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«...Что стоит за попытками миссис Грейнджер привлечь внимание фотокамер и быстропишущих перьев на свою, простите, Ж.О.П.? Тоска по первым полосам газет? Жалкие попытки поверженного колосса вновь встать на глиняные ноги? Или же нам действительно стоит ждать триумфального возрождения из пепла? Пока что нельзя сказать наверняка. Собранная из ближайшего окружения Грейнджер, Женская Оппозиционная Партия вызывает больше вопросов, чем ответов, — и половина из них приходится на аббревиатуру. Воистину, годы идут, а удачные названия по-прежнему не даются Гермионе Грейнджер...»
«Воскресный пророк» 29 августа 2027
ОЧЕРЕДНОСТЬ
BLACK NOVEMBER. DOWN THE RAT HOLE. Chapter 1 - Николас О'Кифф
BLACK NOVEMBER. DOWN THE RAT HOLE. Chapter 2 - Трейси Поттер
BLACK NOVEMBER. DOWN THE RAT HOLE. Chapter 3 - Арчибальд О'Кэрролл
Пост недели
от Майлза Бенсона:

Жизнь в лютном была такой насыщенной, что Майлз мог с полным правом похвастаться: с ним всякое бывало. Ну там, воришки, пытавшие спиздить из лавки хоть что-нибудь ценное. Более толковые воры, пытавшиеся спиздить что-то вполне определенное. Авроры и хит-визарды — о, этого народа у него в гостях побывало просто немеряно, они любили нагрянуть с утра и все обнюхать, выискивая запрещенку и конфискуя мелочь для отчетностей. Иногда в лавку подкидывали какую-то неведомую ебань, замаскированную под артефакты, один раз прилетела даже сова с непонятного происхождения посылочкой. >> читать далее

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sugar therapy

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1

sugar therapy
«hold onto hope if you got it
don't let it go for nobody»

http://sh.uploads.ru/6k4Ob.jpg http://sg.uploads.ru/Pqthw.jpg
http://s9.uploads.ru/0pnoC.jpg http://sd.uploads.ru/RCnEi.jpg

ВРЕМЯ: October 16, 2027
МЕСТО: Diagon Alley, the Sugarplum's Sweets Shop & its roof
УЧАСТНИКИ: Winnie Alderton & Gilroy Brady

КРАТКОЕ ОПИСАНИЕ:
Sometimes talking about your problems in earnest is too hard. Sometimes it isn't necessary. Sometimes simply being together is enough to make life just a little better.

+2

2

Sunrise was sunlessly grey but still blinding enough to the eye of someone who had left the murky depths mere minutes ago, escaping, not without an effort of will, the gripping hold of The Tainting Tentacle. Brady should have known better, surely, should have been prepared - he wasn’t making the trip for the first time, after all, - but some pisshead had stolen his sunglasses in the club and he was too tired and somewhere in between the stations “wasted” and “hungover” to try and transfigurate a fitting substitute.

So, he was squinting furiously against the feeble sunrays and also dreaming to scratch his eyes out because, well, surprise, the concoction he’d come up with the day before? It had side-effects, again. Not as bad as any he experienced before - certainly not like the one that still made his right forearm ache and itch maddeningly while healing up, - and yet, it did nothing to brighten his mood.

That’s why he was heading this way. Mulpepper’s hadn’t been open yet when he left The Tentacle but if he strolled nonchalantly towards their Diagon Alley door, just to kill time, surely someone would show up. He only hoped it wouldn’t be Rosalind. He felt crappy enough without her stuck-up attitude and perfect looks that were always presented to the world with the not so slight intent on humiliation. Her father, on the other hand… Too chatty for early morning but overall Brady found his presence inspiring - usually. He thought about it now, though, shuffling his feet against cobblestones, and you know what. Suddenly realised that he didn’t find Mulpepper Sr’s posthumous existence that inspiring anymore. From his perspective, here and now, death looked like a final rest - a sleepless night or two would do that to a person - and the alternative when you, well, died, did your part and all, and still had to show up at work every day, solve all the same problems, see all the same faces… Hell no, fuck that!

And the irony, oh, such sweet irony! - was that in the very same moment he thought his bitter thoughts in that clouded head of his, he’s seeing exactly that. A familiar face.

Brady halts, stops far enough to stay unnoticed if luck would have it, close enough to see how morning breeze plays with her hair, fair curls flirting with the wind. Winnie, she’s here, and yes, it’s his mistake he’s taken the road that goes right by her shop, and yet he couldn’t know she would come early, could he? Did he secretly wish to see her?

Oh yes, he did, he does, and it’s not even that big of a secret, really.

He just… He looks at her from the distance and keeps holding back because. Because she’s everything light and sweet and happy and simple in his life, and he has always tried to be at least some of that for her in return, and he is nothing of the above right now. Maybe nothing at all. What he is instead is a broken, desperate coward who hides from his problems, and his feelings, and people who would try to help but obviously (obvious to him) can’t; just a miserable son of a bitch, a walking-talking problem. He can't present himself to Winnie like that, not to her.

That’s why he almost walks away. Almost. Something stops him, though, compels to look just a moment longer. And he catches that. That slight crease between her eyebrows, corners of her lips curved down, not up… She’s upset. And as soon as he realises that, he can’t go away. He can’t leave knowing he left her in her sadness, alone, on this empty street.

Shivering - not so much from the cold outside, but more from the fever still heating him up from time to time just to remind him that only complete morons stuck their extremities out for a fire-crab to fry, - and wrapping himself into his coat as he goes, Brady jogs toward Winnie and gives her a wave before she can actually open the door and disappear inside.

‘Hey, sunny!’ he smiles to her the best he can, the best he can manage with his skin pale, his cheeks unhealthy pink, his eyes red, his chest hollow. He manages alright because he’s actually missed her so freaking much. He hugs her before she can answer like he needs it (he does).

‘Whazzup, how’s life?’ the smile never goes out but he looks at her face trying to read it, looking for some clues like a Sherlock bloody Holmes. What has made her unhappy? Is it better he’s here now to see it or should he leave her alone and fuck off? He doesn’t know but he can guess. Or better yet - ask. ‘Say, would you mind a company for breakfast? Because I’m starving.’

He’s not. But it’s as good an excuse as any.

+3

3

You know this beautiful feeling when you wake up and for a brief moment you don`t remember  a thing. Ah, this beautiful time, when you just enjoy the rays of morning sun warming up your cheeks. She felt that way, until all the memories just came back. Crushed her glorious morning, and her whole life. Just like that.
She woke up and realized that her freedom has been taken from her. The only thing that is important. That damned letter was still somewhere in the apartment, she felt the presence of pure evil with her heart. We are living in the Middle Ages, haven`t you heard? Parents still marrying their children, whether they want it or not. Beautiful perspective, right? Being married just because mummy and daddy told you so.
She groaned in her bed, all this anger and feeling of helplessness came back with the memories, sun rays turned into beams of cold energy. Nothing will be the same. She had this one moment of disobedience once, with Paris and baking courses. Now... It was too scary to test their patience and ability to forgive once more. Aldertons were not that  bad, really, they just loved their outdated rules and way of life. Aristocratic way of life, even if they were not that aristocratic or pure-blooded. They accepted (almost) her profession, but, as it turned out,  with rich pureblooded husband you can do whatever you want, collect butterflies and nobody would care. With that thoughts she did not noticed the dress she choose... Yellow autumn dress with butterflies.

She put the cattle on (angrily), made herself a cup of strong black tea (angrily), and then burned her tongue trying to drink the tea faster. Work started in an hour or so, but before that the employees should check the working place, prepare it and start making magic. Interesting, what kind of magic can one person make if her heart is filled with anger and sadness, not with love.
Work seemed to be this wonderful place where all the troubles just disappear. Because there are no space for extra emotions when you are making magic out of sugar and flour. Now what? Trying to make bunnies and end up creating sugar rats? Yep, she was in a dark mood, and it was really hard to hide that feelings. Winnie was bad at pretending, a bit better with lying, bu still. Not her style. So instead she just enjoyed the silence at the bakery. Nobody was there yet, just one girl with all the equipment. And all that dark thoughts. Maybe that`s not a bad thing after all? Sebastian was not that bad, well, he was arrogant and cynical, but he was kind. Maybe. She hoped for that. Because there were no other way. Escape did not helped last time, this time Winnie will face the trouble. The end of her free life and future in goldeт chains.
She made scones in total silence. With pots and spoons, flour and eggs just mixing up to become something great. Food sometimes can make someone`s life better, isn`t it? Especially good food, freshly baked, still hot and steaming. There was a jar of rose-raspberry jam somewhere in the kitchen. Homemade, she picked the petals in this beautiful garden, with bees and butterflies flying around. This jam reminded of better times, when the major problem was the burned sponge cake in the oven. A wonderful smell was coming out of that jar, along with the warm memories. She took a small teaspoon and decided to try jam, without scones or everything else, just to feel better. And for a moment, all that warmth and buzzing bees came back, all that excitement and joy. Just for a moment. Then it all disappeared, like a good dream, but it`s time to wake up.
She did her job, prepared some breakfast options, went outside the shop and just... Stood there, in the middle of the street, not knowing what to do next. Cry? Maybe laugh? Both? Like in a hysterical mode.
And then, out of the sudden, an old friend appeared. Well, the pale version of her old friend. What he got himself up into again? It`s like a sport for her friends - risk your life, cheat death and get away with it! And it was scary, apparently not for Brady. But his hugs are as warming as that rose jam, as sweet as that sugar bunnies in the kitchen. This friendship was pure, unconditional, at least for her. And Winnie was glad to see him, and she really tried to hide her feelings. She`s just not very good at it.

- I just made some scones, and opened a new jar of jam. Guess I was expecting you! - and she tried to look happy, because she was. In a way. It`s just... That letter burned her heart and her soul, it almost felt real. She smiled, with all the warmth she had, but maybe that wasn`t enough.
- Just sit here, I`ll get them... Now, right. - Winnie clapped her hands and made a small flour cloud. She looked anxious, and tried to retreat to the kitchen as fast as possible. Take a deep breath there. Smell that beautiful jam and just let it all go. Just for a next hour or so. Force herself to smile and lie in his face, to keep him out of her problems. No need to add more to the existing ones, right? And she was sure, that Brady has something to hide, always.

Отредактировано Winnie Alderton (2019-01-24 22:52:36)

+2

4

His smile faded a bit because he'd seen hers: the same sweet sunny smile he knew so well but with something bitter underneath like she was trying, really hard, to keep her usual appearances up. And she did a pretty good job of it, too, especially for a girl whose cheeks used to redden to a poppy pink when she so much as lied to a teacher. Now, she was better at it, much much better, and would have fooled a stranger but Brady was anything but that. He saw this face in so many moods and at so many instances, and more than that - he used to be infatuated with it, with this beautiful girl ("totally smacked", as Roxanna put it). And then, when nothing had come of it, decided to feel content with her friendship - not just a friend zone but a genuine gift, as he would realize with years passing by.

So yes, he knew her better than most, and that's why her forced smile convinced him that he had made the right choice by revealing himself to her. She might have wanted to keep the reasons for her distress to herself but it didn't mean that she should be by herself, right? He knew how it felt; to try and conceal the pain from the people close to you often meant loneliness because they asked questions or better even - they didn't but you were still afraid to upset them, to be exposed and left naked for everyone to stare at, to be an object of contempt or pity or, worse in some ways, genuine concern. That's why he wouldn't ask Winnie any questions she didn't instigate. But his heart wouldn't be in the right place if she told him to go now.

Fortunately, she doesn't, and he's as happy as he can be. Her words pour something warm on his soul; he's feeling welcomed and loved, and he's not trying to lie to himself anymore that he's doing it only for her. He doesn't want to go to the Mulpepper's any longer - a lonely and miserable trip with an even more miserable goal. No, simple breakfast with Winnie is that special something he didn't know he needed but, as it turns out, desperately craved.

'Jam and scones! Sounds delicious!' he fools around with his voice a bit, smiles again before taking his place at the table nearest to the counter and, thereafter, to the kitchen too. As Winnie hurries away, his smile goes too but it's no matter now. With the cosy noises she's making preparing the meal for the two of them, with the smells of flour and cinnamon and vanilla around him, Brady feels drawn back to Earth, grounded. And, oh Merlin, he hasn't felt this way for a while.

'Need any help?' he shouts not too loudly, more to indicate that he's here and hasn't left; he knows well enough that Winnie won't allow him in the kitchen. And for a good reason, too: he's not completely useless, he can help, like when he peeled tons of potatoes back at Wade's... oh, right. We don't think of Wade now. We are stupid enough for making these stupid rules and believing that it will help us from getting hurt. And it wasn't even a we, right? Just him. Him and his past, so full of Wade bloody Dursley it was impossible not to trip over another little thing, another memory of their time together, another bit of him, every time he turned around - or even just stopped to breathe.

Even this place... More often than not Brady visited Winnie all by himself, partly because of Tony who used to work here, partly because... well, he isn't sure there was any reason, really. But if he looked to his left, to that table in the far corner, he could remember, clear as day, how they sat there together just this spring, happy and laughing, all three of them. He tried to feed Wade some girlishly pink-and-white, all strawberry and whipped cream, cake, like, to actually feed him with a spoon, and the cream got on Wade's nose, naturally, and he tried to give them both angry stares but couldn't help but laugh himself...

It hurts. Simply to recall those happier times hurts like hell, a real physical ache in his chest, and he doesn't have anything to numb it this time, and the realness, the closeness of it scares him, the reality of what happened dawns on him, all of a sudden, and he feels not sad but panicky, his palms clammy, his pulse racing and...

Winnie comes back from the kitchen. The breakfast must be ready. Brady stands up so quickly he actually hits the table with a loud "bang". He can't leave Winne but he doesn't, won't stay here either.

'I have an idea!' he proclaims brightly. Oh, do you? asks the voice in his head mockingly. 'Yes, I definitely do. So, how do feel about having breakfast on a roof?'

He didn't know he was going to say it before he did, but actually, as he realizes post factum with a jolt of surprise and joy, it is really a good idea. A brilliant one, even.

Him and her, the sad old pair of them, could use some fresh morning air for sure.

+4

5

And here she is, running around the kitchen to make a very special breakfast. While her mind is floating somewhere else, in a deep deep forests of despair and misery. People thought that Winnie is made out of sunshine and rainbows, when in reality she made herself. And not because that's the way she is. She chosed to be good, supportive, sympathetic, the things this world missed the most. With her future fiancй as well. Because she knows him, she remembers. She watched that chubby boy with fair hair turned into a cold blooded snake, hissing on people in order to survive in a cruel world. But, back in the past, in their childhood, they were the same. Strange, how people can change...
Cooking made her feel alive. And today was the day when she wanted to feel alive the most. She needed something to remind her, that the heart of this young lady is already belongs to the world of pastry and sweets. No man can take that from her. Father couldn't, uncle tried. But they all will fail.
A cloud of sugar dust floated in the air, Winnie sifted it too enthusiastically, buried deep into her own thoughts. The voice in the cafe woke her up, like a fairytale princess from an enchanted sleep. Winnie knew that her friend hid something from her, they always do. Like that's not going to affect their friend as well, and she was, is, and always be their friend. No matter what. The girl just wished that her dumb friends remembered that, always, when they were hiding behind the masks to cover their pain. Well, she's young, but not blind.
With one plate full of pastries, and other one with sugar bunnies that were left from yesterday, she approached the table. Just trying to be the better version of herself. Smiling, but determined to unmask whatever is hiding behind that pretty little face of his. Because that's what friends do, right? Helping each other to be real, be open. Helping each other to heal.
Brady stood up so fast, unexpectedly, she almost dropped her plates. Winnie stared at him in amusement, what she did wrong? Its not like she had any time for a mistake... So this is hos this life is gonna be, every little thing turning into mistake or dreadfully misfortune. Because she is scared of future, that future she even tried to see. And now its here, knocking on her front porch with a proposal. And a very good deal. Because that is what she is. Just trading goods, from her parents to his...
Her surprised face didn't change when she heard about that wild idea. Nobody uses the roof, partially because people don't usually think about it.
- Are you sure?... - she said it softly, with a undertone of surprise. Her curly hair was wildly attacking her face, she had to blow them away to look in Brady's eyes and. Understand... He tried to escape the "happy place", as it was not happy anymore. Heart affairs, how relatable. - Okay, but you are carrying the plates. I'm going to get the keys, a spell won't unlock that door, safety first.
She left him with the plates and silence, so he could get himself together and collect every small thought. To pour that all on her, because she always listens. She is being "that friend", who is always there, who is gonna hear you out, advice something and ask nothing in return.  She always kept her thoughts inside, too afraid to let the world know that she can be hurt too. That sometimes she hurts herself too. In this world Winnie's mission was to bring joy and happiness to people, no matter what happened in her own life. Share the light, the sweetness (in every way) and this calming feeling of a better future. That's why she had so many customers, that's why she still communicates with the children she'd been babysitting and governing before. They want to feel the same, over and over again. Nobody ever tried to convince her sharing her own story. Well, Brady and Wade, they knew the bigger part, but not everything. They had so many troubles in their lives (sometimes it's even weird, how can they find that many), no need to add more. So she went for the keys, practicing her happy and serene face along the way. The keys were old, a bit enchanted and rusty. Just behind the big sauser in the kitchen. The definition of "hidden" is quite weird in this place.
- Got `em! - she said happily and rushed to the big wooden door, that led to the roof area. Big enough for two, maybe more. Private enough for a good and honest conversation. Maybe even young little Winnie-beanie will tell something. Something even she didn't understand for now.
The stairs were old, but reliable. They creaked as the pair was going up, and up... To see the view. It was not just a view, it was the view. All of the Diagon Alley, covered in morning sunlight, Occasional trees was burning bright orange and yellow in the rays of sunshine, she even got chills from observing this beauty.
- Okay, you were right, this is a good idea. I don't think any customer was ever up here, you're the first. Celebrate that with a scone, honey. - she tried to get comfortable on a brick siding, that was too dusty and cold. But she didn't care then. She just wanted to take a deep breath, observe the view from the roof and forget who she is. And who she will be quite soon enough. That word scared her, it felt like an extra limb that nobody asked for. She certainly didn't.

Отредактировано Winnie Alderton (2019-03-03 17:36:58)

+2

6

When he says that, blurts out that dumb spontaneous idea of his to go to the roof in the fine hours of the morning, Winnie looks… amused and a tad surprised but as if a little bit troubled, too. As if he has just triggered something that was wrong already - maybe that very something that has made her sad in the first place. But in the very next moment, she looks not at but through him, and Brady is afraid that she can see too much behind his smile, that he is not the only one who has eyes here so maybe he should quit his observations game, at least for a time being, and help her with the dishes instead, just like she asked.

She doesn’t hand them over to him directly. Instead, she lowers all the plates on the table next to him, the very one he has tried to shove just now, and then she leaves him so she could get the keys to the roof or something. Brady is actually grateful for this little pause, for a chance to calm his breath and his pulse, both still a little too quick, too shallow. He’s alright, though. He definitely is when Winnie comes back, and he’s ready to go, all the plates precariously balanced in his hands and against his chest.

‘Lead the way, my queen,’ he teases but also not because he has never been up there before, he didn’t even know for a fact that you could go up there when he suggested just that not two minutes ago. Well, what a lucky day that they actually can.

An old staircase, creaking with their every step, leads them further and higher, two stories up, until they reach the door and then - a gush of fresh, cold morning air, colder even than it was down in the street, fresher even. Brady breathes in and out, deep breaths, and he already feels better. He almost forgets he has the plates in his hands when one of them almost falls and he hurries to put them down onto the wide brick parapet, next to Winnie who’s already sitting, looking toward the horizon. Then he joins her there, grunting like an old man. Soon, he’s, too, looking over the Diagon Alley, London, the world, his legs dangling nonchalantly over the edge.

‘Maaan, it’s beautiful,’ he draws out. Then turns to Winnie and flashes her a stupid old-movie-like grin. ‘Quite dashing, my lady!’

Before he takes a scone, he lingers watching his friend again - because she looks troubled, again. He knows he didn’t want to ask but maybe he should?..

‘A knut for your thoughts?’ he tries and, when she turns, gives her a gentle if a bit sad smile. It still seems unfair to pry, considering she did everything not to let anything on. Considering he hopes not to get asked himself. So he gives her a choice. ‘Or, we can just sit here and watch that bastard of the world wake up, and pretend our stupid problems don’t exist up here because they’re cowards and afraid of heights.’

He’s still not hungry but the smell is too tempting so he takes a bite from the scone he’s holding, jam and clotted cream on top, and moans through the bun:

‘Oh, it’s delicious! You’re genius!’

+1

7

You know, when you are trying hard not to think about something and it`s turning into a mind torture... Because those thoughts just won`t go, whether you want it or no. They are mixing out with new ideas, new dark thoughts about your new future. Winnie could practically hear those thoughts buzzing inside her head like a swarm of bees. Violent, painful and loud...
That innocent smile and careless look in her eyes, that mask was tiring now. She barely slept last night, imagining how her life would be like. Being a wife to a man she barely remembers, living in a  new house probably, pretending to be happy for all those people her parents looked up to, and for the parents too. She knew that this wasn`t their idea, father dearly decided to leave her alone with that marriage questions. It was an uncle who always made master plans, mostly for himself and his sake only. This marriage probably means something to him, maybe to relate two families for his own sake. Money, influence, both? And she loved him, she really did. Winnie thought that her newly reappearing uncle would support her and care for her, as he told her so. But everyone just wants to use the naive young girl for their plans. And she even helps them... What a stupid little thing.
Her scones were perfect, her rabbit shaped shortbread cookies, that were not good enough to put on display. But good enough to share with a friend, or maybe just throw them out. Who even cares anymore. But Brady`s eyes lit up when he saw that freshly baked pastry. Sometimes one scone can change your mood, right?
- I am not sure I ever was there, can`t quite remember, but... Buuut, I guess the view should be quite breathtaking. - beautiful early morning, rising sun, people rushing here and there. The world is waking up, but was it worth it?
London was so glorious in those morning rays of sunshine, a bit chilly to her taste, but still. She turned to look at her friend, so sweet and thoughtful, his beautiful hair glowing in the morning light. Should she... tell him everything? That damned piece of paper, or, if to be specific, beautifully written damn words on some kind of posh thick paper her father used to stock somewhere in his cabinet. She folded that letter a few times, for sure ruining the exquisite gold lining on the edges. It burned though her pocket and her apron.
- You can`t imagine how much I want to ignore the changes, dear, I really do. - she laughed a bit, almost as if she tried to sob but changed her mind suddenly. Why resist now, when everything is already settled, - I lost control over my own life, literally...
She looked down on the streets and bit her lower lip. Those people, the live by some kind of pattern, they don`t really own their lives. Work owns it, relationships maybe, it all goes into the daily routine.  They don`t even ask for freedom, for a chance of free will. She`ll be a perfectly dressed bird in a gilded cage, as all young and respected brides should be. She was once able to escape, to try new things and live like a poor and happy little human being, in a foreign country, without a family or other relatives. She won`t be able to pull that trick again, consciousness won`t let her do it.
Gilroy finally tried her pastry and she smiled a bit, genuinely, because for a brief moment she was happy that someone liked her little creation.
- Baking helps when you have a lot on your mind. At least I did something useful then, enjoy.
Winnie started to turn her little bunny-shaped cookie into crumbles, starting from those pointy ears. Bit by bit, his silly ears were gone, turned into sugary trash. She picked the biggest piece, looked at it and decided to do something crazy. Piece of bunny ear just flew into a bunch of people down the street, not threatening at all, but still. A small mischief wont hurt anyone, right? She gave Brady that wicked half-smile, she rarely used it, and broke that cookie into bigger pieces, turning them into non-threatening sweet bullets. And another goes on the streets, just breaking into smallest pieces on the pavement below..

+1

8

What does he expect to hear, asking her? Something down the lines of “oh, nothing, dear, didn’t get much sleep, that’s all” - or the complete opposite, an honest answer, the true reason behind her sad eyes and quickly fading smiles? Whatever it was he expected, Brady gets neither of the two. Instead, what she says to him, vague and nonspecific, gives him chills as if his body has suddenly realised how cold the wind actually is. He looks at his friend like he’s seen a ghost, a familiar, very familiar apparition, and shivers, wrapping his coat tighter around himself. He is still feverish and wearing only a T-shirt underneath but he wants to ignore all of this as much as everything else. Just like Winnie’s said. Exactly like that.

Her words, her feelings - turns out, they are mirrors to his own. Brady slowly chews on the scone that has lost a bit of its sweet taste all of a sudden, looking at her sadly when she says she’s done something useful at last.

‘What’s with the useful, Win-Win, you’re brilliant!’ he couldn’t be more sincere but he knows even as he says it that compliments, however well-meaning, won’t make much of a difference right now. They won’t stop the train of bitter changes from coming, they won’t stop life from falling apart. And Winnie doesn’t look like someone who needs anyone to sort it out for her. She just looks… lost. A look, Brady strongly suspects, he shares.

‘I should go into baking, too,’ he half-jokes, half-smiles at her. ‘Maybe then my life would make at least some sense.’ He is quiet for a bit. ‘Imagine us, at the Sugarplums together! Sweet… flour… nougat power couple.’

He snorts, his eyes are on her hands as she deliberately if unconsciously destroys a biscuit with her fingers. And then - a big chunk of it flies down onto the street below, its trajectory not so accidental at all…

Surprised, Brady lifts his gaze up. A cheeky wicked smile on her lips tells him without words what Winnie actually wants right now, what she needs from her friend. Misery loves company, sure, but in a good company why not to try to chase it away, at least for a time being? Not with sticks and stones but with bunny-shaped biscuits - why the hell not?

So he smiles in return, his most mischevious smile, takes another unfortunate bunny from a plate and throws it as far as he can. Is it unfortunate, though?.. If you look at it this way, it's escaped its fate of sure death from teeth and claws of merciless giants. And now it may be flying towards its end but it’s a different end, completely unexpected and unpredicted by anyone, and it gets to see London in its morning beauty along the way!

After that bunny goes another and another; they laugh and try to see where their sweet projectiles land and laugh again. When they run out of bunnies, Brady, brazen and shamelessly excited and far too agitated by their childish enterprise, switches to the scones. He throws the first one with such force that almost loses his balance and slides off the parapet. He catches himself just in time and maybe it helps that Winnie catches him too, and they’re suddenly breathless.

‘What a flying bunny I'd make!’ he breathes out and it’s so damn funny he laughs again like a lunatic until he realizes that someone’s actually been shouting at them from below or cursing “the fucking scone” at the very least. He rolls over from the parapet to the roof floor pulling Winnie with him, whispers theatrically and in his worst American accent:

‘They’ve blown our cover, Johnny, we gotta save our asses!’

And he takes her hand and they run to the door like they have someone at their heels and the plates stay on the parapet, forgotten and empty of bunnies, glinting in the sun.

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