Two days after the twins left to pack up and settle things where they've been living, Stephen gets a call shortly after dinner.
He is distracted with some figures and simply answers the call without looking for the caller ID. "Stephen Grayward, may I help you?"
There's silence on the other end of the line for a moment, and then, "You... You said we could call if we needed help, right?"
He may recognize the voice as one of the twins, though people do sound different over the phone. They also sound different when they're terrified and most of the way to panicking.
That's an alarming tone of voice. He is stuck a moment trying to figure out the name. "Yes. Something happened?"
He draws in a deep breath, trying to keep calm enough to explain.
"It's Alex, he- he left for work this morning, took the car, but he didn't come back after work- I waited a bit but when he wasn't back by the time we usually go to bed I flew down to his work to look for him." Pause, deep breath, "The car was there. There was a note in it." His grip on it tightens, the paper crinkling audibly over the phone. "He left me a note. So I'd know who took him. He's supposed to be dead."
"Okay, James. We will help. And who is supposed to be dead?"
"The reason I have gifts." He swallows, "Davin."
"He likes... hurting people," he explains haltingly. "Breaking people. I let him in close and he-" he chained him and hurt him and made him scream until something broke and Jamie shoved him through a wall with his health gift and Alex found him outside and killed him.
"He's supposed to be dead," he repeats, whispering, his voice tight. "Alex said he was dead."
"Okay, we will help. Where are you right now? Did the captor actually identify himself as Davin? What's his last name?"
"Lowell. It's not- he didn't, sign his name, or anything, but it's the next best thing," the paper has a spider in a web on it, the exact same one which was tattooed on the inside of Jamie's thigh, like an artist's signature, he'd said, when he was inking it. He talked a lot, when he had Jamie in that house, about his philosophy and his plans and- and of course Jamie remembers every word, even, especially, when he'd rather forget.
"I don't- I'm on a roof somewhere. He's gotta know where we live, right? He was watching us-" he sobs, his breathing picking up again, "I can't go back, I can't- why, why did he take Alex? He can't have Alex, he wanted me, why-?"
He is moving towards the nearest house inhabitant, which turns out to be Sawney. "Emergency with the Starrs. Get everyone in the ritual room."
"I don't know, James. But we will deal with it and rescue your brother. Is your phone charged? Or will have at least 30 minutes of battery?"
"Okay, okay," he tries to level out his breathing while he checks, fumbling a bit. "Yeah," he says, setting the phone against his knees and leaning forward to talk into it. "80%."
James can hear Stephen deflecting questions from the people on the other side of the line. There is a brief moment where the phone was apparently put down before being picked up again. "Alright, that should be enough to give you some way to ward against detection. Then you can wait for us to get to you to help the both of you. Do you understand?"
"I understand," He curls up tighter, hanging onto the voices on the other end of the phone as an anchor.
If he pays attention, he can hear two voices that are just like Stephen's. People are apparently planning and figuring out who to mobilize. Stephen asks some clarifying questions to further identify Davin and sort of resources he might have.
Jamie provides a description, "We were never... I never saw anyone other than him, when he... But he's charming, and good at reading people. He came from old money, and probably has people working for him. And... whatever place he took him to, it won't be obviously linked to him."
"We can still use that to find where your brother is. Get to him and use Ezra."
More background noise. "Or some other way. We have a ritual for invisibility and a color changing ritual that you can do with little set up. You can use to get a room some place and wait for us."
He nods, and then remembers they can't see him, "-okay. Tell me what to do?"
Stephen guides James through the process. The color changing is faster and will last longer, it isn't a perfect disguise, but combined with the invisibility should help get Davin off James' trail if he is out looking for him. They actually plan to send James to a good hotel if they can manage get reservations in one.
Once they've told him where to go, he lifts off in that direction, landing and walking the rest of the way once he's close. After picking up the keycard he goes looking for a stairwell, already feeling like the walls are closing in on him. He definitely can't handle an elevator right now. Even the stairwell is a bit tight.
Inside the room, he beelines straight for the balcony, curling up on one of the chairs out there.
He keeps them on the line for as long as he can, but he didn't bring the phone cord. Eventually, the battery runs low enough that he has to end the call.
"How long will it take you to get here?" He asks before he hangs up.
Consulting. "Between two and four hours at least. The ground route you took was more convenient, but not necessarily faster."
"Okay. Okay, see you then." He ends the call, sets the phone on the table next to him, and settles in to watch the night sky while he waits, doing his best to keep his mind blank. After some time, his eyelids begin to get heavy, and his exhaustion sends him into a fitful sleep despite the chilly night air.
The phone in his bedroom rings.
He starts awake at the noise, coming to full consciousness with his heart pounding. He checks his phone, realizes the sound isn't coming from it, and then stands to go stare at the landline from the balcony door with some trepidation. No one else but the Graywards know where he is, right? It's probably them, it should be safe...
He picks up on the fourth ring, "...Hello?"
"Aaron here, and also Franklyn and Adam. Do you want us to go up? Alternatively, Franklyn can go up by himself if you'd rather."
He lets out a sigh of relief, "No, you... you can all come up. Just-" he shifts uncomfortably, keeping his gaze trained on the balcony door, "Make sure to knock loudly?" He might not not be able to hear from the balcony, otherwise.
"Okay, we will."