(1937-12-25) A Cat and Two Canaries
Details for A Cat And Two Canaries
Summary: A last minute visit between sisters Veruca and Endira to exchange gifts ends up with a surprise as Keenan comes by.
Date: 25 December 1937
Location:
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Characters
VerucaEndiraKeenan

It's been a fairly long Christmas Day, but days like this do tend to be longer when one's alone. After all the talk from Keenan about his family, despite her resolve not to spend time with the falseness of her own family, Veruca still can't resist that pull of kin. She's sent an owl to her nearest sister, Endira, inviting her to stop by in the evening for some Christmas cheer. Wearing her typical black skirt and light blouse, Rue has no shoes on as she pads around her flat, fixing things that don't need fixing, wiping a bit of nonexistent dust off the mantle. Oddly, the note taken by owl said to just come in, the lock would accommodate Endira and not immolate her.

Having been present at the family gathering earlier in the day, Endira noted her older sister's absence, and was rather pleasantly surprised by the owl's arrival. She's changed out of the attire she wore to the family affair, into a simple silk blouse with a high collar and a pair of dark, somewhat loose trousers. A wool overcoat in trendy Muggle fashion covers most of it, falling just past her knees, and she knocks on the door before opening it. It's polite, after all.

Veruca veers toward the door as soon as the knock comes, and is stepping into the hall to greet Endira as she enters. There's something of a smile on Rue's lips, if it sits a bit unsurely when faced with family, but it doesn't seem quite as out of place as it typically is. "Endira," she says in soft greeting, stepping forward for the customary cheek kisses. "Come in. Can I take your coat?" she asks. She was always very neat and spartan, so the fact that there is already a coat hanging in the hall may catch Endira's note. That it's a man's coat perhaps even moreso.

Endira's work involves being attentive to even the slightest of emotional changes, though her return smile is quite warm and not at all out of place. "Veruca," she greets her elder sibling, allowing the other to take her coat and gracefully juggling the bag she brought with her, switching it from hand to hand as she gets her coat off. "You're looking well." There's a moment of scrutiny in the younger Max's blue eyes, and then her gaze flicks to the other coat hanging in the hall. "You're seeing someone?"

Her observant nature isn't something that typically annoys Veruca, but there are times when it's… inconvenient. Taking Endira's coat, Rue hangs it next to the one already there. "I borrowed that," she says, not lying in the least. The most observant of her siblings may not have been the best choice to invite over, but Veruca cannot deny that as fond as she is of any of her family, Endira is at the top of the list. Taking a moment, Rue reaches out to lead her sibling into the flat. "How is the family?"

The difference between Endira and someone else who might be equally observant is a simple one: she doesn't press for details. Yet, anyway. "Oh, the family is well. I'd say that you were missed, but that's rather less accurate than your absence was noted." This is not in any way meant to be a fault of either their parents or Veruca. They're simply not that close. "Walthorn is doing well at Hogwarts, and there is talk of Astoria getting married. Of course, there's always talk of someone else getting married, but it never seems to happen. She brought the beau, and he was very dull." Endira allows herself to be led as she talks, the scraps of holiday news gleaned from keen observation of her siblings.

A wryness takes over the smile on Rue's lips, word of the family not quite missing her coming as no surprise. "I do mean to see Walthorn sometime before he's back off to Hogwarts." Look, there's at least one other member of the family who's name she knows! She leads her sister to the sofa, motioning her to have a seat. "Would you like tea, Dear, or perhaps something a bit harder?"

"He's every inch a Max, at any rate." Whether this is praise is open to debate, however. Endira settles gracefully on the sofa, one leg crossing over the other. "Tea would be lovely, Rue. Then I have a present for you." Because it's Christmas, though she doesn't really need a reason to come bearing gifts. She usually brings something back for her siblings when she's been traveling.

Veruca sighs, perhaps not entirely thrilled that there's another Max out there in the world. Another tell-tale on her. Previously she wouldn't have even had that small reaction to that being said. "I'll just be a second for the tea, everything is out, just needs a charm to heat." She walks over to the kitchen, calling just loudly enough to carry. "Are you in London for a while then?"

Endira's lips purse briefly at her sister's reaction, but again she doesn't press. Instead, she answers the called-out question, inasmuch as she ever gives a straight answer to anything, "Yes, I expect so. It's going to take some time to finish compiling my notes and get all of the paperwork turned in. Then I'll have to do more research to determine where to go next. Six months, minimum."

True to her word, it's only a little more than a few seconds before Rue is back, carrying a tray over to the coffee table. There's the usual tea things, including little biscuits and cakes. "It'll be nice to have you near for a while," Veruca says, getting everything settled and sitting herself down as well. She knows that her sister can't talk about her work, so she doesn't pursue that line of inquiry out of consideration. "I believe that I'll be striking back out on my own after the first of the year. It's been interesting working for the Macnairs, but I think it's time to move on and be of service to them in other ways." Going back to her finance business, there's really only one way she could do that; in taking care of their money for them.

Taking a moment to prepare her tea just so, Endira pauses to move the bag closer to where Veruca has settled. There's a wrapped package inside it, and Veruca's name is written on the wrapping in her younger sister's precise handwriting. "It's good to be back." She perks up slightly at hearing Rue's plans to separate herself from her current employers, then nods. "You know, I've always felt that you did better on your own. Independence, at least in professional matters, suits your personality."

Veruca leans to reach beside the coffee table, bringing up a wrapped gift that had been just out of sight. It's quite flat and square, beautifully wrapped in silver and gold. "It's not been boring, working for Zephyr and Clover," she says as she puts the gift down near Endira. Something of a smirk comes to her lips, "In fact, they've been known to be in touch at all hours. I will be a bit hard pressed to find a replacement who understands that one must sometimes go above and beyond for a good employer." She doesn't ask for clarification on the 'at least in professional matters' comment, because she's not quite ready to go there just yet. "I think it's time, and you're right. I'm not as good working for someone else as I am for myself."

Accepting the package from her sister, Endira nods in understanding. "I have little doubt that you will find someone suitable, though I daresay they may well find you irreplaceable." Few people are willing to go the extra mile, after all. "Have you set any sort of timeline for it yet, or are you waiting until after the holiday season is over?"

Veruca doesn't move to open the package from her sister yet, instead pausing to take up her teacup. "I'm planning to speak to Zephyr after the first of the year. I've already spoken to his Mrs. about the matter, and she agrees that it would be a good move all around." A sip is taken before the cup is returned to it's saucer.

The door opens quietly, and Keenan steps in, taking off his shoes and hanging up his outer robes on the coat rack, next to… a robe he's never seen before. He pauses, and listens, and hears another feminine voice talking with Veruca. He reaches back to the door he just walked through, and knocks on it to interrupt the two while he unwinds his scarf and adds that to the hook with his outerwear. He pats the pocket that holds his gifts to make sure it's safe.

There's only so long Endira can hold out before curiosity gets the better of her, and she starts looking for the seams on the wrapping, the better to open it with as little tearing of paper as possible. She's /mature/, after all. "This time of year is an auspicious time for new beginnings," she begins, only to cut off at the sound of the knock. Both eyebrows go up, and she gives her sister a look. "Are you expecting someone else?"

Veruca looks curiously toward the door, not yet realizing that the knocker is already inside. "I'm not," she says, standing and starting to move toward the entryway. "It's likely just some carolers. No one seemed to have gotten the news that Christmas has past already." There's not as much annoyance in her voice with that statement as there usually would have been. She's definitely… softer, since last she spoke to her sister. As she moves enough to be able to see the door she stops, looking surprised. "Keenan." There is no running leap at him as there was the last time here was here. In fact, Rue looks a little stunned for a moment. Well, she hadn't counted on this.

Keenan looks up and pauses when he sees the woman's reaction to his presence. "Aye, Rue, 's me," he replies quietly, noting the maintained distance. "Ye've company, I hear. I can come back later if ye prefer." He remains where he is by the door as he waits for her answer.

Setting the package aside, Endira rises as soon as her sister's exited the room. Curiosity is her besetting sin, so the pair won't get too much alone time in the hall. "Keenan?" Hearing her sister address the visitor has Endira picking up her pace, though her face is composed in a smile by the time she steps into the hall. "Oh, no need to leave on my account," she chimes sweetly before Veruca can get a word in edgewise.

It's a momentary struggle between old habits and new progress, but there's no question which would win out with Keenan right there. Veruca smiles at Keenan and steps toward him, reaching for his hand, her eyes on his until she turns, close beside him. "Endira, I'd like you to meet Keenan O'Shea. Keenan, my sister, Endira." His hand is given a squeeze and then released, so he can greet her sister unencumbered by a grip that might threaten to break a finger or two. This moment might, understandably, be a little awkward for Rue.

Keenan's eyes shift as soon as the blonde appears around the corner, the green piercing a little more brightly for a moment, and then settling into a warmer glow when Veruca approaches. He offers his hand as she reaches for it, and gives a reassuring squeeze in return. He takes the step or two necessary to greet Endira, and if she offers her hand, he will do the slightly older fashioned courtesy of letting her hand rest over his rather than shaking it. He bows his head slightly and gives her a quiet smile. "Endira, it is a pleasure to meet ye," he tells her quietly.

Favoring Veruca with a knowing look, Endira watches the interplay between the pair with a look that might almost be described as smug. It's very much a cat-who-ate-the-canary expression, and she extends a hand to Keenan, noting the courtesy when he lets it rest on his own. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Keenan. I hope you don't mind the familiar address? I must say, this is far more expedient than ferreting the truth out of Rue myself." She's quite confident that she would have gotten there, of course, it just would have taken more work.

Quite a bit more work. But since fate has forced her hand, she's going to make every effort to adjust. "Keenan, why don't you come join us. I'll get another cup, there's plenty of tea." Veruca starts to move toward the inner room again, adding, "Or maybe we'd all like something stronger." She sure would.

Keenan's hand reaches for Veruca's again, not to hold it, but to gently slow her down. "Tea's fine, lass," and he gives her a reassuring smile as he lets go for her to get another cup for him. "If I remember correctly, Endira, ye're the next youngest after Veruca, yes?" He follows the two women politely, and realizing they're both sitting at the sofa by the configuration of tea cups, he stands in front of one of the chairs, but waits until Endira sits before he takes his own seat.

"Yes, that's right." Endira nods at Keenan, settling gracefully again onto the sofa. The package is all but forgotten now that she has something much more interesting to focus her attention on. "I'm closer to Rue than any of our other siblings. I was quite glad to hear from her this afternoon, having missed her at the family gathering earlier."

So perhaps all the talk of and meeting some of Keenan's family made Veruca feel a little like getting in touch with her sister. That's only natural. Except not really for the Veruca that Endira grew up with. Returning with another cup for Keenan, she stops to fill it, fix it the way he likes, and then pass it to him as the pair speak.

Keenan nods slowly as he listens to Endira, and a dimple slightly creases the scruff that is growing back. He's settled easily into the chair, one elbow on the arm of the chair, and that hand has lifted, three fingers curved under his chin, one lightly hiding his mouth from view, except when he smiles a little broader to Rue to take the cup and thank her for the tea. "It does sound like ye have an extraordinarily large gathering," he allows. "I thought our holiday's with crowded, being one of five…" he trails off, his eyebrows raised as he considers being one of two more than that.

Endira is leaning slightly forward, her attention focused on Keenan until Veruca returns with the tea, at which point she looks back and forth between them. It doesn't impact her ability to contribute to the conversation, however, and she smiles brightly at Keenan. "The family is fairly large, but it never feels crowded." Her gaze flickers up to Rue, then back to Keenan. "Are you very close to your siblings, Keenan?" Absently, she sips from her teacup.

Veruca is not unfamiliar with that particular watchful quality her sister is prone to getting. She's just not used to being such a target of it. "There is always plenty of space so we are not on top of each other," Veruca offers, settling back onto the sofa near her sister. The pair are quite the contrast of light and dark, but each possesses that quality that most put down to 'breeding'.

Keenan nods once. "I am," he answers easily. "Sorcha is the youngest, she was a surprise when the rest of us were half grown up. I'm afraid that she has been quite spoiled by being something of a favorite." His smile reaches his eyes, but it lacks a certain inviting quality. The expression is sincere, but is somehow still holding the pale blonde woman it's bestowed upon at arm's length. Not unlike how he used to smile to Veruca the first few times they met. He balances his tea on the other arm of the chair, but doesn't sip from it yet.

"Ah. So you are the oldest." Endira is good at this, picking up on meanings without having to be told. Her smile is warm and entirely genuine, even reaching her eyes, though her gaze is no less assessing for the warmth. "Have you known Rue for very long?"

Veruca looks at her sister for a moment, her expression caught somewhere between exasperated and amused. Trying to throw a distraction into the works, she speaks up, "You've not opened your gift yet, Dear."

Keenan bows his head, graciously confirming Endira's victory in her deduction of his place in the family. When she continues her questioning, he turns to his tea, lowering the hand from his chin to take the saucer, and then lift his cup to his lips. At Veruca's distraction, he raises his eyebrows, then directs is gaze meaningfully to Endira's gift. "This is true. I interrupted, ye shouldn't hold off on account of me." He sips his tea, and waits for the younger sister to open her gift.

Lips quirking in a smirk, Endira drops her gaze briefly to the package, long enough to pick it up again. "You realize, of course, that you're only delaying the inevitable, yes?" She will have answers, one way or another. "Rue, you have a gift to open yet, too." It's only fair, after all.

That delightful streak of directness does run in the Max family. Veruca reaches to take up her gift as well, glancing at Keenan and letting her eyes linger for a moment, before her attention returns to her sister. She doesn't comment to the younger witch's words, true though they may be. Instead she'll wait for Endira to start, and then she'll unwrap her gift at the same time.

The removal of the wrapping on Endira's gift reveals the flat box below, a pale pink in color, obviously from a specific shop. There is a silk scarf within, in black and white to go with almost anything. Black is the base color, with a white weave forming the lines of an art deco border.

Keenan grins to himself as he watches the two women opening their presents, the jibe of putting of the inevitable only bringing a wicked, perhaps challenging gleam to the smile as he sips his tea. His eyes flicker between the two, seeing which one will open first, and what it will be.

Endira's fingers deftly locate the edges of the wrapping and pull it back, locating the box beneath. She lifts the lid, and lets out a soft gasp at the scarf within. "Oh, Rue, this is lovely." Elegant, fashionable, and it goes with practically anything.
Beneath the wrapping on Veruca's gift is a box with a beautiful lacquered finish. The background is black, with white flowers set into each corner, and the center is a landscape of a bridge, with a woman walking across it. A few links of silver chain can be seen along one side, and should Veruca look further she'll find the chain is part of a delicate silver necklace, with a black pearl pentdant offset by silver scrollwork and tiny chips of diamond.

Box: http://www.cultural-china.com/chinaWH/upload/A%20jewelry%20box%20made%20of%20Tuiguang%20lacquer.jpg
Pendant: http://applesofgold.com/jewelryblog/images/2009/08/Tahitian-Black-Pearl-Kiss-Pendant.jpg

Veruca lingers over the lacquered box, letting her fingers delicately trip over the surface, tracing the line of the bridge. She looks sincerely pleased even before she notices the chain, and opens the box to lift the pendant out. "Endira, it's absolutely stunning. Thank you." Her first thought is to share what she got with Keenan, so he's not wondering, and she stands to move over by him, perching on the arm of his chair for a moment. "You always choose such lovely gifts, Endira."

Putting his tea back down on the saucer as Veruca approaches, Keenan once more balances it on the arm of the chair, and leaves the other arm open for her to sit on. His other arm wraps lightly around her waist to help her keep her balance as he looks at the box when she brings it over. As she opens it to show him the inside, his brow furrows, and he looks from her hand to her face, and raises his eyebrow, the green shifting into shades of concern. He nods slowly, then schools his gaze to a more appreciative look as he looks back across the room to Endira, "it is beautiful. Quite exotic, I would even say. Were you traveling recently, then?"

"Yes, I only just arrived back in London a few days ago," Endira replies to Keenan. She's got that look again, that smug canary-eating-cat look, and it very likely has nothing to do with Veruca's reaction to the gifts. "I was in the Orient, on this latest trip."

Veruca notes the raised eyebrow and concern from Keenan. In wordless reply she holds her right hand out, palm up, so he can see it before her attention returns to the gifts from her sister. When he directs another inquiry to her sister, Rue rises to set the gifts onto the fireplace mantle, giving them pride of place at least temporarily. "Endira works for the Ministry," she offers, making sure her sister knows that she is still in the room before she starts grilling Keenan again.

Keenan doesn't touch the hand that she turns palm up, but his eyes do have a slightly critical, assessing look, and he decides whatever it is can wait. His eyes follow Veruca as she puts the gifts on the mantle, and at her words her turns to meet Endira's smug eyes with curious equanamity. "Oh, I see. Do ye travel a lot for the Ministry, then?" With the chair of his arm no longer occupied, he leans lightly on it once more, returning to the earlier pose as he waits for an answer.

The reminder is unnecessary, as Endira hasn't forgotten her sister, but she flicks her gaze in Rue's direction anyway. Then she's back to nodding at Keenan. "I do, yes. I'm something of a scholar, you might say." Which is at least partly true. "What is it you do, Keenan?"

Well, there's a question Veruca wasn't looking forward to having brought up. To their social status seeking mother, becoming attached to a Healer is like a muggle mother wanting her daughter to marry a doctor. But. Only if he makes a good living and is another pure-blood, of course. It wasn't a consideration of hers in getting involved with Keenan, indeed, getting involved with Keenan wasn't even a consideration when they met. But Endira might be the least judgemental of their family, so Rue makes no effort to intercept the question, instead returning to her seat with a sidetrack that takes her behind Keen's chair, her fingers brushing lightly on his shoulders as she passes.

A smile ghosts across Keenan's face at the light touch of fingers along his shoulders, and he straightens to take a sip of his tea. "I work at St. Mungo's, mostly in the Spell Damage Ward. I am a Healer," he replies easily, having no qualms about the answer to the question. The answer is confident without bragging, more of an 'I am what I am' statement.

Not only is Endira the least likely to be judgmental, she's also not about to go gossiping to the rest of the family. Her head tilts slightly as Keenan answers the question, and a few more pieces fall into place. "Was it, by any chance, Mrs. Macnair who introduced you to Rue?" It's less of a guess than it sounds.

Veruca is a bit quick on the uptake to this question, as she sits and reaches for her teacup. "Oddly enough, it wasn't Mrs. Macnair. It was quite by chance." She's not felt the inclination for any of her family to know anything more particular about her social life except to wonder if she even actually has one. For all they know, she's the one who's been a monk (as opposed to Keenan's little sister's assessment of him) all these years.

Keenan nods his head in agreement with Veruca. "Clover actually seemed quite surprised that we already knew each other," he adds. The woman's first name comes easily from him, even though the other two in the room use her proper married name. "But she's been annoyingly smug at work since the Macnair housewarming, I must admit. It is too bad ye missed their party," he adds to Endira. "It was quite an affair. I have to admit turning their pool room into the ball room had quite an effect… dancing on water."

"Chance." Endira gives her sister an assessing look, then favors Keenan with one as well, but she doesn't comment further. "It's a shame, yes. I do love a party. It sounds as if the Macnairs' Housewarming was quite the affair." Though she doesn't really present the image of a socialite, the chance to mingle and talk with people presents quite a draw. It's why she always comes home for the holidays.

If Veruca sees that look from her sister, she deftly ignores it, instead smiling over to Keenan, which is odd in itself. "It was a lovely party. Clover had it so well planned, down to every last detail." In general, Veruca has been smiling more in this short time with her sister than she likely has in the past several years around family.

Keenan is immune to the look that comes his way in a manner that only someone is telling the complete truth about a chance meeting can be. "Mmm," he nods to Veruca, a bit of gleam creeping into his eyes again. "Right down to the top shelf licquer on hand for the guests. I'm sure with the New Year coming up, ye'll have a chance to attend plenty of parties. If ye're staying in town that long?" his eyebrows raise to Endira over his tea cup before he drains the last of his tea, then leans forward to set the cup on the coffee table.

Really, watching the pair of them interact is better than Christmas, so far as Endira's concerned. "I'll be in town, yes. I was just telling Rue before you arrived that I expect to be in town at least six months, if not longer." She sips her tea, then selects a biscuit from the tray and nibbles it.

Finally, Veruca has managed to give her sister a gift that is more meaningful than any silk scarf, without even trying. "I know that there is something happening with one family or another every night until the first of the year." She doesn't expand on whether she has plans to attend any of the social functions or not.

For the moment, Keenan has exhausted his small talk, and merely leans on his hand again, watching the two sisters. His eyes rest a little longer on the darker haired one, but he's seeing how the two of them converse, now that he's done his part talking to Endira.

"Yes, of course, there usually is." Endira is fairly sure she can find something to attend when the fancy strikes her. "I'm still working through all of my post, and there's still family to see. Cousins, and the like. I'm rather dreadfully out of touch with everyone."

The reminder of cousins beings a lift to Veruca's brows. "Did you know that cousin Katherine Sykes is back in London as well? She's got a flat here in town just recently." Yes, there has been actual communication with some family. "And Magnus Troy, he's been back from Germany, if you haven't yet had a chance to catch back up with him."

The little smile that's been lightly gracing Keenan's lips as he listens to the women talk tightens when the Ambassador is mentioned. The side of his jaw towards Endira can be see by the simple fact that the hand he leans on is on the oppoite chair arm from her. Therefore, the blonde sister has a better chance of seeing the jaw clench for a brief moment, accompanied by a dark green flash that doesn't bode well for said cousin as he's mentioned.
He shifts, turning to look at the mantle and gives a rub to the back of his head, blowing out a slow breath, before he returns to his former position, and his eyes have returned to polite curiosity. Even through all this, the rest of his posture in the chair remained relaxed, nothing else betrayed his agitation but the eyes and the jaw.

"I wasn't aware that Katherine was in town, but Jocunda mentioned Magnus when I dropped by her desk the other day." Endira arches a brow at Keenan's reaction, though it doesn't escape her notice that her sister seems rather oblivious. "She said he'd gotten himself in a spot of trouble, as a matter of fact, though she didn't have much in the way of details."

Veruca frowns at this news, "I had heard he was involved in something at Mungo's. Perhaps that's it then." Her eyes cut to Keenan, knowing he was involved in that unpleasantness as well, but not knowing to what extent they were involved together, if at all.

Keenan's eyes are on the coffee table now, and he shifts to lower his hands to his lap and clasp them together. "He used lethal force against mental patients during the quarantine," a tinge of the haunted expression he had when Rue first went to his flat returns. "The Mental ward was hit with Vanishing Sickness," and a swallow against bile in his throat. Then he looks up. "Anyways, he couldn't see his adversaries, so he decided blowing up the half of the room they were in and effectively killing them was proper defensive measure. He must have forgotten 'protego' while he was in Germany."
His hands separate and he pushes down on the arm of the chairs, rising and heading towards the kitchen. "More tea?" he offers moving to put the kettle on to heat.

That Keenan's account differs greatly from the version Endira had from Jocunda is not really a surprise to the blonde woman. It's the difference between someone who was present and someone who only heard parts of what happened afterward. "That puts rather a different light on things than I had heard. One wonders where in his travels he learned such appalling manners. When last I was was in Germany, they were a pleasant enough people."

Veruca's eyes linger on Keenan as he speaks of the Mungo's incident, concern coming to her eyes as that look comes back to his face. She'd hoped to never see it again, but such is the way of life that unpleasant things have a way of coming up again. There is an unhidden tenderness in the way she regards him which will surely give more fodder to Endira for study. She lets him move away without protest, again displaying a thoughtfulness that is foreign to her family, and her attention shifts back to her sister. Waiting for Keenan to cross the threshold to the kitchen, Rue then leans forward to talk softly to Endira. "If you seek him out, our Magnus, do have a care. He wasn't quite acting himself when last we met." If not quite acting himself is an accurate way of saying he was unusually handsy and 'familiar.' She lets it go at that, sitting back before Keenan can return.

"There is more to it, aye," Keenan will admit as he walks into the kitchen. "But this is Christmas and such details shouldn't be discussed." Once the water is on to boil, he brace his palms on the counter for a moment, then returns to the doorway, leaning against it so that he can scoot back to the kettle once it starts whistling. "We should talk of happier things, then."

Fortunately for Keenan, Endira is infinitely more interested in her sister's newfound warmth and tenderness for the Healer than the unpleasantness at St. Mungo's. "I'll admit that it's on my list, but it's not presently a priority." She lifts her teacup in a gesture vaguely reminiscent of a toast and nods at Keenan. "Indeed. Happier things. What are your intentions toward my sister?"

Veruca looks a bit relieved, actually, as Endira notes that seeing Magnus is not a priority. It's short lived. Thankfully, she wasn't drinking anything when the topic swerved so thoroughly. Aside from surprise, she has no other reaction.

Keenan glances to Veruca and raises an eyebrow. His gaze returns to Endira. "I'm going to give her Christmas present, tend to her burn, and ask her if she will meet me for dinner tomorrow night after work." He pushes away as the water boils, and goes to take it off the burner. He pulls out another tea pot. "And then, I'm going to ask her to see me again." The tea goes into the pot, and the water. "Then, I'm going to ask her to see me again, and after that, I am going to ask her for yet another date." He sets the tea pot on the tray to let it steep. He takes his seat quietly. "And then, I'm going to ask her to see me again."

That smug look? Is back on Endira's face, and when Keenan goes back into the kitchen she favors her sister with a knowing smile. "I like this one, Rue." This is fairly high praise, coming from the younger Max, and she finishes her cup of tea, then sets it down. "And now I'm intruding. Rue, we really must get together again sometime soon."

Veruca cannot honestly say that she doesn't wonder about the answer before it's forthcoming. His words draw her smile, and by the time he sits and joins them again she is looking at him with something that verges on adoration. Which might make Endira wonder if she'd been abducted by aliens. She looks to her sister and nods her agreement, adding, "Yes, I rather like him, too." A breath is taken while Endira finishes her tea, and Rue actually looks not happy that her sister declares her intent to go. "I would like it if we did, Dear."

At the pronouncement that he is liked, Keenan's eyebrows raise slightly, but there's a slight wicked gleam in the Irish green eyes. One of them may even flicker something like a wink in the blonde's direction. He glances towards Rue when Endira announces her intent to leave, and then back.

Flashing Keenan a Cheshire-Cat grin, Endira rises gracefully to her feet. "Keenan has presents to give, and I daresay he has some other things in mind that I will hear about when I've known him better." She offers them both a smile that's no less calculating for all that it's quite warm and genuine. "It was lovely to meet you, Keenan."

Veruca stands as Endira does, not so much minding any more that her sister has seen a part of her life she thought she wasn't ever going to be ready to share with family. She waits for her sister to say goodbye to Keenan, and then steps forward for an embrace that's warmer than… ever, actually. "Happy Christmas, Dear," she murmurs.

Keenan rises along with Endira, and gives a nod of his head that is almost a bow. "It was my pleasure to meet ye," he replies quietly. To his credit, he doesn't color when she mentions other things. He steps aside for Rue to hug her sister, and tips his head very slighly, curiously. As the woman leaves, he will lift a hand and wish her "Happy Christmas," moving closer to Veruca to stand just behind and to the side of her.

Returning her sister's hug, Endira then catches hold of her elder sibling's hand, turning it palm-up for a moment and giving it a cursory study. "Happy Christmas, Rue." She smiles broadly at the pair of them, adding, "And you as well, Keenan. I'm sure I'll see you again soon."

There on Veruca's palm is a red welted line. Apparently a burn. Which looks suspiciously shaped like a kettle handle. Rue doesn't attempt to pull her hand back, but she does give her younger sibling a wry smile without explanation. "Owl me, Dear. Let's not let it be another several months." She'll help her little sister into her coat with a care previously absent, and then kiss her cheek again before she goes.

Keenan maintains an innocent expression when Endira turns the hand palm up to inspect the welt. He covers by starting to move towards the coat rack, but then Rue is already there, gathering up her sister's coat and helping her into. Even he seems a little non-plussed at this show of sisterly affection as he steps back slightly and slips his hands into his pockets. "I'm sure we will run into each other at one party or another," he agrees with a smile, and a nod of his head.

"Oh, but there's only so much talk one can do at parties." Endira raises a brow at the welt, but doesn't comment; it wasn't what she was looking for, after all. "I'll be in touch soon, though. We have a great many things to discuss, but they can wait until after the holiday."

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