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Ruth Tamson

[1836/1837][EN] Kamikaze

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Sunday the 6th of November 1836 - in the morning - auror department

 

"I have come to report a crime." 

 

She had waited for her one day free. Ruth didn't have a lot of those, just once every few weeks, but that was fine. She liked to work hard and honestly, on her free days, she didn't quite know what to do with herself. She had nowhere to go, no one to take care of, nothing to visit, so she may as well work. And besides, waiting gave her the opportunity to think about what she was going to say, and who she was going to say it to.

 

"And what crime might that be, ma'am?"

 

There might've been a different solution, but Ruth didn't know what. She had some money saved, but not enough, she didn't have proper connections and, secretly, she wanted to take revenge. Just a little bit of revenge on the people that failed so badly at raising her son. And so, what better way?

 

"I have abducted a child." 

 


 

Private <3 

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Another day at work. Wait, no, that wasn't the right way to think about it. An auror never really had "another day at work." They technically did, considering that every day they were at work technically meant it was another day of work, but it was about what the sentence implied. "Another day" implied that this day was just the same as all the others. That it was boring, monotonous and easy. Just another day. But it wasn't like that. It was never like that. She didn't have time to be bored. Even if there were days where she couldn't do a whole lot, it didn't feel right to think about it as being bored. Aurors had certain tasks to fulfil and it seemed a little disrespectful to the people crying in the office to think of a day as "boring." 

 

Besides, today she just happened to be insanely busy, so no time to be bored. In fact, the next case was already here. A woman who wanted to report a crime. Christina looked at her for a second. She didn't look hurt, so that was at least something. But she couldn't really tell what she felt emotionally. There was no way to tell how serious she felt from the way she was speaking. Was she calm or just pretending to be calm? She was fidgetting a little, but that wasn't really a tell. Lots of people started fidgetting near aurors. She understood that. When she was a child and saw a policeman on the other side of the street, she always tried to act as naturally as possible, even though she'd never broken a law in her life.

 

Except...this woman had. Apparently. Christina blinked a few times at the answer. "You've... abd-" She closed her mouth. The word abduction set her teeth on edge, it always did, but this wasn't about her. This was about this woman and what she'd apparently did. God, if this was true, it was definitely a first. Most of the time people didn't calmly stroll into the auror offices to inform the people they were abducting children. Christina immediately went down a list in her head of all the missing children she'd heard of. Which one was it? When did it happen? Where was the child now? Was the child still... Probably, she was talking about "mere" abduction and nothing else. Dear Lord... See, this was why she could never, ever be bored. "Right." She said, maintaining her composure. She knew nothing. Maybe this woman had... accidentally taken the wrong child home after school. That might happen sometimes. No reason to start yelling now. Or ever. Professionalism, please. "Could you please elaborate on that? When was this?"

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Elaborate. Ruth knew she would have to, but for some reason it still came as a shock that she wasn't immediately hauled off to Azkaban, but had to explain. Elaborate. "Of course," she said, with a polite smile, because she did everything with a polite smile. She had even worn her Sunday best, today, as if she would be going to church. She hadn't been, not in years, not after... well. After.

 

"It was quite a while ago," she said, apologetically, because she could've done this sooner. Probably should have done this sooner. "Twenty-four years ago, in fact. My employees, I work for the Waterfords, Circe and Chiron Waterford. They had a baby girl, and... I told them it was a stillbirth." 

 

She cast her eyes down, looking guilty. 

 

"I took her away." 

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The woman sounded apologetic as she explained that 24 years ago she'd told two new parents their baby had died and she'd taken it away. No, her. She'd taken her away. A little baby, thought dead by her parents for 24 long years. And she sounded apologetic. Christina wrote down the information and tried not to break her quill in shock. Even after hearing of the most terrible things, it was still difficult to comprehend what humans were capable of. There were a few reactions Christina could and did have to this news and at the moment they were all fighting for dominance. There was the thought of her own child. Of little Theresa. How she would feel if they'd told her the child had died and it turned out not to be true. It was a sickening feeling, but not more sickening than her own feelings when Florian was abducted. And when it had happened to herself. But her own experiences had lasted for so much shorter than this. 24 years. 24 fucking years and now she calmly walked into the office to apologetically tell her that she had abducted a baby. God... 

 

She wanted to lunge forward an punch the woman in the face, really, but this was now a very dire situation. The woman hadn't told her who she was, where the child, or adult hopefully, was now and how to get to her or in what condition she was in. Screw this up now and she could very well lose the woman and the abductee. So she stayed calm. Outwardly. Inwardly she was making a plan as quickly as she could with the limited information she had. The first step was broadening the pool of information. No matter how abhorrent the thing this woman had done was, if she calmly walked into the office to explain what she did, she was probably at least a little bit...fragile. Best to be calm and friendly about it. Not because Christina wanted to, but if this woman acted mild mannered, it would be best to respond in kind. She'd probably get a lot more information out of her that way. There was always time to tear things down later. She hoped.

 

"Let's go somewhere a little more private." She said first, leading the woman into an interrogation room. "Would you like some tea?" She wanted some water herself, just to have something to occupy herself with if the urge to do something drastic became too big. Damn abduction cases. But she could handle them fine. She just needed some more preparation than usual. "I'm going to ask you some questions." She said. "And then we'll figure out how to proceed from there, all right?" Not all right. Kick her to prison. Calm, Christina. "Could I get your name first, please. And do you have an address at the moment?"  She wrote down the answers she got, hoping they were true while simultaneously kind of hoping they weren't, because... god. "The child... Do you know where she is right now? Is she in good condition?" Please say yes.

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Yes, somewhere private, please. She nodded in relief and let the woman, god she was so young, was she older than Jack?, guide her into an interrogation room. "Yes, please," she said, when offered tea. Tea would calm her nerves and she needed all the calm she could get. Before she would let her nerves ruin everything. 

 

"Of course," she nodded. Questions, questions were good. Questions she could answer. Questions were easier than to just have to talk and talk herself. "Ruth Tamson. I'm... currently the house keeper for the Waterford family, so I reside with them in High Hauxley, Northumberland." She waited while the woman had finished writing, because... she had to do this right. She wanted to do this right.

 

"I don't know where she lives," Ruth said, again, apologetically. "I haven't got an address... But her name is Jack Killigrew." Yes, the famous pirate. "I think she's alright... I've only seen her once since." 

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If she was really their housekeeper and had lived in their house for so long... God, she couldn't even imagine. Well. To be fair, she could understand a little bit at least, which only made her loathe this woman and her apologetic calmness even more. But at least she seemed to be honest for now and Christina wrote the information down calmly and diligently. Until she came to the name of the person who was abducted. Her quill stopped short on the parchment. An ink blot appeared and Christina looked at it for a moment before blinking and putting the quill down. Killigrew. Had she heard that right? The woman who was abducted was Jack Killigrew? Christina had never met her, but she knew she'd been in the auror offices at some point. And not exactly for fun. Wasn't she working on Mr Paisley's farm or something? If that was the case. Holy hell. This was an even bigger mess than she had originally anticipated.

 

She stood up after a quick "Excuse me, one moment" and walked out the door, making sure to silently lock the door behind her, just in case. She walked up to a secretary. "Could I get a tea and a water to interrogation room two, please?" She started. "And I need someone to check up on Jack Killigrew. Friendly, but we need to know where she is and how she's doing for the next... 24 hours at least. Oh and could someone inform Paisley about that. Thank you."

 

She went back inside and sat back down. "Tea's on the way." She said, gathering her thoughts again. Jack Killigrew. The pirate. This was insane. At least she was alive and... well, Christina couldn't comment on her condition, she had never met the woman, but she couldn't imagine it was terrible. "Could you please describe me what happened 24 years ago as best as you can remember?"

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Ruth didn't like being alone in the room, but... well, she was going to have to get used to it, wasn't she? From now on, she would have to get used to loneliness. She had never been to Azkaban, but surely that's where she was going to end up. Azkaban, the rest of her life. 

 

It was fine. After all, it was a simple trade. Her life for her daughter's.

 

"Thank you," she nodded, when the woman returned with the promise of tea. Yes, tea would be good. She felt cold. Was it the room? "Oh, um..." Now she would have to lie. "We were in Jamaica at the time... my mistress couldn't get a healer, there wasn't one on the island and the one coming in took too long, with such a swift labour. I helped her give birth to the child, but... she was silent, at first. Wouldn't scream. So I took her out of the room and..." She had looked so fragile. Her poor, beloved daughter. She remembered the way the Waterfords looked between her legs and how their lips twisted in disgust. 

 

"I didn't like my mistress back then," she continued. More passionate now, because... well, she had really hated Circe. "She was cruel and vicious and mean, and I just wanted to punish her. She had wanted this child for so long and..." Now she looked at the girl and hated her. "I just wanted to take away what she cared about. So I put the child away, and told my mistress she had died. She didn't want to see the child again, so... it was easy to take her away. And leave her somewhere else." 

 

She remembered that night vividly. She had hardly stopped bleeding, could almost not stand on her legs, but she had to take her daughter away, before... Well. Before the Waterfords would find her and deal with her themselves. They would just leave her on the side of the road, and at least Ruth had thought she would leave Jack with family.

 

"Apparently I put her on William Killigrew's ship. I had no idea, though... I didn't care much back then." 

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Every detail felt sickening. Christina wrote them down mechanically. It wasn't just the words. It was about how they were said. It felt so...distant. Separated. The calmness had made place for a more passionate demeanour, sure, but there was still just something off about it. And yet Christina knew that she had no reason to believe that this woman was lying. Nobody lied about something like this, that would be ridiculous. If it was a lie, the Waterfords would probably confirm that they never had a daughter or that that daughter looked nothing like Jack and then the whole confession would fall to pieces anyway. And even if they wouldn't do that, what was the point in lying about something like this? She'd be arrested, for sure. She'd probably go to Azkaban. Nobody would voluntarily risk something like that. So it couldn't be a lie. Not logically. It had to be the truth.

 

Which meant that Ruth Tamson was completely and utterly insane. Who else would steal a woman's baby just because she didn't like her boss? Who else would then put that baby on a fucking pirate ship and not think about her for 24 years? Who else wouldn't. CARE. The tea and water took that moment to arrive, which was very welcome. Christina grabbed the cup of water and drank from it, her knuckles whitening from the tightness of the grip. She had to calm down. This couldn't fall apart. She walked over to the secretary before she could walk out the door. "Have someone contact Circe and Chiron Waterford, immediately, please." She whispered. "I need to talk to them as soon as possible once I've finished here."

 

Again, she sat back down, drank some more water and picked up her quill. "You said you met her once since. When was that? Did you tell her anything?"

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Why did she have to leave? The woman drifted in and out of the room, and goodness, Ruth didn't even know her name, but asking for her name felt wrong too. As if she was trying to claim something from this young woman, something she had no right to claim at all. So instead, she kept sitting in her seat, her back as straight as possible, her eyes cast downward, just... waiting for the next question.

 

She felt exhausted. She wanted it to be over with. She wanted Jack to be happy, she wanted to go back into time, and... well.

 

"It was... almost a year ago," Ruth said, thinking back to that moment. Had it really been that long? "It was on a market, I was selling some clothes and I... recognized her. I asked her some questions and it seemed to fit the story, but... I didn't tell her anything. I tried to push it out of my mind after that, but seeing the woman made me realize... that I ruined her life." And she had. Oh god, she had. "I can't help but feeling guilty about that..." 

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At least she realised that. God, it was so hard to keep calm. She managed it. She always did. Well, most of the time. There were people who would've been a lot more forceful with her and she couldn't blame them, because deep down she wanted that too. She wanted to show this woman how awful she was. How the world thought about people like her. She wanted her to know what she'd done. Not just to Jack Killigrew, to her parents as well. This woman might have hated them, but she ruined their lives. She ruined an entire family because of some workplace trouble. But that was exactly why she had to stay calm. Why she shouldn't be more forceful. Ruth Tamson destroyed a family out of revenge. Christina was never, ever going down the same path. Even thought it was hard to keep the questions impersonal. To not ask why, how, when she figured out she had the right. How important she thought she was that her personal opinions of other people meant she could destroy everything they had and the collateral damage didn't matter.

 

But she didn't ask those questions. Because quite frankly, she didn't want to know the answer. And she couldn't understand it anyway. Tamson said she felt guilty now. That might be true, it might be a plea for sympathy, Christina didn't know. All she could think was that she should have thought of that before. 

 

Jack Killigrew didn't know either. That was at least another piece of information she had uncovered. The woman was cooperative and up until now her story seemed to fit. Jack Killigrew had ended up on a pirate ship, she did originate from the Caribbean and it could very well be possible that she saw Ruth Tamson when she was at a market. Everything she had set up until now could be confirmed by both the Waterfords and Jack. And hell, she could even ask some things to Mr Paisley if she really wasn't sure. She knew everything she needed right now. So there was one thing left to do. Her gaze turned just a little bit colder.

 

"You do realise that means we have to arrest you. Right?"

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Chiron Waterford was not pleased. He had been dragged out of his home in the middle of Sunday morning, to the auror office, where he now had been waiting for minutes. They had important news, apparently, but he simply couldn't phantom what, where, or why, and no one would tell him. There was nothing to do but wait.

 

Chiron had always hated the Ministry for Magic, to be honest. In his perfect world, he wouldn't have to deal with them. They thought they were so self-important, so full of rules and regulations and so willing to meddle with other people's lives. He almost missed Jamaica, as wild and vulgar as that place was, because at least the Ministry for Magic hadn't bothered with setting up shop there. But real profits were to be made in England. If he trusted Phoenix some more, his failure of a 'son', he could leave the boy in charge of England and go back to Jamaica instead. Unfortunately, that wasn't going to happen. If he gave Phoenix any of the company, the boy would run it into the ground. 

 

He could at least wait with that stuff when Chiron was dead and didn't have a care in the world anymore about what Phoenix would be up to.

 

He thought all of that, again, for about the 2085235924th time, while waiting. And waiting. And waiting.

 

And then, finally, a young, blonde auror appeared in front of him. "Miss," he said, with a bow, being polite as ever, but without a care in the world for who she was. "What can you tell us about the news your department has for us?" 

 

If he had to wait much longer, he was going to explode

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Ah yes, Chiron Waterford. His wife was there too, but she appeared quiet and distant. Apparently the conversation was going to go through him. Christina couldn't say she was looking forward to this conversation. She'd never had to do anything like this. Oh sure, delivering bad news wasn't something that was foreign to her, but how was she going to solve this. "So you know that baby you had 24 years ago that died? Turns out she's alive! And a pirate! And you've been living with the person who did that to you for 24 years! Congratulations!" No, she definitely never had to tell this kind of story to anyone and she doubted she'd ever have to again for the rest of her life. This case was unlike anything she'd ever encountered before. She didn't like any of it. It seemed wrong. Like there was something to it that just didn't quite make sense. But the Waterfords were here and they could at least confirm or deny what had been said.

 

As said before, Circe Waterford was quiet and didn't seem to make any attempts to talk to her. Chiron Waterford was the one who led the conversation. He looked... well, like any other rich man his age, to be honest. He was polite, but distant and looked impatient, as if the minutes he had spent waiting here were a personal attack. Maybe she was reading too much into it. It was a little hypocritical to complain about the attitude of the rich when she was literally a marchioness. She should stop forgetting that. Still, she didn't comment on him calling her miss, even though it was wrong. There were far more important matters at hand. There always were. "Mr Waterford, Mrs Waterford, thank you for coming." She started. "First of all, my name is Christina Cavendish-Hayes. Could I offer you something to drink? This might take a while."

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He didn't want anything to drink, he wanted to get on with it, learn whatever news she had to tell him (was it horrible that he hoped, somewhere deep inside, that Phoenix was dead? Ah, he didn't care) and then go back to his life. But he couldn't, because the English society loved politeness and going round and round and round stuff because oh no, what if you hurt someone's feelings! Did he look like he cared about other people's feelings? You didn't make money with those.

 

Well, you had to care about the feelings of your customers and business partners. He understood that.

 

So he smiled. "Thank you." That name sounded familiar, but he didn't feel comfortable throwing titles around. He wasn't a fan of aristocracy anyway. "My wife would like some tea. Do you have coffee? Otherwise I won't mind a glass of water." 

 

GET TO THE POINT, FOR GOD'S SAKE.

 

"Is it terribly bad news?" he asked, putting his hand on his wife's, patting it in fake comfort. His wife looked appropriately scared. 

 

HOW MUCH LONGER IS THIS GOING TO TAKE?! 

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Tea and coffee. Right, she made sure those were ordered and tried to change her stance into that of someone who cared about what was going on. Because she did. She really, really did. She had to tell two parents that they had lost their baby daughter 24 years ago and only know had she been found. But there was a difference between caring and looking like you cared. And being nervous about it could often lead to making mistakes, so she wasn't going to be nervous about it. Simple as that. She'd given bad news before, she would have to do it in the future. She could do this, because she was an auror. A good auror. This would be unpleasant, but it would be unimaginably worse for them.

 

"I'm afraid we've had to take your housekeeper, Ruth Tamson, into custody." She started with a sympathetic look. "She confessed to a crime that was committed 24 years ago." Christina let that rest for just a second or so. Maybe hearing how many years ago it was would stir some memories. Maybe that was the smallest way she had with which she could prepare them a little.  "Mr and Mrs Waterford, I'm afraid I have to inform you that 24 years ago Ruth Tamson told you...that your newborn daughter had died. That turns out not to be true. Tamson instead... took the child and gave it to someone else. We have found her, alive and well." Relatively well. Considering the circumstances. Oh Merlin, she had the feeling she was messing this up entirely, but it was better to just be straightforward with them. They looked like straightforward people. "Her name is Jacquotte Killigrew." Yes, that one. "An auror is with her right now."

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The sentences were coming in, slowly, surely and disturbingly. Taking Ruth Tamson, the woman that according to Chiron they should've fired years ago, but his wife had insisted on keeping on, into custody was one problem, but a minor one. He didn't care for the woman and she knew some things he didn't like her knowing, so it would be fine, good maybe even, if she 'disappeared'. Of course it would be a hit to the reputation of the household, whatever crime she had committed, but if they said they didn't know anything about it...

 

But then that date. Twenty-four years ago. Chiron didn't understand at first, but Circe blanched right next to him and grabbed his hand, and that made him... realize. What exactly they were talking about. And then the auror went on and on and on.

 

It took a long moment for Chiron to process what had just happened. His wife kept staring at him, the expression on her face obviously shocked, but that wasn't bad. That was the sort of expression they needed right now. Because... 

 

He had underestimated that housekeeper.

 

"I don't... understand," he said, forcing his face into something that looked apologetic. "I don't... understand. You're saying that our housekeeper has told you that twenty-four years ago she stole... our daughter?" Their daughter?! THEIRS?! That fucking whore knew damn well whose daughter it was, hers and that pirate! "Jacquotte Killigrew... why does that sound so familiar?" 

"She's a pirate," his wife whispered next to him.

 

Fuck it all to hell and back. 

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She waited patiently while the parents tried to figure out what it all meant. Christina nodded sympathetically at the question. That was exactly what she was saying. Their daughter was stolen and raised to be a pirate. Christina couldn't imagine what they were feeling right now. A part of her tried to imagine Theresa raised to be a pirate. The small child with her blonde hair and the permanent smile on her face. The girl who was kind to everyone and happy to meet every stranger, which was a problem. Imagining that girl becoming hard and gristled with time through the violence and terror she experienced. She couldn't imagine, could never think of anything like that happening. And yet it had happened to these people. They had no idea. 

 

But they did seem to know Jacquotte Killigrew. Circe Waterford finally spoke up, if only a little. She looked shocked, which Christina understood completely. Of course she did. She'd be surprised if they weren't shocked. "We've been working with her closely for some time." She said carefully. Christina had never seen Jack Killigrew, but she knew some things and could at least maybe put some worries to rest. "She's reportedly been doing quite well and adjusting to society." For whatever that was worth. She was a pirate. Christina came from a town that was once rife with them. As a child she'd thought it all terribly exciting, but once she was older she could see how poor her town was. How it was still recovering from ages of crime. Still, if everything was to be believed, this woman was stolen and groomed to be a pirate. Christina could hardly blame anyone for the sins of the people who raised her, especially if they weren't even her parents. She'd forgiven her cousins for being Bowmans. Maybe that was comparing apples to oranges, but only just.

 

"The timeline seems to match up." Christina said. Her eyes flicked to Circe Waterford's hair. She knew Killigrew's was red and the same seemed to be true of the woman in front of her. "The story seems to fit and if you can confirm that you did lose a child around that time... I think we can officially say that we have found your daughter."

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Chiron desperately tried to think of a way out of this. He didn't want to acknowledge that woman as his. She wasn't, and she would never be his own daughter. Perhaps, even if she had been the most perfect woman in existence, everything he would want in a daughter, then he might consider actually being happy, but now he was trapped in a corner. 

 

They couldn't claim they didn't have a child, everyone had known Circe was pregnant and had lost a child.

They couldn't claim the child had actually died, because no doctor had ever seen it and the grave back in Jamaica was empty.

They couldn't tell the truth, it would just make that bitch tell the truth about Phoenix too. He thought about that, considered that for a moment, but he would only be ridiculed. Haha, Chiron Waterford, can't even make a child! His reputation would be destroyed, his business would die, everything would be ruined. 

 

It seemed like the best option out, would be to acknowledge Jacquotte Killigrew as his. Even though it made him feel sick to his stomach. He wasn't even able to withdraw from this, pretend he didn't care, because what parent would want nothing to do with their own child? Especially if they found out, after twenty-four long years, that she was still alive?

 

"I have no idea what to say," he said. "I mean, yes, we did lose a daughter then and if the time-line aligns, it must be true, but..." Hopefully he looked stunned as he shook his head. "It's been so long... You have hopes, of course, but..." 

"Chiron," his wife asked softly, and he knew what she was asking. Were they really doing this? Were they really going to let themselves be tricked by their bitch of a housekeeper? At least she would disappear in Azkaban, he would make sure of that.

"I know, dear," he said, patting her hand again, "I can't understand it either. Our Nymph, finally returned." That's what they would have named an actual daughter, if they had had one of their own blood. 

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Nymph. Jacquotte Killigrew, the Caribbean pirate turned lost British daughter's name was Nymph. It was strangely poetic and fairy tale like, in a way. But then again, the magically inclined had always had a flair for the dramatic. But they did lose a daughter around the same time. Something that could probably be proven. There weren't any witnesses besides Ruth Tamson, they were either dead or missing, but she had no reason to see this as untrue. Her doubts had finally been laid to rest, as much as they could. All the important parties had confirmed the story, so...this was it. It was true. This entire insane story was all true. And they seemed to be accepting. Circe Waterford was still a little quiet, but Chiron was speaking of hope and their daughter finally returning. "Our Nymph". He wasn't denying it, he wasn't demanding any more proof. Maybe he should, false hope was a horrible thing, but this was as close to the truth as they would ever get. 

 

So Christina nodded and carefully smiled. "Like I said, there's an auror with her right now and she will need to be informed as well, but... after everything is clear and everyone's informed, we can organise a meeting if that suits you." She hoped they wanted to meet her. Jack Killigrew, or Nymph, deserved to at least know where she came from and what happened to her.

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Jack had been at home when suddenly an auror appeared to talk to her. One she hadn't seen before. He had told her that he wasn't here for anything she did, which was good, because Jack had immediately been wondering which laws she had broken and for how long she'd have to go to prison this time, but when the relief disappeared, all she left with was worry. Because if the aurors hadn't contacted her because of something she did, then they did it because of something else. Jack had tried asking him, but he hadn't seemed to know a whole lot either. Something was happening very quickly, he'd said. He needed to stay with her, know where she was and how she was doing. That's what he said. How. Not what she was doing, that didn't seem to matter. She'd asked him if she could go outside and he said that that should be fine, but that he'd like to come with her and Jack had decided to just stay home. Make things as easy as possible. She'd offered him something to drink and together they'd spend some time awkwardly attempting to make smalltalk.

 

Until the blonde woman came. Jack had never met her either, but the first thing she noticed about her, was that she looked very... apologetic. Which meant something was wrong. "Is there something wrong with Mr. Paisley?" She asked first, but the woman shook her head. 

"It's not about that." She said, introducing herself as Christina Cavendish-Hayes, which was a very long time that Jack was going to forget immediately. She was told she could call her Christina. Jack told Christina she could call her Jack. The woman's eyebrow twitched for a moment. She didn't know what that meant. 

 

"Listen...Jack." The woman started. She had a kind voice, Jack noticed, but tired. As if she'd had a really long day already. With every word Jack became just a little bit more worried. But that was just what she was like, wasn't it? Everything worried her. Everything could go horribly wrong and she tended to assume the worst. Ever since... Well... It didn't matter. It was better to listen to the woman with the long name first. 

"We've had some news." She continued. "Earlier today we arrested a woman who confessed to kidnapping a newborn baby and giving it to someone else."

Jack frowned. What did she have to do with that? Were they worried the woman had given the baby to her? She hadn't. Jack had never held a baby in her life and didn't think that would ever happen. But she let the woman finish, because she doubted that this was the full information.

"This happened 24 years ago... In Jamaica. A baby was stolen from her parents and given to a... pirate"

What? No.

No.

 

Jack blinked a few times, but then shook her head. "Are you trying to say..." Her voice trailed off into nothing as her eyes widened in shock. That was what she was saying, wasn't it?

Christina Cavendish-Hayes nodded. "The timelines match up. We don't know your exact age, but so far the kidnapper and the parents have confirmed the story to be true."

"No." Jack said. "It isn't true."

"And why do you think it isn't?"

"Because it can't be." She said with stubborn conviction. "This is ridiculous! I've lived with my father my entire life. I'm sorry, but it has to be someone else. It's. Not. Me."

The woman looked even more sympathetic now. It was starting to annoy Jack. She didn't need sympathy. It wasn't true. It couldn't be.

"Has your father every told you about when you were a baby?" She asked. "Like, for example, has he told you how you came to live with him?"

Jack's eyes got a little bigger. Yes. Yes, he had. She started to pace around the room and eventually grabbed the back of a chair, looking at the woman. "Fine, yes. He told me some woman came up to him and gave me to him and he assumed... He assumed I must be his daughter. Because I looked like him." But she didn't. She didn't look like him at all. No. No no no no no.

"That...does seem to line up with the story." Christina said.

"It doesn't." Jack countered quickly, not knowing how to continue that thought. "It just can't, okay? I've spent all my life on a ship. I've spent all my life being a fucking pirate. I thought I owed it to him because I'm his daughter. Because he was my blood and he raised me and oh god..."

"I know this must be hard..."

"You know nothing.Jack said harshly. "You can't just come in here and tell me that I was fucking kidnapped. Just..." She wanted to scream. She wanted to tell the auror to leave, to never set foot in her home again, but she couldn't. The shock of the entire situation washed over her and she sank down on the chair, placing her head in her hands. "Are you sure it's true?" She asked, pleading one more time for the woman to just say that it wasn't. But what then? What reason would she have to lie?

"It is." The auror said. "Your real parents are Chiron and Circe Waterford. I don't know if you've ever heard of them... The culprit has already been arrested. They've been informed and they want to meet you."

"Oh, come on." Jack looked at her incredulously. "I can't just... No, I don't know who they are. Do they know who I am? Are you sure they want to meet me? I can't. You're asking me to disbelieve everything I've known my entire life. How am I going to do that?"

The auror was quiet for a little while. "I don't know." She answered. Some honesty, finally. "You're right. I don't understand how you're feeling. I don't know what this must be like. The Waterfords know who you are. But they've also thought you were dead for 24 years."

Jack made a small noise of resigned contempt.

"I talked to them personally. Your father said he'd held hope. He also told me your name."

"What is it?"

"Nymph. Nymph Waterford."

 

Seriously? Nymph? Her real name was fucking Nymph Waterford? Jack sighed. She brushed the hair out of her face. Was the story true? This was an auror... And if other people had confirmed it, then... she wasn't a pirate. Or she was, but it wasn't in her blood. It wasn't her fate. Could she believe that? Truly? Could she believe that there were parents out there who hadn't run away and abandoned her, but had hoped for her return?

 

She was silent for a few minutes. So was the auror, seemingly giving her time to gather her thoughts. Eventually she sat up. "All right." She said, knowing nothing was. "If they really are my parents... I want to meet them. I want to know who they are."

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No, she really did not want to meet her "parents", and they really did not want to meet her. They sat together, in a quiet room the blonde auror had arranged for them, so they could calmly... wait for their daughter. Not-daughter. And they were not calm.

 

"I can't believe this," Circe hissed, as soon as they were left alone. "What did she do?"

"She played us," Chiron growled back. "We can't get out of this."

"Maybe we can -"

"No," he bit at her. "I've thought this over. There's nothing we can do. We can't denying it without explaining that you can't have children and then we'll lose Phoenix." Which wouldn't be a disaster, but... 

"So now what?"

Chiron shook his head. "We'll have to play out part. Pretend we're happy. Get to know her." A pirate. He had to pretend a pirate was his daughter. Both he and Circe looked queasy at that thought. Phoenix was already bad enough, but at least they had raised him themselves. But a pirate? 

 

There was nothing to do about it, though, so eventually... the girl was lead into the room. Circe played her part of a loving, doting mother well and she immediately hugged and kissed the girl. Bah, she looked filthy. Disgusting. Was that the best clothes the girl had or had she not even taken a bath? Circe pretended not to see or smell anything, though.

 

"We're so glad to finally meet you," Chiron said, raising up from his chair and smiling at her as if he was actually glad to see her. "It's... a bit unbelievable for us, I'm sure it is the same for you, but we are really... happy." 

 

At least as long as the aurors were around to look at them. 

 

"Oh Nymph," Circe sighed. "Look at you, all grown up! You're taller than me." 

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