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 Reconciliation (Azalea & Victoria)

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Victoria Newbury
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PostSubject: Reconciliation (Azalea & Victoria)   Sat Nov 10, 2018 3:23 pm

Lunch with Jackson has been great fun. Her boss was, as always, in a good mood with his usual diner offering the greasy goodies expected of an American restaurant such as this. The ball pit was unusually quiet when they'd arrived, allowing the two of them to talk with relative ease without the shrieks of excitement splitting through the conversation without warning. Mostly, Victoria spoke of her intentions whilst she would be in England for the two week period, before she relayed the same question to Jackson who gave a casual shrug before denoting he and Sasha would decide when he arrived.

From there, conversation turned to other topics, and before either of them realised how long they'd been there, Victoria's watch denoted it was gone three o'clock and they really, really should be getting back to the office.

The rest of their day had been normal, nothing out of the ordinary. Victoria had stayed late to finish up her day's work, Jackson had left around his usual hour, and the office had been left empty besides the lawyer for some time. As the witch finished up her file, and neatly finished the referencing on each of the pages before signing them off, she looked to her phone once more as it lit up.

MESSAGES:
Jake <333
Vic, please call me. It really is urgent. Xx


Victoria considered for a moment, glancing to the clock she'd put up which told both the time in Milwaukee and the UK. Jake was still up and it was past midnight in the UK. Unusual for her brother, truthfully. Which did mean that whatever it was, it was urgent, and she'd been too busy having fun with Jackson all day to respond to his earlier call and text. Feeling more than a little guilty now, Victoria picked up her phone and pressed the call button on her brother's contact not two moments later, bringing the device to her ear.

"Vic," Jake's voice came through the phone in a mixture of relief and thankfulness in that moment, stress lying clearly between them. And... Victoria noticed without fail, the clear sound of recently having cried was evident in her brother's voice, setting her completely on edge as she took a moment to inwardly berate herself for making her brother wait all this time. No matter what he might have done back at Christmas, he didn't deserve to be dealing with whatever it was that was happening in the UK on his own.

"Ivan and Adrienne?"

"They're fine."

"Mom and dad?"

"They're fine, Vic-"

"You?"

"I... I'm..." Jake's voice caught, and Victoria knew the tears he had shed earlier were back in full force in that moment, pushing at him in an unforgiving flurry. "Veronika's d-... She's d-... I should have gone after her, Vic. I shouldn't have let her go, and now, Vic it's my fault. The children, oh Merlin. Vic I need you..."

Her brother had not managed to say the words, but Victoria knew without needing him to speak the word. Veronika Hollands-Newbury had passed away, how Victoria didn't know, but that, in this moment didn't matter. The sweeping feeling of horror clutched at Victoria tightly as she sat silently on the other end of the phone, trying with all her might to think of what to say, what would help, but despite herself, the witch's eyes were welling up with tears. Veronika had been an amazing woman, admirable as a woman who worked passionately at the school, a really good mom to both her children, and most importantly, she had loved Jake so fiercely, the witch could not have chosen a better match, really. But now...

"Vic, are you still there?"

"Y-yes, I'm still here. Sorry." Victoria replied shakily, wiping at her eyes because she needed to be strong for her brother. "I'm so sorry, Jake. I don't know that there is anything I can say to help right now..."

"Please... can you come home? Just for a little while? I know you're busy with work, I know that whats-his-name-"

"Jackson."

"Jackson needs you, I know, but I need you Victoria. I need you to help with the children, too. I don't know how to tell them..."

There was a silence between the two Newbury siblings for a short while whilst they tried to work it out, tears fell silently down Victoria's cheeks as she tried to work it out too. "I'll need to talk to Jackson. My time off isn't scheduled for another week or so, but... he might let me leave earlier. I'll be on the first flight out that I can get on, I promise."

"Great, I'll set up the spare ro-"

"You don't need to, I'll stay with Azalea." Victoria countered. "Leave it with me, Jake. I'll be home as soon as I can."

"Thanks, Vic." Jake replied, relief rolling off of him in waves.

"And Jake?"

"Mm?"

"Know that I love you, very much, no matter what."

"I know," Jake's voice sounded a little stronger on the other end of the phone, almost as if he was managing to smile despite the sniffling clear on the other end of the phone. "I love you too, Vic. I'm sorry, for everything. Really."

"I know, Jake. But that doesn't mean I've forgiven you yet. I'll be back in the UK as soon as I can, okay? I need to make some calls, but I'll get there as soon as I can."


***


Landing at Heathrow had been underwhelming with the very small collection party made up of just Jake at the airport. They'd agreed to not bring the children so that the two of them could talk on the way back to Jake's home. And they had. Properly. Victoria had explained how she had been mad at him for keeping the secret of Azalea, Jake had apologised and explained why he had done it. His reasoning held no logic in Victoria's opinion, but the two of them had settled for the fact that it was behind them, and neither one of them should keep such important things from the other again.

Then, with a sense of clarity between the siblings, Jake had divulged what he knew of Veronika's death. There had been an accident in a tomb in Egypt -- why Veronika had been in Egypt, in a tomb, Jake could not explain, and neither could the authorities. He knew that her death had been quick, she had not suffered, but as of yet, no body had been brought back to the UK. They would, therefore, be burying an empty coffin in a week and a half's time. Their mom had helped Jake with telling the children that their mommy wouldn't be coming back. Neither child had taken it well, Jake had explained. Ivan had become very quiet, and watchful, and Jake had found the picture of Veronika, Ivan and himself tucked under his son's pillow the following evening.

Adrienne's response had not been so muted. The child had screamed and shouted that she wanted her mommy back for well over an hour, the adults struggling to calm the child at all. Adrienne had eventually worn herself out, though, Jake had explained, rubbing at her eyes as she had, instead turned her attention to the only other figure who had looked like a mom to Adrienne. "I WANT ZAY-LEA!" had been the next tantrum to hit the Hollands-Newbury estate. It didn't take a genius to work out that that had hurt Jake immensely, even if the child had not meant any harm. The way Jake's face had deepened with sadness showed that he did not know how to deal with all of this on his own.

"I'm glad you're back, Vic. I've missed you so much." Had been Jake's final piece as they turned in to the driveway that morning. Victoria had just reached gently for her brother's hand, giving it a soft squeeze to reassure him that he was not alone in this.

The rest of the day had been spent with the children for Victoria. The excitement of seeing both her niece and nephew again had spurred the witch on through the jet lag of the flight and meant she'd followed them all around the house and the garden to see all the new things they'd accumulated since she'd been in America. The two of them were exhausting, truthfully, and after a good, hearty dinner being provided by Alexis Newbury, Victoria had texted Azalea to say she would be later than expected.

Helping Jake to put the children to bed that evening -- both of them warn out from the excitement of the arrival of their aunt home, and the forgotten sadness of the house despite Victoria's best efforts to not over excite the children -- Victoria realised just how much she really did miss her brother. They had had a cup of tea whilst they went over the plan for the next week and a half, and Victoria had taken on a vast number of the jobs that needed to be done to unburden her brother. Thankfully, the Ministry had given him time off with immediate effect, and he would not be expected back at work until September, giving him ample time to grieve and get the house in order.

It was gone half past eight by the time Victoria stood from the table, and moved to the fire place to Floo to Azalea's, Jake walking in her wake to see her off. It was quiet, because Jake hadn't wanted her to leave for Azalea's house, but Victoria had insisted. She still needed a little more time, and Azalea had been gracious and accommodating with Victoria's changed travel plans. Jake had reluctantly agreed, and as they stood beside the fire place, he looked almost awkward as he watched his sister gather her things.

"Come here, you." Victoria insisted, pulling Jake in to a tight hug that lasted a long, long time. They both needed it, truly, and as Jake's arms enveloped her, Victoria could feel her whole body relax for the first time in months. The protective nature of her brother reminding her that she was safe here, and that she always would be. "I'll call you with updates, and I'll come back when I have collated some of these jobs. Keep your head held high, you haven't done anything wrong. And, the children need you to be strong for them, remember. It's okay to cry, though, crying is good, too." She assured him, and Jake nodded.

"Say hi to Azalea for me?" Jake asked gently, and Victoria smiled warmly.

"Course." The witch agreed, moving back from the hug to give Jake a kiss on the cheek. "I've got to go, I'll see you soon." Victoria insisted, grabbing her bag and a handful of Floo powder before throwing it in to the fire. "Furz Croft!" Victoria spoke clearly before stepping in the flames, only to be chucked out a few moments later in an immaculately designed house.

Balance failing, Victoria stepped sideways as she entered the room, dropping her bag with a loud thump before she caught herself. "Merlin's beard." Victoria mumbled, hurrying to pick up her bag once more, before she called out. "Azalea? It's me, Victoria!"

And in that very moment, the knot of anticipation, of worry, tightened in her stomach.

After all these years, she was going to see Azalea.

It was all about to become real...

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PostSubject: Re: Reconciliation (Azalea & Victoria)   Mon Nov 12, 2018 6:44 pm

Waking up had slowly become the best part of Azalea's day, not that the rest of the day went downhill. But the very fact that she could wake up meant she had somehow, against all odds, fallen asleep naturally in Josh Murray's arms. The only other person who had managed to do that for her was fading fast from memory as she sensed the blonde's gaze on her sleep tousled features. Azalea had once protested against being looked at so intently so early in the morning or for fear that all her imperfections would be laid bare. But Josh had a very convincing argument against that, and he could argue, long, hard and most persistently.

"Hey kiddo, you look chipper this morning."

"Can't talk dad, early class. I'll be camping out at the dorms tonight."

"Hey, grab some juice at least."

"Can't, running late, have fun and call Clara."


So she'd told a white lie or two? Isn't that what kids did? Even kids with kids of their own? The slight amount of guilt she felt was quickly pushed away as she cornered the street on the mornings she woke (artificially) at Furze Croft. The familiar sign of Josh's car now a source of more comfort than she could honestly admit to herself. Sometimes Ethan came along if the baby was awake and the trio stopped at one of the many establishments Josh seem to have at his beck and call to eat. Kit Harrington never had to worry about his daughter being fed, Azalea hadn't remembered eating this much in... ever.

And then there were other forms of appetites. On the nights she stayed with the father and son, it became quite clear that Josh had not lied to her all those weeks ago. In addition to transporting her to the university whenever possible, the had also given her a semi permanent place in his home. The decision had been made for her when she'd just come home to one day find a cupboard full of necessities in the bedroom they shared when she stayed over. The blond had not informed her when he had managed that, she had only found out when she'd been rummaging through the closets for a towel before she headed in to shower.

Everything inside had been... probably exactly what she would have picked from a store. And everything fitted to the last centimeter. He must have had one heck of a personal shopper if they could get her size down as if every garment was specially made for her use alone. The familiar thrill of fear threatened the base of her spine once more but Azalea shook it off. After all, if Josh were to ask a girl to share his home, this is precisely how he'd do it. He'd have everything prepared and leave it for her to discover in her own time and then get used to the idea before discussing it with him. He did things more than said then, the brunette had learned. And it was this quality that made her feel needed more than anything else.

With a soft smile at the mirror, the witch had extracted not only a towel but also a dark green bell sleeved blouse teamed with snug blue jeans from the assortment. Whens eh descended the stairs to breakfast, Josh had looked up from his paper curiously, the hint of a smile playing at his face but no comments outside of the usual followed. He now knew she knew, and she was alright with it.

Catch up classes had soon stopped being challenging. It hadn't taken Azalea more than a week or two to get up to speed on the academic formats and another to learn of how infinitely useful the internet could be. Things she had expected to take years to relearn had taken weeks and her unlimited access to specialized data bases made everything that much easier.

Everything was going by so fast, the witch often felt winded. From moping around the house with nothing to do, Azalea Harrington had arrived at a full time university course, a serious relatonship, the care taking - no matter how casual it might seem - of a toddler and reaching out to old friends. Victoria was not the only one whom Azalea constantly emailed with. James Reonalds had emerged from some classified facility where he had been doing space research for the last two years and had been overjoyed to learn she was alive. Scarlett Jorde had been in touch and was insisting they plan a trip to France because she was "in the mood to raise some serious hell" and Kathryn Zanderson had sent a handwritten card.

"Hey, hang on kiddo, I barely see you these days," Kit was found announcing at the beginning of the month as his daughter trooped in late in the evening. "How hard are they working you at that university."

"I wasn't at the university," Azalea admitted, her face still slightly pink from the events of an hour earlier. "Stopped by Josh's place on the way back, he dropped me home."

"And who might "Josh" be?"

"Our neighbor dad," Azalea rolled her eyes affectionately, then proceeded to drop her bag and coat on the nearest chair. "I've had dinner, how about you?"

"I ate out when I went to refill your meds," Kit offered affectionately, examining the healthy glow that surrounded his daughter these days. He had first assumed it was her friendship with the Newbury girl that was keeping her so occupied but now there was this Josh fellow in the picture. "When is your friend coming over? So I can make myself scarce from my own house"

"Next week, you better pack," the brunette returned, moving closer to her dad to give him a quick, sideways hug. He knew perfectly well they wouldn't mind having him around, but he needed to go see Clara, maybe even Mimosa if he could. He shouldn't be kept away from his granddaughter.

As it turned out, his packing had to be completed a lot sooner than expected. Touting a family emergency, the email that arrived from Victoria the next day sounded both urgent and desperate. And Azalea would never turn ehr friend down at such a time. So the witch had politely excused herself from class, texted Dad that she was coming home and that Victoria would now be home by tomorrow instead of a week later. Josh and Ethan were off (maybe to visit the child's mother, Azalea tried not to think about that) across the country so at last no plans to cancel there. Besides, she would speak to both the Murrays on the phone that night once everything was settled.

"Are you sure you don't want me to stay?" Kit asked the next morning as he was getting ready to leave. "If the kid needs help, how will you manage on your own?"

"I'll scream for help."

"What if no one hears you?"

"I'll scream louder." Both of them burst into laughter before she hugged her father goodbye, seeing him of safely into his vehicle. He was Clara's problem now.

Making her way back into Furze Croft, the witch busied herself in the kitchen. Victoria might appreciate a decent meal to come home to. So by the time she heard the only floo enabled fireplace in the house thudding with activity, roast beef sandwiches lined a colorful tray and helpings of salads and mashed pa potatoes decorated the kitchen counter. Azalea had even made mimosas as an added inside joke between the two.

"Azalea? It's me, Victoria!"

"I'm coming," the older witch called out, quickly untying her apron and flinging it on to a hook with more preciseness than she expected. Running up the stairs, the witch made her way the floo room and pushed the door open, seeing Victoria for the first time in what felt like forever. "Vibration, Granny Weatherwax I missed you!" she exlciamed, moving towards the witch to envelope her in a warm hug, refusing to let the little child she had known go for a very long time.

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PostSubject: Re: Reconciliation (Azalea & Victoria)   Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:21 am

The call back to Victoria was, unmistakably Azalea's voice returning to her from a lower floor. The voice was different, more grown up with the years they had been apart, but Victoria could easily place the voice from her distant memories. The younger witch might only have been a child when Azalea had left Canada, but Azalea Harrington had been a large part of her teen life, and as much as Jake had tried to keep them apart, some friendships could remain, even after a messy break up like the one that had gone on between Azalea and her brother.

But even with the familiarity of Azalea's voice, and the sound of footsteps hurrying up to meet her, Victoria felt a little bit worried in that moment. She hadn't thought about this moment. What was she supposed to do? Say? Did she just hurry forth to the older witch and hug her tightly? Would there be a moment where they stood and took one another in, before making some kind of comment on how well the other one looked?

There hadn't been a book on meeting long lost friends and the appropriate mannerisms of doing so.

Victoria had checked.

As the door opened, though, Victoria felt like she had been winded in that moment. Azalea Harrington looked more beautiful now than she ever had over a decade ago, she looked radiant, as if nothing had changed in all these years, and as the older witch moved to envelope her in her arms, the Newbury witch could not have been more grateful. Supported by Azalea, Victoria wrapped her arms around Azalea's waist, holding on tightly as the tears of relief prickled at her eyes.

This was real.

Azalea was alive.

Victoria's breath caught in that moment, betraying her emotions to her host as the first couple of tears spilt from her eyes. This was one of those moments where Victoria knew she should be happy, being back with her friend, both of them well, both of them in the same room once more, but the younger witch was overcome with the feeling of guilt as she held on to the older witch to make sure she couldn't disappear again.

"I'm s-sorry, Azalea." Victoria whispered softly to the older witch. "For not... I didn't... I should..." But no words could justify why Victoria had done nothing all those years ago. There was no manner in which Victoria could make it okay in the past, but... they had a future, now. A friendship that was unbreakable, even through some of the worst decisions in their lives to date. "I'm sorry." Victoria said again, squeezing Azalea just a little bit tighter to ensure the older witch knew that she really did mean that.

After all, the Newburys had a lot to answer for.

And Victoria would ensure Azalea knew at least one of them was truly sorry.

"Oh," Victoria added, pulling away slightly to rub away the tears that had allowed themselves to fall. "Jake says hi, by the way. And the children are really sad they couldn't come and see you, too. But... well, I said maybe if you were happy they could come and stay with us one night. It'll give Jake... It'll be good for them, to get out of the house for a bit. They love you very much, and I told them I had some presents from America, but they would have to wait until I'd managed to unpack my suitcase a little bit before they could have them.

"I'm gibbering, I'm sorry. You look amazing, by the way. It's almost as if you'd never gone." Victoria told her friend with a big, warm smile. It was true, anyone who looked at Azalea could see she looked amazing for a witch who hadn't aged in ten years, and two children later. Or, maybe Victoria was biased because she could see beauty in more than just looks. The witch wasn't sure, but the compliment had been paid.

"So, what are we getting up to tonight, anyway?" Victoria asked excitedly.

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PostSubject: Re: Reconciliation (Azalea & Victoria)   Tue Nov 13, 2018 7:18 pm

As Victoria began to quietly weep and apologize, Azalea merely held her close, comforting the younger witch. In many ways, despite their correspondence and the assiduity that twelve years had made the little witch into a full fledged adult, Azalea had still thought of Victoria as the little child who had came into her room when the nightmares got too much. And as she hugged the other witch, Victoria didn't feel much different either.

"Shh,' the taller woman murmured, relaying without words that no apologies were necessary. It was time to put all that in the past, and the sooner everyone did that, the better. "Everything's fine, we're all okay."

As the lawyer recounted how much the children missed her, Azalea's own face softened into a fond smile. "I miss them too. They were such amazing kids when I was there. And of course they're welcome here anytime as long as..." the witch trailed off, unsure how to tell Victoria that her parents and brother wouldn't exactly be knee on leaving the children in her care. "As long as they want to."

"I'm gibbering, I'm sorry. You look amazing, by the way. It's almost as if you'd never gone."

"Well, you don't look too shabby yourself," Azalea complimented, taking in the witch fully for the first time. Whatever she was doing in America clearly suited her. Despite the emergency that had dragged her home, Victoria showed clear signs of being active, engaged and present. Her love for pink may have dwindled a bit over time but maybe it hand't. They would find out soon enough.

"You're working with Jackson Blake, right? I remember him - sort of - from Salem. He was trouble but not in the bad way, I always liked him." Besides, if anyone could keep a Nightshade out of trouble, it was Victoria.

When Victoria asked what they'd be up to, Azalea grinned, taking her hand and leading her out of the room. "Well, I thought we'd start with a bit of food if you aren't too full," she began, showing her the way downstairs while mooning for her to leave her suitcase where it was. It would eventually find its way to her room. "It's not much, just some sandwiches and salads but I made some drinks to loosen us up." As she spoke, they cleared the landing and headed towards the open concept kitchen, the white and glass gleaming everywhere. "As you can see, Dad had a hand in the designing of this place," the brunette joked as they entered the kitchen.

"By the way, he says hi, and makes a face at having to leave his own home even though I said he didn't have to. But he owes Clara a visit and... they might be flying to India to see Mimosa sine she's not coming back to he US after her trip. She's heading straight to Paris for... well I'm not sure exactly but Dad has relatives there or something."

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PostSubject: Re: Reconciliation (Azalea & Victoria)   Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:37 am

The reassurance that everything, everyone, was alright now made Victoria relax slightly in the older witch's arms, sure now that she wasn't going to have all these years held against her. She hadn't known better at that time, but she did now. Now, though, they could look to the future and what they could both do together, now they were reacquainted.

"Oh, believe me, they wanted to come tonight! When Adrienne asked if I wanted to sleep in her bed -- she never understands that the pink spare room is mine, bless her, she doesn't understand how much I love it -- tonight and I told her that it was okay because I was coming to see you... well, it was almost impossible to put the little one down to sleep!" Victoria explained with a fond smile to Azalea. "Thankfully, Adrienne has always been partial to her hair being played with when she's over tired, so she was out like a light when we finally got her in to bed.

"Ivan just kept asking why I was coming to stay with you. The boy is too clever for his own good, I swear to Merlin. Takes after his mom in that respect, but don't tell Jake I said that." Victoria joked softly, but the mention of Veronika so casually had brought Victoria to a sobering moment, and the topic of the children slowed to a gentle stop, unsure that what she'd said had been in good taste now that it had left her lips.

"Senator Jackson Blake, now!" Victoria corrected gently and with immense pride for the man they both knew. "He won his seat last November -- your dad actually helped him quite a bit with his campaign, he was kind enough to give Jackson the money for his campaign. I'm telling you, the money that goes through these places, Azalea, it's crazy, and I really wish I could say all of it was necessary expenditure, but... well, we leave that to the accounts department. I have more than enough on my hands in that office. Trouble Jackson might have been at school, but you should just see the amount of work he makes for me now!" The witch explained with deep fondness for the wizard.

"He's engaged, now, actually. To a young British witch -- he's over visiting her now, actually. Don't tell him, but I booked our original holidays to overlap so that he couldn't cause too much mayhem in the office before I returned. I'll have to catch up a little now, with the change, but at least he's not going to be piling work on my desk too much. Also, never tell him I said that, it's our secret." She continued on, conspiring with Azalea like the old friends they were, and Victoria knew that Azalea would never, ever tell Jackson what had just been discussed.

"Oh, Merlin. Mom made the biggest dinner for us. I should have told you! But, we can sit and snack at the goods, so they don't go to waste!" Victoria insisted, before Azalea mentioned drinks to loosen up. Victoria Newbury hadn't drunk a sip of alcohol since the previous summer when she had been reacquainted with Jackson Blake. The witch hadn't told anyone outside of the meetings she'd attended about that night, and still wasn't ready to admit to anyone who really knew her of the state she'd gotten herself in to. "Just one drink..." Victoria replied softly. "I've never really gotten the taste for alcohol."

Or, rather, she'd lost the taste for alcohol, but saying it in that manner opened way too many questions for Azalea.

As they moved through the house, though, Victoria's eyes grew wider at the decor. Yes, Jake had done well for himself, but it was nothing in comparison to what the Harringtons had. This place was a marvel, but Victoria preferred the house at Carmel by the Sea. "It's beautiful in here, your dad always did have a good eye for things! Perks of his job, I suppose!" Victoria agreed, wondering how everything always looked so perfect in the Harrington homes. She'd never seen a house elf wandering around, so surely they managed themselves? Victoria had no clue, but decided not to ponder upon that as Azalea continued on.

"Oh, I wish he hadn't left. It would have been good to see him again! But, another time, I'm sure." Victoria settled on, before talk of Mimosa came up. A smile grew on Victoria's features in that moment. "How is Mimosa doing? She's at Hogwarts now, right? I never understood that decision, and I'm going to have to have words with Kit! Sending a true Salem-er to Hogwarts!" She said, feigning disgust at such a thought. "But, truthfully, Hogwarts is an amazing school, I loved my time there." She added, to reassure Azalea that Mimosa was okay where she was.

"India? Oh, is she modelling out there again? I got gifts from her last year from India, but I didn't get a reply from the letter I sent back to say thank you -- she was probably too busy." Victoria enquired, much too happy to talk about her eldest niece even if she couldn't add much herself. "France... Oh, yes, Jake said something about a family over there, too. He doesn't understand the connection either, given that Mimosa is yours and his and neither of you have family over there. But, he knows better than to question things, he just wants to be in touch with his daughter, in whatever manner he can.

"Do you have an up to date picture? I haven't seen the little bundle of joy in what... two... three years now? But from what I do recall she was beautiful like her mother, except for her eyes. Her eyes are so hauntingly Jake's!" Victoria explained, trailing off by the end as she tried so very hard to remember the face of the younger witch.

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PostSubject: Re: Reconciliation (Azalea & Victoria)   Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:59 am

"Well, you'll have to let them know from me that they're welcome at Furz Croft whenever they feel like it." There really was no reason to bring up any issues that might be raised with the children wishing to spend more time with her, but Azalea was pleasantly surprised they remembered her after all these months. Children usually didn't have such long term memories, which meant she must have made an impression.

Upon the gentle correction of Jackson's title, Azalea found herself grinning much more proudly than she should have. It was clear to see how much Victoria's work meant to her, it reflected in the warm, joyful manner in which she talked about the man and his position. "Don't worry, my lips are sealed," the older witch conceded, miming locking her mouth and throwing away the key.

The news that her father had actually heaped Jackson was new to the brunette, Kit had never mentioned any inclination into local politics. But then again, she hand't asked. With a small pang of guilt, the witch realized how little she talked to Dad about his work, or about how he was doing in general. He was always too busy looking after her for her to realize that he could do with some looking after too. It was a good thing, she supposed, that he was meeting Clara. the psychic would sort him out with her special brand of rebuking kindness and set him right.

"Well I guess I owe him a congrats card or something, though you'll wish him for me won't you? Wow, I can't believe young Jackson is old enough to be engaged." But of course the world had moved on while she was trapped in Granny Weatherwax knew where. These days though, the witch was happy enough to never want to know.

They were already entering the kitchen when Victoria revealed she was full. Of course, Azalea had suspected as much. the polite offer of nibbles was waved away by the older witch with a "Don't worry, everything will keep until breakfast tomorrow because I'm not cooking again." It as a joke of course, Azalea had already stored waffle batter for breakfast the next day. She made no comment on the alcohol though, the drinks were there, Victoria could help herself as much or little as she wanted.

Her eyes lit up as her guests asked about Mimosa though, and in a flash her phone was retrieved from her pocket. Azalea had to scroll through a dozen pictures of Ethan to get to the last one she had received from Clara of her daughter but there it finally was. The shot was taken by someone in the audience as Mimosa flew on her broom, a Beater's Bat clutched determinedly in her tiny hands. "Here, this was taken at the last match she played. They won that one," she explained, showing the picture to Victoria. It still amused her how her daughter rode a broom and played Quidditch so casually.

"I don't think she's doing a shoot, Dad mentioned something about promotional events but he didn't explain. I think he believes talking too much about Mimosa might be triggering which is... well, its utter bullshit to be honest because talking about her doesn't upset me at all. But we're waiting on a doctor's assessment to tell me how I feel about my own daughter." The witch tried not o sound as bitter as she felt with the situation, but she was unable to keep the annoyance out of her voice completely.

"Anyway, as you can see, I've been doing so much better. I've been sleeping naturally some nights, and I'm eating like food is running out of style." To demonstrate, she picked up one of the sandwiches of their tray, taking a small bite out of the bread, beef, chicken and cheese concoction. "It's a wonder they still make clothes to fit me."

Laughing slightly at her own joke, she continued. "So, why the sudden change of travel plans? Or could you just not wait to see me?" Despite the slightly amused smile on her lips, the expression on the witch's face was clear. It was just a question, one Victoria did not need to answer if she did not want to.

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PostSubject: Re: Reconciliation (Azalea & Victoria)   Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:03 pm

"Of course I'll pass on the well wishes!" Victoria agreed to that much without a second thought. "Young? He turned thirty last month, he's an old-" But Victoria caught herself in that moment, remembering just in time that Azalea was older than her boss was, and turning a light shade of pink. "I just mean... well, he's not so young as not to be married already. But Sasha seems nice enough, Jackson always looks happy when he comes back from seeing her, so he's definitely found the right one, I think!

"But, what about you? Anyone in your life at the moment -- and, don't worry if there is, I won't say anything to anyone!" Victoria promised, making sure Azalea knew that it was okay if she had moved on from Jake. After all, it had been over a decade since they'd been together, Jake had moved on a whole lot, so Azalea most definitely could too. She deserved to be happy.

As Azalea busied herself with her phone and finding the pictures of Mimosa, Victoria politely took one of the drinks that had been prepared for them for the evening. Just one, she told herself, because that way she would not be in a state that she didn't feel safe. But, even the thought of one built her small frame with a flurry of worry that she hadn't experienced in a long time. Relax, you're safe with Azalea, no one is going to hurt you, Victoria chastised herself.

Thankfully, though, Azalea passed the phone over, showing Mimosa atop her broom, with her Beaters bat in hand flying through the air, the smile on Victoria's lips grew as she took her niece in, remembering her with fondness from the art gallery she had happened upon the younger witch. It seemed so far away now. "She's beautiful, truly, and takes after Jake with her thrill seeking! I'm glad that she had equal parts of you both in her. How is she doing with her schooling? Jake hasn't told me too much... we haven't spoken since Christmas, so I'm out of the loop with everything going on in Mimosa's life..."

Azalea's explanation about Kit not telling her very much about Mimosa brought a saddened look to Victoria's face. "I'm sorry to hear that..." The lawyer remarked, though she didn't know how to make that much better. There wasn't much more Victoria knew about Mimosa, not through lack of interest, but simply because she knew that Jake wasn't allowed to tell Mimosa yet of who he was to her, which made her own position difficult too. "But, he's only trying to look out for you. Soon, though, I'm sure, you'll be able to spend time with Mimosa, and so can Jake, in your real roles, as her mom and dad." Victoria encouraged gently, though that wasn't something that she knew everything about, either, and so she moved to take a sip of her drink, not knowing what else to say to the older witch before her that would help rather than hinder her feelings.

"Oh, come now! It's good to see you eating! Back... before, you only used to eat vegetables, and even then you ate sparingly! Mom used to have to ensure that she remembered to cook something with vegetables when you were coming round so that she could be sure you would eat!" Victoria reminisced, smiling fondly. "And, you're not looking bad for it, either! So, don't worry about still fitting clothes. Though, truthfully, I'll be glad to be in the UK for a bit to get away from the greasy food diners that Jackson likes to frequent for a little while."

But Azalea's next question brought the smile from Victoria's lips in to a muted ghost of itself.

In the hurry to change plans, the younger witch had neglected to let her host know as to why she needed to be here earlier than planned. Placing the glass back on the counter, Victoria thought for a moment about how to answer the question she'd been posed. It wasn't exactly the best scenario in the world, but Victoria knew that Azalea should know as to why she'd been inconvenienced.

"Obviously I really wanted to see you, Azalea, but... unfortunately, that's not why I'm early..." Victoria explained gently, making it known that she wasn't overly happy with the idea of being a nuisance to the older witch. "Jake text me earlier in the week to let me know something urgent had come up. Like I said, we hadn't spoken since Christmas. I had ignored the message, thinking he was trying to trick me in to talking to him. But, then he text me again when it was past midnight here, and I called him."

Pausing for a moment, Victoria considered against telling Azalea what had happened. In case it came across in the wrong manner. But... Azalea knew of Veronika, so surely...

"The Ministry had been that day to the house, to relay the news that his wife, Veronika, had died in an accident in a tomb in Egypt. She's been gone from the family home almost since Adrienne was newborn, so thankfully Adrienne doesn't really remember Veronika, but Ivan does. Jake asked me to come home for the funeral..." Victoria explained, her voice wavering with emotion, and her eyes glistening with tears, but none of them threatened to fall. "I might be mad at him for not telling me you were alive, or even that you were staying with him, but he's my brother, and I couldn't deny him the support he needs at this time. And, the children will need as much help as we can offer at this time, too.

"You would have liked Veronika, I think. She was really sweet, fun loving, and... I know it might not seem like it, seeing as she left her children behind to go away, but she was a really good mom to them." Victoria finalised, rubbing gently at her eyes to dispel the tears that threatened to fall.

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PostSubject: Re: Reconciliation (Azalea & Victoria)   Wed Nov 14, 2018 7:41 pm

Azalea tried not o laugh as Victoria caught herself declaring Jackson old, it was hard though and in the end, the witch felt her narrow frame shake in silent silent giggles, prompting Victoria to join in. "It's okay, I'm super old too," she reassured the lawyer. "You should look at all the ends I have to be on if you want proof." Though truthfully, her prescriptions were becoming less and less mandatory of late. The sleep potion ehr dad had refilled hadn't actually needed refilling for another two weeks, Azalea had simply neglected to tell Kit because otherwise she would have to explain the new source of her slumber.

It sounded more and more like Jackson had found the right girl for himself, and the brunette was glad of that. It was truly wonderful to hear that the lost, angry kid had not only found his place in the world but had also found someone to share his happiness with.

"But, what about you? Anyone in your life at the moment?"

The American looked away as soon as the question was asked, in effect giving Victoria the answer. Then, shaking ehr head, she realized how silly she was being. "Well... It's a bit complicated. But mostly because I haven't told Dad yet," she began carefully, meeting Victoria's gaze over their drinks. "We met a few months ago and decided to explore some other options last month. He's been really helpful, getting me into uni, helping me come into my own. He's even been letting me drive even though the doctors say I'm not ready but he's always with me and extremely careful. In fact... I sometimes get the feeling he'll move the world before he lets me get hurt." Once again,the tall witch shook ehr head, really silly.

"But its not just that, I feel like a different person around him. He doesn't know anything about me, and he doesn't want to know. I tried to tell him but he wouldn't have it. I... don't feel ill or watched around him, it's really liberating..." Her assessment was unfair to Dad, he was only doing what he thought was best for her. But Azalea was now recovered enough to want to discuss decisions made on ehr behalf.

"But hey, tit for tat, I told you about me, now it's your turn to dish. Did you find someone in the states worth your time?" the subject change was obvious and laced with relief but Azalea had spoken all she anted to about Josh at this moment. The young woman was not averse to telling Victoria, but she felt she would be betraying Kit and Clara in some ways if they were not the first to know the full story.

When the tiny witch mentioned how her mother used to make special food just for Azalea, the latter had to only nod in amusement. The idea of Alexis Newbury doing something genuinely kind for her seemed so far away, she doubted she'd be able to remember it even if she tried. Oh well, she was a different person then, someone who had met the Newbury matriarch's approval no doubt.

Their conversation turned serious as Victoria divulged the reason for her coming home early. Azalea had only been a quarter of the way through her sandwich when she put it down, giving the other witch her undivided attention. It seemed like tragedy had once again struck the Newbury House, though this time it had nothing to do with her thankfully.

"Have they found... her?' the brunette asked cautiously, reaching over to squeeze Victoria's free hand in an attempt to comfort the younger witch. "Because these things... aren't always accurate. People thought I was gone for a really, really long time and then I turned up, out of the blue. Jake should look into everything before accepting that she's gone. I told him last time... to never give up on ehr. No one deserves that." It s the first time she had uttered Victoria's brother's name, and she could only hope the discomfort in her tone wasn't obvious.

"If there's anything I can do to hep, like watch the kids while you guys sort out funeral arrangements, please let me know. My course offers both morning and evening classes so I can pick either one to accommodate the kids." She could probably take Ivan and Adrienne to meet Ethan, he would love some new company. And Adrienne would love to play with a brand new baby, finally someone younger than her to boss around.

"Actually it just so happens that my... that he's away this week or I would have introduced you two. He's about as gentle, sweet and kind as you are. And he has a son, who is the most darling thing I've ever seen - aside from Mimosa of course."

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PostSubject: Re: Reconciliation (Azalea & Victoria)   Wed Nov 14, 2018 8:24 pm

Victoria couldn't help but laugh at Azalea's joke, thankful that her friend hadn't taken offence to the notion of being old. Though, of course, Victoria hadn't really meant it, she was only a few years younger than Jackson, and soon enough her thirtieth birthday would be here. Though, Victoria reflected, it would be a lot bigger occasion for her than it had been for Jackson's birthday.

The fact that Azalea did have somebody, though, made Victoria's features light up with genuine interest. There was no denying that the younger witch was happy to find that Azalea had found somebody to enjoy her life with, and there never would be an alternate reaction to this news, either. "That's great news! Oh I'm so happy for you! He sounds wonderful, truly! I'm glad he helped you with university, you are going to do amazing on that course! What's his name, though? Come on, just his first name, that way I can't stalk him on the internet!" Victoria offered, knowing Azalea wanted to tell her dad about it first. "And, don't worry, I won't tell your dad." The witch added, mimicking Azalea's earlier zip locking motion to show that she meant it.

Azalea reflected the question straight back her way, though, and Victoria looked down at her glass for a moment. The wound that had been so fresh before Jake's phone call seemed so inconsequential now, in the hours that had passed since the news came Victoria hadn't thought of Zoe, but now, given a moment to think of her own situation and not being caught up in hurriedly getting the presents for Jackson to take to Sasha before she got on her own, earlier flight, and then being picked up by Jake and discussing everything that had happened in the last six months, Victoria couldn't help but look hurt for a moment. "There was..." Victoria admitted sadly, before looking up to Azalea with a small smile to show it was okay.

"I don't know if you remember, but back when we were both at Salem, you taught me about how babies come in to the world," Victoria explained, and even now her cheeks grew slightly warmer at the notion of talking about sex. "But after we finished talking about heterosexual relationships, you continued on to add that if a girl likes another girl then this was okay too..."

Here, Victoria paused for a moment, allowing Azalea time to try to remember the night -- though it might not have been as important to Azalea, it had stuck with Victoria quite well. But, also so that Azalea had time to cotton on to what Victoria was saying. "I was in a relationship with a girl called Zoe for a couple of months up until recently. Unfortunately, Zoe disagreed with my work, and I couldn't make her see that my work is very important to me and that I couldn't change what I was doing. So, we decided to go our own way. It hurts, a lot, but some things just aren't supposed to be, I guess. I'm not mad, though, Zoe has a right to her own opinion." The witch explained, giving a small smile before she quickly added.

"Please don't tell Jake. I don't... I haven't... he doesn't know about me being..." Victoria didn't say the word, but it was clear what she meant. Jake deserved to be told by her, much the same way Kit deserved to know about Azalea's boyfriend from her, too.

"They're still recovering the body. Veronika's sister has confirmed that it is her." Victoria explained, knowing Azalea only meant well with how she insisted they not give up. "The Egyptian Ministry won't release the body because of the curses."

But as Azalea mentioned Jake not giving up, Victoria took a hold of her friend's hand. "You know he didn't give up on you. Not really. Your letter... it was so, so clear that you were going home. That Jake shouldn't contact you. If he'd known that you weren't really going home, that you... Jake wouldn't have done what he did if he hadn't believed your words. I know he... I know it might seem like he doesn't care, but he did, he really did." Victoria assured the older witch with the unfaltering conviction she possessed as Jake's sister. Her brother was not a bad man, but he had made a bad decision all those years ago. He'd believed what he'd seen in the letter, and Victoria knew without a doubt he regretted it, knowing what he did now.

The offer to watch the children brought a smile to Victoria's lips once more, though. "That would be great. I'll be sure to mention it to Jake, but I've already told him that we're taking the children out at some point. I've missed them, and the kids have missed us both, so Jake isn't allowed to argue." Victoria told Azalea happily.

"A son? You have to introduce me as soon as possible! More children to spoil!" Victoria insisted, letting out a soft giggle at the prospect. Never, in a million years, would any children have enough toys to play with, no matter who's children they were. "And I would love to meet your new friend, he sounds amazing! I would pretend that I would give him the talking to, but I am definitely not the one who does that!" She confided, letting out another soft laugh at the idea.

Taking another sip of her drink, Victoria continued on. "So, how's university going? I miss university, it seems like forever ago now, but those were some of the best years of my life!"

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PostSubject: Re: Reconciliation (Azalea & Victoria)   Sun Nov 18, 2018 5:21 pm

Azalea had expected nothing less than for the younger witch to be happy for her, and she was not disappointed. The lawyer's loyalty stretched so far as to declare Josh wonderful without so much as meeting him, her opinion derived solely from the way Azalea spoke of the man. Of course, the brunette was rather glad to have so much support already, it might help when she brought her case to Kit who would undoubtedly have more reservations than her friend. "His name is- What?" The former herbologist stopped mid sentence, barely keeping up with Victoria's excitement. "You can do what on the internet?"

But of course, realization dawned even before Victoria had to explain. The internet was used for looking up information. And people, after all was said and done, were information on some kind of database. The idea of typing Josh Murray's name on the internet seemed... oddly uncomfortable somehow. But would anything found online be a breach of his privacy if it was supposed to be public knowledge?

Before Azalea had a chance to ponder more on this, her friend's tone turned... wistful, forcing the other witch to focus more on Victoria. She remained quiet as the young lawyer tried to remind ehr of a time she had had such a talk. the memory came slow, flimsy, as if viewed from underwater but it was definitely hers. An overly pink room, Victoria asking about what boys liked and why they liked them, Azalea herself trying to explain without any details what the girl should expect in future. The witch couldn't remember the exact advice she had given the then teenager but Victoria must have took it to heart as she related the story of how she had met, dated and broken up with Zoe.

"Well, I can't think of a more unfortunate person in the world than this Zoe," the older woman soothed gently, Victoria's glass discretely filling itself when the witch was more than hallway through. "She had the best girlfriend in the entire universe and she couldn't see it." At the shorter witch's request to keep the information from Jake, the hostess merely shook her head. Azalea talking to Jake about anything... was literally the last thing Victoria had to worry about. The two had not kept in touch after that fateful day in February when she'd left the Newbury estate and they both preferred it that way.

"You know he didn't give up on you. Not really. Your letter... it was so, so clear that you were going home. That Jake shouldn't contact you. If he'd known that you weren't really going home, that you... Jake wouldn't have done what he did if he hadn't believed your words. "

"It's okay Victoria," the witch managed through the hurried explanations. Azalea would never want her friend to think ill of her brother, even if it was possible for Victoria to do so. "It's all in the past, Jake isn't the Jake I knew and I'm not the Azalea he know. Why bother holding grudges over people we... would barely recognize on the street now?" She had forgiven Jake Newbury a long time ago, if she even reserved the right to do so. All sound reasoning concluded he had done nothing wrong, so perhaps it wasn't Azalea who was owed the apology.

The conversation turned lighter after that, with the two witches discussing children and exchanging doting photographs on their phones. Azalea had half a dozen of Ethan alone but Victoria had many more of her niece and nephew and over the next hour, as the food and drink gradually begin to disappear, the clock struck one.

"Oh goodness, it's getting late, you must be exhausted," Azalea pointed out, rising from her seat and motioning for Victoria to do the same. "Now, i wasn't entirely sure where you'd like to sleep," she began, leading the witch out of the kitchen and towards the grand staircase once more. 'So i made up the guest bedroom for you the way you like it." Which had involved purchasing a whole lot of pink, but anything to make Victoria comfortable. "But there is also a second option. You can share my bed if you don't mind, it's a huge thing and three of you can easily fit on it. But I'll understand if you want your privacy."

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