(1937-09-19) Apologies & Explanations
Details for Apologies & Explanations
Summary: Gideon comes to apologize to Niamh for ignoring her, and ends up telling the tale of his war against the Montague family.
Date: September 19, 1937
Location: Kilkenny Apothecary
Related: The Barking of Dogs

Evening at the Apothecary. Not the swingingest place in London. Not even in the 'Alley. Still, it's a place where the proprietress calls 'home', and as a result, makes her own hours. And the hours she's been choosing lately is to stay open just a bit longer than posted. She's had her fill of going out for the time being (she'd closed early yesterday), and now Niamh O'Shea finds herself at work, the gaslights lit, and she's behind a set of bunsen burners attached to a distillery setup. She's in a leather apron, and beside her, thick leather gloves. Hazel eyes watch the process as it moves, making corrections in the heat, in the pressure..

In the cooling air of the meandering street outside, a stark figure stands in front of the apothecary shop. He stares with squinted eyes, locked in a moment of indecision. Inside that shop is a dame worth a hundred of him. But for some reason, she's taken a shine to the grizzled detective. It's been a long time since someone has given him serious cause for distraction from his work…his quest. But it's that very work that now puts her in the sight of some people he'd rather she had never met. Walk away, says his cold, hard, sensible self. She's safer without you. Just walk away.

So, of course, Hit Wizard Inspector Gideon steps into the the shop. Sensible has never been his strong suit. The creak of the door and the heavy footfalls of his scuffed shoes announce his presence. Once he spots Niamh, he pauses, doffing his hat and waiting.

Nia's got her attention on the pressure as it builds, and her gaze flickers up, but it's obvious that it doesn't quite register who it is, as she adds with a distracted, 'Be right there..' before she adjusts the heat. There is that three second delay before it sinks in as to who it is that has darkened her doorstep, and it's the second time that she raises her head that she has a genuine, warm smile in place that reaches to her eyes. She takes up her leather gloves and steps away from her still, reaching behind to pull off the heavy leather apron. "Inspector," and she can see his expression now, fully, and she slows. She studies him in full, the smile in place, though it looks a little droopy. "Tea?" It's why she stays open at night, after all.

Gideon opens his mouth to turn down the tea, but quickly thinks better of it. "Tea would be appreciated. Thank you." There is undeniable tension in his voice. Even he isn't entirely sure what he means to say yet. He takes a few short steps forward, eyeing the distillery. "Your latest concoction?" Small talk should buy him a little time to sort out his thoughts.

Nia seems to always have a pot going; of course she does. She's Irish! She goes to pour the water and steep the leaves, and once done, crosses the short distance to hand it to him, rather than putting it on a counter for him to retrieve. She's close now, and she can feel the tension, as well as the overwhelming.. maleness of him. "Hmmm?" Twisting about, she takes a breath and exhales, nodding. "Wiggenweld." A soft, somewhat self-conscious smile and laugh rises, "Just in case?" Now, however, she takes a deep breath and doesn't move from her spot before him. "I was wondering if you were going to play on Friday.."

Gideon takes the tea, nodding as she explains the potion. He takes a sip, but as he lowers the cup, there she is, still standing close, the scent of her momentarily rising above the various odors of the shop. Walk away? Yeah, right. You could nae walk away now if she Imperius Cursed you to. He clears his throat, giving another nod. "Aye, I thought I might. I'm sure I'll be needing to blow off some steam." Now's your chance. Tell her it would be better if she dinnae come. "Will I see you there?" Gideon, you idiot.

And there it is.. and it's as if all those moments of lost sleep, those thoughts of doubt never existed in her mind. Nia's smile relights, and it reaches those hazel eyes to cause them to dance and gleam in pleasure. "Well, I was thinking about it. You had said you take requests, too.." That last bit is given in a soft, singsong tease. "I might want to hear my choices before?"

"Well…I dinnae always take requests. But from you…" He shrugs boyishly, somehow managing to look sheepish for a brief moment. "You want me to list every song I know? That could take a while."

Nia looks pleased, and she raises a hand to touch his arm before turning about; that boyish gesture sets her heart a-thumping. She's going to get a stool for him, and as she moves behind the counter, her voice raises conversationally. "I could ask you to sing a measure of every one of them, or you could tell me your favourites, and I can choose from the smaller list." She cants her head, "The men in the club. English mostly?" There's a reason for the question, obviously, but she's not yet telling the reason for the question..

Gideon follows her to the counter, setting down his teacup. "Ah…I only perform at home or at The Dog and Bone, and yes, they're mostly English there, poor laddies." It's a rule, apparently. "But, I suppose…my favourites. Obviously you heard 'These Are My Mountains'. There's 'The Four Marys,' 'The Battle of Harlaw,' 'The Soldier's Return'…" He pauses to gauge her reaction, should she recognize any of the songs.

"Oh.." is given in response to their being English, and nothing more. The song Nia was thinking of, well.. could get them arrested by the constabulary, and so waves her hand to dismiss the thought. As he recites the list, her eyes widen in recognition. "Mary Hamilton! Oh, I do love that song.." Beat. "They don't mind that one?" She listens to the others and exhales in a soft sigh. "I'd love to hear that one."

Gideon shakes his head. "They like it when I sing it, but only because they like to poke fun and call me Mary. So you might find that one is a different experience that you'd get hearing it in Scotland."

"I can imagine," comes in a chuckle. "But, if they call you Mary, perhaps I won't ask for that one?" Nia comes back around, and she's got the stool for him. "I wouldn't want them t'get ideas that you're anything but a man." And a handsome one at that. Leaning against her counter now, she looks comfortable at it, "I still need to see the country proper. I've found a list of herbs that can be got there, and perhaps a bit cheaper than what I'm paying my supplier for." See? Work.. and pleasure.

Gideon takes the seat and leans on arm on the countertop. See the country? She making plans…it's time to have the real talk, Gid. "Listen, Niamh…there's something I should talk to you about." His brow knits in concern, deep crevices forming between his eyebrows.

Nia's brows rise, and her head quirks to the side, and her teeth worry at her bottom lip for the moment. There's that shift of mien with him, and she takes a deep breath, letting it out slowly. "You're married." Of course.. how could someone like him not be? At his age? Their age? "I should have known." It's why the men at the pub were talking, taking bets. It's not something she lingers on, however, before she goes into a different direction. "You're in danger?" He's a Hit Wizard. They're always in danger. "Is there anything I can do?"

Gideon lets out a heavy sigh, holding up a hand to stay her questions for now. "I was married. She's…she's gone. But…yes, I'm in danger. It's part of the job. But it's you I'm worried for." He runs a hand down his face, pausing for a breath. "I saw you last night in the club. There are things you need to know about that place…about its owner."

Gone? Before she can even hold herself silent, Nia whispers, "I'm sorry.." in genuine sympathy. Still, the hand that has asked for forebearance does bring her silence again as she listens. "Me? Aye.. I was. And had a time of it," and it doesn't sound as if it was in the good way. "I got attention from a young man.." and ignored by Gideon. She is in her mid-30s, now.. and she's finding the years slipping away now. "Then, one of my oldest mates from school decided that I wasn't good enough to dance with. Until, of course, I followed him to the bar and guilted him into it." She pauses, and her brows rise in question. "The owner.. Wolfgang Montague.. his name was, I think? He was the one who asked me to dance." And she turned him down.

The mere mention of the Montague name is enough to harden Gideon's face. "Him. Yes. I want you to promise me that you'll be very careful around him. Tell him nothing personal. I won't tell you where you can and cannae go…but I would prefer it if you stayed away from the Natrix. The Montagues are dangerous."

Nia watches Gideon's face, and her brow creases, her nose crinkling a little as she studies him. Her head nods slowly, the intensity of the request certainly registers with her. "Okay." It's taken her that moment to bring out the word, and now that she's agreed, now the questions begin. "Is the Ministry investigating them? Is there something I should know about my business?" They're not on the list of 'do not sell to'; she's remember that! "Are you in danger from them?" Well, above and beyond the normal.

So many questions. Of course she would ask them. He's just opened a can of worms that cannot be sealed again. "Perhaps I'd best tell you everything. It is nae pretty, but may need to know." He pauses for a beat to get her reaction. Maybe she doesn't want to know. Maybe she'll be frightened enough to just send him away.

For a long moment, Nia stands there, watching Gideon before she nods her head, a decision obviously made. In for a penny, in for a pound, and she cares about this man. There is just something comforting about his presence, strong, secure.. and she crosses the store to lock the front door, shift the sign to read 'closed', and turns down the gaslights. "I live upstairs.. we'll be more comfortable there?" She smiles, a little sheepishly, "I can't promise Keenan won't come in later, too tired to take the second flight to his flat, but I'll lock the door anyway."

Gideon swallows his hestitation, seeing the sense in moving to a more private locale. He can't be sure that Montague's people aren't watching even now. "Alright. After you." He stands, ready to follow her.

Nia nods and once the shop is fully locked up, she opens a back door that leads directly to a stairwell. She begins to ascend, "It's this way. Mine is on the first floor, Keenan's is on the second." Once at the top of the stairs, she opens the door to reveal a comfortable, if not a little small, flat. It's decorated well- very girly; a couch, a couple of chairs, a coal stove for winter. She's got lace doilies on the backs of all the chairs, and the curtains in the windows are heavy brocades that hearken back to the last century, and they're drawn. In the kitchen, there's a wood burning stove, and an ice box. Her bedroom is back and off to the side, as well as the WC.

Once Gideon is through the door, she closes it behind them and crosses the room to put the kettle on. "I've got tea on." Coming back out, she gestures towards the seats, "Sit down?" Please? "Welcome to my flat."

"Thank you. You keep a lovely home." Now that Gideon is in her home, he removes his coat, hanging it up with his hat. He wears a simple gray suit beneath, his tie a bit loose, shirt slightly rumpled. He selects and chair and takes a seat, waiting for her to settle in.

Once that's done, she has to wait for the kettle to come to a boil, and she kicks her shoes off to curl up on the couch, pulling now bare feet up. "Thank you." It's just her, so there's no one around to even leave socks on the floor, or the occasional glass left alongside the edge of the chair to be knocked over a week later when discovered. "An' it doesn't smell like eggs," is added with a good-natured smile. Nia puts an elbow on the arm of the couch and props her chin. "I'm part of the Floo, so you know."

Gideon nods, "That's good." Perhaps not his most brilliant response, but his mind is elsewhere at the moment. Not a man for mincing words, he dives right in. "I was married once. She was a Hit Witch. That's how we met. Lyla and I…we were partners in everything. We'd spent years pursuing an ongoing investigation against a man named Piero Montague." He pauses to let the name register.

Nia is listening now, attentive, her hand holding her ankles up so they don't dangle. Her gaze is settled upon Gideon, and it's not about to move anywhere else throughout the explanation. "I see.." she murmurs. "Piero Montague. His father? Grandfather?" She knew Wolfgang was too young, though.. she can see and understand how the sins of the fathers..

"His father," he confirms, "And the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. Do you remember the tall man that stopped me in the club? His name is Brendan Sweeney. He's an enforcer for the Montague syndicate, and suspected in a great many assaults and murders. He used to answer to Piero. It seems he's working for Montague Jr. now." He leans forward in his seat, clasping his hands and getting back to the story. "Six years ago, Lyla was with child. She'd taken leave and gone to her family's home in the country." His voice grows quieter, but harder, his face turning stony as well. One can almost hear the dam being erected to hold back the flood. "There was a fire. I quit the M.L.E., and tried to drink myself to death. But something didn't add up. My gut told me that it was no accident. Lyla was too careful. Too alert. So I investigated, and eventually the finger was pointed to Piero Montague."

Nia's hand rises to her mouth, hazel eyes widening, either from the name mentioned, or the fact that Gideon had lost a wife and a child, or perhaps both. More likely the second, as she can feel her eyes filling in the recounting, and the confession of it having nearly killed him with drink. "Oh.." And in that soft exhale is a world of 'I'm sorry'. But it doesn't make her want to step back, doesn't make her reassess. If anything, she's fighting the urge to get off her couch and walk to the chair and kneel at the arm. It's a hard fight, and the battle is hard won, but not without her changing her position and posture on the couch.

"Sweeney?" Nia looks up and asks quietly, "About fifty or so?" She doesn't wait for an answer, however, and she continues, "He came in the Cauldron today when I was having lunch with Eddie. She's an Auror. Eddie called him over to our table to .." She pauses and drops her hands in order to fuss with her fingers, "Well, I wasn't feeling particularly m'self with the setbacks of last night, and she wanted to prove a point.. so she called him over and asked him if he thought I was pretty." She shakes her head, "I was mortified and wanted to crawl under the table.. and I knew I recognized him from somewhere, but I didn't think it was the club?"

Gideon's steely eyes suddenly alight with fire. "He came to the Cauldron? Montague, you bloody fool," he snarls. "Niamh, you must be extremely careful. I am so sorry that I've gotten you mixed up in all of this. I was an idiot to think you'd be safe around me." He stands up, a look of raw determination in his eyes. "I need to find Lovegood. You stay here. Make certain your hearth is closed to the Floo Network if you're not using it. Do you have defensive charms on the building?"

"Well, yes.. it's required for the practice." In a way, it's like a Muggle armoury, or at least part of one. Watching him rise, it makes Niamh nervous now, and she rises to her feet. The kettle begins to sing out now, the water boiling for tea. "I'll turn it off, but I'll at least have to warn Keen because there are times when he has to come in. And what about you?" And us? If there is an us now? "I'm in for the night.. not that I usually go out anyway." She rather enjoys the idea of going out on Friday nights now to the pub. "Adamantus," and now, for the first time, she uses his first name.. perhaps to try and gain his attention through the work haze, "Please?" She doesn't want this to be it..

The name catches Gideon off guard. So few people call him Adamantus. "I'm going to make sure you're never troubled again." He unconsciously pats his wand, neatly secured in a leather harness under his coat.

That's not it! Nia exhales in a sigh and she crosses the short distance between them, ignoring the kettle for the moment. "Are we," a we? and she sighs, ".. still going to the pub on Friday night?" It means a great deal more than just.. going out to a pub. To her, now, it's the entire .. beginning of a possible relationship. "An' see you 'round the shop.. just because?"

Gideon gives her as understanding a look as he can manage at the moment. Every instinct in his body is telling him to go hunt down Sweeney and Wolfgang, and demonstrate to them exactly what it means to cross him. But those soft brown eyes cannot be ignored. "I don't know what we are. I'm sorry. I was nae looking for…anything. But then you came along." He takes a deep breath, steeling himself, refusing to let go of the burning need to settle this score. "I cannae make any promises, Niamh. Nae about us. But I can promise that I'll make you safe." With that, he turns to fetch his coat and hat.

"Do I have leeches on my head? Or slug-suckers under my fingernails?" Niamh turns about to throw a pillow, but loses the urge as he turns to get his hat and coat. "Cen fath? Ta me chomh Uafasach?" Why? Am I so horrible? "Promise me you'll come back to darken m'doorstep. Or.. or.." and she gets a little louder. "Promise me that I'll at least get word that you're around, and-and.." Niamh shakes her head and crosses the room towards her kitchen, fleeing, perhaps, and takes the kettle off the stove. Tea's a bit late now. "I don't want to be safe.. not if I'm not happy."

Gideon's Scottish Gaelic is polished enough to at least get the gist of her Gaeilge. He tugs on his coat, tying it in front. Then, suddenly, he is behind her in the kitchen. He takes her by the arm, spinning her around and right into him. "You're anything but horrible, Niamh. You're a helluva dame, and you deserve a lot better than me." There is a tense moment, with their faces mere inches from one another. But he relaxes his hold on her, and dons his hat, pulling it low onto his brow with a quick tug at the front brim. "Be safe. I'll see you soon." Once again, he turns and heads for the door.

Nia's heart seems to stop in that moment where she's spinned around and held tightly. Her breath catches in her throat, and she looks up to see his face mere inches away. She can see every line, every crease, every ginger-coloured hair on his face, and those eyes… Her mouth drops open a touch, hoping.. praying that he kisses her, only to be disappointed when he lets her go. She's got to scramble to keep her feet, her knees having gone weak for that moment, those heartbeats that passed between them. "I haven't found a man that I thought was good enough for me until I met you.." She exhales in a soft sigh and begins to make her way towards the chairs, fully expecting Gideon to see himself out now. All she really wants to do is, well.. sit down and cry. If she hadn't told him, he wouldn't be leaving her.. That's what she gets for being honest!

Gideon stops halfway out the door, half covered in shadow, and looks back at her for one last moment. "After Lyla, I had nae met a woman that made me feel like I might be good enough…until you." The door shuts, and only the sounds of his footsteps mark his departure.

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