Post by ATHENA EVANGELINE KASTOR on Dec 5, 2016 16:42:31 GMT -6
For the second time in less than a month, Athena found herself basically tripping into Borgin and Burke's. Oops, she hadn't meant to actually trip over the doorstep this time. She hadn't even meant to last time either, now that she thought it. At least she didn't hit the floor this time. Hitting the floor when you were hurt made the hurt even worse. At least the door hadn't been locked. That would have been sad. It was late enough that it should have been. Maybe. What time was it? It had been night where she'd been before she was here.
Athena wasn't even really sure why she had come here. She could have just as easily gone to her brother's house. But she hadn't. She'd made up her mind to go to Knockturn Alley instead. She'd figured it out in a minute. Right now she was just gonna lean on the wall and try not to trip again.
Aaron Lathen had been polishing a cup when someone entered, and he immediately looked up to see--
"Athena Kastor," he hissed out, pausing entirely and staring at the stumbling mess of a young woman who was now leaning against the wall of his shop. "What on earth has happened to you?" He could hardly make out her thoughts--they were a jumbled mess. Something had gone terribly wrong, but she didn't look beaten up or covered in ashes.
The man narrowed his eyes and slowly set down his cup. "What have you done?"
Post by ATHENA EVANGELINE KASTOR on Dec 20, 2016 1:43:30 GMT -6
Athena was hearing words but she hadn't yet caught up to the fact that someone was speaking to her. Straightening her stance slightly, she looked across the shop to see Aaron standing there, as usual, of course. And he didn't look very impressed with her, as usual. Perhaps someday... "Hello, missed you too, asshole," she mumbled. Hopefully he didn't hear that. Blinking a few times, she got around to answering his question. "Strange Irish men in Japan are very nice and are keen to provide young ladies such as myself with ample drinks." She wasn't entirely sure that made sense or came out clearly, but she'd tried.
"You're bloody intoxicated," Aaron hissed under his breath. No wonder her mind was a mess: it was saturated with alcohol. He stared for a moment at the girl who made terrible life choices and wondered why he'd gotten himself mixed up with her--why he saw so much of himself in her and had agreed to feed off that instead of turning her out of his store.
"Sit," he barked as he waved his hand to make the store lock itself and the sign read CLOSED. The man turned on his heels to fetch something from his office. She would owe him; Athena Kastor would perpetually be in his debt. One day, he needed to make good on that.
It took him a minute or two to fumble around for what he needed, because he rarely ever needed it and hadn't exactly kept it on display. He returned carrying a small bottle in one hand and his wand in the other. Beside Athena, Aaron conjured a simple bucket, then he came to her other side, unstoppered the container, and held it to her lips. "It will be foul, and you will vomit."
Post by ATHENA EVANGELINE KASTOR on Dec 21, 2016 15:05:23 GMT -6
Attempting to take a step in the direction of somewhere to sit, Athena stopped as she swayed a bit. Okay, not walking anywhere then. The floor would have to do for now, so she sat right where she was standing, blinking a few times as everything whooshed around her as she did so. That wasn't pleasant. This wasn't fun anymore. Maybe she should have stayed in Japan.This was probably why she never drank enough to be inhibited in any way....
Her eyes trailed after Aaron as he moved around the shop, trying to suss out what he was doing. At least he wouldn't get mad about her not sitting down. She'd actually listened and done that.
She wasn't going to listen to him anymore though. Instead, Athena turned away from the bottle that was held up to her mouth. "I don't want something that's gross."
Aaron didn't move from his spot, but he did say in quiet anger, "You came to me, remember? You got yourself drunk but you don't want something that's gross--drink the damn potion, Athena." He had little enough patience for her without this nonsense, but at least he was trying to help despite his feelings on the matter. "You'll feel worse later if you don't."
She would still feel pretty awful later, but she had a choice to make it slightly less awful.
Post by ATHENA EVANGELINE KASTOR on Dec 21, 2016 21:51:10 GMT -6
Clumsily, Athena pulled her knees up and rested her chin on them, still avoiding looking at Aaron and by extension the bottle he had in his hand. "I didn't come here for help. I came here... to feel safe again." Perhaps that was still a form of him helping her, but it wasn't what he was trying to do now. "And maybe I deserve to feel terrible, because I am terrible."
Aaron gritted his teeth and stared at the helpless lump he might call a young woman on the floor of his shop and finally, with a heavy sigh, moved to sit beside her on the floor so that he could rest his back against the wall. He set the bottle on the floor beside him and crossed his arms over his chest.
What was he supposed to do with this?
"Safe?" he asked quietly, closing his eyes and shaking his head to himself. What was safe about this--about accepting strange substances from strange people in strange countries? Never mind that she called herself terrible. Aaron ignored that for now.
Post by ATHENA EVANGELINE KASTOR on Dec 21, 2016 22:10:46 GMT -6
If Athena was shocked when Aaron actually sat next to her... she most definitely showed it in her incredibly vulnerable state. Head still rested on her knees, she turned just enough that she could see him now, offending bottle out of the way for now. "Safe," she confirmed. "You make me feel safe again." She hadn't felt safe since the fire the winter previous. She hadn't felt safe after nearly losing a duel to the person who had set the fire, that was for sure.
Safe? The man who run a Dark Arts shop, the man who experimented with magic that could make people lose total control of their limbs, the man who had failed to protect her from Liliya when he had said he would--safe with him?
He was definitely incredulous. Safe. He couldn't keep anyone safe if his life depended on it. His mother lived alone somewhere keeping herself safe, but his father had gotten himself killed, his sister and her husband had gotten themselves killed--Aaron had been powerless to prevent any of it. He felt responsible for everything that had gone wrong in his family's lives, even being born to a pureblood and a muggleborn and losing the respect of the pureblood community.
Aaron suddenly forgot what a filter was: "Why the hell would you feel safe with me?" It was a mixture of sadness and anger, but maybe more sadness than anger.
Post by ATHENA EVANGELINE KASTOR on Dec 21, 2016 22:54:33 GMT -6
This time Athena lifted her head so that she was looking at him properly. Why did she feel safe with him? She hadn't expected to have to put her feelings into words. She had never been any good at doing that, when she did have particularly strong feelings about something outside of anger. "Because you..." she paused as she tried to organize her thoughts in her alcohol muddled brain. "You help me feel powerful in a way I never have. And when I don't, you show me how to get there. Even if you don't mean to. I know you don't mean to." Her gaze wandered away from his face, over the shelves in the shop. "I also know you don't like me coming in here, but you haven't made me stop. Most people would have tried by now. No one actually wants me around, because I'm horrible, but at least you haven't tried to throw me away yet. I have to hope that maybe you won't."
For years, Aaron had tried to filter people out and keep his distance, but suddenly some damaged stray had wandered into his life and he'd become its caretaker. A shoddy caretaker and a confused one at that, but a caretaker whether he wanted to be or not. He could have thrown her out, but lately...lately he hadn't. Xavier stuck around. Athena stuck around. Perhaps Liliya might have stuck around under different circumstances.
Maybe he had settled too soon into society. Years spent in Durmstrang...no, no, Ares had been there, Ares and many others whose lives he'd tried to shape, intentionally, for the better, one way or another. He'd meant to leave Eastern Europe much sooner, but he had stayed for the oldest Kastor child. Now, somehow, the Kastors were back in his life.
Was this some kind of fate that had been twisted into his sad existence, or had it all been an accident?
"Have you ever stopped to think--to really, truly think, Athena--that perhaps I don't find you entirely horrible?" Aaron said quietly. He narrowed his eyes at her. His gaze stayed there. His arms stayed over his chest. His legs shifted a little uncomfortably. He wasn't used to sitting like this around people, never mind beside them. "And that maybe, just maybe, I'd like for you to stop running off like some stupid girl with no other options?"
Post by ATHENA EVANGELINE KASTOR on Dec 21, 2016 23:17:22 GMT -6
The shock before was nothing compared to now and Athena's eyes snapped back to Aaron's face so fast that she got dizzy. Maybe no more quick movements until she was sober again. "Why wouldn't you?" she asked quietly, still unable to take her eyes off of the man. "Everyone else does." She did. She had voiced as much in the past few moments, twice at that. She also wasn't used to accepting help, as often as she turned to Aaron for guidance. "Maybe I don't see other options."
"What about me strikes you as 'everyone else'?" Aaron snapped, but he sighed and fought for composure once more. It didn't change his snappish response, but she was heavily influenced anyway, so he doubted it really mattered. "There are...." No, no, there aren't always options. Sometimes there was one choice, which made it hardly a choice at all--which made it an object of fate, not of desire, not even of whim.
"Sometimes finding options requires help," he suggested instead. Help that he had never received when he needed it. Help that he had tried to provide to Athena but, having failed that, was only more determined now.
"At the risk of betraying modesty, Athena, I am a particularly talented and dedicated wizard with a lot more options at my disposal than you seem to realize."
Post by ATHENA EVANGELINE KASTOR on Jan 6, 2017 4:06:03 GMT -6
The tone of his words had her leaning away from him, as if the distance would protect her from the sharpness of them. "Nothing," she answered honestly a beat too late for it to not be slightly out of place. "But that doesn't mean you're not human, and most humans dislike rude and somewhat manipulative people." Though perhaps she was just failing to consider that she was also describing him, except with more manipulation maybe. Thinking was difficult when she was trying to reason with someone after several drinks.
Though she did not move closer again, Athena's posture did relax slightly. "Help isn't something I take very easily," she said as she stared out into the shop, trying to ignore the way her head spun. "Even from people as.... 'particularly talented' as you." She should probably stop talking before she said something insulting to him and he stopped being nice to her. Well, nicer than usual.