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 When Superheroes Lose Their Capes (Jackson)

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Victoria Newbury
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Birthday : 1998-02-13
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Location : Milwaukee, USA
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PostSubject: When Superheroes Lose Their Capes (Jackson)   Sun Aug 12, 2018 5:35 pm

It didn't take long for the phone to be picked up, the international dialing tone almost as loud as the thumping of her heart in her chest as she stepped out of the Harrington Home, in to the blazing heat of Carmel and down on to the street. A quick text had already been dispatched, her driver was on his way to pick her up as the familiar sound of Jake's voice broke through the electronic tones of the call.

"Vic! Hey, how are yo-"

"Don't you dare, Jake." The witch replied almost instantly, the whitened anger that had her body tensed in a manner she had not felt... ever... swept through her body, pushing her forward with each step along the side walk as she headed towards the centre of the city she'd come to.

"Victoria..?"

"Don't you dare ask me how I am, or how I am doing, or... anything." Victoria had cut her brother off, not wanting to listen to his lies any more. How many times could he have told her in the last nine months? How many times had he purposefully left out details that would have been easy to give her? Would have let her know what was going on with her family, her friend. But he'd done nothing of the sort, instead keep all the information from her because he thought that this was... acceptable?

"What's wrong, Victoria?" Jake asked softly, but Victoria was not going to be cowed by his efforts to make her calm down in that moment. She didn't want to be calm. She didn't have to be calm!

"What's wrong? You're joking right, Jake?" A laugh escaped her, and Victoria was surprised even with herself as she opened the car door as her driver slowed down at the kerb to allow her to get in. "You've known since the summer that Azalea wasn't dead, and you didn't think I would want to know? How can you pick the phone up each week, text me, call me, email me and not think to mention that one of my friends -- one of my closest friends -- from school was actually alive? What is wrong with you, Jake?"

"I didn't think you'd want to kn-"

"Why? Because you don't want to know? Because you get to decide what I can and cannot do with my life, who I can and cannot see? Jake, I'm not five anymore, I know my own mind, I know what I can and cannot handle. I made a mistake all those years ago, allowing you to tell me not to look out for Azalea, to let her go, leave her be. But you were wrong, Jake, you were very wrong!"

"I planned to tell you when you came home for Christmas."

"Only because you would have had to, Jake. Azalea's been staying with you the last two months. She's been spending time with my niece and nephew. She's been staying in your home!" Victoria replied hotly. "She was my friend, Jake. My friend. She wasn't just your girlfriend, you don't get to control who knows about her being back. You don't get to tell me I can't know. If you're still mad at me for not coming home for Christmas, that's fine, but you knew for months before, and you didn't once mention it, Jake. What did mom say when you said not to tell me?"

"Mom doesn't... Mom doesn't think it's good-"

"Are you serious? Mom is not like that, Jake! Mom loved Azalea! Dad loved Azalea. You loved Azalea. And yet you can't see that you're keeping her from people who cared about her. You're keeping her... Merlin's beard, Jake, what are you even doing? You shouldn't be doing this on your own!" Victoria insisted, shaking her head. The driver's eyes kept lingering upon her, but Victoria's eyes were looking out of the window, seeing without seeing as the driver circled around the block, not knowing where Victoria would like to go, but deciding against sitting parked at the side of the road.

"I'm not, mom is here. The kids love Azalea."

"But you couldn't tell me?"

"You weren't here."

"Oh, yes, that makes it okay, doesn't it, Jake? That makes it all okay. You're unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable. I thought we shared everything, Jake? I thought our bond meant we could tell each other everything, no matter how hard it might be for the other. But you've shut me in the dark, Jake. You've hurt me, but you've also hurt Azalea in the process. She deserves to have all of her friends around her, and you've deprived her of not just me, but Jackson, too. I hope you're happy, Jake, because this was one of the most foolish things you've done. Foolish, and disappointing."

Victoria had jammed the phone off in that moment, not wanting to hear more from Jake. Not wanting to hear more from his mouth that would sound more and more like lies. He'd done something almost unthinkable in the last nine months. He'd lied about the welfare of her friend. Azalea was alive... If she'd of known that Azalea was with Jake, there was no way she would have stayed in America for the holidays if she'd known Azalea was with Jake. She would have been home to support not only Jake, but her friend.

Because at the end of the day, Azalea had been one of the closest of friends Victoria had had. After Humphrey, the older witch had been like a sister.

And I let her down.

"I suggest you keep your eyes on the road." Victoria snapped at the driver. "Unless you would like a law suit directly from the Milwaukee Senator's Office? Drive me back to the airport, I have a plane to catch." She'd finalised, turning her phone on silent and shoving it in to her bag so that she couldn't see if Jake tried to call her back.

***

Arriving back in Milwaukee had been something Victoria had done on the quiet. She had not returned to the offices of Jackson Blake -- despite only hailing an Uber at seven pm -- nor had she turned up for work the next day. She'd sent a text to Jackson denoting that she was working on something -- she could hardly turn up empty handed, could she? -- and would be back in to the office as soon as possible. For all Jackson might think, the witch was still in Carmel, trying to win over the Harringtons, and it was taking longer than necessary. She hadn't told him otherwise, and the quietness of her apartment gave her more chance to think, rather than having people to-ing and fro-ing from her office every two minutes.

The time alone was spent denoting the possible candidates to try to win over to Jackson's ideas, his policies, but it was difficult to find people who weren't already backing another person in office and one who favoured Jackson's party, his politics, and someone who didn't mind backing a youngster. The options were growing fewer in the time period, and the question of a week was growing shorter.

The time alone was also not helping Victoria's anger, either.

She'd thought venting to Jake would have been enough. It hadn't been. She was still mad at him. Victoria had refused calls from all of her family, not trusting her mom to not ambush her, or her father to pass the phone to Jake. She'd simply replied with a 'work is super busy, can't talk right now, I will call you when I can' text to buy herself time.

What was eating at the witch the most, though, was that she would have to tell Jackson. That she hadn't already told Jackson. Two things. First, that Azalea was still alive. That the funeral he had attended in her name had not been necessary. That Azalea had been found months ago. The second, that she hadn't secured the funding from Mr Harrington because she had completely lost sight of the goal of her travel to Carmel, and had wasted the opportunity she had.

And that the only few people left were people who either ran corporations they didn't wholly agree with, or people who were highly likely to turn them down.

It had, therefore, been with a heavy heart that Victoria had slid in to the backseat of the Uber car that evening. Silence had enveloped the passenger and the driver past pleasantries, and Victoria's eyes had drifted off in to the distance again. She'd been doing so well, for months, Jackson had been able to rely on her, and here she was, about to tell him that they couldn't do very much at all about conceding to the NRA's wishes.

The car had pulled off as Victoria stood looking at the Palace that was Jackson's home, her arms folded across her stomach as she looked up to the building with trepidation. It was nine pm. Much later than she would have liked to call upon the man who employed her. But, he deserved as much time as she could muster to find a solution to the problem at hand.

The light click of her heels filled the drive way as Victoria moved up to the house, not daring to pull her keys from her bag and let herself in. Not today. Instead, Victoria pressed the doorbell, listening to the chime through the house, trying to keep her mind from the point she had failed. The thought that was making her shake very softly, almost as if the February chill had gotten in to her skin. Eyes downcast, Victoria waited for Jackson to come to the door.

Waited...

The door opened, light filled the porch, giving a slight hint of warmth from within. Victoria didn't look up, though.

"I'm sorry, Jackson..." The witch managed only to address the man's feet. He would understand from those three words. He'd understand everything, wouldn't he..?

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PostSubject: Re: When Superheroes Lose Their Capes (Jackson)   Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:44 pm

When the Princess hadn't shown up to work Monday morning, Jackson wasn't overly surprised. She had been planning to make a trip to Carmel and knowing her, she did things sooner rather than later. the kid didn't have a procrastinating bone in her body which made her highly annoying as a competitor and massively efficient when she was on his team. Her absence hadn't been too terribly missed until - out of sheer habit - Jackson had meandered over to the tiny office on the other side fo the open plan desk area only to find Lindsey in Victoria's place, making phone calls. The blonde had looked up surprised when Jackson had entered (without knocking, as usual) and had to be reassured that no, he wasn't looking for something in particular. His wandering eyes had still swept the corner where the mini cool box usually sat containing both his and Victoria's lunch but the corner had sadly remained empty.

The rest of the day had been spent day dreaming about a steak dinner that wouldn't be as nice as the one the Goblin made but would suffice anyway. Prepackaged steak for two was not bad, not really. or so Jackson told himself when he microwaved some that evening, wondering how how legal representation was getting along. Once again, the politician was not really worried. In fact, he was rather sure that Victoria would return from California with a big cheque in her purse. Though the wizard didn't know how, his lawyer always, always managed to get the job done. So their funds were pretty much secured.

Tuesday morning, the Goblin was absent once again which only meant things must be going well. Though he found himself annoyed that Victoria hadn't even bothered to text. She could at last let him know how much Kit Harrington intended on giving and if it would be all at once or conditional. That was just professional, and usually the witch in question was nothing if not professional. The rest of the day as spent snapping a an intern who didn't understand that he took his coffee black. Jesus where was Victoria, she knew how to handle these things. Connie had finalized work for several charities they would be incorporating into their speeches and rounds come May and Maude had shortlisted a few local candidates seeking the senatorial support Jackson had to offer. Two of them looked promising because they came from good money and one looked promising because she actually had good ideas. In the end, Jackson would likely only have time to endorse the two wealthy ones.

It was just as well, the girl with good ideas would lose, and it had nothing to do with her. She was running in just about the reddest redneck district possible. If there weren't already photoshopped campaign posters of her boobs enhanced in her area, there would be by election time.

When the Goblin wasn't t work the third day in a row, Jackson began to grow slightly concerned. He'd seen Victoria work through Christmas and New Year, through weekend and public holidays, hell he'd seen her work through the Superbowl - which had been creepy as fuck and he'd been trying to forget it ever since it had happened. She wouldn't miss three days of work if she had Ebola and the Zeka virus all rolled into one. So after sending a quick email to Sasha, he'd shot a text her way.

Hey kiddo, all okay?

Jackson didn't have time to wait for a reply, hurrying into his meeting with Senator Arcazio-Cortez who was looking to switch sides but didn't have the balls to do it on her own. After an interesting two hours between the two policy makers an their publicists, Jackson finally emerged from the meeting and checked his phone.

No reply.

He figured he'd give her one more day to contact him before he actively started looking into what happened. Still, as he was leaving for work, he dropped by Victoria's office once more. Sure enough, Lindsay was manning that station, and this time she even hung up her phone upon seeing him.

"S-sorry sir, I m-mean, how can I help you?"

"I was just wondering if we got a bill for plane tickets from anywhere in Cali," the politician inquired casually, leaning against the door to try and pretend he wasn't really interests, just checking in.  His cool attitude must not have been very successfully portrayed because Lindsay went digging almost immediately.

"Yes Sir, we did indeed!" she confirmed. "Monday morning flight, and a return one for the same day. Invoice just came in yesterday, sir. Is... it okay..."

"Yes, its fine, no big deal," Jackson managed before bidding the blonde a good evening and heading for the elevator. Victoria had been back two days and hadn't contacted anyone. It was both puzzling and a little... annoying. If she didn't ant to talk about work, that was fine. Lord knew she was overdue a few days off. But to break contact completely, as if the only reason to talk to him was work...

Climbing into his car, Jackson pushed the vehicle in gear on autopilot, trying to understand why this was bothering him so much. As he turned into traffic, slowing down to accommodate the horde going back home after a hard day's work, he figured it was because of his anxiety about the whole money thing. They had enough for maybe the end of February, mid March if they stretched, before he had to start paying for everything out of his pocket.

Or cave to the NRA.

A horn blared somewhere, jolting him from his thoughts and the road ahead became suddenly clear. In his worries over the whereabouts of his lawyer and the money she may or may not have gotten, Jackson had started on the way to his earlier home, the apartment that now served as the aforementioned lawyer's humble abode. Cursing softly, the man inched towards the next U turn, maintaining a steady stream of swear words at the time wasted. Once he was out of traffic, Jackson sped up, heading for the nearest portal.

It was probably ill advised and actually would utilize a longer route even if in a shorter time, showing up as wear and tear on the car but at that moment, he didn't care. the nearest portal landed him in Madison, and the next in a town further north. A third portal got him back to Michigan but near the lake from which it was a seven minute drive to his estate though the car fuel gauge was on red. He had effectively made a six hour drive in twenty minutes.

He'd refuel tomorrow, the man decided, pulling into his garage and then leaving the car there to stomp into his house only to emerge ten minutes later dressed in his workout clothes. Over the years, Jackson had learned that the best way to regulate his emotions was to get involved in some distracting physical activity and right now, a four mile jog sounded like a wonderful idea. The man returned an hour later, sweating from head to foot and deliciously exhausted from his run. He'd managed to finally take stock of the lake at the back, he'd now have to look into getting a rowboat or motorboat or soemthing. No point wasting living next to a lake.

It was close to nine perhaps, after he'd showered, had a protein shake for dinner because screw cooking and was sitting in the living room scrolling through his netflix options when the doorbell rang. Wondering who could be calling at this time, Jackson approached the door cautiously, ready to fend off a Jehovah's witness if necessary. and opened the door.

Only to find a very familiar Goblin shaking on his doorstep.

"I'm sorry, Jackson..."

It was clear soemthing was very wrong. Her already short stature seem to shrink as she looked down to the ground, not daring to meet his eyes. And despite the warm jacket wrapped around her tiny frame, the witch shook so badly, she may as well have been wearing a tank top and shorts in February.

When Victoria didn't elaborate, Jackson merely opened the door further, indicating that she should come in. The witch seemed unable to move though, simply stuck where she stood. In the end, Jackson stepped out, putting one hand on her shoulder and steering her into the warmth of the house before closing the door once more.

"Hey kiddo," he tried gently, unsure how to approach this version of the Princess. It didn't take a genius to figure out that things in Carmel hand't gone their way but how badly could they have gone for Victoria to be this shaken up? At worst, Kit Harrington would have said no, which was a big blow to the campaign but it could be dealt with.

Victoria Newbury acting this phased, Jackson wasn't sure about though. The witch was about as solid as they came.

"Wanna talk about it?" he proposed, hovering over her awkwardly, as if his presence could somehow ease her into motion, unfreeze her somehow or at least make her look at him.

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Victoria Newbury
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PostSubject: Re: When Superheroes Lose Their Capes (Jackson)   Mon Aug 13, 2018 2:41 am

Earlier in the week, Jackson's move to steer her with the gentle arm around her frame might have made her freeze up more in that moment. Earlier in the week, though, Victoria had believed the world to be completely different. A world where people you loved, the people you trusted with all your might, did not keep things that were important to you.

Now, though...

The warmth of the hallway of Jackson's home enveloped her small frame but Victoria's body was still shaking. She wasn't cold, merely scared. Terrified, to be more accurate. Terrified of telling Jackson that for once, she didn't have the answer to make their problems go away. That she couldn't draw up a conclusive route forward with any certainty. They were both highly aware of the stakes that were being held with the Harringtons, and the witch had failed to even ask Mr Harrington, Kit, to help them. The trip would be a wasted one in the eyes of the Milwaukee Senator, and he would have every right to get mad at her for her inability to work through a hiccup in the road.

Jackson's much too familiar smell of mint touched her senses, normally so calming made the witch close her eyes. She'd never realised before...

She shook that thought straight from her mind, trying to get herself to move forwards, both literally, and metaphorically. Come on, this is not the end of the world. It's a hiccup. Jackson will understand. The witch chastised herself as somewhere in the not so far off distance Jackson's voice asked if she wished to talk about it.

"T-Tea." Victoria said, the emotion in her voice almost voided in that moment as she gently broke free from Jackson and moved towards the kitchen. "We need t-tea." She explained, a little more conviction in her voice. When had she become so comfortable with the American politician that she could move past him in his own home, towards the kitchen, straight to the kettle, and set about making them tea without first seeking permission from him? Victoria didn't know, but that was a question for another time as her hands worked to keep themselves busy with the tea pot she'd bought the man -- mostly for her visits because you needed properly brewed teas in moments like these.

It bought the witch time, though, which is what Victoria needed in that moment.

Two cups were set out. One filled with a heaped spoonful of coffee, the other with half a spoon of sugar in the bottom, waiting for the team to be stewed. No words were spoken between the two of them in that moment, and Victoria was grateful for it. Instead, Jackson allowed her to finish making the drinks, a good five minutes passed, before Victoria moved to the island in the kitchen, placing Jackson's coffee before him -- black as he liked it.

But even with that much more time, Victoria didn't know how to tell the man before her what had happened down in California two days ago. How did you break this kind of news to someone? Properly, anyway? Rather than being sat in the living room of the family who had found their daughter, very much alive, and thought you already knew about it.

"I went to see Mr Harrington on Monday." Victoria provided Jackson with that much information, though he already knew that. The invoice would have come through -- an invoice she was no doubt going to end up paying for in lieu of apology for her own incompetence in this whole matter. "Both Mr Harrington and his companion, Ms. Kent were in good spirits." No, Victoria chastised herself, now you're giving him false hope. "Not... I...

"They were in good spirits because... because... Azalea's not dead, Jackson..." Victoria managed, glancing up at the man before her to see how he took the news. "They... they found her, after all this time. She's well. Alive..."

Victoria stopped, taking in the strong colour of her tea for a few moments allowing herself just a moment longer.

"I didn't know, how could I know? I should have known. Jake knew. He's known for nine months. Azalea's been living with him for the past two. I don't know why, I didn't get that much information. But he's known all this time, and he didn't think to tell me. Jake kept the information from me -- thought he was doing me a favour in not telling me. Thought I would be less upset this way. Azalea was home for Christmas, with my family! Jake didn't think I should know this. I should have known!" The story was probably not coherent, in truth, it was just tumbling out of Victoria's mouth in an effort to explain to Jackson what was going on. To put up the complete explanation of why she hadn't been in work the last couple of days.

"Mr Harrington and Ms. Kent thought I'd turned up with bad news about Azalea. Of course, I hadn't turned up for such things. The more I heard, though, the less that made sense. Azalea is alive. It's not supposed... everyone thought... I thought... It was so confusing, I didn't know what to do. They thought I knew, I had to pretend..." Victoria shook her head, her voice had wobbled in that moment, but she refused to cry. Not in front of Jackson. He didn't need to deal with that on top of everything else he had to sort out. "I couldn't ask... I... I didn't know how to ask them in that moment for the money. Their daughter was back, they were so happy, they thought I knew, thought I'd embraced Azalea's return with open arms, but I didn't even know... I-I left. I couldn't...

"I'm so sorry, Jackson, I really, really am..."

The witch's hands scrambled to her jacket pocket, pulling out a very tattered piece of paper. Unfolding it, Victoria tried to flatten it out a little bit. This, in itself, was a screaming realisation that the last two days had not been good for the witch. Never, in all the time Victoria had been Stateside with Jackson Blake had she ever presented him with any kind of work that looked this scrappy. Normally it came in a small folder, neatly hole punched or bound for his perusal. This scrap of paper -- so worn despite only being two days old -- showed how much the witch had been worrying over it.

"I've made a list of potential people we could try to get the money from instead, but I have no guarantee that any of them will work. Some might be dubious to our- to your ideals, but if we don't try, we'll never know..." Victoria explained with one more futile attempt to straighten the paper out, before she turned it to Jackson for him to read.

She might not have sealed Mr Harrington's money for them, but Victoria had not been sat idle for the last few days. She had vowed to herself that she would not come back empty handed. Victoria had to give him something, in and amongst this bad news, and this was the best she could do.

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