(1937-12-22) Wassailing
Details for Wassailing
Summary: Veruca pops in on Niamh and they share a cup of cheer.
Date: 22 December 1937
Location: MacDiarmarda Apothecary
Related:
Characters
NiamhVeruca

The cold of London keeps the snow of the other night on the streets during the day. Now, with clear skies above, the sun is beginning its set and there are still a good number of people out and about for the holidays. Even more families as Hogwarts is out for the holiday.
Within the Apothecary shop, the place is now decorated to the gills, as it were. Holly is strung about, bits of mistletoe are set at lintels, and the room has an overwhelming, overriding scent of wassail; honey wine and spices, warmed up in a cauldron over the fire in the fireplace.
Niamh is at her workbench once again, filling small phials and setting them aside with small corks stoppering them. She whistles as she works, some Muggle, upbeat Christmas ditty given a particularly Irish cast.

Swinging the door open, Veruca steps into the shop, a small box held in her hands. The room smells much nicer than the last time she ventured through the door, a scent that enhances the holiday decor and makes the space just that touch warmer and welcoming. Having spent the morning working, Rue is dressed typically for her, wearing a slim dark skirt and an ivory blouse, covered against the cold by a dark robe with minimal decoration. She pushes the door shut again, then steps toward the counter and spies Niamh at her workbench. "Good afternoon, Niamh," she greets, voice pleasant, smile easy on her lips.

The sound of the door opening brings Niamh's gaze up quickly, but from the lack of movement from her.. ever present companion (the constable on duty), she's not too concerned. Indeed, the sight of Rue brings a warm smile to her face, her eyes bright. "Rue!" She has to finish stoppering the phial before her, and she sounds an apology. "I'll be right there. Just an order I'm finishin' up before I go home for the holiday." She does finish the small bottle, and she wipes her hand on her apron as she comes around the workbench in order to greet the woman properly with a brief, light kiss on her cheek, if allowed. "How are ye?"

"No rush," Veruca acknowledges pleasantly, using the moment Keenan's sister takes to finish to look around the shop. Despite her lack of warm interactions with family, Veruca easily accepts the greeting Niamh offers with a step forward and a tilted head, returning it in kind to Niahm's cheek before stepping back again. "I'm very well, thank you, I hope you are as well?" she inquires, even as she holds the small box out to the other witch. "You were very much missed at Mungo's last evening, but I brought you a little taste of dessert." Within the small box is one of the individual Christmas puddings that was served after dinner, looking festive with a sprig of holly for decoration. While they were served to each guest, it is large enough for two to share.

The genuine look of pleasure at the dessert box is coupled with a soft 'squee' as she takes the proffered sweet. Opening it, Niamh looks at the pudding and gets an impish smile soon after as she closes it again. "Do I have to share it?" A grin remains behind, and she takes the few steps towards the counter to set it down. "In a way, wasn't really invited this year. Years past, was us Lions.. ye know.. Sloan, Lindy, Keen an' myself. Lindy'd go an' Sloan an' I would tag." But, she doesn't sound upset about it, truly. "That's mum an' Keen. Mungo's, that is."
Reaching under the counter, she brings out a couple of mugs, "Would ye like some wassail? Honey wine an' spices. Naught else, I swear." A trustworthy alchemist! "An', there's been a lot of posh," she admits, "Keen's much better at workin' that than I am. I.. end up callin' ye 'Rue' in public, or Zephyr.. or.." Niamh shrugs and chuckles, ready to make the cross to the fireplace. "Was it nice? Dinner? Dancin'? The snow was pretty when it was comin' down."

A soft laugh comes at Niamh's question of sharing. "Of course not, if you don't want to." Her voice lowers a notch, taking a conspiring tone, "No one but you and I shall even know it exists, if you choose." Coming back up to normal volume, Veruca steps to lean lightly at the counter, "Edwarlinda was there for a bit, looking stunning in red. Next year you'll come," she says lightly, with a quick wink. "I would love some wassail to ward off the chill I caught outside. The wind is bitterly cold today. And please, I don't mind in the least if you call me Rue in public. It's much more comfortable." Her 'society manners' were ingrained into her from the youngest age, being put on display with her siblings for family functions. While it comes easily to her, she is aware of the less formal tendencies preferred by Keenan as well as his sister, and finds them quite nice, actually. A difference she could easily adapt to. "It was a lovely time, all in all. One of Keen's fellow healers got a bit tipsy in short order, there was mistletoe in abundance, and everyone seemed to have fun and enjoy the food."

"She always looks stunning. She could look beautiful in a burlap sack," Niamh laughs, and she finishes the cross to the fireplace to ladle out the wassail. "It's been warming for some time, so it'll be a little stronger than when I first made it." The never ending supply of food and drink, right here in the shop! Holding out the glass, she echoes the conspiratorial expression and ducks her head, "No one will ever know then." Raising her cup then, she offers, "Slainte," before the first sip of the warm beverage.
Niamh exhales and shakes her head in a wistful expression, "I wouldn't want ye to bear the slings an' arrows of .. others for my lack of sense." She's honestly not the kind to stare through the glass, dreaming of the other side. To her, it simply.. is. And that's that. "But," and here, a slow grin begins to creep across her face. Gossip! "Tell me.. who was it?" She may know them.

Veruca's glass raises at Niamh's toast, and she takes a sip, a pleased reaction coming immediately. "Absolutely delicious." One hand gives a dismissive wave at talk of slings and arrows. "I assure you, that is the last thing I am concerned about. 'Society' will create things to talk about if they don't already exist, so if someone feels the need to twitter about familiarity, at least we are keeping the tongues from wagging about someone else. Like Healer Donner," she says with a sly grin. Now, that's not exactly engaging in gossip, she was merely giving an example of who might be a target for those tongues, and it just happened to answer Niamh's question.

Niamh's eyes are Irish bright, twinkling in amusement as the name is named, though she's a touch disappointed that it's not someone she knows. Rats and double rats! Taking another sip, it's a slow, careful one so she isn't burned. Back to the counter, she hops up onto the counter, her legs swinging; a position that Keenan usually takes up. "What are your plans for Christmas? If ye don't mind my asking? I.. am plannin' on making sure that Adamantus makes his way to Cornwall for the holiday." She exhales in a sigh and shakes her head. "It would be a miracle of biblical proportion, though, if he'd enjoy it."

Holding the mug comfortably in both hands, Veruca lets it linger near her lips, the better to enjoy it's scent. "My family has a gathering on the holidays." She doesn't actually say that she will be attending it. Dark eyes grow curious as she regards Niamh across her mug. "Does he not enjoy the holidays?" That he doesn't enjoy large family gatherings is another supposition, but she does not vocalize it.

Niamh is always happy to find the positive in everything, and she offers a warm smile, if not a little sympathetic. "Family gatherin's aren't easy, no matter who ye may be. Ours.. always nicer after the fact, though it's fun during. As long as ye don't stop an' take a breath." Her head rolls forward and a shrug gives her shoulders a brief rise. "Nae, not in the least. Wouldnae even help me decorate. Bad memories onnit, so.." A deep breath is taken, and her expression brightens a little, "Maybe one day I'll be able to convince him. I mean, ye had the touch to actually get Keen to decorate his flat."

While Rue would quickly agree with the 'nicer after the fact', there is seldom fun during at her family events. The touch of sympathy is returned as Nia speaks of her beau and his aversion to the holidays. "A little patience, and I've no doubt you'll have him at least participating, if not enjoying it yet. But I would bet even that will come in time. Keenan wasn't so hard to convince, it was more just letting him do whatever he wanted." And perhaps a little incentive.

"I don't know.." she offers slowly, and futzes with the closed box with a hand. Niamh chuckles softly, more breathy than anything else, "He's a stubborn Scot. Not unlike stubborn Irishmen." Like.. oh.. Keen. Or Sloan. "But, I suppose in a way it's their charm." She looks curious, and cants her head, "Can I ask ye about your past family holidays? What sort o'things did ye do?" So she can make the woman feel more at ease, perhaps?

At the questions of her family, Veruca's eyes drop to regard the warm drink in her mug and her gaze stays there as she speaks. "We have a meal together. Father pontificates on his thought of the moment. Mother drinks too much." Her shoulders shrug lightly, but she clearly is not finding any ease in the topic. "It is little more than an obligation, and an opportunity to perfect one's skills of self-control."

"No.. da sitting in a chair with his drink, coordinating the efforts o' the youngers to get the presents an' hand them out? Games played with crackers at the table? Each givin' their thanks for the year?" Niamh looks .. almost sad. She knows she's got a good family, a tight family, but then again, so did almost everyone back in Ireland.. from their village. "Well.." and here, it's heartfelt, "I'm sorry."

Although it is a deception she has felt less a need to practice in the past few weeks, Veruca is still a master in the British art of 'keeping up appearances'. Her head lifts, expression placid and composed, and a small smile even graces her lips although it's reflection is not in her eyes. "No," she says simply, encompassing all of the activities into one answer. She'd never given it a thought, didn't even bother to compare it to the holiday stories schoolmates brought back to Hogwarts. There was no reason to. Another sip is taken from the mug, before Veruca inclines her head, not sure how to respond to the sympathetic words. She lets her gaze drift to the ceiling for a moment, then settle back on Niamh as the nearly empty mug lowers to the counter. "Do you happen to know if he's in?" she asks, little doubt in who she means after the look upward.

And.. there it is. Niamh knows a little about people, being, well, what she is. Looking down, she looks.. self-conscious, and hopping down off the counter, she brushes back her skirt to straighten it before taking her mug. Looking up, she follows her gaze, a soft chuff of a breath given. "Honestly, I don't know. Haven't been able t'track him lately. I suppose if he is nae at Mungo's, he may.. but I haven't heard his steps?"

Veruca nods, her manner once more easy and warm, as if a door has shut on thoughts of family. "I'll pop up and see. We're supposed to be meeting for supper, and if he's not there I'll leave him a note and apparate home to change clothes." She steps to kiss Niamh's cheek, pausing before turning away. "Enjoy." The dessert box gets a meaningful nod, but is not mentioned since it doesn't actually exist. "And… thank you." The words are soft but sincere, then she turns to go out and check Keenan's flat.

"Supper sounds lovely," Niamh begins, letting it sound as if she's inviting herself, but she's teasing, and finishes it with, "have fun." She takes a step to kiss Rue's cheek as hers is, and smiles warmly. "I will.. an' thank you." As Rue turns to leave, she watches the woman, her smile shifting in sympathy. It won't be easy for the woman; she's heading into .. ordered chaos. Ordered only because those born into it can actually.. navigate. But, Ni will do all she can to help her! It's a moment, then, before she gets back to work, carrying her wassail cup to the fireplace for a refill, and heads back to the workbench. Too much to do before holiday!

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