Return of the Slytherin.

Return of the Slytherin.

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Return of the Slytherin.

Post by Keiran Hayes on Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:07 pm

"Not all eagles can be trained, but those who take to life with a master display intense loyalty. Although they are not tethered, they always return after killing their prey." - Stephen Kinzer




An Englishman’s home was his castle, and although one Keiran Hayes was technically Irish, it didn’t matter. The man had been away from his home for far too long. He didn’t need anyone to tell him that, although Henry had been more than happy to do so. Repeatedly. In fact, the man declared, he had been more AWOL than Declan after a terrible breakup. Keiran wasn’t sure what that really meant as far as he was concerned, but he hardly cared at that point. He was heading home. Finally.

In November, he had planned to catch Robin’s trail in Italy and find out the truth and come home. But by December, he had gotten close so many times that he knew he had no choice but to continue. He would never forgive himself if he nearly discovered the truth and then walked away, dooming Robin Ivanov to his death. He had gotten too close too many times, and he would be damned if he gave up. Still, though, he was stuck wondering about his family. He had been away too long. What would Millie think?

He made his way to Belarus, braving the cold and keeping himself sorted with warming spells or attempted tracking spells. The people he met weren’t exceptionally helpful, but that wasn’t their fault. Robin was like a needle in a very, very cold and entirely colorless haystack.

It wasn’t lost on him, by any means, that he was failing his kids yet again. The only saving grace, perhaps, was that Peter had come back into their mother’s life, and that Millie had people like Baldric and Theodore to keep an eye on her. Keiran couldn’t help but wonder about how Avery’s daughter was, how Mai was getting along, how the little ones in Bendric’s life were so far. As night fell, the anticipated fretting and regret would crash into him in waves, and whatever inn he found himself at was subjected to his frustration and anger. It was lucky he could fix things if they broke, as they often seemed to do so, somehow.

Depression and fear set in on Christmas Eve. He wasn’t there to help his mother through the anniversary of Aiden’s death, he wouldn’t get to see Darcie’s first Christmas, and he didn’t even dare wonder what Millie would do about it all. Instead, he sat at the window of his rented room, watching the blizzard that harassed the streets of Minsk. He missed the library at his mum’s house. He missed his friends, his children. He desperately missed his wife.

Two weeks later, Keiran was in Kiev when his wand was snapped in half, splinters flying. The only good thing about it, perhaps, was that several splinters lodged in his attacker’s wand hand. Talk about luck. Keiran was back on the trail, feeling like he was closer than ever before, despite the fact that he was nearly three months into his trip. Now, though, he had no warming spells, no apparition options, no tracking spells, no nothing. Everything became all the more difficult after that, unsurprisingly.

Traveling took longer, convincing people to help him was harder, and the homesickness was almost unbearable. Never again would he visit Eastern Europe, he vowed when February hit. He would only have a few more weeks to suffer through, even though he didn’t yet know that.

When, back home, Keiran was declared missing and ‘likely dead,’ Avery was finally able to react. She didn’t follow him, though nobody really seemed to expect her to be that brave. Not anymore. No, indeed, she stayed home.

Henry Tross, on the other hand, did not. Avery saw to that. His endeavors led him to Oliver Connolly and Jack Dyllan-Morrison. Seeking out the ex-professor took more time than he wanted it to, but he was fully uninterested in believing that the worst had actually happened. When they found Keiran in the-middle-of-nowhere, Ukraine, the man was incredibly scruffy, rough around the edges, and looked exhausted. In fact, Henry would later find out that, without any money available to him in the Muggle town, Keiran had taken up a job to make up for the things he lacked. Henry never asked what it was, though, considering the older man had been positively freezing, staring at something a short ways off.

When Henry followed Keiran’s gaze, he didn’t understand what was happening at first. A man was lying in the snow, pale to the point where he was almost blue. And neither that man nor Keiran looked like they were breathing. Oliver’s jaw dropped, and he reached towards Jack in anticipation of any potential panic she might feel. Henry moved forward, reaching out to rest a hand on Hayes’s shoulder.

Keiran jumped, turning over his shoulder and staring as though he hadn’t seen a friendly face in years rather than months. Even still, Henry conceded, he couldn’t have handled it either. He half expected Keiran to refuse to believe it was really him. Instead, Keiran’s stance crumpled and he pulled Henry into a sudden, desperate hug. When he pulled back, staring at Henry again in disbelief, the younger Ministry man spoke.

“Who was that?” He asked quietly, pointing towards the prone form to their right.

“That’s my best friend,” Keiran responded, his tone almost blank. Something about the hesitation in his voice made Henry wonder if he had spoken English at all during his time away. If not, Henry decided he would be rather impressed. Keiran’s gaze drifted towards the other two, confusion sinking in.

“Avery told me to try and find you,” Henry explained. “We came to get you, mate.”

Keiran’s face merely looked more anguished, and Henry couldn’t understand it. Deciding not to ask questions, Henry kept on. “You need to come home. They think you’re dead.”

The father considered pointing out that, most of the time, had felt that way. But that didn’t seem like it would help or change anything. But, home. Henry, Ollie and Jack had come to bring him back. Keiran had one stop he had to make before he went back to see Millie, though. Two, actually. Avery deserved to know.

Two days later, Keiran had his things packed and they returned to Ireland. He had given Jack an opportunity to return home so long as she promised to keep everything to herself for a few days. Now, he stood on Avery’s doorstep, flanked by his recsuers, shocked by the violent tears that fell from her eyes the moment she set eyes on him. Keiran was starting to get used to those urgent, fierce hugs, and couldn’t complain. He had read, once, that the human touch was the best thing when someone needed healing. He was starting to take that way more seriously, now. Regardless of the fact that she was obviously grateful to see him, Keiran wasn’t ready for the expectant and hopeful look that the blonde gave him. But he had physical proof now.

Avery didn’t sleep that night. And Keiran sent Oliver and Henry to the Ministry to take care of his second stop. Finally, though, Henry returned and brought one of Avery’s new Ministry friends to stay with her. Keiran couldn’t help but wonder how Mira was doing and what she thought about all of this. He told Avery very firmly that she needed to call her friend, then turned to Henry, eyebrows raised in question. The man nodded, holding something out to his friend. Keiran took it carefully, settling it into the pouch that Henry had given him to hold things. He would need a new wand, but that could wait.

During the boys’ absence, Keiran had cleaned up a bit – enough that he wouldn’t frighten people he came across by looking like a fuzzy monster. That definitely wouldn’t have helped him when it came to his kids, would it? He almost felt strange to be back to his normal, trimmed self. He ran a hand over his jaw, wondering absently if Millie would appreciate the effort if she knew. He felt better for looking like his old self, regardless, so he brushed it away and gathered his coat. It was oddly too much for the England winter, but that was okay. He didn’t intend on ever getting rid of it, even if it was just to remind him that, when he had been left with absolutely nothing in the world, he had survived. Now his house, their flat, his mother’s land and their money… it all seemed like so much more than it had before. Perhaps he was finally seeing what Millie had always known.

“Ready?” Henry asked, interrupting Keiran’s thoughts and reminding him that he had places to be.

Keiran nodded fervently, slightly disappointed that he had to ask Henry for help to get home. But at this point, he didn’t care. He was nearly back. Their feet landed outside of the wards of Bridget’s home, and Keiran abandoned Henry the moment he opened his eyes and saw the house in front of him. He didn’t run, exactly, but he hadn’t walked so fast since that night in St. Petersburg when he caught word of Robin being in that very town. He walked faster, probably, considering the lack of snow to slow his feet. Galway had never looked so beautiful or welcoming. But his town would be nothing compared to the sight of his family.

He didn’t bother knocking once he realized that the door was unlocked. Of course, he went straight for the handle just in case, and shoved the door open. At the end of the entry hall was his littlest baby, nearly nine months old. At first, he wondered why she was there by herself, bemused as to how she was wandering the house alone. She looked at him funny for a second, and then let out a squeal of delight.

“Da!”

His breath flew from him as he fell to the floor to scoop her up once she reached him. She was already walking and talking and he hated himself for missing it. But he had accomplished what he set out to so, in a weird way, he didn’t regret it. Darcie’s brown hair was completely covering his eyes but he didn’t care. He probably squished her a bit, but he just knelt there, listening to her attempted story time. He had a lot to catch up on, apparently, and Darcie intended to let him know the whole of it in one long, confusing sentence. He didn’t catch a single word of it, but that hardly mattered to her father. Keiran took a deep breath, shamelessly soaking in the feel and the smell of being home, only minimally surprised when he felt his eyes tear up.

Leaning back to look at her as she kept on, Keiran beamed proudly. She was already wonderful, wasn’t she? He could care less about the fact that he was confused and lost as to what she wanted to tell him. She was beautiful, and he had been away from her for far too long. He pressed a kiss to her forehead, quieting her. “I missed you so much, baby girl. I love you.”

She let out a giggle and Keiran allowed himself to register fully that he was home and safe and warm and that his family was there waiting for him. Would the twins forgive him this time? Worry took his features and Darcie frowned, watching him. Clever baby, his girl. Deciding it would be better to not try and explain it to her – even if she probably wouldn’t have understood it anyway – he just pulled her back into his arms and have her cheek another kiss.

“Where’s your mumma?” He asked finally, releasing her. She took hold of his pant leg when he stood, staring up at him. Perhaps she thought he was going to leave again. His heart broke a bit, undoing some of the mending that had been done by his stepping through the front door again. Stretching a hand down to her, he brushed his fingers through her hair. Turning towards the middle of the family home, he called out a greeting of sorts.

“Missie? Kelly Mae, Liam?”

In the other room, Mai had lifted an eyebrow at Darcie’s call, but passed it off as the kids playing. After all, Darcie was pretty young, and bound to make up words and sounds as she learned how to talk. But, there was no mistaking what came a minute or two later. Her head swung suddenly to the side, mouth hanging open. It couldn’t be. Could it?

As if it would prove a point to Darcie, Keiran turned around in the entryway – careful not to disturb the little girl in her attempt to hold him captive - and closed the door behind him. He wasn’t going anywhere. Not again. Not for a very long time. Her fingers released the fabric of his trousers as she clapped her hands together and he grinned down at her, a chuckle escaping for the first time in weeks.

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Re: Return of the Slytherin.

Post by Melissa Finnigan on Fri Mar 11, 2016 11:03 pm

When spilled, tea tends to go everywhere. Water, especially when mixed with milk, is quite a tricky, mischievous liquid. Perhaps it is the sugar that inevitably gets popped in with it. One spoonful or two, my love? Oh, no sugar? Well, that gives it all the more mischief. Then, when it’s dropped, china and all, and the shards are sent skidding across the wood floors, it’s even worse. It’s an image that is the perfect personification of a heart breaking. And up until that moment, she did not know that a heart could split two ways – the first with the hurt of the realisation that his would be a voice she would never hear again and the second with the knowledge that, without a shadow of a doubt, his was the voice she had just heard, her name rolling off of his tongue. Kelly’s. Liam’s.

Keiran.

Bean had given a yelp and had scattered from his resting place at the foot of the arm chair that the elder of the twins had been sat in, reading a book with Esme and her uncle Ell. He immediately sought protection with Theo who, at the sound of Keiran’s call, had moved as quickly as the baby on his chest would allow. The dog inelegantly scrambled into the small gap between Mai’s legs and the sofa, giving a pitiful yowl. Theodore’s head turned from the witch paralysed in the strange half space between the main living room’s seating area and the entrance strip of floor onto which she had emerged from the kitchen, to the doorframe just as the man to whom the voice belonged appeared.

Millie’s gasp was guttural. It seemed to overflow with the emotion she had been so steadfastly hanging onto. Peter was open with the goings on at Hogwarts because they had all asked. He wanted as much advice about what to do as they wanted to know how she was doing. Since that first night, she hadn’t cried. Theo had correctly diagnosed the use of the pensieve. She wants to forget a bit, he’d told them on a quiet night in the Hog’s Head over beers. Not completely but … she doesn’t want the pain to be as sharp. It’s how Seer’s order their thoughts. Selection. She had gotten on. She had held Livia when she had come to her, desperate and mournful, entirely bereft of ideas on how to channel her feelings. She had been there. For all of them, really. A constant. Not quite smiling but still functioning.

This seemed to break down every wall. Every barrier. Every piece of magic. The overflow became a tsunami and not even a piece of debris was left behind. Dimly, she was aware of the return of Peter and Liam from the kitchen where the later risers had been scrounging up some breakfast. His voice bore all of the concern and care it had been carrying since Keiran had gone. It was a voice he gave to her, his worry evident. He said something about hearing the commotion. They weren’t distinct, his words, a mere buzz at her ears. All she could see was him. Everything seemed to melt away, almost making her feel sick if not for the stunning clarity that he brought with him. The world brightened impossibly. Her heart clenched and lightened with all of the hope that she had left for dead. He’s home.

Her feet moved of their own accord, through the mess that was splattered across the floor, a stunning show of modern art. The odd coloured material of her socks darkened as it absorbed the moisture and her foot smarted as it caught a stray piece of the broken cups but in that moment she knew that even the killing curse would have had no effect on her. She skirted around the chairs, feeling as though she was floating, rather than walking, and dreaming rather than seeing, feeling, living with him. Her eyes scanned feverishly for the rise and fall of his chest. There it was. In. Out. In. Out. Like the guh-gun of his heart.

There was a moment, a split second, where she wondered whether he was real or whether … if she touched him, he’d dissolve into smoke. But as her hand ghosted over his chest, feeling the strong beat under her fingertips, she knew he wouldn’t.

“You’re warm,” she whispered, lifting her gaze from his chest to meet his. His eyes were different. In a way, he was entirely different and yet still the same. Still the man she loved. Still him. Still hers. “You’re alive. Keiran …”

Closing her eyes against the tears determined to threaten, she threw herself forward, her arms curling around his neck in a hug that was more than that. It wasn’t just a welcome home, it was a never leave me again. Never leave us again. Don’t go. She buried her face in the crook where his skin swathed into his shoulder and she shook against him, unable to stop the tears, the sobs, as she plunged her senses into him, allowing her body the ecstasy of remembering him. His sight. His smell. His feel. The sound of his voice.

And she’d never let go. Not again. Not ever. And as the twins came to join them, their hands reaching out for their father, she knew it was a promise she would never give quarter on. He belonged to them and he would leave them ever again.
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Re: Return of the Slytherin.

Post by Keiran Hayes on Sat Mar 12, 2016 1:13 am

Despite the wall between them, Keiran could practically see the cup tumble, crashing to the floor and scattering as though it, too, were frightened. Bean's yelp, a woman's cry of surprise. Peter? Keiran's eyebrows drew together.

"Millie-"

Mai? It's like they knew he would be back, somehow. He drew up to his full height, preparing to step forward, but then she was there. And they were both staring like fools, but lovestruck ones, so it was alright. The air felt like it was being squished, pressed, shoved out of his lungs, and he had no idea if anybody else followed her around that hallway's corner, because Merlin was he thrilled to see her. Four months without setting eyes on her was torturous. He couldn't imagine how she must have felt, thinking the worst. Then she was in front of him and he couldn't move, could barely register the fact that he was taking in air.

Her fingers reached out and his lips parted. Her voice. Holly hell, her voice. Keiran thought he might implode for how his chest clenched. Then they were wrapped around each other, as they should have been from the beginning, and as he knew they would be for the rest of their lives. He had never really known it, but he had been wrapped around her finger from that first day. When she convinced him that she needed to move in, but also even earlier. When she had shown up at the end of the aisle and he realized that he had to do it. He had to marry this stranger. He had to be right for her, for their future. And he hadn't been.

But now he would be. He had to be. He had to be the man his father had been, for the woman his mother was proud to call her daughter-in-law. For his children. Especially the twins, who knew enough to know that he had failed them so far. But obviously for Darcie, too, who needed to believe that there were men out there like the father he'd decided to be from then on out.

"Baby girl," he uttered into her ear. His hand came up to cradle the back of her head, his other arm curling around her waist and ensuring that there wasn't so much as a breath of air between them. "Missie. Missie.."

The kids were there. He knew they were. He turned his chin enough to look down at them, his vision blurred again so their faces swam in front of him. "Oh, look at you," he said, his voice raising enough that they could hear him. Turning back to press his cheek against Millie's once more, Keiran's hand ran along her arm. "Our babies, Mill."

He nudged at her gently until he could convince her to settle on the floor with him, and the arm not desperately holding onto his wife reached out towards Kelly and Liam. He glanced towards Darcie, too, giving her a jerk of his head in place of calling her over. Anxiety clutched at Keiran's heart, wondering yet again if they could ever forgive him. Around the corner, there came a skittering of claws on tile, and just as Keiran's hand found Liam's shoulder, a ball of fluff ran directly into him.

"BEAN."

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Re: Return of the Slytherin.

Post by Melissa Finnigan on Sat Mar 12, 2016 1:43 am

Merlin, his voice. His voice. It was something she hadn’t treasured. It had been something she had been so used to. She had loved it, of course, because it meant that he was near, but she had never understood its significance. But to hear him crooning her name, it made her soul start once more. She had returned home just as he had. The last piece of the jigsaw had been slotted back into place where it belonged. Empires could have risen and fallen in those minutes and she wouldn’t have cared. They had each other. They were home again.

She nigh melted to the floor beside him. She would have followed him to the ends of the earth in that moment if his hand had led her there. She leaned into his side, her arm coming to curl around his back, her fingers balling a clump of his shirt into her palm. Her head lolled against his shoulder and she smiled despite herself, reaching up with her spare hand to wipe away the tear tracks as their babies drew near. Our babies, yeah. She smiled again, a little bubble of a laugh breaking past her lips. Their family.

There was no grudge, she knew it. She could sense his anxiety, fluttering about amongst the stream of other emotions they both felt. She knew the twins would not hold him liable for not being there. They had missed him. Their command of the English language was enough to allow them inquire after him. She would never forget that night when Kelly had asked, when it became clear to them that he had been gone far too long for anything to be okay. He’ll be home soon, her mother had said, tucking her in with a kiss goodnight. They had missed him. They had wanted him home as much as she had.

Bean. Bean. Now, if there was an animal in their menagerie that possibly stood to have missed him more than the humans, there was Bean. Now, Lucius definitely missed his last ally. Liam was okay as allies went but he rather liked to squeeze and the cat wasn’t fond of that. Bean had been hell-bent on befriending Keiran, however, and, seemingly working out who had arrived, the dog had abandoned his friendship with Mai and had scampered over to his master as fast as he could manage. He’d never be a graceful animal. It was a welcome home and a half that bump from the dog.

Millie caught hold of the lumbering mutt before he could scramble over the children and she pulled him into her lap. She scratched her fingers between Bean’s ears and leaned down to press a kiss to his nose as his tail batted against her leg excitedly. Three babies and a dog was a bit much and Bean was close enough to the brunette, she figured. The twins, satisfied that they weren’t going to be bowled over, threw themselves at their father. Then, it was between the three of them who got to sit where, who got kisses first and all of the rest because Darcie wasn’t about to let her elder siblings one-up her, either. She wanted, and would get, her fair share.

They all had a lot of time to make up for.

And they had all of the time in the world to do it, too.

Nothing would get in the way of that.
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Re: Return of the Slytherin.

Post by Keiran Hayes on Sat Mar 12, 2016 2:28 am

Spoiler:
Literally just started crying because I imagined where Bridge would come out and see him and I realized the entire time I was imagining my parents' house back home and yeah. Doubly upset.

Upstairs, Bridget was showing Liv where Keiran's old transfiguration journals were located. She didn't know what good they would do now, but there was something sentimental about the woman - particularly after she had lost two-thirds of her family. Sometimes she forgot that Peter was truly back. He would walk in and surprise her, somehow easing the pain, even though it made her feel guilty for realizing that he could do so.

As though he had registered her thoughts from downstairs, the door opened and the first thing Bridget heard was a shout. Her brows drew together and she stared at Peter for a moment. Was that shock on his face, or fear? She just didn't know yet.

"Dad!" Kelly was pouting, reaching for his chin as she used to, trying to tug his attention towards her instead.

Bridget's eyes grew wide very suddenly and she pushed past Peter, her hands reaching for the banister of the second story. Despite how shaky she felt, she leaned forward, her commotion drawing dark eyes upwards to meet her own. "Oh!" She breathed, incapable of keeping it inside. "Liv, come here!"

Keiran's eyebrows lifted. What in Merlin's name were they all doing here? Whatever. He didn't care. Mai was here, which meant Theo was somewhere. Liv and Peter and Mum, they were all upstairs. Excepting Baldric and Avery, everyone he considered family was within hearing range, and it was astounding.

Even as he tilted his head to press a kiss to his eldest child's head, his gaze remained trained on the upper story of the house. He could see the question in Bridget's eyes even before she began to descend the curved wooden staircase into the entryway they sat in. What had he found? What on earth had kept him away so long? He didn't want to tell them until he had to, and he definitely didn't want to have to tell the kids at the same time. He would find a way to explain it once everyone had calmed down and he could handle it rationally.

Liam's fingers reached out, catching a tear that had escaped his father's eye. The mirror at the end of the entryway had caught it sooner, but was useless to help. Except, actually, it wasn't. Keiran blinked at it once he let his gaze fall away from his mother.

This, he thought suddenly. This is what family should look like. Millie at his side, kids gathered around and everyone bursting with happiness, with relief, with unbridled joy.

"I love you," Keiran said, unsure exactly who it was directed at. All of them, really. "Every single one of you. So much."

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Re: Return of the Slytherin.

Post by Melissa Finnigan on Sat Mar 12, 2016 7:50 pm

“Catch it, Lee,” the boy’s mother whispered as he caught the tear on the tip of his fingers. He knew exactly what to do. He had watched his mother do it a thousand times or more in his little life. Tears, he understood, were best kissed away. Before he could lose it, the boy carefully brought it to his lips and the witch beside him smiled as he did just that. “Kisses make everything better,” she murmured to him, leaning over to press a sweet one to his temple. He smiled tentatively, dropping his hands, before curling himself embarrassedly into his father, hiding his face in Keiran’s chest.  

The witch had a similar thought to her husband as the others skidded back into the moment. Livia had nigh clattered down the stairs in her effort to keep up with her, well, grandmother, Millie supposed, considering the role she and Keiran had unwittingly taken up for the witch. Peter left out a practised hand to right her, used to the way she would tumble down staircases. The narrow ones in the Hogs Head which she had often staggered down in the morning since he’d gone were the elder wizard’s personal favourite. She always caught the right step, the one which sent her careening into the pub, drawing a laugh from him as he shined up the glasses. This was family. The entire epitome of it.

Bean settled heavily in the witch’s lap, a great reassuring lump of curly fur. She considered it apt that it was here, in this house, where their lives would begin again. All of them could emerge from the tailspin that they had been caught in. A cyclone, from which she had long given up hope of finding her way out of. She had been putting it all off, though. All of it. Peter had been firm but she had been dallying. In the little heads of their precious gifts were memories of Keiran that hurt them as much as they brought them joy. She had not wanted to part them from those silvery tendrils of happiness, though she knew that eventually she would. Seeing them with him, she thanked every star above that she had waited. That she had waited for him, never quite believing that he was gone.

And hearing him say those words, the words she had never thought she’d hear again, it made all of the pain worth it. The time. The space. The misery. It was all worth it to have him once more near her and to hear him say what they all knew to be true. He loved them. And it went without saying that they loved him to, though her murmur parted her lips immediately, her arm tightening her hold around him. When night came and they could be afforded a modicum of privacy, she could declare just how much. She could show him just how much. Because loving him was a gift in itself.

Somehow, despite being whittled away at, the Hayes family was nearly whole once more. The gulf left behind by Aiden would never quite be filled but the oceans of empty, agonising space that Keiran had left behind had felt suffocating. Millie hoped that Bridget could rest easier now. She hoped they all would. None of them, of course, would sleep well tonight for fear it had all been a dream. A good one, but a dastardly dream nonetheless.

It was then that Millie recalled how much had changed, how she had crushed the nucleus of the family closer to her. The children no longer knew to run for the nursery when the call for bed was declared. They wriggled, instead, under the covers of their mother’s bed and slumbered well, for all of their wriggling. Darcie had gotten used to her spot on Millie’s chest, her head tucked under the witch’s chin. Liam had rather begun to enjoy waking up at the foot of the bed with a grin, not knowing how much he had moved in the night. Kelly, finally, had just gotten used to the proximity, knowing she could reach out through the dark and feel her mother’s hair, sense her warmth and presence. They weren’t alone.

Tonight would not differ. It was a routine that good sense told her they would eventually need to disentangle themselves from. Yet, she didn’t feel that Keiran would be keen to do so in a hurry. She knew he would want them as close as she did. Perhaps he would solve the riddle of what adventures Liam went on in the night. That said, Millie had a feeling that the girls would glue themselves to their father’s side. Indeed, they had already. So perhaps it would fall to her to wrangle their mischievous son and cuddle him tight. They could hold them. Love them. And never leave them. Never leave each other.

“Love you,” Kelly whispered.
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Re: Return of the Slytherin.

Post by Keiran Hayes on Sun Mar 13, 2016 12:11 am

Keiran had a grin to offer Liv when she stumbled down the stairs, glad to see that she was excited to have him back. He was just thrilled to know that she had remained part of the household even without their researching. Kelly spoke, though, immediately pulling his attention back to her. His grin softened into a proud smile for her, and he leaned forward to press a kiss to her cheek and to wiggle his nose against hers.

He was reluctant to move, not solely because he was being sat on by three of his five children. The ones that were his by birth, at any rate. Keiran wondered again after the other one, but Bridget was suddenly asking about tea and who wanted a cuppa, so he drew his thoughts back into the room.

As far as getting off of the floor went, Keiran had a plan for that. He drew his arm away from Millie and instead reached it out to Darcie while addressing the older two. "Which of you can run the fastest now?" He asked them. "First one to the kitchen gets a treat," Keiran added, winking at them.

It took a moment, but they seemed to decide that he would be following them so it was okay, and they hopped up. Darcie wiggled a bit, but Keiran wasn't having any of that. It was only when he heard Liam's complaint that he realized who else had run over.

"Bean!."

Whoops. Looks like the dog had won. And where were Lucy and Cissa? Oh well. Keiran stood up, bringing Darcie along with him. His free hand he extended towards Liv, pulling her into a side hug. "'ello, gorgeous. Been working hard, I hope."

Then he led them on towards the kitchen, pausing when he came around the corner, his feet met carpet and he paused at the sight of Theodore, Mai and another little one. "What's this, then?" he asked, gently releasing Liv and passing Darcie over to Millie. "Hello, Mai. Cousin," Keiran added cheekily.

The redhead stared at him, clearly still in shock. But Theodore was yet laying on her, having prevented her from moving to greet him before. "Keiran," she returned, a smile pulling at her cheeks.

"Not dead," he informed them firmly. "But I need to meet your little one, love." Turning over his shoulder, he added to Millie, "Write to Baldric, love? Nearly all here but not quite."

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Re: Return of the Slytherin.

Post by Melissa Finnigan on Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:06 pm

Her rise from the floor was done with practised ease. She smoothed out the skirt of the pale blue dress she wore and looked up to watch as the twins tried to outrun the ever (and over) eager dog. Brushing her fingers through the front of her hair, the witch managed to find her grin once more. She caught her brother’s eye and Elliot smiled at her, reaching up to finger the earring hanging from his left lobe. He offered her a wink and she ducked her head, pleased to find he was happy for them. It had been tricky for him; those last few months. He’d been determined to be there for his sister but it was beginning to be at the expense of his rapidly blooming girlfriend. Wife, he’d correct in a few months’ time.

The children tumbled off towards the kitchen, hollering at the dog. Esme wriggled out from underneath Elliot’s arm and followed, much to the amusement of Theo and Peter, the latter especially when Finley shot off, determined not to miss out. Millie laughed, a sound that made Peter look up. Elliot met his gaze and the pair shared a glance, one that communicated just how much they’d missed that sound, the bell-like tolls of her joy.

Livia had brightened up like a star and she threw her arms around the father figure she’d mourned the loss of, relishing in his familiarity and his presence. She, too, had that sense of home, that all was truly now right with the world. “Always!” She rolled her eyes, her smirk returning in full force. Millie’s smile only widened and once she had taken Darcie back into her grasp, with her spare hand she laced her fingers through Liv’s, squeezing the younger girl’s palm gently.

“Where the bloody hell have you been, Hayes?” Theodore exclaimed, his grin belying the edge of reproach in his tone. He sat up once more, tossing the book he’d been reading in Elliot’s direction, earning a yelp from the disgruntled Gryffindor. Smirking in the blonde’s direction, Theodore spun his legs round and got to his feet, cradling Connor carefully against his chest all the while. “Break him, I’ll break you,” he warned, raising a wry eyebrow at his cousin before reluctantly releasing his little bundle of warmth into Keiran’s arms.

“Good luck, kid, if this one makes him broody,” Theo teased Millie’s retreating back as she went to do as she was bid.

“He’ll be whelping one on you if he does,” Millie retorted with a laugh, disappearing in search of paper. “C’mon Darcie-baby,” she cooed, planting a kiss on her daughter’s forehead. “Let’s go and write to your uncle Bae.”

“Welcome back, mate,” Theo’s voice was earnest as he watched the pair. “I suppose it goes without saying but try not to disappear on us again. I’m not sure I could have looked at your witch much longer with that brave little face on her, trying to make us think she’s okay. She wasn’t okay and that … that goes without saying, too, but Merlin … if she wasn’t a trooper.”

He looked down at his shoes for a second before lifting his gaze to glance briefly over at Mai. An involuntary, natural smile pulled at his lips and he turned back to Keiran.

“I’m going to give her some time off,” he decided. “I’ve already requested a Divination apprentice under the professor at Beauxbatons. You all need to reacquaint yourselves without the pressure of reality for a moment. Our uncle has a villa in Italy that Mai, Esme, and I enjoyed the pleasures of. This little one,” he gestured to Connor with a fond smile, “broke up the party a little bit but … I wouldn’t change that. I want you to go. Augustus won’t mind. He’s in Venice at the moment so … yeah. Just … just take some time. The rest of us can hold down the fort.”

“Bring me back a souvenir, won’t you?” Livia teased from the doorway, smiling softly.

“Just bring you and your family,” Theodore amended firmly.
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Re: Return of the Slytherin.

Post by Keiran Hayes on Mon Mar 14, 2016 7:55 pm

Mai muttered something under her breath when Theodore joked that Connor had interrupted their holiday, but Keiran didn't catch it. The redhead was beaming up at Theodore a minute later, though, making it clear that whatever had been said was also in jest. Keiran didn't look at her long enough to see the uncertainty lingering behind her eyes. He was too busy making sure that his cousin - the younger - was properly supported.

Keiran didn't want the villa or the trip or any of the things Theodore offered. But what could he say without being rude or without asking Millie first? Surely she had earned it, deserved it, after what he had unintentionally put them through. And she didn't even know about Robin and Avery yet. But he didn't want to leave again. That was the last thing he wanted. Why was Liv so accepting or seemingly excited about this? He actually realized after they finished that a wave of anxiety had hit him just from thinking about it.

If nothing else, he would need more time to process it. Surely a vacation in a nice house in a warm country would be appealing, he told himself. But all he wanted was to go back across town to his and Millie's house, which still felt so new to him, and have the longest, warmest bath in the history of baths, and not leave for days. Weeks. Ever? Probably ever.

Merlin, he hadn't responded. "I'll chat with Millie about it," he responded, surprised by how calm he sounded. "Figure out what the plan will be and that sort of thing. I think I'm mostly looking forward to being back in my own house, though, to be honest. Not that I don't love this one, but..." He shrugged non-committally. "There's something about that first night, sleeping in your own bed after you've been gone for so long."

Mai offered a sound of agreement, looking a bit sorrier for him. Keiran realized he had better catch Millie before she sent off the letter, deciding very firmly that yes, he was back, but no, he couldn't handle it. As positively thrilled as he was to have seen them all and have their time to reunite and to let everyone know that it was okay and set them to rights... it was too much. He hadn't spoken to so many people all at once since he'd left, and he was months out of practice. Four and a half months, to the day.

He passed Connor back to Theodore, fully aware of Mai's watchful eye as he did so. "I want to write something on that note to Bae, now that I think on it," he offered by way of explanation, giving an apologetic, tight-lipped smile before moving into the other room.

Bridget was there, fussing over tea he had no intention of drinking. It had never been his cup of- well. Anyway, he came up along Millie's side as she wrote, standing just to the side so he could reach a hand around her waist. Somehow, he doubted the novelty of just being next to her would wear off any time soon. Keiran peered over her shoulder, then turned so his nose brushed against her neck.

"Millie," he said quietly, not wanting his mother to overhear. "Tell Bae we'll see him tomorrow. Please. I.. don't know if I can today."

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Re: Return of the Slytherin.

Post by Melissa Finnigan on Mon Mar 14, 2016 10:34 pm

Writing parchment had been sourced from a drawer upstairs and after digging a biro out of her coat pocket after reaching the foot of the stairs once more, Millie swayed contentedly back into the kitchen where more food was being indulged in by the family at large. Bridget had set out a cup of tea for the blonde and she thanked the woman brightly before setting Darcie down on the island so that Millie could write to Bae.

She could sense his presence before his arm came around her. The static electricity between them had never been more tumultuous. She leaned into him, letting her eyes close briefly as his smell enveloped her. Darcie grinned from where she was sat, pleased to see, Millie supposed when she reopened her eyes, that her father hadn’t disappeared. Smiling, the blonde tapped the end of her pen to the girl’s nose, earning a bright giggle form their daughter.

Turning, Millie looked up and met Keiran’s gaze. It was an expression, hidden behind the surface of his eyes, which she knew immediately. Abandoning the pen, she brought her hand to his cheek and ran her thumb across his cheekbone. Pushing up onto her tiptoes, Millie gently pressed her lips to his in a brief, chaste kiss. If ever a physical manifestation of ‘I know, my love’ existed, this was closest to it.

She pulled away after a moment and smiled before reaching for their daughter who was content enough to be transferred into her father’s arms. Millie’s lips found Darcie’s temple briefly before she reached up to draw her hand gently across Keiran’s cheek again.

Turning, Millie swept over to fetch the twins, explaining with a whisper in Peter’s ear that they were going home. He nodded and reached up to squeeze her arm as she shepherded her little monkeys towards the foyer to get their things. They all understood. No one raised any objections. Only Livia showed her hesitance, regretting joking about their going away.

“We’ll be back soon,” Millie promised, squeezing the girl’s hand.

Home. It was a single thought away. One piece of magic and they were conveyed from one foyer into another. Even Bean had gotten use to that mode of travel. When Millie reopened her eyes, she was back in the house they had been living in when not at Hogwarts for a change of scenery. In the end, Bridget’s house had been the final ‘change’ in that vein.

The children shot off immediately, glad to be home and to resume building the fort they had been for several days with the help of their mother. Millie smirked and shook her head before turning to her husband, reaching up to pull her fingers through his hair.

“Hot chocolate?” She offered softly, nudging her nose against his. “Or anything you want. Name it. Even a star wouldn’t be too much to ask for.”
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