Spy Verses Spy

Title: Spy Verses Spy
Time Period: April 23, 135 A.E.
Characters Appearing:

Summary: Date night is put off a bit, on account of the Fogg.

It's early into the evening and Algernon already has a tab running, albeit running very slowly. No shift tonight.


He's taken up residence at a table to the side, where he's slouched comfortably back into a seat that has its spine to the wall. Warm lighting and wooden furnishings lend him an air of lazy belonging; the warm greys and browns of his suit and coat blend well against the Inn's rustic decor. The fact that he doesn't move much masks his presence further still — one would have to be looking for the familiar curves of his hat to find it on the table at his elbow.

Thirty minutes ago he might have been shucking his coat. Settling in.

Now he is reading, and will likely continue to do so until his blood to alcohol ratio is such that he falls asleep or wanders restlessly outside.

When the door opens next, it's Mariah that steps through first, although she's not alone this time around. She's not wearing a coat to remove upon entering, but her hands lift to pull the pin from her hat before she plucks it off her head and lets her hair fall back around her shoulders. She couldn't stick out from the background more, given that her dress is a rich blue today from head to toe. With the exception of the green pendant hanging from her neck.

She glances about the room as her fingers fluff out her hair a bit, which is how she catches sight of the militiaman sitting off to himself. And seeing him at all has her turning to her companion, eyebrows lifting in question. Apparently she expects him to know what she's suggesting without her having to explain.

At first, the companion is distracted. And with her letting her half fall down with that dress, is it any wonder really? Cas Blackburn needs a few moments before the eyebrow lift processes. "Oh," he actually says outloud, scratching at his stubbly cheek as he starts over to the table in the corner.

"That's a really nice hat," the young man suddenly blurts out in his southern accent, gesturing toward the hat on the table with hands half covered by too long sleeves. He's not as well dressed as his companion, but it seems he's dressed up for the day. A worn leather coat half covers a red and gold shirt of paisley design, and trousers that are certainly not for working. Though they are equally worn.

The Hat is scuffed and worn, tattier about the right edge than it was prior to the episode where he lost it. It's blacker in some places than others but neutral everywhere — in clear contrast to the glass of Algernon's eyes blue onto Cas from the page he's just turned. Thumb caught on the corner, he looks inevitably to Mariah and her dress next. That his attention is inclined to linger longer there shouldn't come as a surprise.

Cas alone he could deflect deftly enough, but Larke's presence obligates him into a modicum of gentleness (or at least propriety) and nothing venomous comes of him working his teeth against the interruption.

"It belonged to a dead man," spoken conversationally rather than threateningly is probably an inadequate compromise.

Mariah can't help a bit of a laugh at Cas' greeting, and while it tapers off after Algernon's ever charming reply, it doesn't actually seem to put her off. In fact, she slides into a seat at his table, so it may do the opposite. "A comment like that seems to imply some sort of sordid tale behind it," she says with a crooked smile.

Her fingers move to somewhat nervously fiddle with her hair, although not because of the company, but rather because it's strategically placed to cover a cut over her eyebrow that she may be a little embarrassed over. "Do you mind if we join you?" Never mind that she's already sat down.

"I'm sure a lot of things belonged to a dead man once," Cas says, looking down at his own clothes as if not hearing more in the words than… the words themselves. "My jacket may have, I mean it wasn't made for me, I traded for it, and it was used when I bought it but— " he trails off, as if he realizes he's rambling, nervously.

"Yes, yes, what the lady said. There's uh questions that I'd wanted to ask someone in— you're in the militia right? I had some questions. For someone in it." All the while he makes fidgeting motions, tugging the too-long sleeve of his shirt a little.

"It would if it was true." Lowly resigned to the interruption now, Algernon witholds a sigh that's still tangible on the tail of his answer for proposed company.


As in, 'Won't you please.' Join him.

Seeing as they already have.

Novel having failed as a buffer betwixt himself and everyone else in Dornie, he marks the page and closes the book carefully aside to take up his Scotch instead. Left to hollow his jaw with a clamp when he looks Cas over properly at close range, he dwells on fidgeting for several seconds before he lifts his glass for a drink. He's looking for eye contact as he does so. Drilling for it, more like.

On Mariah's side of the table, his free hand dips out of sight to check blandly after his wallet, passing his revolver on the way.


"Oh, you do tease a girl, Mister Fogg. It's hardly fair," Mariah says, although the amusement in her tone and the sly tilt of her smile take any seriousness out of the accusation. She turns to get the barmaid's attention, ordering a round with a gesture around the table.

But when that's done, she turns back to the others with a more quizzical look. "Do tell us what it is, Cas. I'm all curiosity." And there, she starts the slow, subtle ease into sending the pair of them into a deep sleep. Provided it actually works around their mystery man.

For a moment, the confusion that crosses Cas' face as he sits down on his side might give away the too obvious ruse that he's trying to pull off. "Oh— sorry, I'm easily distracted," he apologizes. "I suddenly was wondering what you were reading when we interupted you." The admission is absent, perhaps the truth, too, from the way he'd been eyeing the book thoughtfully.

"But I was— uh— wonder if uh…" For a moment his eyes dart around, and he shifts oddly. And with a wince of pain he remembers his idea. "See, I was involved in two of the recent attacks, the ones with the magical creatures and all. Troll nearly stepped on me and kelpie broke my rib." Something he'd forgotten to tell Mariah exactly, but he's nervous. "So I was wondering if— uh— does that happen often here?"

A look slanted sideways after Mariah through Cas's apology has an arch angle about it, tilt matched for tilt. Algernon is playing along, agnosticism pitted carefully against his patience. "Life often isn't, I'm afraid," pitched lowly between them, he swallows down another finger or so before making a lazy show of zeroing his attention back in upon Cas.

He asked about your book.

"I Am Legend," he says after a pause that would suggest he might not have been listening if not for the fact that he answers correctly. Granted, in the absence of context in this era, a title is no more than the words that comprise it.

"As for the attacks — I haven't been here long but I have gotten the distinct impression that they are unusual for their size, apparant organization and scope."

"I suppose that's true enough," Mariah says, smiling a thanks to the barmaid as she drops off three glasses, and as she walks away, Mariah picks hers up and lifts it in a pseudo-toast before taking a drink.

"I Am Legend?" That has her head tilting curiously, as she considers herself something of a well read soul, and titles she hasn't heard of are a sure way of getting her attention. "How is it, then? I hope it's not too good, or I'll just feel terrible about interrupting." Only, probably not terrible exactly.

Her attention turns to Cas, though, and she folds her arms on the table in front of her glass. "We do get them sometimes, but like Mister Fogg says. It hasn't been like this. Not that I can remember. I'm not sure I'm comfortable with the organization term, though." Not because it isn't true, of course, but because she'd like it not to be so.

There's a sudden shake of Cas' head, as if he's trying to fight off a fuzzy brain. The fact they're in a bar could point out a reason why, if they hadn't just arrived. Perhaps they partook before they arrived… Surprise crosses his face, if a tired kind, as he reaches for the glass and takes a small drink.

Only to visibly hide an yawn afterwards with his hand.

"Maybe they had a tough winter, the creatures," he offers absently, be he rests his chin on his hand— and his hand on the top of his glass. It doesn't look comfortable, but it seems to work to keep him upright.

"Never heard of that book— is it a good legend?" he asks quietly, a yawn breaking up the words rather than the nervous rambling of before.

"I've enjoyed it thus far. Not terribly uplifting." The latter elaborated as if he suspects it will dissuade her interest, Fogg finishes off what he already has, allowing back and forth between Mariah and Cas fill the gap. He is less interested in their theories than he probably should be, eyes casting clear across the bar after the few lonely souls that filtered in behind them.

Cas's yawn is echoed with a steep breath drawn in through his sinuses. Unconscious reflex. The drowsy blink that follows holds more promise. Out of focus film wiped clean from his corneas, he braces his hand over the mouth of his glass, index finger metering out a silent telegraph against the rim. Hm. "What was it you were here for, again?" He's addressing Cas.

Mariah picks up her glass again, gaze flicking between the two as yawns and apparent drowsiness start to set in. That gaze drifts around the room just after; it's perhaps a good thing that it's still early, and the place hasn't filled out just yet.

"It was a rough winter," she comments someone distractedly before she looks back to them again, "but then, it is Scotland." When isn't it a rough winter? And contrary to his expectation, Mariah's eyebrow lift at the book's description, and she rests an elbow against the table to prop her chin on as she leans subtly in his direction. "A bit dark, is it? I don't suppose you'd be open to the idea of a trade when you're finished? I'd love to borrow it." She, apparently, thinks books a little too precious for selling outright.

"What were we here for?" Cas asks quietly, eyes darting toward the lady as if for help. "We're on a date, actually. The two of us. That's why she's all dressed up," he says in the same soft tones, even smiling in a way that flashes teeth and a dimple. "And me too, this is my best shirt," he holds up the hand with the sleeves spilling out from the cuff of the leather coat. His best shirt is obviously too big for him.

"But I did want to ask one of the militia— " There's the yawn again. "About that, I just never had the chance to, cause I work all day most the time. I work with the horses— Edmund Rowntree's horses."

"I suppose," Algernon leans to adjust the angle of his chair, turning it to more directly face Cas. Mariah is given more of his back, "that depends on what you have to trade."

This way he has plenty of room to crook one leg across the other once he's rested his head into his right hand and taken up the scotch Mariah ordered with the left. The second best thing about whores is the absolute minimum amount of effort required to say something that should probably (rightfully) end in a barriage of slaps.

"Do you?" he asks Cas, suddenly interested, voice graveled and stare direct. Neither unfriendly, for all that Mariah will have to lean if she wants to keep tabs on his expression. "Well, I'm sorry to have complicated your evening. Your shirt is striking, if you don't mind my saying so."

"Apparently all three of us are just now. On the date," Mariah says with a bit of a chuckle. While normally she might not have used that particular word to describe the night out, she doesn't seem to mind it in Algernon's company.

And truthfully, the idea of what she has to trade doesn't get a slap, but a crooked smile as she swirls the liquid around in her glass. "I'm sure we can find something of the proper value," is her remark, if a bit dry. She doesn't even seem to mind when the militia man turns in Cas' direction, and rather than leaning forward to keep an eye on his face, she leans back in her chair, her drink coming with her. "I have to agree. It's always been a favorite of mine." And she sees plenty of shirts. Occupational hazard.

At the compliment of his shirt, Cas sits up rather suddenly, pride showing up on his face. It wakes up his eyes, by the way he looks at the red and gold design on the cuffs. "Really? I have to take extra good care of it cause it's not like I will be able to replace it easily." He shifts his eyes around to find Mariah's face.

"I do work with the horses, yes— Mostly in the stables, that's my main job. But recently boss is allowing me to try my hand at training. Here, I mean. I've trained horses before, just… never here. So I have to prove myself to him."

Amazing, the vigor a little boost in self-confidence can evoke. "I am certain you will perform admireably," Algernon assures, reaching to set his glass back upon the table. Tired of holding it. Half-empty.

There the conversation is at risk of finding itself in a dead end, fore as intently impassive as the aft. If Cas spent any amount of time around his father, he may recognize the look he's getting as one that invites confession at the behest of patience worn dangerously thin.

"I suppose it would be a hard pattern to find." Mariah tilts her head, glancing between the two again. And while she can't see Algernon's face, it isn't so much worry, but curiosity that colors her expression.

But her hand reaches across the table to rest on Cas' hand for a moment, as a warmer smile comes to her face, possibly aided by how quickly she's going through that glass of hers. "You'll do great, luv," she says, definitely aided by the drink there, "He'll be blown right out of his spurs." She's got a special brand of encouragement.

There's a few moments where Cas starts to open his mouth as if to say something, as he stares rather intently at Algernon. The words never seem to form, whatever they are, and instead he shrinks away a bit, his own drink totally forgotten after that first one. But the encouragment from Mariah seems to push through it, and he looks startled at her. As if she said something he wasn't expecting.

"I uh— I think we should— go have that date now, I'm feelin' really tired and— and there may not be much left of the night and…"

He starts to push himself to his feet, looking a little wobbly for a moment, but able to stand. "And we should let you get back to your book. Legends, and… all that."

There's a sudden blurt of, "I really did like your hat."

Eyes cast down and aside to mark the touch of hand to hand and aimlessly aside again at Mariah's word choice, Algernon watches Cas rise. No move is made to stay him. "Why don't you go on ahead and warm the saddle."

As is often the case with these things, he makes a suggestion that sounds more like a command. It lacks a lilt.

Also a question mark to impose one.

"I'd like a word alone with Miss Larke, if you don't mind."

An extension of that same look implies that he is almost certain Cas won't.

"She won't be long."

Mariah watches as Cas gets to his feet, and she might stand herself to help steady him, but Algernon's words keep her in her seat for the moment. If she's nervous at the idea that he wants to have a word with her, she hides it well, behind sly smiles and a casual lean in her chair. Or perhaps she genuinely isn't nervous. He is, after all, a gentleman. Or so go the rumors.

She only turns away to give Cas a reassuring nod and a gentle smile, "I'll be right along."

"All right," Cas says immediately, not even seeming to give staying a second thought— at least until he gets a few wobbly steps away. From the pause he could be trying to steady himself, or take a few deep breaths, but he glances back once, and then shakes his head.

And makes his way over to the bar, chatting lightly, and only glancing back once he passes over a small item of likely trade goods retrieved from his coat pockets.

Algernon turns his empty (first) glass carefully over as the younger man makes his escape, eyes following him out where his hand turns bottom over top against a table surface already far gone with water damage. It seems like it's a while before he says anything, even once Cas is entangled at the bar. In reality it can't be much more than a minute before he's too weary of the glass to continue on procrastinating with it.

"I'd like to know what you're thinking."

"Nothing at all appropriate, I'm afraid," Mariah says, and although she might be wary, her voice still carries that bit of magic, as if maybe she just hadn't carried it on long enough yet to really see. But outwardly, she leans forward, her arms folding on the table as she lets her expression lean toward something more serious, yet not quite reaching it entirely. "How'd you mean, exactly?"

She's not quite playing dumb, mostly because it doesn't suit her and in girls of the Dovetail get a bad enough reputation without that sort of help, but rather keeping up plausible deniability. As much as she can.

Mister Fogg is much the same at close range as he is at a distance, suit and tie and chops holding up to scrutiny. His clothing is tailored clean for the cut of his shoulders, if in need of maintenance here and there where friction has begun to wear into the fabric. There's an agnostic lucidity in the rove of his stare from patron to patron, settling last upon Mariah. Eye to eye.

If he's tired, it has everything to do with her electing not to answer.

"Enjoy the rest of your evening, Miss Larke."

"You, as well, Mister Fogg," Mariah says, her own gaze not leaving his until she shifts to stand up, capping her farewell with a quick wink in his direction before she turns to walk toward Cas at the bar.

At least she makes a decent view from the back, as well.

Her arm slides around the stablehand's waist as she leans against the bar to smile his way. "Feeling alright?" she asks with a crooked smile, and this time, it comes without the magic.

"Uh— yeah, I'm fine," Cas says quietly, reaching out to accept a cup of tea from one of the ladies at the bar instead of the more appropriate alcohol. There's always one in every town, right? He sips some, as he looks up at her over the teacup, then casts his eyes toward the table they'd just left.

There's visible hesitation for a moment. "He reminded me of my dad there for a minute, it was weird. But— uh— " After a moment, he asks in innocent tones, "Did you call me something back there? I— could've sworn you did." It might be more innocent if he wasn't grinning.

It takes a certain amount of willpower for Algernon to reach and pick up his book again once Mariah has followed in Cas's footsteps. He retains the round she ordered as well, what's left in his glass sheltered from the keep that clears away the others on her way around. Back to his reading.

"Sorry about that," Mariah says with a gentle smile as her hand lays down a ring of some value, more than needed to cover the round at the table, but then, she probably has a tab as well. There is a gesture toward the table, making her they know just what she's covering for the night. If it's a little sloppy, just blame the scotch making its way through her system.

But Cas gets her attention with that question, and she looks up at him with a bit of surprise. "What? Did I?" His grin brings a wider smile out of her, too, along with a breathy laugh. "Can't imagine what you mean." It's a terrible lie, especially when her hand slides along his arm to reach for his hand, giving it a gentle squeeze before she steps away from the bar, "Let's have a walk, shall we?"

"You— you— with the— " Cas starts, waving his hand around for a moment as if not quite getting that she's blatantly lying at first. For a moment his shoulders slump, looking down at his tea with a hint of disappointment. Just ordered. Hot tea. Not something that can be downed in a hurry. "I thought we were going to stay for a little while longer."

With one last sip, he puts the cup back down and pushes it forward.

"You owe me a good cup of tea at some point during the date, baby," he says, pointedly using the nickname he'd used before, as he moves closer to take her arm. For the walk.

He doesn't catch on, and Mariah just lifts an eyebrow and her smile, while crooked, is softer than usual. "Well, we were going to stay, but now we're going on a walk. Fresh air'll help clear your head. And mine, maybe."

When he pushes the tea back, she smiles and rests her hand on his arm as she leads them toward the door. "Fair enough. A good cup of tea." The term of endearment isn't missed, as it makes her put her hand on her hip as they step outside. The tease.