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February 22nd, 2019

Monday

Around Noon

 

It wasn’t Sunday.

 

Usually this was something the Greene siblings tried to do on Sunday, but Alistair had been busy yesterday. Then again hadn’t they both been busy a lot lately? It seemed that way. It didn’t help that the both of them were workaholics. Even now Cassandra was seated on her couch cross-legged staring at folders on The Guillotine Murders. Right index finger hovering slightly above a piece of paper as it ran down its length while she read aloud notes. Soon Alistair would arrive for their Sunday football — mostly consisting of old game recordings the both were able to find aside from ones that her brother had — session, and they’d talk and eat pizza and chips and pretzels and drink beer. She’d never been particularly big on football herself, but nowadays it was a great way to bond with the only family she had left. To her that was the most important thing about their get-togethers.

 

She had made some handmade mini-pizzas earlier which would be put in the oven soon. The bowls of different types of chips and pretzels, and options of dipping condiments for both, were on the table in front of her. There were plenty of other junk food snacks in her cupboards too, but for a healthy option there was a meat, cheese, and vegetable platter on the coffee table too. Several mugs were in the freezer to chill for the beer to be poured into then, and after her one she had cold tea in the fridge as a second drink option. Left hand tucked a few strands of brown hair that had escaped her ponytail so they were behind her ear again. Brows furrowed, blue eyes giving a glower at the folder’s content for not providing her any new leads. This was an important matter that needed to be resolved.

 

The door was unlocked. That wasn’t the normal in a little, but since around Christmas she’d started to feel a little less nervous. Nobody really knew the reason, and she didn’t intend to do any enlightening today. Certain awkward topics would be kept off the table hopefully. She hadn’t really talked much to her brother about all that had happened since that day in ARMA HQ over a year ago. There were certain topics that she wasn’t ready to broach, certain things she’d hidden from him as she just wasn’t ready to go there with him, but that she suspected he might know some of even without her volunteering the information. She hadn’t any doubt the ARMA psychiatrist had let it be known she’d stopped her sessions after that mess. However, the plan today was not to discuss that nor to discuss her recent love life change either.

 

Today was about football and bonding with her big brother.

 

Well, besides when she chose to pester him about his love life as was her sisterly duty.

-------

Cass outfit

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Alistair glanced up, mistrustful, as the elevator shuddered. The thing broke every few weeks, it seemed like - mechanical things tended to break down more with magi around, and in the end he tended to wind up either fixing it himself or footing the bill for a repairman. Either way, damage control was pretty big business in the world these days. Sometimes he thought he was in the wrong profession.

The old contraption made it to his floor after all though, and he waited a moment while the door was slow to open before slipping out and toward his own door. The past year had been quieter than a lot of them. With OFL ramping down what might be called its 'campaign of terror', matters in NYC had gotten a good deal less warlike, as the war between the mage factions had gone cold. Alistair had taken the time to do a little consolodating. ARMA had always been short on staff, and they needed their people for the special jobs, not common security and the like. Aura's people had filled that gap nicely... though it had come at the cost of a bit of organizational chaos.

Alistair still mostly made the decisions for the mages, but Aura - having brought more people and guns to the party, it turned out - had wound up being the one in overal strategic charge, and frankly she was welcome to it. Alistair was a damn good fighter and a leader in the field, but he'd always felt out of his depth when it came to being the guy in charge of EVERYTHING, up there, behind a desk. And the foul-mouthed old dragon lady didn't seem to mind nearly as much - not to mention her having what Alistair somehow imagined was a lot more years of experience in fighting than she was letting on. It was the best thing for his people... even if he was still trying to convince some of them of that fact.

Of course, it had also meant he had a lot more time to work in the field. That was good, but it did mean a lot more physical exertion... he was starting to worry that he had gotten out of shape. Or maybe just older than he used to be. But he was working on it - getting back to pounding the pavement and stomping demon intrusions was good for him.

Mostly.

[alistair]What the hell, it's like you live here or something.[/alistair] Alistair called when he pushed the door open, and caught a glimpse of Cass on the couch. He flashed her a grin, then walked over to the 'closet' - it was really sort of a weapons safe, like a closet with an armored door, and he tapped a few keys and then drew a rune on the surface before it clicked open, and the modern Magus began pulling his jacket off, along with the various weapons that he kept on the tactical webbing underneath it. He felt like he overdid it now and then... but he also had run into more than one potential apocalypse just wandering around the city.

So. The paranoia paid off.

Alistair finished unloading, then pushed the door closed and walked over to find his sister and pull her into a hug. [alistair]You better not be working here, this is strictly a time for gluttony and sloth.[/alistair]

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The door barely made any noise when it opened, but Cassandra still caught it. That Greene paranoia alerting her to the slightest squeak of hinges as the heavy door was pushed inward as Alistair stepped inside. His voice was a comfort as her entire body had tensed instinctively; relaxing only after she knew it was him though progress was there in the fact that she hadn’t overreacted. Instead she remained seated comfortably on the couch with legs still crossed. Head lifted to look at him in amusement as he headed toward the closet.

 

[cassg]Place needs an occasional woman’s touch. Don’t want it to start smelling like a gym locker room.[/cassg]

 

She wrinkled her nose for added effect in her ribbing. Though he’d know the words were playful, and not just ‘cause of the smile tugging at the corners of her mouth.

 

Standing now, she placed the folder on the coffee table and stretched her arms over her head; lifting on tiptoe for a moment before heels met the floor again. A tilt of head from side-to-side working out the kinks in her neck. She turned to pick up the folder, intending on taking it to be put in her bag, when the door closed. As she turned back though it was to find her brother near and soon she was wrapped in a hug that she returned just as effusively.

 

"You better not be working here, this is strictly a time for gluttony and sloth."

 

His words brought a laugh as she released him. Blue eyes that were similar in shade to his own sparkling with amusement.

 

[cassg]Uh-huh, that's rich coming from Mr. Work-a-holic himself. How many hours have you put in this week again?[/cassg]

 

Elbow would nudge him gently in the ribs in jest as she moved toward the door where her open bag sat just off to the side and dropped the folder inside. She moved toward the stove to check the pizzas.

 

[cassg]Just a case that has been giving me trouble. Thought I’d give it another once-over until you arrived. Not that it helped.[/cassg] She grabbed a potholder and pulled open the stove to look at her handiwork, adding now, [cassg]There’s two chilled mugs in the freezer and the pizzas should be done in a couple minutes. Made sure to do half your favorite and half my favorite, and to add plenty of cheese.[/cassg]

 

Closing the stove now, she turned to look at Alistair in open curiosity.

 

[cassg]You look a little tired. Gettin' old on me, big bro?[/cassg]

 

Beneath the jest though was some actual concern. Alistair hadn’t been in the field as much as he had once been. Now that he was off one, she wanted to be sure that was able to keep up and handle himself. She might be the little sister, but she could be just as protective of him as he was of her.

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[alistair]Hey now, I clean.[/alistair] Alistair shot back in protest. Granted, most of his attempts at keeping the apartment clean relied at least partially on his not being there enough to make a real mess half the time. There were plenty of stretches recently where he hadn't seen his own bed for days. That was the job, though, no changing that. Not sure what he could do about it, or if he would if he could. Then again, she knew that, too.

Certainly he didn't have a lot of time to clean the place...

[alistair]What? You ask that like you think I haven't lost count anyway. Stoppit.[/alistair] he said, narrowing his eyes playfully while he let her go. [alistair]I'd offer to help, but given the decree I just made a moment ago, I'd be bound and sworn to beat the crap out of me, which would kind of put a damper on the night. Still - let me know later, if you want.[/alistair] He tried not to butt overmuch into Cass's work. She was good at it, and he was proud of that, he didn't want to suggest otherwise. Then again, they did work for the same place, and he WAS her superior officer... it was possible that at some point he might go too far in the other direction, trying not to coddle her.

[alistair]Excellent... you are, as always, on top of things.[/alistair] He walked over to the freezer to pull the mugs out, then the fridge for the beer, which he cracked open and began pouring. At her question he chuckled, but shook his head. [alistair]Haven't you read the studies? We magi probably age way slower than normal people. I got years left before I start getting old. But flying a desk for the last two years maybe didn't help my physical conditioning... I'm fine, don't worry about me. You know how I roll, it might outrun me, it's not outrunning lightning.[/alistair]

He grinned at that, offering her the second mug as he took a swig of the one he was carrying. [alistair]Ahh. Good stuff. So what's new with you, other than pain in the ass cases?[/alistair]

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The protest earned a snort as she side-eyed him.

 

[cassg]When you’re home long enough to do it.[/cassg]

 

Cassandra knew well that sometimes he came home, showered, slept, changed, ate, and left. And that changed depending on if he gave himself enough time to do some of those things. Other times he ate elsewhere or showered at the ARMA gym, and always had a change of clothes there. Her brother rarely gave himself actual time to relax. One reason why she insisted on their making time to get together for these little hang-out sessions.

 

His comment on losing count just earned him a judging ‘mhm exactly’ hum in the back of her throat as he released her.

 

"I'd offer to help, but given the decree I just made a moment ago, I'd be bound and sworn to beat the crap out of me, which would kind of put a damper on the night. Still - let me know later, if you want."

 

Laughing, she raised a brow, [cassg]That’d certainly be entertainment. Think the neighbors might call the police.[/cassg]

 

Humor gleamed in her eyes at that for if the NYPD was called the chances were that they’d need to call ARMA for a suspected magus disturbance, and well. . . they were ARMA.

 

[cassg]If I need it, I’ll ask. These random murders are getting weird. Haven’t been able to pinpoint the magic ones, and the victims are scattered, but these ones are being committed by the same individual. I just can’t figure out their. . .[/cassg] A shake of her head given, an apologetic blush staining her cheeks, [cassg]Anyways, we’ll save that for another day for today we are the embodiment of gluttony and sloth.[/cassg]

 

If she were honest with herself, these days she was as much of a work-a-holic as her brother.

 

Leaning against the counter after her question, she observed him with a careful look. Taking stock of his state to try to see if he was hiding any particular health issues from her. Not that they didn’t occasionally hide things about their physical and mental state from each other. Sometimes the shit they dealt with or faced wasn’t always easy to share. Luckily, the big stuff they moved beyond easily enough and she was grateful for it. Spats between them never lasted long for that reason. Of course, lately she was trying to make strives to be more open about everything with her brother after the uncomfortableness of having to tell him about Matty just prior to the interrogation.

 

That thought made her debate whether or not she should tell him what she’d thought she’d avoid telling him today. The idea of him finding out some other way seemed unfair after that awful mess, and especially given the most recent thing involving that particular individual.

 

"Haven't you read the studies? We magi probably age way slower than normal people. I got years left before I start getting old. But flying a desk for the last two years maybe didn't help my physical conditioning... I'm fine, don't worry about me. You know how I roll, it might outrun me, it's not outrunning lightning."

 

While Cassandra had indeed read the studies — or rather skimmed them while having either he or Alec give her the more detailed version — yet it was not the same as being told. His reassurances brought comfort. It let her know that he was still capable of surviving in the field and that all the stress of the last four years hadn’t knocked him on his ass. Yet anyways.

 

[cassg]Good. Can’t have you gettin’ soft. Haven’t gotten to help you kick nearly as much ass as I thought I would’ve by now.[/cassg] The words were still light and easy, but the look she gave let him know that she was soothed.

 

And perhaps it was that, that moment of worrying that decided it.

 

As she took the glass, his question came and she shrugged, [cassg]Oh, work mostly. A lot of work. I think you’re a bad influence.[/cassg] A half-serious glower before she continued with a wide smile, [cassg]Back helping at the dance studio. It’s not as often as before, but twice a week and once on the weekends I pop in there for a couple hours to train a few classes.[/cassg]

 

She paused, took a swallow of her beer, then looked down at the liquid swirling around in her mug, and continued casually, [cassg]Besides that just been working to get back to myself. . . and having some fun with Alec.[/cassg] A clearing of throat just as the oven timer gave its customary DING! and she placed her mug on the counter-top with a cheery, [cassg]And the pizza’s done. What’ve you been up to, big bro?[/cassg]

 

Cassandra shifted position, put on her oven mitt, crouched down, and opened the oven. A mental note was made to call Alec later and give him a heads-up.

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[alistair]That in no way invalidates my earlier statement, thank you very much.[/alistair] Alistair replied, sniffing once as he did. Sure, he had a fair amount of come-home-and-collapse nights, but that didn't make him some kind of outright slob. Mostly because that sort of behavior also meant he wasn't always home long enough to make much of a mess.

[alistair]My neighbors? Eh. I think they're used to the noise, frankly. Wouldn't be the first time I've ended up getting attacked here... kind of a good thing the owner likes me so much or he'd probably have thrown me out.[/alistair] Besides which, of course she was right... couldn't really call the cops on the cops, that tended to be a counterproductive effort. Besides which, people had to know their neighbors a little bit these days... Alistair knew just about everyone in the building, at least a little bit.

He took his beer over to flop on the couch, and when she talked a bit about the case he frowned slightly, thinking. It might have had something to do with what Dacia had been telling him about, but in reality he hoped not. That sort of thing... ritual blood magic could get ugly in a serious way, and he didn't want any part of it he could avoid. But there was also a fairly substantial chance that there wasn't any chance of that - for him or for Cass. Still, it wasn't a possibility he was about to bring up until he had some better information on it.

Of course, there was a silence that said there might be somthing she was avoiding talking about, too... He supposed that made sense. They both had their own shit to deal with, off and on... he wanted to look out for her, not try and parent her. Even if all the shit she'd been through did sort of suggest that she could use a little more looking after than the average person her age, he didn't want to give the impression that he didn't trust her. Even after what had happened the year before, it didn't seem worth spoiling his relationship with his sister unless she really needed it. And she was one of the few people he still had left to call close.

[alistair]Pff. Soft. I've been on the 'running from extradimensional horrors' diet for too long to get soft.[/alistair] he drawled, taking another swig of his beer and sitting back for another few minutes. Alistair grinned a little at the idea of being a bad influence, though the thing she said toward the end, about having some fun... well, there was a particular meaning there, and the mage shook his head.

[alistair]Nope. Uh uh. No way. Don't want to know, can't think about it. Certainly not with Mister Talks to Animals, nooooo... christ you'd think I'd have made up some rules about office affairs.[/alistair] He winced, pinching the bridge of his nose. [alistair]Just... don't make me have to kill him, yeah?[/alistair] Naturally, the mage took a large pull from his beer at that, thanking God for microbreweries that survived the apocalypse (Sam Adams even made it! Who knew?) while the unlamented Budweiser took a fall.

[alistair]I'm going to be glad you're feeling better and try and leave it there, how's that?[/alistair] It was just weird. Alistair didn't necessarily know Alec that well, but the man HAD been part of Arma for years, of course he knew him a bit. And they were a bit like family, so... Change the subject!

[alistair]Oh I'm alright. Getting back in trim, visited a museum with Rorye. Of course it was occupied by a mage who controlled bugs and his forty gun toting minions, so... you know. Good date material.[/alistair]
 

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