(1937-11-22) Step Closer
Details for Step Closer
Summary: Niamh is now in a safe flat in London, and Gideon makes sure the Lions know.
Date: 22 November 1937
Related: Will list

A pair of ginger-haired men stand in a plain-looking hallway of a lower middle-class building. The green carpet has long since faded to an unsettling shade. The walls could use a fresh coat of paint, but are otherwise free of cracks or other signs of wear. "It's here. Apartment 7B." As Inspector Adamantus Gideon speaks those words, the blank wall before them seems to stretch and groan in Keenan's vision, shifting other apartment doors to the side as a new one appears where there was nothing before. Gideon pulls two mundane keys from his pocket, offering one to Keenan, and slipping the other into the lock.

Keenan takes the key with a nod, and slips it into his own pocket. Over his shoulder he has a knapsack of sorts, bottles charmed to not break, and a ledger that he took from the counter of Niamh's shop. He's left the ink spatters on the counter that outline where the book had been laying open, even though it was closed when he found it. His jaw clenches as he waits for the door to be unlocked, and he manages to control his restless energy enough to let Gideon lead the way inside.

Niamh's within, and her gaze lifts towards the door like a deer that hears motion in the woods. A little jumpy, but quickly enough, reason is there, and she puts a hand out to the potbellied stove to find the warmth in it. She's got her tea mug on a small table, emptied, and probably should be in the sink, or more to the point, washed and put away, but it's not yet. Rising from her spot, she looks to Gideon, and Keenan, and within the span of a couple of heartbeats, she crosses the room to give her brother a big hug, wrapping her arms around him, "Keen!"

Gideon gets out of the way to let the siblings embrace, taking care to shut and lock the door. Not that anyone could possibly get in. The Fidelius Charm keeps the apartment well protected, he as the Secret Keeper, and the only two others who know the Secret are here in the room with him. "You've been alright, love? Tried nae to be gone too long."

As soon as he's far enough in the door for it to be closed, Keenan starts to let the bag slide down his shoulder so that it lands gently on the floor at almost the same time that Niamh hurtles herself against him, and his arms wrap around her. His chin rests on top of her head so she can't see the brightness of his eyes, and he holds her tightly. "Niamh, lass. What have ye gone an' got yerself into this time?" he asks gruffly. The question doesn't really cover how deeply concerned he is for her, but maybe disguises the edge of the fear he's hiding.

Niamh answers Keenan first, in the clench, and her arms are about him. "I don't know, Keen.. I really don't. 'T'weren't nothin' t'do with the poison, I know that.." So it's not Sloan's fault, not Gideon's fault or Keen's. "An' 't'weren't aught in anger.." Beat. "At first."

Gideon, now, is looked at as Niamh rests her head on Keenan's chest, listening to the *thump* within, "Aye.. been so quiet, I wondered if I was still asleep.." and she offers him a gentle, affectionate smile, her tones lowering to a quiet tease, "I could complain about ye bein' away for so very long, an' wax wonderously poetic about distance, but I'll keep it for when it's true. It'll hae more impact then."

Gideon smiles, allowing a soft chuckle at her teasing. "Come, let's all sit and see if we can sort some things out, aye?" He gestures toward the living room, and lingers a bit, awaiting his opportunity to embrace Niamh (chastely, with her brother in the room!).

Keenan holds Niamh tightly a little longer, and shakes his head a little. "Shhh… don't try an remember right naow," he tells her. "Just take it easy. I'm sorry it took so long ta get here. I was quarentined in Mungo's and Mum's message never made it tae me. Thankfully, Gideon came and got me, an' I'm here, naow. We'll get it sorted." At the mention of sitting down, he reluctantly lets go of her with a nod, and picks up his knapsack again, to take it over and lay it in a more appropriate place on the coffee table.

Niamh nods in the embrace, slowly dropping the almost bear-hugged hold on her brother, until she's able to take that step away. Looking up at him, her brows rise, and taking a side step towards Gideon and his arm, her expression holds a multitude of questions. "Quarantined at Mungos? Keen, what happened there?" She turns hazel eyes to him, but they're devoid of any blame if he even thought she'd question him as to why he hadn't told her! She's just now looking for more information now. "Aye.. mum had said she'd contacted all of ye." She lowers her head, "'T'was the only way she'd got me to drink my potion like I aught." Not because Niamh had told her, rather.. she had to assure her daughter that it had been done!

As Keen begins the walk towards the furniture, she takes the briefest opportunity to plant a kiss upon his cheek. "Thank ye.. for double checkin' on him." And she takes his hand to walk towards the gathered chairs. "Aye.. with ye here, Keen.. an' Gid.. an'.. Sloan? Lindy?"

Gideon looks curiously to Keenan as well. "I've only heard vague rumours about Mungo's. I missed most of that. What did happen there, anyhow?" He sees Niamh settled before taking a seat beside her, keeping her hand in his — more for her comfort than his own, but there is a certain clinging. He covers it well, but he's undoubtedly been frightened for her.

Keenan's face pales a bit when he's asked about the quarantine. "It was… not… it was… something best left not discussed. Someone tried tae release some diseases in tha hospital, an' they succeeded with two o'them. The results were…" he shakes his head.

"Just tell me how yer feeling, Nia. Ye have any headaches? Any tender spots that hurt on yer head?" He waits for her to finish greeting her boyfriend, but motions her to have a seat on the couch in front of him when she's able.

And Niamh hadn't heard anything of it, and is obviously not taking Gideon to task on it. She finishes the cross and curls up onto the couch, pulling her legs under her, her hand firmly in the Scot's, fingers entwined. Her attention, however, is fully upon her brother, concern softening her eyes; she knows her brother, can feel the pang. Irish twins, they'd been called. Teased. But a pair can't grow up like such without knowing the other almost as well as they know themselves. "Release diseases into the hospital? Keen? An' they succeeded? Are ye.." He must be fine, right? "The others? Did ye owl mum? She'll be so cross an' so worried the moment she hears.." and Niamh only assumes word's not been heard for the lack of response she's heard. Doesn't mean a thing, however. "Ye don't look fine.. yer face.. ye look as if ye've not slept.. or ate."

Niamh smiles a ghost of a smile, though there's that gleam that finds its way into her eyes. Always a little sister.. one of a team of Irish rogues. When it's set to her, however, she squeezes Gideon's hand gentle, and with a glance given him, exhales softly and turns back to her brother. "Confused.. in a state of feelin' like.. I'm a deer. I don't want t'go back home, an' just the thought of it makes my heart race." And not in a good way. "No bruises, no soreness."

Gideon nods in confirmation of what Niamh is saying. "So far, she seems physically unhurt. But you're the expert, aye? It's possible this is some sort of spell backlash, or a Memory Charm. You saw the ink spatters in the shop. The inkwell was still on the floor. The spray was a bit much for just being knocked over. I think it was thrown. Also…I'm fairly certain there's a partial footprint in it."

<FS3> Keenan rolls Healing: Amazing Success.

As soon as Niamh sits down, regardless of the assurance of no aches or pains, Keenan's long fingers gently go over Niamh's scalp, looking for anything abnormal… as long as she doesn't fuss about him double checking. He siezes on the conversation with Gideon to distract his sister from talk of Mungo's. "Aye, I did. An' some other things I noticed. If I had tae guess, I'd say it was a Memory Charm interrupted when the ink was thrown, which threw it off. But I can't say fer sure just yet." He seems satisfied with his inspection of her head, though, but his fingers do take a tighter grip for a moment, and he gives a little twist to settle a vertebrae that's apparently a little kinked. "There, your shoulder shouldn't ache as much anymore."

Niamh shifts in her seat, and looks up as Keenan makes doubly sure. She's not sore! She doesn't fuss, however, or push him away. Either she's under an Imperius Curse (which she's not.. any longer) or she'll be the dutiful sister and allow her brother certain liberties (!) to determine that she is indeed, fi-

*crack* Niamh takes a deep breath and exhales softly, rolling her shoulder now, and dropping her head in a grunt. "Thank ye.. I think it was mum's couch.."

It's to the other things, then, that she returns. "Sloan an' I had a self-defense practice." She looks at Gideon, her smile growing, "He wanted t'be sure that what Adamantus was teachin' me wasn't the 'duellin' shite' that was all the rage at Hogwart's.. an' the first thing that sod did was toss a pillow at me. Taught me that not all's wand.. an' sometimes it's unexpected.. which'll help ye." Niamh chuckles and squeezes Gideon's hand, "I think he approved of your lessons, luv."

Returning to the conversation at hand, Niamh sighs and leans into the back of the cushions, wanting to lean into the Scot, but.. resisting. "He was mad.. by the time I'd gotten out, he was mad.. an' I was in a panic." Who 'he' is, however..

With the physical examination over, Keenan resorts to his wand, using a revelo type spell to search further, and, from the way he nods his head, to confirm his suspicions. "It looks like this 'him' ye keep referrin' tae was tryin' tae make ye fergit he'd been there, but ye caught him off guard halfway through, an' his attempt lost focus. Means it scrambled some other things that he probably wasn't even thinkin' of, an' left some o' what he wanted tae block."

Stowing his wand again, he comes around to the other side of the coffee table across from her. "I'm thinkin' it had somethin' tae do with this ledger that was on tha counter. It's on older one, that looks like it was open when ye flung tha ink. Maybe if we can find an ink spattered page, an' still read what's on it, then we can figure out who it was."

If Niamh was a smart alec, she'd stick her tongue out and go 'ah' at him.. which she does at least once. The conclusion, however, that he comes up with actually brings tears to her eyes. She's cried once, with mum.. let a tear out while clinging to Gideon, but now.. they come again. It's a wizard's lot, as their world, their lives are magicked, but.. to have a memory charm laid on her? Her fist clenches, and she reaches out as if to take hold of something to throw it, the momentary muscle memory of the event.. and ends up curling a little tighter now on the couch, nodding. "I don't like it, Keen.." Beat. "Can ye make it go?" Please?

Hazel eyes follow her brother as he rises, pacing. "That's mine, aye.. an' I had lots of potions t'be done that day. Elijah's.. Oh, Adamantus.. Keen.. Elijah's potions.. he needs 'em. Please, tell me he's got 'em?" She looks a pleading now; obviously very important to her!

Keenan squats down at the table as he places the tome he pulled out there. "I'll do ma best, lass. But it's nae easy tae undo. Now… this is an older ledger. It isnae yer current one, which is why I found it odd enough tae bring along. Can ye remember at all why ye got out an older one?" as he asks, he starts to thumb through the pages, looking for one that has a tell tale spatter of ink on it. "I'll see Elijah gets it. I'm guessin' ye had it all ready fer him?"

"Aye.. I had a bunch ready t'be picked up. I'd been busy. Lindy.. I wanted t'be sure she'd not run out. Elijah. Those polyjuice, too. An' some potions I was worked for ye as spares. An' myself." Niamh takes a deep breath, "Laurence had asked me to work a potion out for some wood that'd be injured in transit, so I was gettin' ready to work on that, too.. an' something- Keen! I meant t'tell ye. Werewolf.. I've been asked t'help a werewolf, an' I need your help." Scattered, and she doesn't seem to really.. notice. "As for the older ledger, I don't know.. I do sometimes check back with my orders, t'be sure I've got it right. I'm usually good." Usually.

Gideon ponders silently for a time, rubbing his scruffy chin. "Keenan. The hospital has healers that specialize in memory recovery, aye? Are there any you trust? I mean implicitly trust?" Gideon is already a suspicious kind of man, but now he's gotten downright paranoid over Niamh's safety.

A quiet knock on the door, but the fact that there is a knock at all can only mean one thing. Eddie's voice echoes through a moment later, "It's me…" But she doesn't dare open the door without one of them letting her in.

Keenan stops when he finds the page that's splattered with ink and leaves it open for Niamh to look at and see if anything jogs her memory from it. "I don know that anyone specializes in Memory Charms above any other kinds of Spell Damage. I can work with Niamh, but it's nae going tae happen overnight. An' until we can figure out who or why this happened tae Niamh, I'd like her tae stay here. We don know if 'he' will try an' finish tha job when we're not around an' make it more difficult for me." At the knock and Eddie's voice, he rises. "I'll let her in," he tells the other man, rolling his eyes suggestively towards Niamh, although not in that suggestive meaning.

Niamh looks at Gideon and shakes her head slowly, her lips forming a tight, thin line. "It's my mind here, an' I don't know any I'd want playin' around," she begins softly. "If it's been played about with, then.." and she can't discount that it hasn't.. nor can she truly confirm that it has been, though she certainly understands there's something in her symptoms. "I'd rather ye," and she looks to Keenan, "do what ye can until ye can't do no more." There.

That's not to say that Niamh doesn't want Gideon to be part, because.. well.. his presence is comforting in a slightly different way than her brother's. The ledger is set down, and the moment it is, she leans over to pick it up, to set the so very familiar tome onto her lap, but finds the moment she reaches to touch it, she pulls her hand away, though her eyes are locked, staring at the page. "A kiss.." and she turns about, leaning away from Gideon, unfortunately.. or perhaps fortunately that Eddie may very well be inside, she looks for a wand that's not there, yelling, "Colloportus!" Which, of course.. has no effect.

As Keenan lets her in, Eddie immediately slips through the door and shuts it behind her, locking it with a nervous twitch to her fingertips. "I wasn't followed, I'm sure. I doubled back three times…." She admits, clearly worried, on edge about this whole thing as she looks around the room and to the slightly discomported Niamh, "What… what exactly is going on? How bad is it?"

Gideon frowns in confusion at Niamh. "Nia, love? What-…Keenan, come here!" He leans in, speaking softly to Niamh. "What's going on, love? Are you remembering something?" He glances to the others, speaking in general to the room, "Colloportus…there was a Locking Charm on the door of the shop when I arrived. I had to counter it."

Keenan gives Eddie an almost smile when she enters, and reports that she made sure she wasn't followed. He doesn't rush over when Gideon calls, but his gaze as he watches Niamh is no less keen. He puts a hand to Eddie's arm to give Niamh space and let her try and remember on her own. He nods at Gideon's info, but still, he lets his sister have room to breathe and collect herself. "We're not sure, yet," he tells their friend quietly as he watches Niamh. "Seems like a scattered Memory charm, Niamh interrupted it, so it wasn't focused enough tae wipe everything. But also seems tae have had some side effects. It's best if one person speaks tae her at a time, Gideon. Tryin' tae answer more'n' one person can just bring more confusion." His advice to the Hit Wizard is given in the same low, conversational tone that was speaking to Eddie, as if he is still speaking to his friend, and trying to keep under Nia's radar at the moment. "Just keep talking tae her."

Niamh stands up and backs away from the table and her ledger, her head shaking. She looks at Gideon, hazel eyes pleading. "I don't know.." Then, "I.. don't want to. But I have to." Her gaze goes back to the door, and now it begins to dawn on her as to the identity of the newly arrived. She take a path around the furniture, keeping something between she and her own accounting before she gets closer to Eddie. To see her best friend, her sister, she looks so very apologetic before she approaches and goes to wrap her arms around the other woman. "Lindy, I know mum owled ye.. an' I think I'm losing my mind." But she's not afraid. Not.. not of anyone in the room, anyway.

Hearing Keenan's explanation, Eddie nods slowly to her friend, worry hooding her pale eyes and furrowed brow. "Understood… as much as I can…" Eddie admits softly to him. But then Niamh has recognized her and is coming around in her direction. Eddie doesn't even bother to pull off her Aurors robes or shoes, too concerned with letting the younger woman know she is safe and sound than getting comfortable. Maybe seeing an Auror would be a help too. Eddie reaches up, wrapping Niamh tightly in her arms and hugging her close against her chest, "Nia, love… it's fine… I heard. It will be fine. Look at all these people helping and getting to the bottom of it. You aren't losing your mind but… but you do need to rest, love, so we can help put what pieces you have had scattered back together…" She kisses at the woman's hair.

Gideon nods in understanding to Keenan, unquestionably accepting his judgement on the matter. He's the expert, after all. He rises when Niamh does, stepping over to greet Eddie. "Malfoy," he gives her a nod. "So, whoever it was likely Disapparated, or used the Floo or some other method to leave. It dinnae seem likely there'd be a Locking Charm on the door after he left."

Keenan nods in agreement to Gideon, and lets the women have their moment. "Maybe he put the charm on tha door so he wouldn't interrupted… Ye are not losin' yer mind Niamh-lass. Ye're just gettin' back pieces o'things that're already lost. I know that's not… a huge comfort, an' I'm sorry lass. But I know ye'll kill me if I'm not up front an' almost bluntly honest." The wry smile he gives her is tempered with a brotherly love in his eyes. "Lindy's right, though. Ye've had a little bit of a breakthrough, tanight. Let's nae try rushing tae much. I'll move tha ledger over tae tha table over here, an' if ye feel like lookin' at it again, ye can. Until then, lets get some food in ye, an' some rest."

"I don't like it," Niamh repeats, and she gives her friend a gentle squeeze, leaning for a moment, grateful for her presence. She's not stupid, however, and there's that moment where she looks back at Keenan, and offers, "I'll get sleep if ye eat." And said in front of Lindy. Turning her head to Gideon, she does give her friend a quick, thankful kiss on her cheek before she freezes briefly and moves to Gideon, now that he's up and away from the ledger. "Did ye take mum's potions?" The only way she's going to sleep for a little while, undoubtedly.

Keenan gains a smile, and it's a tired one for sure. "Gettin' back.. having lost. Thanks, I think, Keen." She chuffs a soft chuckle, though when he suggest the ledger be moved, she's quick to agree. While closed, it's fine. Open? It causes a great deal of consternation.

"Food, an' sleep." Those two, however, are spoken with her gaze set back to Gideon. She'll do one, as long as Keen eats, but the either? Gideon needs to stand guard to finds the less fitful sleep. Though, to have her brother and best friend? The only thing that'd make it perfect is the Black Irish Auror.. singing her to sleep with IRA songs. (Just because.)

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