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Gonna grow old, you're gonna grow so cold
Before the sun can deliver you
Tuesday, May 22 :: Evening

Ideally by this time Vera felt she should have a bridal shower all planned and ready to go.

Life had intervened, however, in the form of a mother with a broken hip. She had the finest care money could provide, of course, and wanted for nothing other than the presence of her many children, but it had been a sobering reminder of how different being in one's late seventies was for a wizard than it was for a Muggle.

Planning party games and selecting favors that didn't offend Vera's sense of taste had to take a backseat.

Life went on, however, and Vector had made good work of this evening out in Hogsmeade. She settled up her tab in the tea shop and gathered the various pamphlets and catalogs she'd picked up and exited the shop for the walk through the brisk evening air to Hogwarts.

She made it to the corner before enountering a familiar — if not seen in much too long a time — figure.

"Rose? Rose! Darling, we've been concerned about you, where have you been?"
Hunting here was so much harder than in London. Rose now understood why Roman had whisked her away so quickly, to let her learn how to control her thirst and stalk her prey without a frenzy of bloodlust.

In London there were plenty of nameless, faceless bodies that no one would miss. Here, in Hogsmeade, one wrong step could alert Them before Roman was ready.

Now she had enough control to find the perfect prey, rather than jumping on the first warm body she came across.

Rose jerked her head around when Vera called her name. For a split second she had the urge to run, to avoid one of the ones responsible for keeping her from her Master before.

She forced a friendly smile to her lips and gracefully moved toward Vera. "I've been with my family."

Roman was her family now.
"Well, that's good to hear — we were worried for you, you know."

Vera smiled with relief; Rose did look as if she'd been well. She was almost radiant, somehow.

"There's been a lot of family time going around, as it happens. And that was ... quite fun, but now I'm ready to concentrate on my friends once more, which makes it very appropriate that I've run across you tonight. Izabel finally has her ring back and the wedding is officially and unavoidably back on, my dear, which means I believe she will be needing your skills as a bridesmaid soon. I know I could use your help in arranging a shower."
Perhaps not as unavoidable as you might think.

Rose smiled. "Of course, I would love to be in the loop for the wedding plans. I'm afraid my days are pretty full at the moment, but my evenings are for you and Izabel if you need me. Anything to help."

The more involved she was, the more information she could share with Roman.
That certainly suited Vera; it wasn't as if she had much else to fill her evenings with at the moment, she reflected stiffly.

"Excellent, excellent. I'll be in touch." Vector pulled a pamplet from her bag and passed it over. "Look though that at some point and tell me if you like any of those theme ideas — the star one I thought a bit too on-the-nose, and the floral explosion on page 4 is simply frightful, but there's a couple that might suit."

A group of wizards approached them on the pavement and Vera drew aside so that they might pass.

"And that's enough of party planning for now — how have your parents been? Did you enjoy your stay?"
Her nostrils flared as the wizards passed, and Rose couldn't help turning her head to watch them. The thirst burned inside.

With effort she turned her attention back to Vera, crushing the pamphlet in one hand. "They're doing well, thank you. Your family? And you, of course."
Vera's brow furrowed a bit; she'd been expecting a discourse that was slightly more giggly, less restrained. Something more, well, Rose.

She followed Rose's line of sight back toward the retreating wizards and suddenly thought she understood.

She's been alone since last fall, hasn't she? Such a shame for such a pretty girl, so warm ...

Vector reached out to touch Rose's hand and found that no, she wasn't warm at all.

"There was a spot of trouble with my mother, but all's well now, and I'm the same as ever and Rose, you're freezing. Are you sure you're well?"
Freezing? Her smile faltered for just a moment.

"I'm fine, just getting used to being back here. I haven't eaten yet, I'm sure that will warm me right up."

For awhile, anyway.
"You poor dear." Vera looked back over her shoulder briefly at the tea house she'd just come from, to check if its lights still shone.

"I just had a cup myself, but I'm more than willing to keep you company if you want to pop in somewhere. I do so hate having to restock my pantry in the summer after being gone for so long, so I know just how you feel."
"I couldn't ask you to trouble yourself. Really, I'll be fine, I was just one my way to find a quick bite, then right back home. I might even take it take it with me."

She really did like Vera, and Rose had no desire to see her friend hurt if Roman should come upon her. He still harbored a great deal of resentment toward everyone who had been involved in keeping his brides from him. "I wouldn't want to be out too late in the dark, you know what they say. You are going straight back to the castle now, right?"
The inner teacher wanted to insist and make sure Rose was taken care of, but Vector had to admit Rose was a grown woman and didn't need someone hovering.

"Well, if you're sure. Find yourself something and get straight home, dear. And, yes, I'll do the same."
"Don't worry. I will."

She leaned closer to offer a quick hug. "I'll send an owl after I've had a chance to look at the pamphlet. I can't wait to hear all about the plans. Oh, before you leave, have Izabel and Remus set a date yet?"
Vera embraced Rose briefly, noting again how chill the other woman was and deciding not to keep her out in this cold air any longer.

"Not yet, I'm afraid. I've been pressing them, but I think they're waiting to see how long it will take to get the cottage they're going to live in over the summers ready. This summer after school has finished is all I know for now, which leaves us so little time — which means I'll be in touch for plans, you can be sure of that."

She nodded slightly for emphasis.

"Well, it was so good to see you again, everyone will be so pleased — but my dear, you need to get yourself a dinner and get inside. Take care of yourself, and have a good night, do."
Rose waved goodbye as Vera walked away. She was right, there really wasn't much time, Roman would need to finalize his plans soon.

Another wizard walked by, and Rose decided to take Vera's advice. The night was young, Roman would most likely still be out on the hunt himself so there was no reason to rush back home just yet.

Rose licked her lips and moved toward the wizard who had made the rather poor choice to wander the darkened streets alone.

Roman had taught her well, the wizard would live to see another dawn. This time.