Title: Perspective
Time Period: December 24, 134 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Old friendship established in the best way. Drunk.

The pub at the inn is usually a merry enough place, and Christmas Eve is no different — at least in semblance. There are probably those drinking there rather than sitting home alone, lying to themselves through a mouthful of Scotch that they're with friends celebrating the season by drinking themselves into drunken stupor. There are those, too, who truly do count the regular drunks here as their best friends. Misery loves company and the regulars have shared tales, laughter and tears along with many a pint of cider.

One of the pub patrons does not have any such illusions — he neither celebrates nor considers himself among his friends, though he is a touch tipsy with a few too many glasses. He stares into the half-empty brandy snifter on the table in front of him, as if to will himself the strength to finish it, or perhaps for it to be magically refilled.

Bridget and some of the other militia types have been taking up a portion of the pub for a significant portion of the night, and judging by the empty glasses around, they've been going strong for some time. But at least the lady warrior is mostly stable still, at this point.

Stable enough that she's gone and grabbed another round of drinks.

However! The lone man sitting at a table on his own gets her attention, as well as that itching feeling of familiarity poking through a tipsy haze. So, with her load of fresh glasses, she steps over and kicks out a chair. To sit in, of course. "Hope you don't mind. These are heavier than they look," she says with a nod of greeting. "Not too many people come to a pub to drink alone, you know." Full of social grace, she isn't, but then again, she never really was.

"No? It seems the proper place to do it on Christmas Eve, if one has no home to do it in," he murmurs, turning blue eyes on the woman as she sits down. Everyone looks a little familiar to him in this place, and yet strange all at once. The alcohol isn't helping, and she was much younger the last time he saw her.

"Your friends'll be missing their drinks, though feel free to rest there as long as you need," he says nonchalantly, picking up his glass to tip back another swallow. He closes his eyes to relish the sweet burn. "A merry lot. You make me a tad bit homesick for my friends, truth be told."

"Well, I guess if you have special circumstances, it's alright then." Bridget glances over at her group, but she looks back to Beisdean with a conspiratorial look, "I'm betting they don't even notice. Or, if thye do, maybe I'll tell them they drank them already." Despite them sitting there on the table.

She picks one up, leaning back in her chair and propping her boots up on the far end of the table. "Only when they're drinking. Or gambling. Or rutting some young thing, I'm sure." She waves them off, her gestures exaggerated. "So if you're homesick, what are you doing here then?"

"Circumstances," Beisdean replies vaguely, then frowns as he peers at her face, something in her voice, something in her mannerism recalling the past. Another mouthful of brandy finishes off the glass and brings a flush to his pale skin.

"I used to live here… it's been a long time. You wouldn't be … Bridget… by any chance?" His voice is doubtful, though if the girl he knew were to grow up into a woman, the woman sitting beside him is just the woman she'd be.

When he calls up her name from the ether, Bridget lifts an eyebrow at first, but she nods readily enough. "I would be. And you've just got to be Beisdean, if you bothered to remember my name." Very few people bothered, when they were younger. People are better about it now, but you know, she carries a sword.

"How the hell are you?" She says, the first real smile cracking her expression; it's rough, but genuine all the same. "Truth be told, I didn't think I'd be seeing you after you left here. Where'd you run off to?"

Her smile draws one from him, and his eyes seem to clear, his posture seems to draw straighter. "It's good to see you," he says, and it's the most sincere uttering of that phrases he's made in the two days he's been in town.

He turns the brandy snifter on the table, something to keep idle hands busy when there's nothing in the glass to drink. "South. To England," Beisdean explains, which in turn explains the slight muddying of his Scottish accent. "The north for a few years, and then the south. Near London, or what's left of it, the past … God, nine years?"

Beisdean glances at the group of militia men, then back to her, with raised brows. "You keepin' the citizenry safe, then?"

"You, too. Hell, you're a sight for sore eyes, you are." Bridget chuckles a bit into her glass before taking a drink, but she sets it down again to look his way. "Practically a world traveler. What brings you back up our way?" There's a small pause before she thuds an elbow on the table and points over at him. "Not that I'm not glad to see you."

Her hand moves to pat her sword hilt at his question, "Doing my best to. Gives me something to do around here, at least."

"Only if the world can be travelled by horse in a fortnight," Beisdean says with an answering chuckle, but it falls away. "My mother died. I came to pay my respects, pick up the few things she owned. I should've come sooner, but…"

A shrug fills in the blank. Nothing he can say is really good enough, at least not to ring true in his ears. All the excuses he'd made sound hollow now that she's dead. He knows, since he's been saying them for the past two days. "I'm sure you're good at it," he nods to the sword. "I know I've always been happy to be on your good side. I've no illusions that you'd best me in a fight." He never was much of a fighter.

"Depends on your perspective, doesn't it? How big the world is, I mean." There's the implication that for her, the world is actually quite small. "I was sad seeing her go, your mum. I didn't see her too often after joining the militia, but she was always sweet to me." Bridget reaches over the table, around drinks, to give him a pat on the arm. Comfort being one of those things she's out of practice in, it's a little harder than it should be, but she means well. "I wouldn't let yourself fret too long, about should'ves."

Before she lets herself get downright maudlin, she tips up her glass to finish it off before setting it to the side. "For the record, I was always glad to be on your good side, too. And don't worry, I wouldn't hit you too hard."

He nods, eyes downcast when she expresses her condolences, swallowing audibly. He lets her quip push away the sad mood; his chuckle is a little rough and thick.

"Good. I'm not a big fan of pain, Bridge," he says with a smile. "As for perspective…"

"'I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself a king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams,'" Beisdean intones in the voice he used to use for storytelling, only one much deeper and masculine than that of the little boy he once was. He sighs a little and looks to the window. "The play says Denmark's a prison, but I could say the same for Dornie. It's not one I plan to let hold me for too long, though. I've come at my ma's request, but she didn't ask me to stay. What about you? Any family or that sort of thing?"

"Oh, you come back handsome and educated, do you? You couldn't have come back a little dumber?" Bridget laughs there, a low, gravely sound, and at the moment, a bit of a sloppy one as well.

Her feet drop to the floor as he goes on, though, and her own sigh might be indicative of the fact that she feels similarly. But the mention of family gets a soft, brief, not at all mirthful chuckle. "Well, dad brought home the skin of that kelpie what killed my mother. And then died not too long after himself." Her gaze falls down to the foam clinging to the sides of her empty glass, going a little distant. "But my aunt and uncle took me in after. So, I do still have family. And the boys, of course," she says with a motion toward the militia.

The sequel to the sad tale he already knew is a sad epilogue, and Beisdean frowns. "I'm sorry to hear that, Bridge," he echoes her sentiment of moments before. "I'm glad you've found a place for yourself here. I had one back home — in Clovelly, I mean. It's been a long time since I thought of Scotland as home. If I ever did."

He picks up her glass and his. "I'll get us a refill, and you can fill me in on the gossip. For once we can snigger behind everyone else's backs, hm?" He heads to the pub's bar and in a few moments turns back with full glasses.

"It happens," is her soft dismissal of just how sad her own tale makes her, complete with a wave of her hand. "A place, of sorts. I still find myself feeling the urge to take to the sea, though." It's probably not something she would have said sober, but at the moment, she doesn't seem to notice what exactly's coming from her mouth.

She does manage a smile and a nod as far as accepting refills — but then she never does turn down a drink. And by the time he gets back, she's shaken off the dreariness, at least. "Nine years of gossip you want in one go, is it? Well, I can do my best."

Beisdean hands her the glass and then clinks his own against it. "Well, maybe we should break it up. Volume One, perhaps. Four and a half years in one go a little more reasonable? Or we can do four and five for an asymmetrical approach. Or five and four."

Sinking back into the chair, he glances at the other militia men. "They're not gonna come play big brother and beat me up for chatting up the kid sister of the group, are they? Speaking of your 'boys,' one of 'em greeted me coming into town. If I didn't have a duty to complete here, I would have skipped Dornie altogether, based on his welcome. Is any strange traveller automatically suspect these days?"

"I think not," Bridget says, casting an eye over that way, "They know I can take care of myself. And they know I hate it when they try to do it for me." The way she rolls her eyes, she may have spent some time proving that point.

His story, though, makes her frown. "Not everyone's very… well tempered. Some of us are more suspicious than others. Who was it? I could rough him up a bit, if you want." Which may be her own favorite way of solving interpersonal disagreements with her co-workers. Maybe. "I'm sorry you got a bad welcome. Truth is, with bandits and such, sometimes it's best to be careful. But doesn't call for being, you know, a dick."

Her coarse language makes him smile, as does her volunteering to rough up his assailant. "God, no… I may not be the roughest or toughest of men, Bridget, but I still have a masculine pride that rages at the idea of having a girl do my fighting for me," Beisdean says with a merry laugh.

"No, the secret shall be mine and his to keep, and my ego will survive an untimely death, but it's sweet of you to offer," he decides.

Bridget laughs again at that, her head shaking as she moves to take another drink. "You men take away all the fun, you know that, don't you?" As she sets down her glass, her arms fold on the table and she looks over at him, her expression turning a bit more serious.

"I'm not like that. I know some are, maybe a lot are. But I try to treat people right."

"It's good to see you, Bridget," Beisdean says again. "It's nice to have some people in this world that are what they seem to be, that you can trust to be honest and fair and not fake. You're a rare soul… at least from what I've seen in my travels."

He leans back in the chair, stretching long legs out in front of him. "Now about that gossip…"