(1937-10-26) Tending the Stricken
Details for Tending the Stricken
Summary: And a good long talk ensues between Gideon and Niamh.
Date: 26 October 1937 - early hours of the morning.
Location: MacDiarmarda Apothecary Loft
Related: It's dead.

MacDiarmarda Apothecary Loft (#2058R) Diagon Alley
Sat Oct 27, 1937 ((Mon Oct 22 21:39:25 2012)) (B,2 SE - U)

It is a fall night. The weather is cool and raining.

An empty apartment. Several packing boxes are stacked here and there. The neighborhood is a rather comfortable working class area and the residence reflects that to every nook and corner. Bare floors and walls are freshly scrubbed and painted. The stringent scent of cleaning products and fresh paint is strong and ever lingering. This apartment is comprised of several rooms. Every apartment is slightly different in its lay out. But there are always of course the necessary rooms and at least one indoor bathroom. A small hall that acts as a foyer just inside the front door is lined with racks and storage space for outside wear and poor weather accessories. Every apartment comes with a living room area that's most usually adjoined to a dining nook which is attached to a kitchen. Within the kitchen there are several appliances such as gas stove, sink, and refrigerator. More often than not the floors are all hardwood, waxed and polished in all shades from pale pine to dark oak.


In the pre-dawn hours of the morning, Adamantus Gideon sits on the floor of the loo in Niamh's loft. His bare back is pressed against the cold surface of the tub, a bucket between his knees. Thankfully, the bucket is currently empty, and the worse of his heaving seems to be over. For now, he is simply trying to recover his strength after a rough evening.

Cold. Wet. And there's so much to do! Niamh is a mess, or is in that descent into mess-ness. She looks as if she's been up and pulled all over creation over the course of the evening, and the sun still hasn't shown its face. It should have been a fun Friday night.. out to the pub (finally!) and then home via many different side streets, laughing, singing.. and generally making merry.

So. Not. The. Case.

At the moment, Niamh's seated on the tub itself, replacing a cold compress against Gideon's neck even while she's got a blanket ready to drape over him. She's certainly not looking her best; she's spent a couple of hours cleaning the apothecary floor after all that water and.. dead body yuck got into the crevices of the old wood. The MLE's been there and gone, taking the body with them.. and the sample that Nia managed to take of the green, viscous liquid. She's also got that last one for herself, for her studies.. and that's tucked away. Now, the entire world is the ginger that sits stricken on the WC floor, and her hand rub his head, his neck.. just more a presence than anything else. The worst of it has passed. Now, recovery..

The silence lingers for what feels like hours. Maybe it's been hours. It's hard to tell when huddled away in a water closet. But finally, Gideon manages to take some real breaths. Deep, filling breaths as he rises from his torporous state. "Niamh," he groans. "You're a fine woman, Niamh. A fine woman."

A lot of the 'hands on' with Gideon went a long way in soothing her own frayed nerves. So many questions have been racing through her mind, the one on top was.. 'Why?' Was there a message? Was it sent to go through her shop, then drop after damaging it? Or was it to go upstairs to her flat? To Keen's? Was it supposed to go after Gideon? No secret, really, that he spends more time here than at his flat. Should she go check his flat now?

Niamh shushes him softly, and shakes her head, though the hair simply doesn't get out of her face. "How're ye feeling? Little better? Try a digestible, maybe?" She runs a hand over his short hair, "I can get ye some tea and put some stuff in for your stomach again. Coat it, sooth it."

Gideon's hand goes to his mouth, and he shakes his head. He's not been very receptive to food yet, there very thought of it brings waves of nausea. "Later. Niamh…I want to know the truth." He speaks slowly, calmly, as anything else is likely too much for him at the moment. But there is that grave tone in his voice. "You once told me that Keenan is a good man to go to if I needed care and would rather avoid paperwork. Then this business with the poisoning case. Keenan won't answer my questions, so I think you'd better. What is it you're trying to keep from me?"

Niamh continues to caress his short red hair on the top of his head, to his neck, repositioning the towel again. "Is no different than ye, Adamantus," and her normally light, sweet Irish lilt is laden with fatigue, concern, and worry. "But the poisoning? I honestly don't have any idea. If I were t'give an opinion? 'T'is no secret we don't care for the politics o'the day, an' Sloan moreso.. an' with those newspaper articles written about gettin' rid of those in their way? Then, Sloan gets stabbed an' poisoned, an' that thing arrives on m'doorstep?"

She shakes her head. "But I don't know why that thing was here.. it could'a been goin' after ye?" And them.. for a completely different reason?

Gideon sighs, shaking his head. "Why must the two of you be so evasive? I said last night, and I'm saying now: I'm nae talking about that thing that came into the shop. I'm talking about whatever it is you try so hard to avoid saying when it comes to Keenan. First it's the paperwork thing. Then you dinnae want me looking into the poisoning case at all. Niamh. I can read people. It's what I do. You're keeping a secret, and I suspect it means you and Keenan are into something you should nae be. I dinnae ken how else to say this. I cannae protect you if I'm nae informed."

"Adamantus," and she leans forward to kiss the top of his head. "We're no'in some crime organization.. we're a gang o'Irish O'Sheas makin' our way as we will. If someone's hurt, we'll take care of 'em.. an' we're both a damned sight good at what it is we do.." Healing and potions. "I can't answer for Keen, but if there's a knock at the window, I'll not turn 'em away." Which may explain why Niamh called out- how many times has she had someone in the shop after closing, looking for help?

Many. Many-many.

"Ye know, an' I know ye do, that right's right.. an' there are times when others won't agree with ye." Her tones sound in earnest. "An' sometimes, just sometimes, ye have t'follow what ye know is right in the end an' hope those ye care about understand without word."

Gideon tilts his head back to gaze up her. His mouth is a tight line, frustrated, but not angry. "Just speak plainly, Niamh. Nothing you've said is anything you should have kept from me. So what is it? What dinnae you want me to know?"

Niamh leans over and lays her cheek against the top of his head. "Adamantus, it's been so long since I've had a gent I've cared for.. an' I can't remember a time when I've found myself hopin' as much as I am that finally…" and she stops, her breath exhaling. "We've always been a closed family, an' anyone who's tried t'peek in finds himself in for a real.. treat. Da an' his injuries," and how, "Mum.. Sloan an' Lindy are from school, an' have paid their dues with us." She shakes her head, and shifts so her forehead now leans on his head. "I'm a fine woman, ye say.. an' it's ye that I want in my life.. all'it.."

She shift the compress again and moves to take a seat on the floor of her cramped WC, snaking her hand around his arm, leaning her head. "I know there's naught that should've seemed a secret.. it's hard f'me, an' I know it's frustratin' to ye.. an' I want ye.." She pauses, and looks down, "I don't want ye to leave me."

Taking a deep breath now, Niamh shrugs her shoulders, "There's naught that really is any secret.. there's the folk.. in the government even, tha' don't want Mungos t'know when or how they're hurt, or they'll be tracked. Or.. Elijah.. for example. Those potions? I don't file the paperwork to the MLE for those.. it's between he an' I.. an' not e'en Mungos knows." If his 'enemies' knew about the clarity potions?

Gideon's brow slowly comes together in a deepening crease as she explains further. His steel-blue eyes darken to a hard gray, and the line of his mouth curls downward in a frown. "Outlaws," he says, letting the word speak for itself.

Niamh shakes her head, her expression finding its to .. fear. "It's not like that, Adamantus.." She lifts her gaze to meet his eyes, to look into those hardening greys, and her mouth comes open ever so slightly as she tries to find a breath to speak further. Shaking her head again, she tries, "I'm not goin' round.. I'm protecting.. like, I'm protecting Elijah. Helping him, an' he can stop them any time he wants. I've got nothin' in there that makes anything.. addicting. I don't do that sort'a thing." She searches his face, looking for the barest of hints, "I'm not an Outlaw.."

"Not you," he says flatly. Though, for a moment, his hardened mask falters, a slight wince of regret showing through when he sees her fear. "Your patients. The ones that want to avoid being tracked."

Hazel eyes continue to search his face, looking for a sign that.. all will be well with them. There it is, the flash.. but does it mean..?

"No.. not the patients either." She shakes her head in a difinitive action. "If a man comes that's been well an' truly taken by a Hit Wizard, I'll not hide him, an' I'll not treat him for it. Just like a bad man comes knockin', I'll send him on his way." Montague, now that she knows. "Man like that deserves the justice. But, if ye come in to me, can't sleep, can't eat.. an' all ye can see is the forest.. I'll give ye somethin' right t'help ye sleep an' it's just between ye an' me." Those who are in the right, but need that extra support. That's how Niamh honestly sees it. She lowers her head, wanting desperately to lean against him again, but.. is afraid to, lest she be rejected. "An' it puts me in a position at times when people get cross. Not lately, however.." Risk. "But, if I did note all, I'd still be in the same spot.. should something be perceived as awry."

Gideon seems a bit more settled at her words. It is small comfort though, as a question remains unanswered. "And what of Keenan? Be straight with me, Niamh. I'm nae trying to bring trouble to your family. I'm trying to avoid it." It's hard to come across as understanding when he looks at her with that stony gaze. Though being a pale, weakened shell sitting on her restroom floor helps a bit.

It's that look.. his eyes still haven't found that warmth, the softness that she recalls so fondly. The laugh, the smile.. and Niamh's afraid that they're gone as he discovers that she's not as 'fine' as he'd thought. She looks away and down, wanting to cry; before this, her suitors just wandered off.. her fault, of course. Now, the spectre of 'alone again' rises. "He's never brought anyone t'me that I wouldn't help." If that helps at all? "But he's a healer, Adamantus. They don't just step aside an' make the judgements that I do. I honestly don't know half of what he does, if he does it at all. He's been spending most his time in Mungos, which is where the Poison came up. An' that's his usual.. Mungos. Mum was a nurse there herself for a fair bit."

Gideon's sharp inhale and exhale marks his growing frustration. "I've asked you to speak plainly, Niamh. Does he treat criminals? Yes, or no?" This is becoming more and more an interrogation. He hates the feeling in his gut (and it isn't because of Keenan's cure), but it's something he feels he must do.

"If he has, he's ne'er brought them t'me." Niamh rises awkwardly from her spot now, and is ready to make a dash into the sitting room; the tears are starting to come. "An' I won't say 'aye' because I don't know. It's always been a philosophical debate 'twixt us." Ye can pick 'em, can't ye, Niamh! True love don't pan out because of family AND get the brother in trouble!

Gideon reaches for her hand, lacking the strength to rise quickly after her. "Niamh, for the love of Merlin, I need to know these things. How can I nae ask about them? You've behaved suspiciously whenever it came to this subject. This does nae just affect you and Keenan. It comes down on me, as well. If I'm going to overlook something, I have a right to know what I'm breaking the law for."

Niamh looks around as Gideon reaches for her hand, forstalling her exit. She's trying, really trying not to cry, but she does look positively miserable. It's been a hard morning for her, and the sun's not yet up. Granted, she's not the one who'd been poisoned and spent several hours purging, but!

It's his words that brings her attention around, truly, and there's that glimmer of hope that shines, that follows the beacon of adoration that rises in its stead. Kneeling beside him, her hands move to gently stroke his face, the backs of her fingers drawing lines down his ginger-coloured grizzled cheeks. "Aye, ye do.. an' I've said the same words t'Keen.. almost the same. If'n he heals bad men, I need t'know in case they get ugly. But, he won't even say t'me, one way or the other.. so I don't know. Truly." She leans in to kiss him on the cheek, her eyes just.. looking at him, wanting to see a touch of that Gideon she'd seen before. (Even if he feels like shit!) "Y'know I'd tell ye if there was somethin' truly bothering me, an' ye needed to know, aye?" She did, after all!

Gideon sighs with relief. She didn't leave. She's still here. Her feebly cups her face. His touch has never felt so weak, drained. "I know. It's what is bothering me that has me asking these questions. Keenan won't tell me anything, which only makes me more suspicious. I will nae act against him myself, if I can help it.. But I cannae protect him from anyone else if he refuses to keep me informed."

Niamh just.. adores him. It's long past that 'l' and has moved into adoration. "He'll talk to ye one day, Adamantus." She offers a tightlipped smile, but it's a smile all the same. "Da may make him.. may come out on a Sunday's dinner." She exhales and rises again, offering a hand up in case he wants to move to the couch. There, she can cuddle with him, watching and guarding his sleep. He's exhausted, she's.. past it. "I understand.. ye may not know you're workin' against him if ye don't know what it is he's doin'.." and she nods. "I love my brother, I do.. an' he frustrates the devil outta me.."

Gideon nods, grateful for her understanding. "That's exactly it. The longer he waits to talk to me, the more he risks. I'm nae pleased at the idea that he might be patching up crooks and sending them out to do more harm…if he is.. But he isn't my target. They are. All it will take is another Hit Wizard putting together that there is someone serving as healer to these people, and I guarantee the first place they'll look is at St. Mungo's staff."

"Can ye get up, darlin'?" Niamh puts a hand out to help him up, and she'll support him as much as she can. "We'll put ye on the couch, an' I will get ye something for your stomach." And she'll put his feet up, a pillow under his head. "I won't be the go-'round much longer, Adamantus. I can't. I won't be put in a position like that. I'm understandin' more why mum left the MacDiarmarda's t'be with da.. an' I can't.. side when somethin' is wrong. Not against ye.. not when I.." loves him. She pauses and takes a deep breath, "Not when I'm feelin' the way I do about ye."

Gideon grunts as he slowly rises, bracing an arm on the side of the tub, and leaning into her when he can with a mumbled thanks. He can walk, but he's a bit unsteady, dehydration leaving him dizzy and wobbly-kneed. With her help, he gets to the couch, where he slumps into a comfortable position. "Thank you, Niamh." He gives her hand a squeeze, and tugs it close to kiss it. "You're a fine woman."

Niamh is ever so careful with him, guiding him towards the couch. It doesn't bother her that he hasn't echoed the sentiments, but.. he's in no shape, and she's not honestly concerned about that. It's his health that worries her, and the moment he's made the couch, she fluffs the pillows and worries about him until she's sure he's comfortable enough. And the squeeze and kiss of her hand? It's more than enough for her, and she's weak in the knees for the moment as she returns the squeeze, and leans forward to kiss him on the forehead, then the cheek. Only then does she go to get a potion from the WC, catching sight of her other.. potions, and she exhales shifting bottles around before closing the door behind her. "I've got something to settle your stomach.. an' it'll help ye sleep." Her 'magic' potions, and she seems to be the expert in mixing results.

By the time Niamh has returned with the potion, sleep is no longer an issue. Exhaustion has taken its toll, and the comfort of the couch has done Gideon in. He snores softly, eyes shut, drifting off to a much needed rest.

With potion in hand, Niamh stops as she catches the exhausted Gideon. She lingers for a few long moments, just.. watching him sleep before she sets the draught down on the coffee table, goes round to the windows and pulls the curtains, and turns the gaslights low. A couple more logs are put on the fire, and the door is locked before she takes a spot on a chair, tucks her legs up, wraps her nightcoat about her, and leans her head to the side.. watching over his sleep until it takes her as well.

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