Floo Network

❄ Winter 69/70
[Kew] Creid i dtobar an leighis

Started by Odhrán Ó Dálaigh, July 25, 2021, 02:44:00 pm

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

January had rolled into February. Odhrán wasn't sure how he felt. The happiest days in his life had come intertwined with the hardest. One moment he felt so high he was on top of the world, the next he came crashing down so hard it knocked the breath out of his lungs. He wasn't sure he could handle it all: Being ill, falling in love, coming to terms with what had happened to his father, struggling with his magic, figuring out what to do next. It was all too much and though he knew everybody in his life meant well for him their concern was suffocating. He could do with an afternoon without potions, medications, exercises, and people being so frustratingly understanding and supportive.   

He missed his normal life. A life of books, study, quiet intellectual discussions, seeing his patients, listening to the sea and playing his harp. Instead, he was trapped in this never-ending cycle of checks upon checks and people telling him to rest. He HAD rested. It had been a month. He still couldn't do a proper spagyric transfiguration and he felt shaky on a lot of advanced charm work. Legillimency, well, out of the question. He had tried once or twice, but it had felt so wrong. He'd had the most visceral reaction to it. Séverin, his healer, had attested him that his magic was fine. Physically, he was fine, but he didn't feel that way at all.

He had been supposed to spend the afternoon with his mother, but eventually managed to come up with an excuse for her to leave him alone for a little bit. Now was his time. Without thinking it through, he picked up his journals and pencils and stuffed them into a messenger bag. He found a jacket hanging on the door. Its dark red colour didn't really go with his green jumper, but he didn't care. His need for a bit of freedom trumped his otherwise legendary vanity. A few moments later he was standing in front of his fireplace, floo powder in hand. Where to?

"The Richmond Apothecary, London."

He stepped into the green flames and smiled. Surely, nobody would come looking for him here. When he emerged in a crammed little potioneer's shop in London he gave the shop keeper a cheerful salute and exited out of the establishment's front door into the streets of London. They'd probably not be all that pleased about him using their fine establishment like a bus stop on the Knightbus, but he didn't care.
Broomfield Road was quiet and nearly abandoned. He looked to his right, then the left and took a moment to get his bearings. Odhrán didn't venture into the muggle world often, but he knew this area a little from previous visits to the Richmond Apothecary. There was a large public muggle garden just down the road. He'd seen it plenty of times, but never gone in. It had a beautiful wrought iron greenhouse that reminded him of the magical flower market in Dublin. Perhaps, he'd settle there and find something to draw.

To his surprise, he found that muggles had to pay money to enter gardens. A new concept on him. The teller pointed at a sign reading 'Admission - 3d'. Of course, he didn't have any shillings or pennies on him, how embarrassing. "Confundo," he muttered under his breath and slipped past, feeling bad about hitting this innocent man with a charm when his lack of preparation had caused the problem. All the same, he was in.

A sign pointed towards the 'Palm House' and he followed the path towards the building. Ah, it was even better than he had imagined. Once he'd stepped into the greenhouse, he took a set of narrow set stairs taking him to the upstairs viewing gallery. Perfect. He settled down on one of the benches and retrieved his notebook to start a new drawing. 

Maggie Kelly

July 25, 2021, 11:48:20 pm #1 Last Edit: July 26, 2021, 10:21:02 pm by Royal_Poet
Maggie glanced out the window, rubbing her hands across her arms.  It was February, so still chilly outside.  But this morning she'd remembered her coat, and she had a bit of extra money tucked away in her pocket. Nancy, Father Michael's niece, had given it to her for all the errands Maggie had ran for her the other day. Good thing, too, since she'd left the lunch she'd packed the night before sitting on the counter in her kitchen, and if she wanted it she'd have to take the bus all the way back home.  Or she could stop somewhere and buy something--though probably the sensible thing to do would be to go home and get the food she'd already made. It would be wicked to waste it after all. 

Sighing, she stuffed her hands into her pockets, shouldered the door to the office building open and stepped outside.  London was still crowded. Still noisy.  Still too full of people.  But she'd found a few quiet places and, abruptly, she turned and began to make for one of them.  She would simply eat her lunch for supper, and that way it wouldn't be wasted, and she could slip off for a bit of quiet during her lunch hour.  That would be a better use of her time anyway. 

The office she'd cleaned had been full today of men in suits, all dashing from one meeting to the next, and she'd spent most of the morning dodging them, slipping out of their way into empty offices or barren hallways.  Why had they scheduled her today, when there were more people than usual, and most of the rooms she couldn't even get into? Surely they knew their schedules. Couldn't she have come some other time, when the building was empty?

Shrugging as she walked, Maggie tried to put the questions out of her head.  She rarely knew why anyone did anything. Little wonder she didn't understand this decision either. Father Michael would say she was being silly, and probably he would explain it if she asked, but mostly she wanted to stop thinking about it. 

At least she had a bit longer than usual for lunch. One of the other buildings she usually cleaned was closed today for repairs, so she'd have two hours off instead of one.  That was good, good, good.  She'd have even more time than usual to wander around the gardens.  They lay down Broomfield Road and she'd found them last Saturday, when she'd gone for a ramble around London. 

That was a habit she'd began not long after she got her flat--walking to interesting places around the city.  She'd seen the Tower, the outside of Buckingham Palace, and now the Kew Gardens.  Probably she should tell Father Michael about her wanderings, but she hadn't yet.  He'd only say she was foolish, bound to get lost or run into trouble, and, well, then she'd have to stop, and she had nothing else to do.  She'd tell him--eventually. But first she wanted at least one more visit to the Gardens. 

So she turned down the familiar street, walked up to the gate, paid the man the fare and went in. She felt herself going a little limp as she stepped through the gate.  This was so much better.  When she was by herself--as a quick glance around confirmed she was--she didn't have to worry so much about, well everything.  She didn't have to think about how she was walking--too slow, too fast, if she'd started walking on her toes again--or if she was standing up straight or hunching over, or if she'd forgotten and drawn her arms up, elbows bent and palms facing out--or sometimes in--the way she found herself doing when she was on her own in her flat. Nobody was around to see her, so if she bounced onto her toes a little, or bent down to look at an especially pretty flower--usually she didn't touch them but sometimes she did--there would be no one about to think she was strange.  That was nice, nice, nice. 

She crossed to one of the gazebos, curiously called The Palm House, and ducked inside.  From there she could see a lot of the garden. She could also sit down and watch the birds and butterflies that flitted around, and that was nice too. The upper story was her favorite spot, and she let herself dash up the steps, feet pounding as she went, as there wasn't anyone about for her to disturb.  At the top she paused to catch her breath--and, oh dear, she'd been wrong earlier.  There was a man sitting on one of the benches. Maybe her racket hadn't troubled him too much. 

As she made her way toward a bench, Maggie paused. The man was dressed in a red coat and green jumper--rather like a Christmas tree.  The thought made her grin, and she bit her tongue to keep from blurting it out.  Probably, the stranger wouldn't find her comparison as wonderful as she had.  Unless that was why he'd chosen the outfit.  Maybe he liked Christmas as much as she did.  That was a harmless question to ask, surely.  Unless it wasn't.  Usually she was wrong about such things.  Maybe she should comment about the gazebo instead, or the garden. Maybe she should ask if she could sit by him.  Probably, she should apologize for disturbing him, too. Then she could ask about Christmas, once she knew him a little. 

Maggie stepped up to him.  "L-Lovely view, is, isn't it? May I sit here? I don't, I don't want to disturb you." Now the she was closer, she realized the stranger was doing something.  He had a notebook out.  Oh dear.  She'd surely interrupted him.  S-sorry about, about all the noise. C-coming up the stairs I mean. I didn't know you'd be here." Maggie twisted her fingers together and added, "I mean, I didn't know anyone else was up here. I don't know you. That is, I don't think I do. Do I? I, I'm sorry if I do. I'm rubbish with faces. And names." And having a normal conversation Maggie added to herself, but clamped her mouth shut before that, too, escaped.  Probably she should just leave the man to whatever he was doing, but now that she'd said all that, she couldn't just turn and run.  That would be rude.  So she made herself stand there and give him time to answer.

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

Odhrán was surprised when a young woman came rushing up the stairs to enjoy the viewing gallery. He was reasonably certain he'd placed down a muggle repelling charm over the area, but maybe it was his magic misbehaving again. It had to be. Looking the stranger up and down she was definitely not magical. Her look read as plain and muggle.

Interestingly, his presence seemed to startle her about as much as her sudden appearance had startled him. Did he mind if she sat down with him? Odhrán nodded his consent. "Of course, make yourself comfortable." His mother would probably have a fit if she ever heard about his fraternising with the enemy, but he found it rather thrilling. He'd interacted with muggles here and there before, but mostly to pay for things or to ask for directions. He'd never just sat on a bench with one. That was new.

The stranger also seemed intent on having a conversation. Curious. "Don't worry, you weren't interrupting anything," he reassured the young woman, once again picking up his pencil to continue his sketch of a particular group of trees. She sounded Irish. The more she spoke, the more he thought he heard a certain lilt to her tone. How odd. He idly wondered what her story was and what had taken her to Kew.

Not good with names and faces? The way she asked if they knew each other was unusual. If she'd been a witch, he would have taken such behaviour as indicators of something. It was hard to switch off his healer brain when it was such a large part of who he was and how he thought. In a muggle though, probably didn't mean anything, did it? He watched her twist her fingers together and her discomfort was so obvious he averted his eyes and placed his focus back on his page.

"We've not met. I'm Odhrán. And you won't forget my face. Not too many fellow Irishmen here in London." He gave her a little smile. "And you are?"

Maggie Kelly

When Maggie glanced up again, the stranger wasn't looking at her. He was looking down at his book.  That was better.  She could talk alright--usually--if people didn't look at her while she did it. She could also, usually, manage to talk to other people if she wasn't looking at them, but that was harder to get away with. Still, if her new friend didn't mind--she looked away from her shoes, toward one of the windows and the flowers beyond. That was much nicer. Now she could talk, and he wouldn't notice if her eyes looked peculiar because she'd forgotten to focus on anything except whatever pictures her mind brought out to go along with whatever they were talking about.  

We've not met. I'm Odhrán. And you won't forget my face. Not too many fellow Irishmen here in London, he said.  Well, that was even better! Maybe she could manage this after all.  What a relief. She was always seeing people--at Mass, or at work, in the shops, on the streets, and they remembered her perfectly well, and she couldn't remember them to save her life. Father Michael said it was because she didn't pay attention, and she'd long ago given up trying to explain it to him, but that wasn't it at all.  People's faces, never mind their names, just didn't stay in her head the way they did for other people.  

Though, her new friend may be onto something.  There weren't many Irish in London, and even less--at least, among the ones that she knew--that used the Gaelic form of their names. She returned the man's smile with a grin of her own. "I'm Maggie, Maggie Kelly.  Well, M-Margaret, actually, but everybody calls me Maggie." She held her hand out, the way she'd been taught to, and nodded to his book. "What've you got there?" The question might be nosy, but it was probably better than prattling on about the color combination of his coat and jumper--even though they had made her smile when she'd first seen them.  Besides, maybe it wasn't intentional. Maybe he didn't have much money, and that was all he could afford. It would be rude, then, to point it out. Far better to simply think about it instead.  

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

July 27, 2021, 12:08:51 pm #4 Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 02:30:17 pm by Royal_Poet
"Oh, we're being formal, are we?" he let out a soft laugh, entertained by how similar muggles and wizards really were. They seemed to have an equal capacity for awkwardness on first meetings. It was oddly reassuring. Somehow, he didn't know why, he hadn't expected to be given a full name. "Well, in that case I'm Odhrán Ó Dálaigh. And it's nice to meet you Maggie." Odhrán surprised himself with the way he kept his eyes on the page in front of him. It was what he would have done had she walked into his clinic as a magical patient - but of course she wasn't magical, or a patient. That irritated him. How was it that he didn't know how to 'just be' when he wasn't a healer?

Maggie meanwhile took an interest in his sketch. He held the notebook out to her to take if she so desired. He'd managed to make a rather convincing study of three palm trees and some of ferns and lower growing shrubs around them. "It's not finished," he explained to her. "And it definitely needs a bit more work. All these different shades and textures are quite difficult to capture with just a pencil, but I think I like the challenge. And I haven't had a chance to draw plants in a while."

Odhrán flipped through a couple of pages in his notebook, showing her a handful of other drawings, almost all of them featuring people. There was a handsome gentleman in a white military coat, an old lady with big, soulful eyes, and a younger lady with dark, waivy hair drawn more often than any other subject, as well as doodles of drinking glasses and bottles and a few bunches of herbs. He stopped when he feared he might be coming close to an animated picture. He seemed to recall that muggles didn't know how to make these.
"What about you? Are you interested in herb-" he stopped himself. They didn't call it herbology, now did they? Odhrán was sure there was a muggle word for the study of plants, but he couldn't actually think of it in the moment. "...plants and flowers?" he finished his question lamely. Hopefully, she wouldn't think too much of his slip up. He'd hate having to handle an awkward conversation.

Meeting Maggie in this seemingly innocuous chain of events sparked a lot of thoughts for him. Clan Ó Dálaigh had once been known for being muggle friendly and having good relations with the local population on Árainn Mhór. Of course, the Statute of Secrecy had changed that. He found himself idly wondering what this chat would have been like if he'd grown up surrounded by muggles like his ancestors had. It was hard to imagine. Would he have learned to use all the technology they had? He struggled to picture it. There were a couple of questions that popped into his mind, probably each too strange to ask. He wanted to know how cars worked and he'd be intrigued to find out more about lava lamps. Muggles seemed to have them everywhere and the colourful potions inside looked intriguing. It would be weird, right? He couldn't possibly. That would be like another person walking up to him and demanding a spontaneous explanation of what a remembrall did. Well, maybe there was a way to sneak it into the conversation later. 

"If I'm allowed to be curious, what do you do for a living?"

Maggie Kelly

Maggie's grin grew at his chuckle.  She didn't often make people laugh, and usually when she did, she hadn't meant to at all, and they were laughing because she'd done something odd and didn't realize it.  This, Maggie had decided, was nice laughter. He wasn't pointing at her, or repeating what she'd said in an overly exaggerated voice, the way some of the children back home had done--at the school, and when she'd come home for holidays, too--so, that meant he was being kind. He was teasing her, but in a nice way, the way Lucy had done at school--laughing because of how Maggie said something, but also because she'd found itcuteand endearing, rather than strange and peculiar. The difference was subtle--and Maggie only knew it was there at all because Lucy had explained that,when friends laugh at something you do its because they like you, not because they're being mean, and if it hurts your feelings they stop.  

He gave her his name too, and said it was nice to meet you, but he didn't shake her hand or look up from his book. That was alright though--actually, it was better than alright. Maggie didn't like shaking hands, because she never knew when to let go, or how firmly she was supposed to hold the other person's hand, and some people held very tight and some very loose and she never knew which it would be. Sometimes people's skin felt slimy, or rough and dry, and that wasn't nice either. Maybe he felt the same. Maybe he was like her.  Not that she could ask of course, even if she could've found the words to put the sentence together.  Asking, does shaking hands and looking at people bother you, too, would be strange, and probably make him uncomfortable, and that was rude and not allowed.  

So she settled onto the bench and turned her attention to his book. She leaned in close enough to see the drawing, but didn't take it.  She didn't like people touching her things, and maybe he was the same. "It may not be done yet but its beautiful!"  Oh! Her mouth dropped open as she looked at the other drawings.  He was a very good artist! There were lovely pictures of the trees and the flowers outside, and a lot of pictures of people--including one very pretty woman he'd drawn a lot. A sister maybe? Or his wife? Someone he must've cared a lot about, to draw her so many times. "Those are lovely!"

He asked her about herbs and plants and flowers, and she nodded. "I am, b-but I, I don't know much about them. I wasn't very good at science in school. Sister Bridget was w-wonderful at, at biology a-and, and botany, but, but I wasn't. I like, I like to look at flowers though and, and different kinds of trees and, and some herbs are, are nice to smell." Maggie felt her cheeks growing warm as she spoke.  Oh dear. She probably shouldn't have said that.  Smelling flowers was perfectly ordinary, but probably most people didn't smell herbs. She chewed her lip, but there wasn't anything for it, she'd said it and would simply have to hope she hadn't scared her new friend off.  

Maybe she hadn't, because after a bit he asked her what she did for a living. "O-oh, oh yes, you can, you can be c-curious, I, I'm curious all the time. I'm a janitor, and, and I clean office buildings. " Since he'd asked her, it was probably alright if she asked him the question back.  Usually, people liked talking about their jobs, she'd found. It was strange--she'd much rather talk about animals, or fairytales--but sometimes people had interesting jobs and then she got curious, so, sometimes she didn't mind talking about them after all. "W-what, what about you? What do, what do you do?"  

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

A janitor? She cleaned buildings for a living?! Odhrán inclined his head to the side. That sounded rather like the kind of work more suited to a house elf than a human being. Why would anybody choose such a dull occupation? Surely, this couldn't have been her dream or her calling. Did muggles actually know about house elves? Odhrán figured that they probably didn't. Elves were part of the magical world. That had to mean that muggles always had to do their own cleaning. How dull and frustrating. Still lost in his musings about the muggle world, Odhrán almost missed when Maggie returned the question to him.

"I hope they pay you very well for that," he commented on her situation. "As for me, I don't have any work at the moment. I used to be a healer though and quite a good one. But, well, that was before my accident anyway." He took a deep breath. "My family would like me to take a desk job in Switzerland, but I don't think I like the idea of that. So, I'm still trying to figure it out." What was wrong with him? Why was he sharing intimate details of his life with a total stranger and a muggle at that? He'd not even had this conversation with Talia and if anybody deserved to hear about his worries it was most certainly her. And yet this was nice. Telling this woman seemed safe. What she thought of him was of no consequence and she didn't seem the type to be overly judgemental.

"And I agree," Odhrán added with a little smile. "Herbs are rather nice to smell. I was very always happy to have fresh bushels of mint, dittany, rosemary and sage delivered to my clinic. They're all really wonderful in p..." Having this conversation really was a lot more difficult that he could have ever anticipated. ".. err, herbal tea." He still couldn't believe he'd nearly started talking about potions. A few more mistakes like this and he would get himself into serious trouble. He closed his eyes for a moment trying to get his mind to focus and concentrate. No more slip ups around the muggle girl. He really ought to be just a little more careful.

He stole a quick glance at Maggie and he thought that she seemed to ease into a more comfortable sitting position. However, her last few words had all come out with a stutter. In a wizard patient he might have attributed such a symptom to distress, in a muggle he was less sure what it meant. Was he making her uncomfortable? Temptation was stirring in him and he put his pencil and notebook down for a moment to seemingly stretch out his hands and relax his muscles. As he did though he tried to pull a strand of magic. Legillimens he thought the incantation in his head. For a moment he could feel a familiar trickle down the back of his neck. Then something went wrong. The connection snapped before it was even established. Ugh, he should have known. Of course, he'd not exactly made things easy on himself attempting a wandless and nonverbal spell without even looking into the subject's eyes. Maybe he could disregard this failure as just a product of unfortunate circumstances. And yet his mind insisted that only a mere couple of weeks ago he could have pulled this off without any difficulty.

Maggie Kelly

Maggie blinked at him. Most people didn't mention her salary when she told them what she did for a living.  Most people seemed surprised she had a job at all, never mind one that paid enough for her to have a bit of extra money.  Maybe, she could've afforded a place of her own--a lot of the other janitors had their own flats--but Father Michael said she wouldn't know how to take care of herself and you'd be overrun with mice, unwashed clothes and spoiled food within a week, and so she lived with him and Nancy and saved her money. That she had money to save probably meant her job did pay well, so she said, "Y-yes sir, that is I, I think it does."

A healer was a strange word for a doctor, but then she called things by all sorts of odd names, so who was she to judge? When she was very little, she'd called cows hairy sheep. Maybe her new friend was simply peculiar like she was.  She tilted her head at the mention of an accident. What had happened to him? She couldn't see any signs of injury, but he was wearing clothes, so perhaps they hid the indications.  Almost she asked, but that would be rude. Instead she said, "N-no, I don't think, I don't think a desk job s-sounds, sounds n-nice either," which was probably not much better, but maybe not as impolite as asking what happened?, which she'd very nearly done. 

Maggie made a face when he mentioned herbal tea, and almost at once felt her cheeks growing hot.  She wasn't a child, and she certainly knew better than to go around grimacing at strangers. But she couldn't help it.  Sister Agnes, who ran the infirmary, was forever giving the children herbal teas along with the medicine she regularly dispensed.  Chamomile was her favorite, and Maggie never had learned to like the taste of it--not even when Sister Bridget let her add cream and sugar--however much she pretended to so Sister Agnes would stop insisting You'll like it once you're used to it every time she brought Maggie a cup.  "S-sorry," Maggie said, mostly to her fingers. "I, I like herbs but, but not in tea." Plain tea--with milk and sugar--was fine, but hot cocoa was even better. "Do you like hot cocoa? I do."

Probably the question would seem odd, but she couldn't think of anything else to say, and trying to explain why she was apologizing--I'm sorry I made faces at you, when you said herbal tea it reminded me of Sister Agnes giving me chamomile tea at school and she said I'd like it but I never did--would only make her sound ridiculous. Surely this was better--even if not much. 

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

A hot chocolate. What wouldn't he give for a nice hot chocolate. He couldn't even remember when he'd last enjoyed one. For whatever reason people seemed to consider hot chocolate more of a children's drink, best suited to precocious Belgian youngsters. Still, he remembered that wonderful little cafe in Dublin his grandmother would sometimes take him to as a boy. The smell had been heavenly and the waitress had sometimes put an extra dollop of cream into his cup. 'To put some meat on his bones.' Yes, that was how she had put it.

A soft laugh escaped him. "I love hot chocolate, or any chocolate really. Best thing in the world." Really, how could he say anything different? He had a Swiss mother for Merlin's sake! Chocolate basically ran through their veins. Before he quite understood what he was doing and why, his hands were already packing up his belongings and he stood up. He held his hand out to Maggie and gave her a wide smile.

"I think I saw a little cafe near one of the greenhouses," he said. "Shall we have a look if they will sell us a hot chocolate?" He wasn't usually a spontaneous person, but something had spurred him into action. Perhaps it was the sweet melange of happy memories the mention of cocoa had inspired or maybe it was the way Maggie seemed so lost in the world. Part of him just wanted to whisk her away to somewhere and find out what it would take to cut through that timid nature of hers.

His magic was suddenly itching underneath his skin. He could feel it twisting and coiling, trying to respond to his emotional needs. Almost against expectations Maggie finally took his hand. He felt a rush of something and within split seconds the current of his magic had engulfed them both as he was losing control. Hot chocolate. He tried to focus on the hot chocolate and how wonderfully grounding it would feel.

Odhrán's resolve didn't have the intended effect. Instead of helping him suppress his flaring power, the thought of hot chocolate seemed to give it direction. He took an inadvertent step backwards and without ever intending to he had pulled them both into apparition. Their figures faded from Kew Garden's with a loud crack.

Moments later, they reappeared in Dublin city centre in a low-frequented street just in view of St Stephen's Green. Odhrán's lips moved to form a stunned 'Oh'. He hadn't managed a proper apparition in weeks let alone a sidelong one. Across the street from them was Lady Moore's Celestial Café looking just the way Odhrán's remembered it. There was a couple sitting next to the window who were drinking from a shared chalice bubbling up with little chocolate hearts.

Maggie Kelly

September 16, 2021, 05:55:22 pm #9 Last Edit: September 16, 2021, 05:57:50 pm by Maggie Kelly
Maggie barely had time to nod before he was reaching for her hand. She hesitated for a minute--she wasn't supposed to talk to strangers, so probably holding hands with them was also Not Allowed--but then she took his hand.  After all, they weren't strangers anymore. She knew his name and he knew hers and they'd been talking for a while and he was nice and--


The air shimmered around them and before she could blink, or pull her hand away, they weren't in London anymore.  There was a very loud crack and they were somewhere else.  They were--Maggie peered around her. They were--in Dublin? It certainly looked like Dublin. But that was ridiculous. They'd been standing in London not two seconds ago, and now they were here, on a street that looked exactly like a street in Dublin, in front of buildings that looked exactly like the buildings in Dublin. 

Her left hand twitched with the urge to flap.  She wasn't supposed to do that. She wasn't supposed to do that, but they were supposed to be in London, not Dublin. How was she going to get home? How was she going to explain this to Father Michael? Never mind that they weren't really strangers, so she hadn't broken the No Talking To Strangers Rule, she wasn't supposed to go off by herself with people she didn't know very well, and that definitely included not going to a completely different city, in a completely different country, in the blink of an eye, with no way to get back home!

This was a disaster. This was a disaster and she was going to be in so much trouble and how had this happened anyway? People couldn't just go from one place to the next in a blink of an eye! That sort of thing only happened in stories and this wasn't a story and--

Maggie jerked her hand away from Odhrán's--never mind about being rude just then, what was she going to do? She wrapped her arms around herself and squeezed, tight, tight, tight.  She had to calm down.  She did, she did, she did.  She couldn't start shouting at him--or crying, either--no matter how much she wanted to.  She had to stay calm.  She did, she did, she did.  Maggie shifted from one foot to the other, tried to take deep breaths, but nothing was working.  She was on a sidewalk, in Dublin, thousands of miles from home, with a man she barely knew, and how they'd gotten there she couldn't even say! This was very, very, very, very, very very bad. Finally she managed to say, "W-what, what did you, what did you do?" and though she tried not to, she shouted the last word at him.

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

September 16, 2021, 07:24:00 pm #10 Last Edit: October 09, 2021, 02:26:12 pm by Royal_Poet
Maggie let go of him and Odhrán stretched his hands out in front of himself. How had this happened? He could still feel his magic bubbling under his skin, but the urgent sensation from a couple of moments ago was easing. He carefully tried a hand movement and to his delight found that it still seemed to spark something. His power seemed to be coming back. Maybe, his healer had been right and his magic was starting to get better. They'd just apparated, hadn't they? One moment they had been in London and now here they were right in centre of Dublin.

His eyes fell on Lady Moore's Celestial Café. There was no denying that what just happened was his doing. This was the exact place he'd gone to as a little boy and from the looks of it nothing much had changed since then. Except... Oh Merlin! He watched as Maggie hugged herself and its began to dawn on him what he had done. That woman was a muggle and he had just made her reappear in an entirely different country. He put his hands over his mouth while his brain was trying to process. He hadn't meant to cast any spells. He'd just thought of hot chocolate and it had happened.

Oh, oh... he didn't even know what to say. His eyes went wide and panic set it. Okay, calm down. He could fix it. He could get her back to London and a simple obliviate would see to this lady never remembering what had happened to her. He could handle that. Everything would be fine. Odhrán took a deep breath and tried to find some sort of explanation he could offer to her, but was coming up short. 'I'm a wizard, but lately my magic has been unreliable,' sounded pretty pathetic in his mind no matter how true it was. And really, he hadn't done much of anything. He'd just thought of hot chocolate and then, quite unexpectedly to him as well, they'd found themselves here.

"I... I don't know," he responded to Maggie nervously. "I.. I ... didn't really think this was possible. I wasn't trying to cast a spell." His mind was still lagging a couple of seconds behind reality, struggling to catch up with what was happening around him. Was she scared? He looked at Maggie and decided that she looked rather distressed. "Are you okay?" he asked nervously. "You didn't get hurt did you?" Looking her up and down he couldn't detect any obvious injury, but he wasn't exactly trusting his own senses in this moment.

"I can fix this," he rasped out hoarsely. "I just need to concentrate on Kew again and we'll be back there in an instant. I'm really sorry ... I didn't meant to... plan to... to..." what exactly? "...whisk you away to Ireland. I guess I was just missing Lady Moore's and got carried away in the moment." That didn't really explain much of anything, but it was the best he had given the circumstances.

Maggie Kelly

Well, at least he looked properly sorry, Maggie thought, as she made herself look back up at him.  That was something.  He didn't offer much of an explanation though, but he seemed upset.  As her breathing gradually slowed and her heart stopped pounding, she realized he seemed just as confused and upset as she was.  Had it all been an accident then? She had those all the time--though, usually something broke, or spilled, or tore when she had them, she didn't find herself somewhere else entirely.  Still, he did seem miserable.

Then he said something about a spell and Maggie's mouth fell open.  "Are--are you a sorcerer? L-like, like Schmendrick?" Schmendrick was from The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.  It was published a couple of years ago, and Maggie had saved up and bought herself a copy.  Usually Father Michael didn't like her reading fantasy stories--your imagination is quite big enough already, without you helping it along, he always said, but since she'd bought it with her own money, he'd just shaken his head and let her keep it.  Schmendrick was not a very good magician-he was terrible in fact--and this was just the sort of thing that would happen to him.  Of course sorcerers weren't real--well, she didn't think they were--but maybe they were? And anyway, thinking of her friend like the bumbling wizard from one of her favorite books made everything a little less frightening. 

"Y-yes, yes I'm alright, thank you.  A-are, are you?" Now that she could begin to make sense of everything, it wasn't so frightening really.  They would get home, and in the meantime, since they'd come all this way, they really ought to stay and have hot cocoa.

Odhrán still seemed upset, and reassured her that he could get them both back home.  The more he talked, the more Maggie decided he really was like Schmendrick, which was nice, but also frightening.  Suppose they ended up somewhere else? Still, he apologized the way she always did, when she was more frightened of getting in trouble than sorry for what she'd done, and for a second, Maggie almost hugged him, before reminding herself that she didn't know him that well, and maybe he didn't like hugs, and anyway, hugging people she didn't know very well wasn't proper.  So she said, "Oh, I know you can" though she didn't, at all, but maybe God would forgive her for lying just this once, because probably Odhrán could use the encouragement. Then she said, "It's, it's alright. I, I'm not, I'm not angry. I was just, I was just f-fright-frightened that's, that's all.Since we're, since we're here, l-let's, let's have the hot coca, and, and then we can go back."

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

"Just a regular wizard," Odhrán corrected without thinking. "I'm not nearly accomplished enough to be considered for a Grand Sorcerer title. Truthfully, there aren't very many witches and wizards who have achieved such a distinction before the age of fifty. I don't think even the famous Albus Dumbledore got his title awarded at such a young age." Realising he was sharing details a muggle shouldn't know about, he clasped his hands over his mouth and gave an awkward look. Mere seconds later he burst into a charming laugh. At this point, what did it matter what he said? She'd figured out he was a wizard, he'd have to obliviate her anyway. He might as well tell her whatever he pleased.

There was something she had said though that was rather confusing. "But who is Schmendrick?" Odhrán questioned. He couldn't say that he had heard that name before. Was he supposed to have? Maggie looked at him with such seriousness he felt that he ought to, but unfortunately his mind was still drawing blanks. Had she met another wizard? The name didn't ring any bells, and Odhrán thought that if he was indeed a Grand Sorcerer he probably should have heard of him. What had that guy been playing at leaving Maggie's memory of him intact? That was against the Statute of Secrecy.

He had to love Maggie's pragmatism though. Instead of yelling at him or insisting to be take home right this instant, she actually wanted to have that hot cocoa. He couldn't help another wide smile and he took a few steps towards Lady Moore's to open the door for her. "Don't be surprised if you see a bit of magic in here." he warned softly.

Odhrán followed her inside and and ushered her towards a free table with a gentle touch on her shoulder. He handed the menu over to Maggie for her to study while waiting for his heartbeat to slow again. Just what kind of mess had he gotten himself into? He tried to picture telling Talia or his sister about this strange encounter. They'd probably hit him over the head for being reckless.

"So, what can I get you? Wouldn't recommend the steaming hot chocolate, it literally makes your ears steam, but the one with cream and butterscotch is quite nice." He absentmindedly flicked his wrist and summoned another copy of the menu to his hand from another table.

Maggie Kelly

Maggie blinked at him. Surely he hadn't just said he was a wizard. People didn't say such things! Well, normal people didn't, anyway. That kind of talk would get you locked up somewhere far less nice than where she'd gone to school. At least, that's what the sisters always said when the children said odd things. And here was a grown man saying even odder things than what she'd heard at school! Maybe he was teasing her? But that didn't seem to be the sort of thing someone teased about. Besides, he seemed perfectly serious, even mentioned someone called Albus Dumbledore. Who on earth was that?

Before she could ask, he'd asked her about Schmendrick. "Oh, he's a character in, in a book. It's, its c-called The Last Unicorn." Hadn't everyone heard of that book. Maybe he didn't read much. Perhaps that might explain it.

She forgot about Schmendrick though as soon as she walked in the shop. It smelled wonderful! Oh, this was going to be grand! Following Odhrán to a table, Maggie sat down, his warning from earlier buzzing in her ears. Magic? Real magic? Did he bring them to Fairyland and not Dublin? Was he a fairy prince? Had she just been kidnapped and brought under the hill? That would certainly explain all the strange things he was saying! And why he didn't know anything about that book. If she was in Fairyland, she was about to break its cardinal rule--don't eat or drink anything--because all the drinks around her smelled delicious, and anyway, Odhrán was a perfectly delightful man, even if he was one of the Good Neighbors. She picked up the menu, glancing up to thank him for the suggestion, when her mouth fell open. He'd made the menu move! Maggie almost squealed. This really was fairyland, and Odhrán was a real, live fairy. This was the greatest most wonderful thing that had ever happened to her! Somehow, she managed to say, "That, that s-sounds, that sounds grand," without also saying, I'm in fairyland! This is wonderful!! out loud, though she did think it, and loudly too.

Odhrán Ó Dálaigh

The Last Unicorn. No, Odhrán couldn't say he had heard of the book, but then he had little exposure to muggle literature. "Would you recommend me reading it?" he asked with a little smile. He was intrigued now what about him had prompted the comparison to this Schmendrick. Was it just that they were both wizards or was there more to it? Unicorns as well. He didn't think muggles usually wrote books about the magical world, but he found himself curious what they made of it. He supposed the book had to get a lot of it wrong of the Ministry probable would have done something to stop its publication.

He noticed that he was about to become lost in his own thoughts and tried to pull himself back together. He focused on the menu in his hands for a moment to pick a warm drink, but his mind was all over the place, playing catch up with what had just happened. He wasn't as magically broken as he'd thought himself two be. No, he'd apparated two people to Dublin and they were both physically fine and healthy. Had it happened under any other circumstances he would have been rather proud of himself. It had felt pretty natural too. For just a moment he had just allowed himself to really feel what he desired and magic had made it real. Was that what his healer, Séverin, had meant when asking him to just allow his magic to flow without trying to control every aspect of it? Well, he supposed it had worked. Kinda. What he was less sure about was if he could do it again travelling back.

Then another entirely unexpected thing happened. Sometimes, when another person thought about something incredibly loudly his legillimens mind just picked up on it. Well, at least that had been the case before his accident. Since, it hadn't happened anymore. In fact, his mind magic was usually affected the worst by his bouts of magical aphasia. Except right now, he was certain the thought of fairies was trickling into his head and it was most certainly not his idea. Everyone knew fairies were tiny and just made annoying high pitched sounds. Well, everyone except Maggie it would appear. Her opinion of them seemed to err on the side of awe. Not surprising, really as she'd probably never seen a fairy in her life. Out of all magical creatures fairies were certainly viewed in a favourable lights by muggles.

He must have started emptily into the space in front of them, as suddenly a waitress had appeared next to him who was impatiently tapping her foot and was giving him a pointed look.

"I'll have a hot chocolate with butterscotch for a bit of a pick me up," he drawled falling into that annoying of his to start justifying his purchases before he had even made them. He looked at Maggie and let her place her request as well.

Receiving their order didn't take long at all. It wasn't a busy day and magic sure helped with getting things out in a timely manner. The waitress floated their cups of hot chocolate over to their table and Odhrán picked his cup out of the air with a happy little sigh. Exactly why didn't he indulge in this more often?

He looked at Maggie wondering if she was waiting for him as well, same as the waitress. "I'm sorry," he mumbled at her. "I'm sometimes not the best at making conversation. Anyway, what do you like to do for fun?"