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 If I Could Turn Back Time (Azalea, Clara & Jake)

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Jake Newbury
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PostSubject: If I Could Turn Back Time (Azalea, Clara & Jake)   Sat Jul 14, 2018 5:06 pm

December 2024


It had been the most stressful of hours spent in the hospital waiting for Azalea's delivery. Hours that Jake did not know what to do with himself. Kit had been the one to blow up at the Healers, insisting that he should go with his daughter whilst she gave birth, Clara had been the reasoning force and calming presence the older man had needed throughout all the hours. And Jake... Jake felt out of sorts through it all. This child was not his, he'd done everything he could to help in the last few months, and yet... it didn't feel right to be here. The last two times he'd done this, he'd been with Veronika, holding her hand through the process, and... feeling of some use despite the fact he couldn't have done anything to help.

The Auror had sat apart from Kit and Clara, wanting to give them their own space through all of this, and sat watching the door for a sign of one of the healers. Hours passed, Jake's mind reeling over everything that was happening around him, of Azalea's well-being, the child... She would be okay, though, Jake kept telling himself as the hours passed by. She had survived much worse than child birth... so she would be okay.

Hours passed, Kit's obvious distress with the situation mounted with each visit he made to the reception desk to check whether Azalea had come out from theatre yet. For news of how she was going. Anything. Clara would try to console him each time, and Jake would offer a variation of 'she'll be okay' each time he returned with no news. The man was growing uncomfortable, irritable, though, so after one too many trips to the reception desk, Jake had offered to go for the man, to save the poor receptionist the grilling Kit had given her each time before.

Before Jake could even open his mouth as he arrived at the desk, though, the young woman had given him an answer, her tone tired of all of this.

"Please, she'll be out in about half an hour, the doctors are just finishing up. They've given the go ahead for the next procedure to be prepped." She told Jake, ready for an onslaught, but finding nothing but a soft smile touching the man's lips instead.

"Thank you, and... I'm sorry, for Mr Harrington. He's very stressed, she's his only daughter." Jake explained, hoping that even that crap excuse would be enough to alleviate the woman's grievance with Kit.

Hurrying back to the room, Jake had delivered the news to find Kit's look of relief, and Clara hugging the man beside him with a comment of how stupid he was being, despite her own look of utmost relief. And even though they had waited hours to see Azalea, the half an hour was the slowest of all the time the three of them had endured.

When they had entered the room, Azalea was fast asleep, looking peaceful despite the difficult procedure she'd just undertaken. The three of them had been quiet, Kit and Clara moving to her side to check on her as if their opinion would be superior to the Healers... it was Jake who had looked around for the smaller crib, the child they had been waiting for for so long. Only to find there was no child there with them.

"Clara..." Jake had spoken softly, before making the universal sign for baby, and then motioning around the room. The look of confusion on his face slowly being echoed on hers.

The scene had broken from there, with Jake moving off quickly to the reception to note the fact there was no baby. To enquire where the baby was. The receptionist had put around a number of calls, the Healers all stating the baby was with Azalea. That was where they had left the child. As if Jake would lie about there not being a baby, the receptionist had gone to check, returning to her desk not a moment later to put through a call to security.

The child was gone.

Jake had returned to the room, insisting that Kit and Clara not touch anything, that... despite wanting to be with Azalea, it would be better if, until the right authorities were here, they didn't stay in the room. The day had moved on from exhaustively long, to painfully knackering. Jake had been working on auto-pilot by the time the authorities had collected everything they needed. Kit and Clara were beside themselves, but there was nothing any of them could do.

It had been Clara who had broken the news to Azalea when she awoke, Kit sat on the other side of the bed, holding his daughter's hand, whilst Jake stood awkwardly by the door, not daring to look to the witch as the sound of tears filled the room, the sobs and insistence that this could not have happened... Jake had closed his eyes to the scene, knowing that this was not helpful to Azalea's return to health in the slightest. That progress they may have made could well be undone...

***

Months passed by, and nothing changed. Nothing could be found at the scene of the delivery, or Azalea's rooms to show who might have taken the child. The Healers all worked off the same story. The baby had been delivered, they had moved Azalea and the child back to her room. They had not seen anyone else enter the room, but before they had left Azalea for her family to see her, the baby had been there. The kidnapper had, therefore, been in an out within seconds. None of it made any sense, everything was accounted for.

But nothing felt right.

Jake's usual weekly incomings and outgoings to America became more difficult with the tighter sanctions being placed on the country. It was perhaps only his dual-residency and affiliation with the Ministry that allowed him access by December, but it had lasted, so he didn't question it.

Azalea's progress had all but gone since her return from the hospital. She wanted her baby, both of her babies, she wanted to hold them, and Jake understood. Each week very little changed in any respect, and Jake had simply become the tool with which Azalea fell asleep with. The whispered conversations with Clara of the progress of the investigation that was going no where had become fruitless after the second week, but Jake had persisted in inquiring each time.

Jake was sure, though, that whomever had brought Azalea back, had been the one who had taken her baby away.

December had come in to being, and Jake felt exhausted. On the two days he got free a week, he spent one hopping timezones to help Azalea in any way he could, the other he spent running around after his children who could not understand his absence one day a week from the home. After all, how did you explain to children what he was doing?

The light stubble that had been present the previous week had turned in to a short beard upon his arrival to Carmel that morning via one two many entry points to the States. Knocking on the door, as usual, Jake waited a moment before letting himself in, sliding his shoes off and pushing them to the side.

"Hello?" Jake called out to the house, never one to be comfortable with this coming and going as he pleased.

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PostSubject: Re: If I Could Turn Back Time (Azalea, Clara & Jake)   Sun Jul 15, 2018 6:28 am

"Kit some on, be reasonable, it's her home too."

"It's both their home, we shouldn't have to choose who gets to stay here."

"What are you suggesting?"

"That both my girls get to stay where they belong, together."

A long silence followed the photographer's words. And in that silence, Clara conjured up a dozen things she wanted to say, a dozen snippy comments, a dozen legitimate concerns, a hundred thousand apologies for her actions back in the hospital. But nothing came out. This was part of a longer conversation, one in which Kit honestly told her how he felt, and the man was in no position to be honest right now. He was hurting too badly for even more vulnerability.

Luckily, before either of them could make the situation worse, the front door opened and a moment later, Jake's voice rang through the interior.

"We're in th-the kitchen Jake," Clara called out just as Kit turned to head out to the pool, collecting the camera equipment he'd been fiddling with because he felt utterly useless otherwise. The famous Kit Harrington hadn't done a single assignment since September, convinced that if he left his daughter's side for even a few minutes, soemthing else would happen that he could somehow prevent by staying near.

And his constant watching was making Azalea worse. Whereas Clara believed that healing began with letting go, Kit firmly stood with the "we'll find him, sweetie" school of thought. And while the psychic was all for hope and justice, she also saw what it was doing to their daughter.

Azalea was more of a shell now than she had been when she had first turned up at Harrington House. At least she had expressed interest in Mimosa's things with time, now she simply... existed. Her consciousness improving each day was a curse rather than a blessing now because she could feel and understand the pain she was in.

And the pain would drown her if she didn't at last try to let it go.

"Hi sweetheart, you dong okay?" she asked as the young Auror entered the kitchen, moving to respectfully greet her as he always did. "You hungry? We had pancakes for breakfast but there are a few leftovers." Without waiting for his reply, the short witch moved to the oven where the pancakes were being kept warm in case Azalea felt like eating again.

Removing the plate from the oven, Clara set it down on the counter in front of the male before reaching for the bottled maple syrup from the shelf. Unscrewing the top, she poured a generous amount all over the pancakes, dousing them in golden syrup.

"How's everyone back home? Oh, I saw your sister on TV, she looks really well. She was supporting a republican campaign down in... Wisconsin somewhere I think."

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PostSubject: Re: If I Could Turn Back Time (Azalea, Clara & Jake)   Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:58 pm

The small hesitation in Clara's voice as Jake moved towards the kitchen where the sound had come from did not go amiss, and upon seeing the retreating back of Kit Harrington as he moved through to the kitchen, Jake could understand enough. He made no comment, nor any outward show that he'd heard the stutter in her sentence, instead giving Clara a big, warm smile, that he hoped would make her feel a little better in that moment. It was hopeful, of course, how could anyone in this house feel better when they had allowed a child to be taken from Azalea when they had been right there?

"Hey Clara," Jake replied to her greeting, not hesitating for a moment as he pulled the older with in to a small, polite embrace before letting her go. Sometimes it didn't feel enough, that small gesture, but Jake really didn't know how to approach any of this, and Clara never refuted the movement. "I'm tired," Jake replied to the question of how he was. "Work is busy, the kids at Hogwarts are much too hyped with the upcoming holidays, and the Ministry... well, everything is going crazy with the actions of America, so..." The young man shrugged slightly, showing that whilst that was how he felt, it wasn't the most worrying thing in the world.

"And you? How're you?" Jake asked the older witch, knowing without a doubt that he would also get an account of how Azalea was doing in the same question. After all, Clara's well being had been vastly affected by Azalea's of late.

As always with Clara, though, the witch busied herself with food, making Jake think fondly to his mom who acted in exactly the same way when he went to hers. And, once again, Jake found himself not denying the witch this moment, because it was something to keep her busy, momentarily focused. "Thank you," Jake said as the plate landed before him, the copious amount of maple syrup making his teeth hurt just looking at it, but he knew she was only trying to do her best. Picking up the fork, Jake cut the pancakes, and tucked in gratefully. Had he eaten since breakfast? He knew he'd made the kids food before his mom had arrived, but honestly... he couldn't remember getting his own...

"Everyone is great! Mom and dad are worried about the current situation here. Dad's commute is kinda crazy as it is, and he's worried it'll get worse. Mom keeps telling him to transfer to the UK, but dad is adamant he will not work for the British." Jake said with a fond smile upon his lips. "And..." Jake checked over his shoulder, before he continued, still not comfortable with the idea of telling Azalea of the two children he had back home in the UK. "Ivan and Adrienne are doing really well. Their teachers say they're doing well, so... that's all I could ask for really." He said, not managing to hide the small, proud smile that touched his lips.

"And, Mimosa, Mimosa is doing really well, too. Her energy just knows no bounds! Her work in my class is great! We've also been practising Quidditch together again, she's getting much better! The bat she got from her... from Jacques had really aided her." Jake reported, though he was sure Mimosa had already told Clara all this, he wanted to tell her too, with the proud smile he'd had whilst talking of Ivan and Adrienne continuing to show in that moment.

At the mention of Victoria, Jake nodded stiffly. "Yeah, she's doing something with... an old friend." The man explained, clearly not eager to talk about the subject. Victoria had missed both Ivan and Adrienne's birthdays, sending excuses of being too busy. She'd not been available enough, in Jake's mind, and the idea she was staying with a young man, a politician no less, did not sit well with Jake. Their mom might be fooled, but Jake was not, and the sooner Victoria came home, the better.

"How is she today?" Jake asked, taking another mouthful of pancake as he watched Clara for a sign that things had grown worse in the last week.

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PostSubject: Re: If I Could Turn Back Time (Azalea, Clara & Jake)   Tue Jul 17, 2018 1:49 am

"And you? How're you?"

Clara only shook her head at the question, the universal gesture for "let it slide". How she was at the moment was too complicated to get into, especially over pancakes. Not that Jake needed telling but the breakfast had been prepared by Kit himself who took to the pan better than Clara ever did.

The gesture hadn't worked of course, whatever little Azalea ate these days was chewed like rubber and swallowed like the sleep medication she needed to get some rest six days of the week. The only exception stood right in front of the witch.

Which was why she was about to do something that would further make her fall from Kit Harrington's graces, but whether the words danced on the tip of his tongue these days or not, Azalea was just as much her daughter as she was the photographer's.

"Truth be told, we have a bit of a situation on our hands," she began without preamble once he was done sharing the news from across he pond. "Mimosa wants to come home for the Christmas holidays. We offered to get together at Furze Croft but she wants proper home, with Kit and I together. The kid wants to bring her friend Mercy around to show her the town too." the rest don't really merit saying. That Azalea was in no condition to be sprung on anyone, that they couldn't possibly stash he mother away in favor of her child.

"But it's not just... Mimosa's coming. Azzie... isn't getting better here..." The words were hard but they required speaking out loud. No one in this house was willing to admit that the young witch wasn't recovering at the rate she should be. There were nothing but horrible memories of her here. Every day, Azalea was consumed by her own grief and emptiness and if it kept up... No, Clara refused to think about it.

"Do you think you could... help us move Azzie to the UK? We have our place there, she won't be a burden on you. And she'll be closer for you to check in on. I'll come down myself after New Year's but until then..." Turning around, Clara ducked out of the kitchen for a moment, returning with her bag in hand, the zip half open as she struggled to find her emergency cards.

"Hire whoever you need, someone to cook, keep house, doctors... I'll take care of most of it myself when I'm down there but for the next few weeks, do you think you can step in Jake?"

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PostSubject: Re: If I Could Turn Back Time (Azalea, Clara & Jake)   Tue Jul 17, 2018 3:25 pm

Jake knew better than to press Clara with the small shake of the head. It was silly, really, asking how a parent was when their child was not well. He knew that well enough, with the first six months Ivan had been alive, they had not known if the child was ever going to get better. They had believed, but they had not known. When he'd been asked at that time how he was, Jake had not offered an answer, much the same as Clara had in that moment.

Jake, instead, continued on with his pancakes, subtly scraping some of the syrup off of the pancakes before he ate them because Clara had gone overboard with that much. He listened as Clara denoted the conundrum in which they all found themselves. Mimosa and Azalea could not, yet, meet. The idea... no, they could not know how Azalea would react, how she would cope with seeing their daughter, and though Jake knew the witch would never harm their child, now was not the right time.

The Auror could agree with the sentiment that Azalea was not getting better, it was obvious in the way she held herself, the way she acted, the manner in which they had to coax her to eat.

But what Jake had not expected was the question that came.

As much as Clara tried to tell him that Azalea would not be a burden, they both knew the reality of the situation. Taking Azalea to the UK would mean she became his responsibility, that he would have to check in with her every day -- as a minimum -- or else get the witch round the clock care. Even as Clara was offering him the money to cover such things, Jake knew that if he accepted...

You're being selfish, this is your fault!

For a few moments, Jake sat quietly, looking back at Clara. The fork in his hand stopped halfway from the plate and his mouth in an almost comical manner. Except, nothing about this moment was comical.

"I..." Jake started, pausing for another moment and lowering his fork back to his plate. Three quarters of the pancakes were gone, but Jake no longer felt hungry. "I can't take her to Furze Croft." Jake told the witch, but not with the sound of complete denial. It was plain to see on Jake's features he was working through things, trying to work something out.

It was coming up to Christmas. Christmas was meant for family. He could neither keep running out on his children without explanation, nor leave Azalea in a house on her own with strangers. And yet...

You could see it was verging on painfully difficult for the younger man as he tried to battle with his conscience over this predicament. Until finally...

"She can stay with me." He managed, not overly loudly, but clear enough. His eyes flickered to Clara's face, wondering if this was right. She couldn't expect him to be away from his family at Christmas, could she? But the next question, the unspoken question, was how did he tell Azalea everything he hadn't told her already?

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PostSubject: Re: If I Could Turn Back Time (Azalea, Clara & Jake)   Tue Jul 17, 2018 5:36 pm

The psychic was well aware how selfish her request was. But being a parent meant looking after your child first. And though the witch was very fond of the man siting in front of her, he was not her child.

Her child was upstairs, staring at a wall as if it would somehow slide apart to reveal the missing piece of her heart.

Clara also knew what would happen if Azzie stayed here. The vision had overcome her last night as she'd gotten ready for bed. Azalea, expressionless and silent, standing in a beautiful lavender gown beside a man Clara couldn't quite picture beyond the blonde hair. Hundreds of people were gathered there as though a wedding or engagement was about to take place and despite the witch with shining brown curls standing atop a raised dais, there was no sign of Azalea there.

Jake's answer took a long time, but it came as expected. Even after all these years, not much had changed about the boy who still felt responsible for everything in the world.

"If... it won't be too much trouble." the witch offered hesitantly. Of course, staying at Jake's home came with its own set of rules, but at least Azzie would be off those damn pills if the young man who could make her sleep was in close proximity.

Pushing the card towards his plate, Clara shook her head once more in a clear sign that would brook no argument. No matter how well off he was, Azzie would at least not burden someone financially. "You take that and you use it. I'll be watching out for statements," she warned, trying to sound stern but failing due to the overwhelming relief in her tone.

"She's not well enough to apperate so it will have to be via No Mag planes. I'll book the tickets now and have her things packed for the earliest flight we can manage out of here." She would of course have to tell Kit, unless they were ridiculously lucky and managed to get Azalea out of the house without her father seeing. But Kit and her were due a huge row anyway, might as well get something good out of it first.

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PostSubject: Re: If I Could Turn Back Time (Azalea, Clara & Jake)   Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:34 am

Clara's response to the offer would have been funny at another time, but he knew she had only meant well. Trouble was the very beginnings of what this was going to cause in his house, but he knew he owed Azalea that much. Now, he would simply have to tell his mom, and hope she didn't try to tell him how silly it was running around after a witch he hadn't seen for over a decade. Whilst Alexis could support him wholeheartedly with the once a week trips to America -- knowing her son's conscience needed clearing -- Jake wasn't sure bringing Azalea back to the UK would be something that would go down well.

But, in the end, Alexis would do exactly the same thing she did every time there was a person in need. She would busy herself with trying to make them better.

As the card reached his plate, Jake paused, looking to Clara with the expression upon his features that said she didn't need to, but he was cowed by the look that came back. He'd find something to put on the card, even if only to appease Clara. The information that Azalea would have to fly because she was not well enough to apparate made the man nod slowly. "Book two, I'll fly with her." Jake told the woman before him. They couldn't make Azalea fly alone, and it would be better for Clara if she didn't have to waste all that time if she was prepping for Mimosa's return. "I'll get my mom to pick us up from the airport, and drive us home."

Jake almost went on to reassure Clara that Azalea would be safe with him. With her disappearance, and now the child's, it sounded like the much needed thing to do. But even with the high standard of security he'd placed upon his home, even with some specialists from the force adding extra layers to ensure his family never got hurt, Jake didn't wish to promise Clara something that could... possibly, be broken.

"I'll... go see Azalea, thank you for the pancakes." Jake told the older witch with a smile, not wishing to add anything else to what they'd already said. What more could be said, anyway?

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PostSubject: Re: If I Could Turn Back Time (Azalea, Clara & Jake)   Fri Jul 20, 2018 5:37 am

The dark haired witch merely nodded as Jake made plans. Of course he would escort Azalea himself, and of course he would get his family involved in helping her. He would stay with her and make sure she took her meds, got her rest and healed as quickly as possible. If anyone after her and Kit could be trusted to Azzie's care, it was Jake Newbury.

Just as Clara had always known.

"She's upstairs, in Mimosa's room," Clara indicated as the young man rose to his feet, getting ready to act as her daughter's living sedative. With Jake convinced, now came the herder part - talking to Kit.

Meanwhile upstairs, Jake would fine a blank Azalea once more, siting on her daughter's bed staring unseeingly at the wall of pictures showing people important in Mimosa's life. No words would be exchanged between the once close pair as her eyes would grow heavy with Jake's proximity.

And once again, just like it had been for the past three months, Azalea would slowly, silently go to sleep in Jake's arms, his presence remaining unacknowledged for the moment as merciful sleep finally took her.

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