a small roadside cafe in Paris, France
Paris sat at a small table on the outside patio of a nice little coffee shop in the heart of Paris, the prearranged rendezvous point for their little operation, sitting in the shade of his ever present parasol and lounging back in his chair as he sipped on an over priced espresso. He had been feeling a little over tired in the last week, what with not being able to get much sleep - his uncle's bodyguards/lackeys had required his presence here in Paris (how fitting, he thought with a small grin to himself) on their mission to find this Corinna Blackwell, and while he knew that he COULD operate during daytime hours (he had found out to his surprise and delight that the accepted view of vampires only being able to operate at night was, in fact, false), he also knew that if he didn't get a day off from this soon, he would have to take someone off the streets to feed - to get his energy back up, really. "Come on boys," he said softly to himself, as he glanced around lazily for Avery or Rippner to show up, crossing one black trousered leg over the other as he waited still.
Jackson followed Daniel as they walked down the narrow alley to the main street, already both of them lost. Jackson stared at the French wizarding paper, his lips moving as he read. "Seems... some bloody no name squib was killed in London. By this so called terrorist group called Death Eaters," he stated, as if it was a joke. "Isn't that the blokes we met before?"
Daniel stopped, and let out a breath that would have been a sigh if his vocal chords hadn't been screwed up. Turning to look up at his rather tall friend, he gave a short nod, and then frowned and pushed back the newly dyed black hair that fell into his eyes. Reaching out to smack his friend lightly on the elbow, in an attempt to get Jackson to LOOK at him, he nodded again once Jackson's attention was on him, and made a motion as if to say, "Maybe you could help me here?"
Jackson folded the paper and shoved it inside his summer suit jacket, one made entirely out of linen and was white, matching Daniel's. Egyptian cotton, although expensive, did well to make them look like rich tourists. "We have two more buildings," he stated, as if for the third time. He stared at Daniel, more so at his dark hair. He admitted it with himself he liked it better than the blonde. "And then I'll buy you a stiff drink as promised."
Smirking slightly, Daniel then shook his head, finding it rather amusing (and flattering) to catch his friend still staring at him, and he turned back around to head back out into the main street again, turning left and getting possibly two streets down before looking at the little slip of paper again. Why was he always so bad with the locations of streets here? Anywhere else, he was a pro at navigating, but here... they should have dragged the nephew along, he knew the city much better. He glanced at the street sign again, and then let out a small, distressed sound to see that it was very similar to one of the names on their list. Why did the names all have to be so SIMILAR?
Jackson came up behind him, shielding his hand over his eyes from the sun. "Shit... I hate the bloody french, as bad as canadians," he muttered loud enough for Daniel to hear. He arched his neck and glanced to the side. Down the small paved hill, he saw a cafe, with outside tables and a white fluttering awning. "There, that's the fifth cafe. If that's not it, I'm going back to Greece." He stated, pointing his wand.
Without even caring if Jackson was paying attention or not, Daniel gave a nod of agreement, and immediately started heading that way. Who cared if they still had two more buildings to look for? He needed a break from this, or he was going to get overly angry and do something stupid. (Yes, he got that frustrated over this.)
Jackson took off after him, awkwardly walking down the steep slope, his sandals making weird noises along the cobblestone surface. He jogged down, beating Daniel, and stopped short, letting out a laugh. He slapped Daniel on the arm. "We're here." He pointed to the large french sign, and then to their partner. He could spot the kid anywhere with hair like that.
Glancing around at his partner, and then at the table Paris was sitting at, Daniel felt the beginnings of a sneer creep over his face before he stopped himself. If there was one thing he'd learned, it was that Paris had an uncanny habit of knowing when someone was thinking about him - and there he was, turning in his seat to look straight at him. Daniel adopted the blank expression he usually wore, and nodded to the young... well, he could hardly be called a man anymore. With a glance to Jackson, Daniel stuffed his hands immediately in the pockets of his suit jacket and walked over to stare down at Paris for a moment.
Jackson followed behind, and didn't even give a hello as he dropped the folded paper on the table.
"Your intimidation tactics don't work with me, Avery," Paris said quietly, not even looking at the man as he set down his cup delicately and reached out one white gloved hand to pull the paper towards him, unfolding it carefully with one hand and scanning the headlines. "Hmm. Interesting. Sounds like our friends from Niagara have been busy."
Jackson didn't say anything, but merely sat down, welcoming himself to the coffee menu. "There are 12 cafe's all named the same thing," he stated.
Paris's assertation did absolutely nothing but piss him off, and Daniel stepped back and moved to the lone chair remaining, dragging it as close to Jackson's as he could before he dropped into it. It looked like he was... sulking?? Or maybe he just hated being here in the reputed 'city of love'. He leaned over a bit towards Jackson, looking over the menu in his partner's hands instead of just getting his own.
"Don't look at me, I had no hand in naming them," Paris stated, hiding the small, tired smile that wanted to show at Daniel's behaviour. He could literally FEEL the hate and frustration coming from the man in hot waves, and though he normally wouldn't have been overly thrilled over someone feeling that way, at the moment, he was just glad that none of them were overly thrilled with the current situation. "I'm guessing you've had no luck with finding her in this beautiful city, then, hmm?" he asked, picking up little bits and pieces from Daniel as he studied the man.
Jackson inhaled slowly and then slid the menu to Daniel and leaned forward, pressing his hands on the table. "Two days and nothing. We searched the train station, the Eiffel tower, even the louvre. Every place you told us too. What have.. YOU.. been doing?" He looked the boy over, even though he was no boy. Or even human, rather. He narrowed his light eyes at the odd hair, black slick down over one eye and teased in the back. Like a rat's nest, he thought to himself.
Paris shifted his study to Jackson, and blinked, pretending to be surprised by the accusation, before bringing one hand up to his chest as if hurt, pursing his lips slightly in a pout as he widened his eyes, making his youngish appearance even more pronounced. "Oh, Jackson, dear, how could you accuse me of frittering my time away?" he asked innocently, trying his best not to swallow hard at the disapproving gaze. "I'll have you know I've been collecting information from other sources. My mother happens to have known many top designers and I happened to get a little tidbit from one of our musical friends that the girl did a bit of modelling here a little while ago."
Daniel snorted slightly, still leaning over a bit as he had been studying the menu, and looked up slowly, staring hard at the vampire. He knew well enough to not look Paris in the eye, but he found himself growing angrier at the fact that Paris had withheld information from them.
Jackson's expression seemed to soften almost immediately, arching his eyebrows. He seemed to have a momentary look of approval and appreciation for his employer's nephew. "Were there any beaver shots?" He asked, and held a finger up to motion for a waiter that was nearby.
Paris' whole expression changed to one of amusement, and he threw his head back and laughed, his normal charming musical laugh, before saying with almost a giggle, "No, sorry for your luck. No, I finally found the photographer who took the pictures. He sold them to a perfume company selling a new line. Apparently she was rather modest." Pausing, he then added, "But he did give a description of where he first saw her, and apparently he saw her around an area filled with student hostels. I think we should extend our search to include them."
Daniel just shot Jackson an annoyed look and settled back in his chair, pulling the menu up in front of his face. Normally he would have been interested as well, but since finding out who exactly their employer had been after, he had felt nothing but distaste for anything concerning her. And he still hadn't told Jackson that the girl was a cousin.
"We have to now move through dirty muggle areas with unwashed and smelly teenagers?" Jackson asked, trying to ignore what Daniel was doing. "She probably would be an ugly shot anyway," he added, mostly for the sake of saying so, to show he wasn't disappointed. He was still trying to get Lestrange's wife's picture from his partner, but he hadn’t yet won their bet. "How many are there? Hostels that is." He took the cappuchino from the waiter and sipped it. One thing he privately admitted to himself about the French, he liked their coffee. "Daniel, have you seen any perfume ads lately?" He asked as he side glanced.
Daniel signalled for the waiter, and pointed at what he wanted, then grudgingly gave up the menu, adopting his stock bland expression as he looked at his friend and partner, arms crossed in front of him. He refused to give any answer whatsoever.
Paris glanced back and forth between the two men, and then spoke up in a bored tone, "No, he hasn't. I don't think he cares, either." HE knew what Jackson didn't. And he also knew that Daniel would much rather knock her off than deliver her to his uncle, which he would most definitely not allow to happen. "If you're curious, though, here it is. I did some research." And he reached into the inside pocket of the longish white jacket he had worn today, pulling out a pristine looking magazine and opening it to a certain page. On it, a beautiful girl with black hair and vivid green eyes stared up from the page, in a white jacket. The ad was bare of any extraneous clutter, and simply featured a bottle that was supposed to house the perfume it advertised.
Jackson's breath literally caught in his throat and he touched the magazine enough to pull it closer. He stared, transfixed by the green eyes, matching the green bottle. He then made a forced chuckle. "No... you fool. That's not her. What's the right page?" He had been expecting the girl to be ugly, or common, like most pure blood witches were. Or sport warts, or anything. He seemed to hog the magazine.
Paris glanced at Daniel for confirmation that he was right, and smiled delightedly at the recognition in the man's eyes. "I'm positive that's her. Look, even Daniel recognizes her. Right Daniel?"
Daniel looked up quickly, and shot Paris a look of pure venom. Stupid brat! Yes, he recognized her, he had never known anyone else with eyes like that. Corinna, the little annoying girl who had always pestered Varian to play with her when his stepmother had HAD to have her family over to visit. The girl had always seemed to be scared of him for some reason, and it had been another sore point for him.
Jackson hardly glanced at Daniel, and instead tried to get Paris's view back. "Shame, such a delightful piece of work be wasted on our Employer. I mean, how do we know she's not.. diseased or slept with mud bloods?" He asked, and tried to pull the magazine closer to himself, almost hoarding it.
At that, Daniel couldn't stand it anymore, and as Paris started to speak, he grabbed the magazine right from Jackson, and tore the page out, crumpling it up in a fit of anger.
Paris stopped mid sentence and stared at Daniel, open mouthed, too shocked to say anything.
Jackson's nostrils flared and with a flashing look in his eyes ripped the magazine from Daniel's hands and shoved back, knocking the metal chair to the ground, right on the waiter's foot that carried Daniel's drink. "Fucking bastard," he muttered, and shoved the waiter as he stormed off to the cobblestone street, ignoring an old lady and an automobile that honked.
Dropping the crumpled paper on the table, Daniel nodded at the waiter, who shakingly set the drink down and told him in a bewildered voice that he would refill his drink. Daniel nodded again, but grabbed the cup and gave the waiter a Look as he tried to take it back. Without arguing, the young man left, and Daniel turned to glare blankly off to Paris' left somewhere.
Paris finally said quietly after the waiter had gone, "Why do you hate her? You DO realize that you just made this a lot harder than it should have been?"
Daniel just shot Paris a look that said, "Shut the hell up, or I will hurt you severely."
Jackson blew off his steam, having walked down the street and back, trying to remember where the hostel was they passed. He cursed the task, wanting nothing more to go home with Daniel, and forget any of this happened. He thought back to the photo in the magazine, the green eyes haunting him. He swallowed hard, finding his throat dry. He came back and stood by the table, ignoring the way both men were glaring at each other. "I want locations to these hostels. How many are there?" He ignored the crumpled ball of paper on the ground.
Hearing Jackson's voice, Daniel immediately lifted the cup to his mouth and took a large swallow, not caring that the drink was a bit too hot. He didn't look at his friend, feeling uncharacteristically betrayed by the man's obvious attraction to his COUSIN, of all people.
Paris shook his head and sighed, then looked up at Jackson and made an attempt to smile at him, standing up and reaching out to pat his arm soothingly. "There are far too many to name all the locations. I know the one he described, though, and I can take you there."
Jackson didn't change his stance, but simply nodded. "Then let's go. Now." He stated.
He glanced over at Daniel, noticing the man wasn't meeting his gaze. This made Jackson grimace, even feel slightly hurt. He lifted his chin and stared at the fledgling vampire. "Now." He stated again.
His expression hardened slightly at that, and Daniel looked off at something else completely as if spacing out. There was nothing about his posture or appearance that would indicate displeasure, unless one knew him well, as his shoulders were hunched slightly, back stiff, and jaw set as if he were bracing himself to not say anything stupid.
Paris looked down at Daniel, and back to Jackson before starting to say, "Avery, come on, let's ge-"
Jackson immediately cut Paris off. "Why don't you just tell us. I'm not going to follow you around like a puppy and neither is he." He stated, already deciding to inquire to Daniel on what his grief is from. Jackson knew that if he didn't keep his thoughts clear, Paris would likely either not leave, or simply laugh. He looked right at Paris. Instead he made a bright grin and held out his hand, palm up towards Daniel. "Show him the postcard."
Daniel tried to ignore the conversation, but at the mention of 'postcard', he had to look at his friend. When he saw Jackson's familiar grin, he looked away again, then sighed to himself and stood up, fishing the postcard from his jacket pocket where he'd been carrying it around, and handed it to Paris. He half wished he could just go back to the hotel and go to bed, or maybe find some unsuspecting person to take his anger out on...
"Tell me that's the same address." Jackson stated. "If so, just give us directions and we'll meet you in an hour." He acted like he had something else to do first, and made his thoughts act like it was urgent, having to do with t heir employer.
Paris glanced over the writing, and nodded, then his eyes caught the initials "L.S." on the bottom. "Do... either of you happen to know who this 'L.S.' is?" he asked casually, already knowing that it came from Niagara Falls. Which meant it had to be from either Varian Avery, or Severus Snape - and he was willing to bet it was the singer, considering the information he'd picked up from those two.
Daniel immediately frowned, not even giving any kind of answer at all, sneaking a quick glance at his friend.
Jackson snorted, almost laughing. "Who’s L.S.??" He acted like it was funny. "He's a no body." Jackson added, his expression turning dark. "He's dead." He yanked the postcard back and held it up, tapping the badly written French address. "Where is this?"
Paris' expression twitched, barely noticeable, and he found himself silently expressing regret over that. It was a shame, really. If they knew, then that meant that young man was in danger. And he felt more of a connection with that boy than he'd felt with anyone else for a long time... though it was probably just the fact that they both had shared vampiric traits at one point, even though HIS were irreversible. With a small half smile that showed he wasn't thrilled about something, Paris gave them directions as clear and concise as he could and then said, "Meet back at the hotel, or back here?"
Daniel shook his head slightly to himself, lips moving as he mouthed the directions over and over, committing them to memory so he could find the place easily.
"Hotel. No more sitting outside, open to any sort of attack. We have to go." At that he grabbed Daniel's sleeve and yanked for him to stand. "When we find her," he added, skipping 'if,' "You're buying us dinner. AND enough alcohol to make Daniel think he's an Angel." Jackson flicked his wand, setting the cup of coffee on fire.
Paris nodded silently, watching the two men as they started off down the street. Without a word, he went inside the cafe to pay for the drinks, catching the young waiter on his way back out with Daniel's... cappuccino, it smelled like. The same kind Jackson had had. As he paid for everything, he found himself thinking, "I really hope that girl has already left the country by now. My uncle isn't worth all of this." He left a generous tip for their waiter, and set off through the streets, keeping any exposed skin under the shade of the parasol, glancing many times at the postcard as he walked. Such a shame, breaking those two up..
Daniel huffed as Jackson gave him a shove to start him walking, and grudgingly started off, wishing that he was already back at the hotel, drinking himself into a euphoric state. The only times he really felt good about what he was doing was when he was drinking, especially with Jackson.
Jackson moved quickly and grabbed Daniel's arm tightly with his hand, and swung him back to face him. "WHAT?" He said loudly, and then curled his fist up and back, as if ready to punch him, glaring hard.
That was a completely unexpected move from his best friend, and Daniel just stared up at Jackson levelly, not letting himself show any nervousness, eyebrows raising up as if saying, "What?"
Jackson sniffed in hard, his nostril flaring as he did. He lowered his fist and then brought his hand up, giving Daniel a mild slap on the cheek and then pointed at him. "You know something." He licked his bottom lip and then grasped both hands on his jacket lapel. "You know something Paris doesn't, something the Old Man doesn't." He actually cracked a grin, licking his bottom lip again in a twinge of excitement. "Are you going to tell me? You are."
Daniel continued to stare at Jackson, cheeks pinkening slightly as he realized that his little bitch fit was being called on. Raising his hands to wrap long fingers around Jackson's, he slowly pulled his friend's hands from his jacket, keeping eye contact as he tried to figure out a way to explain without making himself sound like a jealous teenager or something.
Jackson was breathing a little harder than needed, and for a brief moment he let Daniel literally hold his hands before yanking them out and throwing them down. "What is it?" He demanded again, only now speaking softly.
He pressed a hand to Daniel's shoulder, and wet his lips again, squeezing his shoulder. "Are you scared to tell me?" He asked, his nose close to Daniel's.
It didn't bother him that his friend was so close, and Daniel had to look down slightly before he glanced back up to look Jackson straight in the eye, shaking his head slightly in answer to the question. He brought one hand up to carefully press it to his neck before saying in a near inaudible rasp, "... Blackwell... my cousin." There. Simple. Little explanation required.
Jackson stared at him, his eyes widening slightly, making his blue eyes lighter. A raspy chuckle escaped his throat and he tossed his head back, letting out a hollering laugh. He then wrapped an arm around his friend, his partner, his best comrade and closest person in the world, and half hugged him. "That is.. that is fucking it." He laughed and pulled him along as they walked. "So... that means you're going to be related to the Boss." He had forgotten about his earlier sexual comments about the girl, finding this event more opportunistic. "Imagine.. we could get millions." He was referring to money, of course.
Hmm. He'd never really considered that. His hatred of the girl had kind of blinded him to anything that could benefit him. Daniel looked up at Jackson as they continued on their way, and found himself smiling fondly, all of a sudden very grateful to have a friend like Jackson. With that thought in mind, he didn't even question the 'we' part of what his friend had said (he'd always shared almost everything with him, except a few certain things that were better left unsaid...), and instead started watching for the right landmarks and street signs.
"Even better...." and this Jackson slapped his hand against Daniel's chest, then smoothing it out. "We hold her for ransom." Jackson was so excited he could barely form words, and he was practically drooling. "We don't NEED him anymore. Not when we have what he wants."
Daniel grinned finally at that, liking that idea more than anything else Jackson had suggested in the last two days. And he showed it by reaching up and patting Jackson's hand instead of pushing it away from him. It was great seeing his friend get so excited about something when he really hadn't for a long time.
"Just think... no more living in fucking GREECE. We can go... we can go to the Bahamas, to Miami, to that villa in Italy your family has. I want to open a casino, and I want to tell those snot-nosed so-called musicians we had the unpleasure of meeting in Niagara to go stuff it." He started saying, sounding even more excited, practically giddy as they walked. "No more of this shit. No more picking up peanut shells and M&Ms for the old man. No more of his whining and stupidity, no more cunning plans and abuse. And you... we can find that Naturalist I read about to fix your throat, at that Spa in Los Angeles. Money is no object now!"
It was interesting. Sometimes Daniel felt bad for being left out of conversations, and he'd already started feeling that way again now, when Jackson mentioned that naturalist. And more than ever now, he found himself wishing that he COULD get some kind of windfall of money to pay for it, especially on finding out that he had been disowned and stricken from the family tree.
"Whose going to be SENDING who to the authorities?" Jackson prevailed, as if it had already happened. "Imagine, we will be able to eat what we want... wear what we want." He poked a finger at Daniel's sleeve, at the Egyptian cotton. "We can have our own servants, our own air planes, and we can kill that bitch who stabbed you with that pen. I haven't forgotten her hotel in Miami." He added, and squeezed Daniel closer to him in a one handed hug. "And all the girls.. well, in your case boys, that we want!" He moved his hand across the air, as if imagining a sign to them.
A raspy snickering was heard in response to the last statement Jackson made, even if he felt the need to keep his eyes trained on where they were going and NOT glance at the man hugging him, and Daniel brought an arm around Jackson's waist to half return the hug, and then patted his friend's arm before pointing up at one street sign in particular.
Jackson pointed to it, as if to say "Straight ahead," and so they walked. When an old man stepped out in the middle of the road, Jackson unlatched himself and purposefully shoved the old man for fun. "What's WRONG Grandpa!? Can't you move?" Jackson ignored the old man's French remarks, and strolled back up to Daniel, chuckling. He then spun around on the ball of his foot and zapped the old man with his wand, aiming in such a way his wand was laying over a bent arm. A green light shot out and hit the old man, causing him to keel over, sputtering, and crash down to the sidewalk, his cane falling on top of him. The old man's oranges broke free of his bag and rolled down the sidewalk to the street, and someone's dog ran up and started barking. The old man was dead, and Jackson put his wand away. "Practice makes perfect," he jeered, grinning.
Daniel watched the spectacle with no expression on his face save a small half smile that hid more excitement at the scene in front of him than was proper. Once the dog started barking, Daniel grabbed at Jackson's arm and started walking away to get them away from the scene of the crime. His cheeks were now a bit flushed, and he kept glancing back and wetting his lips as if excited about something.
"What, we aren't staying around to watch his widow cry?" Jackson joked, and limbered along side of Daniel, whistling to himself.
He stooped to scoop up a loose orange and started to peel it.
Daniel started snickering again at that, glancing at his friend again before copying him. Hell, that man wouldn't miss the oranges. In fact, he wouldn't miss anything now. Daniel shook his head slightly at Jackson, though, and tilted his head down the way they were heading, sighing a bit as well as if to say, "We have a job to do."