The Never-Ending Night

The Never-Ending Night

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The Never-Ending Night

Post by Athena Marianne Goyle on Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:39 pm

Behind her, the deep, bass of the music beat on. Sighing, she knelt down and pulled off her shoes, her aching feet smarting with the reprieve it brought. She hooked her fingers in the backs of them and straightened up. Breaking into a slow, meandering walk, she retraced the path that had taken her down into Knockturn Alley earlier that evening with her cousins. The charm had worn off faster than she had thought it would.

The chill of the night air was a pleasure compared to the writhing heat that the club created. She took her want out of the holster strapped to her thigh and lit the end of it, letting anyone who happened to be lurking in the shadows that she was not a witch to be handled lightly that evening. She didn’t know quite what spell her mind would draw first but she certainly imagined that it would have a green tinge.

Thankfully, no one seemed keen on bothering her that evening. Well, it was getting on for last call of the night. Only the clubs would stay open beyond this, now. Anyone who was about seemed keen on extending their nights in that fashion. She held no interest in them. Just how she liked it. In Knockturn Alley, she did tend to be recognised. Death Eater spawn rarely flew under the radar.

Athena reached down and rubbed her arm as she emerged from Knockturn Alley back onto the Diagon high street. She sighed and readjusted the glamour spells over the Dark Mark, sorely wishing she could just abandon the Death Eaters altogether. A pipe dream, of course, one she contemplated too often these days. She focused on returning to the Leaky Cauldron, instead, not allowing herself to wonder after that sorrow.

The lamplight was a reassuring piece of company as she trod the cobbles down to the ramshackle pub. Though her feet still smarted, they were glad for the semi-stable ground. She knew she’d need a cleaning charm once she got in there. There was nothing worse than dirty feet on clean floors.

She darted in behind a couple heading out for the night and Athena stopped by the back door to flick that cleaning charm into action. The pub was blessedly warm and comforting. She unwound her scarf from her neck and shoved it into her shoes before wandering across the room towards the bar. The last call wasn’t too far away now.

The barkeep was wiping up glasses behind the bar, idly chatting to a few people gathered at the bar. As she approached, they cleared off home for the night, shouting their goodbyes to him and to the others that they knew in the pub. It left only a few stragglers and the ones that habitually hung around until the doors were closed for the night.

Hopping up onto one of the vacated stools, Athena dropped her shoes down on the floor and set her wand on the top before reaching into her purse for some galleons.

“What’s your favourite whisky?” She asked, setting the coins down on the bar. “Two glasses. Drink with me.”

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Re: The Never-Ending Night

Post by Declan Arryn on Mon May 02, 2016 1:30 am

In truth, Dec believed that there should be awards given out to average people for doing wonderfully average things. There were a few things he, himself, deserved credit for. He was a great cook, could get incredibly close to convincing a certain Weasley to trust him, and, more than anything else?

...The award for best caring in a non-caring situation goes to Declan Arryn, for being a thoroughly spectacular bartender.

He isn't, actually, a great fan of working the bar. People were needy or boring or rude, yet they all expected him to chat with him. They clearly didn't realize that he was the owner of the place. Actually, though, Declan wasn't sure they would've cared. Perhaps it didn't matter. It made him feel better, though, to know that he had a higher position than just that of a barkeep.

He looked up from running his sanitized cloth around the rim of a wine glass, realizing the woman was speaking to him. His eyebrow lifted, but when he looked around, he noted that the rest of his patrons were paying attention to closing hours and were packing up to leave. But she wasn't, which was interesting. He wasn't sure, yet, if he approved of her request or her decision to stay put. He would let it play out, for now, though.

"I don't usually go for something so top-shelf when I'm drinking on my own, so I might as well," he replied, half just thinking aloud. "There's a brewery in Clermont, Kentucky. I have not been lucky enough to travel to many places, but I must say, it's one of those strange destinations that makes my list. Their bourbon is phenomenal."

Reaching out, he picked up two rocks glasses, setting one in front of himself and holding the other up. "Are you a neat sort of lass? Or a rocks type?"

Setting her glass down while she decided, he called down the whisky and set it next to him while he lifted out a few cubes of ice for himself. "As tidy as I may be in my apartment, the same is not true for my drinks," he joked, hardly caring if the line landed or not. Dark liquid followed the ice, and then he turned his chin back towards the brunette to discern her preference and prepare the drink in question.

"Not many people are bold enough to ask the bartender to drink with them. Fewer will ask the owner to do so, provided he's working at the time. Yet you've done both," Declan observed unnecessarily. "Either you've had a hell of a day, or a rather rotten week. Or perhaps both. Are you drinking with me to talk about it? Or to ignore it?"

In all fairness, Declan wasn't intended to drink nearly enough to get loose-lipped. Not since the last time he had done so. Dom had nearly bitten his head off at that, and he'd hardly even gotten a go at it. Besides, he had never been the type. But he did wonder if, perhaps, he had just set up this woman with a particularly fine bottle of bourbon, only to have her down the majority of it. He hoped not. Particularly because he hadn't decided if he was going to charge her or not, yet. It didn't seem right to hold her accountable when he, himself, wasn't. But maybe she had a good reason for it. Declan could certainly understand times like those. Reaching out for his glass, he took a drink and leaned one arm on the bar, waiting for an explanation.
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Re: The Never-Ending Night

Post by Athena Marianne Goyle on Mon May 02, 2016 10:44 am

If he hadn’t acquiesced, Athena knew the second place she could have headed. The lights were on in the Ministry building – she’d noticed them glinting above the sloping roofs of the shops on her walk up. It meant that, at the very top of the building, a cigarette would have been lit, a new document would have been brought out and the Deputy Minister would be setting himself up to work through the night. He would not have been opposed to her presence. Platonic or otherwise, they could have both used the release of familiarity. Instead, though, she sought out a stranger. Like he would when morning drizzled across the horizon and his stomach churned after something greasy and soul placating.  

What truly placated a distended soul, though? She had yet to find a cure, but drink went a long way. She often wondered whether it was the fate of them all to search for solace in the bottom of a glass. Her. Kendall. Elijah. Theodore. The last had an incomparable way of wriggling out of his darkness. But, she supposed their sort of medicine was the kind that kept places like the Cauldron running. The brand of escape they desired varied, of course. Hers was consistently amber liquid in crystal cut decanters. Her grandfather’s tipple, her grandmother’s despair. They were a like kind now, her and Odysseus. Now, all too acutely aware of their trials, their failures.

“Treat yourself,” she quipped, watching the man move about the small area behind the bar, his feet falling surely on the tiles. “Perhaps you need to make the time,” she ventured, knowing that a similar suggestion could have been pitted against her hopes and dreams. They had changed somewhat, though. Her hopes and dreams lay curled up under blankets covered in pigs and snitches. Dashed was the desire to pack a bag and see the world from its shimmering waterfalls to its densest forests. Even somewhere as simple as a brewery… it wouldn’t happen for her, even if the appeal was as intense as ever. The need to disappear, to run away.

“Three fingers, no rocks,” she found her smirk. “Inherited from my father, that penchant.”

Her smirk spread a little wider at his words and she watched as the drink bubbled over the ice in his glass, the latter hissing a bit as it came in contact with the far warmer liquid. Her eyes returned briefly to his face as he moved to fix her glass but they soon returned to the drink, her tongue tingling in anticipation of the flavour.

“Well,” she considered, her long fingers curling around the glass. “I would move to say I’m not just any witch,” she lifted her gaze, her grey eyes sparkling with amusement, “but that would be a cliché. It’s been a hell of a rotten life,” she decided, her smirk returning in acknowledgement of her preference for a different cliché.

She brought the glass to her lips and smiled into it as the drink broke past the pert strips of rouged skin. She hummed contentedly, drawing the taste across her palate. Turning the glass in her hand she observed the drink idly in that way that connoisseurs tended to do. A smile, such a rare event on the witch’s face, teased at the side of her mouth, threatening to rise but not quite being allowed clearance to do so.

“I never understood why people did this,” she glanced up at him before flicking her eyes back to the glass she was rolling elegantly. “To let it breathe, I suppose? Is there a practical reason beyond contemplating the trajectory of one’s life at the bottom of a glass?”

“I suppose I’m drinking with you to ignore it,” she considered after taking another sip. She brought the glass down and settled it gently on one of the coasters. This particular one boldly advertised Ogden’s. Athena found a scrap of perverse joy in placing a different brand atop it.

“Drinking with you to … pretend I’m someone else for ten minutes,” she tapped her nail gently on the rim, giving voice to the glass. “To be drunk before I have to be sober, unravelled before I need to be put together.”

“Do you ever have a moment to just breathe, not having realised you’ve been holding your breath for as long as you have?” She took her eyes from the glass and sought out his. “I think this might be one of those moments – when time can stop and the night can eek out forever.” She suffered a sigh, reaching behind herself to pull absently at her neck, worrying at the Azkaban numbers hiding underneath a glamour spell.

“The liquor is good, all the same,” she dropped her hand back down to settle on the bar and she sat up a little straighter. “So what is it that's stopping you from going to America?” She asked, raising her left eyebrow a little. “Perhaps there isn’t a reason,” she amended, deciding against prying. “Nothing’s ever the right time, I suppose.”

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Re: The Never-Ending Night

Post by Declan Arryn on Mon May 02, 2016 3:56 pm

It wasn't entirely unusual for someone to convince themselves that they had a more awful life than most people around them. Declan himself had done so, though more so recently than when he was younger. It did help, however, to have someone there to remind him that he could have had it much worse. His gaze dropped to the glass in his fingers as she spoke.

This stranger was impressively eloquent, and he couldn't deny the pang that wound its way through his gut as she went on. She met his gaze and he nodded gently, letting her get it all out. When she turned the conversation back towards him, Declan could only lift his eyebrows. Tilting his head to the side in a sort of shrug gesture, he took a drink before trying to come up with a reply.

"There never is, no. But I can't just think about myself anymore. I could have, perhaps seven years ago. But I stuck with work, I bought this place, I tried to settle down. That didn't work out," he frowned, "but I'm not sure it was meant to. So then the cycle started again. Working more, taking an interest in someone. There's no time for travel."

Shaking his head, Declan gave a sarcastic laugh. "I'm not always sure it's worth it. It would be one hell of a trip, just to put things on hold, find people to watch things for me, pick somewhere to go and just do it. I always thought I had the adventurous sort of spirit, but I've settled into a routine and that might be that. It's nice to break routine, but I find it incredibly difficult to do so."

Sighing, he tapped his fingers on the rim of the glass, and stood up straight rather suddenly. "Are you hungry? You can come through to the kitchen if you want. I actually haven't eaten in ages. Perhaps it'll cheer us both."
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Re: The Never-Ending Night

Post by Athena Marianne Goyle on Mon May 02, 2016 7:16 pm

The witch nodded in commiseration, turning the glass a little, watching the dark drink slosh around. They’d both made their decisions, it seemed. She eyed her left hand and the imagined the rings that should have been there, glistening in the half-light of the bar. Had they been, her life would have been profoundly different. She knew she wouldn’t have been there, perched on the barstool. For the first time in a long time, she could say she truly missed her husband, her mind re-conjuring the good times, as though the bad had never happened. But of course, it had. Every single bad moment that had brought her to this one. It was not something she could run away from, however much she wanted to. And so life, her life as much as his, was put on hold. The time hadn’t been right when they should have gone – now it never would be.

The truth of the matter was that she knew exactly what he meant. She had settled into a routine and with four children who needed her guiding hand it would prove impossible to tumble away into an entirely new realm. She was happy, in a way. She knew that without them, her life would have been in constant tailspin. With them, it was a controlled descent. Of a kind. Despite her failings, they were vivacious, delightful creatures. They were happy. Happier than they had ever been, freer than they ever would be when their inheritances came and the world called on them, demanding them to stand up as Rookwoods and be counted for their blood. Without that expectation, they could dream – and dream they did. That week, Augustus wanted to be a fireman. His brother was insistent that he would be a binman – the six o’clock arrivals of the team two mornings a week eagerly awaited. The girls wanted to be dancers and artists.

And what did Athena want, you ask? I’ll have to get back to you on that one.

“There are reasons for everything, I suppose,” she considered, drawing her finger around the rim of her glass. “But we shouldn’t forfeit our dreams for others forever,” her lips curled into a wry smirk. “Advice I should take as well as dispense, perhaps. Maybe it is time to reconsider that spirit of yours and see if it can’t take you on an escapade. That said, you can find excitement in all corners, can’t you? Taking me up on a drink is something of an adventure, I’d wager, even if it’s only a small one.”

As though on cue, her stomach rumbled, vibrating irritably within her. Athena smirked, and nodded, sliding down off of the stool. She had come to regard food as something of a cheering agent, herself. He was right. As she followed into the kitchen, she found herself hopeful for what could be created, simple or elaborate. It was a gloriously adorned space, with shining counters and assorted gadgets. It belonged somewhere else. She supposed that someone would find it less inspiring, someone who knew more about kitchens than she did. Merlin knew, though, it was an advance in lightyears on the one she kept at Albus’.

She’d brought her coaster and set that down on the counter before plopping down her glass. Her hands continued to sweep across the tops reverently as she walked slowly around the room, feeling the coolness of the tiling beneath her feet.

“What do you have in mind?”


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Re: The Never-Ending Night

Post by Declan Arryn on Mon May 02, 2016 10:19 pm

As he led her into the kitchen, Declan gave himself a moment or two to think. She wasn't wrong. How much could really go wrong if he left for a week or two? How much money would his employees lose? How much trouble would Dom find herself in thanks to Roxanne's nightmare presence around every turn? How could he leave her, now?

It wasn't as though she would come with him, though. If she wouldn't tell anyone that she had feelings for him, and wouldn't call him her boyfriend, what could possibly convince her to go along on a trip? It wasn't a terrible idea, really. Perhaps he would mention it off-handedly. Surely she would want time away from Roxanne's threats.

At least, until something went wrong and she left to come back and try to fix it on her own. Declan's jaw clenched but he hid it as he turned back to look at her.

"Perhaps," he mused aloud, "if we had met several years ago, it would've been you and I off on adventures, considering we both crave them. Or wish we were allowed to do so. Yet here we are. Strangers without a name for one another, doing exactly what we're expected to do. With, you're right, an exception or two along the way."

He smiled a bit to himself, registering just how strange it all sounded. He was rather proud of his ability to cover his frustration, and decided to push all thoughts of Dom away for the night.

Her question was a valid one, as he hadn't actually thought everything through. "I'm thinking something savory, myself. But I can pull out something sweet as well if that's more your style. Could make, maybe, s'mores or something. Those don't take long. Messy but addicting, those."

Knocking back the rest of the liquid in his glass, he shook it a bit to hear the ice clink before setting it down. Then he moved to the walk-in and drew out a pack of tortillas and shredded cheese. The stove was lit and he picked out a pan that he sprayed with light butter before flopping down a tortilla, dusting a layer of cheese across it, and adding a touch of garlic salt for a bit of a kick. Setting another tortilla on top, he turned slightly to look back at her while he waited for the cheese to melt so he could flip it over.

"So if you were going to pick an adventure to have, small or not, what would you choose?"
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Re: The Never-Ending Night

Post by Athena Marianne Goyle on Tue May 03, 2016 6:36 pm

Her lips brightened at the sides into a gentle smile, her mind already summoning the what ifs of their meeting some years ago that would have led to mountains being scaled, forests explored and the mysteries of the world whittled down to something tangible that they could see and feel. Their souls would have been lighter, their laughter easier, their happiness something that swelled their hearts to bursting. Only, life hadn’t panned out like that.

They weren’t at that very moment sat on the sand on a dark beach, the sun long having disappeared behind the waves. The evening wasn’t humid, made hotter by the crackling, popping flames they’d painstakingly coaxed into life. They were flames she could imagine them cooking their supper over. Fish, perhaps, that they had spent the afternoon wading through the surf after with traditional spears that eager locals had taught them how to whittle, happy to pass their knowledge on to those keen to learn. And they weren’t breathless with such exertion. Their smiles weren’t straining at their tired cheeks, their chests didn’t ache for laughing. Their skin was soft and pale, not bitten to redness by the sun that they had slept under after collapsing, wet and exhausted, in the warm sand.

Even though she could smell the spray of the sea and the oils of the fish, she knew exactly where she was. London. The Leaky Cauldron. In the cold and the damp, with nothing within her glowing with any sort of mirth.

Reopening her eyes that she had not realised she’d closed, Athena moved around the island towards where he was stood, beginning to rustle them up something to eat.

“To the lives we’ve never had,” she inclined her glass up to him, having picked it up on her way round, and turned to lean against the counter. She sighed and shook her head, bringing the rim to her lips before knocking back the last few burning gulps.

“Whatever you fancy I’m good with,” she assured, leaning forward to set the glass on the counter with a gentle clink. “I’m not too fussy anymore.”

Smirking a bit, Athena reached her hand into the bag and stole a bit of cheese. The smirk turned to an impish smile and she hummed thoughtfully in contemplation of his question, licking her fingers to make sure she got all of the grated pieces.

“I actually quite like Muggle cars,” she spoke, giving voice to a dream she’d not realised that she actually possessed. “I’d love to see the country by road. But that’s quite a big one in its own right, isn’t it?” She ducked her head, flicking her eyes to the pan. “Maybe it’s not so unachievable, though.” Although, mind you, she couldn’t quite imagine her bairns putting up with such an endeavour.

“What about you?” She redirected the question, lifting her head again. “You need some more cheese,” she added playfully, the smirk reappearing.

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