(1937-12-22) Christmas Plans
Details for Christmas Plans
Summary: A little close to the holiday, Keenan and Veruca discuss plans for the day.
Date: 22 December 1937
Location: MacDiarmarda Apothecary
Related: Immediately following Wassailing
Characters
VerucaKeenan

The light patter of her footsteps are barely audible as Veruca heads upstairs to the third floor loft door of Niamh's Apothecary in Diagon Alley, unsure if she'll find Keenan at home or not. A conversation with his sister has left something of a frown on her face, but it's light and absent, not actively angry. At the top of the stairs she pauses, blinking and resetting her expression then knocks on the door.

The door swings open when her hand touches it, as if charmed to open automatically for her. The water in the washroom is just shutting off, and there's a little clatter of the opening of the shower curtain, and rustling from the towel being used. The door is ajar, allowing the steam to drift out along the ceiling. A moment later, a whistling can be heard starting up, and the damp form of a towel clad ginger healer appears and walks back towards his room.

Veruca steps inside, hearing the running water at once, before it cuts off as she steps out of her shoes. What had still been a weak smile strengthens and the woman slips her robe off and moves to lay it across the back of a dining chair. Keenan exits the washroom as Veruca turns to step that way, and she pauses, taking a moment to watch him walk. She waits for a break in the whistled tune before raising her voice to be heard. "Evening, love," is offered as she starts to walk toward him.

Keenan's hands were at his waist, about to undo his towel and get dressed when Veruca's words reach his ears. He pauses, and turns his head, the smile already spreading from ear to ear. Instead, his deft hands make sure the towel is tighter so it won't fall when he retraces his steps to meet her and greet her with a proper kiss. "Evenin'. Ye're a bit early." He chuckles. "Not that I'm complainin' mind ye."

Veruca stops walking as Keenan's attention is gained, and her attention again goes to admiring his movements. One brow raises at his words. "Early? Hm, and I even stopped down to talk to your Niamh before coming up. Are you sure that you aren't late?" She lets her fingers, a bit chilled from the outside air, brush lightly against his skin above the line of the towel as she returns the kiss.

Keenan shivers and jerks the lower half of him back a bit at the chilled fingers, giving a not-very-manly squeak against her lips. "I am never late," he lets her know with a wink. He looks over her outfit and nods to himself. "Ye look marvelous. Now…" he folds his hands over her cold ones in case she's thinking of making a further assault on his still warm skin with their chill, "I'll just get dressed, an' well see about this dinner thing. Which coat did ye wear? We're headed intae muggle territory again tonight."

Veruca really did intend going out tonight, she told Niamh they were and everything. But the temptation of her damp and tousled love before her in naught but a towel is great, indeed. Stepping forward as he holds her hands she kisses a bead of moisture from his shoulder before murmuring, "I wore a robe. Can't wear that out by muggles. Guess we'll have to stay in." She doesn't move away from his skin, breath puffing lightly against it, but her eyes shift to look up at him.

Keenan raises his eyebrows. "Did ye really?" he asks. There's a skeptical cast to his words. "This doesn't have anything to do with tha fact that I'm standin' here in naught but a towel, does it? Hmmm?" He glances past her, not that he can actually see anything out there, but then down to her again with a still raised eyebrow.

With her fingers somewhat warmer from his hands, Veruca wiggles them out of his grasp and slips two fingers from each hand into the towel at each side of him, pinching it in place with her thumbs. Her head tilts now and a smile is directed up. "Is that all you're wearing? I hadn't even noticed."

Keenan chuckles and takes a tighter hold on his towel as he wriggles out of her grasp and back towards the bedroom. Once he has it gathered in his hand, he lifts his finger to shake it back and forth at her. "Ahh, ah, ah, young lady. Didnae yer mother ever tell ye tae eat yer dinner before yer dessert?" With a maddening teasing gleam to his eyes, he backs through into his room to close his door so he can get dressed.

Veruca laughs as Keenan pulls away, eyes narrowing slightly as she watches him, and she can't help but laughs again at his admonition. "Cheeky," she chides fondly, letting him shut the door without protest. Crossing to the sofa, Veruca sits down to wait for his return, admiring the greens and ornaments around the flat.

The unrepentent Irish chuckle can be heard through the door at her claim of cheeky, and then the whistling begins again. A couple times it's muffled as he pulls on his clothes, but then he appears a moment later, his hair almost dry, wearing slacks and a smooth, turtleneck sweater. He pauses and lets her look him over to make sure he's decent enough to appear in public alongside. He even gives her a once around, turning so she can admire how the slacks hug his rear end, and then he raises his eyebrows questioningly.

Having waited so patiently, Veruca feels this little show of Keenan's a fitting reward. She watches appreciatively, especially at the rear view, and then nods at the unspoken question. "Never has there been a more handsome and well put together man." Slipping to her feet, Veruca steps around the coffee table and toward Keenan, her intent to take a kiss from his lips.

Keenan grins, and will readily reward such a compliment with a kiss. He will even throw in a close embrace with said kiss, and do his best to take her breath away in the process. When he finally lifts his head, there's that wicked gleam in his eyes, and he taps at her nose with his finger. "Now, since ye've brought a robe, we'll have tae give ye somethin' of mine. It's not unusual tae see a woman borrowin' somethin' from tha man she loves in a pinch." He walks towards the coat rack next to his door to rummage there for a pea coat for himself, and…

It's almost effortless for Keenan to complete his task, and Veruca is most certainly a touch short of breath after the kiss. As well, that gleam in his eyes never fails to delight her. She takes a few steps behind him, eyes curious, but taking a happy spark at the words 'from tha man she loves'.

A longer wool coat is produced from the coat rack and and Keenan turns, holding it up for her so she can put her arms in. He wraps it around front of her, and buttons it from behind so that he can keep his arms around her, his cheek pressing to hers before he turns to kiss her briefly. "There, now, ye're all bundled up properly, ye should be plenty warm." He stows his wand in his coat pocket, makes sure he has a muggle type wallet, then opens the door for her.

Veruca steps back against Keenan easily, leaning into him as he buttons the wool coat for her. "I could get used to that," she teases lightly, moving to step into her shoes, collect her purse, and go out, waiting for Keenan at the bottom of the stairs.

There's been some quiet conversation on the tube, sitting close to each other, talking about the day, asking how Niamh's current batch of wassail came out, small talk. Something new for Keenan that has some long, but not too uncomfortable pauses in between. Then they're up out of the tube, and a short walk in the crisp, cold air, before they're making their way into the Blackfriar's pub. After some finagling, the healer manages to get them to a tall table with high stools next to the wall. He takes her coat and hangs it on the back of her chair like a gentleman, then moves around to his own chair. Leaning forward on his elbows, he glances around, then to Veruca. "This is all right?"

Veruca settles on the tall stool, taking only the most brief glance around before her eyes are drawn back to Keenan. "It's lovely. I've never been here." She's much more comfortable in a muggle setting than a lot of purebloods would be, including quite a number of her family.

Keenan nods. "I havenae, either. But I have heard of it." He grins to the server, and orders a Black Bush on the rocks as the menus are handed over. Once the man has continued on, he turns once more to Veruca. "I like tha anonominity of bein' in a muggle place. Less likely to run intae someone I know, an' that means less interruptions, an'…" he reaches across for Rue's hand. "I can give all my attention tae a very lovely woman, instead of havin' tae practically ignore her while everyone wants tae talk at us."

Veruca accepts her menu, nodding after Keenan orders his drink in indication she'll have the same, flashing the server a quick smile and then turns her attention back on her companion. Her hands are warmer than they were in his flat, squeezing his lightly. "I can share you when I need to. As long as you always give me an evening like this as well."

Relieved that her hands are not as icy as before, Keenan smiles and rubs his thumb over the back of hers. "I prefer nights like this," he confides. "Although I'm proud tae be seen with ye, that's all it is. Being seen with ye, but not able tae really appreciate ye as much as I'd like." He lifts her hand to his lips briefly. "Ye were divine last night, mo thaisce."

Veruca leans slightly forward, coming comfortably close to speak. "I think I prefer nights at home," she purrs under the rumble of other conversations. She caresses his knuckles with her thumb. "It may have been under the guise of a social event, but it's still business, love. Concessions must be made."

Keenan grins. "Why do ye think I've always disliked tha Mungo's Galas before? there's just something… insincere about it. But," he takes a sip from the drink delivered, and reluctantly pauses in his talk to let Veruca order before he orders the beef rib pie. Once that is over with, he smiles again. "It was easier tae bear with ye there by my side. An' there is somethin' tae be said about nights at home as well," he agrees. "But this makes tha comin' home sweeter, in a way, aye?"

Veruca gives a wry smile to Keenan's observation. "Business is seldom sincere, love. Most people don't get to choose who they work with, they're just thrown together by virtue of having been hired. So you have to find ways to get along." Very likely why she is happier working for herself. She got to choose who she did business with, and she has been very choosy. Not like having to pacify Zephyr's business contacts, and nearly threaten others. Her attention turns back to the menu, and her own order is for the grilled sea bass. One the server moves away, a sly smile goes to Keenan, "Yes, in a way." The words are agreeable, as is the brush of her foot against his leg.

Keenan raises his eyebrows at the brush against his leg. "How is yer business comin' along? Are ye ready tae strike out on yer own again, yet?" He swirls the ice in his glass before he takes another sip. His gaze is interested, but something else seems to lurk there when she mentions not being able to choose who you work with.

"I shall be ready to approach Zephyr with a proposal after the first of the year. There is no possible way he can come up with an argument against this that would make as much sense." She doesn't swirl the ice in her glass, but pokes it gently with one long fingernail. It's not very difficult to tell when something is on Keenan's mind, because he's an expressive man. At least Veruca thinks she's been able to read him pretty well so far, and now she asks gently, "Something on your mind, love?"

Keenan chuckles. "Does anyone stand a chance against ye when ye've figured yer mind?" he asks her jovially. At her question he sets his drink down, and runs a hand through his hair, and rests it at the back of his neck. "Christmas," he says quietly.

Rue's brows lift and she gives Keenan a positively angelic smile. "Never." At Keenan's answer to her question, she takes her drink up and drains it of the few swallows that were left. "What about Christmas?"

"It's…" Keenan pauses. "Well, it's a mad house, tae be honest. An' Niamh's bringin' Gideon with her for tha big 'meet tha family', thing." He puts both hands on the table, now, clasping them in front of him as he leans forward. "Ye're just.. getting used tae me, for Mary's sake. An' Niamh…" he sighs. "Not tae mention how excited she's been about bringin' 'Adamantus' home with her, makin' a bit to-do o'showin' him off…"

Veruca reaches out to put her hand on Keenan's, giving a light squeeze and stopping him with a gentle, "Keen." She waits for him to stop, before going on. "My family gathers on the holiday." Which is the absolute truth.

Keenan looks curiously to her when she stops him. Then he stops, and there's a little red tinge on his cheeks. "Oh, right." He replies. "Of course. I am sure they are expectin' ye tae spend tha day with them. I didnae even think.." he trails off, and blows out a breath as he turns his head towards the crowd of people, perhaps disappointed.

Even with someone who is usually easy to read, things can be misinterpreted. Keenan's reaction isn't what she expected and she looks at him curiously. She glances around, hoping to catch the server's eye and get another drink. "I'm not going," she says without looking at him. "I don't think I could bear to be with them this year."

When the server comes over, Keenan orders a refill on his, as well. His gaze swings back around, puzzled. "Ye won't? Won't they.. be unhappy with ye? Why wouldn't ye be able tae bear it?" Now, there's not only surprise in his eyes, but concern as he reaches to cover the hand she placed on his.

Veruca's eyes come to rest on their hands, her own warmed between his. "How can I suffer through that, knowing there's something so different?" She doesn't look up until she's finished speaking.

Keenan watches her carefully, and the green warms as she looks up again. He squeezes her hands. "Different isnae always better, ye know," he reminds her with a grin, one of those sing song voices that warns he may later say, 'I told you so'. "I'm sure that whatever Niamh told ye, she made it sound like a grand old time."

Rue's gaze doesn't waver as she simply says, "I know it's not." What Niamh told her was so vastly different as to be a nearly terrifying concept. The waiter arrives with their second drinks, setting them down and clearing off the old glasses. Veruca immediately reaches for hers and takes a sip.

Keenan studies her closely as she takes her second drink. "An' ye're sure ye want tae come," he prods gently, leaving his drink alone for a moment.

There's a measure of surprise in the dark eyes that look up to Keenan. "To Christmas with your family? Good heavens, Keen, I hope you don't think I was inviting myself." Veruca lets go of her glass, sitting back in her chair.

Keenan leans back in his chair as she looks up to him, and denies having invited herself. "So, ye're sayin' ye /don't/ want to come tae my family's house for Christmas?" he asks, trying very hard not to smile at her, and only managing to keep it down to a wicked grin, his dimples teasing her along with gleaming green Irish eyes.

Veruca crosses her legs, glancing down as she does and straightening her skirt. "My plan is to spend the day on my own, Keen," she says simply, picking at a piece of lint that doesn't exist. It's not often that she's reluctant to look up and meet his emerald eyes.

Keenan raises his eyebrows. "An' why would ye want tae do something like that?" he asks, his tone still light, and his leaned back posture as loose and relaxed as ever. It's only his eyes that show any difference, studying her a little more sharply.

Dark eyes come up, but only as far as Keenan's chest before they drift away. There is a pause, and her eyes return to find his. "Keenan, it's something I need to do." She can't even imagine dealing with either extreme right now.

Keenan nods easily once. "That works for me. I can certainly handle skipping the madness for once. Maybe this year I won't end up with a black eye when one of the nephews throws his toy at another an' misses." He reaches forward for his drink and takes a sip.

Veruca speaks up without hesitation. "Keenan, don't be daft. You can't skip the holiday."

Keenan shrugs. "I won't be skippin' tha holiday. I'll be spendin' it with ye." He replies simply. He leans forward. "Rue-lass, Christmas is a day fer spendin' with people ye love. An' I love ye."

Veruca leans in as well, her eyes soft and moist. "Keen your family would never forgive me," she murmurs. Her hand comes up and strokes his jaw, the touch gentle and loving. He might as well be the only other person in the world right now, because he's all Rue sees.

Keenan smiles. "Rue, my family loves me, an' I love ye. They understand love." He turns his head to kiss the hand on his jaw.

She'll try again to get him to see the light about spending Christmas with his family, but for now Veruca has to let it go. That he would give up the time with his family to be with her is nothing less than profound to her. She knows how close their family is. After a few moments she lets her hand pull away from his face with a light stroke, and she takes a deep breath. Her eyes meet his as she softly says, "I love you, Keen."

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