Deja Vu

Title: Deja Vu
Time Period: May 1, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Thirteen years have passed since the last time Mayday these two shared in the same spot.

A table rock, hidden from the road by an enormous larch, is normally not a comfortable place to rest. Today it's heated by a warm May sun, the first of many after the stormy month of April. The tree itself is well over a hundred years old, a relic from a time before the new age of magic. Its bark is scarred by generations of youthful declaration of love, initials carved in hearts by both lads and lasses, some long dead and some still alive. There's only one that's been left unfinished.

L.O. +

After that there's a long line of initials, each one older than the one previous and all of them scratched out. Kneeling at the base of the conifer, pocket knife still in hand, Luna ponders her artwork. There's at least one set for every year since she turned thirteen. It's her birthday, the day she comes out to update her living diary of love.

A small basket sits about a meter or so away from her, covered by a pale blue shawl, something that matches her cream colored dress. She doesn't wear white on this day; should she ever marry, she likely wouldn't wear it then either. White is a lie.

The sound of voices — well, one voice — comes closer; for once, the one-sided conversation that Beisdean Skye is having seems to be friendly enough, rather than him trying to shoo whatever ghost he's talking to. "And what happened then?" comes his familiar voice as he pushes through the canopy of greens; his eyes are on the ground and not the path ahead of him, so he doesn't notice Luna just yet.

Whatever his visitor answers is met with a hearty laugh, and only then does Beisdean look up and see Luna. His cheeks color a little as if he'd been caught gossiping or something worse, and he murmurs, "Talk to you later?" with a wave toward his left.

Clearing his throat, he bows his head slightly to Luna. "Good afternoon, Lu," he says, politely — if he knows what day it is, he shows no sign of it.

"Luna, I'm not a toilet," she corrects primly but politely and gives him a small smile in spite of it. "Afternoon, Baizey. It sounds as though a good one found you, instead of the usual." Either that or he's simply learning to enjoy their company.

The knife is tucked away quickly and Luna's cheeks bloom a fresh pink at being caught in her own little secret. "I hope you didn't come to be alone," there's an apology in there somewhere, silent like the H in hors d'oeuvres. "But if you did, I won't be a bother, I can sit on the other side of the rock." She moves then to the basket and pauses there, lifting the shawl to display a few sandwiches and a wide variety of bite sized sweets.

Long moments of silence put them at a distance as she considers something quite serious until fish splashes in the water nearby and brings her back to the present. "I brought a lunch, it's quite big. You could stay and eat with me, if you like. I've been meaning to thank you anyway."

"That one didn't find me. I called him," Beisdean says lightly then moves closer to the tree, looking down at the knife in her hand.

He shrugs, and looks back to her face, then the basket. "It's a public spot, and you were here first. I can leave, if you'd like the quiet spot to yourself."

His eyes return to the tree, looking at the long list of initials that have been scratched out, and lifting a brow before he follows the line down to the bottom to make out the last set.

"Called him?" Luna sounds impressed and surprised all in the same squeak of syllables. "I thought you didn't do that, you got so angry with me when— " She waves her hand and shakes her head, dismissing the rest of what she might have said. Tugging the shawl off the rest of the way, she lays it flat on the rock and pins a corner of it with the basket.

Kneeling down at another corner, she gives a smooth motion of her hand to indicate the opposite corner as a space reserved for him. "Nonsense, you know very well I like to talk to others rather than myself. Now sit and feast on what lovely things I've managed to scrounge up." Rather, the things she asked for from different vendors and merchants on her way through town.

The bottom of the list has only one vertical line. At present, it could be anything or anyone.

Beisdean looks undecided for a moment, but then moves to the rock and sits, one leg crossing so ankle rests on knee. "I didn't. But," he says with a shrug, "I did it the other day to call back one that had been talking to me and left before I understood what she was saying. And it wasn't good, but it's because I'm out of practice."

He doesn't reach for any of the foods, instead just looking at them. "I think sometimes… it might be necessary for me to do it. To summon them. So I need to be able to do it without bringing back a whole legion of the undead with the one person I try for, aye?"

He looks back up at her. "You look much healthier than the last I saw you." It might be a compliment. Or just a fact.

"Much healthier…" she chides, a crooked grin appearing on her face as she reaches for one of the little iced cakes. "Is that a gentleman's way of saying that I don't look pretty today but prettier than last seen?" She knows she looks healthier but seeing as she hasn't received any gifts, she's fishing for something verbal, however untrue to the giver.

Being mid spring and the sunniest month of the year, it's her habit to go without sleeves that extend over the tops of her hands. This leaves her free to hold up her wrist to show off the leather cord adorned with the murky stone. "It's the charm and the company of good friends, the combination saved my life."

"A gentleman," Beisdean says with a chuckle, "would probably say it more directly if that is what he meant, but I'm not gentleman and we both know that much. I meant, you look healthier, and heartier, but aye, you also look prettier, as well, Miss Owens."

The iced cake is studied, and then he glances at the tree, brows knitting together as recollection dawns in his face. "I'm not good with dates, but this is all striking a chord of deja vu," he murmurs. "Is it your birthday, lass?"

She's silent for a long moment, turning her head to follow his gaze to the tree. Where his is just passing, hers is glued with knit brow that smooths before she turns back to face him. "It is," the admission is short and somewhat reluctant, an effort not to tell a falsehood. "Yet another day I refuse to spend at the Dovetail."

The treat is bitten in half and the remains are raised in a mock toast as she chews and swallows. "Happy birthday, Luna Owens, yet another year of youth has fled your grasp… Welcome to the last bit of beauty before turning to dust."

Her bitter words are met with a laugh and a shake of his head. "Trust me, Luna, you've got many years of beauty before you. You're hardly about to brush into a dustbin, and I'm older than you, so if you say your days of beauty are done, what of mine? I'll not be called old, miss, so you better take it back."

Beisdean points at her playfully as if angered, then reaches for one of the cakes to knock against hers. "Cheers," he murmurs (he never says 'Slainte' as do some) and takes a good bite out of the fairie cake. "Happy birthday. I'm sorry I didn't recall, but I'm but a man. What would you like for a present, and I'll see if I can make it so."

"You are quite silver around the edges, so I won't take it back." The comment is half playful, half sullen, but by her view, all truth. "Besides, apparently men are supposed to age like a fine wine or a cheese while women simply wither like fruit." Luna must believe some of it because her choices of infatuations in the recent past have all been much older than she.

"I'll never eat another dried currant again," she laments as she lifts another cake and picks the little fruits out of it. She lays them out in a little line beside her, making sure each sits straight before addressing them all. "They could be my sisters, if I had any. Older ones, that is… A little withered line of Owenses and I the pinnacle of my parents' achievements. They must be so disappointed."

His brows knit at the comment to his hair, and he reaches up to smooth the hair there self consciously. "It's shite, that sort of belief. Women get better with age. Look at my mum. She was a silly thing when she had me, all flight and fancy and whim but from all accounts, she became wiser and sweeter in time, aye?"

He reaches into his coat for his flask of whiskey, taking a sip, then passing it over. "Maybe women are like wine and men are like whiskey… but both can grow finer with time, and both can grow worse depending on the circumstances of their 'aging.' If you put whiskey in the wrong barrels, it won't get the right flavor. If you store wine in the wrong way, or in the wrong temperature, it might not get better."

Beisdean smiles and picks up one of the currants to toss into his mouth. "My analogy probably is weak, but one thing that's certain, you're not a dried up grape, lass. You've a long, long way to go before you're anything of the sort, and even then, I think you'll be a beautiful old bird."

"Your ma weren't just a woman, she was an angel and quite missed." Luna stares down at the row of currants minus one and rearranges them to form another perfect line again. It's a tactic used to avoid looking at him as she talks about his mother. As if it's wrong somehow to be discussing her.

Thankfully, Beisdean is the one that continues on a different vein and she smiles up at him. It's an analogy that pleases her, she's the fine wine instead of the withered berry. Lifting a hand, she waves off his offer of drink and points to a corked bottle in the basket. "Strong drink makes me want to fall back to herbs. I'll keep to wine, tea, and water, Duncan will be more pleased by it."

The flask is recapped and put back in that pocket in his coat, and then he turns to pull something from his ever-present courier bag. It's a book, and he turns it in his hands for a moment, before handing it to her. "I don't expect it'll be much use to you in your travels, really," he begins, "but maybe there's a few tales to tell on the way there at campfire or the like. Or spots to avoid, maybe, though I don't think any of these olduns' will give you any trouble."

The book is Unfamiliar Spirits: Ghosts of the British Isles; the cover is laminated in a brittle yellow plastic and the pages themselves are very yellowed. There might be some teeth marks from a shrew in there, too, who knows.

"This comes all the way from London — there's a stamp inside that says it's from a library there," he murmurs, voice a little reverent in a way that is rare for him. "If nothing else you could maybe sell it. Happy Birthday."

The book is handled by Luna with all of the care that Beisdean held it plus some. "It's bad luck to sell a gift, Beisdean, but worse luck to lose one entirely," she raises one hand to wipe at her eye with the heel of her hand. "I can't accept this as a gift, even for my birthday. Can I just borrow it instead?"

A nail, filed perfectly and then buffed to a shine, slices between two pages, allowing her to easily open the book to peruse its contents. "I'll read it and you can have it back. Then, if I come back alive, I'll borrow it again and tell you which of the Liverpool stories are false and which are true." She looks up at him and gives a weak smile before plunging back down into the words on the page. "We'll have tea and I'll tell you of my adventures… but— "

Chewing on her lip, Luna's eyebrows furrow together in a slight frown before she takes a breath. "Baizey, can you grant me a boon for my birthday? Since you're practicing your summoning of the ghosts anyway— will you look for me while I'm gone? Just so that if anything happens, you can let my ma know."

Her first request is granted by a smile and a nod of his head, but her second brings a frown. He turns away from her to look at the water, studying the landscape for so long she might think he's trying to commit it to memory so that he could paint it later.

"Your birthday boons," he says with a chuckle at last. "I granted the last one you asked for; I suppose I can do for this as well," Beisdean murmurs. "It'll be unnecessary, but aye, I can grant it."

"Aye but the last one was given while I was still young a pretty," Luna emits with a surly sniff. She makes a point of not looking up at him as she skims through the book, though her chin does lift so that he can see the effort she's making to avoid it. "Now that I'm withered and likely silver on the top where I cannae see, it's more important." Because senior citizens are more precious and should be valued, is the likely reason.

Slowly turning a few pages, she pauses on some words and lets out a long sigh. "This one is so depressing, how did you stand to read it? This poor girl was in love with a man and drowned by another in a jealous fit. Imagine haunting the pond you drowned in until it dried up and everyone forgot…"

Beisdean laughs and shakes his head. "You're prettier now than than, and prettier today than you were but a month ago. I think your logic has 'gang aft agley,' lass."

When her head is bowed to the book, he smirks and reaches out to pluck a hair from her head, and when she whirls around to glare at him, holds it out to her. "Bonnie and gold from tip to tip. I'm the only silver one of the two of us. See?"

First instinct has her snapping the book shut and raising it to strike at him. When her arm is held up behind her, Luna pauses and takes a deep breath through her nose. Slowly, it's let go and the arm brought down in a calm and controlled manner. "That wasn't very nice, Baizey, now I'm old, grey, and thanks to you, I can add going bald to the list. How'm I ever going to catch a husband now?"

Her lips twist into a bitter grin that turns a bit more jovial as the seconds pass, then she finally laughs and shakes her head. "My logic is perfectly suited to me, Luna Owens. I can't be expected to think as everyone else does when I'm destined to be a person of some greatness, can I?"

His laugh is low but mirthful and he rises from his seat. "Well, that explains it. I'm sure no one understood Einstein's mind either, nor Shakespeare's nor Tesla's," he says, lifting her hand and dropping a kiss lightly upon the knuckles.

"Happy Birthday, Luna. May your birthday wishes come true this year," he says softly, before standing straight again. "You should stop by your mum's. I'm sure she'll be wanting to see you today."

After the kiss is delivered, Luna brings her hand down to easy line of vision and stares at it. For a moment her expression is neutral, until she tucks the appendage away and lifts a smile up at Beisdean. "Thank you, but no. Like Christmas, this day is mine. I'd rather not see the look of disgust or disappointment on my da's face… if he'll even look at me at all."

The book is places into the basket and when she takes her hand out, she has another little cake. "They might be thrilled to hear that I'm leaving the Dovetail after— after everything." She stops and knits her eyebrows into a puzzled expression as she stares at him. "Baizey, the thing that caused my illness, Miss Aislinn said it was the dead that walks. It left marks near my hip at the back… Have you ever encountered a vampire or someone killed by one?"

He frowns and looks like he might argue, but then merely shakes his head. "Nay, can't say that I have, Luna. But I haven't always listened, you know, when they tell me how they died. Something like that, if it's possible, it's not an obvious thing. And sometimes they don't show me how they died, but look like they did before then. Some of them don't know they're dead."

Adjusting the strap of his bag on his shoulder, Beisdean tips his head at her. "You're sure Mrs. Rowntree said this to you? It wasn't a dream, while you were … getting better?" The words are gentle, but skeptical.

"It wasn't a dream," Luna insists, turning angry enough to throw the little piece of cake at him. Then some of the remaining currant sisters. "It was as real as you or I. Misters Fogg and Wartooth stayed with me that night, I didn't get better until the morning after. My mirror is broken." The most important thing for a vain creature such as herself.

"You ask her, you ask about the dead that walks. Then you'll see, I'm telling the truth."

Beisdean scowls as he brushes off cake from his new-ish shirt. "I didn't say you were lying, Luna, just that you had a lot going on. I just haven't heard anything about such a thing being real. I'm glad that you're all right, though."

He bows, a smile returning after his half-apology. "I hope the rest of your birthday is happy, despite me making you waste your little faerie cakes on me." Both to be eaten by and thrown at him. With that, he doffs his hat and turns to exit the little secluded spot.