Persephone

Dec. 14th, 2008 01:31 pm
[personal profile] a_fell
The seasons are mild on Persephone, and at Southdown Abbey the late summer is just ripening into autumn when Serenity touches down. There’s only one figure waiting to greet the ship this time, and if one were to look closely, one would see the tired wrinkles that have taken up residence around his eyes, the mild red chafing on hands that have spent a little too long digging through the dirt of various garden patches. It’s likely to be a cold winter.

He’s smiling, though, when the cargo hold’s door opens.

Date: 2008-12-16 04:08 am (UTC)
gonna_live: ([Mrs. Tam] haute couture)
From: [personal profile] gonna_live
Kaylee hovers near the back; Aziraphael gets a crooked smile when she makes her way up front.

And she stays quiet, for the first several hours -- stays next to Simon, speaks when spoken to, looks slightly pale and keeps her eyes downcast.

Date: 2008-12-16 04:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
Aziraphael notices her abnormally quiet demeanour, but he can put it down to Things Going On for the first hour or so. After that, he begins looking for an opportunity to speak to her while most of the others are in the next room. And after that, he looks for an opportunity to speak to her alone. They go for a walk, curving gradually toward the abbey's small apple orchard.

"I hear that you and Simon will be taking a leave of absence from the ship after New Year," he tries. "It sounds like quite an adventure."

Date: 2008-12-16 04:49 am (UTC)
gonna_live: ([Mrs. Tam] haute couture)
From: [personal profile] gonna_live
"Not like our regular kind, though." She's got her hands in her pockets, her eyes on the trees in front of her. "But it's gonna help folk, so it's important."

Date: 2008-12-16 05:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"Yes, I do find that the need to help often overrides my own wishes," he says, stepping carefully over an exposed tree root.

"No doubt they'll miss having you around on board. I don't know what they'll do without your expertise while you're away."

Date: 2008-12-16 05:13 am (UTC)
gonna_live: (so much less to this than you think)
From: [personal profile] gonna_live
Her mouth tightens, and she doesn't reply immediately.



"We're spendin' time back on the weekends. We're not there for the long haul."

Date: 2008-12-16 05:24 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"Ah," he says, half to himself. "Weekends, yes. It's quite a commute."

Date: 2008-12-16 05:29 am (UTC)
gonna_live: (so much less to this than you think)
From: [personal profile] gonna_live
"It's important." Defensively, and she's still not looking his way. "River ain't going, and ship don't stay together all on her lonesome."

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Date: 2008-12-18 12:18 am (UTC)
badinlatin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] badinlatin
Mal looks like he's moving in. Sort of.

"Tianshi." He's smiling, in his coat and a bag slung over his shoulder. "Last chance to back out, havin' us about is gonna stick if you let anyone near the kitchens."

Date: 2008-12-19 12:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"I rather hope so," Aziraphael says, smiling back at him. "I don't see nearly enough of you as it is, and most of my fellows here don't know a thing about herbs, much as I've tried to enlighten them."

He walks beside Mal slowly away from the ship and the ongoing bustle of unloading and squaring away.

"And honestly," he adds, "it's wonderful to have visitors."

Date: 2008-12-19 12:06 am (UTC)
badinlatin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] badinlatin
Mal grimaces at the sentiment.

"Been tryin' to get some jobs under our belts," he offers, by circuitous way of apology.

Date: 2008-12-19 12:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"Of course," he says, waving a hand dismissively. "It isn't as though you can just stop for a holiday whenever you'd like. I understand completely."

Date: 2008-12-19 02:26 am (UTC)
badinlatin: (Default)
From: [personal profile] badinlatin
The grimace fades quickly. Almost gratefully.

"You say this now," Mal starts, "Wait until about day three. Fish and visitors."

Date: 2008-12-19 05:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
His smile broadens.

"We do cultivate fish as well, you know. Not very exotic, but surprisingly tasty when prepared well."

His eyes begin to take on a dreamy, faraway look. Once you get him started on food, it's very difficult to change the subject.

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Date: 2008-12-19 12:19 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (hearing more than you say)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
River smiles back; only a little, and it wobbles at the edges, but it's there.

(Her gaze keeps straying over his shoulder -- looking perhaps for wings, or perhaps for someone else.)

She's quiet in the group, though not abnormally so; not silent, but pulled back into corners and Simon's shoulder and herself. She lets the others do most of the talking. Some step up to the plate better than others, but then that's always true.

It's some hours later when she slips out of her room, barefoot and with an Abbey blanket draped haphazardly around her shoulders, and makes her way through the halls. Maybe she's exploring; then again, maybe she's not.

Date: 2008-12-20 08:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
There's another figure making its solitary way through the darkened halls this evening. This one pauses at a window, looking out across a landscape obscured by a low-hanging fog in the direction of the gatehouse.

It's a long time before he moves to continue on more or less the same path he's been following.

Date: 2008-12-23 07:13 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (hearing more than you say)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
River's in shadow, though it's probably by accident. Her steps slow when she sees the silent figure staring out across the dark gardens, and then halt altogether.

She leans a shoulder against the wall, arms wrapped loosely around herself and head tipped to rest against painted plaster too, and waits.

Date: 2008-12-23 11:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
Even distracted, he isn't completely ignorant of a second presence in the hallway; he slows, looking around mildly, then stops. When he finally turns and sees River, his face creases in a smile.

"Good evening, my dear," he says. "Not too cold to sleep, I hope? The draughts come right through here in the evenings."

Date: 2008-12-24 07:02 am (UTC)
river_meimei: (neutral)
From: [personal profile] river_meimei
"Got a blanket," River says placidly.

Because River states the obvious sometimes.

Beat.

"I'm not sleepy," she adds, in case he was still worried.

Date: 2008-12-26 06:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"Ah," he says, nodding. "I'm rarely so, myself, but on occasion a trip to the kitchens helps with that."

They aren't anywhere near the kitchens, of course, and the fact seems to come to the angel rather suddenly. He glances around with an embarrassed chuckle.

"Also, I suppose that wandering the hallways alone isn't the best use of one's time."

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Date: 2008-12-28 05:24 am (UTC)
simon_doctor: (dark and serious)
From: [personal profile] simon_doctor
It's a day or two into their stay when Simon comes to knock on the Prior's door.

Date: 2008-12-28 05:34 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
There's no answer. Of course, any Prior worth his salt has a thousand and one duties to perform around an abbey at any given time, and the tired lines and worn hands apparent about Aziraphael over the past few days bespeak a certain fervour in attending to them. It would not be so very surprising were he not in his quarters.

And yet, from behind the door: the unmistakeable fragrance of a rather strong blend of tea.

Date: 2008-12-28 05:43 am (UTC)
simon_doctor: (dark and serious)
From: [personal profile] simon_doctor
He tries again: one more knock.

If there's no answer this time, he'll decide that either the Prior isn't there or he doesn't want to be disturbed at the moment.

God knows he's got reason enough for that.

Date: 2008-12-28 06:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
Again, nothing — until, a moment later, there's a muffled and the harsh sound of chair legs against flagstones.

The door opens, aging hinges voicing a quiet squeal of protest, and Aziraphael blinks out.

"Oh," he says again. "Simon." The surprise is momentary, and barely there at all. After a beat, he smiles apologetically. "I am terribly sorry, dear boy — I was a thousand years away. The perils of a good book."

Behind Aziraphael, as he opens the door further, there is indeed a book on the ancient, solid desk — Uncommon Ground, by Maura Wood — the tattered bookmark perhaps a dozen pages from the front. Beside it, of course, sits a cup of tea. It's nearly full.

"Do come in," Aziraphael says, standing aside.

Date: 2008-12-28 06:09 am (UTC)
simon_doctor: (neutral)
From: [personal profile] simon_doctor
"Thank you," he says as he steps in. "I hope I'm not interrupting anything?"

Date: 2008-12-28 06:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] a-fell.livejournal.com
"No, no," Aziraphael replies distractedly. "Nothing that can't be put on hold with a serviceable bookmark, at least. Now, what can I do for you?"

Finished pulling up a second chair, he motions Simon to take a seat. Both chairs (and book, and tea) are in front of the desk; the chair behind the desk — on the business side, as it were — sits empty.

"Everything is all right, I trust?"

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