|Scene Title||Long Time No See|
|Synopsis||Siobhan and Alistaire meet for the first time in 3 months. They proceed to have A Discussion.|
|Location||Deserted Road, Hogsmeade|
|Date||Oct 15, 1994|
|Watch For||Numerous WHO references (Because we are dorks), Nirvana, chips and a surprise ending.|
|Logger||I am the Bad Wolf.|
Ambling along the peaceful walk, Siobhan - for once in her school uniform - carries in one hand a small carton of chips drizzled in vinegar. Every so often she brings one to her mouth, savoring the juicy potato before swallowing it down. It's a rare sight to see her in Hogsmeade without some group of friends or other, but today she seems to have given them the slip, preferring to be alone. She must have a song playing in her head, for every few moments she hums a line or two, and her walking is a bit bouncier than usual - more like dancing. Funny…that sounds like Nirvana she's humming. Odd song choice for a British witch, but then again, this /is/ Sio.
Standing up on a hillock, looking over the village, a tall man in a brown duster seems to be a statue. The wind ruffles his hair as his brown eyes take in the scenery with only a little interest. Students seem to be milling about down in the valley, going along the streets of Hogsmeade and doing youthful things, and Alistaire's mind seems lost in the memories of those days when he himself was one of them, with most of the same shops still there, the same trifling concerns about classes and exams. Some worries about dark wizards, but at Hogwarts with Dumbledore in charge, it's easy to think one was safe and protected. Not so these days. Then he blinks and sniffs at the wafted scent of taters, wrinkling at the vinegar, but the snatches of song also garner interest, and Ali shakes his head as he catches sight of the witch. "I should've known," he murmurs in his Scottish dialect.
Siobhan, however, is not as observant as Alistaire. At least, not in the same way. As such, she remains blissfully unaware of his presence, arranging her hands - carefully with the chips - to play a bit of air guitar before popping another chip in her mouth. "Come, as you are, as you were, as I waaant you to be…" She trails off and spins around, bobbing her head to the music in her mind and completely unashamed of her silliness. Her voice is pleasant to listen to, pitched well and with just a hint of a growl in it - appropriate for the song choice, no doubt. Spinning again, she flops down on the slope of a hill not too far off the path. In so doing, Alistaire's unmistakable figure falls right into her line of sight. Eyes wide, she immediately stops humming and just stares. "Oh…" She shakes herself after a moment and turns to her chips, sinking her teeth into another one. "It's you." Her voice is light and casual, but her heart-rate is up and her hands are a bit shaky; the true giveaways of her nervousness.
Alistaire looks down at Siobhan and then promptly departs from his perch, slipping down the slope until he can crouch on the grass next to her, elbows on his knees, hands loose, one brow arched. "Yep," he answers, putting a bit of extra pop on that p on the end. "Just on a bit of a break," he adds to answer the question he knows is coming next. "How's school treating you?" is his next question as his gaze shifts from the young woman to the landscape, his brow crinkling a bit as it's wont to do when he's thinking of distant things or watching for trouble.
Oh he /would/ come closer. "It's been fine." You know, aside from pranks and plots and being dropped all over the castle while knocked out and making the Malfoy heir /wet/ himself. Totally fine. Popping another chip in her mouth, she chews it slowly, savoring the flavor but not offering to share. She's still not best pleased with him right yet. "And you? Haven't seen you for a while, now." UNDERSTATEMENT ALERT. Ahem.
Alistaire doesn't look down at her. He can't. Not now. "I've been out of the country," he explains. "Ministry had me on assignment in America, tracking and taking on one of our own. Finally caught him, but it took some doing. We lost one of the American wizards on the team, and another one's in their version of St. Mungos." It's obvious his gaze isn't on anything specific now, eyes shifting back and forth slightly as if reviewing the past and reflecting on what could have been done differently.
Damn, damn and double /damn/! Having had several months in which to nurse her hurt feelings and summon up righteous anger, Sio promised herself that /if/ she ever saw him again, she'd give him a piece of her mind; she wasn't her mother's daughter for nothing! But now, when confronted with his Look and his obvious - at least to her - self-abusing guilt, she found she just didn't have the heart to be angry with him. Damn the man! Heaving a heavy sigh, she sets her chips to one side and scoots over, laying her head on his shoulder and her hand over his - might as well be comfortable, right? "What happened?" she asked softly, giving him the opening to discuss it if he wishes.
It takes a moment for Alistaire to realize what she's doing, and for a brief second, he automatically resists out of surprise, it's been so long since someone offered this kind of comfort to him. Longer still since he allowed it. But this girl… this young woman… is different. Shifting so he's actually seated, he slips his hand from under hers, instead sliding that arm around her so she can be properly comfortable against his shoulder. "A cornered animal is the most dangerous," he says quietly, "of all the creatures on this Earth, that is the most intense truth. And the other side can and will play dirty tricks to ensure their victory or even simple survival. One of Voldemort's functionaries was looking for support in America and terrorizing those who stood up to him."
Allowing him to shift until the both of them are comfortable, Sio settles against his side and listens in silence. She inhales a little sharply at the casual mention of the Dark Lord's name, but that's more habit than anything by now. Her outside hand plays absentmindedly with the blades of grass, giving her something to /do/ while she listens and ponders. "And you cornered him?" she guesses softly, shifting her head to look up at him while still reclining.
"We did," Alistaire answers quietly, his Scottish accent a soft whisper. "And Gregory didn't get under cover quick enough. The suspect fired off the Killing Curse without even /thinking/. To sentence someone to death just like that… I wish that spell had never been invented," he mutters, curling his free hand into a fist in his lap, looking down at it. "And the bastard thought it was /funny/ to Transfigure Clarice. She was a beautiful witch…"
A little annoyed that he seemed to snag on that /particular/ detail about this Clarice, Sio pulls a face but wisely makes no comment. She's not /that/ immature. "It's a terrible spell, an' that's the truth," she agrees quietly, just enough commentary from her to let him know she's listening and to encourage him to get it all off his chest. "What did he change her into?" Sometimes it helps just to say things out loud. Sometimes.
"He didn't change her into anything," Alistaire answers, shaking his head. "He just changed what she looked like and then tortured her into insanity. Just like…" but he doesn't continue, shaking his head once more. "I'm sorry, I shouldn't burden you with this… but I couldn't send you an owl, not with any of this. And I shouldn't be telling you in person either."
Siobhan nods once, the motion causing her cheek to rub against his shoulder. "It's harder to drum up sympathy for an ugly victim than a pretty one." A harsh truth, but one her Slytherin streak understands almost instinctively. The fact that she so quickly catches on to the thought processes of a terrible wizard makes her shudder. No time to dwell on that, though, as it would seem he's trying to beat himself up over sharing this with her. "Don't be stupid, Ali." Her chastisement is soft, but firm. She doesn't sit up or pull away, just rests there and argues her point. "It's no worse than some of the things I've heard from Jack." Pulling up a few strands of grass, she scatters them into the stiff breeze, thankful for her cloak against the chill. "I'm only hearing it. You had to see it. That's really an awful weight to carry around with you. Tell me about it and it's not just your weight anymore yeah? S'like my mum says. You've gotta unload with someone or you'll be more miserable than a wet hen." She smiles to herself. "I don't mind listening, really, and I'm very good at keeping secrets." Her voice is a little lighter there, as if she sees the problem as solved. "I understand about the owl, though to be honest I thought you just were done with me." This is said matter-of-factly, with no hint of self-pity. It's a viable assumption, after all, they didn't exactly part on the best of terms last time. "If it has to happen again, just send me something to let me know you're alright, yeah?"
Alistaire blinks and turns his head toward her, although given her head is on his shoulder, he can't actually look at her properly. "No, Siobhan," he says quietly. "It wasn't that." He's finally realizing that his unthinking absence has caused her grief. He twitches his shoulder to bounce her head off of it, shifting so he /can/ properly look into her eyes. "I'm not used to having someone to talk to about things like this." Unclenching his hand, he reaches out and brushes his fingers against her cheek. "It's been so long."
Bounced upwards, Siobhan follows the unspoken order and lifts her head to look at him properly. Those fingers on her face send a shiver up her spine, but she just smiles at him. "Well, I'd say it's high time you got used to it again, Ali." Her voice is soft, but light. "Cause I'm not goin' anywhere." That smile spreads slowly into her teasing grin, tongue just poking from between her teeth. "You," she pokes him playfully in the chest, "are stuck with me, now."
Alistaire searches her eyes for something… he's not even sure what it might be. "Hanging out with me is /dangerous/," he murmurs very sadly. "I should send you away, for your own safety. I'm not sure I can bear the thought of losing you, or seeing you in danger, or running the risk you'll wind up like Clarice." It's about the most honest he's ever been, the most open, explaining why he's so troubled about her. "Or…" and then his voice breaks, he can't even say her name, not even now. "You can't even imagine what it's like seeing someone you l…" And he says nothing more, looking away with a defeated slump, releasing her and standing up once more, heedless of any possible grass stains on his coat.
Warm brown eyes meet his own without hesitation, open and honest. With him, there is no hidden agenda. Siobhan hears him out and lets him go, but after a moment, she too rises from the ground - though she remembers to brush herself off. With slow, non-threatening movements, Sio crosses in front of him and turns around so she can see his face. "Here's the way I see it." Her voice is calm, but there's a hint of steel behind it now. Baby means business. "The world right now is a damned dangerous place to be in. I'm gonna be in danger whether I spend time with you or never see you again. I'm not the kind of person who can just spend her life at home doing nothing; you know that." The wind blows her hair in her face and she pauses to push it back. "Is there a chance I could get hurt or die? Yes. But that chance won't go away just because you do, and if you disappear now, you'll take that chance of loss and turn it into a certainty." Taking a step forward, she reaches out to take both of his hands in hers. "I know where I stand. You're insane and you're arrogant and emotionally obtuse and disturbingly astute and you are absolutely brilliant and…and I wouldn't have you any other way. So long as I have a choice, I'm choosing to stay right here; right with you." Her cheeky grin makes its first appearance, adding a bit of brevity to the situation. "Besides, if you send me away, who's going to yell at me for wandering off and getting my arse into trouble, hmm?"
Alistaire lets out a long sigh as she begins her spiel, shaking his head once as he looks down at her, still full of sorrow for the lost ones in his past. "There's a difference between being in the same danger as everyone else, and deliberately stepping forward and being a target. Associating with an Auror is that," he says, although there's a sense that this is last argument. "The bad guys like to make us suffer by making those we care about suffer or die. Hell, death is the /easy/ way out. And I don't want you to be targeted just because you're… whatever you want to be to me."
Thrown off-track by the severe oddity of that last statement, Siobhan blinks a few times in confusion before shaking her head to clear it. "Have you not been paying attention, Ali?" There's exasperated affection in her voice with this. "Ask Jack. Hell, ask /Snape/ if you want an unbiased opinion. I've been walking right into Trouble since I was a kid. I'm the baby sister of a cursebreaker with none too few enemies. I'm friends with Tonks. I've single-handedly humiliated the Malfoy heir, been drugged and beaten to a bruised pulp and in the middle of an inter-House feud that could end in expulsion or worse." She trusts Alistaire. Not even /Jack/ hears this much. "And all of this over the last few months when I had /no contact/ with you whatsoever." She grins and tilts her head to the side. "I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that being with you isn't going to change much."
Alistaire's eyes narrow at the mention of Malfoy, even if it's just the scion and not the father of epic suspicions. "So what do you want to be?" he finally asks, giving in to her desire to stick with him despite the danger. He looks down at her, fighting the admiration that wants him to grin at her loyalty, still mostly focusing on being concerned for her welfare. Even so, he starts examining her for signs of the bruising she mentions, worry creeping across his features.
Again with the strange question. It throws Siobhan off-guard, if only because he was always so…hesitant to define or even discuss such things. It's twice now he's mentioned it, this time a bit more pointedly. Those intense brown eyes search his face and gaze, searching for something unnamed. This trip must have really shaken him; it's the only thing she can conclude. She seems to weigh her options, wanting to be honest but afraid to frighten him away. Finally, she tilts her head to one side and smiles softly. "I'm not gonna lie, Ali. You're /gorgeous/." As if to emphasize her point, she drags a blatantly obvious gaze down his body and back up again. "And I like you, quite a lot. I… /I/ want the chance to explore something further with you." At this, her smile fades a little, replaced by earnestness. "But that's a two-way road, Ali. I'll be your friend if that's what you want, but I won't be an obligation." Blonde hair is pushed back from her face, the roots just now starting to show through her natural brown. "So the question really becomes; who do /you/ want to be?"
"I want…" And Alistaire pauses for a moment, releasing her hands and fishing in his pocket pulling out a slim brown billfold sort of thing. When it opens, at first the paper is blank, then after a tap of his silver-runed wand, an image forms. A younger Alistaire, a beautiful redhead with sapphire eyes, and two young kids. He looks at the image sorrowfully. "I want to be someone who is honest with you," he says quietly before he turns the paper so she can see it. "This is Jerilyn, Kathryn, and Nathan. My wife and kids." He lets that bombshell fall and explode before adding softly, "This was taken a little while before they were killed over ten years ago by Voldemort's supporters. I /will not/ show you the photos taken by the Ministry when their bodies were found." And then he waits, his voice hollow, his grief still very much palpable even now.
That bombshell, while sufficient enough to shock Siobhan into silence, is not as unexpected as he might think. Though she had no idea how or when or who, it was pretty apparent by now that he had lost /someone/ dear to him. And because of his position too. No one is that cautious without reason. Reaching up to gently cradle the back of the billfold, she holds it steady to get a better look. Staring at the faces on the paper, she can't help but wonder what these people were like - what Alistaire was like before this broke him - and wishing she'd been able to know them. After a moment, she finally finds her voice, though it is choked. "They're beautiful, Ali." She looks from the picture to his face, her eyes conveying a level of empathetic sorrow that would surprise someone who didn't know her so well. She doesn't say anything else; there's really nothing else to say. An apology from her would be trite and meaningless. Reaching one hand out, she takes his free one again, slipping her fingers between his and squeezing gently.
"So now you know," Alistaire says quietly. "Over half of the reason I was so… well, you know." Looking at the billfold but making no move to take it back, he's a bit surprised to find his fingers entwined. "I don't know if I have the strength to see you like I found them," he admits hollowly. "And there is the fact that you're half my age. I'll be forty next year. My /kids/ would have been your age, and most people will look askance at a bloke my age dating someone who could be his daughter. And you're still in school." Now that the floodgates are open, he cites all of his excuses one by one. "There's the fact that you deserve the chance to look beyond the first guy to excite you and see if you might be happier with someone else." Ramble, ramble, dig that grave just a bit deeper. "And…" And he looks at her… really /looks/. And the passion he once had for someone else, now long gone, wells up. And using that hand she captured, he tugs her closer, into his arms. "I think you need a doctor." He bends his head down and captures her lips with his own, forgetting all of those excuses for just a little while, giving her something she craves, something he realizes he likewise wanted.
"I hate to tell you this, mate, but you're not the first guy t—" Before Siobhan even has time to finish that one sentence, she finds herself tugged off balance, supported almost completely by the strong arms that wind around her. Lost in his kiss, it takes a moment before her brain kicks in, but when it does, she returns it; passionately. Hands winding around his neck for support, she kisses him until she fears loss of consciousness from lack of oxygen. Chest heaving, she pulls back, resting her forehead against his for a moment. She offers him a wobbly sort of smile, waiting for a few seconds more before trying to speak. "Well, that was officially the weirdest pickup line I've ever had." Her voice is breathless, but her eyes are sparkling. The brat's teasing. Lifting her face, she places three soft kisses to his mouth, mere brushes of lips. "Definite points for originality."
Alistaire doesn't let her go that easily. Not now, not after he finally broke the barrier and actually /could/ let himself give in and be willing to love. "Was it a pick-up line?" he asks, equally breathlessly, his lips trailing more kisses along her jaw. "I wasn't trying to, and I shouldn't be doing this either… everyone will freak." Yet there's a bit of him that doesn't really care what 'everyone' will say. "You're still a student…"
"Let them freak," Siobhan breathes, trying to concentrate beyond the fact that her neck is really sensitive and he's getting closer to it. "We're both adults and since when do you care what 'everyone' thinks?" She laughs softly then, a little overcome by the sudden shift in paradigm. "I dunno. It sounded like a pick up line… Well," she corrects herself, still grinning. "It sounded like something /you/ might use for one."
"I'd be offended," he murmurs into her ear as he pauses to hold her tightly and to put some kind of rein. "If I didn't know I was out of practice." He bows his head over her shoulder and blows out a shaky breath. "But I hope you'll forgive me any lapses… this… this is a lot to process, so much to deal with."
With a little bit of repositioning, Siobhan winds her arms about his waist, rubbing soothing circles over his back. "I think it's less a matter of practice and more a matter of your odd sense of humor," she offers gently, a teasing note in her voice. A slight turn of her head allows her to place a gentle kiss to the side of his face. "There's nothing to forgive you for, Ali. It'll just take some time to adjust, is all." Siobhan; the eternal optimist.
Alistaire leans into that gentle kiss, his eyes closed. "And I hope you'll forgive my mad desire to see that you're safe," he states in a soft tone. "If anything happened to you, there wouldn't be much point in living anymore." Such a heady comment from someone who lived through the last time he lost someone dear to him. Why's she different? Or maybe he didn't so much have a reason to live as a duty to bring his family's killers to justice.
Siobhan, as much as she would like to say anything to assauge his fear, will not start this thing between them with anything less than the blunt and honest truth. "I already forgive it, Ali, but I won't indulge it." Soft words, murmured into his ear, even as she continues to run her hand over his back comfortingly. "I want you safe too, you know," she informs him gently. "But I can't hide from life any more than you could, alright?" She doesn't comment on the odd logic behind his assertion of her importance, chalking it up to another one of those Confusing Things Alistaire Does.
Alistaire nods and hugs her tightly to him, almost as if trying to wrap his coat around her. And then he gives in to his desire and nibbles against her neck, exploring this young lady's person in a rather personal way. "I just don't want you to do anything stupid… and I promise I'll try not to either… we both have something to live for now."
That nibbling of her neck causes Siobhan to inhale sharply. "I'm a /Slytherin/, Ali. I don't /do/ stupid." And while this isn't entirely true - some of the situations she's ended up in have been rather…unhealthy - it is, at least, the general rule of things. That last comment however…really confuses her. Pulling back, just enough so that she can look him in the face, Sio studies him intently. "Alistaire, are you feeling alright?"
"I feel quite weird," Alistaire proclaims, finally unleashing /that/ grin. "Not sure if it's good or bad, but who cares?" he queries, grabbing her and swinging her around with an honest-to-goodness hearty laugh.
Pulled up in the air and spun around, Siobhan can't help but join in that laugh, her worry of a moment ago forgotten - for better or ill. When finally once again on the ground, she stumbles backwards, sprawling on her back in the grass. Her mouth is stretched in one of her bright smiles, her cheeks are flushed and her eyes are dancing. "You," she raises one hand and points a finger in his direction. "Are a looney." Just in case, of course, he wasn't already aware of that fact.
Alistaire grins cheekily at her as he shucks out of his long coat, tossing it on the ground and stretching out. He beckons for her to join him on the coat all comfy-like, crossing his legs at the ankle and taking a deep breath.
On impulse, Siobhan rolls in the grass like a child, ending up right where she meant to be and grinning up at him impetuously. "So, how long do I get you for before the Brigadier swoops down and snatches you with her claws?"
"This afternoon and this evening," Alistaire answers promptly as he considers things. "But I have to work tomorrow," he adds with an affected pout. "But…" and he frowns slightly. "I'm staying here in Hogsmeade tonight…" He leaves the point in the air for her to choose to decide if she's going to break rules or not.
Siobhan? Break rules? Only when it suits her. It just so happens, however, that this suits her. "I have a potion I need to go back and work on, but I could probably manage something." She turns her head and grins up at him wickedly. "I need to show a certain full-of-himself bastard that you don't give me that many bruises unless you want to pay for it with your own hide. Where are you staying at?"
"Hog's Head," Alistaire replies with a shrug. "Ministry didn't want to pop for the Broomsticks." A finger trails lightly along the side of her face, and he's got the Serious Eyebrow going on again. "Be careful, for my sake." Worry? Actual worry, rather than undefined not wanting her to be bloodied and beat up and whatever, weird. "But it means I can afford dinner…"
Siobhan leans into that slight touch and closes her eyes for a moment, her expression content. "It's not even the real brewing bit. I just have to get into Snape's stores before everyone comes back from Hogsmeade." Whether this visit to the professor's private stores is condoned or not is left unsaid. Plausible deniability is a wonderful thing. With the most reassuring smile she can muster, Sio winks. "No danger whatsoever." His last statement perks her interest. "Dinner sounds lovely. I can nip back to the school this afternoon, get what I need, clean up a bit and meet you back here around…say, six?"
Alistaire doesn't really seem to care whether the raid on Snape's store is condoned or not, in fact, his eyes twinkle when she mentions it, and a rather approving look appears on his face, although he says not a word there. "Just expect to get an evil eye from the guy who runs the place, especially if you act like you like his goat."
For some reason, that sends Sio into a fit of helpless giggles. Picturing the look on the poor barman's face as Alistaire no doubt sits down to have a conversation with the man's pet goat. Or something just as silly, anyway. "Oh, don't worry about me, I've been in there before. The guy's really not half bad, you know." He just doesn't like people to get his goat. Pardon the pun. She snickers a little and looks up into familiar brown eyes. "Do I even /want/ to know how you discovered that?"
"No," Alistaire says emphatically with a cheeky grin, hugging her again. "I don't mind the guy either, but I didn't wanna assume that you'd met him before or were aware of his… proclivities." He winks one brown eye impudently. "However, you were going… and I'll see you then, eh?"
Blinking for a moment, Siobhan shakes herself and sits up. "Ew." A momentary stretch and she sighs. "Yes, yes, I'm going." She leans over Alistaire then, peering down on him with a playful grin. "Anxious to be rid of me, are you?" she teases, leaning in to press a soft kiss to his mouth. Pulling away reluctantly, she stands and stretches again; long periods of inactivity apparently don't sit well with her. "I'll see you tonight, Ali. /Try/ not to blow anything up?" She turns and starts the trek back up to the castle. "At least not until I get back? I wanna watch the fireworks!" she calls over her shoulder before disappearing over a small hill. Her forlorn basket of chips - now stone cold and abandoned - lies forgotten on the grass.