(1939-08-17) Homecoming
Details for Homecoming
Summary: Having been forced to face the loss of his wife, Gideon returns home to find consolation from Sorcha.
Date: 17 August, 1939
Location: MacDiarmarda Apothecary Loft
Related: The Ring; Immediately followed by Confused

Late evenings at the O'Shea-Gideon flat in the past were ones of family meals, evenings by the fire, cuppas and biscuits. Of late, however, they've been more solitary affairs for the youngest O'Shea, though frequently there are leftovers set in the ice box for her brother-in-law should he come through and think to look for them. Tonight, given the warm summer air there's no fire going. But, Sorcha's settled in on the sofa with a sheaf of paperwork and a quill, her hair braided simply and her shoes cast off somewhere or another for someone to trip over when they find them most likely; feet tucked up under herself on the seat.

Thump. Thump. Tha-thump. Thump.

Heavy, uneven footfalls echo in the stairwell long before a key is rattling in the door lock. The door creaks open to admit a long-faced Adamantus Gideon. His hat is in his hand, his short hair mussed up. A split lip mars his unshaven face, and a small spatter of something dark reddish-brown stains the collar of his shirt. He shuffles in, shutting the door and shedding his longcoat to hang up on a peg. For a moment he pauses, waiting to hear the voice of his beloved wife welcoming him home and announcing what she has cooking in the kitchen. But he knows it won't come.

There's no Niamh to call out to him, but there is a ginger girl that looks back at the door when she hears the key in it, shifting her papers around and moving to have a look and see what state he's in when he comes through the door. "Gid?" Catching his appearance when he walks through she winces a little, "Oh dear. Let me get you a compress for your lip before it swells any more than that." Standing up she goes into the kitchen and directly to a cupboard to get down a few things, not actually commenting on his appearance, "There's some shepherd's pie in the ice box I can pop in the oven for you if you're hungry?" She looks over to him with a combination of caution and assessment, perhaps not wanting to discourage him from staying.

"Sorcha," he mumbles, walking slowly into the living room to collapse into his usual spot on the sofa. "She's gone." His voice is flat and hoarse. "Niamh. She wasn't taken. She didn't run off. She's…" Still, he cannot force his mouth to form that dreaded word. He rubs his chin, his beard making scratching sounds agaisnt his calloused hand. He winces as his thumb brushes the swollen lip, frowning as if realising the injury for the first time.

Frowning, Sorcha watches Gideon come in and glances down at her hands for a moment when he colapses into his seat. Putting together the poultice easily with the practiced hands of having older brothers, she brings it over after casting a cooling charm on it. She brings the cheese cloth bundle up to his lip silently, waiting a moment to see if he'll take hold of it himself or if she has to encourage him as she sits down next to him on the sofa, her voice gentle, "I know. I'm sorry… I wish she would've done…"

Gideon's hand comes up to cover hers, and take over the poultice. But with that moment of simple human contact, the dam breaks. He drops his head and his face tightens up, the loss and agony bursting through, his body quaking with breathy sobs. "My wife…my fine woman…"

Sorcha tears up as well, putting one arm around his shoulders and the other finishing the embrace as she leans against him comfortingly and lets him cry without comment. It isn't as though there's anything to be said that would make the pain any less yet, so instead she lets her own tears run down her cheeks as she holds onto him to try and keep him in one piece.

Gideon lets no one see his pain. Few people other than his wives have ever been permitted to observe him in such a state. But other than Niamh, Sorcha has been the one constant presence in his life for some time now. She's earned the right, and even the stoic Adamantus Gideon desperately needs someone right now. Time passes slowly, and blurs together, leaving him uncertain just how long he's been here, crying in his sister-in-law's arms. When he can finally form words again, he croaks softly, "I'm sorry. You needed me…and I was nae here."

The amount of time doesn't seem to matter to Sorcha as they sit together in the parlor, letting him take as long as he can to release what he's able to know. She's well famliar with his stoicism at this point, not so unlike her father's or her brothers' that she grew up with. And with that she knows how hard it's been for him to come to this point with his own grief. Giving him another squeeze she offers a teary smile, "You've nothing to be sorry for on my account." She offers him a kerchief, one of the many that her gran embroidered in years gone by, this one with a forget-me-knot stitched into the corner.

Gideon shakes his head, taking the kerchief to wipe at his eyes and cheek. "Nae, I do. I do. We're…family. Aye? When my first wife died, there was no one else. But, this is different." He takes several long, slow breaths, trying to get the shaking under control. "I'm goin' to look after you, Sorcha. Niamh would've wanted that."

"Oh, aye, we are at that." Sorcha replies in a tone not at all apart from the homeland accent of her brothers and sister. Her normal Londoner speech returns again just a moment later "But, the benefit of being part of a clan as large as the O'Shea one, is that there's nearly always another brother for me to go and pester with something or other. So all of it doesn't sit on your shoulders." She leans in and gives him a sisterly kiss on the cheek, "You'd better. Just as I am going to look after -you-. Which includes making sure that you have a hot meal now and again." At that she stands up and goes over to the kitchen to pop the shepherd's pie she mentioned earlier into the oven to warm. Niamh was forever saying that if you charmed it it didn't taste right.

Gideon would like to grumble about how he can take care of himself, but Niamh wouldn't have taken that from him, and he suspects Sorcha won't either. Damned stubborn Irish women. His eyes drift to the door, behind which is the bedroom he shared with Niamh. "I'd like to sleep on the sofa for now…if it's all the same to you."

Sorcha glances back as she gets his supper started and nods, understanding easily what he's talking about without going into more detail, "You can sleep anywhere you like." She cuts some slices of beer bread and puts them on a plate, waiting for the smaller cassarole to come out, "I'll try not to wake you up with my sneaking about. Or my gentleman callers at all hours." Of which she hasn't had any, so she seems to find that amusing. Careful in getting the hot baking dish out of the oven, she sets it on the plate with the bread to bring it over to him on the couch, "Here we are."

Gideon arches an eyebrow at the mention of gentleman callers. It's that overprotective look she's surely seen on him, Keenan, every other O'Shea man…. He takes the plate with a murmured thanks. He isn't particularly hungry, but he'll not turn his nose up at her kindness. Not an O'Shea woman. So he digs right in. Finding the home-cooked meal sitting well in his pickled stomach. "It's just for a little while. Until…I can sort through things."

Sitting down on the couch again a bit more towards the other side to give him space to eat, Sorcha nods, "Well, as far as I'm concerned it's still your room. So you can sleep in it or not as you like for as long as you like." As he digs into the dinner she smiles a bit, and reaches over for her own cup of tea that's sitting on the coffee table to take a drink, "But we'll get it all sorted."

"Ta." Gideon sighs another shuddering breath. "I'm not sure Keenan will feel the same. He and I have never really got on well. I dinnae think he approved of Niamh marrying me." To say nothing of Gideon's poor relationship with their father, and the wedge that drove between Eamon and Niamh.

"He'll be fine." Sorcha says with complete confidence, offering him a reassuring smile, "He wasn't happy about the strife in the family, but I think it's more that he hasn't gotten to know you than that he doesn't approve of you." She sips from her cup again and shrugs a bit, "And in any case it's not his flat, and he can suck an egg if he likes."

That gets at least a weak smirk out of Gideon. He's in no laughing mood, but Sorcha's lightness is contagious. "I'll try to make things better with him. I've got to…" There is another pang, threatening to overwhelm him again. "I must honour Niamh's memory any way I can."

Noticing the smirk, Sorcha isn't going to push now with everything else, but it does seem to please her. "You're part of the family, Gid. For all its faults and blessings, of which there are many on both sides. There are moments I'll admit I wonder what it's like to not have someone in your affairs at all hours of the day but I wouldn't trade it for anything." She reaches over and puts her hand on his, "It might take a bit of time, but it'll work through."

Gideon tenses a bit at the touch, but doesn't shoo it away. Right now, his options boil down to human contact, or alcohol. He's tried the latter, and it got him punched in the face last night. It's time to try humanity. "I come from the opposite of you O'Sheas. It was just me and my Mum. That has its benefits. But it can get lonely, too. You ask me, you're better off."

"I know. And I'm inclined to agree." Sorcha says, "It's likely that it'll seem a bit overwhelming at the onset, but if you need me to run any interferance on that count just let me know. I've gotten fairly adept at telling them to shove off when they get a bit too overly enthusiastic about being involved in things." She sips again, "Or shoving them. Sometimes that helps." She keeps her teasing very mild, not wanting to push too far. "Want an ale?"

"Ah. I've been managing your family for near two years now. I dinnae think they're more likely to stick their noses into my affairs than they were before." Gideon turns his hand over to give hers a squeeze. "Except you. You're allowed. And an ale sounds grand."

"Good. Because it's likely to happen." She smiles and takes his hand with another squeeze in return before she gets up to go get the ale for him, bringing it along with a mug and setting it down for him to pour, "Here you are." Sorcha moves her papers into a little stack and curls up onto the couch again with her toes under her skirts.

Gideon takes the ale gratefully. Human contact and booze? It's a win-win. He pours himself a mug, first offering a sip to Sorcha. "I got a letter at my office from Keenan. It was lucky I even stopped in there to find it." He refrains from mentioning that he was stopping there to get a stash of scotch whisky. "He said the wake is happening soon."

Nodding from her seat next to him, Sorcha reaches over and takes the bottle for a drink before passing it back, "I remember something about that from a few days ago. I told him I wanted to talk to you about how the search for everything was going." Or she said something close to that… in how she remembers what she said… "The family was asking about the delay…" She pauses at the charm notifying them of someone down at the door to the shop with a hint of a frown, "I wonder who's coming by at this hour…" She stands up and goes over to have a peek out the window down to the front of the shop and turns to go to the door, "It's Graham… I should go see what he needs."

Gideon grunts and nods, sipping his ale before flopping down on the sofa. "I'll just…get a few winks here…" He didn't realise just how exhausted he was. He's barely got the words out before he's nodded off.

"Just make sure to take your shoes off before your feet get up on that sofa." Sorcha chides gently, smiling a bit and not even sure if he's awake enough to hear her before she dims the lights in the flat and brightens the ones downstairs in the shop on the way out the door to head down the stairs.

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