TO OLD CONNECTIONS

North Portland 
#1
It was a day like any other, one filled with routine, and practiced with precision. The doors opened at Ashby's at 9am sharp, though Phoebe was always there at least half an hour early to make sure everything was in pristine condition. Appearance mattered, after all. Once satisfied she'd look over inventory, making notes of what was in stock, running low, and things that needed immediate attention. The latter was rarely an issue--Phoebe liked order, and was good at keeping things in stock. Wasn't hard, really, when most of the things that sold were easily replenished with a little click of a mouse. Authenticity was important, but most of the things in her shop were catered towards those who wished to be--but were not, a part of the supernatural community.

Prosperity Oil, love trinkets, candles that were supposed to help commune with passed loved ones. It was mostly fake, but those that believed could convince themselves of anything. Who was she to deny them their chance to try? It had been a slow morning, which wasn't inherently unusual, and it provided Phoebe with some time to take care of the more...rare items she had in stock. She was in the midst of reorganizing them, this time by their purpose instead of alphabetizing when she heard that chime of the bell above her door. "One second, I'll be right with you." She called out, carefully setting down a suspiciously dark looking bottle before she made her way towards the front of the shop.

"Sorry about that, what can I--" She started until she was struck with familiarity, which had taken her quite by surprise. "Caddoc?" It wasn't an unwelcome sight, but she hadn't seen him in years; and she wasn't expecting to run into him on the west coast. "Wow, talk about a blast from the past, what are you doing here?" She asked, that surprise wearing off quickly as she smiled at him. How many years had it been since they'd seen each other? Let alone had a conversation? While she wasn't exactly ostracized from her family, it had certainly been a few years since she had attended any sort of affair.
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#2
 The opposite end of the country was another world, seeming to open wider with every mile West. Smiles weren’t as narrow, the percentage of wealth not as slim. What would be considered erudite back home obscured into stuffiness. Capitalist success stories were nothing more than villainous tales shared around bonfires lit next to a tiny house, a man bun and a crop top standing beside it.

 Caddoc couldn’t say he enjoyed Portland.

 Still, better to be alive amongst hipsters than cold and dead and permanently East. With no leads to speak of, he was beginning to worry the remnants of the pride had moved on. In the quiet throes of desperation, he found himself at an apothecary, stepping inside early enough to beat any sort of midday rush.

 His doubts of authenticity were quickly squandered by a familiar voice. Turning, one eyebrow rose as he quickly placed a face with a name, smiling when she recognized him too. "I could ask you the very same question. Phoebe Ashby doesn’t scream ‘woke hippy’ to me." Still, the familiarity was a salve in an otherwise scathing new environment. "I’m looking for a few of my colleagues. Have you kept in touch with your parents? Do you know what happened?"
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#3
"Don't even joke about that, I would never." Phoebe told him, though her tone was playful. The idea of being a hippy was not one that Phoebe ever entertained. Sure, with the population of Portland, it'd be easy to fit in while dressed in mismatched clothing that may or may not have come from a thrift store, but the concept made her skin crawl. "If you ever see me in hand-me-downs, I've been kidnapped and I'm trying to signal for help." She joked, leaning against the door frame once the conversation took a bit of a swerve.

She didn't know many details, but she knew that something had happened. Caddoc's family and hers had a long history together, which wasn't uncommon for shifters and witches--especially when those roots ran deep. She gave him a little shrug, "I know a little, but you know my parents. Most conversations some how turn into how they've met a lovely young man with big ambitions and they're just dying to introduce me. Needless to say the conversations are brief." She told him, giving him a quick once over. He certainly seemed like he had been through it recently, the ghost of past turmoil seemed to hang on him like a shroud.

"How bad?" She asked, almost dreading the answer. Her parents, while they had mentioned that something serious had happened with his pride, had left out many details. Really, most details that didn't pertain to them. She knew he had been injured--that the coven had helped the best they could, how it would have been rather helpful to have a healer, a pointed jab at her move even after all these years, but that they had made due. If Caddoc was here in Portland, the conflict had been worse than her parents had made it out to be. She should have figured, most of the wealthy were too self centered to give much thought to other people's plight. Even to those they had alliances with.
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#4
 He looked around, a quick glance over his shoulder like he’d exited a bank with a canvas bag. They were alone, but the bred-in need for caution ran canyon deep. "Bad enough." The words coming out as a sigh. He was tired, and though his personality demanded an ever-present stoicism, being in the company of such an old acquaintance gave him a small excuse to shed the mask.

 "We started getting picked off. Once my father was put down my mother’s rational mind dwindled. The rest of us chose to leave but she refused to go. Before I could follow them I was shot as well. Their aim was a bit lax, though. They got me in the leg. The coven helped me. I would have perished from silver poisoning if it wasn’t for them."

 He didn’t say that he’d gone there seeking her specifically, hoping her healing abilities would give him a more stable and permanent solution. As it was, he’d carry the scar forever. "I don’t know if those that remain think I’m dead or simply assumed I stayed with my mother. Part of me hopes it’s the former - that would explain the radio silence."
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#5
Bad enough. The words rang in her head a moment, his demeanor--the way he looked around as if he was waiting for danger to pop out of the corner, told her everything she needed to know before he even elaborated. Bad. And even as she prepared to hear it, as he told her vaguely what had happened she let out a breath.

"Jesus, Caddoc, I had no idea, I'm so sorry. I knew you had gotten injured and that your pride had been attacked but I didn't realize the severity of it. Do you know who attacked you guys?" She told him, ducking her head for just a moment before she looked back up at him. So maybe she should have been paying more attention to that phone call from her mother. She had never really been good at emotional support--a skill that as not highly prevalent in her childhood home. But still, she tried."Is that why you're West side now? New home base for your pride?" It was about as far as one could get from New England and whatever problems had found them, but it was a pretty decent slice of paradise once you figured out all the must-visit spots. And avoided some of the loonier residents.

"I feel like I should hug you but I'm not the most touch-y feel-y..." Phoebe acknowledged, though if she remembered correctly, Caddoc wasn't the most affectionate person either. "Would you accept the sentiment of a hug instead? I mean, I could, ya know give you one. If you wanted one...or not, I--" she rambled before she stopped and just had to chuckle at herself for a moment, "I guess I'm not very good at sentiment either. Is there anything I can do to help? I do better with that."
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