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 Matthew Cox
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#18281
He had to keep the charade up. The frustrating charade, the blending in, the pretending to be less than he actually was...but it was camouflage, it was life, it was necessary. With a sigh, Matt followed along obediently as he was led, taking a seat on the patio with a happy sigh. If this was as he had requested, there would be a Braille menu and a regular one awaiting them, a vase with a single orchid in it, and one of the city's best views of the Eiffel Tower. He smiled, tentative as he awaited Cora's response to the set-up.

"Well, mo tine? Is this perfect? Could you describe what you see to me?"

He felt nervous, fluttery, and excited. Tonight would be the pinnacle of their relationship so far and it left the veteran vigilante as nervous as a teenager. He was smiling on the outside, but Cora knew his tells. She's see his crossed legs, the white knuckles, the tightness on his lips...Oh, God, she was going to suspect, wasn't she? He needed to calm down and relax and just enjoy the night...

Matt took a fortifying breath in through his nose, releasing it slowly the same way. Lucky, lucky him that she couldn't hear his pounding heart or sense his nerves. His surprise would be blown then, and then what? Then what would he do? Nope, gotta slow breathe again and dispel the nerves. Why was this dinner more nerve wracking than some of his SBS missions? Life's mysteries, wasn't it?
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By Coraline Larson
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#18303
Cora seated herself and looked around at the setting with a disbelieving smile. How was this real life? Not even a week ago she had been literally a different person with little control over her own life and holding the man she was currently looking at across the table as little more than a slave; now here they were at one of the most prominent restaurants in Paris with a view of the Eiffel Tower that people would kill to have. How was this not a dream?

Speaking of looking at Matt… was there something wrong? He didn’t really look like himself… He was worrying his bottom lip slightly, fidgeting in his chair, and if he balled his fists any tighter she was certain the man was going to bust his own knuckles open from clenching them. True, she didn’t have his supernatural senses, but it was clear as the nose on his face that Matt was nervous and worked up about something; she certainly didn’t need to have radar senses to tell that. If it hadn’t been for the deep breath he took to calm himself down and the reassuring smile he gave her Cora might have started to worry that perhaps someone had spotted them or was tailing them, however, Matt’s request at least staved off her immediate panic response.

She tried to smile but was certain the gesture was still tinged with a bit of anxiety, though she pushed it to the back of her mind again as she answered him. “It’s beautiful, Matty. Thank you. Well… I would guess that the lovely pink orchid on the table was as per your request, mo ghra,” she chuckled softly, “and everything is just perfect. I can see the Eiffel Tower from here in an almost-completely clear line of sight, and the waning half-moon is shining bright as a diamond just behind it. The whole height of the Tower is lit up with warm yellow lights, and I can even see the elevators going up and down through the middle of it. Even this late at night there’s a crowd below it too; I can see camera flashes every so often from the ground, like little fireworks almost. It’s breathtaking, Matty…”
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By Matthew Cox
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#18482
Matt sank into her description like the words themselves were a hot bath. Cora’s voice helped him get a more total grip on his nerves. Heh…nerves. Unlike his previous experience with the adrenaline and tension buzzing through his system, this anticipation was an almost pleasurable high. She was so beautiful…Matt reached across the table to offer his hand to his partner. His anxieties had fed hers, he could sense, so it was only fair he give her back the calm she’d given him. Matt began his apology with a gentle smile that faded into a serious expression.

”I’m sorry if I seem edgy. It’s just that you’re so beautiful and…and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. It terrifies and excites me and I don’t know why. I love you, Cora. There’s nothing else to say. I love you.”

His voice cracked slightly with emotion. Love wasn’t a foreign feeling for the marine, but such a clear black and white declaration of dedication was shocking. It was easy to imagine the rest of his life with her. Growing with her, relaxing, living, having adventures and the day to day mundane…Matt craved these things. They had healing to do, both as individuals and as a couple, but Matt was willing to face that struggle and grow for her. He smiled and took his glasses off for her, pocketing them carefully, fingers brushing the ring box inside the pocket.

Should he? Should he not? Should he ask her to marry him? Should he give them both some space to just enjoy tonight? What to do? If he asked her and she said no, could he survive the crushing disappointment? If she said yes just to make him happy, could he stomach that acid? Matt let his fingers leave the velvet box with only a twinge of sorrow. It was better to wait. The right time would present itself, he decided. There were too many questions right now for him to really be confident in the gesture of dedication.
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By Coraline Larson
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#18662
As much as Matt relaxed into her words, the observations and narration helped to calm Cora’s racing mind just as much, she realized as she watched the tension in his shoulders and neck melt away a bit. She almost instinctively reached to take Matt’s hand when he offered it to her across the table, looking around at the restaurant more out of nervous habit than actually needing to look around to describe it to Matt. It seemed that they were safe, at least for the moment, but she couldn’t help but wonder how long that would last. True, she was more well-known in the wizarding world, but even still, their escape from Mi5 had only been the other day and something that high-profile was bound to be televised in the international community. Cora was certain she wouldn’t be totally at ease until they were back in their hotel room and she had thoroughly checked it for spells and muggle observation technologies too.

Matt’s words made her heart skip a beat and a shy smile spread across her face at his declaration of love, leaving her speechless for a moment. She loved him just as much, maybe more for the lack of affection and genuine love she had had in her life for the vast majority of it, but there were still questions and doubts in the back of her mind even still. Like, was his affection really how he felt or what it simply the remnants of being under the curse? Would he wake up in a few days or a few weeks and suddenly realize he was free and then leave? Not that Cora would blame him if he did, but the questions remained nonetheless, particularly with his repetition of ‘I don’t know why’ as a qualifier for his actions and feelings. Tonight wasn’t the first time he had expressed such doubt which only made Cora’s fears more real, more possible in her mind, but… maybe tonight wasn’t the time to say so. They were in Paris after all, and he had gone to so much effort to make their vacation nice.

“Ta gra agam duit,” she said quietly, not realizing she had spoken in Gaelic at first, but blushing slightly when she did. “I love you, I mean. M’sorry, mo ghra,” she corrected herself.

The waitress thankfully came over to take their orders, giving the witch a moment to get her head back on straight and center herself. She looked over the menu briefly, smiling when she saw her favorite item was still on it. “J'aurai le coq au vin avec la salade niçoise, s'il vous plait,” Cora told the waitress with a polite smile. She looked over at Matt with a smile as well. “Do you know what you’d like, love?”
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By Matthew Cox
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#18672
Her Gaelic made him smile. It was genuinely Cora when the Irish language rolled out, true and honest. He'd never known her to say something in Gaelic that she didn't believe with her whole heart. So, when she said she loved him, then reiterated it in English, all he could do was smile. It was a dopey, love struck, and sweet expression, innocent and trusting. The nerves had dissipated like fog under the dawn of her affection. Matt squeezed her hand gently in reply.

"I understood. I'm still studying your beautiful Gaelic, love."

He paused at the approach of the waitress, free hand dancing over his menu quickly.

"Ah...Moules à la Normande, s'il vous plaît. Je vous remercie." Please and thank you, basic pronunciation...he couldn't speak French or understand it, but he could fake it like a pro. He returned his attention to Cora. She was strong, but was she using that strength to hide any fears or stress that she should be letting go? Was he hypocritical in worrying about that? Maybe. Operation Ridiculous Question was a go, then.

"If you had to adopt a barn animal, what would it be and why?"

His half smirk invited her into the frivolous conversation. Maybe he should have stayed more stoic and less silly in Paris, of all places, but he wanted Cora to smile, to laugh, to feel like she could be free. It was a technique to draw her focus back onto him and the intimacy of conversation, the connection of the absurd, and the simple pleasure of talking to each other.
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By Sarah
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#18886
End Summary- Matt succeeds in pulling Cora into a frivolous and silly conversation over dinner, helping them both to finally relax and simply enjoy the evening and each other’s company. After a lavish dinner and dessert, they stroll the few blocks back to their hotel and pass the rest of the night together contently before heading back to London the next morning.

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