The door closed behind her with a quiet snick. Eventually, Amaya had left after almost falling asleep at the table, and then Wolf and Ruby had switched out with Svorak later in the night. Drai had remained up with Arana and Lucy, boredly doodling on napkins or listening in for interchanging periods of time.
Eventually, the blonde herself said that they would meet again soon, and departed. So Arana, Drai and Svorak had gone home. After getting home, though, and watching them both go crash elsewhere, Arana had slipped out again for a walk.
She returned alone, had stayed alone, but her thoughts were still going. She almost walked right past her Christoph. But stopped and turned, smiling slightly. “Hey. Hope you’re not missing sleep,” she said. Everyone else was out or gone after all.
Giving a slight shake of the head, the blond chemist smiled and offered her an arm, chiding gently, “My sleep schedule is eccentric, you know that.”
She accepted his arm, but rather than walk, leaned against him and rested her head on his shoulder. “Yeah,” she murmured. “Can I tell you something?”
“Is this going to take hours?” he teased, pulling his arm out from between them only to wrap around her shoulders. “If so, there are couches and brandy available.”
“Both sound lovely,” she mumbled, but her fingers clung to his shirt, face hidden from view by a fall of hair. She swallowed. “Um, nevermind. I think I just need to sit down.”
Instead of moving towards the living room, the tall man pulled her in completely, the other arm coming up to circle around her back. “Lady…” he sighed, breath ghosting warm over her crown. “You’ve already had one very long discussion. Don’t feel like you owe me one. I can wait.”
She chuckled; the sound was slightly watery. “Yeah. Let’s sit down.” She drew a deep breath, pulling back. “Please.” Without waiting for a response, she turned around and hurried into the living room, wiping at her eyes with a sleeve (stupid, stop crying, what are you, twelve?).
Sighing, Christoph brought his deserted arms around to clasp behind at his own back. That didn’t look good, he thought as the woman so many of them circled their lives around moved away with uncanny grace.
He could almost hear his lover swearing in his head. Crying women made the black man twitch. Add in Lady and the man started looking for someone to put bullets into. What happens if there is no one to blame? With that worried thought, the chemist drifted over to Arana as she took a seat.
“Sit,” she said when he hesitated. She patted the seat beside her.
The man took the proffered seat, folding his hands into his lap with a resolute expression. “Ready when you are.”
She nodded and pursed her lips. “My name is Elizabeth,” she said quietly, after a moment had passed. “Elizabeth Aranabella Watson. I know my name itself is irrelevant, but… it’s my starting place. I was born in March of 1867, which would make me 21 in the beginning of 1888. That’s when I approached the Undertaker, a man name Rudolf… That’s when I became Jack the Ripper.”
When she paused, Christoph took a breath. As her eyes came up, he gave her a small smile. “That’s a heavy title,” he murmured and as if that were a signal, Lady began to talk, spinning out a story that spanned a century and a half.
Death, pain, long strings of empty nights and emptier dreams. Arana opened the pages of her personal history book and read it out to him. It did take hours and through it, the blond man sat quietly uttering few words. A few times, when the emotions swirled too close to the surface and she faltered, he would open his arms in silence, because he could not not offer such a small comfort. Occasionally, Lady would rally and push on, a soft smile for his efforts, other times they would cling to each other as needed, wanted, wished.
The others of their strange family drifted by the doorway at random times, nodding or giving a short wave to the occupants, but they stayed respectfully away. Only Medic had stomped in twice from the hall: once to shove glasses of water into both of their hands, the second time to bring them a pitcher. He muttered about proper hydration before turning and stalking straight out again. Arana had smiled.
And finally, she finished. “And then… I met the two of you. Ironically the best thing that has ever happened to me.” She sighed. “I want you to tell Svorak, Christoph. I knew it would be hard to talk about twice in a row, and I know how bad he feels when I get emotional and weepy, so I didn’t want to put him through the discomfort. Can you do that for me?”
Could he ever deny her? “I would be worried now, at how tightly you have me wound about your little fingers if I didn’t already know that years ago,” he told her wryly. “Yes, I will tell him. Though I think he will be demanding whiskey.” The two glasses stood empty on the side table.
She smiled at that. “Thank you, angel-face. Very much.” She gave him a last hug before sighing. “I should probably eat now.”
He stood with her, wincing at the way his back cracked in three places. “Food would be an amazing thing right about now,” Christoph agreed, stretching. He looked down at himself and laughed quietly at the mess; the dark green shirt he wore was wrinkled and spotted in places, the top two buttons undone.
There was a knock at the doorway, a familiar voice calling out. “Medic wanted to know the moment you two were done chatting.” Calm red eyes flickered between the two of them. “Are you?”
When Christoph nodded, she returned it. “There is fruit, cheese, and bread in the kitchen. A ‘proper’ breakfast will be ready in fifteen. Don’t skip it.” As silently as she had appeared, Ruby vanished down the hall.
Amused, the chemist turned to look at Lady. “Somehow, I get the feeling that Medic is training her, both in mannerisms and practice.”
Arana smirked. “He has his work cut out for him.”
“Or maybe it just has to do with you,” he replied smoothly, swinging his arm out wide in an age-old gesture. “Ladies first.” We all care, Arana. In one way or another, we all do.