Defective Defecting

Defective Defecting

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Defective Defecting

Post by Barnaby Fontaine on Tue May 24, 2016 4:35 pm

"It could have been worse," Avery was saying to her mother as they walked through Diagon Alley with Avery's little girl. "I could have just never known."

Else, for her part, was apparently playing the role of the mother she had never been for her daughter. Now, too, she had a granddaughter to look after. It did cross both blondes' minds, though, that Claire was still floating about on her own, and despite everything that had happened, both were concerned about it. Understandably, they felt, that nagged at them as they walked through their afternoon.

They weren't aware, however, that someone was watching them. They couldn't have known, in fact, that multiple people were around, pretending to be casual despite the fact that they were merely sitting or standing around in wait. The idea that this woman was not suspicious of anyone actually irked Tobias endlessly, so as he stood beneath the shadow of a shop's overhanging shade, he crossed his arms and frowned at the trio. After what had happened to her husband, as Avery had been saying, she should obviously have been more concerned. But it sounded like she had accepted it, finally, so perhaps he shouldn't begrudge her that feeling.

It nagged nevertheless, particularly because he knew, now, that the man he had locked away was free to roam the country again. Obviously it wasn't the only man he had ever gone after that was suddenly out and about once more. No, it was the man who had murdered his daughter. He knew that without a doubt, though the case against him had not been so sturdy. A few years in prison wasn't hardly enough in her father's opinion, though that hadn't changed anything, had it?

It was not within his bounds as a Ministry employee to do what he was about to do. Tobias wasn't sure that he cared. Gryffindor graduate or not, and regardless of the logical side of his brain that said he was in the wrong, it had been a long time since he had not been furious with the world around him. He just wanted to feel like his fate was in his own hands, and as soon as he saw the dark head of hair coming around the corner, Tobias stood up straight, reaching for his wand.

Simon came around the corner, entirely unsuspecting. When she approached Avery and her family, he smiled at her and then at Sophie when she waved at him from her grandmother's arms. Tobias knew that the widow likely assumed Simon was just being nice, but he most certainly did not agree. Marek was a complete nightmare, and should not have gone anywhere near Tobias's daughter to begin with, nonetheless one of the man's friends from work.

Avery's mother said something to Simon and he slowed, looking surprised. He extended a hand towards Avery as Else's were full holding Sophie, but shook his head, likely telling her that he did not know them but was simply trying to be polite or some other such nonsense. Tobias moved closer.

His eyes narrowed as he walked, ducking between passersby. Simon was all smiles, but the instant he reached a hand towards Sophie, Tobias was there, wand tip digging into his throat. Avery jumped back and Simon's eyes darted towards the Ministry man before he held his hand up in a gesture of surrender, moving it away from the little girl. Tobias saw the wheels turning behind Simon's eyes even as Avery spoke.

"What's wrong with you, Acker? Back off."

"Believe me, love," Tobias returned, gaze and tone both dark and threatening, "you'll be thanking me when you know what he's done."

A breath later, Simon's elbow came up and connected directly with Tobias's nose, knocking him backwards. By the time the elder man recovered, they both had their wands drawn, pointed at each other in the dead center of Diagon Alley.
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Re: Defective Defecting

Post by Simon Marek on Sat May 28, 2016 1:02 am

[ooc: I thought that a bit more context to my whole 'they'll be having a go at each other' thing might be helpful, and the muse was there so... hah. :$ ]

"What do you want?" Simon demanded, jerking his wand arm forward in a threatening gesture. He wasn't necessarily the most intimidating figure, particularly because he was actually quite put together considering the circumstances. That, of course, was due to his plans for the day.

"I would've thought it was obvious," Tobias returned unhelpfully.

Rolling his eyes, Simon almost wanted to laugh. "Oh, go do one. Leave me alone if you won't just get the words out."

"You, sir, owe me an explanation." Tobias made his demand alongside a stinging hex that was sent in the direction of Simon's hand. The younger man - though not by much, admittedly - winced but refused to pull his eyes away in case something worse was made to attack him. "I don't believe for one moment that we found out everything we ought to have, back then, and you owe me a personal excuse for why you've done it to my family. It wasn't as though we weren't already losing my wife."

"I find it fascinating," Simon replied, taking a step to one side that Tobias mirrored, sending them in a bizarrely circular path opposite each other, "that you have the temerity to come out and do this in the middle of the street. Do you know the meaning of the word temerity? I assume you do, because you're here trying to be eloquent while initiating a duel with someone. I assume you must, as well, because you're out here wearing a tie," he added with entirely un-veiled sarcasm as he pointed at the garment with his wand. "I, however, don't speak like this. I don't see the point of it when all you're about to do is knock someone's head in, Toby."

Simon couldn't help but smirk as the other man bristled. Days in a courtroom had given him a horribly deep acquaintance with the things that set this ministry employee off, and although it actually was not in his nature to behave so aggressively, it all came from a place of feeling that he needed to defend himself when nobody else ever would bother to do the same. They had no reason to, really, and he knew as much. But he wasn't going to take it lying down.

"Now you can believe whatever you right please, man, but I can tell you that though I wasn't the one who did it, I know who was."

Tobias scoffed, hesitating only a moment before casting another spell that Simon was too slow to block. His cheek and the skin over his eyebrow split just enough to bruise and send a gush of blood down the Polish man's face. Simon groaned and leaned forward, trying to push away a bizarrely dizzy feeling brought on by the idea that he'd been cut away at, but lifted his wand regardless, too slow to be a surprise but too determined to be stopped by anything that might come out of Tobias's mouth.
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Re: Defective Defecting

Post by Livia McCallum on Sun May 29, 2016 6:11 pm

The sunlight was blazing across a clear, blue sky. The light seemed to stretch over everything, scaring even the most fearsome of shadows away from the corners they lurked in. The bright jubilance of the day translated into an eager, joyful feeling within the swelling heart of the young Scottish woman who was bouncing down the cobbles of Diagon Alley. Of course, sunlight was an expensive commodity the further north you went so, understandably, she was enjoying it. She smelt of that rather wonderful summertime combination of sun cream and ice cream, evoking nostalgia in those who happened to pass her and smell the scent of her skin on the wind. She smelt like British beaches, sandcastles, and ninety-nines.

She was almost sore that her day with Simon wasn’t necessarily going to end up by the seaside, though that of course she was optimistic that they could change. They could play the 1p machines and get hotdogs from a pier vendor before traipsing down to a little seafood restaurant to try strange delicacies. Then they could toddle, full-bellied and sleepy, up to a small, local pub and drink some craft beers before electing for a B&B for the night, too many beers having been consumed for apparition to be deemed a particularly safe endeavour. The perfect evening: perhaps one Ollie would have written, had his penchant been for romance novels.

Nevertheless, before all that, the day had to begin somewhere – so it began in Diagon Alley, in Flourish and Blott’s to be precise.

For the time of day, it was unusually quiet. When Livia entered the shop she found Athena at the counter, carefully wrapping up gifts that had been ordered by owl. Beautiful snowy and dusky birds were sat on one of the windowsills, the windows having been thrown open to the breeze, the shop having the habit of trapping heat. That was why, Athena supposed, they were rather quiet. Most people had decided to head out, probably to the park or to the numerous cafes Diagon Alley now boasted, to enjoy their day. She didn’t blame them, she just wished she could have been out there too.

“Theodore has the children,” she explained ruefully, casting her gaze out into the street, observing the people wandering by. Livia nodded, leaning against the counter, a momentarily forlorn look crossing her face.

“Can he cope with five?” She asked after a moment, looking up with a grin on her face. Athena’s own lips twitched into a wry smirk, as though she was only just considering what a mess Theodore would be in, trying to navigate all of the Rookwoods. Mairen, she didn’t doubt, would be completely serene.

“I don’t think he can cope with Auggie and Archie,” she revised, a true laugh breaking past her lips. A chortle more than anything else, but no less delightful to see on Athena, who so rarely smiled, let alone laughed. Really laughed, that is.

“Maybe Kegs will let you go home early?” Liv suggested optimistically, fiddling with a bookmark display in front of the till. Athena fixed her with an incredulous set of grey eyes. “What?”

“I should think he’d rather be at home with his own family, don’t you?” Athena pointed out, trying not to sound condescending.

“But what about you?” Liv persisted, frowning at the elder brunette.

“It’s money, isn’t it? That’s all for them in the end, really.” Athena reminded her, finding some zeal from somewhere. “Besides, it’s quiet today. I could get some reading done, myself. What are you doing today?”

Liv did not miss the gentle redirection of the conversation but decided against pressing after it. Athena didn’t want to discuss it anymore. The younger of the two had learned the elder’s moods.

“Simon and I are going out somewhere. Not sure where,” she expressed happily.

Athena raised an eyebrow. “This is your new fellow?”

“Sort of,” Liv ducked her head, a flush of embarrassment crossing her cheeks. “I guess.”

“And does the family know?” Athena inquired, finishing the bow she had been tying around the package.

“I… Finley knows.”

“Finley Hayes – Peter’s son?” Athena’s brows furrowed. “You’ve not told Keiran or Millie or Theo?”

“I mean, Millie knows I’m sort of seeing someone,” Livia shrugged her shoulder, attempting to be non-committal.

Athena chuckled dryly. “He’s going to lose it if he’s last to know.”

“I… it’s not really anything yet. We’re just friends,” Liv protested weakly.

“Uh-huh,” Athena smirked. “Friends with benefits? Like that dreadful film?”

“No! I’ve never—” Livia shook her head, ending that avenue of conversation. “Shut up, Thea.”

Chuckling again, Athena let her eyes flick back outside and her brows furrowed. A flash of magic had distracted her. Now, abandoning her task, she strayed towards the display window that was nearest the counter. Peering out through it, she attempted to get the gist of what was going on outside between the two men facing off. She hummed thoughtfully, inadvertently drawing Livia’s attention.

“Oh, ignore them,” Athena waved her hand dismissively through the air. “Probably fighting over lunch.”

“Wait, no, Thea,” Livia gasped, her hand reaching to grasp her friend’s. “Thea, that’s Simon.”

The younger witch cried out as another spell was cast and before Athena could grab hold of her, the headstrong girl, who should have been a Gryffindor rather than a Hufflepuff, was rushing for the door.

“Livia, no! It’s not safe out there!”

But already, the Hufflepuff was out on the street, calling out his name. She threw herself between the two men, not caring about the wands. Hers she had left on the counter, in her bag. Perhaps she should have listened to Athena. She would consider that later, however. In the moment, though, she could think of nothing else but him, and of ascertaining if he was alright.

“God, are you okay? Oh god, oh god. Stop bleeding, please.”

She lifted his face towards hers and she took one hand, her fingers beginning to wipe feverishly over his skin, pushing away the blood as though doing so would heal him or, at the very least, take away the pain.

“Don’t you dare cast another spell!” She shouted, surprising herself with the ferocity of her voice as she whirled around to look at the other man. “What in Merlin’s name is wrong with you?”
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Re: Defective Defecting

Post by Avery Bishop on Sun May 29, 2016 6:34 pm

For what it was worth, Avery moved between the fighting and her daughter, playing the role of a mother without having to think about it. As she had been so afraid of failing, at least she had the right instincts. She had no idea what the cause of the fighting was or how she was at all involved in the matter, but she backed up and reached for her wand just in case. A glance to her left revealed that they were just next to Keiran and Oliver's shop. Out from the front door came a brunette, shouting out to one of the men and reaching for him despite the potential that she could receive a curse directly to her back if Tobias so wished.

She didn't hesitate, then, turning around to her mother and asking her to take Sophie away while she tried to figure out if she could or should help.

Livia reached Simon in time to stop the next attack as it tried to escape from between his lips. Her call drew his attention and he didn't even bother trying to hide the horror that her appearance riddled him with. Merlin, no. He wasn't ready. He didn't want it to end like this. He didn't want it to end, period.

"Livia, don't."

His hands flew up to hers, pushing them away just as she turned to shout at Tobias, quite foolishly. Exasperation boiled over within him and Simon gave up. Lifting her off her feet, he turned and put her down behind him, away from his apparently eternal enemy. "Stop this, Liv. It has nothing to do with you."

"It will," Tobias countered him at a shout, "if she doesn't stay out of my way."

Simon turned, Tobias's arm lifted, and then there was a crack that seemed to stop the world's spinning. Between the two men was an absolutely furious third, whose eyes went from Livia, to Simon, and then around to his former co-worker.

"Threaten her again," he demanded, lifting his new wand slowly as he stepped towards the captain. Although aggression wound through his muscles, his expression was almost dead, and to most it was probably more frightening that way. "I promise you won't live to find out what happens."
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Re: Defective Defecting

Post by Livia McCallum on Mon May 30, 2016 9:57 am

“What’s all that shouting?”

Athena turned reluctantly from the doorway and winced at the sight of the Hayes mini-matriarch, her youngest on her hip. There were more children inside, towards the back of the shop, playing happily. They were exposed, even with the relative protection of the shelves between them and the door. A stray fizzle of magic could have gotten in, could have hurt them. Still could, in fact, and the sight of the smiling cherubim nestled against her mother was enough to remind Athena of that fact and stoke that little bit of fear within her that, ultimately, brought out her goodness.

Lifting her wand, she slashed a warding spell across the first row of shelves and sent it retreating towards the back of the shop. Millie watched with wide, marvelling eyes as the magic stretched through the air, settling a warm, protected feeling over the shop that increased with the reinforcing spell that the dark-haired witch added not a moment afterwards. The blonde appraised her curiously, wondering whether curiosity had led her to those spells or whether she had led a life that necessitated their use. Grimly, she had a feeling it was the latter.

“Liv’s out there,” was all she could find the words for, breathless and momentarily exhausted by the exertion of magic.

And for all it was worth, Livia may have been out there but she was rapidly becoming aware of her own helplessness in the situation. And the blood. Merlin, the blood. Little though she was, and as easy as it may have been to move her about on a normal day, as her eyes shook down to take in her fingers, stained in the claret, she felt her entire body seize up – paralyze, almost. And then she wasn’t there. It wasn’t Diagon Alley anymore. It was Hogwarts. And it was Octavia’s blood, not Simon’s.

She couldn’t say she really heard Simon’s reproach, or Tobias’ shout. She heard different voices, ones wracked with real fear that hadn’t formed those words since that night, and the snap and pop of spells that weren’t being cast. And then the true crack of apparation, and the appearance of a man that she knew was outside of her daylight nightmare, who couldn’t have been there had she truly been back in the midst of that night trying to piece her sister back together again. In vain. If she’d have been better … maybe Tavi would have lived?

“Athena do something.”

“Keiran’s there.”

“Athena.”

If not for the babe, the blonde would have already marched out there. Unlike Keiran, the threat wouldn't have even made it to her lips, Athena truly suspected both men would have been dust, blowing down the high street in a rogue breeze. The Goyle half wanted to take Darcie and send Millie out there. Between them, the Hayes’ were more likely to get away with making meals out of those headstrong boys than she was. It would be a one-way ticket to Azkaban for her if she so much as left a scratch on them – and this time she didn’t think Elijah would be able to bail her out. So would anyone else? She doubted it.

Regardless, Athena went out into the sunshine, clicking her fingers and calling Liv’s wand to her as she did so. She knew the girl would not want it, nor be able to get her quivering lips to cast a spell if she needed it, but Athena herself would feel better if she knew Livia had her wand close at hand. So, stealing across the back of proceedings, Athena’s hand locked around Livia’s upper arm and pulled her close, passing a murderous glare in the direction of Simon as she did so. Then, she pressed Livia’s wand into the girl’s pocket and lifted her own aloft, unsure whether she was going to erect a shielding spell or fire something else entirely.

“Liv it’s okay,” she whispered roughly in the girl’s ear. “Nothing’s going to happen to you, or to him.”

“But the blood, Thea,” she gasped, her fingers curling into her palm, trying to obscure the red that seemed to be everywhere, swimming before her eyes. “Merlin, the blood – what if—”

“He’s fine, Liv. Simon, tell her you’re fine,” she attempted to placate the girl who had dissolved into tears. They had a few moments to steal, in which such a phrase could be uttered if he was quick about it. “He’ll be okay, Liv. It won’t even scar, I promise.”

She shook her head, closing her eyes tight, bathing her senses unwittingly back in the moment that wasn’t there. Athena felt the girl shake against her and she felt her tether snap and her composure dissolve. The desire to protect her was all-consuming but the need to avenge her was even more tempting – and that reckless streak with offensive magic that the witch had always had had not been dampened by Azkaban or motherhood. In fact, the latter had perhaps made that worse.

“Make yourself useful,” she hissed, pushing Liv against Simon.

Striding up to stand next to Keiran, Athena twisted her wand and flung a cutting curse in Tobias’ direction, Azkaban be damned. Perhaps an attempt to draw more blood was misguided. In fact, she conceded it was misguided. Athena was not the reasoning type, however. Headstrong in ways she should perhaps have not been, she jumped into a duel and considered its consequences later – though blessedly this time she did remember to flick a protective spell in the direction of the two behind the brunettes. Liv couldn’t take any more magic directed at Simon. Once she got her head back, she’d have the presence to be horrified that Keiran would put himself in harm’s way.

“Sorry to steal your thunder,” she offered, a smirk lighting up her features despite herself. "Well, I'm almost sorry -- but he doesn't get to make her cry without at least copping a bruise."
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Re: Defective Defecting

Post by Simon Marek on Mon May 30, 2016 5:08 pm

Simon wasn't sure what to make of the man in front of him, nor of the woman that seemingly wanted him to wither away in front of her eyes, but more than that he was utterly shocked by Livia's reaction to his cut. It wasn't even that bad, except he had reminded himself that it was his blood, in fact, that now coated her hands. The cut itself wasn't bad, that is. She looked ready to collapse and were it not for his complete confusion about how this stranger knew his name or why someone was standing between them like a foolish human shield, he would have done something about it immediately.

Simon, as one might be aware, is not the brightest bulb. He's rather witty as needed and can be pretty charming when he wants to be, but for a few moments he was lost, simply standing there and looking back and forth between the lot of them.

"What? Of course I'm fine," he returned, baffled by the whole scenario that had so rapidly burst into life before his eyes. Was Liv crying? Merlin, why? She was fine, they were fine.

Then she was thrust into his arms and Simon had to figure out what, exactly, he was doing with himself.

Keiran, between Simon and his attacker, was still slowly moving towards Tobias. "I repeat," he said, glancing towards Tobias's wand, "if you hurt my girl, you won't like what's done to you."

It didn't matter if Tobias wanted to put his wand down or not. Before he could properly consider Keiran's threats, burning pain flew across his upper arm, and he dropped it anyway. Keiran, frowning, summoned Tobias's wand before looking over his shoulder and disarming Athena as well.

Once her wand was in his hand, he cast a series of pointless and harmless spells before handing it back to her. "They can tell what you've cast recently," he explained almost apologetically. The last thing they needed was for her to get in trouble if Tobias had called for help as well.

And where was Avery? He knew she was the one who had said something. Keiran crossed to the Ministry's captain, taking hold of one wrist and pulling it behind Tobias's back. When he looked up, though, his eyes found the young man's back rather than Livia's anything. The stranger had turned to block her again, and Keiran wasn't at all sure how he felt about that.

"If you knew what he's done," Tobias grunted, the words slipping out between his gasps for air. Scowling, Keiran forced the man to his feet, gesturing with a jerk of his head for Athena to come over and help him.

"Maybe you should leave that to us, hm?"

Simon had somehow found his footing after having to take over and look after Liv. His hand had lifted to her hair, gently guiding her towards him and silently suggesting that she settle her head on the shoulder opposite his cut, if only so she wouldn't be able to see it anymore. He reached down and took her hand, lifting it and placing it on his chest so he could easily wrap one arm around her waist and rest the other between her shoulder blades.

"Liv. Kwiatuszku," he attempted, hardly even thinking about which language tumbled out. "Księżniczka, I need you to breathe. I'm fine. You're fine, everyone is okay. You can feel it. You can feel my words, my breathing. Nobody is in danger anymore. Match me, Liv," he encouraged, just hoping that she wouldn't think him mad or something. The hand pressed against the middle of her back shifted, the pressure increasing and decreasing slightly to match the pattern of his breathing.

Keiran cursed loudly behind them as Tobias pulled his head back and smacked directly into the older man's jaw. Simon held onto Livia more firmly, certain that whoever those people were that had stepped in, they could handle it. They were surrounded by the other people in Diagon Alley as well if they hadn't run off, so surely they would be alright. He closed his eyes and turned his head to press a kiss to her forehead.

"Nobody else is here, Liv. It's you and me, ...and we're dancing in a park."

He was almost smiling when he opened his eyes and saw the blonde woman whose daughter he had greeted only minutes before. She frowned apologetically at him and approached, making him reach farther around Liv's waist, practically cocooning her at that point. Avery held her hands up in a non-threatening gesture, and pointed to his cheek silently. When she determined that he understood and wouldn't pull away, she cleaned his cheek of the blood that Tobias had brought to the surface.

She gave him a tight-lipped smile and backed away, turning towards Keiran to see if she could help there. Simon reached up with the hand previously at Livia's back to check his cheek and although it felt raw, it no longer felt wet with the red that had apparently terrified her. Once he assumed it looked better, he stepped back and loosened his hold on her, instead taking to cradling her cheeks.

"Look at me, Liv. Just me. It's fine, look. It's gone."
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Re: Defective Defecting

Post by Livia McCallum on Mon May 30, 2016 10:16 pm

Livia let her eyes flutter shut as she leaned into him, her arms curling up so her fingers could take gentle hold of his shirt. Her eyes squeezed shut and felt his hand take hold of hers, allowing him to direct her, to settle it over his chest. She took a shaky breath and exhaled shudderingly as she felt the strong beat of his heart beneath her fingertips. With the gentle pressing of his hand against her back, her breathing settled and softened into easy, rhythmic rises and falls. For a moment, she almost believed it, too, that they were dancing in the park again, him with his hood up, her with flowers in her hair. Only, they weren’t, really, were they?

She let her eyes blink open, terrified of what she’d see. But when her vision righted itself, all she saw was her Simon, bruised and cut but no longer bleeding. Reaching up, she let her touch ghost across the cut. It really was okay. Turning her head into his left palm she placed a reverent kiss to the skin there, wishing desperately that she was brave enough to lean up and kiss him properly. Her heart still hammered against her chest with residual anxiety and she clung a little more resolutely to him, as though he would slip through her fingers if he wasn’t entirely anchored to her.

“You scared me. I can’t…” she exhaled and offered a watery smile to him. “I don’t know what I would have done if he’d really hurt you, Simon.”

Well, there wouldn’t have been a lot left of Tobias if he had seriously hurt the young Polish man. Contemplating Liv in pieces again was not something any of the adults near at hand wanted to do. While two of the three had seen it first hand, the third had had the tales regaled to her. She didn't want to see it. Killing Tobias wouldn’t have made things even, or even better, but Athena knew that no spells on her wand could protect her from the Ministry if she did take magic to him with that particular intent. She smiled thankfully at Keiran all the same, even if him taking her wand had unsettled her somewhat.

Controlling him was a lot trickier than was first thought, though. He would not be muscled away without having said a few things, himself, first. Keiran’s cursing would have made Athena laugh ordinarily – in fact she would later. At that moment, though, she was caught by a jelly-legged curse and a run-of-the-mill stupefy. Before she could pick and before either of them could really react, a shot of bright blue magic buzzed between them and struck Tobias. It rattled over him, forming a barrier of azure light between them and Athena watched, dumbstruck, as he was re-morphed, scrunched down into a little tiny ball of—

“A cat?”

She turned round and a smirk lit up her features as her eyes settled on the form of Melissa Hayes, wand aloft, still with Darcie on her hip.

“Papa!” She crooned, holding her hands out for Keiran.

“You two do dither,” the witch complained, her voice light with teasing.

Athena bent down and picked up the now slightly dazed but rather harmless looking silver cat and bundled him against her chest, her fingers running affectionately across his head.

“Don’t bite me,” she reproached, “or I’ll turn you into a pair of gloves.” She pouted at him a little bit. “I’m sorry about your arm, but you were fair game.” To prove it, her fingers slipped down and rubbed the fur gently, uttering a healing spell under her breath that soothed the pain and ridded him of the mark.

“Are you alright?” The blonde witch asked her husband, her eyes finding his as she spoke, lifting their daughter into his arms as their miniature brunette had wanted. She was asking a far deeper question than the words implied. Athena didn’t understand quite what she meant but she supposed that it had something to do with his greater wellbeing, especially after being missing for so long. It wasn’t just his body she was asking after, it was also him. Him the human being.

“I’ve picked up a few things from you, wouldn’t you say?” She teased, leaning up to press her lips to his.

Athena looked at the cat, wondering just how long he was going to be a cat for. Knowing the Hayes’, it would be a while.

She followed, Tobias in her arms, when the Hayes’ moved over to inspect Livia. The Scot was tugged to them and they looked her over with their loving gazes that were so intently appraising her, checking every twitch of her face in order to get the measure of whether or not she was alright.

“When did you learn how to do that?” She asked Millie with a sniff, a smile lifting at her lips. Once they had let go of her, she took back hold of Simon’s hand, half for her own grounding, half to make sure that he wasn’t going to go anywhere.

“You think I sit through you two talking Transfig day and night for my health?” Millie retorted incredulously. “It’s impossible not to learn a few bits.”

“A cat, though?” Athena pointed out, lifting him up so that Darcie could pet Tobias. “Play nice,” she warned him. “Gloves.”

“I’m fond of cats,” she replied placidly. “He makes quite a pretty cat – and once he’s learned his lesson I’m sure he can be a man again.”

“Pretty kitty!” Darcie sang delightedly, tickling Tobias under the chin.

“I think you might have to introduce your boyfriend to us, Liv, don’t you?” Millie suggested, smiling at her daughter.

“Oh,” the brunette, who had been distractedly watching the cat, too, looked between the adults (err, older, adults) before glancing up at Simon. “These are my parents, sort of. Millie and Keiran. They’ve been watching out for me for, well, a while. Um. So, they’re basically my mum and dad and um. Well, this is Simon. He’s … yeah, maybe, I dunno. We’ve not really … I mean, I kind of shot you down in flames before but I, uh, I wouldn’t mind. This is a weird time to be talking about this. But I really would like to … if you’d like to, that is.”

“Oh Jesus Christ,” Athena rolled her eyes. “C’mon, let’s put the kettle on while they decide whether they’re a thing or not. I think the cat would like some milk. Is that what you’d like?” She turned Tobias round so that she could look him in the eyes. “Is that why you’re so grumpy? No one’s been giving you any cuddles or treats, hm?”

“I never pegged her as a cat person,” Millie mused, watching as Athena turned and headed back towards the shop to sort out the teas and coffees – oh, and the milk for kitty.
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Livia McCallum
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Re: Defective Defecting

Post by Keiran Hayes on Tue May 31, 2016 2:38 am

Simon's expression - one designed to be firm yet attentive - crumbled when she said she had been afraid of him. "I'm sorry," he interjected lamely, only to be cut off as she continued. His features took on a more puzzled look, but his thumb brushed over her cheek afterwards, and he couldn't find words worth saying. Nothing he did or said could make it better. And after Tobias told them what happened, it would all be for naught.

He wanted, very badly, to just cling to her. But Darcie's call pulled the attention of all involved, seemingly. Avery, who had intended to be helpful, backed off immediately when Millie came into view. That didn't stop Keiran from throwing a hand out to stop her, though. He pulled her into a hug, pressed a kiss to her hair and promised quietly that he would visit later and tell her how everyone was. Looking grateful for the fact that he understood her desire to escape, Avery turned and made her way back over to her daughter and mum.

Tobias the cat was fully unimpressed. In fact, Keiran had never seen an angrier feline, and he never wished to again. But then he focused in on his wife and Darcie, and his hands lifted of their own accord after he tucked his wand away. His nose touched at his daughter's hair for a second, as though it would ground him. His eyes lifted to Millie's and he nodded, offering a wink before meeting her halfway for the kiss. He wasn't sure what he thought about the cat, but there was someone more important to attend to.

Simon, who had looked around at the little girl's voice, realized that - as a cat - Tobias couldn't say anything against him. So why did he still feel panic coursing through his veins more strongly than he felt the blood that kept him alive? He was existing with Livia on borrowed time, and he wasn't even actually with her. Ducking his chin, he took a step back when Millie reached for her.

Keiran watched Simon out of the corner of his eye, though he had it in him to smile in reply for Millie's jest. Tobias had been bristling and complaining the entire time, but calmed as Darcie neared, eying the child warily but much more politely. Her father was surprised, but not half as surprised as when Millie spoke again, suggesting the unimaginable. Keiran straightened up, staring sharply at the man to his left.

All Keiran knew, really, was that Tobias had been ready to spout quite unsavory things about this man, and that he had gotten into a complete duel in the midst of families and strangers, and that somehow his daughter-of-sorts (really, he knew he should've just adopted her already, but maybe later once things stopped being so insane) had gotten involved with the whole thing. So it wasn't surprising that Simon wilted a bit under Keiran's gaze as he pulled himself up to his full, rather intimidating height.

If Keiran thought that he was aging quickly before, he had clearly seen nothing yet. He was already irked, but this Simon bloke looked from Liv to Millie and then to Keiran before extending a hand and looking sufficiently apologetic. "Sir."

Keiran just shifted Darcie on his hip, making a show of the fact that he was both an adult and a father, and had better people to worry about. Whether or not Simon absorbed all of that was beyond him. Simon nodded, pressing his lips together and glancing away as his hand fell back to his side and Keiran turned to follow Athena off, only just catching Millie's comment as his hand did indeed reach out and wrap around his wife's waist to try and nudge her along beside him.

A strange feeling descended upon Simon, which was a mix of numbness and an uncomfortable chill that he couldn't shake but also could not explain away thanks to the ironically pleasant weather. He watched her pseudo-parents walk away and his fingers lifted away from Liv's for a second before he held on more tightly.

"Liv?" He asked, tearing his gaze away from the storefront and praying that they wouldn't watch him through the windows while he talked to her. Obviously, Keiran did not receive word of any such prayer. Simon reached for her other hand, facing her properly, and brought that hand up to his lips so he could press a series of kisses to the back of it. When he couldn't hold the words in any longer, he drew in a deep breath and released it as a loud sigh.

"I'm sorry, Liv." He couldn't look at her. His fingers held on tighter, though, ignoring the words coming out of his mouth. "I'm so sorry. I shouldn't have started anything with you to begin with. And I knew that. But I couldn't help it. You're... You don't realize it yet, I think, but you're the best thing that could happen to me." He took a moment, then. Continuing meant that he would seal his fate, for better or for worse, and his entire being said that, actually, it was going to be even more hellish than he could imagine.

Simon shook his head, pulled his hands away and stepped back, finally lifting his gaze enough to try and meet hers. "And in all the world, I'm the worst thing that could possibly happen to you. Księżniczka, I want this. I do. But you?" He gestured towards her with one hand. The shrug that followed moved his entire body, from his outstretched hands to the step he took backwards and the shaking of his head. "You're better than that."

Her father knew it, even if Liv didn't yet, and Simon was not interested in being berated by Keiran for his choice. Somehow he felt he would be chided no matter which way he had gone in the end. It would be better to keep backing away, giving them both the chance to run and hide. His left hand curled into a fist and he swallowed hard, his body's instinct to betray him and return to her side deciding to show itself.

"You don't know me, Liv. You have no idea."

Inside the shop, a man of twenty-nine was fuming over the obvious rejection that he thought his child was receiving. "I'm gonna kill him."

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Keiran Hayes
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Re: Defective Defecting

Post by Livia McCallum on Tue May 31, 2016 6:14 am

If there was one thing our little Scot was more than anything else then she was a lover-- a lover instead of anything else, let alone a fighter. She absorbed people into her life, blindly seeing the good in them, and automatically began to depend on them, or at the very least their consistency in her life, and love them. She did love Simon. Being in love is an entirely different concept, of course. But loving someone, for her, was easy. It was as easy as breathing. It wasn't often that the privilege to do so was tugged away, when a person was tugged away - although now lately, it had been happening more and more and more.

"I should get the chance to determine what or who is good for me or not," was her watery response as she unwittingly recoiled from him.

Inside the shop, the blonde peeked over her husband's shoulder. Flicking her eyes over the body language of the two told her all she needed. A wince bit at her features and she leaned her forehead against Keiran's back briefly before moving over to get her tea from Athena.

"It's quite hot, be careful," Athena cautioned, glancing out through the display window. "Is he being stupid?"

At that moment came Keiran's declaration and Millie sighed heavily, dropping another sugar into Liv's tea. She'd need it. Athena rolled her lips together, a sign of disapproval she'd inherited from her grandmother, and set a dish down in front of Tobias, her fingers lifting back to his fur in a vain attempt to assuage his temper somewhat. He had milk, what more did a newly minted cat want in life?

"You're right," Livia considered softly, reaching up to nip away the tears that were beginning to fall. "But I want to know you. I don't understand what could be so terrible that--" she bit her lip and inclined her head, conceding that, yes, she didn't know him. Something could well have been that terrible. Something, in his mind, must have been.

"Can't we just..." she shrugged her shoulders quite helplessly, "try? I feel happy when I'm with you, I can't bear that you were hurt-- doesn't that mean something? I can't..."

Lose you when I've not even had you for very long.

It was the sort of melodrama she knew she'd learned off of the Hayes'. Vocalising it, at least. She'd always felt it, that keen sense of abandonment and the desire to cling to the retreating being with every inch of her own. But they'd gone. Her parents abroad, her brother to Hogwarts, Tavi to..., then Gaius all over again. Simon would go, too, regardless of what she wanted. Merlin, even Keiran had gone. Everyone went. Everyone.

"I should go inside now," she murmured, lifting one hand up to rub the top of the opposite arm, quite unable now to meet his gaze. "They've probably got tea ready and it shouldn't be allowed to get cold so..."

She bit her lip, trying to coax back tears, trying to leave with her head up high. But she couldn't. She couldn't even leave. A step, two steps in fact, and she was turning back to him, barrelling into him in an unyielding hug that was begging him not go as much as saying goodbye.

"Can't we just stay dancing in the park? Please, Simon?"


OOC: How's this for a 6-7am phone post?
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Livia McCallum
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Re: Defective Defecting

Post by Simon Marek on Tue May 31, 2016 7:47 pm

Tobias the cat was actually buzzing with the news that Simon was messing something up for himself. Even more than that, he had pissed off Hayes - the guy one - and would likely get torn to bits because of it. Perfect. His new stupid tail flicked around and thwapped him on the leg, startling him before that woman that apparently liked cats set a dish down in front of him. At least she had fixed his arm. Er, leg? Oh, what did it matter? He laid himself down, sulking and ignoring the dish.

Keiran, irked and needing to pace or just do something other than stand there staring, set down his daughter by his feet. Darcie took off straight away, approaching the cat. When Keiran noticed, he drew in a breath and stepped forward to stop her, but Tobias hardly moved, just turning his head to look at her. When she sat down, he set his chin next to her leg and just kept watching the scene happening outside while she ran her fingers across his back. Keiran couldn't have known how similar she looked to his daughter that he'd lost. Tobias the cat certainly did.

Frowning in confusion, Keiran turned and told himself to focus on the other side of the window as well. Simon was still there, which was something. He had stopped backing away the moment he saw that she was crying. It wasn't like he didn't know it would hurt. He did. Otherwise she wouldn't have suggested it. But he hated seeing it, anyway. He had been stupid earlier, calling her those things and referencing their not-date. He had been stupid the instant he suggested going to grab a coffee, knowing full well that it was useless and dangerous and cruel should she actually care.

He couldn't help himself then and he could hardly do so now. He didn't want to. Inside the shop, Keiran imagined that he could see a string, tying their ankles together. The moment she tried to step away, he moved back towards her, his hand reaching for her. And his silent request was answered immediately, because she came charging back and all he could do was throw his arms around her waist and lift her high enough off the ground that he could press his forehead against her shoulder.

"Yes, Liv. If that would make you happy then yes, of course." He sighed again, turning his head and pressing a kiss to her cheek. When he spoke, he only moved enough to say the words in her ear, unwilling to put more distance between them unless he had to. "I'm just... I just want to protect you. I was trying to help."
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Re: Defective Defecting

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