Safe from What

Title: Safe from What
Time Period: March 13, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Luna hasn't gotten any rest. Algernon kindly sees to it that she does.

The overcast of storm clouds is a paler shade of grey, the only indication that it is indeed morning and not night time. Up in the attic of the Dovetail, Luna sits with her back to the door, pouring over a piece of weathered paper that lays flat on her desk. She hasn't slept but she's bathed. Her long hair twisted into a knot at the nape of her neck, her nightshirt glued to her back by a damp triangle.

The bed in the corner has since been stripped and remade with fresh sheets. Commotion in the house was stirred up like a bees nest when a stain was found. After payment settled, the trunk of wealth migrated next to the desk. It's still open, she forgot she was counting when her eye caught the treasure.

It's only when the candle's light makes no difference to her sight that the woman finally looks up and out the window. A glance to the mirror has her rubbing cold water underneath her eyes and pinching her pale cheeks to look a little more human. Rather than the zombie looking back at her. Perhaps she should have slept.

However many hours later that it is, Algernon hasn't slept either.

He's paid not to.

Coffee considered and passed over when he found himself worn out enough to forget what he was looking for (twice), he still smells like work when he traipses up the steps to The Dovetail. A reach for his tie reminds him that he isn't wearing it, dishevelment from collar to cuffs evidence of a scuffle near the end of the shift. Another drunk. A petty thief dragged backwards out of an open window. Both.

The front door is still unlocked, which he sighs at, the more promising grey of the outdoors exchanged for stiller and staler stuff inside once he's closed it quietly behind himself. Down the hall, up the stairs.

A miniature avalanche of snow off the top of Luna's window when Forge lunges after a finch is interrupted by a timely knock at the door.

Normally, she would yell at whoever is at the door to either announce themselves or just enter but she's expecting this knock and before his knuckles hit the last rap on wood, she has it open. "You're not one that I would insist upon knocking, you're always welcome." Her greeting to her guest.

She steps aside to allow him entry and then behind him. Pale hands reach to help peel off his coat while leaving his hat for him to hang on the tree near the door. "Thank you for coming," she begins as the coat is hooked with care. She motions, to the chair and then the lazy swing of her finger is redirected toward the bed. "I'll fix you a drink. Scotch, aye?"

Coat shed into her hands in a damp, smokey heap and hat hung in only slightly better condition, Fogg delays a brow-knit second to feel out the condition of the latter before the same hand is pushed across his face instead. He nods as he moves. To the bed, which — the credit of his memory — he squints at a touch warily on the approach.

Freshly turned sheets are welcome enough for him to sink into a sit that leans into a recline, boots unlaced one at a time, as if the rest of him isn't equally as unfit to be in a clean bed.

Old habits.

The scotch is placed on the bedside table beside him before Luna dents the mattress on his other side. A slight hiss of her breath as she considers the clean sheets that his clothing has just sullied, imagining the discomfort of minute grains of sand digging into her skin as she tries to sleep.

She glances toward the wardrobe, deep in thought for just a few seconds before shaking her head. There's no nightshirt there that wouldn't be too snug against the span of his shoulders. Still, her fingers move his his shirt buttons. They're trembling and hesitant, as though she expects to be smacked away.

"It seems your night was eventful enough without my interruption," there's apology somewhere in her tone, again.

"Nothing too outlandish. Although," he reaches for the scotch she's poured, interference at the front of his shirt stayed until he's swallowed and stretched back against the headboard, "I hope you realize the unlikelihood of a militia man taking the word of a whore over that of a — fine," he shifts again, impeding her efforts in his search for a comfortable position without having to raise a hand to clout her in the face, "upstanding young merchant." Given that there's a vest over the shirt and a jacket over the vest, she might as well wait until he's settled.

If he's doing it on purpose it doesn't show on his face. Then again, the fact that he doesn't seem to register the difficulty she's having at all may — in a roundabout way — suggest deliberate ignorance and mens rea along with it.

Luna pauses and stares at Algernon, eyes wide and a firm set to her jaw. She recoils, her hands folding together rather than fly at him and the glass of scotch. "I see." A shift in the mattress, her this time, and she's stalking across the room to her desk. She sits, tucking both of her hands between her knees, back to the wardrobe which is host to her biggest vice. "And what is it exactly that this fine upstanding young merchant is claiming?"

Her eyes focus on one of the red lines on the page, following it slowly to an intersection and then crossing over to a green line. She avoids the calming blue.

With the entirety of the bed to himself, then, Algernon better positions himself to take advantage of it, scotch held aloft until he's sunk in somewhere about the middle. Her mattress is softer than his. Here he can check the time on the watch suspended from his vest and tip a resigned look to the window, where the onset of morning continues as a gradual change in shades of grey.

"He settled himself upon considering how best to explain to your father what he was doing in your bed without your invitation to begin with." So nevermind what he was claiming. A miniature 'cheers to me' tipped off to her turned back, he empties the glass and looks to the ceiling, where little finch bones are being torn asunder from little finch breast.

"You really intend to leave."

"Who would take the word of a whore," the words are murmured with a measure of pain. Luna turns her head to give Algernon a periphery glance over her shoulder, taking the look to the ceiling as a sign of boredom. "Why would I stay for that when I have a map to everything I've dreamed of in my hands? I could go there and return before the fall of the leaves with more riches than Ross and Rowntree combined."

The map is carefully folded and slipped back into the plastic sleeve she's kept it safe in for the better part of her own journey. "It would be even faster if I used a boat instead of horse and cart. The city is on the water, so it would be possible." Legs kick out to the side and then cross at the knee, completing a twist to her body that has her facing him again. "Tell me, Mister Fogg, would you stay if you were in my situation?"

Comfortable as he is, Algernon desires more scotch. And now that he's gone and been coarse, he is probably going to have to get it for himself.

Spent glass lofted in the off chance she'll see it and suffer some sort of pavlovian change of heart, he's soon pressed sideways out onto his feet. It's a mark of how deceptively exhausted he is that he just looks at her and her map to everything she's dreamed of, ridiculous amounts of wealth and self-worth and so on. Nothing to say.

Her scotch is uncapped; he pours for himself with care taken not to spill or otherwise waste.

"Here you have safety and security should forays into other fields of expertise fail." Another liquor bottle is examined and replaced. He starts back for the map with his glass. "Out there you will only have your existing talents to save you from starvation."

"I have talent enough," Luna challenges, pushing herself off the chair. Arms are folded over her chest and she sets her jaw angrily, pursing her lips into a thin line. "I had talent enough to keep the map safe." When everything else was taken. Using one foot, she kicks the lid of the trunk closed. It catches on a strip of leather that hangs out like the tongue of a dog.

"I'll find someone to go with me, we can keep each other safe from starvation." The sleeve is placed back into the drawer of the bureau, safe from harm for the time being. "Beisdean gave me dried fruit and meat when I left before, it lasted for days. I can bring that."

An eye turned down for the disappearance of sleeve into bureau, Fogg draws up to her all the same, (disputably) respectful distance maintained while she folds her arms and sets her jaw and generally isn't interested in being touched, by all outward indications. He glances to the trunk as well, leather tongue failing to hold his interest while he works on his scotch.

"Safe from what?" is the inevitable question, not deliberately dismissive as posed. A tilt that finds its way into his brow is most likely unintentional when he looks her over past the rim of his glass. The rest is soaked in with a slow look away and no argument.


The question catches the blonde by surprise and her arms fall from their cross to hang at her sides. Jaw a little slack and left as she takes in a deep breath, Luna knits her brow and studies Algernon for a long minute. It's a question she thought she answered already, apparently he's looking for more.

"Starvation— and— "

Caught by Algernon's eyes over the rim of the glass, she presses her lips into a thin, unhappy line and twitches her head in a small shake. She doesn't know. Dragons maybe? Brownies or pixies? Wolves. "— and bears. I'll ask Mister Wartooth if he'd join me, or maybe someone else equally as strong. We could protect each other from bears and starvation."

It sounds good enough, one strong companion and she could contribute the beauty quotient.

Algernon's looking a little worse for wear beyond the rumpled state of his clothing: there's a dagger-edged severity to the press of skull to cheek and brow that's set tersely against distant, milder muzziness fixed into his stare. He is preoccupied.

"Of course," he says all the same. Obviously. She had to have kept it safe from starvation for it to be here. Starvation and bears. Upon choosing firmly to disengage himself from asking any other questions likely to make him feel old, he considers his options while she considers sidekicks. Bed or another round.

He waits until she's finished to nod his agreement so that he can move away for the latter without having anything thrown at him. Over to the alcohol, where he does her the courtesy of pouring a second glass. And further extends that courtesy by extracting a compact paper pouch from his pocket to upend tidily over said second glass while his back is to her.

"I was under the impression that you didn't care much for Mister Wartooth."

"We've talked, he seems less savage than I once thought," is the admission he receives in answer. He was right about the warrior, she was wrong. Though anyone who wields a weapon seems savage to Luna at first. Especially if they're a part of the militia— or associated with it. "If he'll join me, I hope he would. I suppose I would share any spoils I find, it only seems fair."

Her eyes follow his to the scotch, studying the muscles of his back as he pours the glasses. Crossing the room toward the bed, she sits on it and plays with the string tie of her nightshirt, it's already undone and hanging loose by the time he turns back to her. "You'll be staying then? You'll be here when I return?" She seems worried that he won't be.


It's nice when people get along. Nice for them. Nice for him.

There's little movement about his back, muscle and bone layered into the usual V — the kind of upright and uptight that people spend their entire lives trying to breed into show animals.

Uncouth, Forge observes from the roof. Fogg caps the bottle last. We can do it in the morning, he reasons. Reasonably. Missing the point, perhaps.

It is morning, Forge reminds.

Undeterred, Algernon returns to the bed with both glasses in hand, one for her and one for him, as marked by the swallow he takes from the latter before sinking back down on the corner. "With any luck."

Taking the glass, Luna tips it to her lips and takes a rather large swallow. She likely hasn't had anything strong to drink since her departure, judging by the wince as it courses down her throat and the shiver that passes through her. Nevertheless, the glass is emptied before she puts it on the nightside table.

Quickly enough, her eyelids droop and she pulls herself further onto the mattress, further from him than she'd like. One pointed foot stretches out to caress his thigh as she gazes at him, half lidded and lazy, a dreamy sort of expression crossing her features. "You'll wait for me to come back?" Her question is a little too direct, drunkenly open and honest in her bid to find his favor. "I would like it if you did.

"Because you were wrong when you first visited my room.." her words become drawled and slow, though she doesn't seem to notice the distinction between the force of the drink and the powder put in it. She was quite fatigued before he came in. "You were wrong when you said that I didn't want.."

The end of her thought is nothing but a long sigh.

Having twisted around to better regard her on the support of his arm while she fades, Algernon rights himself when she trails off into that tell-tale sigh and takes a second to think past a dry swallow.

…How much did you use? from on high ignored for the moment, he tests her with a hushed, "Luna." A brush along the arch of her ankle firms into a gentle rock at her leg. Satisfied then, scotch in hand, he rises to roll her over onto her side like a large — awkwardly designed pillow. That might choke on its vomit if it has been lying about its efforts towards abstinence.

His path for the bureau and deeper into the drawer with the sleeve that she's so valiantly defended from malnutrition and — mammals — may come as some surprise or none at all.

There's also the trunk to have a look at after a buzzy second glance reminds him of its presence. Hm.

The map is there in its plastic sleeve, just as Luna had tucked it away for safe keeping. The fact that neither the drawer or the trunk had been locked is testament to the amount of trust she shows her current visitor. From the bed another long sigh is let loose from the lips of the blonde who is either in the throes of a sleep too deep or having a somewhat exciting dream. The women below would likely wager on the former.

Inside the trunk a cumulative stack of wealth lays ready for the taking, if the man in her room is a thief. Strips of leather with different symbols, precious stones both mounted in jewelry and loose are scattered near the bottom. Small boxes within the trunk hold items more precious to the owner, two books about the plants of Great Britain and a simple ribbon necklace that looks as though it might fall apart if picked up.

At the bottom, three individual frames host drawings of both of her parents and one of herself.

The map is examined, squinted at, turned over and searched over again. Frontways, backways. Crossways. Upside down. When nothing yields as familiar, Algernon returns it carefully to its sleeve and stores it as he found it, something equal parts frustration and resignation furrowed into his brow.

Her trunk is given a less thorough inspection. Precious stones are passed over without a glance. He's more interested in the books, each flipped carefully through as one who is prying as opposed to someone fostering a secret interest in botany. Methodical. When nothing turns up, he returns them as well, a half-hearted glance passed over the rest of the room to the tune of Luna's sighs. Nothing of interest, he reports.

Back to the bed he winds, lamps snuffed, dusty jacket unbuttoned over dusty vest. The remainder of his scotch is spilled into her glass, empty exchanged for empty so that he can round off his evening with a shot of whatever amount of tainted alcohol she didn't manage to imbibe.

You didn't look everywhere, says Forge, judgmental pause rendered in time with a leaden slouch onto the foot of the bed. Waiting for it to haze in.

I don't need to.