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 A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office

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Julian Kaiser

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Sun Oct 16, 2011 6:21 pm

If it weren't for the sheer number of individuals on the list, the task would have been a reasonable one, but then again, this was coming from Vinzent Zolnerowich. Julian refolded the parchment and tucked it into his pocket, keeping his face neutral and impassive.

"Of course, sir," he replied simply, nodding. "We were just wrapping up anyway." Depending upon the crimes of the individuals in question, and the length of time they'd been at Azkaban, there could and probably would be volume upon volume of documentation to collect. Only Vinzent would think it could be done in less than a day and a half -- maybe if Julian skipped meals and sleeping. Which seemed to be the likeliest scenario.

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:06 am

A chuckle left Nicole at Julian's comment that they were wrapping up, though cleverly covered it by eyeing a photograph hanging upon the wall. Vinzent glanced at the woman to try and riddle out what she found funny. Seeing her peruse the photographs made him lose interest immediately.

"Darrow, Blake, and Rookwood have top priority," Vinzent explained seriously, taking the chance that Nicole did not know Russian. He failed to mention they would also be some of the most difficult to compile, having been residents of Azkaban (or, in Blake's case, Saint Mungo's) for approximately ten years or more. "And do try not to leave a parchment-trail, Kaiser," he added quietly and with no small amount of disdain. Vinzent muttered something additional, this time in Italian, before storming out of the room to terrorize some other unsuspecting victim.

Nicole caught the Italian remark and swiftly turned, offended and prepared to want to give Vinzent what for. However he was long gone by then. It was probably a good thing. "What an asshole..." Nicole growled in the direction of Vinzent's departure, casually strolling back over to Julian. "How you put up with that, I'll never know."

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:54 am

"Whatever do you mean?" Julian asked in a would-be innocent tone of surprise. "Do you mean you don't find Vinzent to be loveable and charming?" He guffawed rather unattractively at his own lame joke, too angry and resentful at having been treated so rudely in front of Nicole to really laugh. Vinzent was never pleasant, but usually in front of company, he was at least tolerable. Clearly Nicole's expertise in a decidedly muggle field rendered common courtesy unnecessary.

Julian grew himself into his desk chair with an angry sigh, yanking open the drawer. A moment later he produced his "coffee" cup and a large bottle of bourbon, slamming them both down onto the desk in frustration.

"How do I put up with it? Simple..." he told Nicole, pouring himself a cup and quickly tossing it back. "Alcoholism," he said sarcastically, and then, looking up at Nicole, felt guilty for the comment, reconsidering. "And you. Mostly you, now," he smirked, getting out of his seat and wrapping his arms around her. The warmth of having her in his arms truly did make him feel better than anything else did, but he got the feeling her question was more along the lines of why did he tolerate Vinzent for so long prior to the present.

"Unfortunately, the more pleasant assignments tend not to pay very well. Or, are so desirable that they're almost impossible to get. For example, Berlynn Stabler -- the witch I mentioned earlier -- she used to work for Vinzent before I did. I get the feeling he actually liked her, but that didn't stop him from treating her like a house-elf either, so now she's working for Liara. Dream job, that -- our esteemed Minister is actually a very pleasant woman to work for, apparently. I don't imagine Berlynn will be giving up that gig anytime soon," he sighed rather wistfully.

"So I'm chasing the gold, I suppose. Not very admirable, but you have to understand, my mother died when I was young, my stepfather absolutely hated the sight of me, and I've no idea who my father is. My brother tried to help me out as best he could but I couldn't ask him to support my family as well as his. I did what I had to in order to survive. And my ex-wife left me anyway," he shrugged.

"I suppose with it being just me and Violet now, I could afford something a little more pleasant, but I hate the idea of quitting. Kate hated my job -- not the gold, but she thought it was too risky. Leaving would be like admitting defeat, and I'm a stubborn man, I suppose," Julian confessed, watching Nicole to gauge her reaction. Truly, this was probably his greatest flaw, and if she could be understanding of that, then maybe the really did have a future together.

"Anyway, so yes -- that's why. It's remarkably stupid, but perhaps we are not always as logical as we'd like to be. Rich and miserable is still a step up from how things were before."


Last edited by Julian Kaiser on Tue Oct 18, 2011 12:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:53 pm

Nicole gave a quiet laugh at Julian's comments about Vinzent. "I'm surprised a man like that even has a family, assuming he's like that all the time," she replied. Although somewhat brief, the witch quickly picked up on the flicker of anger on Julian's face. Nicole couldn't blame him: the manner in which the foreign language had been spoken from Vinzent seemed rude. That parting bit of Italian confirmed it. She flinched away slightly when the "coffee" and bottle of bourbon were slammed onto the desk, then flushed with embarrassment. She really was rather jumpy.

A small frown met the sarcasm. Whether it was the health risks of excessive alcohol intake or sympathy that Julian's day plummeted from great to crappy in five seconds flat thanks to Vinzent was difficult to say. Nicole persuaded a smirk to tug at one corner of her mouth at the additional remark, and once Julian was close enough the witch wrapped her arms around him. After a few seconds Nicole allowed her head to tilt and rest upon Julian's chest. It was soothing, this feeling, and it wasn't until Julian appeared in Nicole's life that the witch realized just how much she missed it. Sure, she was a strong and independent woman... but this was different.

Patiently, she listened. Julian's explanation cleared up precisely who Berlynn was in addition to everything else. Nicole wondered what it was about the other witch that Vinzent preferred over Julian, other than the obvious. She had a feeling it might be blood status, given her recollections of a conversation not too long ago. However she refused to interrupt even long enough to ask such things. Nicole would rather simply listen to Julian speak and soak up all the information first before asking even more questions. As talk turned to his family life, Nicole gently pressed herself against him in a hug. "I'm sorry," she murmured.

Nicole mulled over Julian's words for a moment. Her face schooled itself into a semblance of neutrality, though it still held a degree of the earlier sympathy for what had happened earlier in the wizard's life. Then she nodded, the green eyes shining their comprehension for Julian to see. "I'm not much of a quitter, being quite stubborn myself," she replied with a flicker of mischief. A quiet little murmur and a shrug met his remark about logic, followed by a chuckle. "Not all logic makes sense, anyway." The witch didn't quite know how to handle the 'rich and miserable' bit.

"And, in direct contradiction to that part about not being a quitter... what I had been about to say before he arrived," Nicole jabbed her thumb in the direction of the door to mean Vinzent, "... was that I was thinking about quitting my security guard job, and going through auror training. Of course that's assuming the field could find any use for someone like me," Nicole confessed.

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:52 pm

Nicole's words completely erased everything that had come before. Anger and embarrassment were promptly replaced with surprise, and then an all-consuming happiness at the thought. A job that once gave him so much misery suddenly had the opportunity to become something he actually looked forward to in the morning. Perhaps he could finally quit his post as Vinzent's bodyguard and take something in the department, so he could be around more often -- maybe he could even look into becoming a trainer. They'd have to keep their relationship quiet, of course, but that was nothing at all.

"Really? You'd like to do that? You'd be great at it, Nini -- I'm sure they could use someone like you on the force, I mean with things as they are, having an expert in muggle weapons would give you a real edge. Even with...other limitations. Everyone is expected to have their own speciality, anyway." He picked Nicole up and spun her around, laughing.

"Do it! You should at least try. I think you'd surprise yourself with how well you'll do. And...I can't deny that having you around more often would be very appealing. If you did that, then maybe...you know, if you don't think it's too much...then maybe you've just given me the perfect reason to quit working for Vinzent. I could find something else in the department, be around more often, work more regular hours. I really should do it anyway, now that I have Violet..." Which reminded him of something.

"But hey, I mean...that's a bit of a trip to work for you every day, isn't it? I mean...if you wanted...this is probably way too soon but you did say we should go at our own pace...what I mean is, there's an extra room that we're just using as storage right now, Shelly could have her own room. Or share with Violet if the girls prefer, I wouldn't mind. There's plenty of space, and it's loads closer."

Julian shrugged, trying to make it seem like less of a huge deal than it actually was, but the faint blush that crept up rather ruined the effect. If Nicole said no, that'd be absolutely fine with him, he'd understand -- but now that the idea had popped into his head, it was becoming more and more appealing. Waking up next to Nicole every morning...Violet having someone to play with and talk to. Same for Shelly, really. It'd be like having a family again, something that Julian had wanted desperately ever since his own meagre semblance of one was torn apart by his mother's death.
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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:31 am

Nicole had been a bit nervous to come out and confess this urge for a change in career. For one thing, in her observations an auror needed magic to be competent - her greatest drawback. She hadn't mentioned this decision to Lori, and upon running it by Mark she received little more than indifference. Although Julian had mentioned before that she would make a good auror, Nicole feared the notion would change now that he knew about her past. Not to mention their present relationship could potentially make Julian object...

But no: Julian was as encouraging as ever, and made a great deal happier. Nicole held on to Julian as he spun her around and laughed with him. "I would like to at least try. Probably beats chucking drunks out bar doors any day. I could provide better for Shelly, and be closer to you..." Nicole also was making the assumption of better benefits, but that didn't measure up to her top two reasons.

Nicole blinked. Had Julian previously considered quitting his post as Vinzent's bodyguard? She didn't recall him saying anything about that. Although, really, given what she'd just observed moments before it wasn't that surprising a move. "Define 'too much,'" the witch teased, giving a slight backward glance to the desk. If their bit of rule-breaking earlier wasn't too much, could the same be said of working in the same department? "Something less demanding of you sounds wonderful, and I'm sure you'll find no objections from me or the girls," she said. After few seconds Nicole realized she hadn't named Violet and Shelly by name, implying a more family-esque feel, and blushed a little. It sounded too good to take back and re-word. Nicole wasn't the type to take something back in most cases, either.

Nicole bit her lip the moment Julian mentioned transportation. She hadn't thought about transportation. By car or broom it would indeed be quite a long trip. Floo was workable. But perhaps Julian was concerned about her getting jostled this way and that day after day. The witch hadn't anticipated Julian asking her if she'd like to move in with him. In fact, no thought whatsoever had been given to the issue of housing and the daily commute. “Well... there’s the Floo Network...” Nicole pointed out tentatively. At the same time Julian’s offer was incredibly tempting. The woman was surprised just how tempting it was to her ears, and for all the reasons he had specified, too: easy commute, implied interaction for Shelly and Violet... Although left unsaid, their mornings would certainly be improved by vast volumes as well.

Although Nicole began tentatively, she had more to say. “Though, if you want to try living together and Violet’s fine with it...” she went on, trailing off and providing a shrug of her own. The color that flooded Julian’s face wasn’t lost on the witch and she smiled. “I still have to make arrangements, first, and we should probably ask how everyone else involved feels about it.” A flicker of mischief danced across Nicole’s face. “I certainly have no objections.”

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Fri Oct 21, 2011 11:34 am

Julian was visibly relieved at Nicole's answer; the color faded from his cheeks and he breathed a sigh of relief, smiling at her. Asking Violet and Shelly was pretty much a cursory thing -- they got along well and would probably be more excited about the whole thing than even they were. Of course there was the whole matter of getting Violet to take the news calmly and not go running to Nicole asking about wedding dresses and flower girls, but it was something he didn't mind doing -- definitely worth the effort.

"Of course -- you go ahead and do what you have to do. When you've got it all figured out just let me know and I'll ask Violet. I'm sure the girls will be thrilled but it's always good to ask, first," Julian replied, using Nicole's way of referring to their respective daughters. The inclusive term was one that brought a smile to his face.

"And yes, I'm sure that the pay is rather better at the department, although I'm not sure that paperwork day is any more fun that beating up drunks," he teased, trying to shift the conversation back to less ecstatic territory. The truth was he actually had butterflies in his stomach at the very thought of living with Nicole, and it was difficult not to appear overexcited.

"Although if we make a habit of making paperwork day anything like today..." Julian pointed out, grinning. It was all too likely his work ethic would take a dive if Nicole worked with him, but if they were living together and pulling in twice the pay, they could afford to have a bit of fun. It was almost jarring, how different the situation with Nicole was from his ex-wife, who expected Julian to carry their family all by himself while she stayed home with Violet.

He couldn't imagine having the same problems -- the thing with Kate is that she had expected him to provide a lavish lifestyle and still be around to help raise Violet. While he had no qualms about taking care of his daughter, it soon became clear that Kate thought by marrying into the Kaiser name, an inheritance would come along with it, and neither of them would have to work. Clearly, that had not been the case, and it soon became impossible to keep up with her demands. Staying in England after the divorce had been as much an issue of not wanting to have to deal with his ex-wife as it was Julian hoping for a fresh start where people wouldn't assume things because of his name.

Plus, the pay had been excellent, even if the working conditions left something to be desired. He'd been working for Zolnerowich long enough now to have amassed an impressive fortune, investing heavily and doing well for himself. Not working would probably not be an option, but taking a pay cut in favor of a more enjoyable job was certainly something he was willing an able to do. After all, Nicole was nothing if not a self-sufficient, highly independent woman. Julian got the feeling she would probably be deeply offended if he so much suggested that she stay with him rent-free, and as he was honestly surprised that she agreed to consider moving in, he wasn't going to push the issue for now. He'd made his last payment on the flat over a year ago, and it was now bought and paid for in full -- something he intended to bring up at a later date.
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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Sat Oct 22, 2011 7:50 pm

Nicole nodded, smiling. She wasn't quite sure where to start with her arrangements. A faint blush crossed her cheeks. Moving in with someone had been the furthest thing from her mind until now. The witch wondered what Julian would think of Nicole keeping her place for them to use as something like a summer home. In the event living together didn't work out as well as they thought, Nicole wouldn't be stranded that way.

A laugh left Nicole at Julian's teasing. The thought of paperwork didn't exactly thrill her, true. But if the job improved her and Shelly's lives she would gladly find a way to survive within a sea of parchment. "I think I'll manage," she replied lightly. There was a hint of a grin on her face, which only got wider at Julian's remark about their earlier antics. Making a habit of it probably wasn't the best idea, as they had already agreed... but resisting that temptation while they worked together would be a challenge.

What's more, Julian seemed perfectly okay with her still working if they made this arrangement. Nicole's late husband was not so keen about the idea during their era together. Brian had been fine with the fact that they married while she was still dedicating herself to the military. Once Nicole had returned from her tours, however, Brian felt that she no longer needed to work for a living. All she really needed to do was stay in shape until the government activated her unit. Until then, Brian insisted that Nicole stay home and have children. She still went for a regular job anyway, and the latter never happened. Being confined to a household was like being locked in a cage.

First things were first, though: she should probably talk with someone with the authority to hire her as an auror trainee to see if she could even get her foot in the door. And she'd have to make arrangements with her current supervisor so that she could train yet still pull in some money if that was at all possible. She would need money to pay Julian rent for staying in his flat, and money enough to supplement food finances since there would be two extra mouths...

"Who should I speak to here about beginning the training?" she asked with light yet serious curiosity. A thought suddenly occurred to Nicole, which made her smirk and add in a tone nearly dripping with mischief, "Or do I need to 'persuade' someone who is already established on the force to speak for me?"

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:32 pm

"Well, first you have to apply....and yes, having references within the department does wonders, you're right," Julian smirked, retrieving his wand and summoning an application, which came zooming in through a slot in the door. 

"Fill that out and I'll make sure that it gets into the right hands. I know exactly what you'll be tested on and so I'll work with you on the things you might need the most help on -- I'm sure you're well above the physical fitness requirements, for example," he pointed out, unable to refrain from grinning wider. The woman could do marvellous things with her body, Julian was quite willing and able to vouch for that.

"I expect the most difficult part, honestly, will be the academic qualifications," he admitted hesitantly. "Stealth and Tracking shouldn't give you too many problems -- any spell work necessary is really very basic stuff -- and you can pass Concealment and Disguise by demonstrating the ability to correctly brew Polyjuice potion, which technically doesn't require you to use magic at all. So other than the academic thing, it's the physical test, which is easily done, and the criminal and background check, which should be deeply in your favour given your unusual expertise with Muggle weaponry. It'll be a bit of studying, but it won't be impossible," Julian reassured Nicole. He wrapped his arms around her and pulled her in close, kissing the top of her head. Again that little four-letter word came bubbling to the surface, but he forced it away -- now was not the time for it. 

He looked down at her, his mind tripping over that word like a broken record. How very appealing it was....it meant so much. Him and Nicole, breaking all the rules and being careless and happy and irreverent, together. Forever. Julian gulped slightly, glad she couldn't see his face. From the first night they were together, he'd wanted to tell her, but he still wasn't sure. It might be too soon, she might not feel the same -- what if he was wrong about his own feelings? 

But by now he knew with absolute certainty that he loved her. That it would never change, precisely because Nicole did, kept him on his toes in a way no other person alive could. Made him want more for himself -- made him better for her sake, and for the sake of the little family they were slowly creating. Him and Nini and Shelly and Violet...the image stopped him short. Moving in together was one step closer to that vision of the future. If she didn't already know that he loved her, she would find out very soon.
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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:22 am

Nicole caught the floating application and gave it a brief once-over. She decided to place it temporarily on Julian's desk with the intention of filling it out either right then and there or taking it home to work on instead. The witch honestly hadn't decided yet. Nicole nodded at Julian's offer to help her work on the most difficult items she'd be tested on, genuinely thankful for his help. "You sure about that, now?" she chuckled, smirking in response to Julian's grin. "Could always test me on that again later..." Whether 'later' meant that evening or another night during the week, the woman deliberately didn't say.

His hesitant admittance on academics being an issue made Nicole cringe. It was true: her magical academic expertise was largely street-smarts as opposed to the required book-smarts. She had heard of the Polyjuice Potion but had never made it. And although it didn't surprise her, Nicole bit her lip rather heavily at the mention of a background check. Julian sounded so hopeful, but Nicole was internally less than optimistic. The memories of why she had left America in the first place flooded her mind. For the first time since the day she left the United States Nicole was thankful there was a man who loved her nearby to pull her close. What would he think to know... how would any possible marks on her record vanish? She didn't want Julian to assume she was using him to clear her name.

Nicole stayed within Julian's embrace for several moments, holding on to him just as tightly as he was holding her. Then, suddenly needing space, she pulled away as gently as possible. "It... might not be as simple as all that..." she murmured. To keep from displaying her worry openly - a weakness she didn't want Julian to see just yet - Nicole strode over to the door and closed it once again. "I'm curious what all I could do for the academic part, but honestly I'm more worried about the background check," she admitted. Nicole fidgeted with her clothes and acted like she wanted to pace in the cubicle, but did all she could not to.

"It probably won't be in my favor because of my expertise with muggle weaponry." It was very nearly a panicked outburst as she finally lifted her nervous emeralds to meet Julian's gaze. "I should've told you before... I didn't know how, and it wasn't the right time. With something like that, it's never the right time..." Realizing she was babbling on, Nicole forced herself to stop in an attempt to reign herself in. Suddenly not very content with her ponytail the woman pulled out the hair accessory that bound the blonde tresses, fussed with her hair a bit and then pulled it back again. Still not good enough: she undid it to try again...

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 24, 2011 12:40 am

The sudden shift in Nicole's demeanour alarmed Julian, but he was bewildered as to what could have caused it. After all, she'd just passed muster with Zolnerowich -- he couldn't understand what a background check might produce that would be of any concern at all. She was usually so controlled, he thought maybe it had something to do with the magic siphoning. It was understandable why she'd be worried about the bias, but discrimination laws were quite in her favour. She was a witch capable of producing magic -- how powerful it may or may not be was no one's business but her own, provided she could perform up to standard, and Julian was sure she could. No one half as determined as Nicole could fail; they'd figure something out.

"Sweetheart, relax, I'm sure it'll be fine," he told her, moving to rub her shoulder reassuringly. As she suddenly seemed displeased by her hair, and he'd picked up a thing or two taking care of Violet, he gently tugged the elastic out of Nicole's hand and combed her hair back with his fingers, putting it up the way she normally wore it. Playing with Violet's hair seemed to have a soothing effect on the child, and he hoped it would work for Nicole as well -- he didn't mean to be patronising.

"It's mostly just a verification thing -- your blood status, your schooling, things like that. Not a big deal at all. And then your criminal record, but anything serious enough to warrant a rejection would have prevented your being allowed in the country in the first place, so -- oh! You haven't gotten into trouble, before, have you?" he asked unthinkingly, her current job as a bouncer suddenly clicking in his mind. "I mean like, kicking someone out of a club and they got hurt on accident or something, and sued? Because generally speaking, that sort of thing can be worked around."
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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:17 am

Distracted by her thoughts, Nicole allowed Julian to take the elastic accessory from her. She stood as still as possible to let him fix the locks that were suddenly a source of irritation for her. His actions soothed her a little. With a few deep breaths, Nicole managed to gain some semblance of control. She still felt like a caged tiger.

When Nicole swallowed she was certain it was loud enough to be audible even for Julian's ears. "Not officially, I suppose..." the witch muttered, glancing away from Julian and to one of the chairs guests were provided to sit on. "Julian... I've left out a few bits of my past since, at the time, it wasn't relevant. I suppose if I'm going to do this, you'll need to know." Nicole took his hands in hers, sidled over to one of the chairs, and sunk into the piece of furniture.

"During my time in the military, I met an auror. I was young and in love. And stupid... I married the wizard, and I was blind to what he was really like. He waited patiently until my tours were done. But... that was just his cover.

"When I came home to a proper married life, it was like he was a completely different person. His expectations were, in a word, outrageous. If he didn't get what he wanted or expected, he resorted to abuse. Many of my scars were 'gifts' from him. At the time, I loved him too much to even think about fighting back. Instead, I documented each time it happened. I came close to divorcing him several times, but found that I couldn't. I was trapped..." A single tear rolled down her cheek despite all attempts to discuss the matter stoically.

"When my brother committed suicide, and willed Shelly into my care, I knew things had to change. Attempts to discuss this with Brian were futile. When I tried to leave for my brother's funeral... Brian wouldn't let me go. He started in on me all over again... Shelly was terrified. I feared that Brian would turn on Shelly after he was through with me. So... I shot him. Killed him." Nicole swallowed again and looked at Julian to gauge how he was taking all of this.

"I was scared, Julian... Although I had all of that evidence and proof that I killed him out of self-defense, I was scared. I took Shelly and went to my brother's funeral, but not long after that we were packed and on a plane straight to England. I've not wanted to go back since then, and only Merlin knows if I'm wanted as a suspect or if his family have kept it a secret as per the feud that sprung up later," Nicole concluded. A few more fearful tears slid down her cheeks. Nicole hadn't wanted to tell Julian like this, if at all if it could have been avoided. There was no remorse for the killing. Instead Nicole was more afraid of how Julian would see her, and what he would do to her or think of her, now that he knew.

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 24, 2011 7:21 am

When Nicole took his hand and pulled him over to one of the chairs, Julian didn't resist, allowing himself to be led and taking a seat right beside her, himself distractedly wondering what it was that was so serious as to warrant an immediate confession. He'd never even thought to question her background before, but as it all came spilling out -- the truth, the whole truth -- he felt himself growing angrier and angrier.

It was difficult work trying to keep his face impassive so that Nicole wouldn't think his anger was directed towards her, but when her composure broke, Julian couldn't keep it together anymore either. He gritted his teeth and closed his eyes, squeezing her hand as he listened to the full version of what she'd mentioned only briefly before.

When she got to the part about fearing for her life, and Shelly's, Julian had to turn his head away. Nicole was not some easily rattled little weakling. Without her having to say so, he knew that if things got so bad that she feared not only for her own life, but for Shelly's, that things had gotten really, truly, desperately out of control. Julian opened his eyes and turned to look back at Nicole, and found that black spots swam in his vision, making it difficult to see -- a literal manifestation of blind rage. He barely heard how she ended up in England, too distracted by the tears that escaped, shining from her eyes. Without conscious thought, his hand slid up to her cheek and brushed them away, followed by his lips which fell upon her skin more gently than a whisper.

"Nicole." Julian had to pause for a moment, surprised at the strangled sound of his own voice. It would simply not do for what he was about to say. He cleared his throat, and tried again. "Nicole. Listen to me very carefully." He sighed, and then leaned in close, so that though his words were little more than a murmur, there would be no missing his every word.

"I believe you." And he did, with all of his heart. Her story had the undeniable ring of truth, and was backed up by every little thing she'd ever done and said in his presence. The trigger-happy tendencies, the habit of being armed to the teeth, especially when she was with Shelly. The initial reticence to get into a relationship, followed by a quick retraction which suggested that she craved and needed the physical contact in the same, lonely way that he did -- not some shallow interaction but a deep-seated, soul-baring revelation that could only shared skin to skin.

"I'm glad that you did what you did." Which probably was not the response Nicole was expecting, but it was no less true for it. "Because if you hadn't, then I'd have no choice but to do it myself. I could not live with myself if on a day to day basis you couldn't be absolutely safe in the knowledge that he will never, ever hurt you again." It was like the words were pouring out of his mouth of their own accord -- this was not how he had planned it, but that no longer mattered. She needed to hear the words from someone who was not a monster, who would never raise his hands to her to cause her pain unless she wanted him to grip her tighter or dig his nails in a bit when they were making love.

"I have a confession of my own. Something I've been holding back because I wanted to wait for the perfect moment, and I kept thinking it was too soon. And I'm sure you already know, but I couldn't live with myself if you had to wait one more moment to hear it directly from me." Julian took a deep breath, turning to look Nicole directly in the eyes.

"I love you. And I will never let anyone hurt you, ever again." It probably would not be terribly reassuring to say 'over my dead body,' considering the circumstances, but that was exactly the sentiment anyway. "And we will figure out how to deal with this. Not just so you can get a halfway decent job, but because I don't want this dangling over your head anymore. You've dealt with enough already." His voice broke towards the end as, unbidden, the image of a young, scared Nicole sprang into his mind -- cowering away from the blows while still trying to protect Shelly.

Julian could never understand how someone could do such a thing, but it was very easy to imagine wrapping his hands around the throat of anyone who tried, magic and Muggle weapons be damned. He'd use his bare hands and do it with relish. Truly, it was fortunate that Nicole had already killed Brian, because if it ever did come down to a trial, she had a much better chance of winning the case with her stacks of evidence and extracted memories than he did with nothing but his blind fury at her ex-husband's outrageous treatment of her.

"You said something about a feud. Are -- are they the ones who did this to you? Took away your magic the second time, I mean. When exactly did that happen?" It occurred to Julian that part of her reluctance to get out and date again might have been the fear that her ex's family would hire someone to get at her and Shelly in retaliation for the murder. Suddenly the fact that she had let Julian in so far was all the more flattering -- he almost felt unworthy of the honour. What had made him so different from anyone who had tried beforehand? It was a question he'd have to ask one day, but today was not that day.
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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:41 am

Nicole leaned into Julian's touch, cursing herself for having such weakness as to weep before him. She hoped he didn't think her just telling some huge sob story and merely adding tears for the effect. It had been a terrible time in her life: a time Nicole sincerely wished she could forget. When asked to listen the witch looked into his eyes even as hers still shined with tears. 'Get a grip on yourself, girl!' she scolded, willing herself to be tough and hold the tears back. It almost crumbled once again when Julian said he believed her. An incoherent utterance that could have been a 'Thank Merlin' or other three-syllable statement escaped her trembling lips. Now that she was a bit more settled the tears slowed, then stopped.

A blink of surprise and relief followed. The remark, nor its follow-up, were what Nicole had been anticipating - and she was all the happier for it. She wondered for just a moment what this conversation would be like were she not this auror's girlfriend, but only as a means to observe. In all honesty Nicole had anticipated the worst reaction possible and the possibility that she might once again find herself romantically alone. The witch was glad that that vision did not come to pass.

When Julian announced he had a confession of his own, Nicole slightly tilted her head in curiosity. The witch wondered what on earth it could be. By the time they were locked eye-to-eye she had deduced a possibility of what that confession might be. She swallowed, hard... and then Julian said it. Had they not already taken one risk earlier today Nicole would have been insistent on tugging Julian onto the desk. Instead she was merely tempted, assuring herself that later would be much better and all-around more comfortable. Instead, Nicole calmly and deliberately rose from her seat to sit on Julian's lap. "I love you, too, Julian. And thank you," she murmured and leaned into him. What Nicole wouldn't give to simply spend the rest of the day this way. Unfortunately, she doubted Zolnerowich would let either of them have their way.

"Yes... a feud. That's about the best word I have for it," Nicole murmured, sitting up properly so that they might look each other in the eye. "My brother-in-law, Kyle, was responsible for the second siphoning four years ago. And that's another thing..." The woman's eyes turned nervous again, but this time without the tears. "I came home - not the one I live in now - and found the place trashed. I was hit over the head... and next thing I remember he's there, Kyle, standing over me and trying to take away any remaining magic. He mentioned I had been out cold for a while, though he had only just started the siphoning..." Nicole trailed off there, not wanting to consider the fact that Kyle had been telling the truth then much less now. "I hope he was lying..."

"I... fatally shot him as well, and used a simple spell to transport his body back to his family. I told them to leave me alone or I promise I would kill every last one of them that even tried to harm Shelly or me. They've left me alone and authorities haven't been pounding on my door or approached me in public to haul me off, so I'm assuming the pureblood side's decided to keep it the 'Old Way' as a feud than get the authorities involved... They'd best continue to leave me alone..." she concluded. Although her voice was mostly stable the witch's tone wobbled a little whenever she paused due to fear.

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:44 pm


Julian wrapped his arms around Nicole, holding her close. When she returned his words to her, he smiled and kissed the side of her head, giving her a quick squeeze. It was almost funny, really, how much he'd been worried about the right time to say it, and how easy it had been. She hadn't freaked out or looked in any way displeased for even a fraction of a second -- the words had been reciprocated as easily as his feelings were.

Somehow that only made hearing about what Kyle had done to her even worse, as he stared back into her eyes, assuming the worst. There was no telling whether or not he lied as he was certainly in no position to relieve their curiosity anymore, and the thought of what he could have done to Nicole when she was passed out made Julian want to break things. As his arms were currently wrapped around Nicole, however, he forced himself to calm down and breathe deeply. It was all over, and the need for retaliation long since past.

Or so they hoped -- somehow he got the feeling that they'd be coming back for her one way or the other, and their agreement about moving in together was looking more and more like not only a good idea, but the best idea. There was no way in hell Julian could stand living so far away from her knowing that members of her ex-husband's family were still out there, perhaps biding their time. Simply moving in with him and getting her a job at the Ministry now seemed inadequate. If only there was some way that they could do something about her magic, so she could be protected not only offensively, but defensively. It's not like walking around wearing body armour was a viable choice, and defensive spells could very well mean the difference between life and death.

"Alright," Julian started, tucking a strand of hair behind Nicole's ear, and cupping her cheek. Despite the intimate gesture, his next words were very much in his professional, getting-work-done Auror voice. However much Zolnerowich might disagree, Julian was a consumnate professional -- except on paper work days, of course, and due to Nicole's surprise visit, that day in particular.

"I know we'd both love to believe that it's older, but for Shelly's sake as well as yours, we shouldn't take the risk. Rather than wait for them to find you, I think we should do a little investigating of our own and find out where they are and what they're up to. And while we're at it, find out the status of the case back in America. You're right -- if they didn't come after you for Kyle, you're very likely in the clear, legally. Which means there won't be that particular obstacle in your application to the Auror Office, so that's a bit of good news. I just need the names and birth dates of key members of their family -- I'll put in an information request on them before I leave tonight and send it in as urgent so we can get it tomorrow morning. But for right now," he concluded, carefully getting up out of the seat, still holding Nicole securely.

"We're going home. Paperwork and Zolnerowich be damned, I'm going to resign soon anyway so pissing him off is hardly going to hurt at this point. I'll go to Azkaban at the crack of dawn tomorrow if need be but tonight, you're mine."
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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:34 pm

Nicole blinked at the start of a rather professional-sounding tone from Julian. She smiled faintly and leaned into the contact of his hand cupping her cheek. The witch almost anticipated that this was her cue to leave so he could get to work on the mountainous task set to him by Zolnerowich. She had dealt with the demons of her past this long on her own. They would just have to riddle out this little roadblock later. There were arrangements to be made while Julian was busy at work...

An almost startled expression crossed the witch's face when Julian proposed checking up on the Delaneys. Nicole supposed it made sense, but on the other hand it felt like swatting a hornet's nest with a stick. Slowly, she nodded. "I have that information about their family. I'll need to dig it out of my filing, though, to double-check the dates."

When Julian stood up, taking her with him, Nicole wrapped her arms around his neck. "It might be selfish, but that sounds wonderful," she murmured, giving him a quick peck on the cheek. "Though, if you plan to go that way," the witch paused long enough to point in the direction of the door, chuckling, "... you might want to set me down, for appearance's sake." Nicole hoped the punctuating but gentle squeeze she gave Julian conveyed just how much she would rather be in his arms at that moment.

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 24, 2011 10:44 pm

It was quite true -- as much as the thought appealed to him, Julian couldn't just traipse through the Ministry with Nicole in his arms. He made a sound halfway between a grumble and a chuckle and reluctantly set her on her feet, still holding her close as he leaned down and placed a soft, sweet kiss on her lips.

"That's fine -- just as long as we get that information as soon as possible. And well, alright," he sighed, making a sad face. "Since I must observe the standard rules of decorum. The sooner we get out of here, the sooner I can have you back in my arms again," he pointed out, walking to the door and sweeping it open grandly, winking at Nicole.

"After you, m'lady!"
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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:11 pm

Nicole couldn't resist a chuckle at Julian's uttered protest. Even as her boots touched the floor the witch refused to move for some few moments. Instead she preferred to accept and return the tender kiss being plied to her lips. Nicole had all she could do to keep her hands out of Julian's hair. lest the plan to return home be foiled.

A smile more like the typical Nicole crossed the woman's features as Julian strode over to the door and held it open. She strode over, making sure to pluck up the auror application from his desk, and paused beside the wizard. "Might be best to Floo back to my place for the files, first... unless you'd rather it wait until morning?" she suggested coyly, winking back at him as she stepped out of the office.

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:20 pm

Julian sighed, quite unwilling to take any more time away from their already-limited allotment, but it was probably best to get it out of the way first. There was a very high likelihood that he would already have a difficult time getting out of bed once he was in it as it was; there was no need to make him have to leave it any earlier than necessary.

"Alriiiiight, your place first," he agreed poutily, closing the door behind them. With any luck, Zolnerowich would assume he'd gotten started on his most recent assignment. It was a short walk to the lift, and it let off right in front of the hall of fireplaces, which due to the early hour of the day, were quite empty.

"Here we are," he said cheerily, before realising he hadn't any powder on him, as he normally just Apparated. "Erm..."

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:56 pm

Nicole stifled a giggle at the response earned. In truth the witch doubted she'd really feel up to hoisting herself out of an earthly heaven to locate files first thing in the morning. Although that meant a bit of a wait, it would be worth it to have that item on their to-do-list out of the way. At a brisk pace she made her way to the lift. Nicole knew Julian would be right behind her. The lifts and the many fireplaces for those arriving by Floo were graciously deserted.

Without thought Nicole retrieved a small box from her pocket. This one was hardly as decorative as the one on her mantle back home. In fact, it looked like a small mint box. Smirking in Julian's direction Nicole took a pinch of the powder, put the box back in her pocket, and tossed the powder into the flames. She shouted her address and took Julian by the hand, stepping boldly into the roaring green flames.

In the next second, they stood in Nicole's living room.

The witch didn't bother to dust herself off. Instead, she grinned backward at Julian. "Last one there's a marmot!" Nicole announced with a laugh before taking off and running through the house towards the basement, hoping Julian would chase after her.

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:23 am

No further invitation was required -- Nicole only had a few seconds' head start before Julian recovered from his surprise and took off after her. His earlier assertion about they physical portion of the Auror test was indeed correct; the woman was fast. He nearly broke his neck falling down the stairs in his attempt to overtake her, but fortunately he fell near the bottom of the stairs and landed with a thud onto a small rug.

"Guess this makes me the marmot again," he winced from his position on the floor, rubbing his temple. Julian had whacked his head pretty good on the floor -- not hard enough to lose consciousness, but it sure didn't feel too great, either.
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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Tue Oct 25, 2011 12:50 am

Nicole had taken a shortcut down the basement steps by sitting on the rail and sliding down it. the chase was fun and got her adrenaline pumping. However, when Julian fell down the stairs it went without saying that the witch visibly paled and had been struck with a bolt of fear. At least he had landed on the rug... but it didn't look or sound like a pleasant tumble at all.

Abandoning all thought to the files, Nicole rushed to Julian. "Merlin, Julian, are you alright?!" she asked, completely forgetting about her challenging statement to him what seemed like only seconds prior. The witch knelt at Julian's side to calmly assess the damage. It seemed like Julian had only taken a knock to the head. "Can I get you an ice pack, or a potion, or something?" she asked, feeling as terribly guilty as she looked.

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:00 am

"I'm fine," Julian gasped, trying to hide his pain for Nicole's sake. One look at the expression on her face told him that she felt responsible for his stupidity, and he wouldn't have that.

"It's okay, really....just caught me by surprise..." In an attempt to emphasise his words, he quickly got to his feet -- much too quickly, because the sudden movement made him light-headed. "Just get the -- things --" he couldn't remember what they'd come for "-- and we'll go to my house. I have stuff there...I'll be fine, I promise. Just a little knock to the noggin, I've had worse."
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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Tue Oct 25, 2011 1:19 am

Nicole couldn't hide her skepticism that everything was fine. She tried to help him to his feet, but he was much too quick. With a worried nod the witch reluctantly left Julian's side to where a wall of boxes stood. She gave each lid a momentary glance before chucking ones she didn't want as if they were little more than bulky pillows.

'Stupid, stupid, stupid...' the woman mentally berated herself. Finally finding the correct box Nicole lifted the lid and leafed through a few folders before finding the one she wanted. She pulled it out and returned to Julian's side.

"Got 'em. Now let's get you taken care of, Juli..." Nicole murmured, linking her free arm with his both as an aide and as a gesture of affection.

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PostSubject: Re: A Surprise Visit - Julian Kaiser's Office   Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:11 pm

Julian nodded slowly, in agreement that knocking back a pain potion or two would definitely improve things vastly. But then he turned and looked up the stairs, and paled slightly. No, that would not do.

"I've got all kinds of things at home -- let's just go there." He didn't normally Apparate into his apartment, in order to keep up appearances, but there were a daunting set of stairs there, too, and it was hardly like he could Apparate onto his doorstep without being noticed anyway. As Nicole was already holding onto him, and he didn't feel much like taking he usual walk from The Leaky Cauldron, Julian simply closed his eyes and held Nicole tighter, pulling her along with him by Side-Along Apparation. When he reopened his eyes, they were standing in the middle of his bathroom on the second floor of his flat.

Stumbling over to his sink slightly, he quickly wrenched open the door of one of the cabinets below and pulled out a clear vial of pale blue liquid, tossing it back.

"Ahhhh! That's better," he said, licking his lips. The potion had a pleasant minty taste to it. "Now, where were we?"
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