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by: Lydia Thomas
Saturday, 17 March 2015
8:34 p.m.

It was St. Paddy's Day, and Lydia was determined to make it a good day. She remembered the parties her mom used to have. She and the other kids had been allowed to stay up late and watch movies together in her room while her mother and her friends drank and did whatever else out in the main part of the house. Eventually, she'd become a teenager, and she and her friends would have their own drinking party in her room but had to sneak out when they were seventeen and her mom had realized what had happened the year before. It had always been a day she'd looked forward to no matter what for the simple fact it was sure to bring much merriment.

Lydia would be legal in America now, but it didn't matter, did it? She was here, and she was going to go to a pub. After being cooped up researching and reading old paper clippings while Alan was at work, she had decided this. She'd gone and charmed a shirt (and a spot of her brown hair) green and had paired her shirt with a black skirt that hit just above her knees. Add some tights and ankle boots with a chain that held a gold four-leaf clover charm, and her ensemble was complete. Cute and decidedly holiday-ish, but definitely not what some of the Irish crowd here at this pub she'd found in London were going for.

A note stating:

Alan --

Gone to O'Malley's for a bit o' fun. You should join.


had been left on Alan's kitchen table next to the dinner of corn beef and cabbage she'd made for him. On his pillow, she'd left another:

C'mon, Al, ol' boy!

You deserve a break!

If he decided not to, then she would be disappointed, but it wasn't like he had to. She'd just figured it'd be good for him to get out. He was much too serious far too often.

Regardless, she hoped to find the celebration here in London to be similar enough to what she did back home for her liking.

For now, she was enjoying her beer while listening to people talk about the parade and festival she'd missed earlier in the day. She'd have to remember that for next year, if she was successful in her mission.
by: Alan Kalkuskov
It was kind of funny really, how having a "roomie" would change so much of his day to day living. He had to be more considerate about certain things like making sure he didn't leave towels on the bathroom door, but it was also kind of nice to know that he didn't have to put the effort into finding himself food after work either. It was also nice to not come home to an empty, silent apartment. Alan didn't have any pets, he didn't even have an owl. Silence was the only thing that had ever greeted him coming home until Lydia had wound up staying with him.

He still wasn't even sure what that was all about, but he had been keeping an eye out for her family members to try and help her. Most of the time he forgot that she was from the future. On the odd chance that he remembered, he still thought that it was incredibly... weird, but he liked having Lydia around. She was bubbly and nice. And talkative, which was also nice when he was too tired to fill in the gaps to do more than grunt in response. And while things were still tense at work, they were letting up a bit. The crisis that had arisen after some confusing situations in the public had slowly tapered off, leaving the healers a more normal work schedule. Even the healers who worked over time regularly, like Alan.

So when he came home to find the note and dinner sitting there instead of Lydia, he was a little sad, but not overly so. After all, food was waiting for him. He managed to get the food down in record time, once again thankful that it had been there in the first place, while thinking about going out for the night. It wasn't like he shouldn't, really he didn't have a reason to stay in while he was being invited out. He hadn't worked too long, just a couple extra hours, and he wasn't too tired. At least, when compared too how tired he normally was. Perhaps it was a good idea to go out and... have some fun.

Alan quickly dressed into something decently clean after a quick shower and chowing down, making sure to put a green scarf around his neck to keep himself from getting pinched, and then wandered down to the pub without ever seeing the note on his pillow. The tall healer gave the place a bit of a look around before finally spotting the tiny brunette seated by herself and grinned as he walked over, sitting down next to her. "Thanks for dinner and the invite. Nice green in your hair." Having green in your hair was probably a good bit better than walking around with a scarf on, but it was still early spring. Alan could get away with it for awhile longer. "Did I miss anything fun?" For one night he could relax.
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by: Lydia Thomas
Having an American accent had its perks, it turned out. It got her some questions, a bit of conversations, and so far, something to drink. Maybe it wouldn't be so terrible if Alan didn't show up, after all. Because the free alcohol would probably grind to a halt as soon as someone saw her with another guy hanging around. People had this pesky little habit to assume just because a guy and a girl were out together that they were, well, dating. Or at the very least that the girl was claimed. The only problem would be if she got one of those pushy sorts. She could stand her own, but someone's hand to grab as a shield was always nice in those instances.

But speaking of Alan, was he here? She looked around the crowded bar for any sign of the tall, curly-haired Russian. After a few false sightings, Lydia couldn't help but grin as she spotted Alan walking in through the crowd of party-goers. She straightened up a little, ready to wave to get his attention, but it seemed to her that Alan had spotted her. Lydia bit her lip slightly to try to tame back her grin as she shook her head. "Unless you count the couple beers those guys bought me missing something," she replied before adding jokingly, "but I don't think you're their type!" She grinned then waved for the bartender's attention as she finished the remainder of her second beer. "Pick our poison," she told Alan.

Lydia only hoped Alan had good choice in liquor and didn't go for a beer. Because, honestly, she didn't feel like choking back another. She'd drank what had been bought for her simply because it was free, but a shot or something to break it up would be awesome. Never mind that blasted "beer before liquor" adage. She was out for the night. The next day would be something she'd worry about when she was there.
by: Alan Kalkuskov
A little bit of a snort escaped Alan. Not the fellows' type? Well, he was perfectly fine with that. They weren't his type either and he could buy his own beers. "Ah, that's just fine." He offered Lydia a small smile before addressing the bar tender and ordering himself a brandy. He knew that his sister liked vodka, she downed the stuff every chance she had, but he preferred things he had to slowly sip. Alan knew that he was a big guy and when he had a good brandy, he could nurse the one glass for almost an hour before ordering another. It was a great way to make sure that he never got drunk, which meant that if he got called back to work for an emergency, then he'd still be able to help out.

Which was just another sign that Alan took his work far too seriously. Alan wasn't entirely sure if Lydia would be drinking brandy with him or not. It wasn't something he'd expect her to drink, certainly, but everyone was entitled to liking odd things. "Thanks for the invite... and dinner. I wasn't sure where you had vanished to when I came home." And it was weird having a roommate. Alan didn't think he'd ever get over that. "How long have you been here for?" Perhaps the better question was how many drinks have you already had because she looked like her smile was just a little larger than normal.

If she got drunk, she'd be fine. Alan was here. She was small enough for him to carry home if she passed out or couldn't walk straight, so she could let loose and have fun if she felt like it. He wasn't too fussed about it. Alan took a sip from the brandy he had been served, wondering what kind of answer she was going to give him.
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by: Lydia Thomas
"Make that two," Lydia said. She wanted something stronger and better tasting than beer. Brandy wasn't that much better tasting, but it was still stronger and at least less...odd.

Lydia smiled and nodded when Alan thanked her for the invite and dinner. She shrugged a bit. "Maybe an hour, hour and a half?" she guestimated. It felt like less, but then, time tended to fly when she was having fun, so she was trying to be more realistic than what her brain thought at the moment. She smirked as she noticed the scarf. Interesting choice, she thought, as she took a sip of her brandy that the bartender had just slid in front of her to try to hide her smirk. She would give him thirty minutes tops before that became too warm and he had to pocket it to avoid overheating. Then, he was free for the taking as far as pinches went.

Nevertheless, she couldn't help but notice that the green brought out the red in his hair a little more. She liked it. Perhaps she should buy him green ascots or shirts or something for his birthday--whenever that was. If she was even around long enough. That thought was strangely uncomfortable for Lydia, so she shoved it aside.

"I'm glad you decided to come out!" she said. Lydia took another sip of her brandy. Yeah, pacing herself wasn't exactly on her agenda for the night--especially now that she had someone with her whom she knew wouldn't take advantage. Alan was far too gentle and kind a soul. She wondered if he would take advantage of a girl even if said girl wanted him to. It was a good thing, really, to be able to feel safe around someone. It was refreshing. Her mom was the only one she'd felt truly safe and at ease around before. Perhaps the feeling was because she needed a safe place in this time, but she wouldn't question it. No, tonight she would just cut loose and help the big man do so himself. She wanted to see him have some fun and enjoy life for a change. He was much too much a workaholic.

"Save any lives today?" Shop talk, but she had to start a conversation somewhere.
by: Alan Kalkuskov
Maybe an hour, hour and a half? Well, that wasn't all that long. She probably hadn't had too much to drink yet, which meant that he could settle in and relax for a little bit. Alan had no idea that Lydia was already eyeballing his scarf or thinking what it would mean if he happened to remove it before the end of the night. He just knew he was wearing green, so he was safe for the time being.

"Well, I didn't save any lives in a direct sort of way. They wouldn't have died on the spot if I wasn't helping." He offered the short brunette a bit of a smile before taking his first sip of brandy. It was always a bit of a kick, since Alan didn't drink regularly, but he managed to get down that first drink without wincing too hard. The red head put the glass back down and started to relax, knowing that it would take a few more drinks before he started to feel it.

"So is this all because it's that uh, holiday?" The muggle holiday, really. No one Alan knew celebrated St. Patty's, but the muggles certainly did. They loved to drink and this was a great excuse to drink. An entire holiday for getting knackered! "Or is this something you celebrate at home?" Aka, the future. Alan thought he was being pretty clever with speaking in a semi-coded way so no one around them would understand except the two of them. He took another drink and grinned at her, hoping she understood what he was getting at.
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by: Lydia Thomas
Lydia rolled her eyes at Alan's humility. "Ah, give yourself some credit, big guy!" she said, clapping a hand on his shoulder. She looked at her hand a moment then took it back as non-awkwardly as possible. She wasn't exactly the least likely person in the world to do something like that nor was she the most likely. Once upon a time, it would have been perfectly normal. Since life had taken the turn it had a few years ago, however? Not so much. Human touch hadn't exactly ranked high on the priority list. There hadn't been time in her desperation. It seemed strange.

Lydia was thankful for Alan's questions. He probably hadn't thought anything of the contact. It was normal human behavior, after all. It meant nothing. Merlin, she hadn't had alcohol in how long, and this was how her brain was going to be the first time in a long time? Great.

"Yeah, that holiday," she replied with a tight-lipped grin and a nod. She loosened up and looked down as she brushed a strand of hair behind her ear. "Good ol' Saint Paddy's day," she rambled. "Mom used to celebrate it all the time when I was growing up. She'd always have a lot of friends over. And they'd have their kids over, and then one year, we were all teens, you see? And what do teens do, if not try to experiment and kick back?" She grinned and reached for her drink, downing the rest of it in one gulp. She set the glass back down then wiped her mouth with the back of her sleeve.

"Did your folks bother with it?" Maybe it was mostly an American thing? Obviously the muggles here celebrated it, but was it overly popular here in the British wizarding world?
by: Alan Kalkuskov
She was always full of interesting stories. Granted most of them could have been stories from this day and age, but they were interesting all the same. It was like looking in a window to a totally different world than the one he had grown up in. Instead of silent, tense dinners with the family, her mother celebrated St. Patty's. She had friends come over. A mother who cared about her. A warm, loving environment to grow up in. It was as foreign to him as an entirely different country. He would have felt out of sorts in France or China or... anywhere really, except right here.

He liked talking to her, if only because he got to peek into that other world that he had never seen before. Which was why he was smiling softly as she told her story. "I suppose that's what teens would do in that situation." Alan hadn't been in that situation, but he had been given alcohol a lot younger than most children were. Because that was what a good Russian did, or something. Vodka was not his poison, but he really hadn't started drinking until after he had become a healer.

When things got stressful, he had a glass or two, but he couldn't drink on a regular basis. He had seen far too many alcoholics in his line of work. He also had an inkling that his sister was one and perhaps his mother too, but neither of them had ever confided in him about it. It was just another one of those "taboo" things that never got spoken about in the household. "Ah, no. My mother never celebrated anything. Waste of money and time." He gave a bit of a shrug of his shoulders, as if that was all there was to the subject. They hadn't celebrated anything unless it was deemed important enough to keep up appearances. St. Patty's really wasn't. Christmas barely made the list. And Alan continued the tradition of not really celebrating, because who would he celebrate it with? No, he typically worked on holidays, with one job or now the other. "It sounds like you guys had a lot of fun though. What other holidays did you guys celebrate? "
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by: Lydia Thomas
"Lots! Your normal obligatory witchy Halloween, but she always went all out. I'm honestly surprised the muggles in the area weren't suspicious something was going on. I mean, that special store out of state where my mom's 'sister,'" she made air quotes, "lived could only have so much unique stuff. Oh, and Christmas! You can't forget Christmas! If I'm sti--" Lydia's cheerful expression quickly faded to a troubled one. The thought hit her like a brick wall.

She didn't want to leave here. It had been the plan from the start, but she had grown so accustomed to being able to be somewhat carefree, to being around Alan, to sharing a home again instead of being out in the cold finding what shelter was left to find and hoping, just hoping so very, very hard that someone wouldn't come along and force you away. And she actually liked Alan well enough. Sure, he was a workaholic. Sure, he wasn't the free spirit she tried to be. But for the first time in a long time, she was actually happy. And she just now realized it. She was happy. And she felt safe.

Lydia looked up at Alan. "On Christmas, I'll have to make you mom's traditional Christmas breakfast. It's to die for." Sure, her voice was more even than the carefree, excited chatter of before, but it was the only way she could keep it from shaking or being too emotional.
by: Alan Kalkuskov
He kept on smiling as she talked. Her face was entirely animated when she spoke, it lit up and moved in ways that he wouldn't have thought possible in a normal face. Alan certainly wouldn't have been able to manage such feats with his expressions. The healer would always be amused by her. But the real question was for how long? That was something he had been thinking about for awhile.

Which was why he felt his own smile slip when her cheerful expression faded. He could figure out the reason why too, considering he had been thinking in that direction seconds before. But her return to full speed was admirable. "I'd like that." Really, celebrating Christmas for once would be... nice. He'd actually have something to look for, even if it was still fairly early on in the year.

But would she stick around that long? He had no idea what her long terms plans were and Christmas was certainly a long time yet. Or at least it felt that way. It felt further away now, which was funny. "And what would that tradition be? I'm not a fan of hagis." It was a tease, just a touch of a joke, but Alan's smile grew into an actual grin at that point. Perhaps it might have been a little joke coming from someone else, but it was a decently large one coming from Alan Kalkuskov. "I mean, there's all sorts of traditions and all sorts of breakfasts. You have to give me more detail so I can really look forward to this." Best way to handle something that might hurt? Ignore it. Pretend it wasn't happening. That's what his family was good at.
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by: Lydia Thomas
Lydia smiled and laughed at the mention of hagis. Her mom had tried it once with her when she was little but then never made it again. Lydia's reaction was a bit overboard, but she'd been seven and still dealing with a lot. What had her mom expected? She'd told her right then and there that they were in America, and she'd make sure they ate like Americans. Minus shepherd's pie. Because Lydia had insisted she wouldn't be happy without that. They'd hugged it out then, and Lydia had slept pretty well that night. Tears always did that. Never mind how famished she'd been the next morning at breakfast.

"Well, no haggis. That I can promise you. I'd rather eat something out of the toilet." She wrinkled her nose up at the thought of that. "But I can promise you: homemade cinnamon rolls, some cheesy eggs, hot cho-co-late," she pronounced every syllable, "And not just that add water nonsense. No, proper hot chocolate made with milk. And bacon! You can't forget some nice, crisp bacon." Maybe it was simple, but it was good and made her think of home whenever she had it. She was sure her mother had had her own version of Christmas morning breakfast when she had had her, but Lydia couldn't remember that. One of her last memories with her mother before monster man took her and before she had come back to this time, and she couldn't remember it.

Lydia frowned at that thought and called for the bartender. She needed more booze. That would make everything better. "You got any cinnamon whiskey?" she asked once the bartender finished serving up another's drink. He nodded. "I'll have one, on the rocks." As soon as her drink was served, Lydia took a long swig. Ah, that burn. That burn was nice, especially followed by that nice, sweet, cinnamon-y taste.

"What did your family do?" Maybe if he had something he liked from that she could incorporate it for him.
by: Alan Kalkuskov
Homemade cinnamon rolls, some cheesy eggs, hot chocolate? That sounded... well, that sounded really good. An actual breakfast someone could really look forward to! "Well, color me interested." If she was still here when Christmas rolled around again. Now he had something to sort of... hope for. Funny as that sounded to him in his own head. After all, she had a million things she needed to do. What if they found her dad? What if she wandered off or even returned home because everything she came here to do was done? Would she vanish?

Alan didn't have the answers to those, but he almost wished he did. He almost wished he could look into the future, so he could be prepared for the fall out to this... whatever it was. Prepared when it was going to go sour at some point in time. It had too. Things weren't going to stay the way they were and knowing how much time he had left with her would somehow make him feel more comfortable about it all. It wouldn't be another shoe dropping on him whenever, he'd know his time line.

"Cinnamon whiskey?" Alan made a face as if he had never heard of the stuff before. And he hadn't. The red head glanced at her glass a few times, trying to figure out how cinnamon and whiskey somehow went together like that. The question about his family kept him from really asking about it. "Oh well... Ministry workers, actually. My father worked for the Ministry in Russia. After he died, my mother got offered a job with the Ministry here in London, so she moved us over. Now my younger sister works for the Ministry too." As death eaters, but he didn't want to bring that up. Didn't want to tell Lydia about that. Didn't want to bring it up in a muggle bar either. And the brunette already knew about his other sister. So there was that. "Mother works in the department of mysteries and my sister is a Ministry Aide. It's all quite boring." At least on paper. He had no idea she was asking about Christmas. He honestly thought she was asking about careers. Way to go, Alan.
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by: Lydia Thomas
Lydia noticed the little glances at her drink and slid it toward Alan for him to have a sip if he wanted. Back home, they'd called it Fireball. This stuff tasted a bit different, but then, almost everything had some slight difference to it. Could be a brand thing, could be a chemical thing. Who knew? America, the land of processed everything. It was a wonder the short thing had kept her figure, though she imagined her energy levels had something to do with it.

Lydia concealed her amused smile by resting her face in her hands. Oh, Alan. Literalist to the core. And yet somehow she loved it. There was a certain charm to it.

"Interesting," Lydia replied when all was done, then realized her hand was likely making her voice too quiet in this setting. She let her forearm come to rest on the bar as she looked at him. "Interesting," she repeated with a small smile. "But what about for Christmas?"

Crap, she thought as soon as it was out. Maybe he'd purposefully pretended to have missed the point. Maybe he'd hoped that'd change the topic. But then, wouldn't he have asked the question? The joys of not knowing if someone misunderstood you or purposefully sidestepped the question. Situational anxiety at its finest. Thankfully it was brief. She hoped.
by: Alan Kalkuskov
He colored when she pointed out that she had asked about Christmas. He was glad for his beard, because he was pretty sure it covered a good amount of him going bright red. Alan was often misunderstanding the situation in these sorts of conversations. It was almost as if he had never had to answer these questions before. Or at least, not very often. And not as truthfully as he was telling Lydia. Because of their situation together, he felt good enough to share the actual truth with her instead of the polite lies he told most other people.

"I... we never celebrated Chrstimas after my father died." There was a slight shrug of his shoulders as he said that. The red head reached over, appreciating the offer to taste her drink, and quickly brought it to his lips. It was... way more flavor than he was expecting and he almost back pedaled from the glass.

Far too much flavor for him. He slid the glass back towards her, trying to decide if there was enough cinnamon on his tongue to last a week or a month. He was thinking a month. "I don't remember too much about what we use to do for Christmas. I was seven when he died, so I don't remember a lot about him beyond like... his face and some general things. Mother just never felt like celebrating anything." No one in their house really did, for various reasons. "We'd buy a tree every year. Though that was just to look respectable." There wasn't any bitterness in his voice, just flat fact. "And I've always worked every Christmas since I moved out." Sounded depressing when he put it like that, right?
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by: Lydia Thomas
Lydia nodded, hoping her sympathy for him wasn't showing. She'd at least had her mom to fall back on when she'd been sent away from her family, as it were, by her grandfather. He'd had his mother, too, but it seemed she simply ignored the holiday. That was sad to her. Christmas had always been such a happy time so long as she could remember that it felt a shame someone didn't have much memory of it aside from a quintessential, respectably-decorated Christmas tree. Lydia took a sip from her drink, enjoying the fact it went down so smoothly even with the slight burn at the end. "Well, don't make plans to work this Christmas, eh?" she said with a small smile. "We're going to put some Christmas spirit in you yet, Kalkuskov."

Lydia grinned, deciding that would be the better way to go about this. Focusing on the negative would only make tonight a drag, and she didn't want that. So, with determination, the pint-sized woman downed the remaining whiskey and slid off her bar stool, holding out a hand to the man. "Let's dance, shall we?" she yelled over the noise and music. It wasn't like they'd be the only two doing so. The song on was cheerful enough and the crowd lively enough that a group was off to one spot dancing, and it seemed a perfectly fun way to burn off a little of the alcohol. Well, at least if she could coordinate it. The world was a little spinny. She giggled at the thought.


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