Pressing For Information

Title: Pressing For Information
Time Period: January 29, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: sssssssssexually

Morning rays of the sun peek through the solitary window of the room. Recently washed with a coat of white, it's much brighter than it has been as of late. It's cool, of course, as the fire hasn't been stoked throughout the course of the night. A night the single occupant of the room has spent alone.

Curled up in the plush chair along the wall, Luna is bundled into a shawl and blanket rather than under the duvet. The hook and string dangling from one exposed hand relates what she's been occupying her time with. More lace. Her eyes are closed now but from the palor of her skin, she hasn't been that way for long.

It's with a lazy stretch of her arms that they finally open to greet the day. She's been waking earlier and earlier, sometimes even early enough to see the night watchmen making their final rounds on the street below.

One of them isn't there to watch.

Algernon's been directed elsewhere, this morning. Unexpectedly.

Unenthusiastically.

But now he's returned and free to roam again as he pleases, so that it's only a matter of time before his bowler is making its way for The Dovetail on foot. In through the front door, down the hall. He tips a hand to his hat past the kitchen and no one glances twice; he knows the way, and he's been here this early before.

Soon his boots are creaking against the stairs leading up to Luna's quarters and he's faced with the quandry of her closed door.

It seems odd to knock.

Turning her head at the creak of the stair, Luna's at the door by the time it stops, listening at it with one ear in case it's one of the girls. But it's boots and they don't wear them up to her room.

It's opened a crack to see Algernon standing on the other side and she opens it wider, stepping to the side to allow him entry. Something new, a hat and coat rack, stands as tall and proud as Fogg does, waiting to wear the bowler and coat. "I have scotch," she says as she raises her hands up to help him shed the outerwear, "or tea."

She seems sober, oddly enough, and smiling from the moment she glances up at him. "I don't usually see you unless I'm in trouble somehow, this is a nice change." She's assuming she's not in trouble.

"Scotch," rumbles Algernon in gruff place of 'good morning,' so immediately and without thought that 'tea' might not have been considered as an option at all. He's quick to note the coat rack as well, hat doffed with a pavlovian turn of his wrist to be placed upon it. His coat follows with her assistance, freeing him up to take residence in the chair she was curled in seconds ago.

Still warm.

And there he sits. And remains while she hangs his coat and presumably sees to scotch as well. "You aren't," he thinks to clarify at a mutter once he's had a minute. She isn't in trouble, but he hasn't smiled or even looked at her much since he swept in. Preoccupied, perhaps.

There's no ice, except the cones hanging from the window outside, so his glass goes without. Lukewarm and rather full because she's already judged Algernon's night a hard one, its brought to him and handed over the instant she slides into his lap. The invasion of personal space isn't something Luna thinks about at this point, he came to her for something and given her profession it's a safe assumption that she won't be shoved off.

Any curiosity the prostitute has about his preoccupation is ignored as her fingers glide up his shirt to undo only the top two buttons. Once Luna stops moving, the soft fabric of her nightshirt settles against her form and the excess spills onto his legs. "But someone is?" Is the ventured guess.

Algernon shifts in the chair to accommodate liquor and Luna in the same stiff turn before he can attempt to relax, bruised back saved some pressure, if not all. Bandaging crinkles, somewhere. For someone previously so oppressively reserved, he appears to have no issue with her lying all over him now, even reaching to slide one of her legs in closer as he sips. Comfortable, despite lingering tension laid in flat across the bones in his face.

An indistinct noise in the base of his throat is not much of an answer. Enough of one for her to draw her own conclusions.

"I hope it's no one I know." Unlikely, given that she knows practically everyone in the small town. Luna's finger trails down Algernon's chest, flicking playfully at buttons instead of undoing them entirely. Her free hand meanders to his waist and then his side as she makes the attempt to snuggle a little closer. "It's not the same person that did this to you, is it?"

The jagged scrape at his neck is the recipient of the trail of her lips before she draws back again. Her blue eyes travel the weary lines of his face before both of her hands rub lightly against his shoulders. "Will you be staying for the day?" Instead of just a little while which he's prone to do. "The reason I'm asking— " she pauses there to glance at the door before looking back at him "— is because I can have water heated for a bath when you wake up and send someone out for some flavored tobacco."

A dismissive angle at Algernon's profile provides no further insight as to what (or who) the cause of his current state of irritation may be: something he's not interested in discussing, even once he's downed a stiff shot of scotch and shuddered beneath her accordingly. "There was a bear," he fails to elaborate in any great detail, in regard to his neck, eyes turned down after a long drawn breath. The hand he's dipped under her gown to rest at her waist in turn is behaving itself, for the most part, a heavy-lidded glance aside shuttered into a wince when she brushes over fresh bruising. "A few days ago. I lost my footing." Because he was pushed.

But she already thinks poorly enough of Wartooth.

Meanwhile the ring at his side is still there, boringly consistent as his hat between waistcoats while he considers the prospect of spending the night. Day. A look past her to the bed suggests he's weary and ruffled enough to consider it.

Once the glass is emptied, it's smoothly relieved from Algernon's grip and put away with as little movement from Luna as possible. "Is that why you haven't been to see me?" She queries, noting the wince and removing her hands from the bruises. Instead they travel to the buttons of the waistcoat as she pinches and releases the fabric, slowly working towards the elimination of that small obstacle. "You're so very brave, I would never have the wherewithall to come face to face with a bear." Then again, she's not part of the militia either.

"It's the most comfortable mattress in Dornie, I'll bet your next few visits on it," the prostitute boasts as her fingers now manipulate the buttons of his shirt. A shift of her body invites the hand to misbehave a little without her usual predisposition of tensing or recoiling if she finds herself sober for it. It might be the baths and the familiarity they breed.

"Yes and no." Fogg is too distracted to exhibit more than passing annoyance for having his bravery lauded at him by a prostitute in close quarters, which is either a testament to Luna's effectiveness or insinuation of an iceberg quality to what irks him.

Both.

He's still having to struggle a bit not to stare bitterly off at nothing up to the point that she shifts. Focus thus magnified, he checks down and then up with lifted brows. Hesitation long enough to verify that he's translated correctly before he tests a run of that same hand up around her side, following the arch of her back. And breast. And elsewhere, onward as far as she'll allow it, already threadbare interest in conversation depleted entirely even as he has the presence of mind to slip his revolver out of its holster and set it aside after the glass. Clunk.

Luna's consent comes by way of quickened breath and racing heart. As Algernon's hand busies itself under her shirt, hers fumble at his buttons trying to relieve him of his. Bruises and lacerations are avoided by her lips as she kisses newly exposed skin, slowly moving off his lap and coaxing the militia man toward the bed.

Outside the door, some of the chattier women are disappointed to find that conversation has stopped in favor of the usual business of the Dovetail. Noise from inside the room is different from Luna's usual and continues for much longer than she is known for, which gives them something to talk about.

Much later in the morning, blonde hair is splayed out over Algernon's chest and the prostitute's eyes are half closed as she reaches for the blanket to pull over her cool shoulder. Once she's tucked in, her chin angles upward to look at his profile from below. Speechless for the moment, she draws a strong breath in and lets it go in a long sigh of contentment. Not once did she flinch away from his touch, in fact, she seemed more than enthusiastic about the entire situation.

Algernon is quiet and still, drowsy contentment appropriately leonine (read: lazy) for the time he spends sizing up the ceiling. He's broad and adequately muscled across the shoulders, scruff on his chest marred with the sorts of scars that befit his supposed profession. Nothing too dramatic. Evidence of other mountainsides tumbled down in pursuit of other bears.

It takes him some time after she shifts for him to prop himself up onto an elbow to better rest back against the headboard, sheets rustling half-hearted protest. His temper's gone out, subdued into a sigh for the shadow that washes grey and broad-feathered across the window.

"Tell me about Dornie," he says, after a while. To his credit, it sounds more like a request than an order.

"It's small," Luna replies after a moment of trying to think of something good to say about it. "But I suppose it is one of the largest places I've been to in my lifetime. Certainly protected from the outside, Duncan Rowntree would likely give his life and that of every citizen in it before he saw it overrun by anyone or anything." After another few seconds, she shrugs one shoulder and snakes her arm around Algernon's waist. "I've heard there are worse places to be."

As far as trying to coax him into an extended stay, it's a weak effort. Perhaps because she's spent too long trying to get away.

"Tell me about England?" She counters, curiosity about a land she deems more exotic than the Scottish cliffs and moors gets the better of her. Just thinking about it has her holding her breath until she can't stand it.

"It's very grey," says Algernon, with a distance that insinuates disinterest. "Little interest in reclamation of electrical technology in the northernmost edges." He lifts his arm to make way for her reach — as close to reciprocation as she's likely to get. "Dornie seems unusually prosperous in that regard." If 'prosperous' is the word for it.

"But," he continues, before she can pursue that line of questioning, "if I wanted the tourist's guide, I would have asked one of your associates."

"So you want the gossip then," Luna smiles before propping herself up on an elbow to face him a little better. One finger traces the squiggly line of an old scar as she chews her lower lip coyly, using the time to figure out just where to begin. There's so much to say.

"There used to be three clans that headed Dornie. Madame Edme is the last of the Hares, the Rosses and Rowntrees got rid of the rest." She doesn't mention her own father's involvement in the scandal, it's just whispers that quiet whenever she comes into the room. "Goneril Ross, she's Duncan and Edmund's sister, you know. She was married off to the Rosses, I suppose to combine the families but I don't think it worked so well. Edgar practically has nothing to do with her aside from pleasantries. If you ask me, I think he's more for blokes than he is for the lasses."

'Gossip,' isn't a term that agrees with Algernon's dignity, according to a rankle that doesn't manifest into more than a twist at one brow while she touches at him and he breathes slowly beneath her. Real displeasure requires effort. And he did ask.

Anyway. Regardless of how she classifies it, her answer is the start of what he was after, and he listens. "I didn't," he says mildly of Goneril's origin, and can't help but smile slightly at Luna's diagnosis of Edgar's disinterest. Hard to tell if it's the assessment itself or simply the way Luna seems so convinced. "Sounds like more trouble than it's worth."

"It's why Cordelia's so important, you see, if it weren't for her I'm sure Goneril and Edgar would have parted ways ages ago. If they ever did split, the women of Dornie would declare it a holiday. Edgar Ross is quite something to look at, no matter which direction he tends to swing." As for Goneril, Luna doesn't give the details, mostly because she doesn't enjoy competition.

Her lips are pressed to his shoulder and then again to his neck before she decides to continue chatting at Algernon between kisses. "Of all the Rowntrees, I think Duncan is the one to watch for the most. Edmund has an awful temper, that's for sure, but his wife and his horses tend to settle him. His wife is the healer, I'm sure you've met her, she's a fine woman." Then she pauses just as she reaches his lips, deciding against stealing a bit of affection in favor of more gossip. "Duncan brought her here, you know, from where she lived. I think I was seventeen or eighteen when I saw the horses bringing in spoils of a raid and she and her boy were among them."

Well. That all sounds — very much like politics. Algernon swallows and sighs, spine straightened and resettled less stiffly for him to look down at her against him. It's surely pure coincidence that the same movement distances him somewhat from whatever move she might have been making before she went on talking instead.

"You seem better," he observes, apart from Rowntrees and Rosses and human trafficking.

"You think so?" Luna's eyes light up at the comment, taking it as praise of sorts. Rolling onto her back in a flop, the sheet is pulled up to cover her chest at the same moment in a bid of modesty. She presses her head into her pillow and stares up at the ceiling, taking her eyes off him for the first time since they hit the mattress. "I have been trying to stay sober." That admission is made a little more quietly.

"It doesn't always work," she utters in a near whisper, "but I am trying. Sometimes my hands shake so badly that only the whiskey steadies them…" and then she wants more herbs.

"I do." Because she does. Even once she's salted some reality into the context of her apparent sobriety. Algernon remains half upright, having so far made no move to disengage himself from the bed. It is comfortable. And he is tired. "Perhaps you should discuss the side effects with a healer," is sound advice, for all that it's not exactly innovative.

A glance to her near hand is not followed up with a reach to further investigate, impulse stifled into a long breath. "See if they have something for it."

She smiles a little at the advice, because it sounds sort of like something she should hear from a loved one. Or at least someone close to her. "Perhaps I should," she agrees before rolling onto her side and looking at him again.

"But you should sleep," the prostitute urges, placing a hand on Algernon's chest and running her fingers through the scarred scrub. She doesn't push, not exactly. "Do you have a favorite flavor of tobacco to enjoy during a bath when you wake? I've heard the apple is quite good. I could spoil you properly before sending you off again." Because she hasn't yet, not according to her own standards.

A look off somewhere sideways stands in for agreement, apparently, because Algernon allows himself to be not-exactly-pushed into a deeper recline that resolves itself into a lie down once he's resituated his pillow. "Tobacco flavored tobacco will be fine," he says, settled on his less battered side, facing away from her. It's harder to see that his eyes are still open that way, and will be for a while yet.

"Thank you."