Don't taint this ground
With the color of the past
Are the sounds in bloom with you
Cause you seem like
An orchard of mines
Just take one step at a time
And you seem
To break like time
So fragile on the inside
You climb these grapevines
Would you look now
Unto this pit of me on the ground
And you wander through these
To climb these grapevines
It was slow and meandering, his pace. No true hunter stalked with speed, not until they'd scented prey, were closing in for the kill. No, most predators were mistaken for lazy, really...so slow and undulating in their motions they seemed lackadaisical, unfocused... and that was half the lie that lulled others into trust, into ignorance. No sheep noticed a wolf in their midst if it moved like them, sounded and smelled like them. So it was for Gideon as he ate the streets up in slow strides, hands shoved deep into the pockets of his jeans, untucked black oxford wrinkled up over his wrists, the top button of his collar undone, stark white of a tie pulled loose at an awkward angle under the collar. So empty, tonight, those streets, devoid of life or movement, and he'd resorted to prowling grounds unfamiliar. Eyes strayed, half focused on the cobbles before his feet as most of his mind bent on that call, reaching out and pulling toward himself all those who'd welcome what he had to offer.
Barefoot, black-soled, the little seer wandered, pulling tight a water-logged shift to her person. In the dark, perhaps she pulsed faintly, phantom lights stuck to her skin like some second layer of cloth. How far, how long she had wandered? There were clues in her hair, lakebed brambles, mud between her toes, blistered, bleeding, but she seemed not to notice. Her face was awash with the misery of one stuck, misplaced, determined to do a thing and then denied entry, or rather, talked out of it. She cried softly, a meek, child's sound. For are we all quivering infants in the Shadow of Death?
She rounds a corner, eyes the cemetery gates. Confusion holds her a moment, stills her pace, and then, there is the outburst, a choking, horrible sound that gives itself to gravity. She falls with the grace of one that cares for nothing,
He heard the sound of bare footsteps on the pavement before he saw her, glancing up at the sound, and for half a moment he thought she was one of those little miserables answering his silent call, for all she looked like one; slim figure in a white nightdress shift, wandering in a drunken stupor, vacant eyed and desperate. But then she turned, fell before the cemetery gates and there was that sound...
The moonlight was a passing thing, dark clouds sheering across the heavy hang of the half orb, blotting it out from minute to minute, and when the last one passed the silver light caught its match in the mass of tangled hair. He drew up pace, dark brows crowding together as he stared for a long second. Nothing of the little scene made sense if the crumpled mass before the bars of wrought iron was who he thought...and then that scent of her hit his nostrils with the shift of the breeze and he was sure of it.
Features clouded further and he drew a slow breath as he moved forward again, eyeing the broken little being cautiously, like the bait in a trap. He cleared his throat uncomfortably. "Viki?"
Metal sang against her skin, the gate yawning wide as if in welcome for the thing that balled itself up before it, and then it told her to turn her head, and she listened. Great red lines branched outward, in the whites of her eyes, sharpening the blue, even in such a dark. Gideon, he was a sudden blip on her radar, still swimming in a Shadow's scent, but she did not even have the drive for that addiction. She only smiled, drinking up the irony of this find. How was it that she first found him? In this similar state? On hands and knees, entrenched in sorrow?
The smile was brief, concluded by more tears. They burned hot at her face. Sorrow had no impact on the makeup of one such as she. She stared at him through the haze, brought her hands, palm up, into her lap. There sat a coin, still chiming things only she might hear. To Gideon, it would seem just another strange currency, foreign and of little value.
Not even a word, not one fractured, nonsensical statement. He frowned and drew up beside her, gazed down at her for a long moment before hands slid from pockets to tug at the front fold of jeans at the top of his thighs as he knelt. Tears. Her face glistened with them, cheeks salt-sticky with the long legged tracks of the hot things.
He frowned and reached forward...never had that respect for touch and what it bore that the little seer did, never quite so polite as she in the context of physical space, he took her chin in thumb and forefinger gently. How many of those pretty little shivering drops had he caused her, beat from her or drew with just a hard word? These weren't his doing though...and something about them ran so much deeper than the bitter ones he'd caused.
His voice was uncharacteristically quiet, almost gentle. "Little urchin?"
She was a mess, not meant for such closeness by one so refined. Summer still coursed through her, perfuming the air with floral spice, but it was the remnants of the lake that creased her, that and another matter entirely. She wore scrapes and bruises, earth wet and dry. The white shift only gave up its natural color in parts, for most of it was so stained by the grime of some still watering hole that it clung to her tightly, took up her flesh tone.
She did not recoil this time from his touch, did not meet it with sharpness or disdain, she simply.. sat. The eyes that looked out at him could not focus on his face. They drifted, darted, slinking along the seamlines of his jeans.
It was the voice that drew her out, finally, although when she spoke, it was at his chest.
"Is this how it feels, to give up oneself to another and watch it walk away? And be entombed to a body that will naut move, Gideon? Is this what you wear for my Brother?"
Usually her words were characteristically vague, disjointed into fractured puzzle pieces never meant to fit together to begin with, to hear her ask something so plain, so pointed...he jerked, once. Words an arrow that pierced him through the sternum. He wasn't half sure that if he looked down he wouldn't see the long shaft of such a thing protruding from his chest. He could feel the point of it lodged there, pricking at the hear that couldn't beat.
The loss she spoke of shone clear enough upon the moon of her face in that pale light and even without the question Gideon would have known it instinctively for what it was. How often had he seen that look in the mirror when no one stood behind him? How often had he felt it on his features, in his bones in those slim seconds when no one was looking? He'd had a heart once, hadn't he? He'd loved once. Everett and Illiana had awoken or bred in him those feelings he'd never thought he'd had or could have...and each had broken them in him too. But once potential was awoken, there was no sleep for such things, even though they'd die over and over they rose from ashes, the ghost of a phoenix, more bitter and broken each new time, and though he'd buried the last of such things under the rubble of hate and hard anger, still it grew there, twisted and warped but alive nonetheless. Viki's own pain called to it, each to each in siren song of loss and heartbreak. It balled within him, the wound that would not close, and bled slow drops of pity for the little seer he had hated, cared for, and hated once more. She was no better than he now, though... and he would have wished his misery on no one.
Handsome features rearranged themselves into that expression now, the one no one ever saw. Exquisite misery, perfect commiseration, understanding and empathy at once. The pale blue of his eyes, oddly luminescent in the darkness, held the whole of her, saw and knew.
He nodded slowly, swallowed shards of glass to speak. "Yes, Viki. Every night...every second, without end."
"It does NAUT end!" She tore her face from his hold to shriek into her hands, head buried in her lap, hidden beneath a rush of curls and their twin colors. Chestnut seemed to shadow the rebel white, spiral and lay claim to her shoulders, her skinny spine that still glistened with water. She looked a landlocked mermaid, some siren imprisoned on these miserable shores, half rocking into a stretch of a sob, only to shift her weight back again.
She did not seek to crash against him, but he was the only person who knew the land she crisscrossed, knew the weight of heartbreak, knew the toll it took. She saw all this as he dropped the mask, confirmed that yes, indeed, it was without end. Suddenly her borrowed life yawned outward in front of her, a black promise of many, many years, alone. How could he move, how could he wake? These things she wanted to ask him, but became distracted by his proximity. Somehow her arms had found his, long-lost, entreated him to embrace the rest of her.
Her shriek startled him, widened eyes at the outburst before the set of his shoulders fell, echoing the ache she lamented. He moved to reach for her as she collapsed but in a moment she was there, against him, thin wet arms clambering against his own. He hooked hands under her arms against her ribs and drew her to him, her sodden dress soaking through his jeans and shirt. He folded her in; strong arm round her shoulders the other round her waist. There was something about Gideon's hugs that seemed so perfectly strong, like they could blot out the world for the moment while one existed within their orbit, something more solid about him than other creatures that made his embrace a place of perfect sanctuary. One hand slid up the back of her neck, cool against her skin as fingers stroked soothingly at the line of her hair. He knew better than any that no words were strong or good enough to heal, there was no language that could ease that pain of loss, and he made no effort to wield the futility of such hollow objects. He pressed a kiss to her temple, tasted the dirt of standing water, the salt of smeared tears, and murmured a quiet susurrus of soothing sounds against her skin.
These are the sounds the seer heard when he murmured: wings of butterflies, gentle rains and drifting wild flowers. Hands clenched and caught him, fabric first, and then flesh, soft needful touches as her arms wrapped his throat. Even her fingers were fever-hot, as if the fire within raced down to the tiniest extensions. She had found a way to coil herself around him as he tightened his hold, legs locked to the bend of each hipbone. Her face hovered halfway between his silent heart and his mouth, dark brows lifting in receipt of the kiss. Still, she cried softly, outlet for their mutual misery. Would that he had thrown her from that roof, her eyes said, as they rolled up. But no, not after what she had learned lakeside...
Still, the waif seemed uncaring, carting unwanted life. He might take some it from her, if he so desired. Red eyes, red mouth, upturned to meet his face. She opened up to speak again, but another sob stunned her.
The arm at her waist scooped under her bottom as he rose smoothly from where he knelt, hoisted her with him, held her tight against himself, bastion in the storm she swam for now. He shifted slightly, enough to stroke he cheek gently as he offered her a sad sort of smile, gentle in a way most all who knew him would say he was incapable of, and kissed the tears that streamed down the apples of those hot little cheeks.
"Sssh, little urchin." No heat in the nickname now. He stroked the plaster of her hair back from her face. "Let me take you home. You're soaked through. Let's get you a bath and a drink, yes?"
The flick of sheened icewater eyes ticked over her features, not to be denied, but asking permission anyway. "And you tell me what's happened on the way."
Partners in an unending dance of love and hate, and here is the turn now, the music rising once more to meet them, guide them into a gentler sway. The seer savored the sudden gallantry, guided her pressed body into an easy bundle for him to carry. He wanted her story, her secrets? The inanimate whispered around them, unanimous in their agreement that he had won the right. Had he not redeemed himself, once under fire and again, here, now?
Eyes could not discern even where she was. Who knows how long she would have wandered had he not stumbled upon her in the dark. Home. That was an alien word. She nearly laughed when he spoke it, but all that was born of trembling lips was a blend of whimper-whine into the shell of his ear.
And then, she found the strength to speak. "I do naut know where that is any longer, Gideon."
"I'll find it, Viki." He assured her, tucking his chin over her slender shoulder comfortably as he stroked the line of her sodden back gently. The long wet hem of her shift slapped awkwardly against his legs as he walked with her, but he paid it no attention.
The seer stuck to him like glue, somewhat calmed by the soft assurances he offered, by the manner in which he cared for her. Strange how these were the same hands that reached to yank hair from root, that tossed her adrift, as if she were a feather, into the Shadow that still rode him. She could taste the Shadow there, tucked as she was against him, but she did not sample it, even if her body called for it, crawling, hot with need. Oh, even now, in the throes of misery!
She swallowed a whine and buried her face into his ruined shirt, as his steps seemed to chart a course for the Inn, and for Two-Oh.
"Gideon.." Her broken voice lit up in alarm. She didn't mean for him to revisit the memory of his own loss. It was akin to walking her through a desert, with every grain of sand swirling to a shape of her Lover's face.
"It's alright, luv." He pressed a kiss through sodden, clinging strands of hair into the crook of her neck. His ghosts had been with him long enough to become welcome company, familiar faces that no longer held the threat of destructive pain, their knives dulled against the whetstone of time.
"Talk to me, urchin?" He pressed softly, not necessarily urging her toward the topic of her grief, "Tell me a story."
"You are a mirror," she said. Round and round we go. 'Luv' was certainly better than 'wh*re' and 'urchin' was ringing more joyful in these brief hours.
Through the door of the inn and up the stairs, god how familiar those steps were, feet still knew them even after the long absence and even now after he'd willed them to forget. He stopped before that cursed door and carefully avoided looking at the burnished number upon its wood planks as Viki placed her hand to the thing. He in turn, knocked, and when no answer came he turned the knob in that easy trick of strength that broke the catch
Her eyes dipped to the floor, watching the path of his feet. Indeed, they were destined for Two-Oh, but the Poet was not in. The seer pushed the door gently from her perch on high to make certain. Darkness licked the walls that held no trace of him. He had not been there for days, it seemed, certainly with his artist, perhaps aglow in her gallery.
The waif sighed, turned her head. Waterlogged, but all cried out, and so her story began: "It is the same, and it is naut. There was a battle. I am wanted for mine eyes. He sought to save me. I was lost in the thick. And I wandered, longer than I thought... When I had found him, he did naut seek to be bound again. And I, I did naut ever slip those stitchings.."
She tugged at her shift, exposed a portion of color, turned up a sleeve to reveal the ink that scrawled across her body. "I wear him, Gideon. Do you want to see him?"
Gideon swung the door open, only just managing to shut it behind them, listening to the stream-of-consciousness tale the little seer told in that tear-thick voice, before she put that inked arm just under his nose. He blinked at the stretch of her pale skin in the moonlight and the black etching upon it, brows drawing together as he reached out to flick on the light. Yes...she was covered in the scrawl of ink.
He let her slide down, put her on her feet and took her wrist in his hand, turning her arm over as he shoved the sleeve a bit higher. "Did he do this to you?"
"Xas. I wanted. It is his people. I am naut his people anymore than I am this slip of girl before you. It is all skin, borrowed for a time." Not that this is different from any other life, she said with her open hand streaming casual gestures into the air. The slip bunched at her shoulder, bleeding brown water into the floor as he raised it. Here now, in the lamplight of the Poet's room, he might see the obsidian etchings continue onward, peeking out at the curve of a knee, steeling through soaked fibers of a tragic dress. He might be reminded of his sorrow in a passing glance, but she can see it always, by the simple pull of cloth over a head. Shameless action, the seer pursued this. It is not a body but a canvas she revealed, and with the attitude of one who does not hold to such ideas as modesty and virtue.
Although, what has been unwrapped was more or less on the cusp of woman. She did not draw to him but rather wandered away so that he might see the etchings swirl down the bones of her back.
Beautiful and terrible, those lines that ran the length and breadth of her, like the patchwork and ribbons she usually wore but melted, melded to her flesh. Her nudity was hardly an embarrassment to him, who had very little modesty of his own and had never viewed the seer as an object of desire anyway. His face drew hard lines as he stared and eventually shook his head slowly.
"I can't pretend to understand, Viki...It's hard enough to wear those marks within." He forcibly drew the line of pale eyes off her and turned to open the door of the bathroom. The sound of hot rushing water from the tap followed his departure as he filled the tub for her.
"Things whisper. Some say, 'it will be enough to wear him'. Others say, 'these are yours now.'" Feet wore down the floor with her pacing, leaving a track of soles. Here, a heel. There, ball of foot, and small spray of toes. Her hair tangled, caught the wet of her skin and clung, making up new sigils where each curlicue fell. She found herself once more drawn to the sound of water, but this was a manmade rush, heated and filtered. Her face pressed to the wall, pointed ears perked with interested. The Vampire, he made hardly a sound. She followed the nothing of him, no boiling blood or bleeding heart, but still, he had shown himself in other ways.
A coin is given to the countertop, between a sink and a mirror.
"But you are here again Gideon. I can see them, you know, your markings. They are bright now to me, as bright as the things I have stolen from you." Apologetic was her press of head to his, fingertip touch to the shirt she had wrecked with her lakeside misadventure.
He was bent over the tub, and his shoulders rose as she pressed her head to his. He turned his face away, fought to keep that mask of indifference in place. It was not easy to be here in this little space that screamed Everett with every trinket and scent. It cut at old wounds, reopened that stump of an amputated limb that he'd soldered shut with the torch of anger and wounded pride. If the poet came back to him tomorrow he knew, oh yes he knew, he'd welcome him with open arms, smash his pride at the man's feet and break himself in loving something he was not fit to touch.
The muscles of his throat worked silently in a hard swallow as the glut of those emotions rushed up against the back of his teeth in a hard wave. Here was the difference between himself and Viki: she was a creature turned inside out, all her inner workings, all the soft and tender pieces turned to face the world in their fragile glory, with her armor on the inside, a hard case of unbreakable steel masked under all that delicacy. Gideon was a creature turned steadfastly outside-in, all those achingly tender parts hidden behind the cold hard portcullis of that perfect marble shell of his shield against the world. When that mask came down, nothing got in, and nothing could leave.
He fumbled for that barrier now, but his grip upon it kept slipping. He managed to school his face to stillness before he turned to offer the seer a thin, pained line of a smile that touched just one corner of his mouth. The misery of him swam crystalline depths of pale eyes as he reached up a hand to help her into the tub, the tap now off and the basin full of steaming, soapy water.
"It's nothing I want to speak of, Viki. Come let's get you cleaned up."
"I-am-sorry-I-tried-to-take-what-is-naut-mine." No mention of the Shadow, but the thought is there, slung between the syllables of trying singsong, a shade of her usual freestyle manner of talk.
She took to the water easily, as if skin had already made a home of it, worked up an appeal, and now her sea legs could be stretched once more. Such a domestic scene suited her dual persona: there she was, fragile, fragmented thing, in need of care, yet at other times, hoarding knowledge, sought by many unseedy persons for reasons selfish at best, and at worst, utterly vile.
She let her head bend to gentle touch, and eyes fell under the surge of water and soap, splashed, spilled, sopped, and scrubbed. Lukewarm, the water grew hot with the addition of her body. Bubbles flew like great crystal orbs, and the seer's eyes leapt to them, as if to scry some new vision, but they collided and burst before birthing any scene.
She lifted her knees to her chin, nestled her head against them, and peered up at him. So many questions for one so conflicted.
"Are we naut friends now, Gideon?" Soft words, sporting a side of shifting eyes. They could never keep still. They crawled across him, across the room, and Elsewhere, wide wanderers.
"I do naut hate you for your dead teeth, you know. Once upon 'nother time, someone like you was wrapped to me. But then the sandman, he did appear more brilliant before me." Quake of a confession.
She wrapped her arms around her legs and pulled her knees tighter, as if to crush the voice in her throat. Too much, they said. She would give up everything to this one in her state of disrepair.
He sighed softly at the apology and sat back on his heels as she made herself at home in the tub. He reached up to pull the knot of his tie loose, threading the thin end out of the knot with a slow pull, tossing the white stretch of silk away onto the counter of the sink before he undid the buttons of his cuffs and rolled black sleeve up to just under his elbows. He rose only to take a knee behind where she sat in the clawfoot tub. Nurturing was nothing that came easy to him, and hardly second nature...but bathing was easy enough. These were matter of fact things, easy habit that kept emotion at bay. He found soap and lent elbows against the edge of the tub to scrub the stuff into the mess of her hair, gathering damp strands, scooping water over them before he worked pads of his fingers up the curvature of her scalp, sudsing.
He coughed a laugh at her question. Were they friends? The line of his gaze fixed upward absently.
"I won't harm you again, urchin." It was as much of an answer as he could give at the time. She knew, now, the wasteland he walked, and her misery was beyond anything he would have had the power to inflict. Moreso the urge to cause her pain had withered and died away. Gideon had always been softer than he let on, softer than the hard rage and his cold bearing would ever own to.
He pressed hands to her shoulders, urging a dip back in the water to rinse the soap off her hair.
"I don't hate you, either. I wanted to, but I don't."
Laid back, her body shaped to the form of the tub, curled, at odds with the water at times. Soap rushed to temporarily clothe her, ring round the adolescent planes of her body, the flat space of a stomach, the curious dip where ribs met hips. She pushed herself under so that the surface might steal away her face for a time, although, so weakened by her emotions, she hadn't the strength to be submerged for very long.
She caught one of his wrists in her hand. It was only leverage, a means to retract her body from the bath. The seer was watchful of the way the water came at her, how it pooled and framed her, how it clung to her skin, to her eyes. The newness of his words threatened tears. Instead, she drew small circles into the air.
Round and round?
He held braced the arm of the wrist that she held over the tub and reached across himself with his other to grab a towel off the rack before he lifted the wrist she held tight to, raising her up.
"Come on, magpie. You'll be a damned prune." He rose and offered the open towel.
"Maybe..." Thus elevated, she descended on the floor dripping new.
"Shell and skin of fruit, laid waste by a star-too-close. Gets stuck in your dead teeth, Gideon." Humour was a good sign, was it not? She let herself be enveloped by arms that might have once sought harm, cotton cocoon for inkling skin, scrubbed and caressed gently clean. Her hair looped, playing at a mask over her eyes. Little seer bandit slinked close to steal a kiss, cornerstone of his mouth.
"I have a secret for you Gideon."
He grimaced at her description of his teeth. It felt far too close to the point of the truth, and for Pinocchio always wishing to be a real boy, to be called a puppet stung like nettles. He let it slide though, in the light of her state and this new peace, though the kiss she gifted him was met with a tightening of his own mouth. He wrapped the towel around her and rubbed at her arms beneath the cotton as brows drew together in a tight line.
"I'm not my shadow, Viki."
"It is naut for him, it is for you." Gentle were her touches to his shoulder, pressing thank-yous to where she had upset the folds and brightness of his shirt.
"I have seen, in the pictureframe, the Shadow, the Sister, and the Student all swirling around you. I did naut know which would win you, but sometimes, Sight is sweet, come to offer solace where there is only darkness."
Her palms met his forehead, as if to feel a fever she knew could not be.
"Pit the Sister against the Student. Somewhat else slinks in the back of her, but I do naut know what. It is better to keep such a thing far, far away. The Student will know what to do with her."
He blinked at that, expression darkening slightly as he meaning sunk in. Hands stilled on her shoulders as he shook his head slowly, bright eyes hard, hiding the fear that her suggestion welled within.
"Catlin is just a man, magpie. Kestrel could kill him more easily than snapping a twig. He is a wild thing...but there is no feral rage that could withstand her strength. I would die myself trying to save him from her if I allowed such a thing."
Perhaps he misunderstood her suggestion, but Catlin broken into bleeding pieces in Kestrel's lovely hands, her laughter killing the ringing of screams still hanging in the air and it made him ill. He drew the wet little thing before him against himself in a taut hug, held her close and still as if he'd replaced her in his mind with the blonde wraith he thought of now, desperate to keep her from that vision. He rested his chin on her damp head, let it slide to his cheek as he tightened his grasp.
"No." He drew a slow breath. "No."
"Nau, nau. Naut the Sailor, Gideon, the Student."
Her tone kicks to a level of pedagogue as she curls her warm limbs around him, meant to squash his desperation.
"The Sailor, he is another story for you to write. The things that whisper do naut whisper of him now." Frustration streaks across her features, clean now, near suitable for society had he donned her with a dress. She was pretty in the rough, natural way that deplored powder and finery.
"The Student.. is.. Ahh.. I see him red with you Gideon. He is naut Lover, nor Friend." Unfortunately, Viki has no calling cards for Eli.
"Student..." He drew the word out. He had misunderstood. Catlin's learning to read had done it. He knew no other student, knew precious little about Eli, save for his nature now and that he studied the dead. Gideon had yet to conceptualize that it was dead like himself that absorbed Elias' time. Stupid, thick man.
He heaved a sigh and released Viki from that all encompassing hug, rubbing her back absently as he stepped away, writing off her secret as more nonsense words for the moment. Perhaps in time the meaning would come clearer. Gideon was a pragmatic, unromantic creature...he had no use for the surreal, in spite of his own nature. He gathered an end of the towel and wiped the drips of moisture from her cheek and chin, bent and gave her forehead a brush of a kiss.
"Come on, urchin. Let's put some clothes on you." He left her, and the bathroom behind as he headed back into the purgatory of that bedroom and pulled the closet door open to fish out one of Everett's shirts, a soft chambray oxford whose scent of ink and sandalwood was enough to claw hard at the bottom of his heart, careless cat with claws reaching for a toy.
"It is a prize she wants..." Make way for singsong, coasting around the bend of a wall. She came trailing along eventually, clinging to the comfort of a towel. It sang small words of home and hearth, for that was all it ever knew.
"It is you with your teeth sharp, or if is a replacement. I See a game played betwixt ones above her, above you. Do naut give her either Gideon."
She finds his face between the bend of an elbow and the shoulder of a shirt too large. Her eyes wink around the dangling, teasing fabric, scented by one Poet gone too long. Give her time here, and he will return to find his shirts spun into patchwork.
"Wish that you might stay. I saw your Shadow's Maker. He makes me want, and I want naut to be alone."
Patience and his will power wore thin at the same times, fraying ends of spider-silk fine things. He held the shirt open for her, slid it over thin, inked arms and closed the buttons one by one down her torso. He smiled though when he was done and stepped back to tousle her damp hair. Nothing more endearing than a woman in nothing but a man's over large shirt.
"I'll stay till morning comes, if you like. As much of an irritating little lunatic as you are, I wouldn't leave you alone."
He stepped closer and gathered the mass of her hair in his hands, held it out from her and wrung the drops out carelessly onto the floor. "Would you like a drink?"
She lifted her arms to find the shirt clearly did overreach, Everett's cuffs eating away at her wrists and hands. She bunched at the sleeves until she found little fingers, sought out Gideon with a smile that said far too little. She was all spent by sound. With a dip of her head, she nodded into the sponging of hair. Heat lent to the process, sending water skyward, creating a sort of humid halo around her head.
"Tea? If it is hot. I do naut like it when they put little glacial bits into tea..." Her eyes wandered briefly to touch upon a window.
"Tea it is..." He agreed and dropped the mess of chestnut strands against her shoulders and moved for the door. He had his hand upon the door knob before what she'd said earlier registered. It might have become far too easy to gloss over the things she said that made no sense to him, let them slide...sometimes he only heard half of what she said, and always to his detriment. He paused now, though and turned to glance at her over his shoulder.
"You met Bylah?" He turned back around slowly, a small half smile stealing its way up one corner of a generous mouth.
"No wonder you looked the way you did on the street. He's..." words failed and he lifted a shoulder with he shake of his head. Insouciance to the death. "...well, he's terrifying isn't he?"
"By-lah." The seer tasted his name with a shudder, pulling the Poet's shirt tight to her frame as she pressed into the bed. The mattress bore her weight easily. The blankets were unnecessary, though created a kind of nest, many layers and levels of softness to lull her backward, where one might meet with a dreamgirl.
"He is many things. Fear is for those that do naut accept... digestion."
Her face seemed pensive, though her body suggested exhaustion and the ever present bite of heartache. She shaped herself to the bed, half lidded eyes still stuck to Gideon's side, the way he moved between a doorframe.
"My look was for the coin in the bath. Do naut speak to it. I am angry with it."
Well, that is true." To the first at least, to the second he just gave her one of those bewildered looks that she drew so well.
"Alright then. Tea." He turned the broken doorknob and left her for the crowd below to make tea. This he could do, god bless the United Kingdom. The minutes ticked away before he returned with the tray. Tea, biscuits, honey, milk, sugar...and a small bottle of scotch for good measure. He balanced the tray cautiously, reopened the door and set the thing down on the desk. A ritual he'd performed too often in this room. Strange how four wooden walls could hold so much. He sank onto the bed beside her and poured her a cup, fixed it the way he knew best, honey and scotch. Nothing worked better on misery. He offered her the teacup and saucer with a thin smile.
"Ask and ye shall receive, magpie"
"Amvel," it rang of thank-you, the sandman's tongue. Up, the seer lifted for the receipt of such a gift, ever so careful not to spill the brew into Everett's shirt or bed. Lips met ceramic, sampled the blended spirit, and budded into a smile.
She drank as one without the knowledge of anything else but thirst. Perhaps Gideon could relate. It was easy, to shelter misery with spirit. Emptied, the saucer clinked as the cup was returned. The seer chided it softly, set it to a lonely end-table, and curled around the vampire without much cause for concern.
She was too tired. It had been a long life.