(1937-12-01) Stolen Hearts
Details for Stolen Hearts
Summary: Amidst the troubles with his sister's memory full of holes, Keenan finds some time to spend with Veruca at her place.
Date: 1 December, 1937
Location: Veruca's flat

There's no hesitation this time from the ginger healer when he walks up the stairs to the door of Veruca's apartment. There's also no heavy knapsack and no heavy expression. He does carry some take out food in one hand since he's arriving around dinner time. He knocks on the door immediately, then raises that hand to the doorframe, tapping his fingers as he waits for it to open.

Although she is expecting company, Veruca doesn't expect to leave the flat, so she's changed out of her work clothes into 'something more comfortable'. A silk lounge suit, in a shade of dusky green, hugs her curves, short sleeves draping over her shoulders. The trousers to the set flow when she walks, a whisper of silk. Her feet are bare and make no sound as she pads over to the door. No alarm has tripped, so she feels fairly confident as to who her visitor is, and she pulls the door open, looking up to Keenan with a smile. "I was hoping you could come."

As the door opens, the hand not holding the food leaves the frame where he's been drumming his fingers, and it reaches forward to swoop around Rue's waist, pulling her close to him once inside the door so that he can give her a proper kiss that says, "I missed you" without actually saying the words. "Ye look lovely," he says instead, and the green gaze wanders over her outfit once more. Kicking his way out of his boots again, although this time he nudges them a little more neater by the door, he offers over his bag. "I stopped by Tasseo on tha way tae pick up somewhat tae eat. I hope ye don' mind. I don' know yet if ye like cookin'r'not, an' didnae want ta impose." He gives her a little wink, and his dimples are in evidence to either side of his grin.

It doesn't take much of a pull to get Rue moving into the embrace, and as her arms slide around Keenan's neck the kiss is returned warmly. Clearly, she missed him too from the way she reluctantly allows it to end and steps back. Taking the offered food, the smile he seems to draw out of her effortlessly is on her lips once more. "Keen, that's so thoughtful. I'm afraid I'm not the most accomplished cook. Never really took the time to learn properly." Never had to either. From house elves doing the cooking at home, to house elves doing the cooking at Hogwarts, to dinner with clients most nights of the week for the past several years, who needs to be a great chef? She takes a few steps backwards, not willing to tear her eyes away from him just yet. "How is Niamh doing?"

Keenan solves the problem of how to get down the hall without having to stop looking at each other by putting an arm around Rue's shoulders and walking with her. "She's doin' better. I've at least started tae quiet her mind, so she can stop feelin'… confused. It's kind of like, takin' what she still knows an' organizin' it so that she can see what's actually missin' an' not worry about other stuff. It takes a little longer, but it should bring her around more… completely, I would say." He decides he needs to drop another kiss on Rue's forehead as they walk. "Gideon's been nae sleepin' fer watchin' over her, so I sorta split tha last few nights with him, so that we both got some sleep between workin' an' lookin' after her."

Veruca slides her free hand around Keenan's waist, walking with him as he fills her in on the latest news of his sister. Her face is thoughtful as she listens. "Yes, I would imagine you'd want to tread lightly, working with the mind in this way. And Gideon… that's her man?" Although she knows Elijah, she never met his partner. She lightly guides him toward the dining table, setting the food down, and motioning him toward a seat as she moves to get dishes from the kitchen. She does have dishes, at least.

Keenan nods at the mention of Gideon. "Aye," he replies. "Seems a decent bloke… he's been attentive an' takin' extra care o'her. He might be good enough fer ma little sister after all." Following the gesture, he sits down, and stretches arms overhead and legs underneath the table with a grateful sigh. He realizes then that he's still wearing the Mungo's robes, and gives a grimace. He usually sheds those first thing, but seems he was distracted from that somehow. Standing up again, he shucks out of them and lays them on the back of the chair next to him. He's now wearing a light turtleneck sweater and slacks… and the wooly socks as he takes his seat again.

Veruca has to reach up to get the dishes from the cupboard, stretching easily to gather up what they'll need, then sliding a drawer open for silverware. She glances toward the table in time to see Keenan settle. It occurs to her briefly, a flicker of a thought, that she never expected to be comfortable seeing someone else comfortable in her space. It's always been her fortress, accessible to none but herself, her bastion of sanity in an insane world. Somehow, it only seems natural to have Keenan in the mix. She raises her voice only slightly to call over, "So what did you bring for us, oh great provider?" The humor in the words is evident.

Looking into the bag, Keenan reaches in and starts pulling out the little boxes. "There's a petite mignon with mushrooms, and creamy pureed potatoes… which I think is their fancy way of sayin' 'mashed potatoes'." He pulls out another package. "Some roasted root vegetables with frizzled leeks.." he takes a peek at that one, but then he closes the bag back up. "Dessert is a surprise," he informs her mischievously, as he waits for the plates to serve everything on.

Bare feet pad softly back over to the table, and although Keenan is sat on the farther side from the kitchen, she walks around the table to set the plates in front of him, leaning over his shoulder. As she pulls back she pauses, brushing a kiss to his temple lightly. "It sounds delicious. Thank you for thinking of it."

Keenan lifts a hand to brush at her shoulder as she kisses his temple. "Thank ye for sendin' an owl around today. I was thinkin' o'comin' tae see ye before goin' ta Niamh's. Wonderin' if I could sneak it in without bein' missed. Now, if I am missed, at least I can be forgiven" He turns to give her a wink, then pulls his feet up so that he can sit straighter at the table. "Would ye like me tae serve tha plates?"

Veruca wanders back to the kitchen to get a nice red wine to go with the mignon, tossing over her shoulder as she goes, "Yes, please." Picking up her wand from the counter, a short wave has the cork out, and she brings the bottle and glasses back to the table. Instead of sitting across from Keenan, she chooses to sit at the end of the table, closer to him by a measure. "I'll have to remember to keep a supply of things on hand to appease your sister," she teases lightly, getting settled. She lets her bare foot venture forth to rub against his wooly sock.

Keenan smiles as Rue brings wine and glasses. He has her food on the plate and set at the end of the table by the time she returns, as if reading her mind… or perhaps he wants her closer as well. By the time she sits, his own plate is served as well, and his other foot lightly comes over to rest on top of hers, surrounding her bare foot with wooly warmth for a moment before he lets her foot wander where it will. He chuckles at the mention of keeping things on hand for Niamh. "I had a thought on that…" he begins, leaning slightly back as he waits for Rue to pour the wine.

Rue pours a measure in each glass, then sets the bottle aside. Curious eyes go to the healer. "A thought on bribing your sister?" She picks up her knife and fork but hesitates, unconsciously deferring to him to begin. It was always expected that the 'man of the house' starts the meal in the Max household, and none took a bite before him.

Whether he's aware of the courtesy or not once the wine is poured, Keenan leans forward and cuts a slice from his meat. He shakes his head with a chuckle at her question, and takes a bite. He savors it, tipping his head to the side to acknowledge that it is, indeed, pretty good. "I was actually thinkin' that we're hopin' tae have Niamh go home soon. An' I'd like tae stay home tae be near her. If ye'd like, I would like ye tae stop by when ye can. Maybe visit ma place again? I'll do ma best tae make sure tha door isn't barged open again…"

Once Keenan has started, Veruca also begins to eat, listening to him. That last sentence brings a smirk to her lips. "That's reassuring. I do hope your friend isn't angry with you." She takes a bite herself, finding the meat perfectly cooked and tender. "I would like that," Rue starts, but she frowns lightly going on, "But I wouldn't want your sister to think that I was attempting to barge in. Especially not now. I imagine she needs you now more than ever."

Keenan doesn't reply to the first part, looking instead at his plate for a moment to slice off another bite. "Aye, Niamh'll be fine. She doesnae live in ma flat, so I don' think she'll be thinkin' yer bargin' in or anythin' o' that nature." He reaches over to lay his hand lightly on her forearm. "'Twould be nice tae be able come back tae ye upstairs if I do have tae go down an' help her fer some reason." The green eyes are a little less teasing in the jovial sense, perhaps a little more teasing in another manner, but also carry a measure of sincerity to them.

The touch on her arm draws her eyes, and then Rue lifts them to look into Keenan's. For a moment, by the blank look on her face, one might think Keen had just spoken a foreign language to her. He does that on occasion, but not this time. There is almost no change of expression as she says softly, "I'd like that, Keen." She looks almost stunned, and not her typical assured self. It's as much the fact of hearing those words from him, as the realization that she really would like that.

The hand remains on her arm a moment more, the Irish eyes still watching hers for a moment more, then he draws in a breath and nods, his lips quirking into something of a grin, almost of habit. He withdraws his hand so that he can continue his meal. "I am sorry," he says after a couple of bites. "I've nae asked ye how ye've been. I've been too wrapped up in Niamh an' everythin' else." He glances over his glass of wine as he lifts it to his lips to listen to her response.

Rue welcomes those few moments of silence as they eat, using them to have a sip of wine to clear her head and ignoring that flutter in her rib cage. She's herself again as she looks up, or at least mostly herself because that smile is on her lips again. "Don't be sorry, you have a lot on your mind and it's understandable." Well, maybe she's not quite back to herself, because understanding isn't typically high on the list of things she does. "Work has been busy. The planning for the holiday parties is on in earnest. I only hope there is time to meet all of the obligations." It really doesn't pay to be a Pureblood this time of year; most of the functions are actually boring and stuffy.

Keenan gives a sigh of commiseration, his good humor and incorrigible teasing returning as she discusses the Christmas planning. "I don' envy ye, lass. I dread havin' tae make tha obligatory appearance at tha Mungo's party every year while everyone runs around tryin' ta get the misteltoe in tha right spot, an' havin' tae duck the little old nurses," he winks. "I imagine with the MacCurry's havin' their mansion all finished, now, they'll be openin' their doors tae start their annual Christmas tradition."

Veruca can easily imagine the little old nurses wanting a buss from the handsome ginger healer, and it brings amusement to her eyes. Of course, she can also imagine the young pretty nurses wanting a piece of him too. It's a first, that concept bothering her a bit. So she glosses over that part of it. "I would wager you're quite sought after," she teases lightly. "Yes, Mrs. MacCurry is planning, and the elder Mrs. MacCurry is planning the company party, in theory. She does seem to prefer to leave most of the planning to me, which she then criticizes. But she never changes the plans." Clearly the elder MacCurry witch just likes to be a pain in the rump.

Keenan grins as he digs into his 'pureed potatoes'. "There're some people like that… actually, more than I like tae count. It seems that if they didnae find somethin' tae complain about, they'd shrivel up an' die. Complainin' fer tha sake of complainin. An' then they come tae Mungo's wonderin' why they have stomach problems an' such. It's all the bitter words they keep spewin' leavin' a bad taste in their mouth that gets swallowed every time they eat." His voice is still light, liltin', the banter not dropping to give his words any sort of bitterness. He continues to eat amiably enough after his words, and grins, "so, will I get a sneak peek at Christmas? or do I havetae wait like everyone else?"

cut scene - nothing to see here

Well if 'Christmas' is the code name for dessert in bed, Keenan certainly does get a sneak peek. Sometime later, after the pair have exhausted their considerable appetites, Veruca licks a last dollop of whipped cream off the healer's shoulder and settles next to him under the covers. Her hair is in some serious disarray, loose again and falling around her shoulders, and her sigh is one of unquestionable satisfaction. "I think I'll let you plan dessert all the time," she says softly.

Keenan looks at the whipped cream on his shoulder as Veruca licks it off with an expression of 'how did that get there' before he grins and bends his head to try and capture some of that cream before she can completely do away with it. That might lead to a longer, deeper kiss of dancing tongues before he lets her settle down next to him, his hand lazily tracing up and and down her back. He chuckles at her offer to hand dessert planning over to him, and gives her a squeeze. "'Twas delicious. I don't think I mind comin' back for seconds of that dessert… after this one settles…"

"Or thirds," Veruca murmurs agreeably. Her hand rests lightly on Keenan's chest, his heart beating under her fingertips. "But, I do need to let you get back to your responsibilities soon." There is a genuine note of regret in her voice with this reality, and she adds quietly, "I'd spend days here with you, if we could." In this warm afterglow, it's a bit easier to say things she wouldn't otherwise. Of course, it helps that she's looking at her fingers and the gentle rise and fall of his breathing, and not at his face.

Keenan's other hand reaches across to find a lock of her dark hair, and gently tug it across his chest where he can play with it in his fingers. "Aye, lass. An' I'd keep ye right here tha entire time, if I could, too," he adds to her statement, that playful tone can be heard, even if she's not looking up to his eyes to see the gleam there.

Veruca smiles at his words and does now lift her eyes to his. She could get lost in that sparkling green if she let herself. She falls silent for a time, mostly because everything that comes to her head to say makes her feel a little too vulnerable, and she's still processing how to deal with these new feelings. But a lot might be said without words, just by the way she gazes at him, if a man were at all perceptive. At least she finds the silence comfortable and easy.

Keenan tips his head down on the pillows so that he can meet Veruca's gaze, and that little grin lingers around his lips, the dimples easily seen in the scruff that looks like it's been tamed somewhat in recent days. Perhaps he finds some sort of relief in not having to try an articulate the still slightly incomprehensible feelings and thoughts going on in his mind right now. He twists the lock of hair lightly in his fingers, flipping the end back and forth, an leans down to kiss her forehead. Then he settles back on the pillows with the woman cradled next to him with a contented sigh.

Veruca watches his fingers as he plays with the strand of hair. Those marvelous healer fingers. She can't resist letting her hand come up, her fingers drifting over his, touch light as it moves from knuckle down to fingertips and back to continue up his arm to the elbow.

Keenan traps the fingers lightly between his for a moment, before he lets the fingers continue on, and up to his elbow. He moves his arm across his body a little so that she can reach his elbow easy enough. "I'm glad ye finally took me advice," he says quietly. "Ye do look beautiful with yer hair down…" His fingers, that gentle, yet firm touch, tucks the lock of hair behind her ear, and pulls it down along her neck to her shoulder.

Veruca's dark eyes raise to his face, amusement flickering in them at his reference. "You're lucky I didn't fancy your friend," she teases as she tickles her fingernails back down his arm to his wrist. "This might be a very different moment, because you chose to send him over first."

Keenan chuckles. "Nae lady fancies Finn," he tells her unequivicably. Then he grins again and lets go of the lock of hair so he can twine his fingers with hers. "But, aye, I certainly wasnae expectin' anythin' like this. I rather expected ye tae shoot me down, but… I was never one tae take the safe way out when it comes tae women. The safe ones dinnae have enough spark tae interest me."

Veruca considers the words on Finn. "He's got something of a… way." She laughs softly, giving Keenan's hand a squeeze, before lifting it to her lips to softly kiss his knuckles. "I rather expected to shoot you down," she counters lightly, her voice thoughtful.

Keenan chuckles. "Ah, lass," he lifts her hand towards his heart as if to jokingly turn the knife there. Then lifts her hand to his own lips, to return the favor. "I did think ye'd be a challenge, it'd take more 'n a couple smiles an' a wink an' ma famous Irish charm." He gives her that incorrigible, fun, glance again, but then he sobers slightly, bringing their entwined hands to her cheek. "Didnae expect tae not want tha challenge tae end."

Veruca rubs the back of Keenan's hand against her cheek softly, looking at him for a few moments. Then she moves to squirm up a bit, making it easier for her lips to find his for a tender kiss. A whisper comes as she moves back only far enough to catch his eyes. "I didn't either."

The hand that had been idly running along Veruca's back shifts when she squirms, to give her support and help bring her closer to her objective. He looks into her eyes, and when she speaks, his finger from their entwined hands runs softly down her cheek, turning so the first knuckle can graze the soft skin. "Slim go bhfuil t ag goideadh mo chro," he whispers to her, a profound expression overcoming his teasing.

She's become very fond of hearing the soft lilt his voice takes when he slips into the Irish tongue. Well, except for that one time when he told Sloan to go to hell. Veruca holds his gaze, asking softly, "Which means?"

"It means, lass, I think ye've stolen ma heart," Keenan tells her quietly. "An' I didnae think I had one tae be stealin' in tha first place," he admits truthfully. He pulls her in a little closer so he can tuck her head under his chin, and wrap his arms around her tightly, for the moment it's a bit too much to face her head on with.

The words may cause Veruca to forget to breath for a moment, and she moves without protest to rest her head against him. Thankfully, she does remember to start breathing again without prompting, warm on his skin. She's grateful, actually, for this shift in position, because his words deserve a response and she wouldn't be able to say the words looking into his eyes. She swallows, hesitates a moment more, before whispering, "If I have, I still have only one. And you still have one too."

The feel of her breath warm on his skin stirs him a little. Not… /that/ way… stir him. Her words give that one heart a moment's pause, and he draws a deep breath. He kisses the top of her head, because that's the closest they're going to come to true feelings, and for now that's more than close enough for him. One arm loosens slightly and once more begins to play with her hair, then drifts down her back and up to brush his knuckles at the nape of her neck, underneath the glossy, black hair.

Veruca lets her fingers wander again, tracing a lazy path through the hair on Keenan's chest, and she is content to be quiet with him again for the next several minutes, content in his arms as she never expected to be. Finally, she speaks again, quietly. "Ignacious. Astoria. Crispin. Endira. Lanford. Bartemus." Each name comes with a pause before the next. "My brothers and sisters."

Keenan pauses at first when she starts saying the names, and then his fingers slowly travel down her back again. "They are all very distinguished names," he says quietly. "And ye were born after Crispin and before Endira? How far apart are all of ye?" His question is soft, curious.

His touch is soothing, which is what Veruca needs to open up as much as she is. Her head shifts a measure, in a not quite full nod. "Yes, right in the middle. And we're each two to three years apart." While her parents may not have liked taking care of children, they sure produced enough of them.

"It sounds like your parents at least admired each other," Keenan replies quietly. "Did you ever see them?" There's something about their previous conversations that leads him to wonder on this particular score.

Veruca smirks at Keenan's assessment, and a short huff of breath tickles his skin. It's short lived, and she sighs softly. "Not often. They were usually out for dinner, and we had nannies and tutors. They came and went." There as well, no one for the girl she was to have grown close to.

Keenan nods once as he listens. "Da was a carpenter. He did the best work in Dublin, an' he worked from home, a shop he had out back. Mum was home, and tha most wonderful house witch ye've ever met. We had a little cottage near tha ocean. It wasn't very big, but when ye have tha whole outdoors, ye don't need much." He pauses. "Until I was thirteen."

Light fingers drift up to Keenan's neck as he talks, and Veruca listens with more genuine interest than she's shown… well, ever to anyone else. She can't help but feel a touch of envy at him having had a mother he speaks so highly of. "What happened then, Keen?" she asks gently.

"An Eiri Amach na Csca" Keenan says quietly. "The Easter Uprising. The muggle Irish revolted in Dublin. Da was injured in tha cross fire, an' tha English thought him part of it. It was days before they let him go. His hand… he couldnae carve anymore." His hand stills. "We moved tae England. Tae a tiny flat in London. Mum took up work at St. Mungo's as a nurse tae support tha family."

Veruca's hand does not still, her touch taking a measure more pressure on his skin, flattening so it is not just her fingertips making contact. "That must have been very difficult." Her voice holds no pity, just a deep sadness for the events that transpired. She shifts, her leg sliding over his under the covers, stilling to keep contact.

Keenan is silent for a little bit, debating continueing. "It's a muggle thing, Rue," he says quietly. "A man is supposed tae be able tae provide fer his family. Not tha other way around. It broke ma Da when he could nae provide enough an' Mum had tae take care of us. He was never tha same again."

So while Veruca never knew the kind of joy Keenan did, he knew it and lost it. If she had any doubt still of her feelings for Keenan, the pain she feels for him in her heart dispels it. "Even still?" she questions gently.

Kissing the top of her head again, Keenan shakes his head. "He's… mellowed with age, Sorcha helped some, an' things are better since Mum retired last year." He sighs. "But he's… well, he'll nae be tha same again." He wraps his arms around Veruca and pulls her closely again.

Right now, the best thing she feels she can do for Keenan is to be near him, and Veruca lets quiet come again. It's been quite the evening for them both, in what they've discovered about themselves and each other. It's nice, also, enjoying the time spent in someone's company and not looking at the clock, judging how soon you can bring this to an end. Eventually, though, she suggests quietly, "We ought to get you ready to go, love, and get you to your sister." The endearment slips out unnoticed, falling naturally from her lips.

When he's done sharing, Keenan seems content to lay there quietly, with little caresses and soft kisses, letting the fact that he's just shared with someone the moment that changed his life completely sink in. The first time that his life changed completely. The second time… was when he met the woman in his arms, even if he didn't realize it at the time. At the mention of having to get back to his sister, he sighs, and nods. "Some night, ye're nae going tae be able tae get me ta leave," he promises, a hint of huskiness in the low promise. He pushes himself out of bed to start collecting clothes, lightly tossing anything of Rue's that he finds to her.

Veruca slides out of bed after Keenan, padding to the other side of the room to do the same. She doesn't put much back on, opting for only the top she had been wearing earlier, and even that she doesn't bother to fasten up. "While you get dressed, I'll get what you need to be taking back for Niamh." She takes the liberty of taking a kiss, before going out to the kitchen. The cake from Chef Carmichael is waiting on the table along with a small bouquet of Irish wildflowers by the time Keenan comes out.

Keenan willingly gives in to the liberty of the kiss, and the chance to hold her against him during the kiss. "What I need tae be takin back for Niamh?" he asks curiously. But he decides not to ask any more questions in favor of letting her go so he can watch and admire as she walks away. Once dressed, he pads out quietly to the kitchen and notes the two things on table. "Is that… like one a tha desserts from the MacCurry housewarming party?" he asks, the wildflowers taking more of his attention. He picks them up, his fingers running lightly over the petals, lifting some gently.

Veruca steps up behind Keenan, arms going around his waist as she rubs her cheek lightly on his arm. "It is. I stopped in to Farin Braw and Chef Carmichael mentioned your Niamh had been a help with the flames. I mentioned I know you, he asked after her, I said she was a bit under the weather, and here we go. A special treat from the chef to your sister." Her eyes slip to the flowers. "I hope she'll like the flowers."

Keenan covers her arm lightly with his own, tipping his head to the side so that he can look down to where she rests against his arm. "I am sure she will," he says quietly. "Someday I'll ask ye where ye found them, an' take some home tae Mum for Sunday Dinner." Again, he seems content enough just being with her, and it's awhile before he can stir himself to turn within her arms, and put his own around her. "I'll… be thinkin' of ye."

Veruca looks up into his eyes, bringing one hand up to brush lightly at his scruff. "Don't be too long," she says simply, then turns to walk him to the door. Before he goes, one more kiss, soft and lingering, filled with the affection they're beginning to explore.

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