[identity profile] hermia-sophia.livejournal.com posting in [community profile] estdeus_innobis
Thursday, June 14
Valmont and Hermia's Garden


Well. This is going to be awkward.

But a bit of awkwardness is well worth the trouble, and worth the greater good if we can turn Mab aside from the path that she is on. If we can win her back to the path that I know she wants to follow, but has gone astray. This person who delights in violence and bloodshed - that is not my friend. Not the person who took me in when I first stumbled into this town; not the person performed my wedding.

If there is any chance that I can possibly call Mab back to herself, I must do it.

And, in truth, I should have done it long ago.

So we are setting out tea and cakes and lemonade in the garden, and sending Luc up for his nap a bit early so that he will be out of the way.

(Well, more precisely, we are sending him up to his room. Whether he will sleep is another question entirely. More likely, we will come up to find a very awake littleboy amid a maze of pillows and blocks and a long elaborate story about what it is. But at least he will not be here.)

I waddle about the table (dear gods, I did not think I could get any larger, but apparently, I can!), setting napkins and silverware in their proper places while Valmont fetches the food. And the wheels of my mind spin, and I wait.

[Open to Valmont and Mab]

Date: 2013-08-30 12:25 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] valmont-vicomte.livejournal.com
Delicate conversation needs delicate food, I think. And so we have pretty petits fours glacés (http://kitchenartthestoreforcooks.files.wordpress.com/2013/04/petit_feature2.jpg?w=636&h=310&crop=1) from Edmund's, and I have made some palmiers au pisto (http://www.750g.com/palmiers-au-pistou-r24782.htm) in case Mab's more in the mood for something savoury. I pick out a nice afternoon tea Alice brought home from work, and I bring the tray of things outside.

"Do you think these will lull her into a false sense of security?" I say to Hermia, raising my eyebrows gently as I set the tray down.

Date: 2013-08-30 01:00 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] valmont-vicomte.livejournal.com
"You must eat whatever you like, darling," I say, "since you're eating for two." The new doctor in town said that that's a popular misconception, and that pregnant women should go on eating as before. Pfft! No baby of mine will be undernourished. I set a pastry on a plate and pass it to Hermia, then sit down myself. "I hope Mab's willing to listen, at least," I say. She was always willing to do so, but she's changed a good deal of late.

Date: 2013-08-30 04:11 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] regal-vigilante.livejournal.com
I took great care with my appearance today. I always do when I know I'm going to see Hermia. Or Valmont, since he'll tell her if I look wrecked as soon as he gets home. Always make sure that I still look respectable- like I didn't just spend the night stalking around town and then woke up on my desk.

Even if it's what I've done for two weeks straight.

Jack's talking to me this week though, so that's something. I know he's disappointed in me, and I can't blame him. But he still stays, and he still takes his job seriously. But he always knows when I've had a bad string of days and it almost makes it worse when he's nice about it.
Push that to the back of my mind and take a final drag of my cigarette before I make my way around the building. Take a second before I come into their view to center myself before I step past Hermia's wards and into the calm of the garden.

"Is that Valmont's cooking I smell? Perhaps even baking?" My smile is mostly genuine.

Date: 2013-08-30 09:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] valmont-vicomte.livejournal.com
"I think if she will listen to anyone, she will listen to us. But…even that is uncertain, these days. If she does not…I am not certain what is left for us to do."

I reach down and squeeze Hermia's hand sympathetically, but there's no more time for discussion, as Mab is here. She's clean and tidy, which makes a difference from some of the ways I've seen her in town, but she looks tired behind her smile.

"I made some pastries," I say, smiling, "and there's cake from Edmund's - I don't try to compete with his creations." I usher her into a chair. "How are things? It's been a while since we've seen you."

Date: 2013-09-02 12:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] regal-vigilante.livejournal.com
Time was, I'd have rushed over to Hermia to greet her. Maybe still on a very good day, but It feels more forced some days now, and she always knows. Better not to, and save the effort for when I say goodbye later.

Push the thought away and school my features into something nicer, happier. Snag on of the pastries Valmont has made, "Oh the usual. Late night bar fights, patrolling. The usual," pause for a second, "Well, a little more than usual. And the more folks are riled up, the more often I'm out all night."

Date: 2013-09-03 11:29 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] valmont-vicomte.livejournal.com
"Really?" I say mildly, pouring a cup of tea for Mab. "It's been busier, then? And I thought town had been quieter over the past few months. Certainly the Whitechapel has been." I take a seat next to Hermia and lift my own tea cup, sip from it. "I suppose the return of the carnival has ruffled a few feathers."

Date: 2013-09-03 08:48 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] regal-vigilante.livejournal.com
"I think the Carnival is a big factor, to be sure," I nod my thanks for the tea, and wrap my hands around it, "Nights aren't the worst. I've always preferred the legwork to the office watching. Jack's better at it than I am, any day."

Take a sip of my tea and glance around the whole garden for the first time as I realize that I haven't seen Luc yet, "So where's your little hellion, eh? Isn't he usually running loose around this time of day?"

I smile at that. I like Luc and his antics. Besides, he's an excellent distraction when Hermia starts looking concerned, which she's starting to.

Date: 2013-09-04 04:21 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] regal-vigilante.livejournal.com
"There are few times of day when Luc isn't running around!"
She laughs, and so do I, and it feels good. I haven't found myself having moments like this lately.

"Mab, truly, are you all right?"
Feel my smile freeze on my face, and almost crack. Manage to keep it fixed as I lean back in my chair and relax the muscles that her question have tensed. I'm totally prepared to wave aside her concerns. She's pregnant, and I want her to be happy, not worried about me. Isn't this protecting them?

"Not really. No," I shift in my chair, "I suppose things haven't been quite right in a while."

Date: 2013-09-05 11:23 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] valmont-vicomte.livejournal.com
I stay very still, cup of tea in hand. This seems like a quietly breathless sort of moment - one wrong move might frighten Mab away from explaining. She and I have never been close, for all I liked her and she stood as my second in that duel with Lysander - that feels so long ago now! - and so I stay quiet in case I distract her from the touch of Hermia's hand, the gentle concern in my wife's voice.

Date: 2013-09-09 06:36 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] regal-vigilante.livejournal.com
I realize that Hermia's reaching toward me, so lean a bit and take her hand, "I'll try to explain. Can't promise it'll make the most sense, but I'll try," squeeze her fingers and collect my thoughts before I begin.

Describing it is strange, and I don't know it's hard despite our friendship, or because of it, "Before I came to Excolo I knew who I was and what my duties were. I knew what to do and when to do it, and no problem ever stopped me. And then I came here and everything just shifted on me. Suddenly I had more than just my duty," Drop my eyes and stare into my teacup, "I had friends and I didn't know how to care about them. Or take care of them. And I had problems that couldn't be easily solved. Crimes without evidence. Things I knew but couldn't prove. I couldn't arrest gods or demons and I certainly couldn't tell folk that was why I wasn't getting this done. Knowing who I was just wasn't enough anymore."

Look back up at her, "And then, all at once, I had a realization. Why did I have to prove anything? You remember when we had that terrible riot a couple years ago. The one that happened because we were giving the cannibal due- process? No one here wanted justice or reasons. They wanted safe and quiet and the bad guy stopped. I learned from that."

Date: 2013-09-10 11:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] valmont-vicomte.livejournal.com
I glance at Hermia. No one here wanted justice or reasons.

"The town may not," I say, very quietly, "but I think you do care about justice, Mab. How safe can any of us really be if we can't rely on receiving justice if we need it?" I sip my tea. "I've never," I confess, "been very interested in the due process of the law. I didn't grow up with it, and I've not seen it work in many places. Excolo was one of the first places I've been where the system tried to really work for the people, not just whoever was in charge - the king or the mayor or the wealthy citizens. And a lot of that is due to you and Jack."

Date: 2013-09-16 08:32 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] regal-vigilante.livejournal.com
Hermia flags for just a second when I explain. I'm sure she was wishing that it was some problem she could help me fight, not my own disillusionment.

I try to smile again, "I can't promise I'll go right back to being straight and narrow again. But I can try it. Everyone, the Town...me. We all deserve better than some of what I've been putting out there."

I finally pull my hand back for Hermia so I can sip my now-cooling tea, "Maybe it's a bit off, but I hadn't figured that anyone really noticed. You two are the first who've really questioned me on it. Guess I'm better at putting people off than I thought."

Date: 2013-09-30 06:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] valmont-vicomte.livejournal.com
"I think people have noticed," I agree, "and been nervous of speaking out... But there are also people in town who'll have noticed aNd not cared, who think that a hard hand is what the law should be. But ... I think justice isn't about giving the majority what they want, but what they need."

I hear a small sound, and tilt my head. Yes, that's Luc calling out. I excuse myself and go up to see if he needs something, or if he just wants to have his latest game admired.

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