Reporters and Other Mayhem

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Reporters and Other Mayhem

Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 9:09 pm

It was a quiet evening at Dragon Industries, for once. People were busy working on their projects and the usual paperwork. Their new CEO finally set his odd rummaging amid personnel files aside in stacks that made no sense to anyone else, and buzzed his secretary for tea. They kept odd hours at the place, but that was hardly new. It was nice to have company, though.

"I'll have some brought right in," Tara replied with a smile.

"Is he busy?" Soraya asked Tara as she wandered toward Naitachel's office. She remained bundled in her winter best, brown pea coat and a hat that only covered part of her wild red hair. Her face was buried inside her scarf and her voice was muffled.

A soft knock at the door was followed by a very young and somewhat frightened sounding voice as a timid looking young girl entered with the cart. "You wanted tea, sir?"

At the mention of tea, Soraya actually lifted her chin out of the large, purple woolen scarf. "Tea," she said wistfully. She had merely overheard the conversation over the intercom.

Naitachel stretched his shoulders as much as he could without moving his wings, and brightened. "Ah, yes, thank you," he told the young girl cheerfully. "And give Tara my thanks as well."

"Yes, sir," the girl answered, still obviously nervous in Naitachel's presence. As quickly as she could without running, she exited the room.

Naitachel blinked, gazing after the young girl in surprise, wondering what that was all about. Standing stiffly, he moved around his desk to pour himself a cup from the cart, only to look up as he noted Soraya's presence outside. <Ah! Hello, Soraya,> he greeted. <Pardon, but I am a bit tired and slow right now.> Reaching up with his tail, he slapped the intercom with the end. "Tara, please send Soraya in, if you will. And thank you for the tea." His tail slid back beneath his coat swiftly.

"Of course, sir," Tara answered with a lilting laugh, having heard Soraya's wistful exclamation. "It seems you're welcomed to join him, Ma'am."

<Hello,> Soraya answered, smiling, still unwilling to unbundle. <I hope you do not mind my stopping by. I wanted to come say hello to Vlad and see if he was free for a dinner out, but I wanted to say hello first.> The redhead nodded at Tara, and, still muffled by her scarf, answered, "Thank you, Tara. Stay warm, it is rather freezing out there." In case one didn't know already, one could deduce from her tone of voice just how much she detested the cold. With that, she moved into Naitachel's office, resembling something of an arctic explorer.

<I never mind company,> Naitachel assured her, moving to pour another cup of tea. <Perhaps this will help you defrost?> he chuckled quietly. "It tastes to be white peach ginger," he told her happily. "Quite good."

"Oh, thank you," Soraya breathed, taking up the teacup with her mittened-hands. It was a struggle to lift her chin high enough to clear the scarf, but she managed the feat and took a large, satisfying sip. "What are you up to?" she asked him once that was done.

After checking to see the door was secure, the Seraph settled on his stool with cup in hand. "Would you like me to turn up the heat? I fear I do not notice the cold so much." He curled tail around his ankles and sipped. "I have established a few chains of information within here, and am working my way upward. It is intriguing, what leaks we have to rivals, the media, and so on. Much like an intricate spider-web. So many factors involved, too." He sighed softly. "I fear to show Mircea, lest he slaughter half the building, however."

Soraya shook her head and sat. As Naitachel spoke, she set her teacup on his desk and began the long process of removing the outer layers, removing her hat, scarf, mittens and coat to reveal a heavy, teal woolen sweater. Her cheeks and nose remained reddened from the cold. "I think I will warm up in a few moments," she assured the seraph with a laugh, then sobered at his words. "Are there really so many involved?" If that was so, then it might be nearly impossible to really plug all the holes or know from where the next attack might originate.
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Re: Reporters and Other Mayhem

Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 9:09 pm

A man in a three piece suit arrived, flanked by two others. "I'm sorry, miss. Is Mister Prince in?" the taller of the three asked.

"I'm afraid he's in a meeting at the moment," Tara replied, eying them critically. "Would you like to schedule an appointment?"

"Oh no," the man replied. "Don't bother. We'll wait."

A few moments later, a slickly dressed woman in a long overcoat arrived with three other people behind her. "I'm here for my appointment with Mister Prince," she announced.

"Really," Tara drawled. "He's in with the only appointment I show for him this evening, and since I'm the only one who schedules for him, I'm sure I'd remember setting one for you, Miss Latimer. Now if you and your cameramen would move down to the lobby voluntarily, I'd appreciate it. I'd really rather not have to call security."

"Have you noticed any unusually frequent visitors to his office lately?" the woman pressed, gesturing for her people to move in closer.

"I've asked nicely." Tara sighed, reaching for the phone. Gesturing to the people behind her, she called out, "You guys might want to get your cameras up and ready. It isn't every day you get a shot at photographing Sidney Latimer being dragged bodily from a building, is it?"

Several of the photographers behind her did indeed get their cameras ready even as Miss Latimer gestured for her entourage and moved toward the exit angrily.

"Now," Tara smiled sweetly. "Who else would like to be thrown out tonight? Anyone?"

The crowd seemed to move rather swiftly for the exit, but they didn't go far. The blizzard outside gave them an excuse to remain in the lobby, and more than a few began working on ways to get back into that office once Tara left.


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Re: Reporters and Other Mayhem

Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 9:13 pm

Naitachel nodded with a wry grimace. "I fear so. Especially to rival companies doing similar research and hoping to find the solutions ahead of us, or the media seeking the latest in breakthroughs. Pharmaceuticals especially seem vicious about it. Then again, I do not think we wish so hard to hide some things, like cures." Shrugging, he sipped his tea again, arching a brow at her many layers. "Is it so very cold outside now?"

Soraya took a thoughtful sip of her tea. "I suppose the questions come down to whether any of them actually wish us harm, beyond being mere spies." She started at Naitachel's question about the weather and laughed. She had forgotten that there were no real windows up here for fear of accidental sunlight exposure. "It is a full-out blizzard outside," she informed him.

Golden eyes widened. "Oh. Oh my. Perhaps I should send everyone home, then, lest they be trapped here. Many have families... And I should not keep you from Vlad, either, in that case. Anything here is certain to wait." He took a long chug to finish his tea. "I may always fly home, easy enough, blizzard or no. But to be caught on the ground..."

Soraya wrinkled her nose. "Much of your office workers have already left. The other floors are a bit empty," she laughed. "I think those who wanted to leave have already done so. And me, well, Vlad will get me home, or put me in a car if he cannot go home. No need to worry. Admittedly, I had wanted to brave the weather for a chance at a quiet dinner out. I thought perhaps crowds would be small tonight."

The Seraph reached for the intercom. "Miss Tara, as the weather seems to be worsening, perhaps you may wish to depart early." He paused and flashed Soraya a mischievous smile. "Well, at the worst, you and Vlad might raid the cafeteria and create your own private dinner?" he told her brightly.

"As soon as the outer office finishes clearing I might take you up on that. Thank you, sir," Tara answered. "Would you like me to arrange someone to walk you out to your car before I go?"

"Not a terrible idea," the redhead agreed. "You would, of course, be welcomed to join us," she offered, not wanting the seraph to feel as though his presence was ever unwelcome. Quietly, Soraya sought out Vlad, unsure if striking up a conversation, even a mental one, might distract him from important work.

"No, but thank you Miss Tara. I may find my own way easily enough once I lock up." Flicking off the intercom, he shook his head and chuckled quietly, smirking. "It would not be a private dinner then, would it? No, but thank you. I may go home by alternative method, after all." He frowned slightly. "Perhaps I should ask Vlad to send the car home, then. I dare not ask Tara to lest she wonder."

Soraya smiled and nodded. "I will let him know." With that, she stood, putting her drained cup back on the desk. "Thank you for the tea," she smiled, then made for the door. "See you at home?" As she spoke, she opened the door to Naitachel's office, not paying attention to whatever was happening in the lobby area.

"Eventually, perhaps," Naitachel answered Soraya as she left. "Pass him my regards, of course, and thank you, Soraya."


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Re: Reporters and Other Mayhem

Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 9:16 pm

The few stragglers seemed thrilled to note who exited, bringing up their cameras and snapping photos rapidly even as others moved to swarm the door. Tara swore as the others who'd moved out of the office seemed to catch on way too quickly, swarming back.

The sudden onslaught of flashes startled Soraya, and she retreated back a few paces into Naitachel's office. Her response quickly died on her lips. <What are they doing in here?> was all she managed to the seraph.

"Excuse me, Mister Prince, is it true you've moved on to your late husband’s brother?"

"Mrs. Prince, as I understand you and Vlad are divorcing. Will you be citing infidelity or irreconcilable differences? Or should we be asking him that one?"

Naitachel stood, a hand on the desk and the other setting his teacup down, only to freeze like a deer in headlights at the sudden glimpse of a mob outside his office doors, jaw dropping slightly. "Heavens...!" <I have not the faintest...!> Blinking like one dazed, he coughed, almost dropping his teacup. "True I have what?!?"

Tara wasted no time dialing security, swearing vehemently under her breath as she waited for them to pick up.

"What?" Soraya asked, confused. "Vlad and I divorcing?" She was flabbergasted enough that her response was delayed and halting at best. "No! Of course not! Wherever would you hear such a thing?"

"It's been noted that Mircea Prince has been accompanying you back and forth from home, keeping odd hours in your office, and staying rather close to you, and you to him, during your," the 'reporter' actually smirked as he said, "mourning period."

"Infidelity?" Soraya asked again belatedly, trying to catch up on all of the details of their question.

"Your classmate and current boy toy confirms the break, as well as your own relationship, and even provided us with quite the scoop. Are you now denying it?" Others moved in to take more pictures and get their quotes.

"What?" Soraya asked again, still trying to catch up, before her eyes narrowed. "You mean Emmett. He and I are not in a relationship, nor have we ever been. And Vlad and I are still together," she insisted, for all the good it would do them.

"Interesting you knew right away which boy toy we referred to," the man commented, prompting laughter throughout the room.

Naitachel staggered back a step and sat a bit heavily on his usual stool, setting the teacup down a bit more forcefully than intended on the desk. "Mircea is my brother-in-law and going through difficulties with this in his own way, if you must know," he told them defensively, a bit pale as he glanced at Soraya, who was also being bombarded. "He is not one interested in males to begin with, so please clear such thoughts from your mind." He nodded at Soraya. "Mister Emmett has been rather infatuated with Mrs. Prince and causing a great deal of upheaval, it seems."

Soraya was livid. She would be giving him a piece of her mind the next time they saw each other, if they did so at all. "As Naitachel said, he has been a trouble-maker for us in the past." She shook her head in anger at their accusations of Mircea and the seraph, as well. "How quickly you twist simple familial love and support into something else. You are all disgusting."

Tara hung up the phone and came around the table. "You people should all be ashamed of yourself," she insisted, pushing through them until she could place herself between them and those she sought to protect. "Trying to create a scandal where none exists... You can't even give them time to get their feet under them... VULTURES!"

Soraya couldn't help but sympathize with Tara's plight, trying to protect them, though she knew it would hardly be effective. "Is security on their way?" she asked the secretary, knowing that would likely be the only way to end this assault.

Naitachel considered his office, just realizing the papers to the side and how many were present, and waved a hand for his "guests" to back out. "If the lot of you would, please, a man might wish for breathing space in his own office. Now please, out. I hardly even have room for my crutches at this rate." It was a gentle scolding, like for dense children.

"They are, and so is..." Tara got cut off by the roar at the opposite doorway.

"MOVE OUT," Mircea demanded, Min and Vlad there behind him.

<I fear you have arrived to become targets as well,> Naitachel warned the vampires hesitantly, if a bit belatedly.

Even Soraya shrunk back at Mircea's tone of voice, knowing it for the danger it posed. Still, she was beyond happy to see all of them appear. <Apparently we are getting a divorce,> she informed Vlad.

Cameras began to flash again, as questions were called one after the other, rendering one another virtually unintelligible. Clearly, they weren't taking the warning.

Vlad pushed his way toward Soraya, gathering her into his arms. <We're WHAT?>

Min moved to press the others back so Nait and Soraya could close the door.

The redhead immediately felt the desire to protect the vampires from the cameras, though she knew that would be just as futile as arguing with them had been. Instead she leaned in to Vlad and hid her face in his shirt, trying to clear the glare from her eyes. <I am supposedly being unfaithful. I think Emmett has been telling stories. And poor Naitachel.... they are accusing him and Mircea of... well...>

<He and Mircea... oh, no... They do not want to repeat that one to Uncle.> Vlad paused, considering remaining outside the office with Mircea until security arrived. Mircea, however, caught his eye and shook his head as if to say, "No... I've got this one."

Naitachel winced, rubbing the bridge of his nose, not certain he wished to follow Mircea's example by bellowing or just curl into a ball to hide. The urge to throw a crutch at them was rather strong. Taking a deep breath, he stood, grabbed his crutches, and moved to assist Min in getting the doors shut, even if it meant shouldering others back or bringing the worn crutch-tips down on toes to make them retreat. "Back now, please. Heavens, I have faced friendlier tigers in the hills of India... Back now, swiftly please, if you wish to keep your feet unharmed."

Soraya nodded, knowing that relaying that to Mircea might unleash a veritable bloodbath. She briefly considered setting a fire between themselves and the reporters, though that, of course would draw too much attention to things. Not to mention the fact that they were indoors. She simply fell back further into the office as Vlad led, hoping to buy them enough room to close the door. Rethinking her plan, she moved behind the actual door and began shoving it shut. "What your fingers!" she called as she pushed, silently warning the others to try to get inside.

"Mister Prince. Mrs. Prince," a voice from behind them began. It seemed he and his cameraman had managed to slide in and set up while the others asked stupid questions. "I am sorry, but honestly, I think I can help shut some of that down if you'd both grant me just a very brief interview. All of you, please. We can help each other here," he pressed hopefully. "I'll help shut down some of the more ridiculous rumors, and you'll help me, too. Please?"

Tara remained outside the door with Mircea and Min silently forcing people from the waiting area. Security arrived to help them, possibly sparing the lives of several press and paparazzi members as Mircea's anger became almost tangible to the telepaths in the building.


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Re: Reporters and Other Mayhem

Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 9:19 pm

Naitachel prodded a few more toes, debating sending a jolt of his energy through the crutches and into his targets to fry their equipment. It'd cause questions, though. "Back out now, please. We do not wish anyone to lose appendages, thank you." He nodded to Soraya and arched a brow at the call from the back. "Heavens, which Mister Prince are they referring to now?" he sighed to her in an undertone.

Soraya finally managed the task of shutting the door, thinking that perhaps dealing with the one would be less trouble than dealing with the many. "And you think the best way to help each other is to sneak into someone's office and snap pictures of them for tabloids?" she asked the intruder.

"Actually, Vlad, is it? It'd be good to have you here as well. You and your wife together along with your uncle's widower would help squash some of the rumors even faster than their pictures will be published." Turning to Soraya, the bold reporter shook his head. "I don't work for any tabloids, Mrs. Prince. Just the news. I admit I do many celebrity interviews, but I avoid the whole sensational angle as well as I can."

"I would say this counts as rather sensational," the redhead countered, still holding tightly to Vlad.

Naitachel clicked his way back to his stool and settled on it with a sigh, setting his crutches aside. "That was not what I would call welcome company, I must agree." Reaching for the teapot, he poured himself another cup and held it up, arching a brow. <I suppose we are trapped here for a bit, regardless,> he told Vlad and Soraya. <Until a path is cleared by the others and security?> "Tea, anyone, I suppose?"

The newsman nodded. "I was given the same scoop everyone else was. A call and an interview from Emmett... which failed to ring even remotely true and I will not be airing whether you give me an interview or not. I'd love a cup if you don't mind," the reporter smiled. "It's up to you. The camera is off. It won't be turned on without your permission. I just thought I’d take a chance. Just in case."

"I knew he was behind this," Soraya sighed, hoping Vlad wouldn't quarter the man for this fiasco. <I suppose so,> she agreed with the seraph, though it didn't mean she liked these tactics any more than the others.  <Do you think it wise to actually talk with him, though? Does he seem as though he is lying?> she asked.

The Seraph looked to Vlad and Soraya, curious if they thought an interview might be wise. He was glad there were always extra cups with the service, and poured one for the reporter. "Here you are. Cream and sugar are there, if you wish." A slender hand gestured to the main tray. "Help yourself." <These reporters are often one to stretch the truth so even I find them difficult to read,> Nait sighed. <This one seems more sincere than the rest, if that helps.>

Vlad considered a moment, then shrugged. "What exactly would we be discussing? We would need to know the parameters of the interview before we agreed."

Curling his tail about his feet neatly, Naitachel cradled his teacup in both hands. <I think you and Vlad may wish to try this interview, if only to counter what Emmett is spreading. At least this one is trying to be truthful.>

Soraya nodded. <Will you be speaking with him? It seems nasty rumors have been told about you as well.>

"DI in the wake of your uncle's passing. Brightflights, and it's future, the family in the wake of the entire tragedy, and of course, how you're all handling being thrust into the media spotlight again, complete with all the foolish rumors that so often accompany it," the reporter began. "We'll attempt to put to rest the rumors about your divorce without going too far into it or sensationalizing it. The same with the rumors regarding you and your brother in law, Mr. Prince."

Soraya moved to place an encouraging hand on Naitachel's shoulder, knowing how disturbing it must be to him to have everything from his current position to his charity and even his relationship with Mircea put to question. "Would this be in print or on camera?"

Nait said nothing to add to the questions, in a sense hoping to be forgotten and possibly slip out of the interview once the coast was clear outside. If Mircea's anger hadn't cleared the floor with sheer menace, he'd be surprised. <I was hoping to escape it. Personal rumors like that do not bother me so much as, say, that of harming a child.> "There is little to say about such rumors regarding myself and Mircea, Mister...? There is no substance and therefore nothing to discuss." The Seraph glanced at Soraya and gave her a slight smile at her support.

"Lionel Reddy," The man stood and held out his hand, not seeming at all insulted that he wasn't recognized. "I appreciate your perspective. I was actually thinking that rather than asking if it's true you're seeing him or anyone else, I'd just say 'I can't imagine what it would be like trying to move on after such a loss, and let you supply whatever answer you might like to either way." Turning to Soraya, he answered, "We would be airing it tonight on our station and their affiliates, then publishing it in both formats online tomorrow, unless you would prefer we didn't."

"What do you think?" Soraya asked Vlad, knowing it would be odd for them not to discuss it at all. She didn't like the idea of being on camera, of airing their laundry like this, but she knew this could damage the company were it not answered. <I am not sure escape is a possibility,> she told the seraph.

<It seems not,> Naitachel agreed with Soraya reluctantly, though he shook Lionel's hand. "I suppose we may as well... on the condition our family's security have a chance to preview what you wish to air beforehand?" <Perhaps Matty and Kahtenny might have a chance to go over it first to help be certain nothing vital is leaked?>

"I offer one more thing," the reporter suggested. "After we film it, you can review it. If there's any part you'd rather not have aired, we can edit it accordingly. Of course, Mister Prince. I'll agree to that stipulation."

Vlad sighed and nodded. "Very well, then."

The last to hold out, Soraya nodded, albeit reluctantly. "Alright, Mr. Reddy."

Nait nodded as well, though his wings flattened against his spine unhappily, tail tightening about his feet. He very much disliked the spotlight, even photos. Heavens, Radu had had to convince him to have the photo on the desk made of the two of them! He had refused to let that be moved, however. "Very well. Start when you are ready, Mister Reddy."


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Re: Reporters and Other Mayhem

Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 9:27 pm

Nodding to his cameraman, Reddy positioned the seats so that Vlad and Soraya could sit together, with Naitachel beside them and himself across from them all. "Do you suppose your brother in law and nephew would care to join us, or would they likely prefer to remain out of it?" he asked before they began.

<The reporter wants to know if you prefer in or out of this interview,> Soraya sent to Min and Mircea.

<One got in?> Mircea's roar came back. <One moment, I'll remove him.>

<I'll pass. I've had enough press lately, thanks,>
Min answered tiredly.

<Calm down, Mircea,> Soraya sent back quickly. <He seems somewhat genuine. We have agreed to answer his questions.>

Naitachel coughed on his tea. <I do not think Mircea might enjoy this any more than I,> he chuckled wryly. He reached out to his brother-in-law swiftly at the new surge in anger. <Please, Mircea, let it be. We needs must counter some of this foolishness in kind. Peace, please.> "I think we had best leave them in peace," he told Mr. Reddy. <Unless we want blood spilt here...>

<Very well. I will abstain, however,>
Mircea replied. <I'll be in my lab should you need me.>

The redhead could have predicted Mircea's reaction, though she felt it was his due to have the choice. "I think we will be the only ones here for this," she agreed aloud with Naitachel.

"Alright, then." The man smiled. "If you're ready?" he asked, nodding again to his cameraman.

<Thank you, Mircea. And thank you and Min for aiding us against this rabble.> The Seraph refreshed his cup of tea, and shrugged at the reporter.

"We are as ready as we will be," Soraya answered, taking Vlad's hand.

The cameraman fingered the record button and nodded back as the red light on the camera became visible. After a breath, the reporter began. "Three months ago, the world mourned the loss of one of our most successful businessmen, scientists, and humanitarians, Mister Radu Prince, following a devastating laboratory accident that claimed the lives of four other and injured dozens. Since then, his family has done their best to pick up the pieces and move on. Tonight, we have with us, his widower, Brightflights International charities founder and new CEO of Dragon Enterprises Naitachel Prince, nephew, assistant director of Dragon Industries Vlad Prince, and his wife, co-chair of Brightflights International, Soraya Prince. Thank you so much for joining us tonight."

"Thank you, Mister Reddy," the Seraph returned quietly, fingers tight on his teacup. He refrained from adding more, like about how this was rather unexpected, instead just trying not to curl up defensively or huddle in his wings.

Still holding Vlad's hand, Soraya smiled and nodded, but didn't respond. Vlad was much better at handling these things than she was. And much more comfortable than either she or Naitachel were.

"Please allow me to begin by saying how sorry I am for your loss," Reddy addressed Naitachel. "I had the privilege of meeting your husband once when he lectured on the ultimate inadvisability of the use of biochemical weapons in warfare. He was a bright, compassionate, and I must say, patient man. I had to have him explain quite a few things in layman's terms, not being a scientist myself, and he took great pains to make certain his work could be understood by anyone. Including me."

Soraya nodded again, knowing the truth of Reddy's words. "Thank you," she said quietly in response to the man's condolences.

"Thank you," Naitachel seconded Soraya, nodding politely. "Yes... He truly understood such things in great depth, though I fear I take after you, Mister Reddy--I have no head for such unless in simpler terms. His loss will be felt for a long time, I am certain." Golden eyes shifted to his teacup sadly, and he seemed to huddle in on himself as if cold.

"I appreciate you all accepting my request for an interview on such short notice," Reddy acknowledged them all.

The redhead smiled crookedly. "You were rather... persuasive," she answered.

"I was wondering how you were managing the day to day affairs of the company and Brightflights International as well?"

Vlad almost choked at Soraya's answer, as did Reddy. The cameraman fingered the off button as Reddy began to laugh.

"Touché, Mrs. Prince," he acknowledged. "I suppose that was fair."

Nodding again, the cameraman restarted the film, and Reddy assumed an interested air while waiting for Naitachel's answer.

"With a great deal of assistance, but we manage," Naitachel returned slowly, not looking up. "How else is there to do it? One day passes at a time, and must be handled as it comes." Mentally, he sighed. <He did strong-arm his way into this.>

Soraya did her best to smile innocently as the cameras resumed. She hadn't meant to interrupt the interview, wanting to get it over with, but she hadn't been able to stop her comment, either. <He did. Let us simply hope that we do not live to regret it,> Soraya answered him, though outwardly she remained the picture of collected as Naitachel spoke.

Reddy nodded. "If I may ask, Mister Prince, how hard is it for someone like yourself, with no scientific background to speak of, to run a company such as Dragon Industries?"

Vlad tensed but waited.

Sensing Vlad's increased tension, Soraya squeezed his hand. <Trust him,> she said, knowing Naitachel would be able to answer the question without difficulty.

"It takes a great deal of patience, I would say," the Seraph answered, smiling wryly. "I but consider what Radu would have done and attempt likewise. Oft I needs must turn to Mircea or Vlad for assistance on the more scientific points, but they are ever patient with myself, and they, too, knew Radu's ways. In the end, we figure it out, somehow. I admit this is not my forte. But I cannot abandon Dragon Industries, not when Radu left it in my hands." <I... should not be doing this,> Naitachel murmured uncomfortably, to himself. <I should not be in control of it, nor playing in the public eye. Heavens, what am I doing...?>

"I admit, I can't imagine how difficult it must be to move on after such a loss," Reddy genuinely sympathized. "For a family as close as yours seems to be, I imagine it's especially difficult. Do you suppose that, in helping to maintain his work and further his dream for the future you are in some way, helping to keep your husband's memory alive?"

<You are doing what you must,> Soraya answered Naitachel, sensing his discomfort.

<I'm not hearing many alternatives,> Vlad admitted. <So far, at least, he seems to be staying within the boundaries agreed upon.>

Naitachel toyed with his teacup uneasily. He could not admit he had taken the reins simply because someone had to, and he was simply the best suited among limited options. He could hardly leave it to Vlad, who would be overwhelmed, or Mircea, with his temper. <That is because if there were, I would take them,> Naitachel answered softly, honestly. "I do not fear losing his memory, Mister Reddy," the Seraph told the man. "But I cannot abandon it. Sometimes, choices are made for us, and there is no point in rationalizing the whys and wherefores when this is the reality to be lived with."

Reddy nodded, seeming to accept that answer. "How will your accession to the head of Dragon Industries affect your charitable venture, Brightflights International? Will you continue to run it as well or will Soraya Prince," he gestured toward the redhead, "be taking the reins there?"

Naitachel glanced at Soraya. <I imagine with your studies you have not the time yet to aid me there. Best you finish those first,> he mused.

Soraya's eyebrow raised at that. She hadn't ever really considered taking over Brightflights, with school keeping her busy.  <Perhaps simply say it remains in good hands for the moment?> she suggested.

Naitachel looked back at the reporter. "No, Mrs. Prince has her hands full at this time, I fear. I shall do my best to stay with Brightflights, though I fear I shan't be attending so many of the events. I am not certain how many of us may, with so many changes to deal with...  All the same, it is in good hands still, as those who assist me with it are quite capable people."

"Uncle will have all of our support to both with Dragon Industries and Brightflights International, but truthfully there isn't anyone better equipped to handle the charity than he is," Vlad agreed.

Soraya shifted in her seat. <You are doing well. There cannot be much more of these questions,> she encouraged the seraph.

<I do hope not,> Naitachel returned uneasily. <But I fear your turn is upcoming, with Vlad.>

"Your family has always been at the forefront of media attention, but you've always managed to keep out of the gossip columns before this, but I have to say, when I got here I noticed that the paparazzi were out in full force, looking for new photos to go with all the old tabloid nonsense. How hard is it to regain some sense of normalcy for your family now that every move you make seems to be fodder for the nonsense columns?" Reddy asked.

Soraya again shifted in her seat. "Almost impossible, it seems," Soraya answered frankly, "though normalcy has always been difficult for someone who lives in the public eye. But we do what we can, the small things... Have dinner as a family, make sure we spend time together every day, have a routine." She glanced at Vlad, before continuing, "Particularly when the children are involved. For their sakes, we try not to let anything said out in the world affect us too deeply within our own walls."

Naitachel glanced over at Vlad and Soraya with a wry smile. "Normalcy?" he chuckled. "I am still attempting to comprehend the concept of vacation time." But he nodded to agree with Soraya's answer. "We appear to have become a rather large and much-sought target, however, and that has been very disruptive in its attempts to breach into every sanctuary."

"I can only imagine. I know that there are a lot of fabrications floating around out there, people seeking to get their fifteen minutes of fame on the coattails of your family's tragedy, none of which I see reason to mention and validate here beyond asking, how do you insulate your children from the stories people tell, especially the more vicious tales that seem to be floating around out there right now?"

Soraya contemplated the question a moment. <It seems the attention is being redirected at last,> she sent Naitachel wryly. "Control the flow of information as much as possible... The elder children are old enough to understand the difference between what the media portrays and the truth, which helps," she began. They never spoke about their kids in specifics, much less mentioned their ages due to the visual discrepancy there, but it made this sort of scrutiny difficult. "For the youngest, well... we try to keep her away from those sources of information, as much as possible. Still, those firewalls are never full-proof. Usually it comes down to having some frank conversations. It helps that she is a rather honest child. If something bothers her, we know, and we can address it that way."

<Thus far, politely so, and gentle questions. It could have been worse,> the Seraph mused.

<Indeed,> Soraya agreed. <Perhaps we can hire him as our head of family media coverage... He gets all of our exclusives,> the redhead teased in response.

<That might not be the worst idea,> Vlad agreed silently.

<Indeed, if he continues like this.> Naitachel sipped his tea slowly though it was growing cold. It still tasted good.

"I've heard, and please feel free not to answer this if it's too invasive, that you've actually been forced to engage more security for yourselves and your children to combat the invasive tactics you've been subjected to by the media and others. Is this true?" Reddy asked, signaling the cameraman to be prepared to cut back if that question was, indeed, too invasive.

Soraya tried not to flinch visibly at this question, but chose to allow Vlad to answer it as he would. Naitachel also looked to Vlad for an answer. He had no idea what to offer to this, though golden eyes stayed wide.

"Honestly, I think we'd rather not have that put out there," Vlad answered, paying close attention to how Reddy chose to handle that answer.


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Re: Reporters and Other Mayhem

Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 9:35 pm

Reddy nodded, "I am sorry," he said as his cameraman rolled back. "Removing it as we speak. I should have removed that one from my list initially," he said, holding up a small stack of cards, upon which he had a few questions written. "I wouldn't want to answer that one in your position." The cameraman nodded to indicate he was ready. "Alright to continue?" Reddy asked the three interviewees.

The Seraph nodded. "Thank you, Mister Reddy."

Soraya nodded affirmatively.

Signaling to roll, Reddy continued, "I was told that you two have an anniversary coming up in a few weeks. Is that right?"

Vlad smiled. "That’s right," he answered, holding Soraya's hand.

Soraya smiled as well and gazed up into her husband's eyes, if only briefly. "Already?" she laughed. "I had nearly lost track of time. I need to go buy you a gift," she laughed, obviously jesting.

Vlad laughed. "I've got all I want already," he assured her, kissing her hand softly.

"It's impressive with your work and class schedules, children, and charitable efforts, that you manage to find time for one another. How do you do it?" Reddy asked, giving them the opportunity to show they're still going strong.

Soraya glanced at Naitachel, knowing this must be difficult for him. <I am sorry. I know it is difficult to have to hide with Radu,> she sent quickly. "Well, I have to throw the occasional temper tantrum," Soraya jested again, obviously becoming more comfortable in front of the camera, at least enough so to show some good humor. "But we have had some serious discussions about scheduling and ensuring that we make the time for each other each day. And we made a solemn promise that that time is sacred, and that we are not only there physically, but emotionally and mentally as well." She smiled and squeezed Vlad's hand. "It is not always easy, but any relationship is work. I think that is the key. We are both willing to put the effort in.  And, of course, not to sound trite, but... communication. Always."

"It is hard sometimes," Vlad admitted. "But it's always worth the effort."

"Always," Soraya agreed without hesitation.

Naitachel gently sent a soft mental touch of gratitude, though he simply sat quiet and continued to nurse his teacup. The thought of no more outings with Radu was indeed a sad thing to face. No more concerts or operas or anything of the like together, at least not for some decades. It was discouraging.

Reddy smiled. Perfect answers, he thought. "I don't doubt it," he agreed. "And congratulations." Noting the micro-espressions of sadness as the flitted across Naitachel's countenance, "I understand you and Radu would have also celebrated an anniversary very soon." He gestured again to his cameraman to be ready to cut back. "Will you be doing anything to commemorate the day?"

"Thank you," Soraya responded at the congratulations, though her own face became a mask of sadness as the question was asked of Naitachel. She actually didn't know if he and Radu had simply planned a quiet evening in. <Let me know if you would like me to intervene on your behalf,> she told him quickly, knowing it could become uncomfortable since he couldn't lie.

"You know what, Brad, go back. There’s no need to make him answer that," Reddy told his cameraman. "I'm sorry," he told Naitachel. "How about we let it go. If they hadn't got the idea from your earlier answers that you're not seeing anyone else, they don't want to hear it. You don't need to answer that."

"I... do not know," Naitachel admitted softly, fingers tightening on his cup. "But thank you, Mister Reddy. I do not mind letting it be known that I am not interested in seeing any at this time, truly. But there is no way to state that without some thinking the opposite must be true, it seems. Besides... whenever might I even have the time to bother?" <And I would not, regardless,> he sighed to Vlad and Soraya. <I would not turn my back on Radu so, "dead" or not.>

"That's true... okay... good point..." Reddy nodded, gesturing for his cameraman to begin again after editing back to eliminate his last question. "I understand you've been keeping an exhausting schedule lately, trying to do both jobs. Ten hours at Dragon Industries, another 8 at Brightflights daily. When do you have any time for yourself?" he asked Naitachel on camera, knowing that the schedule would do more to disprove such rumors than any vague denials would.

Soraya smiled and nodded. <There is no need to even say as much,> she answered. <We all know that.>

<None who truly know you doubt that,>
Vlad agreed.  He actually smiled at the new question presented. <Seems he found a way to give you your denial without making you deny anything outright after all.>

<Sneaky bugger,> Soraya quipped. <I definitely would prefer to have him on our side than against us.>

"Anytime other than those 18 and the commutes between?" Naitachel murmured, smiling wryly again at the thought. "Of course, there are necessities as well somewhere in that... I am not certain beyond that. 'Free time' seems to be best spent with family, on the rare occasion it can be found." <Indeed. That is kind of him,> Naitachel agreed, cheering up at such generosity.

"And sleep, I’d imagine," Reddy quipped. "Thank you so much for allowing us to take up your time," he began to wrap up. "All of you. I know I speak on behalf of all of our viewers when I say how happy we are to see your family thriving so well in the face of such trying times."

"Thank you, Mister Reddy. You have been very kind," the Seraph offered, smiling gently, gratefully at him and his camera man.

"Yes, thank you," the redhead concurred, glad this was over with.

"Please," Reddy smiled once the camera was off. "It’s Lonnie. And thank you for letting me do this. Really. If you want to go over the footage with Brad before I send it in, or have your sec guys do it, we can do that. I don't have to have it in for another six hours."

<Perhaps not a bad idea,> Soraya suggested to Vlad, knowing they would likely, "have people."

Naitachel nodded and looked at Vlad. "Perhaps Min, then? As running through thick snow would likely be inadvisable for bringing it home and then back again in time."

"I'll go get him," Vlad agreed. "Be right back." He leaned down and kissed Soraya before going to get him.

Reddy blushed before saying, "That story I told about your husband. It was true... what I left out was that I had to get him alone after he was done and get him to break it down into pieces a kindergartner could understand before I got it. And he still did it. And didn't act like I was a moron while he did it. I appreciated that. He's the first and last scientist I've interviewed to do that."

"Indeed, that sounds much like Radu," Soraya agreed.

Nodding, Naitachel smiled warmly at the thought of Radu going to such lengths. "Yes, he would do such a thing. He had a great deal of patience, and a mind that followed such difficult concepts easily. I was surprised he never sought to teach others, to be honest, but then... he was always a bit shy, as well, about being before others."

Once Vlad had left, Soraya stood and stretched, more than ready to go eat, whether it was the cafeteria here or a fancier restaurant out in the snow. She was hungry.

"I noticed that," Reddy laughed. "I think he preferred going over it one on one, though, to standing in front of that crowd. They had to turn the mic up like five times." He watched Vlad go out, then confided, "You don't have to worry what'll happen to the piece once you approve it. If you approve it. I have total creative control of my pieces, unlike most reporters," Reddy told them. "It's in my contract. The network can run it or refuse to run it, but they can't re-edit it. So once we get a final copy your happy with, that's what they get. And that's all they get. No cut footage ever reaches them, and if they alter it they'll go broke eating the remainder of my contract. Promise."

The redhead nodded absently and moved to retrieve her discarded scarf, wrapping it around herself in anticipation of Vlad's return.

"Thank you, Mister Reddy." Naitachel beamed at him happily. "We do very much appreciate that, as well as how you handled this. You can imagine how... previous attempts... have made us rather wary. But your efforts have been most kindly and respectful, and that means a lot."

"I just appreciate the opportunity to do this. That interview with your husband launched my career. The least I can do is make sure his family gets some respect from this outlet," Reddy replied as he put on his coat.

Vlad and Min entered, Mircea on their heels. "We've got them all backed out into the snow but they don't seem to be leaving the sidewalks," Min grumbled.

"Who’s this?" Mircea demanded.

"Sounds like dinner will be at home, then," Soraya commented, looking at Vlad just as her stomach growled loudly. "I think I can make it that far before my stomach implodes. Depending on the snow delays, of course."

Naitachel shook his head, and gestured for Vlad and Soraya to go. "You may as well hole up in the cafeteria, as I mentioned earlier," he chuckled. "Go on... It may be more pleasant than braving the gauntlet, I imagine." He arched a brow. "Do you think you might escape through the snow?" If they could make it home.

"Dinner will be at DelRiccios," Vlad corrected. "I don’t care who’s on the sidewalk. I'm going out with my wife."

"It might not be a bad idea," Reddy suggested. "If the paparazzi get photos of the two of you out and holding hands, it'll cut the legs out of some of the other stories circulating." He shrugged. "Just a thought."

"This is Lionel Reddy, Mircea. He has interviewed Radu in the past and kindly thought to help us create some answers to quiet the media," Nait introduced. "Mister Reddy, this is Mircea Prince, if you have not yet met him."

Mircea's eyes narrowed. "I remember you. Twenty questions on bioterrorism, right? That was you?"

"That was me," Reddy answered.

"Radu liked him," Mircea said, seeming to relax some as he recalled that to the others.

Soraya smiled brightly at Vlad. "Good thing I have a dress stashed away in your office for such black-tie restaurants."
Besides, Reddy was right. A night out might be good for the reporters. "Good night," she called, waving at the others as she made for the door. "And pleased to meet you, Mr. Reddy. Make us proud."

"I’ll do my best, ma'am," Reddy assured her. "Enjoy your night out."

"Goodnight, Vlad, Soraya!" the Seraph called, waving. Best they hurry, before the snow trapped them.

Vlad waved on his way out, hurrying after his wife.


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Re: Reporters and Other Mayhem

Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 9:37 pm

The Seraph took the opportunity to finish his tea and tidy up for it to be picked up when people returned after the snowstorm.

Min finished going over the footage with Brad, then nodded. "It looks good," he told the others. "I linked it to Matty, who agrees."

Naitachel nodded. "Good. In that case, Mister Reddy, it is all at your disposal, and thank you again."

Reddy nodded, shook hands all around and prepared to go. "Thanks again. I'll get this on tonight and uploaded tomorrow. And please, let me know if there's anything else I can do for any of you." Brad waved as he followed behind Reddy, pleased to see they were good to go.

Nait waved after them, and sighed.

"You okay?" Min asked.

Naitachel nodded, and sent a burst of energy through the tea-set, scouring it clean neatly. "I am well enough. Though heavens, what to do about our Anniversary... I admit to having avoided trying to think on that. Perhaps I might hide that day, in the east wing."

"I think that's a good idea." Min grinned, glancing at Mircea.

"I'd have expected nothing less," Mircea concurred.

The Seraph reached for his crutches and rose to his feet. "Well, regardless, best see how bad the snow is. I imagine you both wish to get home soon, lest we end up trapped here for the night. Does it look bad outside as of yet?" he inquired.

"It does, but I don't mind, since I'm not leaving, and he doesn't care because he snowmobiled here," Mircea replied.

"It was better than walking," Min defended himself.

Naitachel chuckled, closing down his laptop. "Have you both eaten, then?"

"I'm eating at the club and he ate in the lobby," Min snorted.

That made Nait arch an eyebrow. "Mircea... surely not one of the reporters...?"

Mircea shrugged, but said nothing.

Shaking his head, Naitachel slung his laptop bag over his shoulder. "I do hope at least whoever it is has no memory of it."

"Are you kidding?" Min snorted. "She's' coming back tomorrow so he can do it again."

Mircea rolled his eyes, but still said nothing.

Nait's eyes widened, and he colored, though he couldn't help a quiet laugh. "Heavens! At least that may stem other rumors, then!"

"If this didn't, Doctor Sophia Brennan might have," Min offered, laughing.

Mircea began donning his coat quickly as if ready to flee.

Naitachel shook his head, still smiling, and clicked his way to the door. "Well, at least you do not go hungry, then," he supplied cheerfully. "In any case, I shall fly home, I think. White amid white is hardly a concern."

"Likely a good idea," Mircea agreed.

"Yes, uncle will be fine here, with Vlad's lab assistant keeping him company," Min laughed harder. "Keeping him warm and well fed and stimulated..." He paused for effect before adding, "Intellectually, of course."

The Seraph locked the office door, approving that Tara had already left, and glanced over at Min, smiling gently. "Now Min, not everyone explores physical depths so much as you... well, perhaps not so early, anyway," he mused, if only for Mircea's benefit.

"With Sophia Brennan? She and her roommates are notorious for their 'physical depths'. I know, because I and half the other men in Manhattan have indulged. However, it seems Sophie dear has taken a special liking to uncle. Imagine that." Min donned his leather coat and gloves and waved to the other two. "Anyway, I'm headed to the club. I'll be home before sun-up. Don't wait up."

"Fly safely," Mircea cautioned Naitachel. "I'll be in my lab if you need me."

Naitachel waved after Min, shaking his head. "Well, whatever makes you both happy. I suppose we shall part here as well," he told Mircea. "I shall see you on the 'morrow, then." With another wave, he set to bounding up the stairs for the rooftop. Hopping through the snow to the edge, he tucked crutches under an arm and leapt off, wings flashing open wide, tail spreading as the wind caught, and started flapping for home. Pale wings amid heavy snow, he was near unnoticeable in the air.


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Re: Reporters and Other Mayhem

Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 9:40 pm

Naitachel flapped to a landing in the snow on a balcony railing, having to nearly dance on the edge to gain solid footing before folding his wings. <I am home! Might someone open the balcony, please?> he called. <Before my laptop becomes a popsicle?>

Matty waited in the parlor, hacking and rewriting Kaht's code again, testing how long it would take the big Indian to catch and correct this time. Last time had only taken him an impressive eighteen minutes. He jumped up and dashed to the balcony, admitting Naitachel. "Nice interview," he offered.

The Seraph bounded inside and set his laptop bag aside somewhere safe before shaking off snow and water like a dog from wings, tail, and hair. "Thank you, Matty. And thank you--he was kind about editing out difficult things."

"I didn't notice anything in the copy I was shown, so I guess he must have been. Did he save then edit, or edit on the fly?" Matty asked, wanting to be certain that they weren't going to be in for any nasty surprises later.

"Edit during it, I think," Nait supplied, smoothing hair back down, his feathers also settling as he folded wings and closed his tail. "I suppose we may use the same man in the future if all his interviews are thus."

Matty nodded. "If it airs like it was shown to me, that'll work." He shrugged. "We'll see if it does."

Nodding, Naitachel set his crutches aside and hesitated, mentally scanning to check if it was safe enough to remove his coat. "Well, we will see tonight, then," he agreed. "It should air soon, I believe?"

"Fifteen minutes," Matty agreed, gesturing toward the parlor TV.  He snickered as he rewrote another line, causing the house monitors to translate everything said in any room into Gaelic.

"Oh." Golden eyes widened. "I had not realized that soon." <Radu will be watching, too?> he asked Matty shyly.

"Dunno... depends on whether or not they're done cleaning up the broken glass so he can come out or not..." Matty answered vaguely.

Nait nodded, and collected his laptop bag and crutches, moving to take them to Vlad's office for safekeeping until the morning, at least. Mentally he reached out to his mate, hesitant about how Radu might feel about this. <Radu... Would you like to see Mister Reddy's interview with us? You might watch with my eyes, if you wish...> He could send it to Radu as he watched.

<I would indeed,> Radu answered, sounding tired and a bit frustrated. <Thank you, beloved.>

<Are you well?>
Nait asked, concerned. <Is something amiss?>

<I am well enough, beloved. Only a bit annoyed. A group of people broke onto the grounds today. Two broke into the wing while Kahtenny was dealing with the rest.>

<Oh! I thought Matty was referring to the glass from those thieves before... Are you hurt? Is anyone injured?>
Naitachel considered skipping the interview's airing to go check on his mate, concerned.

"They were here to take pictures," Matty answered. "Nobody was hurt."

"Pictures?" Naitachel asked, stunned. "Of what? Who?"

"Of the memorial wing," Matty shrugged. "You know… the library… the paintings… the antiques..."

"Oh." Naitachel breathed a sigh of relief. <Did they get you? Or were you safe?>

<There were shadows enough to remain unseen,>
Radu assured him. <And they were not here long. Kaht is remarkably good at what he does.>

"I'm not sure they didn't get out with some of the shots, though." Matty frowned. "Easy as pushing a share button to upload on most cameras now.  Means every antique and art thief out there is going to want into that wing."

<Good.> Naitachel smiled, and moved to the family room to turn on the TV and catch the interview. "Well, I suppose that cannot be helped, then," he sighed to Matty. "We shall have to but pray Kahtenny can keep them at bay."

"He won't be the only one watching, and I'll make sure he's awake," Matty replied, smiling. "For now, though... your interview’s on." He clicked the TV on and settled back to watch.

Nait nodded. "Thank you, Matty."


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Re: Reporters and Other Mayhem

Post  Naitachel on Wed May 07, 2014 9:50 pm

The pool building was massive, about five stories tall made of brick with windows that arced up in lovely Roman arches on the sides to allow sunlight in, yet leaving some brickwork to support the structure as well as offer some privacy. To either end of the Olympic-sized pool were places to change and a couple hot tubs were by those at the one end, showers at the other. The place was heated and the windows steamed on this cool winter evening, offering a warm and almost tropical sanctuary within. Why, even the potted plants and planters within helped with that feeling! Naitachel stood to one side of the pool, by a lounge chair, carefully rubbing the familiar scented formula of his weatherproofing feather-oil into his pale feathers, currently working on his tail.

In the water at the end of the pool opposite from where Naitachel sat, Soraya and Brianna whispered mischievously. As whatever conference they were having came to a close, Soraya gave a quick tickle, making Bri squeal before she ducked under the water. Bri, like the boys, was a rather established swimmer, which made Soraya proud.

Soraya remained where she was, obviously taking the part of the innocent bystander, though she didn't have to play the part long. It was only moments before Bri emerged on the side nearest Naitachel and splashed him, giggling in the process.

The Seraph yelped, dancing back from the water's edge on light feet like a bird, ducking as if to hide from the water. "Heavens!" he cried. "At least wait until I have set the oil in, or I shall have to do this again later!" he protested.

"It's just a little water," Brianna giggled again, and ducked under the water, a mass of kicking legs and black flowing hair. Soraya laughed gently in her wake as she moved toward Naitachel as well. "I am sorry, Nait. She wanted to tease. She meant no harm. You seem mostly oiled up already anyways."

Smiling gently, Naitachel simply shook his head at the child, understanding full well she meant no harm, only mirth. "It is all right. However, being what I am, we tend to lose such swiftly enough, and it is not easily applied to wet feathers. I shall need this for the upcoming weather, regardless, I am told... And yes, I am nearly done. Are you not going in as well, however?"

Soraya nodded and removed her overwrap. "Just getting to it now," she smiled, "But I was avoiding jumping in so that I might avoid splashing you," she teased.

The Seraph stuck his tongue out at Soraya and started rubbing oil into the feathers of his wings now. It required fluffing the feathers, rubbing the wrong way and ending with the right way, smoothing them, but for a bit he looked like a puffball of feathers.

The redhead tried not to smirk openly at the seraph, knowing giving in even that much would leave her laughing outright at the poor man. She focused instead on dipping into the water, using the stairs to enter and dunking her head under without hesitation. Brianna was already on the opposite end of the pool making a game of diving and splashing and was, apparently, speaking with someone named, "Harvey." She must have been watching old movies again.

"It is nice to see you home," Soraya finally offered as her head peeked out from under the water. "We see far too little of you here lately."

Spreading his feathers wide, he gave his feathers one last shake, then smiled in satisfaction. The Seraph closed the jar of his special oil blend, then rubbed his hands clean on his legs. "Thank you. I have not indulged much of late. There is... simply too much to do. But the good point in being the boss is that one may run off and vanish at times, and need explain to none." A golden eye winked. "Thank heavens for that, or I might go mad. How have your classes been?" Careful strides ventured to the water's edge, and he sat on the side of the pool, trailing bare--if odd--feet into the water.

Soraya pushed off and floated onto her back, a halo of red floating around her hair as medusa's hair might. "I do not go back for another week," Soraya answered, "and am admittedly enjoying my free time too much to look forward to my return. But I did receive my grades from last semester. Better than I could have hoped, given everything that happened."

"Well, that is good," Nait returned cheerfully, swinging his feet gently in the water. "What is in the upcoming semester?"

"Clinical rotations," the redhead answered, "From which I am sure I will learn much. And you? You cannot have only work on the agenda?"

Naitachel shook his head, smiling slightly, a bit regretfully. "I backed out of one of the Brightflights' events. I would much rather take that time to be here, and have a little peace with Radu, rather. Our anniversary... I hope to do the same, if work does not interfere." Naitachel chuckled, smirking slyly. "Yes, I think I might get that approved for Vlad. I am told I have influence in such matters." Shaking his head, he kicked about the water a bit more, like a kid on a dock. "I intend to take that day off, actually, but if trouble arises, I may have to go in. I hope not, and likely Mircea might see to anything that arises, though, so I expect not to be called."

Soraya nodded in agreement and flicked a little water in Nait's direction playfully. "I expect Mircea and Vlad will handle whatever comes their way on that day," she assured him. As she spoke, a small, six-year-old-sized shark approached Naitachel's legs from underwater. It was hard to miss her, with the mass of black hair in the clear water. Still, she popped up near Nait and let out a loud, "Boo!"

Naitachel jerked back and laughed, kicking water at the child mischievously. "Hunting the shoreline, I see?" he teased playfully. "I am certain they might manage adequately without me," he added with a chuckle.

Brianna laughed. "No, just following after Harvey. We're hunting ghosts," she confided.

"Harvey?" Nait asked, curious. "Who is he?" Glancing around, he looked thoughtful. "I do not feel any spirits about at this time... though I do know we have a few..."

"I would think a pooka has a direct line to ghosts," Soraya observed, which drew a fervent headshake from Brianna. "No, they're different. To find ghosts, we have to use all this stuff, like EMFers and stuff."

"Harvey's my pooka bunny!" Brianna giggled at Naitachel, though her ears perked at the idea that they had spirits. "We do?" she asked. "I'm going to have to tell Matty! We've been looking for ghosts ever since..." she said, then trailed off, looking at her mother guiltily.

Naitachel smiled sheepishly. "We have a few. Most come and go, but few like to stay. They are a bit fearful of... well... And they are uncertain about facing myself, so... They do tend to hide and lay low, for the most part."

"And you feel them?" Brianna asked, not noticing Soraya's discomfort with the allusions she was making.

"I can," Naitachel confirmed. "However, I make many of them nervous. Many linger for various reasons, and they are a bit leery of being judged. Some, with a darker history, actually fear to face such as I. They are easy enough to send on, but I would rather not enter a spiritual scuffle of that sort if they are behaving."

Brianna's blue eyes went wide. "Does Matty know? You could be a HUGE help," she said, the wheels obviously already spinning. "Maybe you can find out if there was a ghost in my room!"

"A ghost in your room?" Soraya asked, frowning.

Golden eyes narrowed thoughtfully. "In your room?" he echoed, surprised. "What did it want?"

Brianna opened her mouth to answer, then glanced furtively at Soraya, suddenly unsure of herself. "Well... because Mommy came in and said to give Sabrielle that message..." she said. Again, she watched with guilty interest as Soraya's countenance changed, and Soraya looked away.

"Give Sabrielle a message?" Now Naitachel was truly surprised, and he exchanged a look with Soraya. "Regarding what?"

<I told you about this... sort of,> Soraya said. <Remember, before you were overrun by the carnival group who wanted to win your interest? Hattie had just visited...> It was true she hadn't gone into detail.

<Ah, yes, during that...> Naitachel rubbed at his chin, thinking. "Well, I suppose I might stop by your room and check, but that ghost may have left, Brianna," he told the child. "If she gave her message, that may have been all."

Brianna realized she was treading lightly, though Soraya didn't speak up to interrupt her, either. "Mommy came in and woke me up and said I needed to give Sabrielle a message. She said that she loved her and still watched over her and that she still got into trouble all the time, even with everyone there to keep her out of it," she said, eyes averted up and to the right as she tried to recall the details. "She said Sabrielle had to be careful because she wasn't seeing this one coming and she'd let him get too close... But it wasn't really a ghost," Brianna answered Naitachel, deadly serious now. "We're just playing. It was Mommy. Right?"

<Will you tell her you had a sister, once?> Nait asked Soraya quietly, carefully trying to keep Brianna from reading his message.

Soraya shook her head and exited the pool, maintaining silence as she wrapped herself in a large towel. <I had not intended on it. I did not want her to have to know the horrible things that happened.> The thing was, Soraya didn't think she could relive those memories without breaking down, even this long after the fact. She knew her daughter's ability to read thoughts were highly developed, and she didn't want any images getting through to her. She preferred to simply let sleeping dogs lie. "I might have been sleepwalking," she finally answered Bri.

Naitachel shrugged his wings, watching Soraya exit the pool, though he felt a bit of concern and sadness. <It sounds as though she thought to say hello, at least,> he observed gently. "Well, if the ghost was but one of those who visit intermittently, I think it shall remain quiet from here on. Even if it is the sleepwalking kind?" he offered.

<I know,> Soraya answered simply.

"What ghost?" Brianna asked again. "It was Mommy." She paused a moment, then breathed, "Oooooohhhhh.... You mean the ghost possessed Mommy? Is it here now?"

"I do not know," Naitachel admitted, shaking his head. "There is no way I might tell you for certain without having been present... and as I said, most ghosts shy away from my ilk in fear of being sent off this plane. So we may not be certain of any theory, I fear." That was true enough. They might suspect, but to be absolutely certain, no.

"So who's Sabrielle?" Brianna asked, looking between Soraya and Naitachel.

The Seraph blinked, and glanced at Soraya for an answer. After all, he couldn't lie... and had no idea how to answer without trying to do so.

Soraya swallowed hard and closed her eyes. "Brianna, Sweetling, this once, please, leave it be," she requested quietly.

Upon hearing her mother's answer, Brianna glanced at the seraph questioningly. <You'll still check my room, though, right?> she requested, not willing to end whatever game she had going on with Matty yet. Apparently there was more truth to the ghost story than she had realized. She wasn't sure she'd be able to sleep soundly in her room anymore.

"I shall, if you like, but I suspect whoever visited means you no ill, Brianna. Had we any truly malicious visitors, I would have cast them out long ago," he assured the child. "And any that misbehave, it is easy enough to chase them out as well."

"Okay... but still... I'd feel better," she said, still full of questions about the whole thing but trying not to upset her mother further.

"Then I shall," Naitachel agreed, smiling. "Perhaps directly on leaving here for the main house."

"How about a movie and popcorn, huh?" Soraya called cheerfully, trying to change the subject.

"Okay!" Brianna visibly perked at the promise of a specter-free room, as well as the idea of popcorn and a movie. She emerged from the water, splashing Naitachel inadvertently in the process as Soraya laughed and caught her with a towel. "Can we watch Harvey?" she requested, looking at the Seraph in the hopes that that would meet his criteria.

The Seraph jumped a bit at being splashed, but grinned. "Watch Harvey? Is he in a movie?" he asked.

"Yup! It's about one of his old friends. He's a pooka," Brianna grinned happily through Soraya's ministrations to wipe her down. "Go get dressed," she instructed the girl, pushing her gently toward the changing areas.  The redhead covered herself with her new robe and put on her slippers. That would do to get back into the house. "Will you be joining us?"

Naitachel shrugged his wings, smiling. "I think I shall in a little bit. It is pleasant to not have to hide for a while."

"I imagine it is," the redhead laughed. <What do you think I should do?> she finally asked the seraph, obviously at a loss on how to handle the whole "ghost" situation.

<I think your children may wish to know they had a beloved aunt at some point,> Naitachel answered gently, splashing a bit with his feet and eying the water. <Especially if she likes to check on you. You need not go into detail. Perhaps just mention that she died in a tragic manner and that it hurts you to discuss any details, and leave it as that. She was a part of you and still is, and to deny that denies them a piece of your life. However, I cannot tell you when the time is right to do this, as only you can tell. It may be now, but it may not as well,> the Seraph advised.

Soraya blinked hard and pushed her wet hair out of her face. <Perhaps you are right,> she answered. <My intent was never to deny Soraya, but just thinking of her, to this day... But I suppose it is high time I move on.> She took a deep breath and fixed her smile in place as Brianna reemerged in her favorite pink pajama pants and bright orange shirt. The ensemble was completed by a headband affixed with bunny ears. The whole made Soraya laugh in earnest. "Come on, Harvette, inside," she said.

"I shall join you two later!" the Seraph called, waving to the pair. He couldn't help an amused smile at Brianna's attire, however. Children were amusing, always, in their own ways.

Soraya paused at the doorway and looked back. <Thank you,> she sent the seraph, then, more hesitatingly, <And if you ever do feel her... I... would like to know.>

Naitachel glanced over his shoulder and nodded, smiling gently. <Of course. If I do speak to her, I shall let her know you love her still.>

<Always,>
Soraya agreed, before dashing after Brianna, intent on making the trip between the pool and the main house as short as possible lest her hair freeze to her head.
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