(1939-05-21) Secret Room Revealed
Details for Secret Room Revealed
Summary: Keenan reveals his deepest secret to Rue.
Date: 21 May, 1939
Location: The Back Room
Related: None

The mid spring evening on Diagon Alley is obscured by the typical cool drizzle of the season. The street lamps cut through the gray of wet stone and clouds, although the street itself is becoming darker as the lights of the storefronts dim as closing time rolls around. Shades pull down, signs flip or change writing of their own accord, only a few lights left spilling onto the cobblestones as last minute shoppers are rung up.

One shop that still spills light is MacDiarmarda Apothecary, although no customers appear to be inside. The proprietor is cleaning some shelves as she chats with the Irish man sitting on the counter eating a piece of her homemade bread with some butter. The bright green healer robes are on the counter next to him, as he came straight from work, and hasn’t gone up stairs to his own flat, yet. Niamh turns her back to the door to say something, which brings a raised eyebrow, and whatever his reply he has to duck right after, his shoulder curling around as he holds his bread close to his body to protect it from harm as the feather duster is thrown in his direction. Shaking her head, the brunette summons the duster back with her wand, and sets it to finish the shelves with a flick of her wand while she walks to the back to go around and open the register to take out the day’s receipts.

Spending time at her family home isn't really something Veruca would call relaxing. Or fun. Or…. oh just pick a happy adjective and she wouldn't use it to describe the Max estate. Yet she lingers there still, already two days past her scheduled leaving, puzzling most dwelling under that roof. She's not yet stated her intention to marry to her parents, although she does nothing to hide the ring that now sparkles on her finger. It's just easier to keep that uneasy truce for now, let her mother hide in the dark if she needs to for a little while longer, and let her father remain in his oblivious cocoon that guarantees him only the most basic interactions with his offspring.

She has, however, made her intention known to her 'personal' house elf, Dandy. Her one absolute ally in the family, trusted above all else, Dandy was given to Veruca when she (Veruca, not Dandy) was barely able to walk. Through the years, whenever she was home Dandy has been her confidant and companion, the one being in the whole house to have the woman's unquestioned love.

With the help of this beloved little elf, Veruca is ready at exactly the time proposed by Keenan. Since she's going to Diagon Alley, she's not going to bother with the dust of the floo network, choosing instead to apparate onto a side alley near to the apothecary. The crack attracts absolutely no attention; just another arrival or departure to the witches and wizards there. Veruca steps out onto the cobbles of Diagon proper and turns to walk the short distance to her destination. As she opens the door to the shop, the familiar smells waft out… herbs, floral and something… unpleasant… underlying it all. Niamh must have something brewing.

The opening of the door attracts the attention of the two O’Shea’s inside, and the smile that automatically creases the dimples amidst the scruff greets Veruca speaks more than words. Niamh gives Rue a smile as well, although not nearly as warm or with that hint of intimacy that her brother’s carries. She glances to Keenan, then takes a deep breath, and folds up the receipts to take upstairs with her. “I left some tea and bread fer ye, Rue,” she mentions in farewell, motioning to the little table near the stairs that always has something on it. In this case, some good Irish bread and fresh butter, which is all the more delicious for its simplicity.

Keenan, however, waits on the counter until his sister is well and gone up the stairs, finishing off his piece of bread. Then he pushes off, hopping to the floor with a light thump. “Tráthnóna Dea, mo thaisce,” he greets, putting his arms around her from behind while letting her fix her tea and or bread. He leans to the side so he can kiss her temple.

((Good Evening, my heart))

It's to her credit that her eyes only linger for a few moments too long on Keenan's as Veruca approaches the pair, before her attention is on Niamh. The warm smile that began for Keenan holds on his sister. "It's good to see you again, Niamh. Thank you, that's very kind." The younger O'Shea's somewhat hasty retreat gets a brief curious look from Rue, but it's easily simply written off to her giving her brother time alone with his fiance.

Veruca steps over to the offered tea and bread, taking the moment to fix herself a cup. She takes no bread yet, but is tempted by the wonderful fresh scent of it. Keenan is more of an attraction than bread, however, and her cup is put down do she can turn for a better greeting kiss, before murmuring in return, "Hello, love. Hard day at the office?" She didn't miss the ever-present healer's robe nearby.

“Hmmm.. days at tha office’re easier, somehow,” he mentions lightly, having smiled into her proper greeting. He tilts his head looking to the tea that she set back down, then down to Veruca once more. The smile lingers only for a moment longer, then disappears. He glances towards the stairs where Niamh just left, then to his intended.

“I’ve asked ye tae come here rather than ma flat fer a reason, Rue.” His expression falls inscrutable, the first time since their reconciliation that he once more seals something away. “There is somethin’ that ye should know… need tae know, before ye go through with bindin’ yerself tae me.”

The change in demeanor from the healer is felt immediately by Veruca. A telling sign is the drifting of a gaze that is typically direct and intent. It brings a questioning lift to her brow, but she waits for him to speak without attempting to hurry it. What he does say does absolutely nothing to quell that curiosity. "Alright," she says, perhaps a little cautiously. "What do I need to know, Keenan?"

Stepping back and releasing her from his embrace, he holds his hand out to her. He gives a wave of his wand to the front door to make sure everything is locked and closed, and the lights start to dim. “This way,” he informs her, turning his gaze and his steps towards the back store room of the apothecary in a resolute manner.

The storage room is everything you would expect in the back of an apothecary shop. Shelves of ingredients, a delivery door to the rear leading to the back alley, and not very much space at all. A small table against one wall has a cauldron and seems to be another potion making space. Looking towards Veruca, he takes a breath to steady himself. “I need ye tae close yer eyes, please, Lass.”.

Veruca follows in Keenan’s wake, eyes thoughtful on the back of that ginger head. Does her adored healer have a dark side? He’s acting unusually squirrelly. Perhaps he apparates into banks to rob them in his spare time. It would be so like him to go all Robin Hood, keeping nothing to make his own life more flashy, giving it all away for the betterment of others. Maybe he has a dragon hidden somewhere on the premises. Heck, he’s from Ireland, perhaps it’s a captive leprechaun. The speculation is just an idle way of keeping the worry at bay with this behavior. When he makes his request she pauses just a moment, looking at him steadily, then nods briefly, repeating herself. “Alright.” Her eyes shut, lashes dark on her pale skin. She wouldn’t be planning on marrying a man she didn’t trust when he asks her to shut her eyes.

When her eyes close, there’s a moment of silence, and a murmured word in Gaelic. There’s barely a sound, of some sort of movement. Then silence again. A long breath comes from the man next to her, and then he says, “All right. Ye can open them, now.”

In front of them, in between two shelves, a doorway has opened, into what appears to be St. Mungo’s, at first glance.
It’s a hospital room, stereotypical iron framed beds, three of them, with divider curtains. Each has a rolling tray table, and a bedside table, but no chair. A tall cabinet against the wall has locked doors, that appear to have more than a simple locking charm keeping them closed, with a wash station next to it. Surprisingly, there’s even a small wardrobe set in the corner with a full length mirror. With a glance to Veruca, Keenan steps to the side and lets her enter…

Deprived of her sight, Veruca's ears work all the harder, but there is precious little to interpret until Keenan's breath. When given leave to do so, blue eyes open again, and for a second she wonders how they've managed to get to Mungo's without her having felt the movement. Then she realizes that they haven't moved at all, and questioning eyes shift to Keenan.

She doesn't voice her questions yet, but moves forward slowly as the healer steps aside, entering the chamber. All the accoutrements of a medical bay are duly taken in, her demeanor remaining typically calm, almost detached. "And this is….?" she finally asks, turning her attention back to him.

Keenan walks over to the side, looking down at the shelf that divides the upper and lower cupboard, rapping his knuckles on it once. Turning, he leans back against the doors and crosses his arms over his chest.

“It’s a… well, strictly speaking, probably illegal, healer clinic. Niamh an’ I are tha only secret keepers on it.” He pauses as he looks around, his eyes narrowing slightly as he considers his words. “Thing is, people come tae St. Mungo’s, they get a chart an’ records, things tha ministry can have access teh read’.” One hand lifts to scrub behind his neck. “So, some people will nae go ta Mungo’s, an’ rather die or live maimed by a spell or such, if they’re worried about gettin’ in trouble with tha Ministry.” Letting his hand fall, he straightens back against the cupboard again. “An’ other times, some aurors’re tae deep undercover ta have it blown, or even may have been caught out on a case they weren’t supposed tae be followin’.”

Veruca's eyes hold on Keenan levelly as he explains, or sort of explains, because one part isn't quite clear to her. "So you help…. criminals?" There's still an evenness to her tone, the neutrality unreadable, a talent from occassions where she's had to drive a hard bargain in business. "And aurors," she adds, almost as an afterthought.

Keenan gives a slow dip to his head. “Some may be,” he allows. “They can be on tha wrong side o’ tha law, or just don’ want questions asked. ‘T isn’t always illegal, sometimes it’s just plain embarrassin’… might be treatin’ tha Banshee, even.” He remains in his position, arms crossed over his chest, eyes starting to follow Veruca. “I cannae feel that it’s right that people should go without bein’ healed fer any reason. It may take longer fer tha law tae catch up with them if they /have/ done something illegal… but… I cannae leave people that I know need healin’ tae suffer.” His voice carries the solemnity of conviction that his gift is not one to have conditions laid on it, rather than any defensive or belligerent tones.

Carefully measured steps take Veruca on a circuit of the space, face still maddeningly neutral as she eyes every detail. There's a pause when Keenan stops speaking and she still doesn't look back to him as she comments, "Well, there's illegal and then there's criminal. Many things are illegal because of the short sightedness of man. A man stealing food for starving children is doing something illegal, but he's no criminal in my eyes." Finally her eyes shift to settle on the ginger healer. "The Banshee acts in ways that are illegal, but he seems intent on stopping the criminal. Do you make that distinction, Keenan?" Her direct gaze adds weight to the question.

Keenan returns the level gaze, as he’s made his decision to reveal everything to Veruca. The mention of the Banshee brings a momentary spark of amusement to his eyes, but he watches her otherwise. “I make nae distinctions o’who gets healed in these walls,” he replies evenly. “I don’ask what they’ve done, or what they do, other than what I need tae know tae heal them. I don’know enough about tha patients that come here tae make distinctions.” The admission is honest, without request of understanding or forgiveness.

Veruca stops and stands in place, arms crossing and one hand raising to tap a thoughtful finger against her chin. The silence is longer this time, her scrutiny intent. Her eyes leave Keenan's face, sweeping briefly back across the room, and when they land on him again her own visage has softened, but looks troubled. "I understand your desire to do good, to use your ability to help those who cannot find help elsewhere." You can almost hear the 'but' as she pauses.

"But," there it is, "with power comes responsibility. What if the one who has come to you is a murderer? Insane? Someone who delights in causing pain to others, to innocents?" She does have some experience with the type, having a certain cousin who now lounges in Azkaban for his crimes, one of which was against Keenan's own sister. "That person may deserve healing, but if your healing hinders or delays authorities…. what then?"

“An’ if I turn in one person that comes tae me for help, then tha rest that need ma help will nae come any more.” His arms uncross, his hands falling down into his pockets. “I nae have power, Rue. I have a gift, an’ tha responsibility o’that gift is teh sustain life. It is nae teh make a judgement on whether a life is worthy o’sustainin’.” He tilts his head, and a red lock falls across his sight. “It is nae my duty tae mete out justice, either. They’ll answer, tae someone greater than ye or I, or tha Ministry, when their time comes. Every life, even tha life o’tha man who used an Unforgivable Curse on ma sister, is ma duty tae save, whether or not I would wish tae do so.”

There is a soft sigh, the logic that Keenan uses unavoidable, but it still leaves Veruca vaguely unsettled. Stripped to it's bare bones, the issue comes down to her love of this healer versus her own sense of right and wrong. "You are a grown man, Keenan, and well able to make your own decisions," she concedes. "If you feel so strongly, then it is not up to me to stand in your way. It is up to me to support you."

Keenan continues to watch Veruca as she considers what she’s recently discovered about him. There’s a dimple to one side of his mouth as he shakes his head. “Nay, lass. I am nae askin’ ye tae support somethin’ that ye may not truly approve o’me doin’.” He pulls a hand out of his pocket to shove that lock of ginger back into place. “But ‘t is important tae me ta have no secrets from ye. Even Niamh doesnae completely approve, but understands me an’ she keeps tha secret. ‘T is all I ask.” He gives her more of a smile. “I can be stubborn when I believe in somethin’, but nae stubborn tae a point where I think everyone else needs tae believe with me.”

A nod meets the simple request. "Never a word about it from my lips." The promise is simple, and heartfelt. Then a glint of amusement shines in Veruca's eyes as her lips quirk, "I said support, not approve and certainly not believe. But your secret is safe, and I stand behind you because I know how important it is to you." She turns and steps over to Keenan, stopping a pace away from him. "Of course, silence does have a price."

“Aye, ye did, at that,” Keenan remarks agreeably when she clarifies what she said, an answering spark of amusement underlying the seriousness of the content of her clarification. When she steps over, he straightens, using the leverage of his elbows against the cabinet so he doesn’t have to remove his hands from his pockets, yet. Taking a step forward he closes the distance. “Aye, it usually does,” he agrees, bending his head slightly towards hers. “But I believe, in this instance, I’ll be willin’ ta pay any price.”

It only takes a bare tilt of her head to keep her eyes on Keenan’s as he takes that last step, and Veruca lifts one hand. Slender fingers come to rest lightly on the ginger healer’s chin, pinched gently with thumb and index finger. “I’m not unfair, nor greedy, but I’m afraid that this will have to be a series of payments, considering the weighty secret that must be held.” Her eyes dip, resting for a moment on his lips. Her touch tips his head as she leans in, saying softly against his lips, “We can start with a down payment.” That last breath of space is closed, lips landing on his.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License