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Alexis Eversly

[1837/1838][EN] Fog of War

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“Well, we’re very glad to hear that, certainly,” Katherine said with another small smile. She looked so much like a statue at times. Beautiful and marble-y, the speckled blues of her eyes the only indication that there might be a real human behind the perfect façade. Nicholas had always disliked it when his mother put on this front. He wasn’t even sure she knew she was doing it, but he wouldn’t put it past her. “And the poor dears don’t seem to have been affected much. They missed you, of course, but they’re used to not seeing you that often.”

Wow. That was the lowest of blows. “Like I ever saw you guys,” Nicholas pointed out. “You’re not in any position to lecture us on parental care.”

William looked up. “Don’t talk to your mother like that, Nicholas. And do you know, when Georgia plays doctor, you’re her imaginary patient?”

Ouch. “Well, at least I’ve never put her in the hospital.”

“There’s still plenty of time.”

Katherine sipped from her tea. “There’s no need for that, William, Nich. But err. If you don’t have a nanny at present, how can you even take the children back home?”

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She hated this, hated everything about it, hated that she couldn't just stand up, leave the tea, get the children and disapparate, instead of having to have this... theatrical performance. They had made up their minds, Alexis could see it right from the start, and no good argument was going to persuade them. She should've gone to the judge first, she could see that now, but she had been... naïve? And here she thought she was too mature for such things. 

 

"Katherine," Alexis said, trying to cut through the back and forward. "Please, reconsider. You know we will not, cannot give up on our children. We will do whatever we can to get them back, and when we will, your relationship with us and the children will be permanently damaged. You can still fix it, if you give us the children. We can arrange something to deal with the concerns, but they need to be home with us." She hated the thought of having to strike any kind of deal with her parents-in-law, but sometimes you just had to swallow and get it over with. 

 

If they would be reasonable, that was, and from the cold expressions, she doubted it. 

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William looked at Alexis disdainfully. “There is no need to threaten with anything, Alexis. I would suggest you reconsider your words quite carefully from here on out.”

Oh, yes, that was going to go so very well. Nicholas remembered using that disdainful tone to Alexis when they first met. He also remembered the reaction. It had not been spectacular. Or, well, it had, but it certainly had not been positive.

Katherine shrugged. “So tell us how you’ll manage with them. You don’t have a sitter, you each have a more than full-time job. Why don’t you at least leave them here until you’ve made other arrangements? Or we can watch them during the days and on the nights you don’t make it home.”

Nicholas made a face. “We’re going to manage. Now find them or I will summon my colleagues and drag them out of your home.” He meant it, too. He could have a bunch of Aurors here whenever he wanted. Maybe it would technically be abuse of power, but... potato, potahto. 

Katherine smiled half-heartedly. “Yes, that would definitely be in their best interest.”

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"It's not a threat," Alexis replied coldly, raising her chin a little, unwillingly defiantly. "It's simply a statement of fact." Please, a threat was something more along the line of 'Give us back our children, or we'll destroy your lives. Surely you have some pesky businesses on the side you wouldn't want us to take a look at'. She had grown up a Hollow, she knew what threats were. 

 

See, that was a threat. Alexis put a hand on Nicholas' arm, even she didn't know if it was to support him or hold him back. Could be both. "We all want what's best for our children," she told Katherine, coldly. "And right now that's them, at home, with us. So if you don't mind, we'd like to go upstairs and get our children." Hopefully without having to call the aurors, but they were their children, not Katherine and William's. 

 

"Thank you for the tea, though." 

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Independent of what his father might be saying, Alexis was being rather the voice of reason in all this. That was a bit surprising to Nicholas, actually: she was hardly fond of his parents, had never forgiven them for his first bout in a mental institute at their insistence. She hadn’t boycotted their relationship when she’d found out, but she’d questioned his desire to continue one rather strenuously. And he understood, you know. It had been odd. But after all those years he had preferred to pretend that their unforgivable crime had not occurred. He hadn’t wanted to allow any of it any consideration in his life, so that included the part where he was mad at them. Besides... he understood, in some way, that he hadn’t been easy to live with. It was beyond the pale, what they had done. But it hadn’t been all their fault. That part. Not some other parts. 

 

This was different, however. He was older. He wasn’t bothering them but by their choice. And this affected Alexis and his children and he would be damned if he would leave his children here. In the care of people of whom he knew so well what that entailed. 

 

And in the present case, he assumed that his parents thought he would forgive them. Even for this. Because he had forgiven the unspeakable before, and so they dared take their chances. 

 

But they couldn’t be more wrong. 

 

Katherine smiled grimly, and summoned a servant. “Have Miss Georgia and Mr. Christian brought downstairs, please, Lila.” She gestured upstairs and the maid hurried away. “You may borrow Lila for the time being, if you want. She does an excellent broccoli pie and the children do dote on her.”

William chimed in wryly. “If she turns out to be part of a murder conspiracy, though, please feel free to not return her.”

Nicholas hummed. “We’ll find someone.” Though Lila had massive advantages and they didn’t have someone and he should really, really take them up on this offer for the sake of both their jobs and their mental health. But that was why he had taken the house, too, and he didn’t want to owe his parents any more. 

“As for a deal... You can leave them with us when you want to, two days a week at a minimum and when you can’t find a sitter. We picked Georgia a very good school, and she likes it. It’s in London, so it’s convenient enough, but we can bring her and pick her up if you can’t make it work. Christian is enrolled in the kindergarten programme of the boys’ school opposite. I’ll give you all the paperwork.”

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If it had been up to Alexis, truly, fully and completely up to Alexis, she would've taken the kids and never returned here. She wouldn't have struck any deal, she wouldn't have negotiated, she would've never given up her children in the first place, and a younger version of Alexis probably would have done exactly that, but... well, she had grown up a little, hadn't she? And she had learned to understood that at some point, you needed to make compromises, you needed to do the thing you would never, ever want to do, for the sake of yourself, your family, your partner. This was a negotiation and the goal wasn't to be in the right, the goal was to get their children home.  

 

After that, they would figure out other options.

 

Even if it hurt to realize she had missed Georgia's first day of school, had missed Christian's. Would have to give up her children still two days out of the week. Would have to accept one of their little spies into their home. "We will borrow Lila until we find someone of ourselves," she clarified, because small sacrifices, it would be just a small sacrifice until they found someone themselves. They would start doing that as soon as possible, there had to be someone they could trust... "We'll bring the children to school." Surely they could at least manage that? Well, Alexis could. Nicholas would often be called away at odd times. "The two days will be only with one night. You'll get them in the morning, we will pick them up in the evening of the following day.' She'd rather not have them stay here at all, but she would deal with that later too. "When we find a nanny, she will come with." 

 

Maybe they should post an announcement under a fake name, no connections to the Everslys whatsoever, so they could carefully vet out anyone interested in a connection? This was maddening. Surely there was someone on the whole damn planet who wasn't trying to kill them and who was qualified to take care of the children? She shared a quick glance with Nicholas and then stood up when she heard the children, carefully sculpting her face in a bright smile. 

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“That will work,” Katherine said with a smile. “Of course, we’re always happy to jump in or keep them later, should you need it.” 

William smiled glumly. “You generally do.” 

“Alright, we got the ‘you’re bad parents’ spiel. Thanks, dad,” Nicholas said, curtly which of course was stupid for that was the moment that Georgia and Christian came down, a hand each in Lila’s, in the perfect clothing that so characterized a life as a child with Katherine and William Eversly, which Nicholas had always rebelled against.

“Mommy!” Georgia screeched and she came running for Alexis, hugged her mother tightly and looked as though she might never let go.

 

That moment made up for a lot.

 

“Mommy, is everyone still angry with you?”

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Oh Morgana, she had missed them. Alexis crouched down quickly, just in time to gather Georgia in her arms. The girl felt different, much taller than she could've possibly grown in those months where she had hardly seen her, but it was probably just her own perception. They grew so quickly, so, so terribly quickly, and Alexis had missed out on it. "No, sweetheart," she told Georgia with a smile. She brushed some hair out of her face and gave her a kiss on her head, before she sent her off towards Nicholas. "Everything is fine." 

 

As always, her son was more distant, but even he crept closer and didn't completely protest when Alexis hugged him too. Merlin, if she had already thought Georgia had grown... She could've sworn Christian was twice as tall as the last time she had seen him. "Are you excited to go home?" she whispered in his ear. It took him a moment, but finally he nodded and slightly tightened his grip on her.

 

Before pushing her away, of course.

 

"Is there anything else they need?" Alexis asked Katherine. "Clothes, toys..." She wasn't even sure if the clothes they had at home, would still fit. 

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Georgia had missed her parents. Mostly her mom. Her mom was always a fact of her life, whereas her dad was rather more fluid as a condition to her existence. She loved him, to be sure, but he didn’t ground her. It wasn’t as if, if he was there, everything would be okay, and it certainly wasn’t not okay if he wasn’t. She liked to ask him questions, she liked to listen to his stories, she loved it when he made her breakfast in the morning, approaching a baked egg or a pancake with every bit of perseverance as he usually applied to hardened criminals. Dad was dad. But he wasn’t home. Mom was home, and it had been very hard without her.

 

Still, she hugged her father as well, of course, as the adults talked again. Grandma Katherine sounded chilly. She always did when she tried to sound sweet. “Lila will have packed everything. Alright, darlings…” She kissed Christian, then Georgia. “We will see you again very soon. Have a fun time at home, yes?”

“Bye bye grandma. Don’t you want to come?”

Nicholas hummed. “Maybe some other time, sweetie. Let’s go home.”

His father did not say goodbye.


But then they were home, and there was dinner, and there was the familiar couch. Nicholas poured them both a glass of wine, lemonade for the kids.

 

“So you’re in school? How’s that?”

“Bit dull,” Georgia opined. “Christian thinks it’s worse dull.”

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Christian did think it was worse dull. He wasn't used to having a lot of other children around, only his sister and maybe sometimes some friends, but he was already learning that he wasn't much a fan of other people. They were just so... present, weren't they? Always shouting, always crying, always trying to get him to play loud games with him, that had a lot to do with running or knocking things over or not sticking to the rules and he wasn't a big fan of that. He preferred his books, playing games by himself (or with Georgia, who was kind enough to follow the rules) or just exploring gardens with the infinite amount of interesting things they had hidden in them. He did not like having to sit in a circle and singing weird songs.

 

"They have books," Christian shrugged. "Other books." Mostly books for little children, books he was supposed to have difficulty reading, but... books were books. And that's about the only positive thing he had to say about his school. "Do I have to go?"

"For now," Alexis said, with an apologetic brush across his hair. "Maybe you'll like it more when you get to the real school and you get to learn stuff."

"Songs?" he questioned, pulling a face.

"No, not songs. Well, not only songs. Are you making friends though, Georgia?" She somehow decided it wouldn't help to ask Christian that. Maybe he had just always been too much like his parents, while Georgia was the complete opposite. 

 

Oh goodness, if their children had friends, would they need to arrange playdates? 

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