned she might be in the same situation here or worse. She's obsessed with killing him, and I can't blame her. I really can't, but I think it's hurting her."
by: Ianto Sayer
She's getting desperate. Ianto hadn't had the time to check in too often with the main base. He was far too deep under cover to actually receive anything from Evie directly, so he didn't have any idea that anything was desperate. He understood the sentiment for the situation, but he had to admit that this was more than enough to make him pause his thoughts and pay full attention to what Casey was telling him.

The dark haired man was silent the entire time that the other man spoke. He just drank his coffee and waited for the story to play out. The real question was, how much of this did he trust? He had agreed to trust Casey in the last little meeting that they had had, but that was trusting that he wasn't going to be an issue to the cause or Evie. The man cared too much about his ex to want to undermine all of this. But this was sort of a side stepped situation, wasn't it? Evie was vital to things but if she was acting the way that Casey was suggesting then she was going to be trouble.

"Voodoo dolls are common in the southern portions of the states. There's a type of magic, bastardized from a lot of different cultures and beliefs, that got it's start down south. Some of it is really creepy seeming if you don't do proper research into it, but it's... not always all bad. In fact, most of it has to do with good intentions." He shrugged his shoulders slightly. "But Voodoo doesn't and isn't supposed to work like that." Not at it's core. The off shootings of that? Just like a... dark wizard, actually. "It's dark stuff, the stuff you're suggesting. Something akin to an unforgivable." Ianto glanced up to the other man. Ianto was of the belief that the man they were all after did need killing, but unforgivable sorts of things? It seemed... different to Ianto. Perhaps that was all hypocritical, but this suggested that Evie was not of sound mind. Which wasn't good. He took another sip of his coffee and waited for the other man to react.
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by: Casey Winslow
Casey's hands remained clasped around his coffee as he listened to Ianto as he confirmed what he'd suspected from Tabby's reaction. Only, she hadn't seemed nearly concerned enough for something of such dark magic. He sighed and shook his head. Evie had lost so much from this war, and now, the monster who had robbed her of so much already had stolen all she had left of herself: her innocence. She'd always been willing to do whatever it took, but it had been within reason. Perhaps it was a lovestruck boy's view he'd once held of her that came to mind when he thought of her. That idol-like young woman being perfect and untouchable by all the darkness and horrors that went on around them, someone to be protected at all costs.

Yet the adult in Casey knew Evie was hardly that, and she never had been or at the very least had been robbed of those qualities so long ago. He, the man who had grown up with and who had experienced so much hell with Evie as his wife, knew what she had been through over the years and the more recent evils committed toward her, yet some small part of that young man still hung on in regards to Evie. That hope, that one little bit of idealism was that last remaining tether to the person he had once been. He knew better, yet somehow it was there.

"It shouldn't surprise me. It really shouldn't surprise me, and it doesn't entirely. Yet it still does," he said, looking up from his coffee and to Ianto. It felt odd saying something so honest to the man. Well, emotionally honest. It wasn't as though he were about to have a heart-to-heart, but it needed to be said and, frankly, Casey suspected the man would understand that bit. "But the fact of the matter is that it leaves us reason to suspect either some part of her is unhinged and dangerous to the ultimate success of our mission or she's lost her magic again and can't carry through. And while I don't want to rob her of what she's longed for for the past eleven years, I don't know what else to do, Ianto. What we've all been working for needs to progress and quickly, yet I don't know that I trust her to remain objective when she finally comes face-to-face with him. He's been a monster in her life for longer than she realizes, and I suspect she's wanted this for at least that long, though she wouldn't have voiced it back then. This has changed her, but we need reliable people on our team. How close are you to ready with your part? How long until we can make a move?"
by: Ianto Sayer
Ianto slowly froze as Casey continued to speak. He could guess where this conversation was going even before it started and the dark haired man knew exactly what was going to be suggested. Casey was suggesting a coup. For the betterment of the movement. To keep Evie safe from harming people out of turn. To keep her safe from herself. There was a lot of logic to what he was saying, but he was speaking to the man who was considered deadly loyal to Evie. Asking Ianto was probably one of the worst things to do because he would normally be one of the persons targeted for take out in a coup.

So it was sort of ironically hilarious that Casey was coming to him. Ianto had already figured out that the man ran more on emotion than on logic when it came to his ex-wife. But if Evie was unhinged, then it was something they did need to address. It was something that Ianto should have been addressing, if he hadn't been mired so deeply in his undercover work. Evie had been the one to assign him to it, he had been the one to argue with it, but now he had to wonder when she had started to come apart. And if his current assignment was a way to keep him under control while she spiraled.

Just because she might have been going crazy didn't mean she couldn't be brilliant about it at the same time. Though the voodoo didn't sound like a good source to turn to if she was having magical issues. There were other options. "Not as ready as I'd like to be." Not ready enough to have it done soon. If Evie was spiraling, then they might have to restructure before attacking. "I'd peg it at over half done, but not nearly as complete as needed. We could make do with what we have, if certain targets would show themselves." He took another drink of his coffee, mulling over ideas of what they might need to do. "Do we need to have her have a vacation? What fixed this the last time it happened?" Maybe they could help her. It'd be a strain if Ianto was working on two fronts but this was something that didn't need to be told to the majority of the movement. It would cause panic and they didn't need panic within their ranks.
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by: Casey Winslow
Casey shrugged. "Even if a vacation had been the answer, do you really believe she would take a vacation right now?" He took a moment to take a drink of his coffee before continuing. "As it is, I'm not entirely sure what caused her to regain her magic. Was it having Julian? Was it Derrin nearly killing me? Was it what we thought was the end of the war?" He chuckled wryly. "I highly doubt she's had time enough for a beau to be pregnant, but she's had enough time to be stressed, which is the likely culprit in both cases. We can't afford you being badly injured and nearly killed. We're stretched thin as it is. And if it was the end of the war, well, we're shit out of luck. My guess is we need her to destress, but forcing her to will only stress out more if the magic is even the issue. She could just be trying to calm her anxiety, hoping that this stupid voodoo doll will give herself enough reassurance she won't worry anymore. But honestly.... We need to double our efforts and get a damn move on. Maybe if we start something and she sees some progress, she'll start relaxing and looking forward to what she will get to do once we find the man."

Casey took another drink of his coffee. "Where can I help? I understand the undercover stuff needs to be you. Having two of us is too risky for the other, but there has to be something that will aid you if I go in as Markus' cousin again. And I'm more capable as something other than a bloody errand boy." He didn't want to sit around any longer. Seren was getting stronger so far as he could tell, and while he might have taken on training Tabora, he could better train her in action than he could in some abandoned warehouse in New Orleans. He could test her out tomorrow as planned, and if she was capable enough, he'd take her on. If not, he'd break the deal off. No gain, no loss at that point.
by: Ianto Sayer
So Casey was suggesting mutiny. In a fashion. Getting Evie pregnant in order to solve her issue was not a suggestion that Ianto was even going to consider, though he'd be perfectly fine with almost killing Casey to get the job done. That would have been nice, easy, and enjoyable. Even if they were on better speaking terms than they had been before, it didn't change the fact that he had more than enough built up previous resentment to get the job done with a certain amount of glee. How many times had he imagined choking the man with his own bare hands?

Ianto took a sip of his coffee, his face just as stoney as it always was, never once betraying the emotions or thoughts that were rolling around in the back of his mind. Nothing but the task at hand. That and nothing else at all. If there was any guilt surrounding the thoughts because Casey quickly went on that he needed to stay safe, it didn't show either. Ianto didn't really do guilt. He just needed to get the job done. If Casey got killed or needed to be killed because of it, then it was just part of the job. But now that Evie was the one who was potentially on the chopping block, it made him slightly uneasy. Probably because he had worked with her so long and felt rather loyal to the woman who had given him hope in one of the darkest moments of his life.

But if the job needed to be done, he would do it. It was as simple and as complicated as that. "I need to know what fingers Evie has in what pies. We have to asses her danger to the operation before we do anything else." He had to keep his job up. He had to keep his role going. Casey going undercover with him was going to do nothing but make things more complicated for Ianto. Instead, he needed help on the home front. "We have to figure out if she's making things worse or not." If she was making things worse, then it was likely going to be something they would have to resolve before things went down. "If we can keep her from doing anything too terrible, then we can leave it be and I can speed things up by a couple of weeks by putting in some extra work over seas. But if I do that, if I crank the wheel up, I'm going to need you here for certain. To make sure Evie doesn't get paranoid about me moving the time table up and to keep an eye on her." He finished his coffee and set the mug down, giving the other man a stare with those cold, blue eyes. "Can you do that?"
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by: Casey Winslow
Could he do that? Casey wanted to snort, but he didn't. Instead, he remained composed despite the doubt in his mind. He could certainly try to get that information out of Evie. However, the question remained whether or not Evie would let him know anything. The dozy of a spell that Williams had had done on her mind had seen to it that she didn't trust him despite the conflicting few memories she'd managed to get back. None of it was substantial enough to knock out that feeling of doubt and fear that he could truly be the abusive asshole Williams had made sure he was painted as in Evie's mind, and she didn't seem to be getting more back.

Unless that was the cause. What if Evie was getting memories back, including some of the horrific ones from eleven years ago? They had learned much of it was mind games, but coupled with what Williams had more recently done to her.... It could be enough to make her feel helpless and/or drive the magic away, if that was even what was going on. It could definitely explain the voodoo doll, but Casey wasn't holding his breath for that. He didn't know if he even really wanted Evie to remember their thirteen years of marriage before it all went to a new level of hell in a hand basket. They had been good years, but at what cost could memories come? He still loved her, still felt for her, but it was different. Three years of separation had seen to that. Three years of separation and the formation of a new relationship. The fact she was the mother to his children, however? That would be a bond he would always feel toward her. She'd been that and his best friend for so long.

"I can try," Casey replied. "I will try. But I can't guarantee I'll get as deep an answer as you would like." Ianto simply had to understand they might not be able to gain as deep a glimpse into her psyche, into her current mental and emotional state, as he might like. He had to understand this was the best he could offer on the Evie front--a good try. Figuring they had covered all they needed to on that front, Casey decided to dig a little deeper without forcing Ianto to give too much away. Ianto needed to have his secrets. He knew and understood that much about working undercover. He'd been in the same boat once upon a time. "What is it that we're waiting on? I've heard things, things that have made it into our papers, and it seems like things are teetering on edge. Is that not a fair assessment?"
by: Ianto Sayer
The reality was, if their roles had been reversed, things might have gone more smoothly. If Casey was the one undercover, perhaps under a new type of spell or even some good polyjuice potion, he could have done similiar things to what Ianto was doing. Ianto liked to think that the other man wouldn't get it done as well or as quickly, but done was done in most cases. This didn't have to be entirely pricise, just mostly. And Ianto was much more prepared to spy on Evie and ask the brutal questions that might need asking. He had no history with her on that matter. He could have been more direct in it all, but Ianto was worried about the fall out.

If this had happened a few months earlier, he would have been able to take care of it regardless of everything. Even if he had to fight Evie over the matter. But now? He couldn't take more than a handful of hours off away from prying eyes. People were always watching and it had been hard enough to set up an area in his rented flat that he could apparate directly out of in case of emergancies instead of something that was outside. The closet was a terrible place to do spellwork, but it had to do. Thankfully Ianto never had company over and most of his "co-workers" thought he was a terribly anti-social grump, so they never asked to hang out.

"It's a fair assessment." A very fair assessment. "The reality is that our plan rests on a lot of unknown factors. A lot of things can go wrong, very quickly. We're going to have to be lucky to hit our main target." Lucky was sort of an understatement, but either way, they'd still make a statement. And that was at least half the point, so there was no point in giving up now. "I might be able to wing some time in the comming weeks to sit down and have... a chat with Evie. Provided that we are prepared to handle anything that may... cause difficulties afterwards within a short span of time." He'd have to go a night without sleep and get back without any injuries that would be hard to explain, but it could be done.

"I'd need as much information as you can give me before then... and then your back up on the matter." In order to confront Evie, they were going to have to do the unthinkable. They were going to have to be a solid front that agreed on this. How to handle it. What to do. How to react. And how to talk to her on the matter. She would argue less if she knew that the two of them were agreed... or she would think it was a conspiracy and completely throw everything they had to say out the window in a fit of rage. It just depended on how stable she actually was, right?
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by: Casey Winslow
Casey breathed in deeply then sighed. "I'll get what I can from her," he promised, "and you have my back-up. Trust me, I want nothing more than for everything to go down as smoothly as possible." After all, the war was something that had long gone on behind the scenes and now at the forefront of society. He knew many of the players on the other side, and they knew him. He had people he wanted dead through this, but he also had priorities similar to Evie's. He wanted his son out and away from the bastard if at all possible through this. The only question, of course, was where Julian was now. After all, Trevor had disappeared a while ago now, and it wasn't likely he had taken Julian with him, given the circumstances. And then the one man that it would seem the bastard trusted, Teague MacTail? Well, he'd gone and vanished if the copy of the Daily Prophet he'd managed to get his hands on a week ago was to be believed. So, it was all a big huge question mark, and it was one thing he was sure Ianto would not manage to gather nor would he care to take the time to do. After all, his mission was clear. Finding Julian was not on the agenda. All Evie cared about was Trevor.

"Are you prepared to move forward without her, if it needs to be done?" Casey asked, looking the other man in the eye. It was a possibility that needed to be considered. Not everything was going to get accomplished this first time around. That much was evident by Trevor's mere disappearance, and they didn't have the bait to get the man out of hiding. The question was how deep Ianto's loyalty to Evie ran and how logical he was willing to be on the matter.
by: Ianto Sayer
Are you prepared to move forward without her, if it needs to be done? They were getting closer and closer to actually saying it. The dirty word. Mutiny. Or coup. Which this really would be if you looked at it in plain terms. But oddly, Ianto understood the struggle with just saying the damn word out loud. Both of them were probably the most loyal people to Evie. The least likely to suggest such a thing. But sometimes it was the people closest to you who had to betray you, if you went down a dark path that they couldn't follow. They could have left her instead, walking away from it all, but that wasn't an option for either of them either. They were dedicated to the cause.

"Yes." Ianto took a moment to think about it, though he wouldn't call it hesitation. He just had to switch a mental gear over, preparing himself for what would need to be done if things really went sour when they confronted Evie. The different cells of people they would need to communicate with or fool. The people that were likely going to leave if Evie was removed and how they could operate without them. He had to judge the situation as best he could in a split second situation.

But this cause was everything to Ianto. He had to see it through. For his family. For his wife. For everything that had been torn away from him. Evie had given him something to live for. She had given him revenge. She had been the one to lead him down that path. However, if Evie was now an obstacle in that path? He would take her out if need be, for what they needed to get done. "We'll lose a few bits of the mission because I don't think she's shared everything with everyone, so we might lose a few cells of people we didn't know we had, but the ones I know, the majority of them... we'll be fine." Because for most of them the mission was all there was. Whoever was leading them wouldn't matter as long as the mission stayed the same. "Are you?" Could he betray her? Could Casey do this? He'd likely justify it as helping her, but that was likely how Casey had to think in order to help him sleep at night.
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by: Casey Winslow
The slight beat of a pause would have made Casey doubt anyone else's answer of "yes," but with Ianto? Well, he was Ianto. Ianto was a by-the-books, rigid, business-like sort of man who said what he meant and could be trusted to do as much. Certainly, he had been working undercover and had likely learned how to lie effectively to save his life and the mission, but he was still Ianto. And even if Ianto didn't like him, he knew he was part of the cause and loyal to it and to Evie. He could separate personal feelings from business. At least, Casey had to believe that. Otherwise, he should probably grab Seren and Lucy and leave the warehouse tonight.

"I am," Casey replied. "I can see what I can get from people I've fought with before, people I trust, if we need the numbers and support." That was the least he could bring to the table should the need arise. There weren't many that he knew that he would be willing to put himself on the line for still alive, but he would gather those he could. It would bring experience to the table. These Americans...and people of other countries... Well, their battles and struggles were their own, and Casey couldn't speak for what they could offer against Death Eaters as they likely hadn't spent their last two years at Hogwarts and their adult life fighting them, living life looking over their shoulder prepared to fight should the need arise. They likely had unique methods of spell work, strong abilities that perhaps Death Eaters had not encountered that would help. He did not discount them, but imagine if they could take some time to train some with experience against them in new ways. Imagine the strength and the great asset that would be.
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