99 problems and 2 strange men

99 problems and 2 strange men

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99 problems and 2 strange men

Post by Fiona Grimm on Thu Apr 16, 2015 8:28 am

Coming home was nice. Hogwarts was so big, and so scary. As soon as she got up in the mornings, she had to force herself into social interactions, had to mind her behavior, had to worry about class and presentation and the few friends she had and it was all just... too much. She was a gentle spirit, and she did not seek anything more than privacy. In Hogwarts, there was no such thing.

Her life at Margham castle wasn't perfect. It looked it, certainly. She rarely had any obligations other than dinner with her father. The grounds were beautiful. She had beautiful pets, friendly house elves, and her father and his colleague Norman thought she was the prettiest thing that had ever existed. She was able to get all the blood she wanted in a civilized manner, feeling all the more human for it. Beautiful dresses appeared mysteriously in her closet. Miraculous food was delivered to the dining room table three times a day.

It seemed like a charmed life.

But it was lonely. And something about it felt wrong. Sometimes, Finn felt like she was a guest in her own home, felt that she did not belong to a world of opulent splendor. She was too awkward, too uncertain. Any and all grace she had was completely incidental to all of the training and schooling her father had put in her. And there was that. Everything she was given was wonderful and she was grateful... but it made her feel as though it were all to compensate for the fact that she was somehow... lacking.

She knew it was crazy, so she never brought it up. Friday had come and she had been walked into Hogsmeade by the obnoxious Gamekeeper, and Norman apparated her home to the castle. She broke bread with Norman and her father, went upstairs to read from the magnificent library, and fell asleep happily. 

Saturdays were always lovely, if a bit sad. Orpheus was typically gone in the mornings, busy at work, so she would eat breakfast with the house elves, who had gotten used to the fact that Finn enjoyed their company. Then she would read or paint until lunchtime, and eat again, only this time alone. 

It was usually after lunch that she would take her walk on the grounds. Her father wasn't home so she could get away with it - he had become less and less keen on her wandering in recent years. She always made sure to slip gloves into her pocket and wind a scarf around her neck. The only time she wasn't dressed 'ladylike' on her father's estate was when she ran about the grounds. She had dawned a pair of brown shorts and a striped shirt and quickly headed towards the door, pulling her hair into a ponytail.

Pippy was waiting at the door, a displeased expression on her elfish face. Finn smiled. "Please, Pip, I'm not here often. What if that was the last time I ever saw you, and you were giving me such a sour look?" 

Pip turned her long nose upwards. "Master does not like mistress going out-"

"And you don't like me getting so pale inside!" Finn said, kindly, pausing at the coatrack to look for her scarf. 

Pip swallowed her words and sighed. "Pippy supposes."

Finn pulled the scarf around her neck and smiled. "Thank you Pip."

She approached the door and Finn adjusted her hair as Pip opened the heavy door for Finn. She lifted her head as the door opened and Finn found herself face to face with the delivery boy.

"Oh!" Finn said, drawing back, immediately flushing pink. He looked up from the small crate in his hands and also drew back. "Oh..." he said. "Hello."

Finn nodded. "Hi."

She didn't know what to say... she wasn't supposed to talk to the delivery boy, but she also wasn't supposed to wander the grounds, either. She was suddenly very aware of her... existence. This was the first time she had met the boy at the door. She had only used words towards him three times. Once to say hello. The second time to beg him to bring her the now treasured copy of the DVD Pretty in Pink, a request that had made the boy smile. When he had delivered the film, she had called a sincere thank you from her window. Everything else had been nonverbal, been only a desire to connect. 

But now he was here, right in front of her. And was staring at her, waiting for her to use her words once again.

She laughed. She wasn't sure why... and neither was he. She immediately swallowed the laugh and coughed. "I was just... Um... going for a walk."

"Right," he said, nodding. His voice was uncertain and awkward, but his eyes seemed interested and bright. She coughed again, looking at her feet, before lowering her head, jokingly saying, "You could join me!"

She regretted it instantly and the frozen look of terror on her face showed it. He smiled a little but his lips dropped right after, and he shook his head. "I... I can't. I'm working."

"Right!" she said. She dropped her gaze again.

The boy attempted to lift her gaze with his eyes alone. "I... um... I need you to take the crate."

"Right!" Finn called, snapping up, feeling awkward again. She reached out and took the crate, her hands brushing the boys calloused hand. And then, there was a pause, in that moment between the boy releasing the crate and Finn taking it. Their eyes met and then the crate passed hands. She smiled and he turned, giving her a grimace as a good bye.

Finn crossed the entrance and put the crate next to the hallway door, turning around. Pip was staring shrewdly at Finn. "What?" Finn asked.

Pip shook her head. "Don't be long, please, Mistress."

Finn nodded and left the house - but the boy was along gone. 

She went to the edge of the woods, strolling quietly, plucking small red roses and entwining them into a crown. As she strolled, she thought of the boy. Thought of how strange she had been to him. She had... asked for his company. That wasn't something she did, ever. She knew talking to the boy was surely not something she should have done... but that hadn't kept her from speaking to him. Eagerly too. 

Finn had a secret. And one she liked. She tenderly constructed her crown, walking the grounds for a good hour, smiling and humming, fingers drumming against the wood of trees. 

Finn didn't often feel special. But... today she did.

A breeze rippled across the land and sunk into her bones. With a sigh, she headed up towards the estate, fixing the rose crown on her head. A secret smile on her face, she slipped inside of the house and was immediately accosted by Pip.

"Come, mistress," Pippy whispered. "Follow - hurry."

Finn tilted her head, resisting. "What? Pippy!" 

She felt a new presence, and she looked up seeing her father in the doorway. She reeled backwards and swallowed, straightening up. "Hiya, Daddy."

He tilted his head, obviously a bit displeased. "Fiona." She swallowed and dropped her head, taking a step forward, but her name stopped her once more. "Fiona," Orpheus repeated, this time firm, this time guiding. "We have a guest."

"Oh," she said. She straightened up once again. "I'm- I'm sorry."

Suddenly, a lean man appeared at Orpheus' side. He looked straight at her and she felt her throat go dry. He wasn't an ugly man, certainly, and he looked young. But what she knew right off the bat was he was a vampire. And that made her immediately uncomfortable, immediately frightened, immediately uneasy. He could not be good news. That was certain.

"Fiona, this is Arthur York. He will be joining us for dinner." 

Finn nodded, dropping her gaze.

"Arthur, this is my daughter Finn."

"Nice to meet you, Miss Grimm," Arthur said, smiling. Orpheus grinned and turned to Pip, snapping his fingers for her. As soon as Orpheus was not looking at Arthur, the man's smile dropped. Finn gave him a look of uncertainty and displeasure, and he felt it. His eyes flicked upwards to the rose crown and she immediately reached up and pulled it off. 

Orders sorted out, Orpheus straightened up. "Fiona - get dressed. Dinner in thirty minutes. Arthur and I are going to have a glass of wine." 

They exited, and Arthur didn't spare her another look. Finn looked to Pip, confused and nervous. "Pip?"

Pip sighed, took her hand, and dragged Finn towards the staircase. "Master has brought you a new dress. We must do your hair. You must have a good impression on Master York."

Finn blinked, following the elf. "Why?"

Pippy sighed. "It seems he's going to be around a lot more often."

That could not bode well for her.

[[will continue later]]
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Re: 99 problems and 2 strange men

Post by Arthur Yorke on Mon Jan 30, 2017 7:12 pm

A few weekends after the snowstorms incident, Arthur was expected to return to Margham Castle and see Fiona again. Something about the last time he'd seen her made him uncomfortable about the forced niceties and the walk they would be required to take. She had literally tried to disappear on him before, so he was aware enough to discern that it was not a good sign.

Arthur was, generally, a good man. But he did not want to leave his house that morning.

He truly might have blown it off had it nor been for his mother, so desperate and concerned and pushy. He could forgive the first two, of course, but the latter merely made him frustrated. Alas, he had no choice but to get dressed up and go round to play kings and castles. Merlin help him, but he was not sure why his mother had chosen the Grimm family of all things. Weren't there other vampires he could harass? Besides, the odds of this working out were slim to none. Even if the marriage did in fact happen.

Fiona didn't even want to walk next to him, much less get to know him. And, to be fair, he wasn't sure that he thought it was such a great idea, either. Sure, it would make things easier if they did try; about as easy as riding a hippogriff that didn't like you. But he was reluctant on all counts, really.

And all of this back and forth in his head was just a way of stalling. He had already landed on their front walkway. He should have been to the door already. Arthur rolled his eyes at himself before heading up the steps and forcing himself to knock. A heavy sigh left him before anyone could come over to let him in. It was just lucky he didn't have to floo in. Not only would it ruin his mother's demanded level of appearance on Arthur's part, but it would give him no time at all to remind himself of her other rule:

Decorum.
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Re: 99 problems and 2 strange men

Post by Fiona Grimm on Mon Jan 30, 2017 8:30 pm

As if Finn didn't have enough going against her, but once a month or so, she was sent back home to Wales to spend the weekend in Margham Castle. It was hard to properly explain to the few classmates who noticed, the even fewer who bothered to question her, and she left it at something to do with the air in Wales and her sick constitution. She had never considered herself to be much of a liar, but her seven years in school had been shrouded in lies. She regretted it but telling them the truth was completely out of the question.

Even despite this, these trips back home used to be a point of solace for her. She despaired before and after, worried just how she would pull the story off, but the comforts of home always lulled her into a feeling of safety. Helping Pip polish silver, talking with Norm about his travels, dinner with her father, walks through the grounds... these were the things that got her through the school year, looking forward to spending time at home. Once upon a time, the castle's charm had begun to wear off of her, replaced by an unshakable feeling of lonely. Once upon a time, she had wished for some real company.

Boy, had that come back to haunt her.

She was beginning to learn that Arthur was not as horrid as she had once assumed. Oddly enough, it wasn't until her disdain for him had manifested itself in a tiny form of rebellion that he had procured any personality whatsoever, having doused it before in civility and manners. His gesture at the Shrieking Shack was almost enough to consider him someone with whom she might actually get along, if she could somehow overcome all of the social anxiety that had plagued her for her entire life.

But every time she considered it, she thought of how her father would immediately take this as some form of agreement to the marriage. Part of her was very aware that, regardless of her fears, it was going to happen. She had no objections to Arthur himself, just the marriage, and if she were to make Orpheus decide against Arthur, it wouldn't be long before he found someone else. And there was every chance in the world that an alternative might be worse. Part of her hoped that the longer she held out, the more likely it would be for Orpheus to relieve her of the duty. But then she would see Arthur's face, almost grim with the knowledge of his obligation, and she knew deep down - it was happening.

She was just trying to enjoy the time she had, trying not to consider it a death wish. And Arthur Yorke's frequent visits made that difficult.

She had finished her hair, knowing she was supposed to look her best, when she heard the knocks ringing throughout the home, the door enchanted to help provide grand entrances. Moments passed and she didn't hear a call for her to descend. She curiously left her room, and had hardly poked her head out when Pip reached her.

"Miss Fiona, Master Grimm was called away."

Finn stared at her. "What am I supposed to do?"

Pip was wringing her hands, knowing she was about to disappoint her mistress. "He said he could bring lunch upon his return. Perhaps you and Mr. Yorke can take tea now, or go on your walk?"

Finn stared at the door, wanting to groan but having never been great at the whiney-teenager bit. She swallowed and nodded, walking down the staircase and slowly approaching the door. Squeezing her hands a few times, she finally let out a breath and opened the door.

"Hello," she said, upon greeting him. She stepped aside so he could enter, eyes on him as he entered, always taking advantage of the moments when he wasn't looking at her to glance at him. "My father is o-out currently." She hated to feel like they were being manipulated into liking each other. Whether or not that was her father's plan, it made her uncomfortable. "We could take our walk early, if you're not too hungry."
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Re: 99 problems and 2 strange men

Post by Arthur Yorke on Thu Feb 16, 2017 4:59 am

It wasn't that Fiona somehow wasn't enough. Arthur felt sure that, in some ways and to someone, she must be. But that sort of truth did not validate this plan. It did not make up for the failures that they'd had because of the arrangement. What if, he wondered vaguely as he waited for someone to answer the door, they had met years later and without their family pressures? Who the hell knew?

Arthur sort of doubted it would work even then, given his tendency to expect failure on his part though not on the other person's. Ironically, it wasn't that Arthur felt he could never be enough, as he assumed others often felt. It was in fact the other way around entirely. He never felt like he could rest, just satisfied with what he had, and manage to quench his desire for something bigger, something more.

Indeed, Fiona had nothing to do with it. And yet she was the only real constant in his life as of late.

Constantly wondering when he was meant to go next. Constantly knowing that whenever it was, it would go badly and they would both leave feeling worse. Or he would, anyway, considering he had never asked what she thought.

So when it took a bit longer than normal for someone to answer the door, he knew enough to realize that something was wrong. He had been living with days like this, and with the expectation of more days like this, for quite some time. But he was actually surprised into showing a vague emotion of that variety when Fiona answered the door herself. Why she let him inside before suggesting they go back out was beyond him, though.

Arthur frowned - just a slight downturn of his mouth as he tried to piece together what she wanted. He felt certain, suddenly, that he would never have an answer to that question. Merlin help him if either of their parents decided it was time to rush the engagement. Were they even technically engaged? Arthur had stopped caring months earlier, so what did he know?

"Must we?" He asked after what was probably too long of a pause. In truth, he wasn't trying very hard to hide his distaste for it now that her father wasn't around to overhear or to spy on them. "We're already inside."

Not particularly helpful, perhaps. But Arthur had never been a man of many words, so why start now?
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Re: 99 problems and 2 strange men

Post by Fiona Grimm on Thu Feb 16, 2017 9:53 pm

And just like that, she felt self conscious.

They were already inside, but it was because she didn't have her coat or gloves and thought he would rather wait inside while she searched for the articles of clothing that would make their walk slightly more pleasant. She liked taking walks, and even walking with him wasn't altogether horrible. She could still enjoy the scenery, could still take in the fresh air, and then her father was appeased that they were 'bonding', even though most of their stroll was taken in silence.

But, without a peek into her head, she supposed she could see how her offer was a bit redundant. Still, that left her at a loss. What was she supposed to do with him? This was her father's arrangement, not hers, and for it to suddenly fall on her shoulders was completely unfair. She hardly knew what to do with herself most of the time.

"Right," she said, her voice a little faint with helplessness. "Ummm..." She dropped her gaze, her fingers falling to nervously grip the edges of her skirt.

Pip was there to save the day, clearing her throat with a high-pitched cough, stepping forward and making a grand gesture with her twiggy little arms. "Pippy can serve tea in the sitting room."

Finn drew herself up and said, "Yes, let's do that. Could you bring us some muffins or something as well?"

"Of course," the elf squeaked, turning and heading towards the kitchen.

Finn stared after her lone ally for a moment before slowly turning back towards Arthur, hands raising to clasp together, eyes the last thing to face him. "Shall we," she said, her words drawn out, the hesitation filling the space between the sounds, and she continued to turn until she was facing towards the sitting room, which was, fortunately, just off the main hall.
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Re: 99 problems and 2 strange men

Post by Arthur Yorke on Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:17 am

Arthur realized much too late that he really ought to have been a bit more polite. His temper, it seemed, had flared at the worst time, and now it was almost inappropriate to change his behavior. Perhaps, if his parents had been less adverse to Muggles (beyond his father's apparent interest in a few of them), he would have realized that the good things only happened to Heroes of stories if they changed their ways. Improved.

But Arthur Yorke was no Fitzwilliam Darcy.

So he nodded silently and resigned himself to the fact that he would still be spending the afternoon in unfortunate silence and general disinterest. How... dull. There wasn't another word for it, as far as he could tell, so that was something of a disappointment in itself. He was typically eloquent at work or in other situations where he felt even halfway comfortable, but this was not one of those times or places.

They passed into another room, which was unpleasantly familiar, and Arthur pulled out her chair in an almost obligatory fashion, before moving and sinking into the one he had decided to claim as his own. Rather than looking at Fiona, he let his gaze dance over the walls with their art and portraits, wondering if he could form some sort of half-hearted conversation about them. Typically, things were so work-focused or based upon whatever Orpheus thought was somehow relevant to the pair of them. It rarely ever was.

"That painting," he said finally, reaching almost blindly for his tea as he gestured with the other hand towards one of the works in the frames. "Is it of someone you know? Or, perhaps, knew?"

Then. Then he looked at her, his eyes probably a bit unnerving, as so many said they were. But it wasn't intentional, oddly enough. A part of him - a very, very small part - was actually interested. How strange.
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Re: 99 problems and 2 strange men

Post by Fiona Grimm on Tue Mar 07, 2017 1:56 am

Finn loved her father. She appreciated everything he had ever done for her - which  was everything. She knew people like Ducky had so little, were denied the basic kindness of either parent. Even without her mother, she knew she had been given all of the love her father could muster for her, and she had never wanted for anything, besides a little more freedom, but even that was denied for the sake of her safety. And who could begrudge a widower the safety of his daughter?

But sometimes, she wondered what it would have been like to grow up... normal? To live in a house in the suburbs, to have a mother, a human father. Sometimes she thought she would even rather have been born a muggle than born into a vampiric family. The mere shadow of the thought was enough to fill her with shame and guilt, causing almost a note of sadness in her thank you towards Arthur when he pulled her chair out for her.

Because even though she felt trapped by this man, by his formalities, she couldn't help but think she should have been more grateful.

It didn't help her that she got the sense that Arthur felt trapped as well. It would have been off putting if he seemed to look forward to it - it, because the word marriage felt heavy and dangerous on her tongue - but at least she wouldn't feel like she was ruining two lives rather than just her own. Because, maybe... if she were just a bit bolder, a bit more interesting, this wouldn't be so horrible. Or maybe she would be brave enough to assert her own desires to her father.

But as it was, Arthur Yorke was here to stay.

His words startled her from her thoughts, and she started ever so slightly as she turned to follow his hand, eyes settling a picture of her grandmother. "Oh," she said. "That's my grandmother. She-" She turned to look at Arthur and found his eyes waiting, stopping her voice in her throat. She swallowed and pressed on. "She had very few pictures, actually, before she passed away. My mother was very close to her, so Father commissioned that for her before I was born. I'm told this was my mother's favorite room because of it."
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