Dec 12, 2018 6:39 AM
James meets his mate
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...risky. But -

- he tiptoes upstairs. If Yvette arrives he can be fast enough to not be seen.

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The stairs obligingly do not creak.

Upstairs has three doors, one of which is closed, and contains the human. One looks like it leads to a bathroom, the other...

... That smells like it's Yvette's room.

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Yeah, that's probably where they'd be, isn't it. Into it he goes -

- the scent makes his thirst flare, yes, but it also reminds him of her and he closes his eyes to focus on her face, perfectly etched into his perfect memory -

- then he opens his eyes again and looks around.

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The room has a lot of personality, and doesn't have quite the same furniture problem that the downstairs was suffering from. There are a lot of shelves, with neatly organized books and small, pretty knick knacks. A couple of potted plants sit by the window in the sunlight, looking well cared for. In the corner, the small (single) bed is made with fresh sheets. A dresser sits in the closet, next to a rack where a number of dresses hang above a neatly arranged set of shoes. A soft rug that matches the curtains sits comfortably on the floor.

There is a desk with a chair, notable for distinctly not being neat. Or, well, not entirely. There are pens in a little decorated cup (all turned the same way) and miscellaneous papers sorted into (labelled) slots in a box and blank sheets of paper here where they are easy to grab. However, clearly she's in the middle of something at the desk. Here is a stack of papers that are folded like letters, with little colored paper sticky tabs stuck to them with two sets of dates attached, here are notes she's written to herself, here is a map of Europe with specific cities carefully circled in colors that correspond to the little paper sticky tabs, with date ranges written onto them. Here is a small, opened booklet with a list of things to do that are all brother related, including 'Check post office for letters,' which has not yet been crossed out. That'll probably change when she gets back.

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She's adorable in addition to being the most objectively hot person in the world. He should have expected this but somehow failed to.

She has also made his life much easier than it could've been. He's certain he can find things with Blair's scent, which is probably the most useful part of this, but this itinerary and everything she's tried so far will also be very useful. A previous letter will also help him narrow down where exactly in Belgium he should start looking.

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There are many previous letters! Arranged in order from newest to oldest, because of course they are. The colored tabs correspond to the cities they were sent from; apparently he first arrived in Amsterdam in the Netherlands (blue), then went to Rotterdam (orange), Antwerp (purple), Brussels (green), and the last one came from Liège (red). The letters vary wildly in length, tending more towards terseness than length, but he was quite dutiful about sending one at least every two weeks. Apparently he had plans to make his way to Cologne, in Germany. He acknowledges it's a weird place to visit, but, quote, 'Would it be me if I went somewhere normal?'

A lot of the scent's been rubbed off of the letters, especially the latest ones, which smell mostly like Yvette by now. Luckily for him, a few of the ones in the middle have been conscientiously returned to their envelopes, which managed to preserve the faintest whiffs of maybe-scent. Comparing the faint traces from the different letters is not very good, but it's certainly better than nothing.

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Better than nothing, yeah, and it all certainly paints a picture. He's vaguely aware that something's going on in Germany but he's not sure what. He quickly plans a travel route, starting in Liège, then looks around for anything more that might be of help.

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In this letter he describes what sort of place he's staying in, and what part of town he was in! That's about it, though, he doesn't describe his plans for his method of transport, apparently he either didn't think that was a relevant thing to tell his sister, or he was planning to wing it.

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Any other letters mention transport?

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Apparently there was this one guy that was kind enough to let Blair hitchhike with him on the way from Rotterdam to Antwerp. They had marvelous conversations and Blair expects Yvette would have liked him very much. Other than that, no, not really. Unless James would like to know which ship he took to get to Amsterdam?

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Probably not useful but costless when he has an eidetic memory.

Anything other than the letters?

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Nothing else of immediate use, and it's not like he'll forget anything. He has the map and every letter and the notes Yvette wrote to herself. Her going hypothesis is that something happened in Germany, because Germany's a mess, but she's clearly making guesses.

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The notes to herself are... still informative but they make him sad. She's clearly so terribly sad and she's grasping at everything, every shred of hope -

- perhaps he should tell her -

- the Volturi would kill him and then he'd never find Blair and then maybe they'd even kill her and that's unthinkable. So it's decided. He puts everything back exactly where it was and then it's sneaking out time.

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Franklin has not left his room, and Yvette has still not returned. Sneaking out is easy enough.

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And now he's going to Belgium.

It... might be faster to take a boat. But then again, it might not. He goes back to his place and grabs some stuff he wants to take with him and runs to the coast at top speed not stopping for anything then goes looking for boats while gauging whether swimming will get him there first.

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It depends on the boat! Some of the nicer ones would be faster, but they tend to require scheduling in advance, and nothing is really available now now, even if he were a stowaway.

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Swimming it is!

...he kinda doesn't want to get saltwater all over his clothing. Hmm. He's sure he can find a waterproof bag somewhere, there must be one for sale - aha, yeah, there. He purchases it, then goes somewhere deserted, strips, puts all his belonging in the bag, and swims, swims faster than he's ever had to. He has to make a couple of pauses to eat - fish are terrible but sharks are less terrible - and then he's in France and the Belgium border is right over there. He runs, gets dry enough, gets dressed, runs more - Liège is rather far inland - there's another pause for food, some farmer now that there are humans around, and then...

Then he's in Liège.

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From there he can guesstimate from Blair's letters where he was staying. After months, there's not just going to be the scent of him wafting around, but Blair wasn't actually trying to disguise his location from his own sister, even if he perhaps could have been more specific. With a bit of patience and logic, James can narrow down the location; a modest little hole in the wall of a bed and breakfast that looks... kind of adorable, actually.

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Of course the adorable hottest woman in the world has an adorable brother. And James saw his picture, Blair is hot, too, even if not as hot as she is.

He goes to the little hole-in-the-wall place and looks around for anyone that looks like they might know anything.

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There's a receptionist at a desk in the front, idly reading a magazine. She looks up when James comes in, and smiles and addresses him in French.

"Bonjour! Are you looking for a room?"

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"Bonjour!" he replies in Paris-accented French. "I'm actually looking for a friend. Last I heard from him he came here - that was, hmm, about three months ago? About yea tall, dark hair, goes by Blair but actual first name is Albert..."

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"Ah, three months ago...?" she stops to think. "Oh, oh, the Englishman that said he was a linguist? Yes, I remember him, he stayed here for a couple of weeks. Friendly man, very charming. Paid in advance, gone one morning without a word."

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"Oh? He didn't happen to say where he'd gone next or leave a forwarding address or anything like that?"

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"No, here one day, gone the next morning. One of the maids was very upset about it. He actually left a few things behind, we didn't know where to mail them to."

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"One of the maids? What was she upset about? And, ah, I have his sister's address, her name's Yvette, I could mail them to her."

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