(1937-12-16) Last Train to India
Details for Last Train to India
Summary: Miranda gives Michais an early birthday present that leads to an unexpected trip.
Date: 16 December, 1937
Related: Artifacts and, Ahem, Assets

At the back of the store, Michais is making a notation in the ledger, and leaning against the counter is a rolled up prayer rug. A tag with his neat handwriting has already put the name and address on the rug, and is marked paid. The man's hair seems a little more mussed than usual, as he finishes his writing and closes the tome. He pushes it aside, and then stares blankly towards the front of the store.

And like someone's wish fulfilled, Miranda appears! Well, not exactly like a dream. More like a flustered tornado precariously balancing a wooden stand of very old scrolls, trying to keep any from falling from the dowel slots. "Michais! Look what I've just found!" she calls gleefully, taking it for granted that the man is, indeed, around.

And he is, indeed. He blinks himself back to existence, and looks to the door. Coming quickly from behind the counter, he moves to lend a hand. "What… is it?" he asks, trying to get a closer look at the scrolls at the same time that he's trying to keep them in place.

Miranda looks smug. "Oh, nothing you would be interested in," she teases him, and guides the rack onto a safe surface. "The prayer rug sold?" she adds, looking past him to the artifact in question. Back to him again and she squints. "You look… out of sorts, Michais."

Michais gives Miranda a lofted brow look, as she knows quite well that old scrolls and finding some new, old knowledge are definitely something he would be interested in. He glances over at the rug, and nods, his cheekbones taking on a pink tinge. "Ehm, yes. A Miss Strathcona who works for Gringotts." Apparently, whatever 'out of sorts' she's detected have something to do with the woman from Gringotts. "So, what is all this?" he asks, reaching to take a scroll once she has the entire thing settled.

Miranda stops picking over the scrolls to lift her head. "Jaqueline Strathcona?" she asks, and a slow grin spreads over her face. "Are you delivering it to her, then?" Uh-oh. Poor Michais. She takes a scroll and hands it to him, barely able to squash her mirth to keep a straight face and a matter of fact voice. "Perhaps you ought to study these before you do. Maybe you can teach the Raj a thing or two when you're done."

Michais nods in to the question of delivering. "You know her?" he asks curiously, then he raises an eyebrow as she hands over the scroll. "Is this one of those Kama Sutra things you were talking about?" The skepticism is plain as he waits for her to answer, rather than opening the scroll to find out himself, even though he does take it as it is handed to him.

"I know of her," replies Miranda lazily. "She's got quite the reputation." Pause. "Interesting .. appetites." The scrolls are not kama sutra. They are shunga, which at least Michais can read the captions on…if he can tear his eyes away from the pictures. Miranda has a wide streak of mean. She doesn't respond, she just gives him her most innocent look and walks behind the counter. "I have something else for you, too!"

Michais rolls the scroll back up and gives a shake of his head. "I can believe that," he says to the mentioning of appetites. "Dare I ask what else you have for me?" The scroll is tucked back into the rack. "I'm beginning to wonder exactly what kind of store you are trying to establish here," he adds dryly, but there is a crinkle of humor at the corners of his eyes.

"You're the one delivering a prayer rug to Jacqueline Strathcona," points out Miranda, watching him roll the scroll back up. "You know the only kind of worshiping she's planning to do on it will probably be done on her back." Clearing her throat to note the change of subject she pulls out a wrapped package with a ridiculous bow on top and offers it to him cheerfully. "Happy Birthday-slash-Happy Christmas, Sherlock."

Michais turns a rather bright shade of red as Miranda mentions the delivery of the rug, and her guess as to what the woman will do on the rug. "I, ehm, no. I had no idea of that," he tells hs employer. However, at the throat clearing that denotes a change in subject, he pulls himself up straight and politely clasps his hands behind his back, waiting to see which direction the conversation is going to take. He blinks as he is offered a little package, and gives a puzzled look to Miranda as he slowly brings one hand from behind his back and takes it. "Well, thank you, Miranda. That's very nice of you, you didn't have too…" he glances to the package, and then to her questioningly, whether he should open it or save it for later.

Miranda rolls her eyes. "Every year I get you a gift, and every year, you say I didn't have to. Of course I had to. It's not every day your best friend throws another rock onto the pan and tips the scale towards old." Which is actually not true at all, but what can you do. "Open it!" she commands, shooing her hands towards him to indicate he should go ahead and do it.

"Ehm, thanks," Michais murmurs to the analogy of getting older. At the command he nods. "All right, all right…" his voice suggesting that he's doing it, and she can calm down. He pulls a ribbon off the box, and then unwraps the paper. He looks at the box of Christmas Chocolate Creams. "I see, is this a hint?" he asks, opening the box. "If I'm not mistaken, aren't these the ones that have the cheering draught mixed into the cream?"

"I'm three years older than you. Don't get in a ruffle," murmurs Miranda absently, just in case he is worried about getting old. They're practically teenagers in wizarding years anyway! "Why yes they are!" She says proudly. "Aren't you clever? I just thought you might need a little Christmas spirit in your step, Sherlock."

Michais raises his eyes to the heavens. "Well, thank you," he says quietly, opening the box. "Although I'm not sure I could handle an even more cheerful Miranda," he quips as he holds the box towards her. "Would you like one?" he does take one as well, and pops it into his mouth.

Miranda is rather cheerful, it's true. "Tsk, you'd hate me if I turned all maudlin and morose, don't you think?" She eyes the box. "Well. They're /yours/ but if you insist," which he didn't really, but when can she pass up chocolates, really? She selects one from its little paper cup and raises it, "Cheers!" like a toast before taking a bite.

Michais grins and shakes his head at Miranda before he takes another one, and sets the box on the counter between them. "So," he says, reaching for the scroll rack, and randomly choosing another one. It seems he's not so adverse to looking them over now that they've settled down a little, and left the subject of the purchaser of the rug behind. "Where did you find these… and… why? did you decide to purchase them?" his eyebrows raise over hazel eyes that are almost flirtatious in their teasing. "Have another," he offers of the chocolates. "It's not like I can eat the entire box myself."

Miranda is still working on the first one. "You might need the whole box," she needles him good naturedly, perhaps a little surprised that he's actually brave enough to dive back into the rather detailed scrolls. "I found them in the possession of a less savory collector who didn't realize what he had. Or rather, I suppose he knew what he had in terms off…never mind. See the strokes of the calligraphy?" she comes around to reach past him to tap the kanji. "This is a distinctive style to Heian period, when shunga first began in Japan. These scrolls are remarkable well preserved. I'm guessing a spell was used, but I can't figure out which one for the life of me."

Now that the pictures aren't distracting him so much, Michais nods at the mention of the Heian period. Since he's spent most of his life in Japan, the calligraphy is familiar to him, "they are. I'd like to figure out which one so we can use it on some of the things we have here, he agrees. "Careful, sweetheart, you don't want to get chocolate on the scrolls, now do you?" he asks, leaning a little closer to Miranda. Apparently, he's not taking exception to the tease that his disposition could use an entire box of cheering draught chocolates.

"Sweetheart?" asks Miranda curiously, an eyebrow quirked. "Since when do you call me sweetheart?" She checks her fingers for chocolate and pouts. "There's no chocolate on my fingers. You're making that up." Notably, she does not move away despite her reason for being right there next to him basically handled. "I was thinking…"

Michais grins and picks up one of the chocolates and puts it in her hand. "Now there is," he grins impishly, and takes another for himself. "What?" he asks, eyebrows raised as he continues to lean on the counter next to her, almost touching, and bites into another chocolate. "What were you thinking?" His gaze looks directly into her eyes, something he's not wont to do very often.

Miranda watches him with a satisfied smile on her face. "You like them?" it's not nearly a question, since she can guess the answer by the number he's eaten. "So there is!" she adds, and pops the second cream into her mouth. The direct gaze is met with raised eyebrows but no comment since her mouth is full and that would be even more rude. She swallows and licks her lips. "We should do it." Pause, clarify, "Go to India."

Michais finishes nibbling the chocolate he has while he waits for her to answer the question. When she mentions India, he turns his body more towards her. "You really think so?" he asks curiously, his eyes roving over her face, her eyes, to her lips, and back again. "I've always wanted to go to India, and," he reaches a hand to brush some of Miranda's unruly hair back from her face. "I can't think of anyone I'd rather go to India with than you."

This is going to get very mushy, isn't it? Miranda's eyes brighten and her breath hitches when he so tenderly touches her hair. "I can't think of anyone I'd rather be there with," she murmurs delicately, and made bold by his strange but not unwelcome affection, she steps even closer to touch the scruffiness at his jaw. "When?"

Michais smiles, an actual full smile, no the polite one that he often bestows, and he reaches into the box of chocolates to lift one directly to Miranda's lips. Yes, this is getting very mushy. "We don't want to miss the Christmas rush, the store will make the most money, then. So, we should go soon, to be back for that." He rubs his jaw against her hand. "I would say the sooner, the better." He turns to actually gently kiss her hand as it rests there.

Miranda opens her mouth to accept the chocolate, and catches his fingertips with her teeth lightly, grazing skin. In a couple days when all of this potion wears off, they're either going to laugh or be mortified. Well, Miranda will laugh. Michais will probably be mortified. It's their roles in life. The kiss makes her next words breathy. "We could go now. Train? Broom? Walk?" that draws a giggle from her, because of course it would be much too far to walk.

Michais takes in a breath as he watches her catch his fingertips with her teeth. "Now sounds good," he agrees, taking a chocolate for himself, but he chuckles at the suggestion of walking. "I thought we wanted to get there before next year. Spending my birthday in India…" he smiles again. "Floo?" is his suggestion, as he looks to her again, and leans even closer, almost without realizing that he's almost face to face with her.

"Can't floo across borders," she reminds him, reluctant to break the tension and lean in those last few centimeters. "And it would take too long to get a portkey approved. There's the Continental train out of King's Cross… It's very comfortable."

Michais's gaze flickers from her mouth to her eyes and back to her mouth, and he gives a little tilt of his head as he leans in closer. "Continental train it is, then," he agrees. Then he takes a chance, spurred on by the chocolate he's consumed, and touches his lips briefly to hers. "We can finish the chocolate on the train."

Hands lift to cup Michais' neck, returning the kiss just as chastely, following the lead of her more reserved and conservative friend. "Sounds like a plan to me," agrees Miranda. "Should probably pack," she says, apparently not completely stupid despite infatuation. "And, uh, get your passport."

When he isn't slapped for his boldness, Michais decides to see if he can get away with a bit more of a kiss, lifting a hand behind her neck. It's a curious kiss, one that tentatively explores it's welcome before he pauses and nods. "Right, pack. I guess we can't wear the chocolate. Passport," he glances to his watch. "When does the next train leave?"

When he isn't slapped for his boldness, Michais decides to see if he can get away with a bit more of a kiss, lifting a hand behind her neck. It's a curious kiss, one that tentatively explores it's welcome before he pauses and nods. "Right, pack. I guess we can't wear the chocolate. Passport," he glances to one of their large clocks. "When does the next train leave?"

No protest comes from Miranda; in fact, when Michais next pulls back she admits quietly, "I've been waiting 13 years for you to do that." But her attention is drawn towards the clock as well and she shrugs. "I guess we'll find out when we get to the station?" Never much of a planner, after all. She doesn't exactly sit around memorizing train schedules. "How long do you need?"

His eyes widen when Miranda tells him she's been waiting for him to kiss her. In fact, his surprise comes out in his voice cracking almost like a teenager, "you have?" He clears his throat and he thinks out loud. "Apparate home ten minutes, if that, just to make sure I have the necessities and my pass port, and then the floo to that building across from the station… ten minutes?" he suggests, looking back to her, some confidence even entering his voice, and the way that he looks at her.

Miranda brushes her fingertips along his cheek and laughs softly. "Mm," she agrees softly and leans in to kiss him again briefly. "Okay. 10 minutes. Meet me at platform 7 1/2."

Michais returns that kiss, leaning after her as if he doesn't want to let her go. But he nods and straightens, "platform 7 1/2" he repeats. Taking the gift of chocolates, he gives her one last smile, then he twists and disappears home.

Miranda rushes upstairs and stuffs clothing willy nilly into a bag, stuffs her passport into her purse, runs downstairs to lock up and post a sign, and then apparates to the train station. She checks boarding times and purchases two tickets, and waits for Michais to appear.

After apparating to his small flat, Michais put a carpet bag on the bed, and took a stack of underwear, a stack of socks, and stuffed them in the bottom. He opens his closet, and pulls out the first three outfits that come to his hands and roll them up, tucking them in the bag. Then to his bathroom, and he puts together his valet case, and that is put on top of the clothing. He grabs up his smaller breifcase, and puts some money, his passport, the remaining chocolates, and a couple books of India that he summons from his bookcase with a wave of his wand. Then, taking up the bag and the briefcase, he strides to the floo and in. He hurries across the street, and into the station, appearing through the wall, he looks immediately around for Miranda.

Miranda flags Michais down, tickets in hand, and grins foolishly at him. Well, a foolish grin is quite appropriate for this. It's a good thing he's got tomorrow off, he might come to his senses in enough time to give his work a call. Maybe. "There you are," she breaths out and reaches impulsively for his hand. "I worried you might change your mind…"

Michais puts both his carpet bag and briefcase in one hand so that he can take that hand that reaches out for his, and leans down to give her a quick kiss. "Of course not," he assures, some of his normal quiet gentleness returning. He looks to the tickets, and then to the trains along the platform. "When do we depart?"

"They're already boarding. The train leaves in 20. Enough time to find a place and get settled in." She glances around and says, "It's kind of exciting, isn't it?" She's been threatening to drag him out of his shell for years. All it took was a little love potion. She'd have tried this years ago if she'd known! "I knew all you needed was a little Cheering!"

Michais nods when she mentions the state of boarding, and still holding her hand, he starts towards the train. "Traveling always has a sense of excitement to it. You should come with me to Japan sometime." He bobs his head respectfully to the conductor as he walks up the steps then looks back to her. "I know you've been to Japan, but… I bet I could show you some places that you don't know about." At the mention of cheering, he grins. "Maybe…" he agrees.

"I would love to go to Japan with you," replies Miranda, practically gushing. "Any place is new and different when you see it with someone new and different." She lets him hand her up into the train car and turns to see him in as well. "Right then. Let's find a compartment."

Michais nods and falls in step behind her. "Ladies' choice," he offers gallantly, in the spirit of the trip. His free hand reaches forward again, resting lightly on her back as they move along the car, looking for a free compartment.

"Oh, ladies' choice is it now?" Miranda laughs, finally coming to a compartment that is open and slipping inside with her luggage. "Here's as good as any, I suppose." She leans back in the cramped compartment to let him past and then closes the sliding door.

Michais squeezes past, and puts his carpet bag in the rack above the seat, then he reaches for Miranda's bag to put it up as well. "It's cozy," he offers politely, once their stuff is stowed, and he takes a seat. For the moment he leaves the chocolates in his briefcase, saving them for later.

"It's a sleeper, you wanted luxury?" she teases. "We'll be in New Dehli by tomorrow afternoon. It's not as fast as a portkey but that would have taken ages to approve and well…it's a long way to go by broom…" She watches him put her bag up with a smile.

Michais clears his throat. "Yes, well, and a broom usually requires one to leave the ground," he reminds her. "This is infinitely preferable." He settles into the seat, and then looks to Miranda. He considers for a moment, then opens his arm to her, if she would like to lean against him. "I'm not sure how much I will be able to sleep. Those cheering creams have me wide awake."

"Well, and that," she agrees with a grin on the subject of heights. Without hesitation she snuggles up against him. "Do you know? I'm quite wide awake myself. To be fairly honest, I've got the worst butterflies. Like I'm a teenager again."

Michais wraps his arm around Miranda and nods. "I know what you mean. Kind of odd for a cheering draught. But," he shrugs, wrapping his other arm around her as naturally as can be. "I've never had one combined with chocolate and cream filling before." He tips his head to look down towards her with a grin, and then kisses her forehead.

Miranda's eyes flutter closed briefly at the light kiss to her forehead and then tips her mouth up encouragingly. "Perhaps that's it. The sugar changed it or… who knows. I was only ever mediocre at potions."

Michais pauses, not sure if he's reading the tip of her head correctly, but then he decides that he just has to take the chance. "Maybe I was wrong, perhaps potions are a puzzle worth solving…" he can't help musing until his head dips low enough, and the fingers he places gently under her chin lift her lips high enough for him to explore more thoroughly the statement she gave earlier about wanting him to kiss her.

Miranda shivers agreeably into that kiss. "I doubt it," she mutters against his lips. "Maybe I just got a bad box." Then she presses her mouth more fully to his once more, twisting to put her arms around his neck. That's right, snogging in the train compartment like teenagers off to Hogwarts. Sounds about right.

Michais can't help the chuckle that quivers along their lips. "Oh, I beg to differ. This is definitely a box of good chocolates." He reuns his hand along her cheek, his thumb caressing along her cheek bone. "I just can't believe… I always thought you just thought I was a friend. Not… "

Miranda catches her bottom lip in her teeth, leaning into his hand. "You've always been so stiff and formal, would it have done me any good to express interest?" She brings her body closer, practically in his lap at this point, unable to get close enough, it would seem.

Michais blinks and looks down at her. "You were older than me, and so many of the older boys liked you," he tells her quietly. "How would I stand a chance against them?" He doesn't seem to mind at all. "Maybe?" he suggests in answer to her question.

"Three years hardly seems like a lot once you're in your twenties and thirties," points out Miranda. "And… well, I wasn't /that/ popular. Besides, they were all danderheads. I spent all my time with you. So obviously you already had a chance."

Michais winces slightly at that. "I never knew when you were coming or going. I've been told … I'm not that great a catch, Miranda. And then you found… a real man." His words fall a little bland, but they don't descend to bitterness. The potion has him too uplifted for that, and a wry smile tugs at the corner of his mouth. "From then I figured that I was the sort that you were friends with, but not… anything more."

"A real man?" Miranda scowls. "/You're/ more of a real man than Elijah. You've never said an unkind word to me in my life. You've never made me feel bad about myself or cry because you were so mean. I've never not enjoyed your company." She chews her lip. "It doesn't matter. I'm here with YOU, not him. Doesn't that prove anything to you?" Reassured by the wry smile, she leans in to pepper his face with little kisses.

The shock on Michais's face is genuine as she lists off the things that Elijah has done, and he pulls her closer. "Of course I wouldn't … how can anyone say an unkind word to you, Miranda?" he asks, bewilderment in his voice. He moves to try and catch at least one of those little kisses with his lips. "I can't imagine ever saying anything mean to you."

Miranda is more than happy to be closer, shifting into his lap finally and straddling his hips with her knees. "It's why we broke up, why I left. I've been waiting for the other shoe to drop ever since I came back. All it takes is one missed dose of his potions and he turns into the cruel, sarcastic, cutting man I left. I… don't want that." She leans in and catches his lower lip in her teeth. "I want you, Michais. If you'd have me."

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