You'll Find We're Never Too Far Apart

You'll Find We're Never Too Far Apart

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Post by Henry Tross on Thu Dec 22, 2016 2:25 am

"You'll never guess who I invited."

"Oh, ifreann. What have you done?"

"Stop that. You know I hate it when you go all Irish on me."

"Alright, then. Mynd i uffern. Better?"

Henry scowled over the desk at his best mate, uninterested in the game of linguistics that Declan seemed determined to play. "I hate you. Can we get back on topic?"

Declan rolled his eyes but sat back in his chair and crossed his ankle over the opposite knee. "Alright, fine. Who am I meant to be excited about? It's not like I'll know any of the players you're inviting from whatever team-"

"No, no. Well, them too. But I've invited Jane and Ella and the others. It'll be like old times!"

Declan sat forward at that, undoing all of the work he'd done to get comfortable. That was a revelation if he'd ever heard of one. Jane? Merlin. Talk about old memories. Sure, it had been one of those early sorts of relationships, where they didn't really know what they were doing or what it meant to be 'going with' someone. But the group had really been a staple of their Hogwarts years - especially Declan's later ones after he had brought Henry into the fold.

Speaking of Henry, the younger man was just regarding Declan curiously, his long hair attempting to fall in his eyes. "You don't look excited. What's wrong with you?"

"I'm not not excited. But do you think they'll come? You know I'll be inviting Dom. I don't want her to feel like she's not included."

"You've done the whole party-with-the-Weasleys thing. Surely she can handle this?"

Declan rolled his eyes, but relaxed back into the chair again like an odd sort of yo-yo. "That's if she even has time. I don't know what the holidays look like for her family, but I trust that she'll put whatever they're doing above you. You don't even like her."

"Not true!" Henry frowned when his friend looked skeptical. "What, am I not supposed to push her? She's put you through hell."

"Funny, I told her the same thing."

Henry wasn't sure what to say to that, so he waited to see if anything else came out, but silence reigned long enough that he gave up and shrugged. The lack of a better answer implied the obvious: Declan was still refusing to give Henry permission to behave that way. Didn't meant it would stop the Welshman, though. "Anyway, I sent them letters. So we'll see how it goes. I've got a box up at Caerphilly's, so we'll be able to chat and catch up, but we'll be saved if things get awkward."

Declan nodded along, apparently accepting of that plan. But then Henry saw something behind Dec's expression change. "Have you invited Maude yet?"

An awkward shift in his seat later, Henry cleared his throat and gave a stern, "No." Grateful for the ensuing return of silence, he turned towards his paperwork, and it was less than a minute before Declan disapparated, leaving Henry to ponder things he'd hoped to avoid.

---

December 22, 2029. Saturday.

Maude stood in the back hallway of the Leaky Cauldron, completely self-conscious despite the fact that no one was looking at her. Quite the opposite, really. Declan was sitting at the piano that Millie Finnigan had returned to him after moving out of Hayes' place, showing a little girl a few tunes. She waved them off as unimpressive, clearly teasing him, but he lifted an eyebrow challengingly before taking off into something far more challenging.

"Nice dress," Will offered in his Londonized Jamaican accent, and she had to look down for a moment to even remember which one she had decided on. Red. Hm. Perhaps Henry would find that ironic. What did it matter what he thought?

It mattered a great deal, really. How dreadful. Still, she thanked Will as he went over to talk to Declan. The owner's hands didn't stop though he looked up and responded to whatever had been asked, throwing in a nod for good measure. Then his attention turned to Maude and she fidgeted. Only then did the music trail off, when Declan got up and patted the girl on the head, leaving her with Will as he approached.

"Hey. You look great," he offered. "Ready to go?"

"Are you sure he really- I mean, he didn't say anything when I wished him a happy birthday on Thursday."

Declan grinned like he was full of secrets he knew she would never be told. Good ones, too. "Trust me. This'll be good. If nothing else, maybe his team will lose and you'll be able to make fun. Don't you support one of the rival ones?"

"Harpies, yes. How- how do you know that?"

"I wouldn't think on it too hard if I were you," he warned gently, inclining his head towards her meaningfully. "It's best to let him explain things himself than to start assuming or fretting. Then he'll really never tell you."

She humphed but said nothing. So Declan just smiled at her again and offered her his arm. "C'mon, let's go."

When they landed, it was outside of the turnstiles at the Caerphilly pitch, knowing full well that security would deeply disapprove of their sudden appearance inside. So Declan waited until Maude had released his arm to look around for the other guests. Henry, it seemed, was already inside and talking to the other regulars. He had told Declan he wanted to let them know that, if they somehow managed to get so chatty or rowdy about the game that the neighbors could hear them over the game, he wanted them to feel free to come over and ask them to bring it down.

Declan hadn't understood what on earth Henry thought they could possibly end up yelling about. Bets on the match?

At any rate, fans from both sides were beginning to show up around them, Catapults and Canons alike. It seemed like all there was to do, now, was wait. So he did his best to make small talk with Maude until the others arrived.



( @Ella Blair Woods @Dom Weasley?)
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Henry Tross
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Post by Ella Blair Woods on Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:38 am

The faintest flush was just beginning to bloom across the Welsh sky when a sharp crack cut across the green. A young man, dark-haired and leather-clad, landed neatly by the side of the road, casting a sharp eye about for a familiar face. Finding none, he looked around instead for some sort of sign with which to identify his location. The stadium loomed behind him, loud and lively. Already, the game-goers were filing in, their laughter and rowdy shouts carrying over to his own out-of-the-way spot. Already, his impatience was coming out- in a mild frown, an absent-minded rubbing of his hands, an alert stance.

Spotting a sign for the ticket office a few feet away, he flicked his wand somewhat abruptly and sent out a silvery- equally impatient- wolf with concise co-ordinates.

And now, all there was to do was wait.

The wand proved no entertainment, quickly pocketed in favour of keen-eyed observance. The frost had been setting in for months, now, and he felt the cold bite into his tanned skin. He didn't shiver, but it did occur to him that he had dressed for Delhi rather than December. The warmth absorbed over the past weeks was now seeping out just as quickly. He shoved his hands into his pockets and dug his chin into his woollen scarf, neck angled towards the ground. And so, turning his back to the wind, an uncharacteristically pensive Sean Lynch stood and waited, in an equally uncharacteristic show of patience.

He didn't have to wait long. A few long minutes later, the air snapped and a grinning face twisted into view.

"Your directions always sound like you're directing battle ships. Is there a war planned for this party that I haven't been informed of?"

His cousin quirked her brows, mischief curling in the corner of her lips. Sean rolled his eyes, pulling an arm up for a mock salute before reaching out to ruffle her dark hair. She dodged, holding her wand out warningly and drawing a highly amused smile from the older man. He didn't know why she bothered- the windblown waves were already making an impressive escape from their confines. His brow raise said as much.

"Well you see, generally we don't call in back up unless we have to."

"That why you're so late, then?" The retort was quick as a whip, the smirk just as satisfied. Its unashamed hypocrisy wouldn't hit the mark- Lynches were made of much sterner stuff- but it was enough to get a resigned head shake and a stunted chuckle. Ella dropped her wand back into her pocket and moved closer again, head snapping up with a sudden frown.

“Where’s Trev?”

“He’s got a bad dose of it. Been off work all week, the dosser.”

She nodded, concern fleeting across her face before her brows creased again. Sean raised his own, the questioning look fading when she nodded at the scarf around his neck.

“Shouldn’t we be supporting the Catapults?”

“Ah, you’ll not catch me wearing those stripes for shite.”

“Better than orange,” she scrunched her nose disdainfully at the garish scarf wound around his neck, fingering her own loosely draped across her shoulders- Caerphilly colours.

He shrugged.

“It’s not the Kestrels, but it’ll do.”

“You mean the Harpies.”

“Alright, ya sasanach.” He grinned, reaching out a hand to ruffle Ella’s haphazardly pinned hair which she dodged nimbly, shoving him sharply in the side instead.

She pulled her wand out again and his hand snapped forward, catching her intention before she could switch the colours out. This time Ella wasn't quick enough to dodge, tightening her hold on the stick just in time to be tugged forward and off balance as Sean pulled it out of reach.

“Oh, póg mo thón you gi-“

A few moments of struggle ensued, wherein she kicked insistently at his ankles and he managed to wince and look far too pleased with himself all at once, bending over to curl it more tightly into his grip. To the uninitiated observer, the scene may have caused concern, were it not for the quiet shared laughter. To the initiated, however, it was- sadly- not a novelty.

“Sean! Stop stirrin’ the pot ya slag.”

Both Sean and Ella immediately turned at the voice that cut in, instinctively familiar even with the exaggerated accent.

“Con?”

“Conners!”

Ella wrested her wand out of Sean's hands while his attention was grabbed, but turned back to him just as quickly, a questioning look on her face. The surprise on his own told her he’d had no idea his brother would be making an appearance either. Ella guessed that he too hadn’t heard from him since the Slytherin had disappeared on another of his trips 3 months ago. Conley grinned at their simultaneous exclamations of disbelief, opening his mouth to offer a greeting or an explanation but any reply was cut off by-

Crack.

“Els?”

“Jane!” Ella’s head whipped round yet again, a look of delight overtaking her features as she closed the space between them with a leap and no hesitation, launching herself onto her beaming sister. Conley, now apparently forgotten, simply shook his head as both he and Sean followed in greeting Jane, wide affectionate smiles mirrored by hers.

“How’s she cuttin’ Janie. Where’s yer fella?”

“He’s at a meeting. This is a work trip, you know.”

Jane’s reprimand was too gentle to be anything but teasing and Ella released her, turning to raise a haughty eyebrow at their company.

“Oh yes, don’t you know the grind doesn’t stop for the esteemed Joe Garrett.”

Sean smirked while Jane frowned prettily, utterly unable to maintain it for more than a half-hearted second, to Ella’s amusement. It was Conley who flicked her in the side, this time, looking at Jane with a doggedly straight face when Ella yelped.

“The offspring?”

“In Boston with Joe’s ma. We’re only here for a couple days.”

The boys nodded solemnly. Ella rolled her eyes.

“Honestly, you’d think she fell out the sky or something. We’ve known about this visit for weeks!” The indignance was muffled as she turned to curl her arms around Jane’s waist, resting her head on her sister’s shoulder. "Didn't know you'd be coming to this thing, though," she spoke quietly, tone taking on a softness reserved solely for the eldest Woods.

Sean rolled his eyes at the display of sentimentality, clapping a hand on Conley’s shoulder and pulling on Ella's scarf to move them along.

“Alright, let’s crack on.” His volume crept up and Ella was suddenly struck with a sudden stab of nostalgia, recalling the days when rounding them up was a routine, when they operated in a rowdy, tight knit pack that needed navigating down the halls and across the grounds. It was easy, on the rare occasion more than three of them were in the same place together, to slip back into their younger selves- juvenile behaviour and all. Easier still when headed to a gathering that promised more of that school-day crowd's company, with a sharp, spirited energy carrying over as they got closer and closer to the pitch. She cast her eye over her three family members, faces aglow with stadium lights, and felt contentment tinged with a sadness she couldn't quite place. One she didn't quite want, either, out of the blue and far too sentimental for her liking.

Luckily it was quickly brushed away when she noticed the two brothers walking together, heads bent in conversation. Leaning closer to Conley, Sean lowered his head and spoke in a conspiratorial tone, aware that the words would still carry to both sisters- one of whom, at least, would no doubt have her ears pricked.

“We’re meeting Dec. He might not be alone though- yer man’s got himself a bird.”

“Go away outta that! Has he really?”

And, indeed, Ella’s ears drew her forward.

“Where did you hear that?”

Sean simply tapped his nose and smirked knowingly. Ella would have been more impressed if she didn’t know that Sean had been in London a few weeks ago and had undoubtedly stopped at the Leaky where he either heard or saw something incriminating. Conley had always been better at pulling off mystery. She fell back into step with Jane, patting her sister’s shoulder with a proud smile and a startlingly good impression of their Uncle Aidan, voice raised obnoxiously, a twinge of Cork slipping into her tone.

“Och, I’m morto for her already, having to compete with our Janet.”

This time, all three rolled their eyes. Jane shook her head and nudged Ella, who simply smirked at her. Her sister's expression was resigned though it tried to be reproving, but not at all uncomfortable, to no one's surprise. It had been years. That pairing was a sweet memory and old tale only brought up by the youngest Woods on occasions such as these. Just as quickly buried once more when Ella's attention was instead grabbed by the two distant figures at the turnstiles as they approached, and she darted forward to nudge the pair ahead of her and point them in the right direction.

As they covered the distance, Conley fell into step with Jane a few paces back, no doubt to catch up while Ella and Sean came up on the unsuspecting duo from behind. The Lynch man's hand came out to give Declan a sudden clap on the shoulder, punctuating it with a grinning greeting.

“Howya Dec!”

Ella followed, then Conley, then Jane, each bearing differing expressions of pleasure and good humour, voices climbing over each other in enthusiastic Irish-tinged greetings.

Of their small group, Ella alone was familiar with Maude, though Conley’s expression held something she wasn’t sure was interest or recognition. No one could say of the Lynch-Wood clan that they weren't wholly accommodating, despite their many foibles, and they just as quickly greeted her politely but warmly, introducing themselves in turn and asking after her health, her day, and- in Jane's quietly genuine way- her dress, before turning back to Declan.

"Where've you been hiding, eh?" The question was tinged with irony since it came from Conley, the escape artist with a knack for long, unexplained absences himself. But it was also genuine, and Ella and Jane, at least, listened with interest.

The latter didn't say too much, but then, she'd never shared in their boisterousness. She did send Dec a sincere smile, and Ella spoke as though she'd forgotten there was anything unusual about Jane being there (she hadn't).

"I told Henry I couldn't promise a Jane appearance because she's only back for the weekend, but she's gone and surprised us all. There's no predicting with this one. Not that any of us are complaining."

Jane laughed despite herself, shaking her head at Dec in long-suffering mirth. It was nothing more than an expression of quiet exasperation at what might have been a sly undertone to Ella's words had she not known her sister better. The humour pushed the tone of the conversation into lighter waters before it even had a chance to veer in any other direction. The other direction being awkwardness, of course. But anything that might have caused any awkwardness had happened too long ago- a husband, two kids, and a transatlantic move ago- for there to be anything but a familiar sort of ease in her behaviour towards Declan. And Ella, who knew as much, was capable of gauging how far to gently push the humour and when to let it be. As she did now, with a light-hearted wink at Dec and a tug at Jane's hand.

And then, down to the true business. Sean was the first to push through, impatience now coming to fruition. If it were possible to be more enthusiastic about quidditch, Ella had yet to find someone who managed it better than the eldest Lynch. As he passed her, Conley pulled out his wand, touching it to her scarf and catching the identical one that fell not a second later, draping it artfully around his collar.

“Where’s your mot, then?” Ella grinned at Declan, wiggling her eyebrows mischievously as they all moved through the gates. The use of the Dublin slang was purposeful, a nod to their shared childhood but also an attempt at being subtle. She trusted that Maude wouldn’t understand what she was asking after, giving Declan an out in case he didn’t want to reveal the whereabouts or identity of his girl so easily, but also just in case Maude was indeed said girl. You never knew, after all.

[Sean- 29, Conley & Jane- 28. Got carried away writing this lot, sorry XD]
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Post by Declan Arryn on Thu Jan 12, 2017 10:01 pm

"Right, but their record is so much more impressive, Declan. Honestly, I know you're Irish and all, but it should be obvious. Henry's just wrong."

Holding up his hands in surrender, Declan laughed, instantly seeing how Henry could be attracted to someone so challenging. The Gryffindor actually thought that she might be good for him, if he let her be. Or vice versa, really. But his thoughts were interrupted by a sharp touch and a bright greeting. Spinning around, he reached out toward Conley, clapping him right back.

"Hey! What's the Craic?" He returned, grinning at each of them. The next question was almost expected, but he shook his head anyway. "C'mon, then. Don't be thick. I've been down't the pub for years. You lot could've stopped by!"

And Maude? Well, the poor thing was absolutely baffled. But Declan did what he could to fill in the gaps. "This is Maude Prichard. She does the sport announcements on the DWN, if you watch those. Writes some too, I think?" She nodded, looking rather scarlet. "Anyway, she works with Henry, so I've forced her to come along. She's from -- somewhere in Wales, aye?" She nodded again. "But she's a Scouser now, I'm afraid."

Maude nearly pointed out that she didn't think she was wanted at the match, and that she was pretty sure 'scouser' was an insult, but she decided against it. No need to spoil the mood, after all, just because she felt uncomfortable. But then she noticed just how studiously polite Declan was being towards the blonde woman. Jane. He wasn't avoiding her, but Ella's commentary and Jane's looks in Declan's direction were enough to give her an inkling. That, and how relaxed his smile was towards Jane as opposed to the others.

"Well, you're dead on, there. Henry will be thrilled," Declan said, easily leaving out anything to do with himself. It was a slight tease, and he lifted one eyebrow to make it clear, but on the whole it was rather casual. He was glad to see all of them, but the last thing he wanted was to linger on a topic that might cause unnecessary stress.

So Declan strode ahead, knowing the way to the box like the back of his hand, and completely failed to notice when Maude strayed to the back of the group, her hands toying nervously with her scarf.

"G'way, it's positively baltic out there," Declan said conversationally as they made it inside. "I half expect it to be pouring by the time the match ends."

But Ella had a question to pose that he hadn't expected. Turning his head to look at her properly as they walked, he didn't bother hiding his surprise. "Uh, she'll be around later, maybe. She's round her family's right now, I think. But we're heading up t'Dublin tomorrow for Christmas. Haven't been in years. Henry's comin' too, so it'll be nice. But, yeah. Dunno if she's coming. Her family is... well, something of a handful sometimes."

They reached the stairs and he led the way up, then too the left. Henry was in the hall, clearly trying to escape from a conversation. Declan decided to relieve him, whether the other person liked it or not.

"Oi! Tross!"

Henry turned, smirking at Declan before giving what looked like a lacking farewell to the woman. When he reached the group, he looked exasperated. "She was chopsy, that one. Merlin. Conley! Caerphilly colors. That scarf's a beaut." He winked, then turned to Sean and the girls, greeting them all as warmly as he would have after a summer away from school.

But once he pulled away from the hug he offered Jane, he froze, half holding the blonde's arm still. That was not a Catapults color, or even a Harpies one. But his expression was still one of surprise, though the pleasant sort. Henry released Jane, looking over at Declan and muttering, "Oh, the cheek o'ya."

Declan tilted his head with a smile, as if to say that Henry should've known better.

So Henry made his way towards Maude, pulling her properly into the group with the arm around her shoulders. He realized somewhere in the back of his mind that she could probably get him in trouble for this, as his employee, but she wasn't pulling away. So at least she was relatively relaxed with the situation on hand. "Alright, lass. In we go," he told her. To the rest, he pointed down a couple of doors. "It's down by there."
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Post by Ella Blair Woods on Sat Mar 04, 2017 2:18 am

At Declan’s weather prediction, Sean shot a dark look to the cloudy sky, muttering a curse under his breath and sticking his hands more firmly into his pockets, only half trying to hide his relief to be indoors. Not that any of the others noticed, Jane and Conley only half-hiding their interest in Dec’s answer to Ella’s question. Which wasn’t as interesting as some members of the party might have hoped.

“Och, what a bummer. I’m feeling a connection to her already,” Ella announced in response to Dec’s comment, overdoing it on the disappointment a bit, perhaps, but knowing that the implication wouldn’t be allowed to pass by any of the family members it was directed at.

Indeed, Sean caught the comment, and satisfyingly, he bit. She hadn’t doubted he would.

“Oi, I’ll box yer ears if it'll make us more bearable” Sean shot her what was supposed to be a warning look, but the underlying amusement only elicited a smirk and a snort, no mind paid to what for all intents and purposes was a display of startling immaturity. But then, what was new? Dec had definitely seen worse.

Conley reached out to poke Ella again, but before matters could escalate any further, their attention was drawn by a familiar figure and Dec's loud interjection. Even Jane, who’d just noticed Maude’s falling to the back of the group and slowed her own pace in an attempt to tag beside the woman, found herself distracted from her efforts by the sudden appearance of the birthday boy himself. And as it turned out, she needn’t have bothered.

She followed Ella and the boys in greeting him, but half-caught in Henry’s embrace, Jane frowned in confusion and shot a quick look over at Declan, only to find herself following his gaze to Maude. Ella, enjoying a less obscured view, had caught the entire manoeuvre, the look of surprise- pleasant, no less- that flit across Henry’s face at the sight of the Welsh woman, the old friend he was greeting forgotten. Conley too, had caught it, for he shot Ella a meaningful brow raise, lips curling almost imperceptibly into a knowing smile. His cousin was far less subtle. She grinned.

And when Henry pulled Maude closer, the grin very nearly turned into a comment. Fortunately for Henry, not so fortunately for Ella, Conley also anticipated this, nudging his cousin and turning to Dec as Henry led the way in.

“His colleague, you said?” The question was accompanied with an expression of slight skepticism, but greater amusement. In all likelihood, Conley didn’t need confirmation to draw whatever- likely correct- assumptions he’d already drawn. Ella knew this, and she also knew the question was more for her benefit, using her curiosity to keep her quiet. A dirty trick if ever there was one.

She leaned in a little closer for his answer anyway.

Sean and Jane reached the door first, less observant- or simply less interested- in Henry’s entanglements than the other two. They were sharing a quiet laugh when the rest of the group quickly followed. As they entered the box, Sean raised his voice and called over to Henry, only half-joking but unable to resist teasing the younger man.

“Here, Tross, you could'na found us a match worth watching, could you?”
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