(1937-12-24) Taming the Beasts
Details for Taming the Beasts
Summary: Keenan and Sorcha try to keep the little ones under control while Niamh and Mum finish cooking the feast
Date: 24 December, 1937
Location: O'Shea Residence (Cornwall)
Related: After Carrots and Potatoes.

Organized chaos; as much as it can be, anyway. Organized, that is. It's a long day for cooking, and the entire tribe is pitching in to help, from the youngest decorating the table with the greens, and making sure the candles are set in the window for the arrival of Mary and Joseph. Niamh's in the kitchen with mum, when she's not out in the garden picking the last minute herbs that have to be fresh when used in the recipes. It's like the eldest daughter hadn't ever left; the pair, mother and daughter, work well together, stirring and checking, each knowing the moments when their dishes will be ready.
Yet another pie exits the oven, and set aside, and Niamh calls out to the table without, "Have another pie t'come out. Keep yer fingers from it or it'll burn ye. An' t'keep temptation down, the clotted cream's nae comin' out until all's done!"

"Aye, ye mean this clotted cream?" Keenan asks, holding up the cream that he was just 'testing' to make sure it was ready. He holds it over head with a chuckle as one of the little ones making a jump and grab for it. Grinning to the little one he scoops them into the other arm to hold them off while he puts it back away. "Ye ladies almost done in here? We've got tha table all set an' tha tree's done."

"We'll be done when it's done," comes from the kitchen. Mind, it could have come from either mother or daughter. Niamh's voice rings true in the following, however, coupled with her poking her head out of the kitchen to check on the goings on in the other room, "Keenan, tha's nae fair.." Beat. "When did ye pull that out? Jesus, Mary an' Joseph.. I cannae keep my eye on ye an' help mum.." It's a laughed rebuke, regardless, and she looks to one of the many, and nods, hazel eyes bright, "An' that is what 'nae fair' means in this house.." before she's back to her brother.. her elder brother. "There'd better nae be a finger mark in it." Backing into the kitchen again, she sets the pie on the sill to cool in the winter's air.

Keenan now has an armful of squirming arms and legs that he swings behind him and then hangs upside down. "Aye, Seosiamh, where did ye this thing? I'm not quite sure what it is, or which way up it goes?" Lifting higher he places a raspberry on the tummie revealed by the jumper starting to slip downwards with gravity. This prompts more giggles and squirming, and then suddenly there's a limpet wrapped around his leg that he drags along the floor with him. "Aye, ladies, hurry up with that food will ye? Else ye're likely tae be short by a man folk when ye finally get it here!" There's another squeal and he stumbles when a third latches on around his waist and he stumbles a bit, turning the highflying one right side up and on his shoulders.

"Then we'll have too much food," Niamh laughs, "More for us." There are a couple of minutes of silence in the kitchen as the chaos unfolds in the dining room before the beginnings of food begins to come out. She's got two trays in hand to set at the table; little cakes, cookies.. sweet breads along with the beverages; mead, warmed cider and the like.
"What are ye doin'?" Niamh calls to the rabble. "Are ye goin' t'fix him after ye break him?" She grins at her elder brother, taking in her younger as well, "Give 'em a reason t'follow in their uncle's footsteps. Break 'im, fix 'im back up."

Sorcha looks just a little jealous when she sees the jungle gym party on Keenan as she comes out carrying more of the food to set the table, "It is a benefit of hols, having him right on site in case someone decides to take their new broom out for a test drive has come in handy." Not that she did that… when she was thirteen… and never rode a broom again after her shoulder was reset… "But you do know how Mum gets when we knock about the dinner plates too much." She's got her hair twisted up in a much more grown-up fashion for dinner, which has the benefit of keeping it out of her way as she's been helping with the cooking, "And you still owe me a carrot, Keen."

"Aye, so carin' ye are, Niamh-lass," Keenan bemoans. "Maybe I should be takin' yer gift back, then." The one around the waist is lifted into his arms, and he does a shambling mummy impression pulling his neice along as she giggles, sitting on his foot. "Listen ta tha young one, she's got wisdom beyond her years," he winks over to Sorcha. "It's in yer best interests tae keep me in one piece."

"We have mum," Niamh retorts, "An' then we can give Sorcha your flat." She's teasing, of course, and as she returns fully into the kitchen, at least her voice can be heard, "He's rough-housin', mum.. an' Sorcha's put him t'rights.." Little beasts! She exits the kitchen again with fresh butter, cream, milk, salt cellar and pepper. "Besides, when we're back t'London, who will they have t'climb on?"

Perking up as Nia mentions her getting her own flat, Sorcha says, "Yes. It's true. It would be horrid if you were to… have to move back home… or… Anything like that." She makes another trip back and forth, "Their das I would expect. And their granda. He's not ever likely to turn down being a climbing toy for any of them. Plus I think I saw Padrig floating one of them earlier when Ma wasn't looking."

"Down girl, I see that look," Keenan says, catching Sorcha's look. "Ye want a flat o' yer own, ye … ack!" The one on his shoulders has shifted their grip, and almost chokes him by his sweater. "Seosiamh, ye ever heard o' civilizin' these barbarians?"
The brother in question merely leans back against the wall, and watches. "Better ye than me, old man."
"Aye, well, catch," Keenan responds, dumping the one in his arms on his little brother, freeing his hands to deal with the monster on his shoulders.

Niamh laughs at the interplay, and she has to dance around the children, finding some semblance of 'non chaos' on her way back towards the kitchen. "The roast is almost done. It's a beauty.. an' we won't rush it. If'n ye want it too red, or too dark, that's on ye. We'll have it perfect. Another little, then we let it rest." She clicks her tongue at the kids, "Find your crackers.. an' make sure ye don't fight o'er 'em.."
She grins at Sorcha, and nods at Seosiamh, "See? They'll nae allow the climbing. An' one day, they'll be too big for da.. but until then.." And she exhales, calling out, "Da! Dinner'll be soon!"

Shaking her head, Sorcha goes back into the kitchen for more food, saying, "Mum! Tell them I should have my own flat. We can expand Gran's shop, can't we?" She comes back out with the potatos, setting them on the table before coming around to help extract the child off of Keenan's head by tickling him around the belly a little and pulling back, "Here you go, scamp." She turns him in her arms, looking him over, "Did you wash up already?" Looking to the other neices and nephews she asks, "All of you? No use in getting to dinner and having to be sent back again before you can pop your crackers."

Keenan gives Sorcha a grin and a grateful look so that he can lean down and disentangle the arms around his legs. "Aye, scamps. No fightin' over crackers. Any fightin' forfeits yer cracker tae yer Uncle Keenan," he reminds them all, one hand roughly scrubbing the top of a head that goes by him. Then he gives a one armed hug to Sorcha. "Let me know if ye need any help carrying tha roast, Niamh."

She plops the little one down on the floor so he's on his own feet and can trundle off to the washroom, "Come along now, you'll get your treats soon enough." She heards them along and waits by the door as they get started, turning to say to her brothers, "Anybody else feeling inclied to run them around the house in laps several times so that they can fall out to sleep right after dinner."

Keenan raises his eyebrows. "Ye've go tha youngest legs of all o'us, lass," he tells her. "I vote ye tha honors, aye…" The devilish gleam in his eyes challenges her to take her own advice. He flops himself into a chair, and runs a hand through his hair. "I'm gettin' tae old for this," he lies.

"It's true. You're ancient. SOooooooooo ooooooooold." Sorcha says as she keeps an eye on the kids, "And that's fine. I can run them about as well as anyone." She ushers the three of them out, checking their hands and faces, "Good on you, then. Go find your crackers and get those going so that we can all eat." She leans down and kisses the oldest on the top of his head as he streaks by, following over to sit on the arm of Keenan's chair as she watches them.

Keenan smirks at Sorcha when she teases him about his age. He watches the kids go by, and sneaks a knee out to nudge at one of them as they pass, then giving a wink when he gets a tongue stuck out at him. He leans his head back for a minute, then wraps an arm around his little sister when she sits on the arm of his chair, and shifts to lean his head against her arm. "What's on yer mind, lass?"

"Hm?" She looks from the kids back to her brother again, "I suppose… I feel a bit… suspended. I remember running about like them and all the wonder that that represented of Christmas. But, now that I'm all grown up it seems far away at the same time." She wrinkles her nose, "But, really, it's not so bad. And you know how I hate to be maudlin at Christmas."

Keenan chuckles. "Welcome tae growin' up kid. But take ma advice… this is tha one day when ye get tae be a kid again. Take advantage of it all ye can." He reaches up to 'steal her nose' when she wrinkles it. Then pushes himself to his feet. "'Spose I should wash my hands, too, an' find my own cracker, oi! I warned ye!" he raises his voice when a couple of voices start to raise about who found a cracker first.

"So you say. Stodgy." She grins and then shakes her head, "It's fine. Thanks though." Rolling her eyes when he 'steals her nose' she slides down into the chair when he vacates it, glancing over to the kids and their adventures finding the treats. "Who's to say you still have one? Maybe this year you're toooo ollllld." She does reach under the seat cushion though, just to check.

Keenan glances back and raises an eyebrow when she reaches under her cushion. A chuckle floats back behind him as he goes out the doors to the solarium. "All right, tha pair of ye, ye want tae give me tha cracker?" The silence that answers is deafening, and he leans down, picking up two children, and sets them on their feet. "Go help yer sister find a cracker, or it's mine," he tells 'em, although there's little actual threat in his voice. There's the sound o'him giving a swat to one of the rear ends as they go. Then he straightens, and even through the doorway, she can see the thoughtful cast that comes over his face.

"It could happen." Sorcha says petulantly when she gets the look from her brother, "You never know. Da could be losing his touch." She does seem to come up empty handed though. When the kids run by she smiles as they go to help their sister, "Always so very bossy." She stands up and comes over when he gets his thoughtful face, "What's that for, then?" She leans on the other side of the door, shoulder against the jam, "You have your pensive face going again."

"Perogative o'bein' tha oldest, aye?" Keenan replies lightly. "Nae worries, lass, it's a good sort o' pensive." Indeed, though he is thoughtful, the glow in his green eyes carries more of a hopeful cast than a despondent one. The lines in his face seem a little smoother than in previous years.

Sorcha looks at him suspiciously, "I think I know what you're thinking on. If I'm right… I get your cracker. But…" She reaches around the corner with a concentrating expression, behind a cabinet that forms a pocket next to the door and pulls one out, wigglignit back and forth enticingly, "If I'm wrong you can have mine." She glances over to the kids and back, "You have the look of someone considering something very particular. Veruca?"

Keenan's hands are in his pockets as he watches the kids, and when the Sorcha starts dangling the cracker in front of him, he chuckles. His hands come out and one wraps her neck to pull her closer so he can noogie her with the other hand. "Nae that's takin' tha easy way tae gettin' an extra treat." He loosens the noogie hold. "Aye," he adds. "Rue's probably home…"

"Aw, really?" She looks up at the top of her head when he noogies it. AGAIN. "My hair is never going to be the same." She pulls back but stays under his arm, "Sometime, she'll like it here. When she's gotten a little more used to the idea, like you said. And, if nothing else, she's already gotten the worst two out of the way. Mum and Da are a cakewalk compared to Nia and I. And Nia seems to like her just fine?"

Keenan chuckles. "You'll never be tae old, lass. Get used tae it. I'll be eighty an' still messin' up yer hair." He lets his arm drape over her shoulders. "I guess I just think about how many years she's been… an' never knew what real family's like. I worry about her a bit. She's nae one tae feel sorry fer herself, but she nae didn't want tae go tae a place where they go through tha motions anymore." He nods. "Well, Niamh's probably tha easiest one o'us, next tae ye, tae get along with. She's always ready tae give out a smile, an' mean it. But, aye, she seems tae like Rue well enough."

"I know. You'll be all wrinkly and chase me around with no teeth. Scaring all our grandchildren to death." Sorcha says, leaning against his shoulder, "But it sounds like you're feeling sorry for her now? Which isn't what she'd want, I think? I'd pick our raising over hers any day, even with all the money and entitlements it sounds like she has. But I don't know that she'd thank you for looking down on hers just because it's different?" She glances up to him from where she's watching the kids search for more crackers, twisting hers in her hands, "She is sweet, it's true. Never met somebody she didn't like almost right off."

Grinning, he shakes his head. "Nae, I'm nae feelin' sorry fer her. I just wish she was with me, here. Wish she wasnae alone. But…" he gives a snort, and sardonic twist of the lips to one side. "But ye're right on one thing. I do feel a superiority… people with all that money, an' they don't even know what real treasure is…" he glances down at the red head still nestled to his side. "Like little sisters that drop on ye out of tha blue tae wake ye up for Christmas."

"See. Snooty. She should hold out for somebody that isn't going to look down on her for being all rich and perfect and everything." Sorcha says with a smirk, "But I am pretty special. It was pretty good, wasn't it? I haven't gotten to use the apparation bit before because last year I wasn't entirely sure where you were. So I'd been saving it up all year long!" She turns and looks up at him, "Do you have any idea how difficult it is to hold off on something so grand as seeing your face when I fell from the ceiling?"

Keenan can't help laughing. "I'm sure it must be absolute torture fer ye," he sympathizes, not really. "But aye, it was really good. Ye even got tha right side of the bed. Aim for tha foot a the bed next year, though… I'd rather we keep our lungs intact." He gives a sigh. "Guess I'll have tae mend ma wicked, snooty, ways if I'm goin' tae keep her, then, aye?"

"No, next year it will have to be something new. I can't pull the same trick twice, now you'll expect it." Sorcha says, "And defintely. Otherwise she'll see your snootyness and be all disappointed." She smiles, "If she wanted somebody all superior and presumptuous she'd date another Slytherin." Nudging him with her elbow she turns and keeps watching the kids in their cracker search, "So do you think Ma and Da know that Gideon is actually living over the shop with Nia? Or just that they're an item?"

"Mary an' Joseph help us," Keenan murmurs. "An' ye've got all year tae think o' somethin', tae." He raises an eyebrow at the mention of Slytherin, "hey, now, that's hittin' a little below that belt, don'ye think?" At the question he looks around, and then shakes his head. "I don'know, lass, but I'll tell ye one thing. I'm nae goin'tae be tha one tae let tha cat o'tha bag if they don't."

"Oh, they're not going to help you. This is way below their pay grade." Sorcha says with a grin, "And yes. I do. But -I- don't think there's anything wrong with being Slytherin, Snootypants. That's you again." She laughs as he glances over, "Ohhhhhhh. That's good to know, then. She and I still need to sit down with a cuppa so I can get more of the story there. But if both of you are fond of him I suppose I should just expect to like him."

It's a good thing Keenan isn't drinking anything, because their mother would be rescueing him from a coughing fit caused by swallowing the wrong way. The reinforced snootypants gets a grin, but it's the last part… as it is, he still coughs. "I, uh, wouldnae go so far as tae say I'm 'fond' of tha bloke. But he makes Niamh happy, an' he'll take care o'her with his life."

Sorcha smiles and seems very pleased with herself before he says that he isn't fond of Gideon. She turns an looks up at him with a more serious expression, "Hm? Well, that's good? But what is it that you think of him then? It's good that he'll help take care of Nia after… everything. But that shouldn't be all? You know she'll get all tied up over him."
Sloan pages: I was being sneaky sneaky

"It wouldnae surprise me if she's hopin' tae get married tae him this spring. I don' know that much about him, lass. He's been a decent man tae Niamh, but I don' even know… well, anythin' about him other than what he does an' his deluded drinkin' habits." He gives a grin, and then has to loosen his hold on Sorcha because they're being inundated with returning nieces an' nephews, one of which takes a flying leap into Keenan's arms, just trusting that his uncle will catch him. "Well, I suppose we lucked out tae be able tae talk this long without interruption," he tells his little sister with a wink.

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