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 Overdue Scrutiny [Ivy]

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Bruce Sanderson

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PostSubject: Overdue Scrutiny [Ivy]   Mon Jan 15, 2018 4:10 pm


A lot could change in four months, Bruce was realising. Perhaps he shouldn't have been surprised -- his entire world changed in the time it took to open a bedroom door -- but it still caught him slightly off guard. He'd always had a plan for what to do if someone found out, mostly involving the memory charm and Henry's help. And yet, ironically, that hadn't been the case at all. Instead, he gained a best friend, someone to confide in and share his struggles with. With it came emotions Bruce had never thought he'd feel, but he ignored it best he could. Why ruin something perfect with something as trivial as feelings? No. He was bound first and foremost to his duty -- and that was to protect the family name, no matter the cost.

Still, Bruce knew he wanted to be different than his parents -- and, possibly, the rest of his ancestors. Whereas they'd been focused on getting money and maintaining their wealth, Bruce wanted to give it away. Not all, and definitely not at one go, but slowly and surely, he wanted to use the wealth -- far more than he knew what to do with in a hundred lifetimes -- for good. It was wealth, after all, that got his parents killed; this was speculation, but what else but money could drive a person mad? He would be careful about it, of course, so as not to have his father appear to have a sudden change of heart. He also didn't want to get rid of too much. The Sanderson legacy would continue onwards, no matter what, and that meant having wealth on which to sustain them.

Possibly influenced by his friendship with Ivy, or perhaps something that was an obvious choice, Bruce had begun to look into muggle orphanages. The wizarding world's politics were far too complex for Bruce to want to tangle with it just yet. Charity, in his world, was seen as no more than another angle with which to gain popularity. He knew he needed far more experience before he did that. In the muggle world, though, the Sandersons were not so closely scrutinised, and even if they had been, muggle politics was simpler. People could be generous without a hidden motive, and give simply because they wanted to. His father had held charity balls at the law firm before, and the hotels often allowed churches and whatnot to host events at their hall for discounted prices. Yes, the muggle world was perfect to start with.

It was the research that took time. With so many things on his plate -- the least of all were studies -- he hadn't had much time. Henry was a great help, of course, managing what didn't need his parents' direct involvement. They'd been planning easing his load a little by having his mother fall ill permanently, and possibly die soon. That would help a lot with the social aspects. All they'd need to do was play mournful family for a few months months and he'd be free of any more ladies' lunches. They'd started setting that up already, but it would be at least a year of sickness before she could die.

Finally, though, Bruce had a slow period of a couple days with which to do his research. It had hit him one evening that he'd missed, quite possibly, the most obvious aspect of the whole thing. Two phone calls later, he had everything he needed to know about Wool Orphanage on his father's desk. The more he read, the more his frown deepened, and at exactly half past midnight, Henry was woken up by Bruce informing him that Peter would be paying a visit to Wool Orphanage immediately. It took some convincing on Henry's part to get Bruce to agree to giving it a couple of days -- mostly so he could calm down and not do anything too brash -- before actually doing it.

Exactly two days later, Bruce downed a gulp of polyjuice, holding back the wince. More than three years had not helped him get used to either the taste or the sensation, although he'd learnt to hold it back rather well. He only needed a few hours at most, and so with another sip, he was all set and stepped back, allowing the changes to take place. As soon as he felt the changes stop, he changed, putting on a familiar suit and tie and quickly styling his hair the way he knew his father often did. It was all second nature by now.

Meeting Ivy in the hallway, he nodded once at Henry before taking her arm and apparating to Wool Orphanage. The outside was worse than he had anticipated, and his features deepened into a frown as he walked towards the entrance, trusting Ivy to follow. The door opened on the second knock. "Peter Sanderson," he said, the name coming with ease in the deep voice he was oh-so-familiar with that wasn't his own. "CEO of Sanderson and Co. Is the owner of this orphanage in?" There was no hesitation as he was lead to the office, his eyes scanning the surroundings of the orphanage as they passed through, frown deepening with each second.

Ivy followed behind him, silent as he had asked her to be; she would be given a chance to talk later. As soon as he got to the office, he shut the door behind him and Ivy, not bothering to thank the person who'd led him. Instead, he turned to the man sitting behind the desk in what was obviously the nicest place in the entire orphanage. "You are the owner?" he asked, tone barely polite; it was mostly cold.

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Ivy Richardson

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PostSubject: Re: Overdue Scrutiny [Ivy]   Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:38 pm

Ivy had been itching to get back to the orphanage since, roughly a week since she had been adopted. It wasn't that she didn't enjoy a life of comfort and privilege. Merely that she was kind of bored. She missed her friend, Halley, and even more missed the adrenaline rush that came with whatever it was that they had decided to get up to that very day. And yet, she was also nervous to be going back. When she had left, things had been rather tense, between her and Halley, and some of the other kids in the orphanage and neighbourhood. It wasn't too bad, it could have been far worse than it was, though Ivy didn't appreciate having to leave her friend behind if there was any sense of turmoil at all. Hopefully, she would have the opportunity to find her friend. If not, it would have to wait for another day.

The past few months had been, well, pretty good for Ivy. She had gained Bruce as a proper friend, and it turned out that a good friend made all the difference when it came to coping with such a change. And much to her surprise, he actually let her in on one rather large secret, pertaining to his family. For one of the first times, she didn't see this as a way of having an advantage over someone, but rather as something that connected her and Bruce, something that strengthened their friendship in some weird way.

Bruce had decided, almost out of the blue, to donate a large sum of money to the orphanage that she had come from. It was only natural that she come along on the day that Bruce decided to visit, considering it was the place that she used to call home. Or more so, the place she used to call home when inspections took place. That was a deal that she and a lot of the other kids had made with the owner, so long as they were there for inspections, they could do pretty much whatever they wanted. That was the way Ivy liked it. All in all, she didn't think it was too bad of a place, though perhaps heading back after experiencing the luxuries of the Richardson's place would change her perspective. Perhaps it didn't seem too bad because she had stayed at even worse places.

She had met Bruce at his house, on the day specified, wearing a simple black shirt and some floral skirt, along with her signature leather jacket, against her sister Serafina's wishes. She didn't want to dress up too much, mainly due to the fact that she knew how the people in that neighbourhood thought, and honestly, wanted to blend in as much as possible. That was her natural instinct, she couldn't help it. The two had apparated out the front of the orphanage, and she felt almost comforted at the fact that nothing at all had changed, from what she had remembered. Of course, she hadn't been gone for too long, less than a year, but it had felt like so much longer.

Bruce wasted no time in asking to be shown to the owner's office, and Ivy followed behind silently, as agreed upon. Walking through the narrow hall, she lightly ran her fingers along the wall, looking around as if to see if anything had changed, any new kids, to see if she saw anyone she knew, perhaps Halley. But alas, that would have to wait until business was done, and Bruce finished what he had to do.

"You are the owner?"

He didn't seem to be at all happy when asking that question. The man Bruce had addressed looked up from the papers on his desk, glass of whiskey in his hand.

"I am, and you are?" the owner replied, eyes flicking to Ivy before looking back to Bruce expectantly.
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PostSubject: Re: Overdue Scrutiny [Ivy]   Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:51 pm

Bruce's eyes flickered to the glass the male was holding, internally raising an eyebrow and biting back a scathing comment. Not yet; there was time for it later. For now, Bruce merely wanted to observe and find out more about the man and the orphanage. There was a lot that needed to be done, that much was obvious, but where to start? Bruce was already beginning to second-guess his initial idea of donation. Eyes very quickly scanning his surroundings, he took in the bottle of expensive whiskey in a cabinet behind the desk. His posture stiffened a little. No, he was definitely not going to donate, not if the money was clearly going to furnishing the lifestyle of the owner and not the benefit of the kids.

"Sanderson," he replied, reaching into his pocket and withdrawing a business card. "Peter Sanderson." He held out the card, not bothering to stoop to the man's level. There had been no need for it, however, and the male's eyes showed recognition as he stood immediately, hastily placing down his glass and attempting to surreptitiously brush down his shirt.

"I'm terribly sorry. I didn't recognise you, Peter," the male said. "I-"

Bruce smiled, not a friendly nor polite one but the kind of grin an ape gave -- threatening, almost. It was cold and held no warmth, holding a warning of sort, although to what, it wasn't obvious. Not yet, anyway. "Mr Sanderson will do," Bruce said, interrupting the male. Tempted, Bruce had almost added 'Peter is for friends', but withheld himself at the last moment. He was not at a business meeting where to demonstrate power was to win; he was at an orphanage, and he was there for Ivy. There was no point starting a fight, not unless the male started one first.

"I'm terribly sorry, Mr Sanderson," the reply came. "W-what brings you to our humble orphanage? Has-" and at this, he glanced over at Ivy, his expression changing momentarily to one of dislike and disdain, clearly showing what he thought not just of Ivy, but of all the people in his orphanage; Bruce read him like an open book, even without legilimency. "She do something again?" The tone of his voice was again another indication that he neither cared for Ivy nor wanted anything to do with her.

"Actually," Bruce said, deciding at the last moment not to put any emotion into his tone; he didn't want to threaten the male, just make him very, very, uncomfortable. "She is the best friend of my son. I would watch how you talked about and to someone I consider a daughter." He paused, letting that sink in, before he moved on. "I came here with the intent of ... thanking," the emphasis on the word would, no doubt, convey the meaning behind it -- that he wanted to give cash, "the place that helped keep her safe and fed until she could find home, but..." He paused, as though trying to find the right words. "Everything I've seen had me reconsidering."

There was a short pause, and then he offered the man a grim smile. "I never got your name," he added, almost off-handedly.

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PostSubject: Re: Overdue Scrutiny [Ivy]   Wed May 16, 2018 9:51 pm

Ivy couldn't help but choke back a laugh at Bruce's response when Mr. Jacobs mistakenly called him Peter, earning her a glare from the man before he sputtered out an apology to Bruce. Not that she had anything to worry about from him. It was only really beginning to dawn on her the amount of power she held. Money, it seemed, was more useful than just surviving. Those who had money, also had power. And she was now one of the lucky few who had that, even if in name only. What was happening in front of her eyes at that very moment was evidence enough.

She supposed it did help that 'Peter' had a sort of air about him that simply oozed authority. Mr. Jacobs, however, didn't. He was shorter, partly due to him being hunched over, with messy, thinning hair that he hadn't bothered to comb through. His entire appearance just looked dishevelled, disorganised, and consequently, he didn't wield the same sort of power as Bruce did. Perhaps that was another reason why the kids at the orphanage didn't entirely respect the man, he gave them nothing to respect.

Ivy stayed back, watching the various facial expressions of the man change, he wasn't at all subtle with it. He'd gone from fumbling an apology, with a weak smile, to eyes lighting up at the prospect of money, to wearing a worried look at the hint that Peter would be reconsidering.

"I- uh, my name," he floundered.

"Tom," Ivy jumped in, growing rather impatient "Jacobs," she added his last name so Bruce would know exactly who it was he was talking to. Jacobs was slimy, there was no doubt about it, Ivy knew it from personal experience. And she wasn't about to even let him even try to squeeze money or anything else out of Bruce because of nuances like names.
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PostSubject: Re: Overdue Scrutiny [Ivy]   Wed May 16, 2018 10:22 pm

Bruce didn’t miss a beat, eyes scanning the room quickly and taking in each and every detail. A man, he had learnt, could be easily profiled by what they wore and how they kept their room. That was why balls always had to be extravagant, with the best drinks and food, and decorations had to be of high value. If a chandelier was known to cost a hundred galleons instead of five hundred, a man would look cheap, and that was never good. On the other hand, if a chandelier cost thousands of galleons, it was frivolous, and also indicative of a man — shallow, with care only for wealth. It was a game each time a ball was set up or a part held; one had to get the details right to portray the image one wanted. Henry always said that if you wanted to know what a man truly was like, to look into his bedroom. (That was one of the reasons Bruce, at Hogwarts, always made sure to keep nothing personal at his bedside and to keep his bed tidy.)

Tom Jacobs, Bruce was beginning to realise from what he saw, was a shallow, rude, and pompous man who had no right to be taking care of one child, let alone a whole orphanage worth. Bruce said nothing. There was anger building up inside him, now, and indignation. Was this the man who was supposedly took care of Ivy? Did he really think he was capable of doing this job? Why, even Bruce himself, at 15, could do a better— Bruce forced himself to take a breath and push down the emotions. Peter never displayed his feelings like that, never showed what he didn’t want others to see. It wasn’t Bruce that was there; it was Peter.

And so, with another smile that was neither friendly nor threatening, Bruce said, “Thank you, Ivy; it surprises me that one can forget ones name. Perhaps it is not a good day to talk business?” He didn’t wait for a reply, instead moving over to one of the chairs and seated himself, motioning for Tom to take his seat once more. “Ivy, come, join us,” he added, his tone softer, already indicating he was friendly towards her; this was for Tom’s benefit, should he have any doubts where the female stood with Peter.

After they sat, Bruce turned to Ivy. This was the fun part, but he hid all emotions once more. “Ivy, I’d like you to tell me what you think of this orphanage and of Tom. Don’t hold back; I prefer honesty in situations like this.”

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PostSubject: Re: Overdue Scrutiny [Ivy]   Thu May 17, 2018 12:33 pm

"I'm fine to talk business, I assure you," Tom managed to mutter before Peter invited Ivy to take a seat next to him.

At the invitation, Ivy took her seat, while Tom sat down, looking rather flustered.She leaned back in her chair, crossing her arms almost automatically, and resisted the urge to in fact put her feet up on the desk, as she used to whenever she had to have any little chat with Tom. Ivy hadn't seen Tom look so out of his depth before, and it was rather amusing, and Ivy made no attempt to hide the smirk from her face. She didn't realise just how interesting things were about to get until Bruce told her to be completely honest about her opinions of the orphanage, and of Tom. The colour drained from his face, as though he was seeing any chance of the surely generous donation slipping away just at the thought of Ivy spilling her guts.

Ivy sat up a little straighter, looking to Peter "All honesty? It's kind of rubbish. Complete rubbish. Tom's kind of a little bitch who does whatever he can to get money. Half the time, the place is so overcrowded, I didn't even have a bed. The other half? I don't know, I wasn't here. I was busy making sure I didn't starve." she said, almost casually while glancing at her nails "Better conditions hanging out with hobos on the street, at least they had a fire going. Personally, I think you're the worst part about it," she looked back up to Tom "You just sit in here all day drinking that shit," she nodded to the whiskey, not allowing herself to get super overemotional. There had been incidents, things that might have been avoided if there'd been someone to turn to, but she wasn't going to bring any of that up, certainly not around Bruce. He didn't need to know, not yet at least. As of right now, they only needed to worry about how Bruce was going to ensure the money donated was going to help the kids.

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PostSubject: Re: Overdue Scrutiny [Ivy]   Thu May 17, 2018 1:03 pm

As Ivy began to speak, Bruce didn't look towards her. He didn't even glance her way once throughout her entire speech, instead keeping his gaze firmly and solely on Tom. He watched every move, every blink, every minuscule twitch he made, voluntary or not. This was a man who knew his time had come and a man who was not sorry about anything being thrown his way; he was only sorry to see the money go. His eyes didn't even deny what Ivy was saying, didn't bother trying to hide the truth or feign indignance. Everything said was true; Tom knew it, Ivy knew it, and he knew it. There was nothing more to say or do.

An orphanage, Bruce knew, was not like a business. It couldn't be a business, and anyone who tried to run it as such would fail. Children were not a commodity to be bought or sold, and to use an orphanage as a means to make money was probably the lowest one could go, legally speaking. Bruce knew all this and cared about all this.

Peter, however, was another story. While Bruce wanted nothing more than to hex the man in front of him, that was not an option. Not only would it break the statue of secrecy (he was, after all, in a muggle orphanage), it would break his cover -- and that was the most vital of it all. The Sanderson empire would not fall because he got angry. He couldn't afford it, would not let it. And yet there had to be a way to help.

Ivy was not the first to suffer in this orphanage, and not the last. There was no way to ensure any money donated would go to providing food for the children and not another bottle of... Bruce stole a glance at the label. It wasn't the most expensive bottle he'd seen, but it wasn't, by far, the cheapest either. Three hundred dollars could buy decent, if not good, groceries. It could buy milk and tea and hot chocolate, far more than a single bottle of each, too. No, there was no way any money received was fuelling anything other than the man's drinking problem and, by the looks of it, some fine cigars sitting in a case in the bookshelf behind him.

It had been a few minutes since Ivy had stopped talking, and Bruce -- Peter -- hadn't made to talk just yet. Tom was shifting uncomfortably in his seat, opening and closing his mouth at intervals, as though wanting to but unable to speak. Finally, Bruce reached a decision; he knew what had to be done. Standing, he slipped a phone out of his pocket.

"If you'll excuse me, I need to make a phone call."

He said nothing more as he turned, not waiting for acknowledgement of his statement, and then exited the room, already dialing a number as he walked.

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PostSubject: Re: Overdue Scrutiny [Ivy]   Thu May 17, 2018 2:34 pm

Bruce had walked out, needing to make a phone call, and Ivy sat back in her seat, looking directly at Tom with her eyebrow raised. He was still rather speechless, though looked slightly more confident once 'Peter' had left the room.

"You're pretty screwed right now," she said, just for an extra push. Tom had a temper, she knew that, and she knew what to say and do to push his buttons. Why exactly was she doing it right now? She couldn't quite explain, perhaps it was just her enjoying actually having power for once. Not that she didn't push his buttons before, but rather now she could do so freely without any kind of punishment, well, not any punishment that would be legal.

Tom's demeanour changed once Peter had left the room. The colour had come back to his face and well, he was fuming. And on pure instinct, Ivy sat up more in her chair, ready to bolt if she needed to. But Tom didn't seem to be making any attempt to move, how could he while Peter was just outside. His hand had tightened around the glass on his desk and instead, like he was willing himself to stay calm, he sculled the rest of the liquid in his glass. Regardless of how it looked, Ivy stood up from her seat and decided to pace around the room, waiting for Bruce to come back and do whatever it was he was going to do.
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PostSubject: Re: Overdue Scrutiny [Ivy]   Thu May 17, 2018 2:53 pm

He didn't take very long, only about ten minutes all together. There wasn't much to say or do; nobody would really question him. While he didn't have as much power here as he did in the wizarding world, he had the power money brought -- and that meant quite a bit. Peter never had an issue flaunting his wealth, and so for Bruce, it wasn't so much as convincing someone of something out of character as it was shifting his father's focus from one thing to another. Easily done, really, considering that Ivy once was under said orphanage.

"It was a pleasure," he replied the man on the other end, and then hung up. He waited a few more moments, glancing around the empty corridor as he did, mind churning. He'd hire people, of course, and not do it himself -- Peter never did work that meant his hands would be dirty, physically or metaphorically -- but he couldn't help but think things through. A coat of paint, obviously. Cement to patch up the walls. A new staircase. He'd get the floors redone, too; they were starting to smell of rotten wood -- and what place still used wood?

Then, he stopped himself. There would be time for that, later. First, he needed to tend to Tom. Wiping all traces of the smirk he felt rising away, Bruce checked his watch, noting how much more time as Peter he had left (more than enough) and then straightened his tie and smoothened his suit. He took a few breaths, mulled over what he'd say in his mind until he found something he liked, and then practised it mentally a few times. Then, once he was certain all the pieces were put together and were in order, he walked back to the door, opened it, and went inside.

"You haven't left?" he said. There was a hint of faux surprise in his tone, as though in the few minutes away he had expected Tom to disappear. "There's no need for you to remain here," he added, when Tom began to splutter. "I'm firing you. Please leave by the hour, or I will have you arrested for trespassing." He paused only a second, just enough time for Tom to begin to comprehend what was being said, and then went on. "Oh, and one more thing: I'm suing you, on behalf of Ivy, and possibly the other children, should they decide to also come forward, for negligence, gross negligence, and abuse of power. A court date will be given to you once one of my men have drafted a proper response; you might want to find a lawyer in that time."

Bruce glanced around the room with a look of disdain. "I suggest you worry about that later and pack first. You only have fifty-five minutes to leave, now." He didn't wait for a reply, instead offering an arm to Ivy. "Come, Ivy; I shall need a tour of this... facility... if I am to be its new owner."

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PostSubject: Re: Overdue Scrutiny [Ivy]   Thu May 17, 2018 4:12 pm

Tom was thoroughly confused when Peter came waltzing back in, talking about how he should have left already. Did Peter really have that much authority? Ivy looked at him quizzically, but said nothing as Tom angrily stood up from his desk.

"F-fired?" he was clearly struggling to keep his temper under wraps "Wh-what- no who do you think you are?" he finally started yelling, growing red in the face as he did so. Acting on instinct yet again, Ivy moved swiftly to Bruce's side. It seemed to be the threat of being sued that subdued him "A-and sued for what? There's no proof," he added, faltering a little, like he seemed to realise just how ridiculous he looked.

That was when Ivy took Bruce's arm "I'll give you the tour. He'll be gone by the time we're done." she said, rather quickly. He probably would be, she knew he was just a coward. The only time Tom every followed through with anything was when it was clear he had the upper hand, and in this situation, the waters were murky. She could only assume Bruce had done something that had ensure that he'd been fired. And she was rather happy about that, considering how he treated the kids he was meant to care for.
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PostSubject: Re: Overdue Scrutiny [Ivy]   Thu May 17, 2018 4:28 pm

Bruce -- Peter -- didn't even flinch or blink at Tom's semi-outburst. He looked directly at him, quite calmly, and tilted his head in a curious manner, as though confused. "I thought it was quite obvious," he said, tone holding no malice; there was no need to rub salt into the wound, no matter how much he wanted to. "Who can fire someone? Obviously only a boss -- the boss." He tapped his pocket. "I just bought this orphanage, and I have decided that you are no longer fit as an employee and are but a danger to the welfare of the children who belong to this orphanage, and therefore me. I will repeat myself once: you are fired. Please leave my premises."

His smile changed quite drastically at the third question. It no longer held any warmth or pretence of warmth; it was outright cold, a man who knew he had prey cornered and wasn't ashamed to pretend he didn't enjoy it. "Tom, Tom," he chided. "Did you not see my business card? Do you not know of my law firm? Lawyers good enough at their job do not need 'proof'-" he let out the tinyest of scoffs, as though the idea of having proof was mockable "-to win a case. You just need a very, very good lawyer."

He turned his back on Tom now, with Ivy's arm in his, and reached for the door. "I only need to want you to lose, and you will lose. I suggest in your next job you try and remember that sometimes the small people can befriend some of the most powerful, and you might not find yourself in a similar position again."

It was only after they left the room behind and Bruce had glanced around to make sure they were truly alone that, under his breath so only Ivy could hear, said, "That was the most fun I've had in months! Did you see his face? Oh, Henry is going to murder me when he hears I've... dad's ... bought an orphanage..."

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PostSubject: Re: Overdue Scrutiny [Ivy]   Thu May 17, 2018 5:24 pm

Ivy was relieved when the two finally walked out of the office. She leaned in closer to properly hear what Bruce was murmuring to her as she lead him through the orphanage and chuckled "He looked like he was about to explode," she whispered back "Wait, why would he murder you? Surely this dump wasn't too expensive..." she added looking around at the walls, some of them had cracked, paint chipped off, with quite a few holes scattered around.

"The dorms are through here," she said, pushing open a rather stiff door to reveal where the kids slept. No one was there at the moment. It was kind of small, dingy, with around ten beds, and blankets strewn across the floor "Not much to see really," she stepped back and decided to take him to the courtyard out back where some of the younger kids were playing. It wasn't much at all, cracked grey pavement with weeds growing through, and an overgrown garden to the right "Actually, it might take a bit more money if you wanted to fix it up properly," she muttered.
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