(1937-09-27) Taking Things Slowly
Details for Taking Things Slowly
Summary: Niamh and Gideon enjoy one last day in the country as they figure out the boundaries of their budding relationship.
Date: 27 September, 1937
Related: Leeds in Conversation

Sunrise, sunset.. it's the hardest part about gathering specific herbs. They require specific times for harvesting, and one must conform to those hours. If one passes the rest of the time, mind, not sleeping, well.. that's their own fault!

It's a lovely day, and the weather's holding out as the sun sets. The clouds are a bright pink, coloured with pastels of purple and vibrant yellows. If one was an artist, the canvas would be out in the front of the cottage, and the discovery of the perfect hues would vex even the most seasoned of artists.

Within the cottage, there are some stirrings of life. Niamh is up and around, at the very least. She's dressed, her hair is back and out of her eyes, and with a watchful eye on a pot that sits upon the stove, she's at the table, her containers lined in a row, with her wand within easy grabbing distance, along with a pint glass of amber liquid. There is the smell of fresh bread coming from the oven (no doubt aided by some magic), and the stew that simmers smells of game and potatoes. Something that will certainly stick to one's ribs!

The cottage door opens, and in comes Gideon with an armful of freshly cut wood for the fireplace, his flannel shirt atop the load. The undershirt he's still wearing is damp with sweat, and moisture beads on his forehead and bare arms. He gives Niamh an apologetic half-smile, no doubt due to his state of undress. He goes to deposit the wood by the fireplace. "I'll just go wash up."

Niamh looks at the door opening, and the sight of Gideon and the armfull of freshly cut wood gives her pause, and she's reduced for the moment to .. just staring. Following him with her eyes, she's got a distracted smile on her face, her eyes gleaming with the renewed pleasure of his company, and she has to force herself to look away. "Yes," and her tone seems.. a little far-away, but not in a bad way. "Uh.." and turning back around, she's got her wand in hand, and she gestures towards the stove, her expression a touch sheepish now. "I have soup?" She laughs a little self-consciously, and adds, "Warm bread." Beat. "Doesn't help.." She's babbling now, and she knows it.. and moves towards the stove, before she stops half-way. "Thank you, by the way.. for.. the wood."

Gideon nods sharply. "Needed to be cut." A job had to be done, and he did it, no thanks needed. He throws his flannel over his shoulder and arches an eyebrow at her. "What does nae help?"

It's obvious that he's sweating from the fact that he's just cut a bunch of firewood, and here.. she's made HOT food. Niamh stays where she is, almost to the pot of stew, and she is trying, really trying, to keep herself in check, as it were. Her tones are light, "The warm food.. I mean, you just.." and she's gesturing with her hands in the direction of the wood, of him, trying to piece it all together, "But she's got fresh butter.. and some honey.." for the bread! Babbling again!

Gideon grins. "The warm food will be very welcome. It's chilly outside." He leans in, careful not to press his sweaty body against her, but places a kiss on her forehead. "I'll be right out." He steps away, heading into the restroom to wash up and dry off a bit.

Nia simply can't pull her eyes away; those arms, shoulders.. and the easy, relaxed expression. And the light in those blue eyes of his when he smiles. She watches his approach, and when he leans in, her eyes close at the touch of his lips on her forehead. She can feel the warmth even after he's headed to the WC to change and clean up. "Okay.." She has to put a hand out to the counter to steady herself, the smile easy on her lips. "I'll get the bowls. Do you like the crust?" The ends are the best!

Gideon makes a noise of confirmation as he steps into the water closet and shuts the door. There are some splashing sounds as he gives himself a quick wash. Soon, he emerges wearing his flannel (the undershirt left to dry in the W.C. "I half expect Lovegood to be knocking on the door any moment. I dinnae tell him I was leaving town, and the man cannae resist a mystery."

Nia's got the bowls out, and is breaking the crusty bread into pieces, setting out the butter. She's got a pint of bitter on the table for him too, now, and settling in at the table, her brows rise. "In a way, I'm kinda glad if he doesn't find us? It would mean that he doesn't know who my mates are.." Which could mean that her network of friends from school remain her (and Keenan's) little secret. "Or where. Or when." She likes a little mystery! Her voice lowers, "Do ye think he'll come lookin' for ye?" Then, "Well, you've not been around for the last few days.. in a way, I'm a bit surprised."

Gideon takes a seat, eyes the food hungrily, then digging right in, buttering up a piece of bread. "If he does nae know about your mates already, he will soon enough. He's sharp. He can suss things out without actually knowing. In any case, I'm glad to be away for a time, if only to get away from my neighbour." He pauses, glancing up at Niamh. Better tell her now. "Have I told you about Josefa Loucks?"

Nia slathers her bread with butter, adding the honey after the butter's melted, making a properly gooey mess of it. But so very delicious. The stew is rabbit, with a goodly amount of potatoes (she IS Irish, after all), turnips, carrots. She lowers her voice, just in case, "I have a few friends here an' there. Wales, Ireland still.. naught in Scotland anymore though, sadly. An' here." She did mention that she does travel to harvest, after all. "This is where I tend t'go first, though."

Dipping her bread in the stew's sauce, Nia takes a couple healthy bites; she's a country girl, and has a proper appetite. She does pause at the hesitation, and her brows rise. "No.. ye haven't. A neighbour of yers?"

Gideon sighs and nods. "A young woman that recently moved in to my building. I told her I'd look out for her. I dinnae live in the safest neighbourhood. But she's come to take my efforts to protect her to mean that I'm pursuing her romantically. At least she did. Now she's just angry with me for supposedly interfering in her life." He shakes his head, ripping off a chunk of bread with his teeth.

"A lady spurned, then.." Niamh offers quietly. "A promise t'protect her is a pretty big one." Especially for a lady! "But I know ye had her best interests and proper protections. Does she work in the Ministry? Or just someone who'd caught yer eye," and here, she leans on the table, hazel eyes gleaming, "and the armour came out?"

Gideon sighs, suddenly looking like the boy with his hand caught in the cookie jar. "Both…but she's young. Very young, and it shows. I honestly was nae pursuing her. I just thought that she's a pretty lassie, and that would attract the wrong kind of attention in Hoxton. I suppose I gave her the wrong impression from the start."

"An' yer a handsome man, Adamantus Gideon. Strong, supportive and assured." Nia doesn't seem to be the jealous type.. at least it's not rearing it's head with him. Probably a feeling that he's a good man.. stalwart and true. "Hoxton.. not a good place t'be. Ministry feels that's okay t'be? I mean, I know why Sloan picks the seedier sides, but.. a young lass?"

Gideon helps himself to some honey. "She's fairly new to her position, and I fear the Muggle Liaison Office doesn't pay the highest wages, especially at the low end of the pay scale. It's what she can afford."

Niamh dips her bread into her stew and eats both at the same time, chewing and swallowing carefully, "D'ye think she's the type t'keep pursuing? Deliberately puttin' her in your path?" That'll only lead to trouble. Placing her fork down, her expression is.. earnest. "If what I know of ye is true, I know ye can't just walk away when someone needs ye. But, it may come t'a real problem, and I'll not have ye in danger's path because a lass is playin' with ye."

Gideon ponders that a moment while he chews. "Maybe once…I cannae be sure. But I'm fair certain that I've managed to get on her black list now. More likely she'll avoid me, or seek me out to scream at me some more." He shrugs, "I just thought you should know, in case it ever does become a problem."

"Aye," she says slowly, and has to exhale a breath in order to unknot the muscles in her shoulders. "She screamed at ye?" Nia's brows rise, "After she became mad at ye? It does sound as if yer not yet out of her system." She chuffs a soft laugh, and cants her head, "If it does become a problem, I can step in.. aye? I won't have ye harmed because of a game.. a spurned advance. Not now.." Okay, not ever.. but still! "An' remember, I have my mates too that'll aid ye in this. An', I have potions. An'…"

Gideon smiles at her, endeared by her protectiveness. "I would nae worry. She'll find some young laddie closer to her age, and I'll be the last thing on her mind. If she does have designs on me, and you step in, she might take it as competition. Then we'd be in a real fix." A woman spurned is fearsome. A woman pitting herself against another woman is truly dire.

"I'm more concerned with yer safety, if she decides to mix herself into problems just so you can save her," and Niamh's words are soft. "Because I can't see ye resisting the urge to save a young Ministerial lass from herself, even if it puts ye into harm's way. An' if she has designs on ye is second, an'.." and here, she pauses, not because she doubts her words, but rather, she wants to be sure she's understood, "I trust ye on that. It's no' given a thought.." A sly, impish smile does manage to creep, however, across her face, echoing in her eyes. "She does have competition for yer attentions."

Gideon warms at that look in her eyes. "Aye, perhaps…but you have none." He slides his hand over the tabletop toward her, palm up and inviting.

Niamh smiles brightly and lays her hand upon his lightly, her fingers curling around. "I'll have t'talk to Lizzie about comin' here more often. Or, saving some money up for a cottage of m'own. I like this, bein' out of the city.." Though she's perfectly aware they're going to have to make the trip back tonight, tomorrow morning. "When do ye think we should head back? T'night, or should I send ye off with a full breakfast on the morrow, and ye Floo it t'work?"

Gideon squeezes her fingers gently, his thumb rubbing over her knuckles affectionately. "That just depends upon how early you care to rise. I try to get into the office before the crowds to handle my paperwork. Gives me more time to get out of the office."

"Then it depends upon what time my head lays upon the pillow," Nia begins, and she does the same, her thumb gently running across his hand. "I'm not tired at the moment, an' I think if that's the case, I'll be up again another full night." She shifts in her seat, scooting it forward, "But 't'wouldn't be fair to ye to keep ye up. Work for ye means full attention for ye. So, I'll make sure you're tucked in right an' ready as rain for the 'morrow." Her voice lowers, but her brows rise in question, "Unless ye want to sleep in your own bed this even'."

Gideon chuckles. "And risk Miss Loucks banging on my door at 3 A.M. again when she realizes I'm back? I think I'll take the country cottage for tonight." He lifts her hand up to his lips, kissing the soft skin along the back of it. "Right now, there's no place I'd rather be."

"Three A.M.?" Nia's voice rises a little in the discovery, and her mouth opens in indigation. "Ye showed her the door, aye? I can't imagine.." and she tries again, "Someone knockin' at my door at 3 am had better be bleedin' and not able t'find Keen. An' even then, if Keen'd find out, he'd read 'em the riot act for disturbin' my slumbers." She looks as if she's going to go on, but she begins to deflate at his words, and she smiles warmly, happily. "I was hopin' ye'd give me the chance t'see ye to your slumbers. A last cuppa tea t'gether at the fire," and she allows her voice to trail off.

Gideon nods with that easy, relaxed smile; perhaps one of the last of its kind that will be seen until she can drag him away from London again. "I'd like that."

"Besides, all that firewood ye chopped. We'll leave some for Lizzie, for her kindness, but we should use a bit, aye?" Niamh knows that smile will be mostly absent once they return, and it's something that she'll quietly mourn until she sees it again. "That, and the crust of bread.." which really is the best part of it! "An' tomorrow's Friday night," she teases. "I'll be puttin' out the oats for those wild horses that'll be tryin' t'pull you away from your trip to the pub."

Gideon nods with a rumble of confirmation. "Aye…you've been lucky so far that I've been there each time you've come. I cannae always make it. But…perhaps we should go together, from now on. So you dinnae risk showing up when I'm pulled away."

Niamh's face glows with pleasure at the shift; where once it was a 'oh hey, if ye find yerself in the area' suggestion, now it's a 'come with me, on my arm' request, and she's more than happy with the idea, from the looks of it. "Aye. Ye can swing by the shop, or tomorrow, it'd be by Lindy's, I'll guess." She does have to get ready, and dressing down to dress up does take a fair bit of planning! "I have to admit to a fair bit of hoping that ye were there."

Gideon smiles, eyes entranced by her. "I know," he says confidently. No illusions, here! "I'd be a liar if I said I had nae hoped you'd arrive as well." He takes a heavy breath, giving her hand another kiss, the scent of her skin making his head swim a bit. "I think we have a good thing, here. I ken your friends will be wary, and fairly so. But it's what you want that matters to me."

"An' I want this, Adamantus," Nia's voice lowers. "E'en now, I can't imagine not seein' ye across the table, chokin' down my hot stew after a time choppin' wood. I like this, ye an' me. If there was a way not to go back to London so I could keep seein' those eyes sparkle and hear the laugh in your voice, I'd do it. I'd give the business to Keen and go.. even if my mates cluck their tongue an' accuse me of playin' at house." She looks down at their hands, and sighs, "I can't say there's been aught else that I'd even thought of this.. just you."

Gideon cannot help a boyish smile at the thought that she'd upend her life to spend time with him. Who wouldn't be flattered? "I'd nae hear of it. You are clearly passionate about your work, so that's what you need to be doing." He scoots his chair around until he's beside her, facing her. Reaching for both of her hands now, he pressing them together with his own. "I isn't so much being away from London that makes me smile, Niamh. It's you. I know…I can be a grouch. I cannae promise I'll never be so with you, either. Even Lyla used to tease me about it." He mentions his wife, for once, without an echo of melancholy. "But I smile inside every time I see you."

It's just like a woman, right, to want to follow her man? It is, after all, the man's lot in life to be the provider- even in their wizarding world. "I can make potions an' such anywhere. I'm registered an' am in good stead." Which means there'll be no raids by the Ministry for suspicion of illicit activities. Not that there are any.. much. But not by her! Niamh watches as he moves around to sit beside her, and as they face each other, her smile grows. She was feeling a little self-conscious; her feelings on the matter out and in the open, rather than dancing around in 'if's and such.

When her hands are taken, hazel eyes gleam. "I know ye can. You're a Scotsman, an' ye have ideas that are purely yer own. I know, though, that it all comes from your heart; an' there, it's all for right." Not necessarily by the book, perhaps, but ultimately right. "Ye can't promise rainbows and butterflies, an' t'be honest, I can't either. I'm Irish.. an' I do have a temper on me. An' I do have my opinions, an' I speak my mind. What I can promise is that I'll try not to be .. unreasonable. An' that I'll listen.." At the mention of his departed wife, Niamh does take a hand from his and makes the sign of the Cross, "May she rest in peace.." before she returns her hand. "But I do warn ye.. I may do the same. But it's only because I.." She pauses and takes a breath, ".. I care an' wish to see it pass."

Gideon couldn't ask for more in a partner. They are two adults, well past the wild fancies of youth, and each yearning for someone of like maturity to share a life with. But there is the time needed to get to know one another, to learn whether they can stand each other's flaws, and if love will blossom between them. He needs no more words, just her lips. In that, he still feels as a young man — that need for physical affection — at least this early in their budding relationship.

Niamh looks into those eyes so near, searching the depths. She's not a child, entangled in the pretty conceptions of true-love conquering all. Here, everything is rooted, and there are considerations with each of their lives that are now built and in progress; hers, the apothecary, and his, his police work. Then, there are other things which are either be cemented in place and set, or still able to be formed and reformed as concessions for the 'greater good'. Still, in his presence, she does feel like a young, giddy girl- the smiles sent her way causing her heart to skip that beat, the hope he'll look her way.. but she also happens to know that that rarely fades. Just look at her mum and da! Each'd die without the other.

Then, there's the physical. Nia aches for his touch, for those kisses that causes her stomach to flip, and gives her that warmth all through her core. Leaning forward to meet his lips, she shifts in her seat before giving up completely and moves to sit in his lap, ready to wrap her arms around the back of his neck. He's so irrestible, and good Lord, she hopes they can keep their heads.. because there is no question that she wants him.

Gideon is surprised by her adjusted position, but he can hardly complain about having such a lovely woman in his lap. His nostrils fill with the scent of her, and the sensation of her soft body against his…suddenly he's a teenager again, and his body is on fire. His hands slide around her, cradling her neck and exploring the small of her back as they kiss. Every instinct he has is rearing up, demanding one thing and one thing only. It's all he can do to keep his thoughts lucid enough to take things slowly.

The strength of him, the utter masculiness of his arms as they wrap around her gives Nia a chill running down her spine in pleasure. Her lips taste his, and as she falls into that embrace, her fingers play in the hair at the base of his neck, her nails gently trailing along the back of his neck. At a breath, at a break, she whispers his name; she really, really should find her way off of his lap! But the feeling of those arms around her.. and she leans in for his continued attentions, her hands moving to his shoulders, feeling the muscles that play just beneath the flannel of his shirt, and the skin below.

As Gideon's hands find her sides, playing along her ribs, he hears her whisper, and regains enough presence of mind to pause, momentarily parting their lips with a boyish smile. "We…should go slowly," he murmurs. "I apologize. I dinnae want you thinking I'm that sort of man." Even though he was just about to be that sort of man.

Such things are best done.. later. Niamh utters a soft breathy sound and she forces herself to sit up once again. She blinks a couple of times and takes a deep breath. How.. warm and positively tingly he makes her feel, and for that heartbeat, she wishes that he was just that type. Or that she was to insist. But.. they're not, neither of them, and though they're both very much adults, they.. are adults. She nods in understanding and comprehension, and begins to slide slowly off his lap. "I know you're not.."

Despite his words, there is a hint of reluctance in letting her go. But he must. He wants this to work, and giving in to lust is no way to build the foundation for a lasting relationship. "I think now would be a fine time for that tea…to relax us." He chuckles.

There's that reluctance on her part too to depart his lap, but Nia knows the necessity of it. Gaining her feet, she reaches out for the back of his chair in order to steady wobbly knees. One thing is certain.. there's no question that there is a physical attraction. A strong physical attraction. The petulant child in her wants, well.. what she wants, and the adult in her knows that it's the best thing for the moment. They can be trusted to be alone.. that they won't give in to baser desires, even if they both want to, and she knows he does. As much as she. Clearing her throat, she nods again before, "Tea.." and her tones are a little high. As a result, she clears her throat again, and begins to make her way towards the kettle. She won't be getting much sleep tonight, dreaming of him! "An' a fire, I think?"

Gideon nods, letting out a deep breath. "Right. A fire." He sets about getting a good blaze going, to keep them warm as they enjoy their tea and avoid pouncing on one another.

As Gideon gets the fire started and tends to it in order to keep it going, Niamh's at the kettle, making their tea. Soon enough, the kettle sings and the leaves brew.. and steep enough to be poured. Taking the cups in hand, with sugar and cream, she walks them into the other room and hands off the one cup before she curls up on the floor before the fire, her own cup in hand. Poor substitute, but at least he's not out the door screaming into the night! "On the morrow, I'm going to owl my mum and da an' ask about properties in Ireland." She's loving the cottage retreat!

Gideon lifts his brow over a sip of tea. "You're really serious about that, aren't you? Buying a getaway of your own?" Is it because of us? Or would she do this anyhow?

"I've been thinking on it for a fair bit, honestly," Niamh begins. Before she'd met the handsome Inspector. "An' while my mates are good people an' allow me to use their cottages, on occasion, I think about havin' my own place t'go. We left Ireland for da.. an' I do miss it." She exhales in a soft sigh and takes a first, tentative sip of the hot tea before, "It wouldn't be anything as nice as this, mind. But, it'll be a way out and a breath of clean air."

Gideon nods sagely. "I'm sure getting it connected to the Floo network would be easy enough, as well. You could get away whenever you felt the need."

"But.." and here, Niamh gives Gideon a warm smile, "it's something that'll occupy me for a bit while ye are back to work. Da may not even like the idea, an'.." when the patriarch says 'no', daughters usually comply. Usually. "He's not one t'look back from where he came. As much as he hates England, he's here t'stay." Twisting around, she pulls a cushion from the chair behind her onto the floor and settles into it, wiggling a little to get comfortable. "Tell me a story of the Highlands, Gideon? I want t'get the wrong idea of ye." Her tones are a tease, an echo of what he'd said before about his childhood when visiting the countryside..

Gideon furrows his brow, shaking his head with a smirk. "Alright…but dinnae say I dinnae warn you." So he launches into the first of many stories of his misadventures in the Scottish Highlands. "So, I was nine years old, and some boys from a nearby farm were about, throwing stones at a cat that lived near the house were we stayed. I was fond of the cat, and dinnae take kindly to their mistreatment, so I got a broom handle and a bucket of manure…"

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