The various homes, flats, and other dwellings of London are located throughout the city. You can visit a friend at his home or even have one over or enjoy an evening in with yourself. Your choice!
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by: Coraline Larson
Matt's encouragement to continue was enough to convince the witch that her rambling wasn't unwelcome. Cora moved closer to Matt and snuggled against his side as she looked around at the rest of the garden, wanting to move on from the roses. She smiled when she noticed the lily fragrance underneath the stronger rose scent as a gentle breeze wafted the smell to her.

"Do you smell the lilies on the breeze, mo diabhal? They're over by the gazebo at the other end of the garden. It looks like there are several large containers with Trumpet Lilies surrounding the gazebo! They're gorgeous.... large pure white trumpet-shaped blossoms with pink-ish purple streaks on the outside and golden yellow throats inside. They're one of the most fragrant lily varieties..." she trailed off as she inspected the other planters as well.

"Oh and over there," she pointed to another recessed alcove to their right, "are several Golden-Rayed Lilies. Personally, I think they're the prettiest lilies of them all, but that's just my opinion..." Cora paused to inhale deeply, trying to catch a whiff of the spicy-sweet scent of the plants. "They have a distinctive fragrance, spicy and sweet. The blooms are huge too. About ten inches across, more traditionally lily-shaped white blooms with a central golden band and crimson freckles dotting the inside of the petals. They're my favorite," she finished with a soft sigh. Cora snuggled against Matt happily, just enjoying the evening with her love.
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by: Matthew Cox
When prompted, Matt lifted his nose to the breeze and closed his eyes. Each variety of rose that she had described was adding to the heavy fragrance of rose, but...yes, he smelled lilies too. And grass, and the green scent of the cut leaves on the trimmed bushes, and the cars, and the guy who had garlic with dinner and-just focus on the flowers, Matty. He smiled and nuzzled Cora again as she launched into a description of the looks of the flowers. They sounded pretty. He'd not really paid attention to flowers in his past life. In fact, before Cora, they'd just been plants. It was funny how the things you cared about changed because of the influences of the people you cared about...

"Your favorite lily? Then why don't you have any in the greenhouse? Or did I miss them, somehow?"

Golden rayed lily...he made a mental note to remember that particular flower if he ever needed to get her something.

"I don't think I have a favorite yet. Maybe this tree that I saw in south east Asia...big glossy leave, small creamy white and yellow blossoms...smelled like perfume. I don't remember what it was called, but I'll remember how it made the entire street smell." He grinned and gestured self deprecatingly. "And that was before I became a bloodhound, so I bet it's even more intense now..." Matt finished with a chuckle.
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by: Coraline Larson
“Hmm? Oh, no, there aren’t any in the greenhouse,” she answered with a slight shrug. “Honestly, I don’t have many just decorative plants at all. Just about everything but my orchids have a use in either herbal remedies or potions…” It wasn’t worth mentioning the reason behind why she had a purely functional greenhouse rather than a decorative one. It wasn’t worth the risk of ruining their trip by talking about the Dark Lady and her utilitarian ways. Besides, Matt could probably figure out the reasoning anyway if he really thought about it.

Her attention was brought back to the present when Matt talked about a certain flowering tree he had encountered in Asia. It sounded familiar, but Cora couldn’t place the name of it at the moment. “Maybe once things settle down a little, we can take a vacation and you can show me?” she offered gently. “I haven’t been to Asia in a while, and never without… work obligations,” she trailed off again, mad at herself for bringing up her past when they were supposed to be enjoying themselves.
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by: Matthew Cox
She was edging on tender territory. It was awful brave of her to do so and Matt took it for what it was: a sign of trust and vulnerability. He smiled for her and placed a gentle palm on her lower back to provide the sense of support. She was delicate yet, but he was going to give her the benefit of his love and support as she recovered.

"Would you be okay if I planted a scent garden? I like working with you in the greenhouse and I'd like to try my hand at your hobby, if that's okay."

He chuckled at he remark about visiting Asia as if it were a mundane comment instead of a reference to what she used to do. Their past was their past. A smile warmed his face and he nuzzled Cora lightly.

"I haven't been to Asia safe for work either, love. I think a vacation there and playing the tourist would be a grand thing. Hopefully all this settles down quick enough that you and I can play world traveler before our fifties. Remember when we were in the greenhouse talking about all our travels?"

It was still one of his fonder memories. When they first started treating each other like friends, his life had changed for the better. It had been the lifeline needed to address his depression. Not that it was fixed, or better even, but he had his gloves on and he was fighting it. Matt attributed part of that fight to her.
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by: Coraline Larson
Stupid. Why had she even thought of that? Here, on a beautiful vacation that Matt had planned for her no less, and here she was thinking about her fucked up past and -

Oh. He wasn’t upset. In fact, it seemed like he was… understanding? Merlin, she didn’t deserve this man…

With Matt’s gentle support Cora looked up at him and felt a tentative smile bloom on her face when he asked about starting his own garden in the greenhouse. “A scent garden?” she asked, smiling as she nodded her agreement, “I think that would be lovely, mo diabhal! We can clear some space near the pond and the orchid bed if you like. I’d love for you to have your own space there…”

When he brought the topic back to Asia and visiting as tourists at some point, the knot of anxiety that seemed to have taken up lurking in the pit of her stomach tightened once more, making the witch feel a little sick at the thought of why they needed to let things calm down before enjoying their trip. Guilt and regret filtered through her mind not for the first time on the subject, but Cora made an effort to push the emotions down in the back of her mind so she didn’t ruin their evening any further. Thankfully Matt brought up a more pleasant memory a moment later.

“Aye, I do,” she answered softly. Cora squeezed Matt’s hand gently and leaned against his side for a moment as she remembered the day in the greenhouse he was referring to. “It was the first day you came into the greenhouse and I showed you the plants…”
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by: Matthew Cox
"I was so skittish and conflicted. That was the day I really decided how I felt about you. Seeing your heart like that, seeing how you trusted me into your special meant a lot to me. I'm still in awe of your garden, to be honest."

He thought back to the cereus incident and grinned ear to ear.

"Of course, that didn't end quite how I planned...but better than I'd hoped."

The ear to ear grin changed into a softer smile and he bent to kiss her.

"How do you feel about dinner, my dear? There's a carriage waiting for us on the other side of the garden to take us to the restaurant."

He waited for her answer before moving. They could have taken a cab, but carriages were available; it was more romantic and it was open topped, so it was a win-win, right?
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by: Coraline Larson
Cora chuckled softly at his reply. Skittish and conflicted? Yeah, she didn’t know anything about that…

“I know you were,” she answered gently, squeezing his hand lightly, “I was too. You had been so combative and resistant up until that point that I was so afraid you were going to hurt something in there.” Not that he didn’t have plenty of reasons for his combative behavior previous to that day, but even still, it had been a huge surprise for him to let his guard down like that and actually let her see the softer side of him. That day in the greenhouse had been a learning experience for her as much as it had been for him too, she knew. And the cereus pollen had certainly ensured that part too. “Definitely not the outcome I had expected,” she agreed, returning his kiss gently.

“Dinner sounds good, Matty. I’m sure I’ll find an appetite by the time we get there,” Cora replied with a smile. Anxiety was still gnawing at her stomach a little, dampening her desire for food, but he had gone to all the trouble of putting together this trip that she wouldn’t disrespect Matt and his effort by not eating at least a little bit. She stood carefully and threaded her arm through his once again as they set off toward where he had indicated the carriage was waiting for them. “So… a carriage ride under the lights of the City of Lights? You are a romantic aren’t you, mo ghra?” she teased him playfully as they walked.
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by: Matthew Cox
The night embraced them both. Matt could feel that the air was warmer here than the average London night. On top of that, the air was perfumed with bakeries, restaurants, gardens, clean flowing water, flowers, people, actual perfumeries...Matt smiled gently when Cora threaded her arm into his. This was how they were meant to be: Together, peaceful, happy, and hopeful for the future. The roses and lilies still dominated his senses. Even the breeze rustling the leaves caught his ears, sounding musical. He breathed in slowly and released it just as slowly.

"So...I went to Tava's funeral yesterday. The agent who...who we did the check for his family? I delivered the flowers. Cole was there, too..."

He mentioned his former team member and now temporary director for the division. Their discussion had been tumultuous. There was one, ringing question that had been left in Matt's mind: what if he went back? He'd asked Cole and been told 'not yet'...but he needed to breech the idea with Cora, too. And then there was the ring box in his pocket. That was weighing heavily on him, too.

The scent of horses trickled in through the perfume of roses. Matt leaned into Cora gently and hummed. The carriages were ahead. He almost didn't want the walk to end of the path and end this part of the night. They would ride to dinner, not able to talk openly with the driver so close. Then at dinner, he wanted to steer the conversation to their future and where they were headed together, then maybe...just maybe...ask her one of the most important questions he'd ever asked.
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by: Coraline Larson
While her senses were not nearly as honed as Matt’s were, the night air wafting through the garden was still just as enticing and relaxing to Cora as it was for the mutant. The faint smells of nearby restaurants and bakeries, the cacophony of floral aromas from the plants around them, and the subtle almost musky-citrusy smell of Matt’s cologne swirled around her in a pleasant storm of sensory information and did more to help Cora relax than any of her own efforts thus far tonight. The smells were so… comforting. It was as if the city itself was trying to help her calm and enjoy herself, the warm breeze embracing her like a doting grandparent welcoming a favorite grandchild to their home and inviting them in. The witch squeezed Matt’s hand affectionately as they turned to approach the waiting carriage, although her pleasant enjoyment faltered at the mention of the agent’s funeral and Matt’s old colleague.

She wasn’t surprised that Matt had insisted on attending the funeral service for the agent whose death they had caused in the mayhem leading up to what everyone was calling Day Zero now. In fact, she had considered using a polyjuice potion to go herself, but had been convinced it would be too dangerous for her with her recent health issues if things went wrong and she needed to escape unseen or quickly. The check she had written for the grieving widow and the family of the fallen Mi5 agent was the least she could do, and had had the document written out even before Matt had broached the subject with her. Cora nodded quietly in response to Matt’s statement, unsure of what to say at first. It concerned her that Matt had gone somewhere there was naturally going to be an abundance of Mi5 agents, but the fact that he specifically mentioned one of his old friends had her even more on edge about the whole proceeding.

“Did he give you any trouble?” she asked softly, her pulse spiking nervously. She managed to smile a polite thank you to the carriage driver who offered her a helpful hand into the vehicle, then waited for Matt to join her.
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by: Matthew Cox
Trouble? No. Matt shook his head before he added words to the answer. He wanted to be careful with his word choice. He didn't want to alienate his love, but he wanted to be clear that he was done burning bridges.

"No trouble. He uh...he actually financed me to try and help me find my feet. He was very clear though to keep my head down and my nose clean, but that was already the plan. We talked a bit about his brother. Gravestone? Cal is Donny's little brother, it turns out. And,"

Matt's eyebrows raised slightly as he emphasized the conjunction.

"Jones has been arrested. The director who put the target on my head? Cal is the acting director now while that fire's being put out. Things could be moving in a less hostile direction with the government. Maybe even in a direction where I'm not a fugitive anymore...He was very clear to emphasize 'no promises,' but...maybe...maybe the bridges aren't cinders."

With his face canted towards Cora, Matt was able to catch scent of her makeup and perfume, her skin and hair, her emotions...he wanted her happy, but then he brought up this? well, honesty. He'd promised her honesty. Raw hope, naked anger, unfiltered sorrow. He was going to do his best to give her himself authentically instead of hide. She deserved the truth of him and was one of the few people who had earned such a privilege of trust.
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by: Coraline Larson
Cora’s heart raced as she waited for Matt’s answer, hoping he would give her more of an explanation than just the negative head shake. He did after a moment, although his words didn’t do a whole lot to put her at ease at first. Cole had given him money? And hadn’t tried to arrest him, letalone shoot him? That in itself was suspicious as far as she was concerned. What was Matt thinking, trusting the Mi5 agent? Whether or not they had been friends was irrelevant on the grounds of just pure common sense, and Cora had a difficult time holding her tongue while she listened to Matt’s full explanation. When he mentioned that Callaway was the younger brother of one of his old military buddies Cora understood why the man was so willing to trust the agent, even if she still thought it was foolish. It wasn’t until he mentioned Jones that Cora began to relax even a little bit.

Jones was arrested? Well… at least that was… something? She frowned slightly in confusion as she mulled over that revelation. What would the director have been arrested for? It wouldn’t have had anything to do with their escape, would it? If that was the case Cora couldn’t imagine the department relenting on anything to do with Matt or herself, assuming that Mi5 would want to resolve the issue of the two escaped terrorists quickly. She waited until Matt was finished before she spoke, choosing her words carefully.

“I… I suppose that’s all good… at least relatively,” Cora started quietly. “I, um… I don’t really know what else to say about that….” Well, she could think of quite a few things to say about trusting someone who not only worked for the agency that was actively hunting for him, but was now the director of said agency to boot. However, it wasn’t really her place to contradict Matt was it? No. As their carriage made its way through the city Cora fell silent again, sitting quietly next to Matt.
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by: Matthew Cox
"I don't really know what to say, either...Let's change the subject to something happier, love. I can smell a bakery and it reminds me of your baking."

He leaned over and nuzzled her gently, trying to cuddle a smile back onto her face. he continued to whisper a narrative of what he was sensing. Perhaps just being together would be enough for them to have the courage to step forward into an unknown future.

"There's a little shop down the way that has flowers...I think its closed right now, but maybe I'll slip out of the hotel tomorrow morning and go get you something beautiful...would you like that?"

Matt leaned against her gently, smiling softly. She was so beautiful. The soft curve of her jawline, the tumble of her hair, the pulse in her throat...she was a quiet symphony of beauty that only he could hear. She was a private celebration of love, light, life, and delight for him. The thought of their future together, of the life they could share made his heart catch in the special anxiety of love and all the risks it called a man to take. How ironic, Matt reflected, that he had been called a traitor because of what he had been forced to participate in, ostracized because of the circumstances that led them together, then willingly chose to return to her because of that ostracism. Had Callaway known that they'd be driving Matt back to Cora with their ham-fisted attempts to flush him out? Had anyone suspected? Whatever the case was, Matt had made an investment and a choice in this relationship. He'd go down with this ship and not give up on it was his. It was his choice, his life, his love. He wanted to be with her and honor her, protect her and love her. Those sounded like wedding vows even still in his internal monologue. Maybe he could work up the courage to actually ask her. Maybe he could even find it tonight...
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by: Coraline Larson
The change of subject seemed abrupt, but maybe Matt was upset with her for not reacting the way he had hoped she would about the news. He didn’t seem angry, but it was possible he simply didn’t want to cause a scene and draw attention to them while they were in public. They were fugitives in Britain, after all. Cora was sure if the French authorities did even a cursory amount of looking into their identities they would be discovered and arrested in a heartbeat, and neither of them wanted that of course. She was still tense even as Matt nuzzled her and continued his narration of the things he could smell and hear from the carriage although she was trying to keep a tight rein on the knot of anxiety in her stomach, for Matt’s sake if nothing else. He deserved a chance to relax.

“You don’t have to do that, mo diabhal,” Cora answered softly. “You’ve done so much already with putting this trip together…” And for someone who couldn’t deserve it less, she wanted to add but didn’t. Matt didn’t need her getting stuck in a spiral of anxious self-loathing and blame, so she remained quiet until their carriage slowed and pulled up to their destination. When she saw the restaurant, a small smile finally broke through and bloomed on her lips.

“Oh, I know this place,” she exclaimed. “I’ve been here a handful of times when I’ve been in Paris before; it’s a wonderful place.” The driver pulled the carriage to a stop gently and climbed down from his perch to assist his passengers down from the vehicle with a friendly smile for what he no-doubt thought were newlyweds or a soon-to-be-engaged couple. Cora took his assistance with a graceful ease, then thanked him kindly in French while she waited for Matt to join her.
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by: Matthew Cox
Matt cuddled against her again, delighting in touching her. He shouldn't have brought up the funeral. Ah well...he couldn't un-bring it up. He'd atone for upsetting her later, he promised himself as he narrated his view of the ride for her in a half whisper of endearments and intimacy. Her protests of his gift giving nature earned a small smile and baffled look. "But I love giving you gifts. It''s one of my favorite way of showing you how much I cherish you."

When the carriage came to a stop, Matt let Cora descend first before following her. He smiled at her declaration of recognition. To be honest with himself, he was relieved. Sometimes, a good view meant more for a restaurant than a good menu, but this was France and he was being overly paranoid with his plans...

"Good...I was a little worried that it would be a miss. All I had to go off of was online reviews. Since you've been here, though, and you're giving such a glowing recommendation, I'm relieved."

He nestled her in close in an embrace, kissing her cheek affectionately. Lord, how he loved to touch her casually and intimately.He grasped her elbow gently so she could lead them into the restaurant. "Our reservation is under 'Michaels'...I think that's what my passport says, too..." He shrugged and grinned playfully for her.
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by: Coraline Larson
Matt’s gentle smile and kindly reassurance that he delighted in giving her gifts had Cora blushing delicately again, her cheeks tinting a pale pink in shy delight. He really was too good to her, but Cora quickly steered her mind away from that train of thought again before she was caught in a spiral of anxiety and self-deprecation once more. They were here to enjoy themselves and relax, right? That’s what she should be focusing on…

Cora chuckled softly when Matt said he was afraid of picking the wrong restaurant and patted his arm gently to reassure him. “You couldn’t really go wrong anywhere in this district, love. Everything is rather posh and exceptional,” she assured Matt, “But, yes, this place is certainly one of the most renowned. It’ll be just wonderful, I’m sure, Matty.” She led the way to the door, keeping up the facade of Matt being completely blind as his appearance would suggest, smiling politely at the hostess who opened the door for them and greeted them happily.

”Bonsoir! Avez-vous une réservation, Monsieur et Mademoiselle?” the blonde asked with a smile at Cora and Matt.

“Oui, madame, nous le faisons. Je crois que c'est sous le nom de 'Michaels'?” Cora responded in perfectly accented French. The hostess seemed both surprised and a bit delighted by the response, as if very few patrons spoke the language or spoke it well.

“Ah oui, vous êtes là! Table pour deux sur le patio pour Michaels. Si vous pouviez tous les deux me suivre s'il vous plait?” The blonde hostess gestured to Cora to follow her, which Cora did, ‘leading’ Matt carefully as well. Once they got to the patio and were seated the woman assured them that their waiter would be with them momentarily, then bustled gracefully back to her station with a polite smile.

(Good evening! Do you have a reservation, Sir and Miss?)
(Yes, ma'am, we do. I believe it is under the name 'Michaels'?)
(Ah yes, here you are! Table for two on the patio for Michaels. If you would both follow me please?)
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