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 I know you haven't made your mind up yet (Jake)

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Azalea Murray
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PostSubject: I know you haven't made your mind up yet (Jake)    Mon 30 Jul 2018 - 14:31

Slowly, excruciatingly, life returned to Azalea one more in the Newbury Household. The shock of being around children from her first night took a few days to wear off, a few days and the constant company of the children who were slowly becoming less hesitant around the new house guest.

The first night back, the young brunette had refused to fall asleep even after the children had returned to bed and for once, Jake's presence had not done its job. the duo had lain wake in silence, not speaking, not even breathing too loud, wailing for the other to fall asleep. Azalea had constantly worried about the children being on their own and potential snatchers coming in through the window and Jake... Granny Weatherwax only knew what he had been thinking of. The witch had to admit to herself she no longer knew the wizard beside her. Too much time had passed for her to even pretend to know what he was thinking.

As a result of their sleepless night, the next morning Azalea had made her way down to the breakfast table more exhausted than the night before. But seeing the children all dressed up and ready for school had relieved some of the exhaustion. Once again, the idea that Jake and Alexis would simply leave the children somewhere else for hours on end made the American witch panic but this time, she was able to control it much better. It helped of course that Adrienne kept showing her how to eat eggs the right way, by using ehr little plastic knife to spread the yolks in a smiley face all over her plate.

Ivan watched his sister and the strange lady carefully for a bit before joining in the fun, picking up two slices of tomatoes from his grandmother's plate and adding the eyes. In the end, the egg looked too good to eat but one stern look from Alexis and the children were eating poor Mr. Eggy McMuffinPants and trotting over to the sink to wash their hands.

Once the children had been hugged and kissed goodbye (Adrienne offering Azalea a soft squeeze too), it was time for Jake to leave as well. Unsure what to do with herself, the brunette retired to her room where Alexis found her hours later for lunch. The next few days passed similarly with Azalea's schedule unconsciously reviving around the comings and goings of the two children. And when a few nights later, Jake did not return home, she was informed that he often stayed out as part of his Auror duties. Knowing she would never be able to sleep, the witch had waited until everyone was in bed before quietly making her way to where she suspected the children slept. The house was big and she had never asked for a tour so Azalea had no way of knowing if she was standing outside their bedroom or nursery or a linen closet, but it didn't matter.

Jake would find her hours later curled in front of the door, not quiet asleep but with her eyes closed, ears still sharp and stance watchful. No one was going to take the children while she was around. Too exhausted to explain herself and unsure how to even if she could, Azalea had simply curled in on herself tighter as the Auror had tried to rouse her, in the end simply scooping her off the carpeted floor and transporting her back to her room where they had both passed out from sheer exhaustion.

On her fifth day, she had risen earlier than Jake, in that she had awaken while he still lay exhausted in bed. Not wanting to intrude on his wake up ritual more than she already was doing these past few days, the witch had managed to quickly clean herself up and managed to get down to breakfast just in time to see the children running in, still pajama clad. Apparently it was a snow day which meant they could stay in. It was the best day of her stay thus far. Adrienne showed her the castle while Ivan introduced her to all the stuffed toys. It was as the little girl was wearing her pirate hat and wielding her wooden peg leg as a sword that Jake entered the nursery - only for the children to drop what they were doing and run to him to be picked up and cuddled.

Azalea hung back of course, unsure what to do now. luckily Alexis came in with a long list in ehr hands. No day was to go wasted in this house, especially not a day so close to Christmas. There were chores for everyone to do, even Azalea was kept busy stringing popcorn. While the witch had been given he easiest task to do, she had been given soemthing - the strategy became clearer as the days went by.

It struck Azalea a week into her stay that the room she slept in was not Jake's, and that due to her condition, he probably hadn't slept comfortably in his own bed for the past week. With regular meals and constant company of the children, her mind was slowly returning enough to realize this couldn't be right. Perhaps it was time to consider the slewing potions again? She was feeling better after all. But when she mentioned it to Clara on the phone, the psychic had made a non committal reply, promising to look into sending some without any real conviction in her voice.

When two more days passed with no such potions from Clara arriving, the Californian witch decided to approach the person her condition must be troubling the most. - Jake. That night, when Alexis had taken the children up to their beds and Jake rose to his feet, ready to help her up the stairs to her own room, the witch held up a slender arm, motioning for him to wait a minute.

"Can... we talk?"

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Jake Newbury
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PostSubject: Re: I know you haven't made your mind up yet (Jake)    Mon 30 Jul 2018 - 14:57

The fear of the unknown was something Jake had come to live with in the last six months or so. Where he'd believed nothing could phase him before finding out about his eldest daughter, the world had been turned upside down in the last year. Things that were never supposed to have been had turned in to a reality he had not seen coming, and with each passing milestone he was finding himself more and more grateful Veronika was not here.

After all, how could he tell his wife that he had another child? How would he explain to her that a woman from his past had arrived back in to his life, and the only way she could sleep was curled up next to him? That Azalea's father had some kind of weird hope that he could pull his daughter from an abyss he was not qualified to help with?

And yet, with each passing day, he found himself needing the embrace of the woman who'd left years ago now, to hear her tell him he was doing the right thing, because he'd lost his bearings of reality.

Veronika was not here, though, and Jake had watched for the last few days as his children had been doted on by another woman. Watched Azalea for a few moments as she sat curled by their bedroom door, as if a sentry in the middle of the night. Laid awake beside the witch wondering if he'd done the right thing bringing her here, or if everything had just been made worse...

Adrienne was loving it, though, Jake could tell that much. Azalea was a new friend for his youngest daughter, someone to play with. She didn't remember her mom, and Jake couldn't be mad at the five year old for embracing Azalea so easily. Ivan hadn't been so sure, though, Jake could see that much in the delayed reaction from his son when it came to Azalea, the small denotation of thought upon his brow when he decided if he actually wanted to play with the stranger in the house. He did, invariably, but Jake had noticed the delay, and after the third day of Azalea's presence, as Jake put his son to bed, the boy had asked the question Jake hadn't heard for a long time now.

"When is mommy coming home?"

Jake had offered a small smile to the sleepy question, pressing a kiss upon his son's head. "Soon, Ivan, soon." Jake promised him once more, not giving specifics, but never giving up hope on his wife's reappearance.

More days passed the same, Jake's mom catching him for small snippets of conversation when the kids were keeping Azalea occupied. Asking if he was still sure about this, whether he thought it would be too much to ask their guest to help with the Christmas preparations, if he was okay because it didn't look like he'd slept the whole time Azalea had been here. Jake had reaffirmed that they were doing the right thing each time, that the children were fine. Azalea wouldn't hurt them, he was sure of that much now.

A week had passed in a blur, exhaustion had hit him on the fourth night as he continued to balance everything in his life in an unmanageable equilibrium. His body ached as he woke to find a snow day had been announced across the UK with brutal storms leaving them in a level of snow that always amused the American family. It was so little, but enough to bring the country to a halt.

Azalea seemed to be... settling by that point, though. Jake was glad. They were a third of the way through her stay, they were doing fine.

Or so he'd thought.

On the seventh evening, as Azalea caught him about to head up to bed, a question of them talking, Jake had sat back on the sofa, trying not to look too worried by those words as he pushed a smile upon his features. Azalea was getting better, this would, of course, mean she started to talk to him again.

"Of course we can," the Auror added kindly, waiting for Azalea for a moment before he added. "We can always talk, you know that?" Making sure it was reinstated that he was here to help, no matter what might be going on in her head.

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PostSubject: Re: I know you haven't made your mind up yet (Jake)    Mon 30 Jul 2018 - 15:33

Truth be told, Azalea hadn't made much of a plan for what to say once she'd been permuted to speak. The situation was... odd at best even under normal circumstances let alone whatever they had now. So instead of a reply, the witch simply began fiddling with the hair tie she had been demonstrating a braid on for Arienne.

That morning, Azalea had managed to braid her hair out of her eyes for the first time on her own since her return to Harrington House and Adrienne, intrigued, had wanted to know how it was done. The older witch had dutifully untied her own hair and used the band to gently twist the little girl's hair. Halfway through, Adrienne had decided the hairstyle was not for her and Azalea had worked to free the five year old from the braid. Now, the band was in her hand, her own hair in lose waves upon her shoulders as she sat on the couch, contemplating her fingers twisting the ribbon.

"Could you..." she began, her brown eyes downcast. If she looked at him, she may lose courage, or her mind, or something. But if she didn't look at him, maybe she could get the words out properly. "Could you please get me some of my sleeping potion?" The question was once again addressed to the fingers now twisting the hair band this way and that. "I asked Clara but... I think she's busy." That was probably it, even if Clara had time to send her everything else in the world. A new box of clothing had just arrived, magically adjusted to Azalea's steadily shrinking frame.

"I think I'm well enough to... to try sleeping on my own," she added, still not looking up and across the living room at Jake. The less he saw, he better. He didn't need to see how much the idea of being on her own terrified her, how she would probably end up outside the children's door again because her own fears always projected outwards and unto others.

No, he didn't need to see any of that, not right now at least. What he needed was a good night's sleep, and Azalea was not conducive to that.

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PostSubject: Re: I know you haven't made your mind up yet (Jake)    Mon 30 Jul 2018 - 15:45

Jake had not been sure what he was about to be posed to him by the witch sat across from him. Would it be about the children? Would it be about Mimosa? Would it be a question of why they were here and why Clara and Kit weren't?

It could have been anything, really, but the question that came was not what Jake had been expecting from Azalea, and in that moment he was vastly glad of the fact the witch was more interested in the hair tie in her fingers than him. Surprise was clear upon Jake's features, and the man took a moment to consider the options. It was no secret that Azalea slept naturally beside him, that keeping her on sleeping draughts was not in the slightest bit healthy, but she'd asked.

"But you've been sleeping soundly without the potions, Azalea..." Jake told the witch gently, to show that there wouldn't be a need for the potion. "You... don't need to take a Sleeping Draught to aid you."

Careful, Jake reminded himself in that moment, not wanting to push his own ideals on to the witch because that would be a bad idea.

"Or, have you been having bad nights?" Jake added, wanting to understand Azalea's viewpoint in this because she'd obviously worked it through in her head. If there was a good reason for reintroducing the potions, Jake would consider it after discussing with Clara. But, if Clara hadn't sent the potions over... Jake could read in between the lines on that one, which left it down to Azalea's reasoning.

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PostSubject: Re: I know you haven't made your mind up yet (Jake)    Mon 30 Jul 2018 - 16:27

"But you've been sleeping soundly without the potions, Azalea..."

Have you though? the brunette wanted to ask. She would have if they were in a different time, a different place. But they weren't. The truth was that she was in his house, with his parents and his children, and he was being put out by her presence here. At least in Carmel, he had the excuse of only visiting once a week. Here, he had no chose but to spend his nights making sure she slept. To do so otherwise would be a rudeness with which Alexis Newbury had not raised her children.

"I.. have to start sleeping on my own eventually," she began tentatively, still not looking up from her hands. The band was now twisted so tight around one of her fingers, it was constricting blood flow but Azalea didn't notice the digit slowly gong pink, her mind much too preoccupied with how to phrase the next part of her explanation.

"You have to be at work some nights," she posed, gathering up all her courage and using it to steady her voice as she spoke, even if the idea of him not being around terrified her to her very core. If someone came when he wasn't around... If Camoens tried to take the children. She wasn't strong enough to protect them, the best she could do was stop the intruder for a few seconds.

She would be useless in an emergency, they needed Jake well rested at the very least.

"I can maybe just take the potion a few days a week to start with?" she suggested, chickening out just as soon as she had been brave enough to admit to them both that Jake needed to be in more rested conditions than she did. "Slowly work my way up..." The pain in her fingers was palpable, the idea of being on ehr own far more crippling than the blistering blood pushing through the small area. If left untreated, the finger would soon turn blue but it was far from Azalea's mind right now.

"So... Can you please get me some? I can ask Clara again if it's too much trouble..?"

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PostSubject: Re: I know you haven't made your mind up yet (Jake)    Mon 30 Jul 2018 - 16:43

Jake watched Azalea's hands working the piece of material, a strange parent-like feeling sweeping through him as he watched because he knew that it was not a good idea to keep winding the ribbon around her finger like that. But the words were a distraction, and Jake's eyes moved to Azalea's face. She hadn't looked to him as she requested such things, and Jake had an inkling that this wasn't something she truly wanted.

The idea of Azalea taking a potion to sleep didn't make sense. It was unnecessary, even...

Jake wasn't following, truthfully.

His eyes lowered for a moment, taking in the reddening of Azalea's thumb in that moment that denoted blood flow had been restricted. Sighing softly, Jake got up from his seat and moved to sit upon the footrest in front of Azalea. His hands gently moved to hers, moving her right hand away before carefully unwinding the ribbon. Not too quickly so that the blood rushed through the area affected in one go, but quickly enough that nothing bad would happen to the thumb except, perhaps a little painful throbbing for a few moments.

"You're worrying." Jake told her thumb, because that much was obvious. What she was worrying about, though, he couldn't decide. Turning her hand carefully, Jake checked the colouring of the skin on the witch's thumb, making sure she hadn't done anything serious, before letting her go once more.

"You don't need the potion... except for maybe the night's I'm out... but, if you don't mind waiting until I'm done with work... we don't need to put you in a medicated sleep, Azalea. Unless... something is making you uncomfortable? If it's nightmares I can get you a dreamless sleep potion, or something... but, I don't see why you'd need a sleeping potion..." His explanation was soft, not a firm no that might scare. Inviting her to explain properly why she saw fit, because he couldn't read her mind, as much as anyone might want to right now, whatever was going on in her head, only Azalea knew.

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PostSubject: Re: I know you haven't made your mind up yet (Jake)    Mon 30 Jul 2018 - 17:20

At the suggestion of nightmares, the witch shook her head, sending her wavy brown locks tumbling over her shoulders as she stared at their joint hands. Not aware enough to realize what Jake had done, the witch simply let him unwind the hair tie. Anything to keep looking him in the eyes. Because the alternative was him looking into those dark brown orbs and seeing fear.

Clara had told her to go with Jake and at that time, it hadn't occurred to Azalea to question anything her Godmother said. But with time and rationality, the question kept emerging again and again. Why was she here and not... back home? Did her parents need a break from her too? And if that was it, hat id that say about Jake and his family?

"I don't have nightmares anymore," she admitted softly. It was true, when life was a waking nightmare, sleep saw fit to spare you. There was probably a medical reason for it but Azalea didn't know it anymore. She knew nothing now. Nothing except that she couldn't keep putting the nice family though all this trouble.

"But you're restless when you sleep," she finally managed, once again not daring to look up at him. Now that her band was taken away, there was nothing left to twist, no distractions with which to keep her hands busy. In the end, the witch simply pulled up her knees, hugging them close to herself and wrapping her arms around them as if she was cold. The posture was defensive in nature, aimed to protect her instinctively from what was about to follow.

"And you're always tired. Your mom is worried about you... If you slept on your own, maybe you'd be less tired?" All this came out so softly, it was barely above a whisper. But at least it was out. Somehow, Azalea had managed to string together enough morsels of bravery to speak the truth.

That Jake would be much better off sleeping on his own.

Which left no chose but for them to put her back on the potions.

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PostSubject: Re: I know you haven't made your mind up yet (Jake)    Mon 30 Jul 2018 - 17:34

No nightmares were good, Jake was relieved to hear that she wasn't having nightmares. If that had been the case they would have had to have talked about what was bothering her -- as if he didn't already know -- and from there he would have to try to work out something that might help. He was not qualified for that, not in the slightest, and though he was happy to help, he knew he had his limits of knowing what would be of help. So, to say that no nightmares was a relief was an understatement.

But that left the question of what was bothering Azalea.

A question that was answered only a moment later.

She was worried about him, and his sleeping habits. A small smile touched the man's lips because she had thought that he mattered at the moment. That he was worried about himself. No, that would be selfish, something that he hadn't been afforded for quite a number of years, even before Azalea's reappearance in his life. But, his own amusement at the situation was contrasted with Azalea's retreating frame as she curled up in on herself. It was sobering, because the witch before him would likely not understand what she was trying to avoid.

Nor was it the right time to explain more to her than she needed to know right now.

"The spare bed isn't comfortable for me, honestly." Jake explained patiently to the witch, trying to work out what else to say in that moment. He had a lot on his plate, it was hardly a surprise that sleeping became fretful some days. Azalea had noticed, but that wasn't her fault. It wasn't her burden to bare. "Mom is always worried about me, she's my mom." Jake added to lighten the mood up a little bit because he didn't want Azalea to worry about it.

"You don't have to worry about me, Azalea. I've slept in worse places than the spare room -- and I've also stayed in the spare room my fair share of nights, too!" He joked, though the joke would go over her head, he was sure. "It's only for a few weeks, I'll be fine. You don't need to worry, and you don't need to take sleeping potions. Not whilst you're here." Jake finalised, a firmness to his answer because he was not going to have Azalea putting things in to her body when it wasn't needed. Merlin only knew the damage keeping her on the medications would do, and he was not going to be responsible for selfishly taking up her offer.

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PostSubject: Re: I know you haven't made your mind up yet (Jake)    Mon 30 Jul 2018 - 17:52

When he admitted to the spare bed being uncomfortable, Azalea tried to speak up. The witch tried to tell him he didn't have to keep sleeping on it, that he had his own bed somewhere in this house. But before she could get a word in, Jake continued on, speaking of Alexis' worry as if it was nothing.

The only words she could latch hope on to were those of this arrangement being temporary. In a few weeks she would be... somewhere else and Jake would get some sleep.

And the children would be a distant memory...

The idea made ehr want to curl into herself even more. The mere thought of not seeing little Adrienne's face peeking up at her, or Ivan's cautious hands holding his sister back from giving the stranger a cuddle... Azalea may as well have been asked to stop breathing.

But she would have to let go when the time came. The children were... safe, and they were happy. Whatever the Newburies were doing, they were doing it right. No one had taken their children away...

"Okay..." the brunette finally gave in, no longer in possession of the energy needed to keep arguing her case. Two more weeks and the problem would be null, and she would be out of this house for good. Then it would be sleeping potions for the rest of her life.

Just as it should be.

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PostSubject: Re: I know you haven't made your mind up yet (Jake)    Mon 30 Jul 2018 - 18:15

Jake gave a small smile as Azalea relented to him being okay. She was obviously not quite sure of the situation, or how to deal with it, but Jake wasn't bothered by sleeping in the spare room for a few weeks. Like he'd said, it was not the worst place he'd ever slept, so it wasn't terribly bad. Azalea was still hiding, though, so he tapped her foot lightly, trying to get her to look up for just a few moments.

"None of this is a problem, you know that, right?" Jake asked, hoping that she wasn't feeling like a burden in his home. "You're welcome here, we're going to have a good Christmas together. The kids will love having someone new around, and honestly, having you here is very much a big help for mom and I, the kids are so full on, I'm so tired when I get home from work. You distract them enough to give me a few minutes peace in the evening. Not, of course, that I dislike spending time with the kids, quite the opposite, but some nights I'm just tired and want to sleep."

Standing from the footrest, Jake held out his hand to the witch before him. "Come on, we've got a busy day tomorrow with the kids." Jake prompted the witch, waiting for her to get up from the sofa so that he could guide her back up the stairs. "And, the Christmas decorations, I've heard." Jake added with a soft laugh, because apparently the already glittered, candied, tinseled house was not nearly enough for the children, they need to do more, and of course Alexis Newbury had not seen fit to tell her grandchildren no.

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