Breaking Down The Gate

Breaking Down The Gate

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closed Breaking Down The Gate

Post by Alice Rousseau on Tue Aug 30, 2016 11:41 pm

The feel of the sun on her face, warming her skin, was what drew her out of her dreams. Blessedly, they’d been benign. When she came into a cursory sense of wakefulness and took stock of her surroundings, she felt truly rested. The worries of the week had left her and she could really relax into the arms that were secure around her. She turned as subtly as she could, determined not to wake him in that moment, and snuggled into his chest, breathing in the scent of his skin.

This, she decided, was what it was all about. This moment. When there was not a sound but the birds in the trees outside and the catch of his breathing as his chest rose and fell. Alice Rousseau let her eyes drift over Oliver Connolly and she felt her chest contract and expand. Then she smiled. A genuine reflex of her facial muscles that was born out of the feelings that were thundering through her so assuredly. Merlin, how she loved him.

She lifted her head and peeked at the time. Her smile grew impish and she tipped her head back down, one hand sneaking up from between them to cup his cheek. Then, slowly, slowly, she brought their lips together. The kiss was a gentle, easy one at first – one that foreshadowed their easy, relaxing day. As they both woke up into it, though, it took its natural course, passion rising with the sun in the sky.

“Good morning,” she hummed, pulling away for a breath or two of air. “Did you sleep well?”

Their morning followed in that same, slow-flowing fashion. Ariel was nowhere to be found, although a note was discovered in the kitchen when they went to make breakfast. He was out on a job, his dismay that he had to do it on a Sunday abundantly clear. He was missed, in a funny sort of way – not least because their werewolf wasn’t already at the stove, skillet in hand, with an omelette on the go. It was an odd sort of pleasure to sort it out for themselves. It allowed for much more mess and more laughter and, in the end, far too much food. They ate until they were stuffed and collapsed on the sofa to scroll through what the television had on offer. Alice wiggled herself into Ollie’s arms, spent and tired again from eating so much. She mumbled that they should cook that much every Sunday, although barely got out her words due to the yawn that rumbled through her. She laughed and let her head fall against his chest, content to lay there with him watching the telly. Before long though, with a blanket draped loosely over them, they had resumed their dreams.

In Avignon, slightly more activity was going on – and by slightly more, I mean much more. Paul-Henri trundled down the stairs, fiddling with the cuffs of the pressed, blue shirt he’d chosen to wear that morning, and found his wife in the kitchen covered head to toe in icing sugar. A wry smile curved at his wide mouth. She grinned at him and his smile grew as he remembered, not for the first time, just why he’d fallen in love with her. Her head cocked to the side curiously, her brows furrowing and her eyes narrowing to read his expression as he broke from the doorway and crossed the kitchen towards her. One hand found her hip and the other snaked up to rest against her neck and he pulled her against his chest, commanding her lips with his own, throwing away any concern he might have had about getting his own self covered in sugar. She swung her arms around him and Paul chuckled against her lips as he lost a bit of balance, steadying himself on the counter behind her.

“Why are you so loving today?” She asked, pressing her lips to his jaw.

“I’m loving every day,” he protested playfully, his hand snaking up her back so that his fingers could thread through her long hair.

“Especially today, then?” She amended for him, her eyes glinting with amusement.

“You make me happy,” came his reply as he drew his fingers down through her, unknotting the greying locks. “I wanted you to know that.”

“Have I forgotten our anniversary or something?”

Paul wrinkled his nose at her and leaned down for another kiss. “Can’t I just tell you how much I love you?” He retorted, punctuating every word with a press of his lips against hers.

“Well … when you put it like that…”

“What is all this mess, Marie?” He asked, dipping his head down to plant a kiss against her neck.

“We’re going to see Allie and Oliver today,” she told him, drawing her hands across his shoulders and pointedly ignoring the look of surprise that appeared on his face. “I wanted to bring dessert.”

“Sweetheart, do they know we’re coming?”

They most certainly did not know, for the record. Marie had left that one out. Almost entirely on purpose. In the end, dessert didn’t pan out for her that morning. Paul deftly encouraged her to go and buy something from somewhere. She stopped off in Paris while he went on to Britain (after changing shirts), proud of himself for being canny enough to buy the young couple half an hour or so more before Marie caught up with them. They’d need it, if he found them exactly where he thought he would. Paul was hoping they would at least be awake. He was prepared to be sorely disappointed, however, and in the event, he found himself stood on their doorstep for a good ten minutes or so before, finally, one of them wrenched open the door, bleary eyed and pyjama-clad.

“Oh,” Paul intoned, clucking his tongue against his teeth.

“Papa? What are you doing here?”

Paul couldn’t help but chuckle as he looked between them. They were happy, at least. His eyes drifted down briefly to his blonde’s hand and he was surprised to find there was no ring there. Although he had suspected that the lad hadn’t done it, Paul was still somewhat … well, he was shocked to find that it really, honestly had not happened. Yet, anyway. He supposed that the young Connolly was just looking for the right time. The right time, Paul knew from experience, wasn’t always the first available juncture – regardless of how set on each other they were.

“Your mother has invited us over,” Paul replied with a slightly chagrined look of embarrassment. “She’s detoured to get dessert so you’ve got a little bit of time to get dressed, the pair of you. I’ll get lunch underway, shall I?”

“Why didn’t she ask?” Alice all-but-shrieked, somehow inexplicably managing to get the pitch but not the volume.

“I think she enjoys springing it on you,” Paul smirked, pressing a kiss to her forehead. “Go on. Both of you. Before she gets here and I have to explain what’s going on. We should at least try and create some sort of tableaux to give the illusion of you two not sleeping away your Sunday.”

“Why can’t you two sleep away your Sunday?” Alice despaired, already turning towards their bedroom.

“When you figure that out,” Paul shouted over his shoulder as he entered the kitchen, “let me know!”
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Post by Oliver Connolly on Thu Sep 08, 2016 3:53 pm

Oliver would have been more than happy to continue sleeping the day away. That's what Sundays should be for, obviously, although most people didn't understand that. Not as well as he and Alice did, at any rate. That much was made clear when, after a perfectly lovely morning, they were woken not by the dogs or each other, but by a knock at the door. He would much rather have been awoken in the same way he had been that morning. Oliver definitely would not have complained, though he imagined that much was obvious.

He woke first that time, thinking he had imagined the sound. But the knock came again and he sighed, rubbing Alice's arm in a silent request that she wake up as well so that he could get up and see who was outside. In the end, they both went over and made to greet whomever it was, but really Oliver just ended up blinking at the man on the other side of the door. Paul? What had he done wrong now? Take too long?

But Paul didn't look upset, as Oliver had expected, until he realized that they were still half asleep. At least the television was still on, quiet though it was, to suggest that hey had been awake at some point that morning. The dogs seemed to have decided that a nap was in order for them, too, but Eric did peek out from Oliver and Alice's room at Paul's voice, perhaps registering that they knew that tone somewhere.

He would have wrapped an arm around Alice without really thinking about it, most likely, had her father not been standing there to watch them. He probably could've done it anyway but decided against it, instead just standing there and trying to look pleased with the turn of events.

He felt a little bit like an errant child but he did not want Marie to feel like she needed to fix him - or them, all together - as lovely as she was when she did something like that. But Marie was always quite lovely. Even if she really did show up without warning.

"As long as she's bringing dessert," he offered brightly, shrugging as he followed Alice into their room.

Knowing full well that Alice would go a little overboard in trying to impress her mother, he reached out and wound his arms around her waist, catching her from behind. He dropped a kiss to her shoulder but gently reminded her: "It's Sunday, Allie. Either you're dressed for church, and thus I have to be as well, or it's weekend casual. I know you want to make her happy but it's the weekend. Don't make me dress like I'm going to see you at work."

Oliver hummed against the column of her neck, then settled his chin atop her shoulder. "I love how much you care," he told her, patting her hip as he stepped away. "But don't make me, Alice."

A smile lit his cheeks, though, making it clear that, actually, he would go with whatever she wanted. But he stepped over to the closet first, rifling through everything anyway.
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Post by Alice Rousseau on Fri Sep 09, 2016 12:21 am

Oliver almost knew Alice too well. The blonde woman’s mind was already turning over this way and that, trying to figure out what dresses she had actually gotten around to getting dry-cleaned. She quite liked the way the ladies at the dry-cleaners near them made her dresses smell so she persisted in going there even if Ariel maintained that it was money hole whilst, in the same breath, asserting that he could do a better job. There wasn’t anything there that was brunch/lunch/dinner appropriate so what on earth—Alice closed her eyes, her hand coming down to cover Ollie’. The word ‘relax’ was heavy in his tone and she smiled, conceding that he was probably right. As much as this suddenly felt like an important event, it was still Sunday.

Alice grinned back and bent down under her dressing table to fish out some sandals to wear. They were pretty enough but simple, as was requested. She shimmied out of her jammies, shivering a little as the breeze that was creeping in through the windows whispered over the backs of her thighs. Folding them up quickly, Alice laid them over the end of the bed and hopped over to the chest of drawers to fish out a bra, pouting at the offending article of clothing, regardless of how pretty it was. It was the weekend. Why on earth did she have to put one on? Could she get away not wearing one? Alice whined a little to herself and slid her arms through the straps, muttering that Marie and Paul were lucky that they were her parents. Anyone else would have been given the hook, for sure.

“I wish they’d just sent an owl or something,” Alice complained aloud, swinging across the room. Her arms wound around Ollie’s middle and she pressed a kiss to his back, frowning a little as she listened to the footsteps of her father in the kitchen and the faint whoosh of the hob igniting into flame. She supposed that, technically, her father had been the owl but she still felt ever so slightly put out. Why couldn’t they have asked to come round the following week? At least that way there would have been a chance that Ariel was about. Thus, dinner would have been halfway decent. Not that they couldn’t rustle up something great but even so …

“You’re lucky, you know. You could put on tatters and you’d still look …” Alice rolled her lips together, her eyes shining with mischief. “Distracting to say the least.” A laugh bubbled past her lips and she squeezed him quickly before unwinding her arms and sliding past him to rifle amongst her own clothes. She tugged out a pale green dress with spaghetti straps and a calf-length pleated skirt, deeming it probably the most casual thing that was still parental-dinner appropriate. As much as she yearned to snuggle her legs into her jeans and pull on an oversized jumper, she knew that she couldn’t.

“Zip me up?” She wiggled her brows at him once she had the dress over her head. Turning round, Alice lifted her hair up, glad, in a way, that she’d had the foresight to plait it the night before. After releasing it from its hairband, the blonde locks fell in soft waves and once the zipper was up they returned to their flow down her back. Glancing in the mirror, Alice turned around and mentally deemed herself ready to face her mother – who, for the record Alice Rousseau, probably would have been fine with jeans and a jumper. She only wants to see you and Ollie-Lollie. Oh, well. Can’t help some folk, can you?

Once they were dressed, Alice drew her hands across Ollie’s shoulders, a look playing across her mouth that was verging on coquettish. Leaning up on her tiptoes, Alice claimed his lips with her own. She hummed happily and pulled away, a grin taking hold of her face. Optimism was light in her step as she returned to their bedroom door, fiddling absent-mindedly with the necklace she’d put on as she flashed Ollie a look that gently queried whether or not he was ready – ready for what, though, she wasn’t yet sure.

“Papa?” She called, entering the kitchen. “What are you making, exactly?”

“Ratatouille,” Paul announced, pushing the wooden spoon around in the pot on the hob while his magic continued to chop vegetables. “You had the veg there, incredibly.”

Alice poked her tongue out at him and queried whether he wanted a bottle of wine, leaning down to take one off of the rack.

“Is that your mother?” Paul queried as Alice fiddled with the corkscrew. “Go and check, Allie.”

Laughing despite herself, Alice handed the bottle over to Ollie and trooped dutifully out of the kitchen, leaving the boys alone while she went to answer the door to, sure enough, her mother. Elaborate ruse though it might well have been, it was handy that she actually was waiting at the door, trying in vain to juggle the dessert boxes in a sensible way.

“Here, now,” Paul commanded, a firm gesture accompanying his words. “No sparkler,” he waggled the fourth finger of his left hand – a skill he was very proud of, thank you very much indeed. “I know she’s smitten but what’s that horrid American song? Put a ring on something you like? I don’t know. Point is,” he glanced over his shoulder to see the women chattering away, albeit now inside, “get a hurry on. Christmas is coming.”

“Alright, alright, I’m here!” Marie called out brightly, setting the boxes down on the table.

“None of us will keep our summer figures if we have to eat all of that,” Paul commented in a deadpan tone that made Alice laugh.

“Don’t be silly. I got some for all of our children,” Marie sniffed derisively before nigh-flying across the room to pull Ollie into an ever-so-slightly bone crushing embrace. “How are you?” She asked shrilly, excitement bubbling through her. “We are sorry to jump in on you both like this,” she added, pulling away after a moment. “But we had to see you.”

“She had to,” Paul corrected. “You’re clearly alright, otherwise you’d have flooed us, wouldn’t you, Alice?”

“Yes, sir,” Alice replied duly, carefully lifting the lid on one of the boxes to peek inside.

“You’ll ruin the surprise!” Marie exclaimed, tickling fingers wriggling over Alice’s sides as soon as she reached her to shoo her away from the food.

“No, no! Get off!” Alice shrieked through giggles, hurrying across the room to hide behind Ollie.

“Good use of your boyfriend there,” Marie appraised dryly, abandoning the tickle attempt as she scooped up her husband’s glass of wine, taking a grateful sip.

“Oh, because I didn’t want that?” Paul griped with a smirk.

“No, you didn’t,” she replied simply. “Right, now. Come on. Sit down. Catch me up. How have you both been?”
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Post by Oliver Connolly on Sun Sep 11, 2016 9:52 pm

Sundays were not for family dinners. They were not for in-laws that weren't actually in-laws yet. They were for Alice in pajamas, singing to herself while she played with the dogs and Oliver made tea. Or, perhaps even better, they were for Alice in nothing but sheets. For Oliver to jump up when she said something that struck him and he just had to write something down. For her to stay there, naked and beautiful and in his bed and all the more perfect for being happy.

And he shouldn't have had those thoughts while her father was in the next room. Wouldn't have had those thoughts were it not for Alice being a flirt even though she knew better.

"I could be vastly more distracting if our plans were different," he pointed out teasingly, knowing he would never even begin to try something with her parents in their flat.

She chose a dress, so he drew out jeans but a button-up shirt that he slipped on before reaching out to help her. Once she was sorted out and he was buttoning up his shirt, Alice turned back to him and he smiled. Curiosity lifted his eyebrows but he didn't have to wait long or actually voice that question. He grinned after her once she left, following along as he rolled up his sleeves to a more casual length.

Paul's intention wasn't lost on either of the residents of the flat, but while Alice found it funny, Oliver only tensed. He probably should have laughed at the failed quotation attempt - and would have, if someone like Ariel had said it - but instead he frowned. Deeply. Christmas? It was May. Perhaps Alice had suggested that she wanted a winter wedding someday.

He didn't say anything, but nodded just before Marie fluttered into the room, clutching him tightly in greeting. Oliver's lips lifted into a smile for her, unable to help himself and not wanting to give away that he was feeling off. Particularly now that Alice was back in the room.

A laugh got out, though, when Alice bounded across the room to use him as a shield. Oliver reached around behind him, aiming for her side though he feigned adding his arm as an additional level of protection. A smirk pulled at his cheek before he turned to her, hoping she wouldn't be too upset with him for joining in.

He wasn't sure what all there was to tell Marie, but he knew they needed to come up with a few things to appease her. And, really, they needed to know about the big thing. Not the proposal thing, obviously, since that hadn't happened. But the other thing.

So they settled around the table and Oliver leaned forward on his arms, trying to pick a place to start.

"Things have been good, I think," he said, looking over at Alice for confirmation. "It hasn't been as... quiet around here, but now we've got both dogs and Ariel to consider." A bemused smile pulled at his cheeks.

Oliver didn't know if Paul had told Marie about Elijah. He wanted to bring it up but he didn't want to ruin the mood or upset Marie. The last thing he wanted, as well, was to frighten Alice by making it a topic of conversation again. Instead, he decided to wait and see if it came up. If not, perhaps he would mention it towards the end, if only for the safety of everyone in the room.

"I would wager you're aware of this, but Allie, here, is quite the artist. We've pitched the idea of a children's book to my editor and they're quite taken with it. I think they like her drawings more than my words, though," he beamed at her proudly, reaching a hand out to squeeze Alice's for a moment.

The big thing still nagged at him. Alice didn't know. She should've known. As much as he trusted Marie and respected Paul, it wouldn't look good if he said it the wrong way.

"There is... Well. I've been approached about something and I hadn't really made a decision but I think I've reached that point. And I think that you all need to know. I've been asked to return to the Order," he told them, rushing through after that point in the hopes that he wouldn't be interrupted, "because it's fallen apart since we left. I'm planning on creating a council of sorts to ensure that we do things in the safest way possible. So things are more secretive and, and planned out. But... there are kids over at Ilvermorny that went on exchange and haven't come back. More people are against the Ministry than ever before, and everything is falling to bits. I - I can't say no."

He turned an apologetic, concerned look on Alice and although he wanted to do the same for Paul, she mattered more to him. Her opinion mattered more. "And I won't ask you to come back with me when you were... unhappy, before. But you all deserve to know, regardless," he concluded, looking between her parents anxiously.
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Post by Alice Rousseau on Mon Sep 12, 2016 12:32 am

The pressure to have something to show for her time away from home was unfounded. Alice knew that. Her parents knew it, too. They would have been horrified to learn that she thought she had to prove something to them. Still, she felt as though her decision to stay back in Britain had been a significant one. She felt as though she had to show them that there was some semblance of togetherness about her life. A stable job, a roof over her head… all of the things that relax parents and assuage their worries. Really though, and Alice knew it too, Paul and Marie were only looking to make sure that their daughter was happy. Barging on their children was something they did often. They were rarely impressed with the situation they found their eldest daughter in but their sons and their youngest baby girl were always, it seemed, blissfully happy and it softened their worried hearts to find her, so far from home, having found a new one, a place where she could melt into a chair, every cell of her body entirely, totally at ease.

Wine was poured and even though Alice still turned her nose up at the drink on principle, on truth she had come to find some sort of place for it in her drink palette. She had come to enjoy red wine much more, now that she was entering some sort of phase where she was becoming more French, if it was entirely possible. After a particularly tricky case at work, she would often make a detour to the delicatessen that she had grown rather fond of and dinner would be cheese and crackers with a side-order of wine and the lovely addition of Oliver, whom she could rant to until the morning threatened on the horizon about the intricacies of this and that which particularly rankled with her. It seemed an odd thing, to be sat with glasses populating their kitchen table while her father cooked dinner. He seemed happy enough, though, and so they could be left to talk.

Alice turned her head at Ollie’s words and smiled encouragingly at him, reaching out to lay her arm on the back of his chair. She lifted her hand up and lightly started to draw her fingers through the back of his hair, an idle gesture that was rhythmic and, in its repetitiveness, oddly reassuring. It wasn’t something she really became aware of until he looked at her again and she immediately grinned back at him, her fingers lacing briefly through his. She felt heat rise in her cheeks and she ducked her head a little, part of her wanting to say that she wasn’t that good at all, really. She had spent so much time on her little elephants, though, she couldn’t bear to let them down by saying as much. They were good and their story was important. It was now beyond her, beyond them, in a way. She cared, perhaps, a little too much about their adventures but that, she hoped, was what was going to make it good.

“They like it because we’re a dream team,” Alice countered, squeezing his hand back. “It’s just … the loveliest little book.”

“Remind me,” Marie turned to Ollie as she set down her wine glass, “to show you Alice’s drawings from when she was little. The next time you two come home, remind me, Ollie.”

Paul chuckled and his wife’s eyes flicked over to him, a smile playing at her lips, a knowing look filling her eyes. She knew exactly what he was thinking of and, to a certain extent, Alice did too. The second time Paul had gone to see her at the hospital, he’d brought with him a sketchbook and an assortment of pencils, crayons, and felt-tip pens. The drawings she’d produced while she was still in hospital were a mixture of hopeful and reflective pieces often interspersed with commentaries on the day-to-day running of the ward she was on.

“Do you remember the one of the doctor she didn’t like?” Paul asked, pouring a little of his wine into the pot, pushing the wooden spoon around as steam rose into the air.

Marie laughed, shaking her head. “Pointy teeth and claws, was it?” She eyed their daughter, amusement playing on her lips.

“Didn’t you have it framed, at one time?” Alice recalled, raising her eyebrows.

“I still have it in amongst the box of things I took home from the embassy,” Paul conceded, chuckling. “I’ll find it out for you. You’ll like it, Ollie.”

Alice smirked and hoped that her drawing ability had shown some sort of progress from when she was eight. She remembered that doctor well enough. He was hardly the pleasantest of creatures. She’d been happier to get away from him, when Paul had come to pick her up, than to actually leave the hospital. She’d not been very good with brusque manners since. Anyone remotely acerbic, even Ariel at times regardless of how used to him she was, she immediately took exception to.

Turning her head again and returning her gaze to her Hufflepuff, Alice’s brows shot up as he spoke. Surprise lanced through her and she felt a modicum of panic, too, at his words. She brought her hand round from his neck and cupped his cheek, her mouth opening and closing as she tried to formulate a response. She was faintly aware of her father’s wine glass hitting the counter top a little too roughly.

“I’m not letting you do this on your own,” Alice murmured. “If you let me, I’ll be with you every step of the way.”

“Does it have to be you?” Marie burst, her face screwed up with worry. “Is there no one else? It’s not … it’s not safe, even if you try and do it in the safest way possible! And this … this council is it … are there … are there going to be people you trust? Have you really thought about this, Oliver?”

“Hang on, Missus Panic,” Paul counselled, turning the hob down before coming over to sit beside his wife. “He’s a lad with a plan,” he murmured in her ear, pressing his lips to her temple. “Relax,” he urged in an undertone, drawing his hand across her back. “They’re not going to let anything happen to each other.”

“But there are Death Eaters, Paul!” She exclaimed, throwing his arm off from around her. “And besides them, terrible people who want to do terrible things to good people and I am damned if I am going to stand idly by and let them go out and put themselves in harm’s way!”

Paul blinked, pulling back to look at his wife for a moment. “Joining the Order are we?”

“If I bloody well have to!”

“Mum…” Alice cringed. “Is that really a good idea?”

“I love you,” Marie pointed at her daughter. “And I love you,” she declared, wagging her finger at Ollie. “I can’t bear the thought of you two not being safe. People will find out. You’ll be in harm’s way. You can’t … there are …” Marie took a breath, trying to steady herself. Alice reached out and covered her mother’s hand with her own.

“Safest way possible. Secretive. Planned out.” Alice repeated gently, rubbing circles into the skin on the inside of her mother’s wrist. “There is a plan. It’ll be alright. Trust him.”

“I do,” Marie protested, her eyes leaping to Oliver. “I do trust you. I’m just scared for you.”
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Post by Oliver Connolly on Mon Sep 12, 2016 4:44 am

Oliver didn't register Marie's panic at first. He was too focused on Alice as he turned to press a kiss to her palm. He opened his mouth to say that she didn't have to, what with Augustus and Elijah and-

But he didn't, because Marie lost it and he knew that he couldn't bring those things up. That Paul hadn't done so either. So he would have to keep some secrets from his potential Mother-in-law, and it felt disgusting. But she would be safer and happier for it. So at least it wasn't a complete loss, he supposed.

Still, his eyebrows flew up as he jerked around to stare at Marie, seriously frightened for a minute. He tried to jump in and say something that might calm her down, but even Paul had tried and failed. He was not, however, even remotely interested in Marie joining the Order when she didn't need to. That would make his job even more difficult than just Alice herself joining.

Oliver gave Alice's hand another squeeze but released her and lifted himself from his chair. One hand found the back of Marie's chair and the other reached for the table as he crouched next to her, leveling her with a deadly serious expression.

"Marie. I," he took a deep breath, trying to figure out how to sufficiently express the seriousness of his words, "love your daughter. Beyond anything I could put into words. And I have zero intention of either of us ending up alone. It won't happen," he shook his head slowly. "If I'm wrong about that, you have my sincere permission to come over here and do me in. Okay? And if either of us are going to get hurt, it'll be me, not her."

Deciding that he really would have to level with her to get anywhere, he sighed and stood up, stepping around that time to stand behind Alice's chair with his hands on her shoulders.

"I'm not good enough for her," he said, his tone suggesting that it felt like a confession. He let his thumbs run in circles across the base of her neck, hoping she wouldn't interrupt him. "I know that. There are a lot of things that she won't... have, if she decides to stick with me. I'm not naive enough to miss that."

It hit him far too suddenly and far too belatedly that he had told Alice's adopted father that being unable to have children was cause enough for Alice to leave him. These people standing across from him were the sole reason that Alice was there with him. They were the heroes in her life's story, even if any of them had somehow missed that. And he'd insulted Paul severely by doing so. Why that same man was encouraging him to marry Alice was completely out of his grasp.

"I know it's dangerous," he went on finally, yanking his gaze away from Marie and Paul and down to Alice instead. "But it's what's right. If I'm capable of improving the world that you all live in, I'm going to do it. See, I've got plans," he told them, his tone lifting to one of almost-amusement.

"I'd like to move out of this flat, eventually. That's a given. Someplace the dogs can run amok and whatnot. I'm looking forward to finishing the book we're working on. But," he said, stepping to the side and slipping his hands into his pants pockets as he shrugged, "I know that none of that will happen without help. The Order won't work, the book won't happen, et cetera. It's alright, though, because I'm not someone who can really live alone. And I don't plan on doing that ever again."

Turning towards Alice, he cracked a smile. "I did have a plan," he told her apologetically. "I think you would've liked it. But, I also know that nothing matters more to you than the people you love. It seems appropriate that they should be here," he decided despite the part of him yelling that it wasn't enough. That she deserved something much more grand. Still, he sank down next to her chair, one knee meeting the tiled floor.

"I can do it again," he teased, his fingers twitching, "if this isn't cliché enough for you. I seriously had this whole big thing planned out. But I'm also not sure you'd care about something like that. I think it's the why more than the how, for you. And I love that. I love you," he clarified, his smile wide. "I know that I've been really stuck, lately, on things that I can't fix. But I'm done with that. ...All that I actually need is you. So I need to ask you," he paused, lifting out the box he'd snuck into his pocket while they changed. He'd always had it, just in case. Even though he knew what his grand scheme would be, somehow he'd expected a moment like this one. So he tipped it open and held it out to her.

"Alice... Ще се омъжиш ли за мен?"
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closed Re: Breaking Down The Gate

Post by Alice Rousseau on Sat Sep 17, 2016 11:47 pm

Bright blue Anderson eyes stared into the dark, expressive orbs that so commanded Marie-Elise’s features. Fear commanded every fleck of colour that crackled and stormed in her irises. The Frenchwoman’s fingers tightened around her daughter’s. Her chin inclined to the right and she stared at the Connolly man, her fingers itching to reach out to him, to take his hand in her own and hold them both close to her. There, in her arms, in her mind they couldn’t be touched. No one could hurt either of them. Both of them deserved protecting. They were too young. They had too much ahead of them. Marie sent a helpless look in her husband’s direction. Paul-Henri brought his hand down over her back and he offered her a small smile, his amber gaze following Oliver as he came to stand behind their daughter.

Marie’s mouth dropped open at his announcement and Paul felt an eyebrow lift of its own volition as the heat of incredulity flooded his features. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Alice still under Ollie’s hands. Her own, which had slunk up to cover his as soon as they had settled on her shoulders, did not abate in their grip. Paul swallowed, one hand coming out to tap the stem of his wine glass, an odd look crossing his features that Alice had never seen before – so much so that she did not know how to identify it, either. Alice wished she could have found the words to intervene, to tell him that he was wrong – that if one didn’t deserve the other then it was she who did not deserve him, the man who wanted to make their world bright and safe again.

A smile took hold of the blonde woman’s lips as she tipped her head back to look up at him. Her mind turned with the plans he gave voice to. They were ones that spoke to her heart, the idea of them having a house somewhere that they could call their own, a place with the ground for the dogs to run and run and run until they collapsed, exhausted, in their chair. She wanted so very badly to tell him that that was exactly what she wanted and that sometimes, when her dreams did not stray to nightmares, the scene she conjured in her mind was so vivid she awoke with the smell of the flowers they could grow in the garden climbing her nostrils. She didn’t dare interrupt, though, if only because she had no real clue what he was getting at, what he meant to say, what he was going to say.

Alice sat up, confusion bringing her eyebrows down a little closer to her eyes, creating a little wrinkle between them, just above where her nose began. When he moved, her lips parted, a little gasp breaking past having bubbled up from her throat. Her hands flew to her cheeks and she shook her head in disbelief, wondering in spite of all of the signs that pointed to the affirmative whether he was actually going to do this. And he did. And he did it in a way that she had never ever envisaged him doing. In a way that made her heart feel as though it was going to explode in her chest. The butterflies in her stomach certainly did. Hearing the Bulgarian…

“Yes,” she whispered, her hands shaking down to catch his face in her warm palms. “Yes,” she whispered again, tipping out of the chair towards him, her mind a million miles away from the ring, entirely focused on him. Winding her arms around his neck, Alice pulled herself up and commandeered his lips with her own, leaning heavily against him as she discarded every single ounce of herself into that gesture. To him, she would give everything she had. To their future, she would invest every single moment and every single action. For him, she would have plucked the moon from the sky. She wasn’t sure how but she would have found a way.

Pulling away a little, Alice turned, her eyes glancing briefly back to him before she took a look at the ring. A fizz of colour flashed across her cheeks and she ducked her head a little, murmuring appreciatively about how beautiful it was, unsure whether or not she should put it on or whether he should or what on earth the protocol was here.

“You want to marry me,” she repeated, mostly to herself, as a grin overtook her lips. She lifted her gaze and met Ollie’s, her hand sliding down to rest over his heart. “I love you, Oliver. My husband-to-be.” Her voice quivered a little over husband as her lips widened impossibly further into her smile, her mind and her heart both coming to the realisation that this was happening at the same time. They were going to get married. Married! Them! Alice leaned up and kissed him again. Her fiancé. Her husband-to-be.

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closed Re: Breaking Down The Gate

Post by Oliver Connolly on Sun Sep 18, 2016 10:05 pm

Oliver shot an arm out to Alice's side, terrified for a moment that she would just crash into the floor. But she gave him the answer that, in truth, he had allowed himself to expect. It was so much better to have something confirmed than something imagined or dependent upon. He would've laughed with relief, or grinned or something equally buoyant, but Alice was curling herself around him like she would sink through the tile otherwise.

And perhaps they would have done just that by now, without each other to anchor them. His kisses were desperate, as though he could neither get enough of her, but also like he thought he hadn't enough time left with her even now. And he never, ever would, because regardless of how many days, months and years they had together, it wouldn't be enough.

She turned her attention on the ring and he reveled in the fact that not only did she like it, but she had thought of it second. Her comment made him chuckle. "I did my best to find one that could compare to you. This is the closest I got. But I'm glad you like it," he told her, plucking it up and drawing her hand away from his face so he could slide it on. Lucky, he supposed, that things like jewelry could be resized with magic. He had no idea how Muggles ever got it right.

"Yeah, my love, I do," he promised, nodding and helping her to her feet. "You're stuck with me, Allie."

He kissed her newly adorned hand, then the ring itself and then drew her into a grateful hug, positively covering her cheek and neck with kisses despite knowing it was that patch of skin. The one she fretted over and hid away. In fact, it happened all the more because of him knowing. In her ear he quietly declared just how much he loved her, both in French as well as in Bulgarian, surprising even himself with his memory of how to say it properly. Merlin, it had taken an embarrassingly long time to get the sounds to come out right while learning.

Drawing back, he turned slowly towards Alice's parents, his ears tinging a bit red on the outside as the embarrassment of their scene sunk in. Um. Surprise?
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closed Re: Breaking Down The Gate

Post by Alice Rousseau on Sun Oct 02, 2016 5:43 pm

It took a moment, perhaps even two, for Alice to melt back into focus in the room and in the situation at hand. She blinked a few times and turned the ring around on her finger, getting used to the cool metal against her skin. Her smile grew and she looked to her fiancé, her tummy bursting into fits of butterflies at the thought of him in that way. Their future suddenly seemed assured. There was still that lingering sense of uncertainty born out of fear but with the ring around her finger, she also felt assured – that, no matter what, even if the world fell down around their ears, they would still be together. They would still have each other. Always.

Then, as she realised they were in the kitchen, quite un-alone, her mother’s cry split against her ears. Then at once, she and Ollie were drawn into the tightest embrace that Alice had ever known. She was faintly aware of her mother’s joyful crowing that, finally, her baby was going to get married. When Marie-Elise finally released them to kiss their cheeks, Alice gulped down heavy breaths of air, her cheeks filling with colour as oxygen rushed back into her blood. She grinned broadly at her mother before turning the smile on her fiancé, her insides tingling again as she did so.

“You two,” Marie gasped, clasping their cheeks with each hand. She pulled them close, bringing their foreheads all together. Alice laughed a little at the feel of their bumping heads and Marie squeezed her before releasing them and getting up, urging them all to their feet once more.

“Well,” Paul smirked, lifting himself up out of his chair. “I hadn’t meant do it right this second,” he chuckled despite himself and held out his hand to Ollie. “Look after each other,” his eyes flicked down to his daughter and he brought his hand up to grasp her shoulder.

“We will, papa,” Alice murmured, bringing up the hand that she hadn’t looped in Ollie’s to squeeze her father’s.

“Let’s go out for dinner,” Marie suggested. “Wait, no. Paul, let’s leave them be.”

“Really?” Paul raised an eyebrow incredulously.

“You’ll come to us in a fortnight,” she declared, throwing her arms around them once more. “We’ll have a party. We’ll celebrate. Oh Merlin, I’m so proud of you both.”

After kissing their cheeks and hugging them both individually, Marie finally pulled away and Paul stepped forward, chuckling despite himself. He enveloped Alice first, wrapping his arms around his baby girl who he was leaving in the best hands he ever could have hoped for. Then, he pulled Ollie into a hug that made Alice beam.

“Congratulations, my loves,” Marie expressed, wiping away her tears.

“You don’t have to go,” Alice protested out of politeness, earning an odd look from her father that was a cross between appreciation and incredulity.

“Congratulations,” Paul echoed, taking his wife’s hand. “Enjoy your evening. Dinner’s ready.”

And then, with that, they were gone. The door shut behind them and the couple were left on their own. Alice laughed despite herself and brought her hand up to rub at her neck, disbelief welling up within her once more. She turned and threw her arms around Oliver, even if perhaps neither of them needed any more hugs.

“I love you, Oliver Connolly. You wonderful, wonderful man.”
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closed Re: Breaking Down The Gate

Post by Oliver Connolly on Fri Oct 07, 2016 5:24 am

"Well," Oliver conceded, "I hadn't actually planned to." Still, he couldn't hold his own amusement back. "It just sort of... happened. But, at least it's staved off the panic for now," he mused, looking over at Marie.

Alice was at his side again and as he murmured his agreement to Paul's request. Oliver's hand reached for hers without him having to think about it, and he nodded. "Of course."

Marie's suggestion and Paul's reaction nearly made Oliver choke just on the air he took in, but although that didn't happen he got the distinct feeling that his eyes were wider now than a moment ago. He knew beyond a shadow of a doubt where Paul's mind had just gone, and the implication that Marie had allowed to linger. Merlin, as if that would happen now that they had suggested it without meaning to.

They had no idea that a fortnight would bring not only a party but also an Order Meeting at half past two in the morning and an attempt at a raid on Ilvermorny. All Oliver knew was that he needed that time, really, to process what had just happened. He knew, obviously, what the ring and the Yes and his bended knee meant, but in some ways it didn't feel real. It was like it had happened, sure, but was still an imaginary concept. His body wasn't shaking as he had expected it to be.

Still, Paul had apparently finished their meal, and that more or less meant that the day was set. He wasn't sure if they were going to tell Ariel about it - as he was partial to betting that the werewolf wouldn't notice in the slightest until the gifts started arriving or the pair of them up and moved out, whichever came first.

Her parents left and he swung her up the second she threw her arms around him. The main thing that came to mind was the fact that they would eventually have to tell his mother. And while she had never been explicit about how she felt since the funeral, he didn't want to ask and find out until he and Alice were settled and confident in the matter. Perhaps he could invite them to Alice's parents' party thing as a surprise. His dad wouldn't mind, he knew, but his maman might not be thrilled.

"You can't say you're surprised," he mused into the hair by her ear. "I think my plans have been clear since... well, Christmas last, thanks to that book."

Leaning back to look at her, he had to laugh. "Like I said, though. I had this massive plan and I didn't know how in the world I would get it to happen. I would've had to somehow get you to the boat without suspicion, somehow have lights and things set up, and it was very, very unrealistic. Your father seems to think I'm extremely literal, now."

Setting her back down on her feet, he leaned forward and kissed her deeply. When he pulled away, he didn't move very far. Just enough to tilt up and kiss her nose instead. "I love you, too," he told her, lifting his eyebrows as he smiled. "In case that wasn't clear. Now come on. Your papa's made us a meal, technically, and we can't let it go to waste."

Drawing away, he stepped backwards, tugging her along by her dress as he drew the fabric at her sides into his hands. "I can't let my fiancée go hungry," he pointed out with a grin.

That actually made him stop, even as he reached the plates waiting to be filled. "Merlin," he breathed, his eyes searching her face with sheer disbelief. Alright, now it was hitting him. "You said yes."
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