Two days after the twins left to pack up and settle things where they've been living, Stephen gets a call shortly after dinner.
Jamie has a moment of being overwhelmed by all of this again, but he recovers pretty quickly.
He'll get involved wherever they can use him until he can't stay awake any longer.
Which... considering he was already exhausted and that a lot of this magic involves wakefulness. He is sent to bed soon enough.
He's a little more resistant to this than to being stuffed with food. But he can't really resist effectively when he's half-unconscious already. He goes.
(He has nightmares. He's not loud - he just curls up into a ball and makes quiet distressed noises, interspersed the occasional cut-off word. He half-wakes a couple of times, but is tired enough from the magic use that he falls back asleep shortly.)
Adam might offer to sing (his magic calming song) if James wants that and is awake for more than a minute.
He manages that after about four hours, at which point he hesitantly agrees to try it.
Adam sings something that sounds lullaby like, and it is very comforting. Like a warm bath for the soul.
Oh, that's very nice. It sends him right back to sleep, a less fitful variety this time.
If no one interrupts him, he'll wake up refreshed another five hours or so from then.
He will have a nice breakfast then, before joining the search.
They are many, and they have magic on their side. It still is a needle in a haystack sort of deal.
They haven't located Davin, and they are not sure what his alibi for this will be.
Temple arrives, followed by two people in matching green uniforms that help them refine their search. It still is several hours before their lead become hotter than "confident".
They have a direction to go in, at least, and a quick glimpse of Davin placing the note in the Starrs' car, before getting into another idling near it.
"So we just... go in that direction, until we find that car. And hopefully someone will be able to sense him from there?"
"More or less. We can send some people ahead for any areas of interest in that general direction. Warehouses and such."
"Of course, he might not have gone with that option, but it is a lead."
The people sent ahead don't find anything around any warehouses or such. It looks like their best option right now is to just go through the city in that direction, and hope he didn't go to an entirely different one.
Yeah, and there is the problem with the trail going cold faster than they can follow up. This will take several hours. In fact, by the morning of the next day they are basically just personally scouting the area instead of using the tracing magic.
What sort of area is that? And any unusual activity around it? Police reports/activity that they can find on-line? Or after "contacting" a police officer if that's what it takes.
It's mostly middle-class residential, a maze of side streets and cul-de-sacs with little parks tucked in here and there. There's lots of families living in the area, along with a fair few young couples, and a respectable number of retirees whose children have long flown the nest. It's one of those places where each house is the same one over and over with a few different coats of paint.
A quick search online brings up only the sorts of things one might expect to find in this sort of neighborhood. A streak of still-unsolved break-ins, a recent abuse case, a year-old murder, a bunch of teens busted for throwing a loud enough party the cops were called on them, at which point it was discovered that they were all drunk... Not even a closer look at the police will reveal anything too out of the ordinary.
They will resolve to walk around sensing. Maybe even ask around about anything weird. Franklyn and Percy in particular are really good at charming old people into talking about local gossip.
This lady working out in her garden certainly thinks they're very charming.
"Thinking of moving into the area?" She asks after a short greeting, "It's a lovely neighborhood for raising children, you know," she tells them. "The schools around here are some of the nicest in the city, and it's safe enough to let your little ones run around without worrying what might become of them. There's nothing for sale on this street, but there's two over on Cypress, if you'd like to take a look." She hums, "Or, no, I think one of them sold a couple weeks ago."
"Which house was sold? They might have realized something about the other house that we might not necessarily during a visit."
"Hm," she thinks for a moment, "I believe it was 7 Cypress Crescent," she decides. "The house in the middle of the crescent, it's the one that backs onto Cypress Park, though there's the little alley in between as well. I'm sure that's why they chose it, but it couldn't hurt to ask them if they noticed anything off about the other one, it's true."
"Oooh, that does sound convenient."
Percy and Franklyn keep with the small talk for a bit and fish for more information. Otherwise, they will leave her with a pleasant feeling out of this friendly conversation.
A pleasant feeling from a pleasant conversation to add to this pleasant day in such a pleasant neighborhood. There couldn't possibly be anything unpleasant going on around here.
There's a moving van outside the house in the middle of Cypress Crescent, a pair of nondescript burly men ferrying furniture into the building from the van. There's no car in the driveway, but the garage door is closed, so it's hard to say if there's any in there.
There's also a young woman sitting on the porch watching the movers, a tall glass of something cool in hand.
Percy jobs by, extending her ability to sense emotions over the house.
The movers are a little nervous, but mostly focused on their work. It seems to be the woman making them nervous, given how it rises whenever they get close, though one of them also finds her distracting in another way.
The woman herself is very bored, and a little frustrated, and a little amused, possibly by the way that one mover keeps darting glances at her whenever he passes by. She started taking long, languid sips of her drink whenever he got close shortly before Percy jogged by, tilting her head back to expose her throat with exaggerated enjoyment written all over her face. The strategy seems to be working well, which is increasing her amusement, though not doing much for the frustration.