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Stuart Blair

Invite The Things I'd Not Trouble You With

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
52 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

Another day for most. Another day for Stuart too, really... at least a few years down the track. Except that it wasn't, nor would it ever be. The 9th of July would always be associated with the tiny stillborn girl that he had held for only a short time. Certainly, he wasn't the only one to have lost a child in the town, or even among his friends or family. It's why he never spoke about it with others, even when they needed to speak about the ones they'd lost. He still had the rest of his children, and their children even. And the mother of this one... had never wanted to be a mother. Not that he ever blamed her. Despite her fears, she still accepted it was going to be. It wasn't her fault that she was being hunted, or that she'd been found.

Or that she had been attacked, right before Stuart had turned up and - in his rage - did something he never would have done normally. It had been called self-defense, but the creature hadn't even been after him. He didn't even like calling it a creature. The werewolf that had killed his unborn daughter had been a person as well. But they were as evil in their human form as what many people considered their kind to be regardless. And the mother... she had survived, by some miracle, but they had never been the same again. Perhaps it had been for the best. She had been almost half his age, after all.

Of course, that was some years ago now. How long? Seven years? He closed his eyes tightly, trying to push the number away. He didn't want to think that there could be a cute seven year old girl living with him, who played with her cousins and many half-siblings, and nieces and nephew. Every year he came here alone, he never reminded anyone the day, though suspected that at least Jez remembered.

People had enough of their own worries, to be bothered by him. And so he sat at the foot of the grave and smiled gently at the name, 'Annabelle Maree Blair'.

"Well... I guess it's about time I updated you on the weird and wonderful, Belly Bear?" Stuart spoke quietly, before then beginning to go over some of the details of what had been happening over the past year, since he last visited.

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40 year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

Adele remembered, though she had never made a point of it. At the time, it had been a sad shame. A horrible thing to happen to the father of two of her daughters, but at the same time quite distant from her own life. Which then, had been a cozy family unit that felt near untouchable. She'd had sympathy, of course, but never felt motivated to do anything with it. Today, she knew, she owed much more to Stuart than just that. Adele wasn't blind to his support, the strength he had given her when she needed it most, the very fact that he'd not given up on her even when her actions turned toward destructive old habits. But it wasn't out of obligation to debt that she came, either. She wanted to. If she could help make this day a tiny bit less shitty for him, she would. He deserved a lot more than that, but nothing was going to undo the pain.

Dressed casually, sensible heels and carrying two bottles, Adele picked her way through the graveyard to where she knew he would be. She'd paused a bit to give him some time to settle, a little bit of alone time with his daughter. How many times had she done the same for Lauren? And would, for the rest of her days, with David? Unless her mother was hiding some other secret and David was living out his life in some unseen dimension which Adele tried not to consider, but at this point couldn't help wonder if it might be true...

"You forgot these," she said, announcing herself on approach by raising the bottles and clinking them lightly together. Rituals were rituals, after all. If she couldn't have a drink in the cemetary with Stuart, then when could she? Adele didn't bother to ask permission, knowing Stuart was far too polite to let her stay if she gave him the option, she simply sat down and cracked the top of one of the bottles, handing it over. He was too damn polite to ask for any sort of help ever, she knew that. If he felt a fraction for his little girl of what she did for her own hurts, then he needed this now. 

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
52 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

"... so, you know. Even if things are crazy as hells around here, you can bet that you'd never have been bored. Or would want for more family. You know, I think Mea might have grown protective of you if you were here too. Having her living with me has been really good, you know. For both of us. It's certainly helped me..." The man trailed off from his murmurings with a gentle smile on his features. He actually considered the past year to be a blessing with Améa's return, and her staying with him. They'd managed to connect in their own way, even if she was still afraid that he would turn her away if he knew the truth. But he did know... he just didn't want to bring it up. He was still waiting for her to feel like she could, so that he could reassure her. It would happen in time though, there was no rush. The man was at least mildly aware that he wasn't entirely alone in the cemetery, however, and after some time of being silent, the approaching voice and clinking of glass bottles confirmed it.

A small cheeky half-smirk tugged at the man's lips before his head had turned toward the direction of the approaching figure. That she simply invited herself to take a seat with him was expected, they both knew that even if she had asked he would have told her to sit anyway. The fact that she had turned up though, that wasn't entirely expected and there was an ounce of bemused surprise in his gaze, as well as appreciation for the company regardless.

"Well, that just proves I'm getting old, I'm starting to forget to bring the drinks with me," A tut from the man, before accepting the bottle and waiting for her own to be opened before lifting it to clink together in a silent 'cheers'. He then lifted it to his lips and took a few long swigs before pulling it from them and releasing a long sigh. "Except, normally it's a slab, and on top of a roof or in front of a bonfire," A snicker fell from his lips at that while the bottle swung from his fingers, arms resting on the man's bent knees. Silence followed for a few moments as he studied the headstone still, before then breathing out another long breath and allowing a half-smirk to tug at his lips again, "Always a shit trap, isn't it? Wondering what we could've done different... Hate getting caught in it."

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40 year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

"Yeah, I felt a little strange bringing that much alcohol to a graveyard," Adele admitted, even she had a sense of proprietry at times. She let her gaze rest on the gravestone, at the words carved ornately into the smooth surface. It was nice. A nice memorial for a shitty memory. "We should do that again, though. Soon. The roof, or bonfire thing. Maybe a bonfire so big we have to sit on the roof?"

Her eyes lit up just a little at that thought. Adele did love fire. Fire was destructive and unpredictable. Maybe it would be a fun night, maybe the town would burn to ash---who knew! At the very least, she could sit near it and poke it with a stick, watch as the smoke always seemed to find Améa. The girl was cursed, surely. Well... Adele paused for a moment of guilt. In some ways she was, just as Adele was too. In different ways, but cursed all the same. Blessed, they were supposed to be. It didn't feel like a blessing.

She nodded as he spoke again, a wry smile touching her lips. Adele knew the trap well. The only way out that she knew was to leave, run far enough away that the old hurts couldn't find you anymore---but that wasn't an option now. It wasn't an option for Stuart, either. Or at least, she didn't think it was. He didn't seem likely to pick up and leave his family, his job, and everything he cared about just to leave some pain behind. He was better than that.

"Not much point to it, and yet it regularly consumes hours of my life." Adele snorted softly, raising the bottle in a small salute before she drank. "Can't even count how many alternative realities I've created in my own head. Some of them... end worse than what actually happened, which is a little counter-productive. If you're going to wallow in the pit of What If, you might as well get to a good outcome, right?" Adele laughed, amused by her own foolishness. 

"You doing alright, though? It's a shitty day."

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
52 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

"Really? I've brought a six pack on a few occasions," Stuart offered a lopsided grin toward Adele, before taking a swig from his bottle and then offering a shrug, "Depends on who you're visiting though, I guess. See, if it was my dad, then I'd have to share some with him." The man nodded over toward another headstone that actually wasn't too far away. There was a ritual of having to pour at least one bottle over the old man's grave, lest he be haunted or something, he couldn't put it past the man to return just to scold him for hogging all the beer to himself. However, the idea of having a drinkies on a roof or around a bonfire was definitely an enticing idea and he gave a few nods.

"It's the right time of year for a bonfire, and I know there's a big stack on the back of my property at the moment. I think Alan's got a stack near his place too. If we put both together, then it'll set a pretty big blaze, I'd reckon," Big enough to warrant giving it a little distance, though the idea of sitting on a roof whether it was big or not was a fun plan and caused a wily smirk to tug at the man's lips. "In any case, a camp out with a bonfire sounds pretty damn good regardless. Get a few drinks, put the little kids to bed early, just spend the night tossing more fuel on the pyre and relaxing," The man nodded easily, sounded like a fantastic plan really.

"You got a weird-arse mind sometimes, Del," Stuart grinned with a small laugh and shake of his head as she recounted having created worse alternate realities in her head than the truth, "Correction, make that almost all the time." He then said after a second though, reaching his elbow out to give her a small nudge, though nodded lightly, "Most of the time, it's just trying to picture what she would look like. But I try not to spend too much time lingering on those thoughts. Hells knows what it did to Alan for years." A small sigh was breathed out before he took another drink.

"Still, I guess I should've known it was going to end not great. When both you and Kate agree on not liking someone, then I should take that hint that it's a bad omen," The man smirked as he gave Adele a side-eye, however her question resulted in a shrug as a response, "Like you said, it's a shitty day. But it could always be worse, yeah? The pain doesn't go away, but it also means I just appreciate what I still have all the more as well. I mean, we got Améa back, and she's doing fantastic now. I love having her with me, and I'm kinda dreading the day when she decides she wants to step out into her own place or something." He chuckles quietly, "The place is too quiet when it's just me and ol' Cecil." 

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40 year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

"There's still the brush out the back of our place from when Dave trimmed the trees," Adele added. "Trim" was an understatement. He'd hacked those trees within an inch of their lives, the stack of cuttings was enormous. He'd just never got around to disposing of it. The pile haunted her a little, another small reminder of the things left undone. There were so many of them. His clothes still in the wardrobe, a half-written shopping list for things they no longer even needed, a cubby house he'd been putting together for the kids. It never felt right to do something about it, as if he might walk back in any moment and wonder where all his things were. She just couldn't.

The bonfire sounded good. Distracting, even. It would get rid of that looming pile of dead tree bits, at least. Maybe after that she would be able to start sorting through the rest of it, too. She took a long drink, just nodding gently as Stuart spoke. He wasn't often one to talk about his thoughts, and his feelings -- best not to interrupt him while he was. It was good for him to let it out. Was this what Lorelei had meant, but them being "good" now? Adele turned her head slightly, watching Stuart's lips move, studying the side of his face, the way he held the bottle. What had that meant? 

"It is good, having her back," Adele agreed. The girl had warmed to Stuart over time, and especially to Mary. Vladimir---well, there was an obvious secret that Adele knew she wasn't supposed to know, but it positively beamed out of the two kids any time they were near. Impossible to miss, and yet she was sure Améa felt she was being very sneaky and careful in keeping it hush. Adele didn't have any desire to disabuse her of that idea just yet, nor did she feel she had earned any real right to expect that Améa might tell her anything of her own volition. If anything, she would speak with Jezebel first, then maybe Stuart. Or Mary. Adele was very aware that on the list of people Améa trusted, she was very far down the order.

"Mm, I'm not looking forward to when Alex and Cass decide they need their own space," she mused. The noise of the full house was sometimes the only thing that kept her distracted and sane. Especially with the twins now, it was a whole new level of chaos. Caleb had bonded quickly with the twins (an absolute surprise to everyone, but a welcome one) and spent most of his time practicing guitar for them. Checking they were happy, even occasionally advising Cass of which breast had been used last to feed from, so that she wouldn't give them an "empty one".

"You know Kate only had a problem with her because donkey-face has the most ridiculous crush on you, and always has," Adele reminded him, one eyebrow raised. "I wouldn't be looking to who that one approves of, because spoiler alert, she's not going to be happy unless you whisk her away to some dream life."

Could she blame Kate for that, though? Sure, the donkey's un-subtle approach, the drama and the theatrics made it very distasteful. But the core of it? As she had told Lorelei, Stuart came with an encompassing sense of safety, of calm. Even now, it wrapped around her like a blanket, when he was not making any active effort to soothe her. It was just his presence. For a woman as wildly insecure as Katherine Belmont, with that deep social need for an attractive man on her arm and the status that came with someone like Stuart----he was a very desirable package.

Adele didn't really need the rest of it. Certainly not the status. The attractiveness was a neat bonus. 

Adele realised she was staring. Shook her head sharply to break the moment, released a breath she didn't know she was holding. Weird.

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
52 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

"That's true, plenty there last I checked... I was going to ask if you wanted some help tidying that stuff," Stuart said with a thoughtful nod before while considering just how big a fire they could get out of the stacks if they put them altogether. Seemed like it'd be a mighty big burn, definitely good for a relaxing cold night out on one of the properties. Maybe get out the swags and everyone can huddle up and tell a bunch of stories and embarrass each other. His lips had quirked into a small boyish grin as his faraway gaze was visualising bonfire night already. It was definitely going to have to happen. It was one of those things that tended to help burn off the clutter that clung to a person's mind and emotions, not just the physical junk they had around.

A few people needed that. The woman beside him included.

"Hey... you know, if you want help with anything else that needs doing, you only gotta ask, right?" Stuart turned his gaze toward Adele, to catch her studying him which caused a brow to raise in response for a moment, before his expression returned to the easy going smile, full of warmth. "I know things have been pretty hectic at your place the past six months or so. Though, I imagine you'll wish it was that way again when the lovebirds want to set up their own nest," He offered a quiet chuckle. He knew the dread, was well aware of Améa and Vlad, but chose to keep his quiet on the matter as well. She deserved her little bit of happiness, even if it was 'secret' as far as she knew. "I probably don't even need to keep reminding you the offer's always there after this long, but still... some folks seem to forget sometimes," He grinned a little. Though Del's comments regarding Kate caused him to laugh aloud, even though he knew he shouldn't. He couldn't help it, the mutual dislike between the two always amused him, though Del's interpretation was always much more funny.

"You know, for all that crush she's always had, nothing would or could have ever happened between us. We've both always known that, and I think that bites at her the wrong way still," The man grinned down at his bottle which dangled between his fingers. For as long as they'd known each other, even going back to their own school days, there was never that spark between he and Kate, though it seemed to have taken Matt years still to realise that. There was a reason they were close friends, and he didn't mind indulging Kate's occasional need for reassurance, but that's all it had ever been or would be. "She got her wish come true though, Matt's miraculous return. She doesn't really want to be whisked away, as much as she thinks she does," The man smirked with a shake of his head.

Still, Kate had been the one he trusted with the truth when Adele came to Narrie... that she was Jezebel's real mother. And she had kept that quiet, had never betrayed that trust, and tried to be the maternal figure that Jez had needed because Gods knew that Tanya sure wasn't. Taking another sip from his drink, Stuart found himself once again thinking down along the line of what he could have done differently over the years. Tanya had given him four more children that he loved, certainly, but in the end even she found something else she wanted. His brow furrowed slightly, but then he noticed the movement from Adele and glanced at her with a raised brow.

"Hey there, you alright?" The man asked gently, switching his bottle hand so that he could free up his arm and offer it to wrap over Adele's shoulders, pulling her in beside him for a half hug as he smiled fondly at her. She almost looked like she'd discovered something she wasn't sure she liked, "Thanks for coming out here, by the way. You didn't have to, and I really appreciate it."

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40 year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

Adele nodded. She knew. Knowing was the easy part. Adele didn't doubt for a second that if she asked for help, that Stuart---and a few others---would jump at the chance. It wasn't feeling like she couldn't ask that held her back, it was feeling like she couldn't get those things done. It hurt too much. Once they had cleaned the last of Dave's loose ends away, what would she have left? It didn't feel like enough. Not nearly enough for the years they'd had together. 

She also didn't think that Kate understood that nothing would ever happen with Stuart. She was pretty sure that if Stuart gave her the slightest opening, Kate would abandon Matt in a split second and take it. A thought that niggled at her, now, made her mildly angry. For a while, it had been a source of amusement---she had looked forward to seeing the three of them in the same room, watching Matt grow increasingly irritated while Kate couldn't take her eyes off Stuart. Now it just seemed wrong. Stuart deserved better, Matt deserved better, than to be some donkey's plaything. Not that any of this had happened for years now, just the memory of it had a way of crawling under her skin and annoying at her.

"I'm fine," she said, feeling herself pulled in closer. The warm, secure feeling increased --- and not just because his arm now blocked some of the wind chill. The smile made her guts twist, he was so nice. So kind and comforting and this was his day to mourn, and yet here he was still trying to make her feel better. Why was he so nice to her? She didn't deserve this. And he was thanking her, too. Why? What had she ever done, except make his life more complicated than it needed to be? 

"I'm sorry," she murmured, resting her head on his shoulder. "I'm sorry."

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
52 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

"It's never easy..." Stuart said quietly, understanding well enough why she hadn't been able to clear out some of the clutter. It was like cleaning out what was left over of someone who had been a large part of the home, and sometimes... that hurt even more than having lost them in the first place. But so long as she knew that he, and a number of others, would be there for her when she was ready, then she would be alright. She could get through it. And then? Well, he couldn't exactly tell her that after that would be the next chapter in moving onward with her life, because he was sure a prime example, wasn't he. The man huffed quietly at himself, the ultimate hypocrite. Far be it for him to be happy, so long as everyone else around him was that was all that mattered.

"See... you say you're fine," The man pointed his index finger of his bottle hand toward her, before wagging it lightly, "But you get this weird scrunchy nose look when you've thought of something that you can't decide whether you like it or hate it, like this..." Stuart proceeded to scrunch his nose right up in a rather comedic over-dramatisation of Adele's expression which he was describing, "And then you sit there and bubble it around in your head until you just give up and try to distract yourself with something else." Offering a sage nod, the man smirked at her as he ticked a single brow, "I know you better than you think, Del. And I don't even have your spooky mind reading ability."

A wide boyish grin was offered then, before he chuckled and offered her another reassuring squeeze, to let her know that he was teasing, even if he knew he was right. The apologies caught him off-guard, however, and he tipped his head to the side to study her beside him.

"What're you sorry for, Del? You haven't done anything wrong. If you hadn't come out here, I'd just be moping silently over the grave for ages, like a crusty old gargoyle that hasn't learned how to turn to stone yet," Stuart chuckled and shook his head at her, "You're a strange woman. Guess that's why I like havin' you around."

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40 year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

He knew her? Adele normally would have dismissed the idea outright, except that everything he said was true. He knew her tells. Frustrating, yet endearing. David had always been able to tell too, but she'd known David for so much longer. It was only expected that he would be able to decipher her moods, Stuart was just... lucky. Or really good at reading people, and probably both. She scowled at him, a clear indicator that she was displeased with being so easily found out. 

"I'm sorry that you're so nice to me," the words jumped out before she could check them. Even Adele wasn't quite sure what she meant by it, or why his kindness made her so damn uncomfortable. Stuart had a talent for softening the old fears until they didn't seem to matter anymore, and she worried she had become complacent. Maybe it would be better to start again, and not just to burn her bridges in grief and anger at everything that had happened, but for the same reason Ameliana had plucked her out of her bed in the dead of night and moved her about from place to place.

It always caught up. And it wasn't Thomas, specifically. Thomas was just the hand that dealt the latest blow, there had been many Thomases. The dilemma tortured her at night, the only thing that gave her peace was the knowledge that it had struck only recently. There would be some time before the next, time she could use to let DJ grow up a little, before they really had to leave. And then Stuart did his stupid thing where he was nice and made the world feel safe when it wasn't and Adele wondered if she couldn't just stay. Forever, even.

Stuart was mortal, though. Where her closest family members could withstand what might come, she couldn't guarantee the same of Stuart. Just as she hadn't been able to guarantee it of David. 

"You're nice to me," she repeated, lifting her head to shake it sadly. "And all I'm ever going to be able to give you, is pain."

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
52 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

"You're sorry that I'm nice to you..." Stuart's brow rose even further as he watched the woman beside him, wondering what kind of drink she was drinking. Didn't he just say that he was happy she'd come to be with him? That itself was a kind gesture, even to remember what day it was at all, and to want to make the effort to cheer him up or just not let him sit here alone with all those thoughts that were never good for anyone. Honestly, the woman sometimes really had her line of thoughts way out of whack, and sure he loved that about her too, but sometimes it was either amazingly frustrating or amazingly hilarious. At this point in time, Stuart couldn't be sure which way the pendulum was swinging.

"You're a fuckin' goober, Del," Stuart chuckled with a shake of his head, though his eyes rolled at her when she began the same self-depreciating speech that she had given so many times that he'd lost count by now. It was always what she thought was going to happen, forever worrying about the future and how she would absolutely mess things up, and blah, blah... The man huffed and shook his head again at her, "You ever heard of self-fulfilling prophecy? You need to stop with that kind of talk. We're not in years ahead from now, we're in... now. So, this is how I'm gonna fix it."

And having said that, the man set his bottle down and pushed himself to his feet, before then quickly scooping the woman up and tossing her over his shoulder, not caring whether she held onto or dropped the bottle in her own hand. While one hand held her firmly on his shoulder, the other pulled back before giving a thwack on her rear, a devious smirk on his lips. He then gripped her tightly with both arms before proceeding to spin around in circles as fast as he could.

"Not stopping until you either puke or apologise for saying stupid shit!" Stuart called out, though the man really hoped that one of the other happened before he lost his momentum or ended up falling arse over tit. He wasn't quite as young as he used to be, and this spinning shit was not quite as easy as it once was.

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40 year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

Stop with that kind of talk? Why had she even started? He couldn't see it, wouldn't believe it, and maybe she hadn't explained it properly either. Adele wasn't sure she fully understood it either, she thought for so long that she had been rid of it. Adele opened her mouth to tell him, but all that came out was a stunned squeal as she found herself thrown over his shoulder. Spinning, spinning, so much spinning. Adele was glad she had a strong stomach, her arms flailed to try and smack Stuart in protest. At the same time, she could only giggle at this unexpected turn of events. 

"It's not... as stupid... as it sounds!" she managed between laughs and vague attempts to fight her way free. "You're a mortal, you loon. I'm not ready... to lose you. Yet."

Wriggle as she might, Adele just couldn't work herself free. She didn't want to puke, or apologise. Why would she apologise for worrying about someone she loved? That just came with the territory, didn't it? The girls would be devastated if something happened to Stuart, Alexander too, even Caleb would be lost. It didn't matter if it was today, tomorrow, or a thousand years into the future---the inevitable would hurt. A lot. Even if everything went well, long lives lived and in times of peace, it would still have to end. She would still have to stand by and watch time take away a piece of her soul, one wrinkle at a time.

And then she realised, that maybe she couldn't work her way out of this one---but she could use Stuart's move against him. It was rare Adele used her abilities for anything more than lighting her cigarettes, still very stubbornly rejecting her own heritage even though she had been accepted for some years now. Her arms out, waves of energy joined in, pushing the air currents around them, making Stuart spin faster and faster. Momentum, gravity, and just a little helping magic, enough to teach Stuart why throwing her over his shoulder was a bad idea. Adele cackled with glee, pushing for more, knowing that at least in this moment, if it all fell down they would fall together.

Just this one time.

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
52 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

"I know what I am!" Stuart called back before huffing out his own laugh, already he was beginning to feel giddy. This was probably not one of his most intelligent ideas, but it was already in the works, and he could only hope to be able to hold out until she called for mercy. "And you're not... losing me. I'm still here... I'm the arse... who's spinning you around!" Despite the growing dizziness, he still maintained a wicked grin on his features, determination had to get him through this. He really didn't like losing, especially to his own set challenges. Not that he really cared anymore if she did apologise, because he'd gotten her to laugh and that was the goal in the end. To get her mind off always thinking to the future, and just be in the right now, where they were.

Unfortunately, something strange then began to happen and Stuart was rather certain his spinning was getting faster, and his feet weren't exactly in control of it either, with the way they scraped around on the dirt and grass. He was going to end up digging up a big clump of it that he'd have to fix later, but that really shouldn't have been what he was concerned about. The spinning was still getting faster and Adele was cackling, which meant she was now playing funny buggers. The man tried to keep up, hold on, but his balance was tipping...

"Adelllllle, shi-..!" And they all fell down. Or, more so, Stuart felt when he was losing his ability to stay upright, and knew that it wasn't going to be a falling flat down tumble because of the wind that the blasted woman had summoned up. It was going to be a full being near tossed away and rolled around tumble. Instinctively, he swung Del off his shoulder and cradled her against his chest as he lost his footing, curling around the woman protectively until he collided with the ground, issuing a grunt from the man while a pain ran through his ribs and side. That was gonna bruise. Still, he kept Del sheltered from any impact as they rolled a few times until coming to a halt, his head tucked beside hers as he tried to get the world to stop spinning around him.

"I know it's scary..." The man murmured quietly while still holding her close, wrapped around her like a barrier against all the pain in the world, "I know that one day, eventually, I'm gonna reach my time. I don't plan on it being for a long time. But however long it is, I'm here now. And even when the time comes, You're always gonna have the memories, the good memories. You just have to close your eyes and remember getting a big old hug from me, and that memory will be your comfort. Just like the memory of feeling safe with me all those years ago." Shifting his head slightly, he pressed a kiss to her forehead and then rested his chin gently on top of her head.

"And don't apologise for being in my life anymore, please. You reminded me to live back then, you didn't try to paw over me or climb any kind of social ladder. You just, let me be me, without the pressure of everything else that was going on. I always appreciated that. And even now, you're a nutcase, but you make me laugh, you seem to always know when I'm feeling off, you notice the things that no one else notices, that I don't even notice, and it means a lot to me. You haven't given me pain ever, not once. You gave me a pair of beautiful daughters, a few headaches, definitely a few facepalms," Stuart's voice rumbled quietly before he breathed out a quiet huff of a sigh, and half chuckle, "But not pain. So just enjoy us being us while we do have the time, yeah? So that you can have so many good memories that they drown out the bad eventually." Offering her a small squeeze, he then shifted his head back a little to try and peer at Adele.

"By the way, I took the motorbike here, so if you're looking for a ride home, you'll have to deal with my traditional scoot around the winding tracks," The man grinned devilishly at her.

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40 year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

And they fell, tumbling to the ground as sticks and leaves picked up in the wind circled around them. Instinctively, she curled inward, making herself small and easy to shield, stayed there while the world settled and Stuart spoke. He had a point, yes. One memory had lasted her years---what would years of memories give her in the future? Far more than she felt she deserved, but he'd made it clear he didn't want to hear about that. A half-smile rested on her lips, chest tightening while he described all the things she did give him. The things she'd never considered were in any way special, she hadn't realised that her presence had made been a good one. The way he described it, Adele wasn't sure if it was her he was describing.

"I've got a lot of facepalms yet to give you," she replied, a shaky warmth radiating from the center of her forehead where he had kissed it. The feeling burned in her blood, made her heart thud with sickening speed. Adele knew the feeling, blamed it on the moment. The chaos and the loss of the last year. The lack of any sort of intimacy since David passed. All of that combined to produce this current, wildly inappropriate, desire. Stuart was the only real friend she had, of course she would feel that attachment. Of course she was unreasonably protective.

"I wasn't... I was planning on, y'know," Adele waved her hands in a vague imitation of some sort of magic. She hoped he didn't notice the slight tremor in her voice, or the way her palms had suddenly become ridiculously sweaty. "Winding tracks sounds fun, though."

Maybe a little rough riding would cure her of this awkwardness. A bit of danger with the safest man she knew, surely that would rebalance the scales?

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Ministry Head ☆ Australian Minister of Magic, Co-Owner: The Drunken Roo, Owner: Victoria Magical & Native Wildlife Park★ LilyCat
52 year old Halfblood Human ☆ He/Him

"Oh, I'm sure there's a bunch more facepalms, headaches, and probably even a coronary at some point, you crazy sorceress Queen," The man grinned at her, clearly joking at his own mortality - and the potential likelihood of having a heart attack one day. Not that he wasn't healthy for a man his age, but it could happen to anyone. Unless they were like the freaky-eyed freaks. He rolled himself into a sitting position with Adele, before then shifting himself to stand, albeit a little stiffly after being tossed by a mini tornado. Once on his feet, he then offered her a hand to pull her up to her own, a brow raising at her a brief moment as he continued to clasp her hand firmly.

"But it's all worth it. You're worth it... also, your hands are wet, what've you been doing?" A devlisih smirk pulled at his features as his gaze narrowed at her. He was clearly teasing the woman, and leaned over to examine her closely, "You feeling alright, Del? I didn't think your kind got fevers or the sweats." There was an almost knowing glint in his gaze, before he lifting her fingers to press a small kiss to the back of them, releasing her hand gently afterward, in order to wander over to the discarded bottles and pick them up. It wouldn't be good to litter the cemetery.

"Winding tracks it is!" Stuart grinned once again, the bottles clinking as he picked them up in the same hand, before pressed a kiss to the fingers of his free one and placing it on Annabelle's headstone for a couple of moments silently. Pushing himself back to his feet, he then indicated toward the gate where the motorcycle was parked and where there was thankfully a bin for him to drop the bottles into. Making his way there, he glanced back over to Del as he indicated toward the motorbike. "I have exactly zero helmets with me, and like to go fast around the turns, so you'll wanna hold on tight... if you're sure you still want to. I mean, I absolutely understand it if you're scared." A snicker from the man.

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Tally Staff ☆ Tallygarunga Librarian★ Sadrienne
40 year old Halfbreed Sorceraic ☆ She/Her

She took the hand, raising herself from the ground, stumbling slightly as he said the words you're worth it. There was that twisting feeling again, and this time she shoved it as far back as it would go. He was making jokes, this was not the time to get all weird. Compliments and appreciation, however undeserved, had always been something of an aphrodisiac. Finally on her feet, she wiped those sweaty palms across her jeans, before raising her hands to pull her hair back and tie it in place.

"Magic comes with exertion, Stuart," she said. "We can't all let a jolly stick do the work for us."

It was true enough. There was a physical cost to weaving magic the way they did, and while that bit of air might not have quite explained her sweaty palms, it was all she could reach for. Adele composed herself while Stuart tidied up the gravesite, said goodbye. Did he have to bend like that? Adele averted her gaze, but found herself drawn back by some overwhelming force of nature. Fortunately, what he said next was enough to break her out of that.

"You came out here without a helmet?" she hissed, reaching out and slapping his arm as if he were an unruly child. "Reckless, stupid, ridiculous.... mortal!" She was definitely going to tell Jezebel on him. Maybe Mary too. What if he had come off? The terrain out here was flat, sure, but the windy tracks he spoke of had dips and ditches were creeks used to wind through. Holes dug and hidden hills built by bikers who wanted a little variety in their ride. Adele didn't care how good of a rider Stuart was, to come out here without any sort of head protection was just dumb.

"I'm not scared. Not for me, anyway," she shrugged. "You, on the other hand, are going to have to explain to your daughters why you saw fit to tempt an early grave. Don't think I won't tell them."

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