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 All these voices in my head get loud (Jake)

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Azalea Murray
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PostSubject: All these voices in my head get loud (Jake)   Fri Jul 20, 2018 6:05 am

The journey was long, and mostly silent. Azalea didn't recall much of it beyond brief spells of wakefulness punctuated by long gaps of dreamless oblivion. She remembered dad hugging her fiercely before letting her go to have a word with Jake. She remembered Clara's hug which was a lot more warm and which ended all too soon even if the older witch had held her for a long time, and then she remembered falling asleep in the car.

The next time the brunette had opened her eyes, they were boarding. Azalea was in a wheelchair and Jake was behind her, pushing her firmly through the security entrance and handling their paperwork. She had tried to stay awake a little bit, drank some water and tried really hard to pay attention to everything around her but the world held little interest for the young witch these days. Everything held little interest for her.

She had managed to stay wake until they were on the plane, at which point her body had given her once more. How Jake had manged to transfer her sleeping form from the wheelchair to the plane seat, she would never know but when she woke up, she was siting properly and had gone to sleep with her head on his shoulder, one hand clutching the corner of his shirt in a manner more memory than habit now.

The next time the witch went under was just before the landing announcements, leaving Jake to deal with the departure and bag collection on his own. To the man's credit, he must have kept her nearby at all times for her to not wake up during the messy, noisy process of entering the country via Muggle channels. Her eyes opened only almost two hours later to see the waiting lunge they were now in, her wheelchair parked carefully beside their luggage and a soft blanket thrown over her slender frame.

Upon her questioning gaze, Jake informed her where they were and who they were waiting for, making the witch nod slowly. It felt like a great deal of effort moving her head But she could put in some effort now, she might just have to. Alexis Newbury arrived like a stranger who somehow knew her, giving Azalea a warm hug that reminded her a little bit of Clara. They may have been close once but the brunette couldn't remember.

She. Just.l Couldn't. Remember.

her entire body convulsed at the idea as the mages flooded her mind again. Or rather, the sounds. The loud crying of her child, the dim voice from so far away.

"Our son..."

Someone had been there... Someone other than her and her baby. Someone who had loved the baby as much as she did.

Azalea closed her eyes once more, the mere thought exhausting her anew. Jake and Alexis wheeled her outside before scooping her up and settling her down into the car, and for the rest of the way, Azalea slept once more.

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PostSubject: Re: All these voices in my head get loud (Jake)   Fri Jul 20, 2018 10:21 am

As Jake had promised, preparations had been made for Azalea to come to the UK with him and his family for the Christmas holidays. Away from Mimosa who would be arriving shortly because it was better for both parties, and, Jake had to admit, it would probably... hopefully help Azalea to change the scenery around her. Harrington House was hardly helping the witch, but whether his own home would help the witch... Jake couldn't know.

Returning to the UK after promising Clara, Jake had had to sit down with his mom and explain everything that had gone on, and that they would be having Azalea to stay for Christmas. Alexis Newbury had asked him if he thought it wise, with his own children in the house, but Jake had told his mom exactly what he knew, Azalea would not hurt his children, in that much he would always trust Azalea. The years they'd spent together before she ran away had proved that much to Jake, Azalea Harrington loved children, she'd just believed that she would never have her own.

From the serious discussion with his mom, they moved to the arrangements. Not only would Azalea be moving in to his home for three weeks, but his mom and dad would be moving in, too. This was going to need all hands on deck, Alexis had insisted, and so she would be on site to look after her grandchildren, and Azalea. Jake had insisted that it wasn't necessary, but as his mom had calmly pointed out, he was already stretched with his work and his own children, let alone caring for another person. Relenting to his mom's wisdom, Jake had accepted them moving in. The children had loved the news, of course, Grandma and Pops were staying, which gave them an excuse to stay up slightly later than normal because they needed a story from both of them before they slept.

They had been slightly confused with the mention of someone coming to stay, someone who was a little bit poorly and had to be treated very, very nicely and carefully. Neither Ivan or Adrienne were boisterous children, but he needed them to know that Azalea might not be up for playing with them all the time. They had... Jake was almost sure, understood this, before running off to play with Grandma again without a second thought.

With that, Jake had left for the US again.

There was a small amount of tension inside the Harrington House when Jake had arrived, but he'd neither mentioned it, nor made it clear he'd noticed. The Auror had simply waited for Azalea to be ready, collecting her bags and waiting by the door. Kit had, of course, come to have a quiet word with Jake, insisting he keep his daughter safe. Jake had assured the older man that nothing would happen to Azalea whilst she was in his care. There was obviously a part of Kit that still mistrusted him, and Jake understood.

The taxi had taken them to the airport and Azalea had been asleep in an instant, her head upon Jake's shoulder as he watched the roads pass by. From there, it was through the airport. Azalea slept through until security where Jake roused her softly for the checks and then she was out like a light again. The process continued throughout their journey, but Jake didn't mind, instead pulling out his iPod and listening to the multitude of music in that, watching out the window as they headed to the UK, all the while, Azalea slept, even missing their inflight meal. Which, after it had gone stone cold, Jake had pulled towards his own tray and finished it for her, resolving they would get her something when they landed.

When they had landed, Jake took out the blanket his mom had packed in his rucksack, remembering as all mothers did, that there would be a vast temperature drop from Carmel and the UK. Hurrying through to the end of the terminal, Jake had parked Azalea's wheelchair just inside the door, looking out for his mom. Azalea had come round long enough for him to explain what was going on, where they were, before his mom arrived. Alexis had made Azalea feel welcome, but as they pushed the wheelchair from the airport, she gave him a worried glance as Azalea's head drooped once more in a sleep.

"She's okay, she just... sleeps a lot around me." Jake told his mom as casually as he could in that moment. "Must be super boring to her these days." He added with a soft laugh as they reached the car. As Alexis moved Azalea's bag with a subtle use of her wand, Jake aided Azalea in to the back of the car before getting in beside the witch.

The drive home was silent, Jake not wanting to wake Azalea, and his mom still not sure on their guest for the next few weeks. The glances that were taken by the older witch in the rear view mirror had Jake's eyes averted to the road outside whilst they drove, the night drawing in deeper and deeper as they drove.

It must have been about eight o'clock by the time they reached Jake's home, the soft pop that sounded as the wards accepted the car sounding just behind them. "Azalea..." Jake whispered, shaking the witch softly. "Do you think you can wake up for a bit, and I'll show you round?" Jake asked, though mostly it was a 'please wake up so I don't have to carry you and give the kids the wrong impression'. Whether she would comply, or not, Jake could not say, but he gently eased himself away from the witch to go and get her bags.

The air around them was cold, a light mist expelling from Jake's lips as he moved to the back of the car, collecting Azalea's bags before moving to the side of the car to open her door.

"Come on, I've got some people I'd like you to meet." Jake added, holding his hand out to the witch and waiting expectantly for her to follow.

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PostSubject: Re: All these voices in my head get loud (Jake)   Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:28 pm

The journey to wherever they were going was a hooded green blur behind closed eyelids, Azalea's body insisting it wanted to fall asleep but being disturbed by the movement of the car too much to actually be at peace enough for restful slumber. Still, the witch remained with her eyes closed, tucked halfway into Jake for the warmth her blanket could not provide, sitting through the entire ride slipping in and out of dreams about strange voice that shouldn't exist and cries that definitely did.

The young brunette did not notice the car slowing down, nor did she wake up as it jolted softly to a stop. Only the gentle words directed her way roused the former herbologist. Opening her eyes to what looked like a cold, foggy evening, it took her a few seconds to remember this was how England was. She had been to England before, a lifetime ago. The chill associated with the memory came minutes later as her body remembered to feel cold. It was at this moment that Jake moved to collect her bags, giving her time to catch up to everything before he helped her out of the vehicle.

Because that was who Azalea was now, she was the person that needed minutes to understand her surrounding, understand or recognize people around her. She could no longer be releid on to be the first on the uptake, or the first on anything, even her own feet. Perhaps Jake knew this as he extended ehr  ahand not a moment later, one the witch took with equal parts gratitude and shame.

It became obvious as she stepped out of the car that the support was needed, stumbling even in the warn sneakers Clara had put on her feet that morning. Her body was out of balance, unsure hat to do with the sudden lightness that had come with the end of her pregnancy and the heaviness that had been added to her heart. But Azalea was determined to walk, even if she stumbled. So taking a deep breath and holding on to Jake, the witch began to take small, disoriented steps.

Towards what appeared to be a huge house.

Suddenly her grip on Jake tightened in panic as images of a house much larger flashed through the house, a living room cultivated in artificiality and luxuriousness, servants standing at attention as though their life depended on it and a smooth, cold voice introducing her as "My Lady Wife."

"Who-who's inside?" the brunette asked, panicked as her legs stopped halfway, the images fleeing her fragile memory so fast, she couldn't retain anything specific, just the sensation of feeling helplessly trapped with no way out.

But Jake wouldn't trap her.

He would never make her feel the way her memory made her feel.

Would he?

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PostSubject: Re: All these voices in my head get loud (Jake)   Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:48 pm

Azalea's movements were still not free, it would take time, but Jake understood enough to not push. He motioned for his mom to head on inside, knowing that she wouldn't be needed in this moment. She made a sign of putting the kettle on and Jake nodded, his attention returning to Azalea a moment later, supporting her, helping her towards the door.

They were doing well, too... until they got halfway there.

Jake had paused with the witch, looking to her with mild worry, and slight confusion as the witch held on to him more tightly. He didn't understand, truthfully, but he waited. Patient, and strong at her side whilst she worked through whatever it was. And, the answer came not a moment later, a question Jake should probably have been ready for, but hadn't known how to broach.

"Who-who's inside?"

"My dad," Jake replied without missing a beat, because that much he didn't feel like he had to explain. Azalea and his dad had met, he might be a familiar face to the witch, he might not. Henry Newbury would probably not mind either way, and Jake would never know if he did. The man was silent in such matters, and always had been. But, then came the more difficult part. The truth he'd been hiding from Azalea since he'd found out she was alive. "And... my..." The man cut off, not knowing whether it was best to rip away the bandaid quickly and without regret, or to do it slowly, give it time...

"There's a little boy called Ivan, and a little girl called Adrienne. They're family." Jake explained, that was safe, that was okay... "And, mom now. There will just be the six of us. And, Victoria should be arriving in a few days, too. But, that's it." Jake told the witch, hoping this would be enough for now. Perhaps Azalea would piece the story together, perhaps she would just take what he'd said, whatever the case, she would now know who was inside, and hopefully that would be enough.

"Come on, lets get you inside before you catch a cold." He added encouragingly. "Mom's making us some tea, and then I'll show you to your room, and the bathroom, you can get changed, or something, if you'd like. Travelling can be quite the ordeal." Jake finalised, hoping to ease Azalea up a little bit more with the idea of the comforting things in life.

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PostSubject: Re: All these voices in my head get loud (Jake)   Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:28 pm

"My dad."

That was okay, she knew a "Jake's Dad" even if she couldn't recall anything about the man. The only thing that came to mind was a strong smell of coffee in the early hours of he morning but the memory wasn't painful. It was... just a memory.

"There's a little boy called Ivan, and a little girl called Adrienne. They're family."

The witch's breath hitched at the mention of a little boy? Could it be? Could Jake have her little boy inside? But why would he keep her baby so far away? And not tell anyone? Though if that truly were the case Azalea was prepared to ask zero questions as long as she got to hold her baby again.

But no, Jake said there were two children. There was a girl too. Was it Mimosa? Was Mimosa little? Was Jake calling her little because she was his little girl too? The questions were too confusing and the answers too few, making her slump against the man as her mind assaulted her in so many new ways. Where a few minutes ago she had been fighting sleep, now she was far too desperately awake.

And hoping against hope.

There was a little boy inside?

"And, Victoria should be arriving in a few days, too. But, that's it."

Azalea remembered Victoria distinctly as a pink blur, that information was not confusing. The witch nodded slowly, trying not to show the naked hope in her eyes as she motioned for them to move forwards again. Jake was saying something about the bathroom and travelling but the words were not unfolding clearly enough for his guest, her focus now solely on putting one foot after another.

Until the reached the door of the house, Azalea's hands turning cold at the prospect of the tiniest possibility, the tiniest chance of what awaited in the living room throwing warmth out towards the pair.

Carefully, Jake and Azalea entered the house, the witch's chocolate eyes both wary and curious over what lay beyond.

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PostSubject: Re: All these voices in my head get loud (Jake)   Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:48 pm

The information seemed to be enough, and Azalea moved on once more. Jake was relieved, finding that she didn't melt down beside him in that moment with the information he'd delivered. He, of course, could not know he''d just filled the witch beside him with so much home that it was verging on dangerous, he did not know that his lack of clarity was not only giving false hope, but also inevitably going to hurt the witch more.

How could he, he was not a man who was knowledgeable in this situation.

So, as they entered his home, and Azalea's bags went off up the stairs without further instruction, Jake kicked off his shoes by the door, as usual, before waiting for Azalea to do the same after a soft request of her to do the same. They had all of a few moments before the stampede of small feet sounded, and Jake let go of Azalea just in time to collect Ivan and Adrienne from their almost dangerous path that was directed right in their direction.

"DADDY, DADDY, DADDY!" The unison of voices came as the pyjamaed duo of Ivan and Adrienne were scooped up in the Auror's arms, their arms throwing themselves around him as he let out a soft laugh. So much for not telling Azalea, he supposed, but he couldn't be mad at them. They didn't understand the situation. They were too young.

It was Adrienne who wriggled free first, though, the five year old moving towards the stranger with a curious look in her young features. Her brown eyes took the lady before her in, trying to place her and failing. Ivan had slid back to his own feet in the next moment, moving forth to stand just behind his little sister who had reached forward in that moment as if... to hug Azalea...

But Ivan's hands had quickly latched on to his sister and drawn her back. "Daddy said we had to go careful, the lady is poorly!" The eight year old insisted, leaving Jake to let out a soft, awkward laugh.

"Azalea, this is Ivan, and this is Adrienne. Ivan, Adrienne, this is Azalea, my friend." Jake told the children, looking to Azalea to see if she was okay, before Adrienne spoke again.

"Are you really poorly?" The five year old asked, clearly not seeing the older woman as such. "Does that mean you get poorly cuddles with daddy? Daddy gives me cuddles when I'm poorly and they make me much, much better! I can give you a cuddle if you like, you can share my bed!" Adrienne insisted, her eyes lighting up with the idea of having someone else to play with.

"Adrienne, come on, lets go get some milk and cookies, it's nearly bed time." Jake interrupted gently, sending Azalea an apologetic look in that moment as Adrienne continued to look up at the lady with curiosity.

"Adrienne," Alexis' voice sounded out from the living room. "Ivan, come on, your milk is getting cold!"

A squeak sounded from one of the children, and both turned off to run to their grandma, leaving Jake and Azalea along once more. "I'm..." Jake started, looking away from the fleeing children to the witch he'd brought with him. "Really sorry... Do you want tea? Or, shall I show you to your room? I know the children can be a little bit of a handful, and it's okay if you want to get some peace and quiet for a bit..."

Merlin please swallow me up from the ground right now...

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PostSubject: Re: All these voices in my head get loud (Jake)   Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:13 pm

The witch was in the process of slowly removing her shoes - when had laces become this complicated - when she heard it, the sound if running feet. Her mind could not relate the fact that her baby would be too young to run, the hope dazzling in her eyes for s split second before the two children rounded the corner screaming for Jake who reached to gather them in his arms.

They were his chldren, not hers. Of course her baby wasn't here. Why would he be? Jake wouldn't keep him here if he could give him back to her.

But watching the children get hugged made something inside her twist painfully, making her stand perfectly still. As if any movement on her part would make them disappear. As a result, when the little girl reached out, Azalea was too afraid to hold out ehr own hand, afraid that the girl would vanish upon being touched.

That Adrienne too would be taken away just like her Mimosa had been.

All too soon, the children had disappeared again, despite her not moving an inch, not even daring to breath too often. And yet still they were called away by Alexis, leaving Azalea confused and disoriented once more.

"I'm..." Jake started, looking away from the fleeing children to the witch he'd brought with him. "Really sorry... Do you want tea? Or, shall I show you to your room? I know the children can be a little bit of a handful, and it's okay if you want to get some peace and quiet for a bit..."

"Wh-where are they going, she finally managed to find her voice, not moving from her spot on the carpet for fear that she would accidentally trigger something else. "Will they come back?" In her little time as an aware individual, Azalea's track record with children returning was not the best. She was down two for two.

When Jake suggested showing her to her room, the brunette shook her head, the first time she had insisted upon anything since the trip back from the hospital. She first needed to know if the children were okay. "The kids... are they alright?" her voice was soft but her brown eyes pleaded with him for an answer. She needed to know those two would be alright before she went anywhere.

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PostSubject: Re: All these voices in my head get loud (Jake)   Thu Jul 26, 2018 8:38 pm

As the question of where the children was asked, Jake's expression turned in to a small frown. To him, what had just happened was perfectly normal, perfectly understandable, and the explanation for where they had gone was completely, and utterly clear. But, for Azalea... such knowledge was not a given, and it took a moment for Jake to collect himself from the question that seemed ridiculous in that moment.

"They're just in the living room with mom, getting the bedtime snack and milk. I know, sugar before bed, blah blah blah, but it's a routine they've gotten in to, and well, I don't want to be the monster who breaks it." Jake explained, though the extra information was not a necessity, Jake found himself telling Azalea anyway.

But it was as Azalea shook her head at his request -- actively said no to something -- that Jake truly found himself lost in that moment.

Azalea's focus was upon the children, something that Jake had not really considered. She did not want to go upstairs, so he was left with the option of tea. "Come with me," Jake said, offering her his arm, and before she could repeat the question. "We'll go have cookies with the children." He added, letting her know that they were okay, so that they could spend just a little bit more time with the children. Why this seemed like the right thing, Jake would not even be able to hazard a guess at, but he was quite sure that it was.

Waiting for Azalea to accept, Jake led Azalea through to the lounge where the children sat on the sofa a plate of cookies each on their lap. Ivan had his plastic cup, where Adrienne still had her tippy cup, and both looked very happy with themselves. Adrienne's eyes were on Azalea in an instant, the five year old shifting along the sofa in to her brother to make room for the lady she didn't know, but was oddly curious about.

"Lady sit with me!" Adrienne insisted, never the kind of child to hide from people, Ivan still didn't look very sure, but was more worried about his sister than the lady he didn't know.

"The lady's name is Azalea," Alexis Newbury corrected softly, sending a polite smile to Azalea as Jake allowed her to sit, taking up his own seat on the pouffe instead.

"Zay-lea." Adrienne tried, still watching Azalea with curiosity. It took a moment, before the five year old's hand moved to her plate before quickly producing a cookie for the lady beside her. No words came out of the five year old's mouth, simply waiting for the lady to take the cookie. Alexis returned with two mugs of tea, before settling on the otherside of the sofa next to her grandson, her fingers playing with his dark brown hair as he ate his cookies, her eyes upon her son.

"Azalea is going to stay with us for a little while, Adrienne, do you remember?" Jake asked his daughter, who nodded with the briefest look to her father before she looked back to the new person of the house.

"Do you like castles? I have a big castle, with a dragon and lots of knights! We can play if you want to?" Adrienne asked of the woman beside her, eager as always to make new friends. Jake's smile became fond, his daughter was never one for the toys deemed to be 'normal' for her age. She liked Ivan's toys more. Something his mom was encouraging a little too much, but that was not an issue right now.

"You have to go to bed in a minute, Adrienne," Jake told the young girl softly.

"Daddyyyyy..."

"No."

"Tomorrrrrrow?"

"If Azalea would like to, then yes." Jake replied softly, not wanting to push Azalea.

"Zay-lea?" Adrienne asked, looking to the lady beside her with so much hopefulness it was adorable. That, though, was very much a biased opinion, Jake reminded himself.

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PostSubject: Re: All these voices in my head get loud (Jake)   Sun Jul 29, 2018 11:34 am

Jake began to speak, recounting something about cookies and bedtime and monsters, at which a look of alarm entered the witch's eyes. She was still trying to catch up and certain words caught her attention more than the context they were spoken in. Her gaze flew to the corner around which the children had disappeared. Jake had assured her there were no monsters in there. The children would be fine.

Azalea relaxed slightly when he offered her an arm again, assuring her they were going to where the children were. Slowly, the brunette nodded, taking his hand and following him in.

The sight that waited was not one of monsters, making Azalea relax further, her shoulders relieving some of their tenseness as she took in the people in the living room enjoying snacks. The children were safe on the sofa, their grandmother watching over them as they ate their cookies.

No one would ever take those children away. Not like hers had been taken.

"Lady sit with me!"

Once again, the witch paused at being addressed, unsure if it was indeed her the small child was talking to. When Alexis confirmed this by asking Adrienne used ehr name, the witch finally moved, her eyes first going to Jake's than to the little girl, asking permission. The man holding ehr hand simply nodded, letting her go to sit with the child who offered her a cookie.

Unsure what to do with the confection, Azalea simply held on to it. It was a gift, after all.

"Do you like castles? I have a big castle, with a dragon and lots of knights! We can play if you want to?"

"I like castles..." The first thing that came up at the mention of castles was Hogwarts. She had liked Hogwarts. She remembered a blonde girl smiling in the Great Hall as she stood opposite a handsome young man. They were getting married and Azalea was the Maid of Honour. "I... used to work in one?" This was directed more at Jake than the child, he would know more about that time than she did right now.

The child obviously had another agenda though, and wouldn't relent until she had her answer. Azalea finally managed a smile as she agreed to playing with the children and from then on, it was all about finishing their snacks and getting ready for bed. Thankfully the process took long enough for the young witch to understand that they were only going to sleep.

That they weren't going anywhere.

Not that it would stop her from checking in on them every few hours. Because Azalea was still not sure if children tended to stay when left unwatched. And she wouldn't let these two disappear.

Ever.

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