Title: Jasper Haters Anonymous
Description: Bi-Weekly Meetings as Needed
Wendell Darrow - May 17, 2010 03:06 AM (GMT)
Nursing a firewhiskey, Wendell couldn't help but ruminate on the dreariness of the weather. Of course the weather in London was rarely cheerful, so perhaps he shouldn't have been spending so much time contemplating it. However Wendell wasn't in the cheeriest of moods, so the dismal weather was as suitable a subject to focus on as anything else. Since his abrupt return to the land of the living, he had received luke-warm greetings from his 'friends.' He had begun to put quotations around 'friends' in his head, for he was sure that it was exceedingly unfriendly to be anything less than ecstatic when your beloved mate was resurrected.
True, there had been a fair amount of deception surrounding his 'death.' (Again this word received mental quotes, because legal death and physical death aren't quite the same thing.) It was only fair that they might be a wee miffed that he had deceived them for several months as to the state of his aliveness, but their overwhelming joy to have regained their friend should have superceded any of these unpleasant thoughts. It hadn't. Thus the designation: 'friends.'
Any other Friday night he would have gone out drinking with these 'friends,' but because of the tension in the air he had opted to go out by himself. And so his presence at the Vault's bar, with a glass of firewhiskey, a sour expression, and thoughts of the weather are explained. However, it was always unlikely that he would remain this way for long. The Vault was a popular venue in London, so he'd either take up with someone else out for the evening or he'd wind up too intoxicated to focus on his 'friends' (or the weather).
Atlas Caedmon - May 19, 2010 02:14 AM (GMT)
The weather was completely unfitting for human beings. Sheets of sideways falling rain punctuated with strange twists and turns whenever updrafts hit it. There had been thunder earlier which has for the most part skiffed off as the day progressed to night. The thunder had been the only positive outcome of the downpours that marked London’s springs, and it’s summers, and the majority of it’s fall, and Atlas had been in the process of assembling a weather ballon that would be able to harvest some of the lightning, allowing for quick conversion to high energy potions and all sorts of delightful things. Then the thunder had stopped. Figured.
He would have normally tried Jasper, or napped, or figured out something sensible to do. Jasper had been....occupied. Details were specious and for once Atlas wanted them to remain that way and so ‘productive’ had become testing the moral spectrometer. Rudolph had proven a poor candidate for it, making the meter tick left then right, never staying in one place. That was why he’d decided to go to Knockturn Alley and the Vault. It wasn’t his normal place but the throngs of people, and variety among them made it a perfect location.
Most of the readings were fairly mediocre, barely worth the effort of pulling out his notebook to jote the data and note defining characteristics. Then it started going wonky and Atlas followed it, winding through the crowed before coming to a halt in front of the bar. ‘You’re readings are pretty interesting.” He didn’t look up while he took notes, glancing between the page and the meter. “Especially that section in the orange, haven’t seen that this evening.” He finally looked up to find Wendell blinking at him over his glass.
“Aw, hell. Now I’ve destroyed the anonymity of the project. Aw well.”
Wendell Darrow - May 19, 2010 05:14 PM (GMT)
"Your readings are pretty interesting. Especially that section in the orange, haven’t seen that this evening.”
Wendell turned at the sound of a familiar voice. Behind him stood Atlas, holding a modified Ammeter and jotting down notes in a worn leather notebook. He remained their silently, wondering if Atlas yet realized he was testing the electric current (or whatever he was trying to read) of one of his friends. He finally looked up from his notebook and his face dropped.
“Aw, hell. Now I’ve destroyed the anonymity of the project. Aw well.”
"Sorry...What's the orange mean?"
He tried to take a peek at whatever Atlas had been jotting down in his notebook, but he was unable to make any sense out of the jumble of squiggles and numbers that greeted him. He shook his head and gestured towards the barstool next to him.
"Are you in a hurry or can I get you a drink?"
He motioned to the bartender without waiting for a response, if Atlas didn't want it, he'd drink it himself. However, he was chagrined to discover that Mr. Batman had a higher alcohol tolerance than he did. The first time he had gone drinking since returning to his usual form, he had gotten absolutely smashed. When he woke up the next morning (with no memory of what had happened) he was certain he hadn't drank more than normal the evening before.
Atlas Caedmon - May 19, 2010 08:55 PM (GMT)
Sorry....what’s the orange mean?
That, was an excellent question. Unfortunately one that Atlas didn’t quiet have an answer to yet and so he simply shrugged, making sure to write down the readings before the needle started going back and forth again like poor alley cat that had gotten into Apollo’s special collection of glitter. Finishing the final flourish of an equation Atlas looked up to find Wendell glancing at the notes. It was hard to catch, the man was an expert at appearing to look at one thing while closely examining another, but Atlas didn’t mind, maybe he’d have some insight. In response to his first question Atlas just shrugged, mumbling something dismissive.
Are you in a hurry or can I get you a drink?
Atlas’ first reaction was to say no and though would be closely followed by a lecture to Wendell about having no idea where what he was drinking came from. Then a close examination of the bar tender, assessing her possible deformities, terrorist connections and most importantly whether or not she looked sinister. There was a whole scale for that, one that Wendell had no doubt forgotten and would need to be reminded of. That was his first reaction but then the scale in his hand leapt to purple and he glanced up at Wendell, examining him instead of the bartender.
“No hurry.” he laid the notebook and the meter down on the bar before ambling onto the stool, frowning at his altitude before taking out his wand and shrinking the legs.
A fire whiskey was deposited in front of him, carefully he checked it for curses, jinxes and the odd narcotic then took a tentative sip. “How goes resurrected existence? I haven’t seen you around the alley much.” Which now that he’d said it he realized was true, since Wendell had come to him and revealed himself as no longer among the deceased Atlas had seen him maybe once. He took another drink from the glass. “I’ll get next round.”
Wendell Darrow - May 25, 2010 05:35 AM (GMT)
After staring at his drink for several minutes, Atlas finally took a sip. He seemed to approve of it because he took another sip and offered to buy the next round. Wendell mentally sighed in relief; he had been on the receiving end of over a dozen lectures about the dangers of communist ninjas posing as bartenders. Wendell’s decade of bar experience without a single ninja encounter never seemed to provide an adequate defense.
“I dunno, been busy...or something.” He mumbled into his glass.
Of course he hadn’t been all that busy. He had spent one day trying to reestablish his criminal connections and pick up some work before he grew absolutely disgusted with the constant litany of ‘Wendell Darrow! I though you were dead!’ After the fifty-second person repeated this to him, he had given up and had retreated to his shabby flat to mope. He was a little disappointed at how things were turning out post-resurrection. ‘Little disappointed’ here meaning ‘horrifically depressed.’ His internal grumblings suddenly burst forth.
“It’s not fair! First Will gets his knickers in a twist because I didn’t tell him I was actually Dillan. As if it’s some sort of great betrayal that I kept him from being one of Ballantine’s targets! I guess Apollo was happy enough to see me. But you know what he’s like! It’s all your shirt needs more sparkles and your hair would look better with lime-green highlights! Then there’s that smarmy, backstabbing charlatan Christie! I should have known better than to trust a pureblood. Please tell me Atlas; what in Merlin’s name have I done to deserve this cosmic smack down?”
Atlas Caedmon - May 26, 2010 06:55 PM (GMT)
Wendell lifted and dropped one shoulder in a familiar lazy shrug starring into his glass as if it might sprout lips and begin to carry the conversation. There were a few places in Knockturn Alley where that could potentially happen, but you never wanted your whiskey to be the one talking for you. It tended to have a vocabulary limited to slurs about other peoples mothers and the bewildering phrase ‘you want some’. It seemed that this whiskey was of the stoic variety and so Wendell was left to reply for himself.
I dunno, been busy...or something.
Atlas calmly waited for him to elaborate. Usually when Wendell was busy there was some kind of story involving a few girls and maybe some kind of amusing anecdote concerning how the aforementioned girls and criminal capers didn’t mix. What he got instead of an outburst, one that involved sweeping hand gestures and was finally punctuated when he downed the liquid left in his glass, Atlas lifted his hand to order Wendell another one just as he was coming down. Finishing off the litany with a tone that Atlas would describe as belligerent woe.
Please tell me Atlas; what in Merlin’s name have I done deserve this cosmic smack down?
People didn’t usually ask Atlas for advise, not unless they were looking for the best tin foil for hats to block satellite mind control devices, or unless they thought there might be some sort of goblin in a red hoodie stalking them (the only solutions were direct confrontation or olive oil). Rarely were the questioned posed to him actually serious and very rarely did they ever come from Wendell. The Boys Club dynamics were carefully set, Will for serious and or potentially emotional questions, Apollo for fashion and any and all information concerning semi sentient ponies and party planning, Jasper if you needed someone to be anal retentive and shot holes into heist plans, or to hide large amounts of contraband and Atlas for questions that you didn’t really want answers to anyway.
“Um.” Wendell was blinking at him owlishly and expectantly. “Aren’t you a pure....?” That wasn’t helping. Even Atlas had to admit Jasper’s reaction when he’d brought up Wendell being alive had been slightly lack luster, comprising of the lift of an eyebrow and an absent ‘oh yeah? Brilliant.’. “At least you have your health? I guess that’s a small consolation. I don’t know what to tell you, Wendell, my go to is elaborate conspiracy centralized upon your misery but even that might seem far fetched. Most government agencies don’t form conspiracies around dead people unless they’re looking to jerry rig elections.”
None of this was helping, it was obvious from the way Wendell’s shoulders continued to droop with each passing moment. So Atlas went for the most obvious thing, asked a question of his own. “What did Jasper do?”
Wendell Darrow - May 27, 2010 04:17 AM (GMT)
It seemed that even Atlas didn't depend on himself for any type of serious advice. However considering his sudden derth of advisors at present, Atlas was his only choice. At the end of Wendell's bitter tirade, Atlas looked at him with his face clouded in confusion. “Aren’t you a pure....?” he started, but after catching the dark look that flashed across Wendell's face he quickly dropped the subject. Wendell never liked to discuss his deepseated hatred for the pureblood class, it has arisen during his early days in Slytherin and the dislike had never abated.
Atlas continued on in a vain attempt to try and make Wendell feel better about his sorry circumstance. After his first few feeble attempts at consolation Wendell tried to block him out. He focused instead on the steady stream of golden brown liquid that poured into his glass when the bartender came over with a refill. He wasn't an alcoholic, he really wasn't. He had just discovered the delightful numbing qualities of a good drunken stupor.
"What did Jasper do?"
"Betrayal." He choked, unable to elaborate. Jasper's betrayal was possibly the greatest blow of the entire situation. That Will was upset at Wendell's deception was unfortunate but not entirely unexpected. He had never kidded himself that one day Sofia wouldn't throw him out of her house and her life. But Jasper for all his hedonism and selfishness, Wendell had always believed that he could count on Jasper. He certainly believed that Jasper understood there were some boundries you simply did not cross in a friendship. Picking up your ex that you're still totally in
love infatuated with was one of these boundries.
Wendell turned back to Atlas with wild (albiet slightly glazed) eyes. "Never completely trust him Atlas! I know you're the closest to him, the Ravenclaw thing and all, but you can't trust him. He'll turn on you when you least expected it! He doesn't care who he trounces on to get what he wants! ... What I want."
Wendell's second outburst sputtered out (his glass was drained again) and he banged his forehead against the bartop.
Atlas Caedmon - May 28, 2010 06:06 AM (GMT)
Betrayal. Wendell spat the word and then looked as if it had caused him physical harm. As Atlas recalled there was a charm that could cause scalding of the throat when certain words were uttered. It was fairly harmless for the most part, and typically used as good old school time fun. Jasper had once managed to cast it on Harold, with an added modification that preemptively rendered him mute whenever he was going to complain. A month later he’d turned them into their head of house and the era had been over. Maybe Jasper had done something similar to Wendell, but he’d been back from the dead for such a remarkably short time that it seemed the two of them simply wouldn’t have had the time to offend one another.
Wendell still seemed to be struggling, his hand spasmodically grasping and then releaseing his glass while one foot dangled and swung from the bar stool. It seemed that being alive and not in fact dead as your immediate family and loved ones had believed would be a happy occasion. Wendell looked depressed. Which left Atlas to wondering if he had ever before seen Wendell depressed. Maybe when his brother had died, that’d been horrible but Will had been there as a nice soothing and kind sounding board, while Atlas and Jasper had sat around starring at one another for awhile unsure of the exact protocol.
His train of thought was broken when Wendell suddenly swung toward him, like his hinges had gone off, Atlas leaned away until and ever-sore muscle in his back twitched, then eased back into a straight backed position, Wendell relatively close. Never completely trust him Atlas! I know you're the closest to him, the Ravenclaw thing and all, but you can't trust him. He'll turn on you when you least expected it! He doesn't care who he trounces on to get what he wants! ... What I want.
The outburst was ended with a sudden and oddly hollow sound of bone and skin and some hair and eyebrows meeting with the bar top. For a moment Atlas starred, wondering if maybe he should try and pick him up, and if there needed to be more of less alcohol in the situation and finally, what had Jasper done exactly? Wendell’s words were pointed and drunk and honest, he’d never tried to warn Atlas about a danger that wasn’t actually a potential problem.
“Wendell...” The lump on the bar made a grumbling noise and shifted a bit. Maybe more alcohol then. Atlas signaled for the bar tender and then used the beverage, to attempt to coax Wendell back up. “Jasper is a great many things but,” Trying to ignore the multitude of arguments the two had had recently, focusing instead on the years of otherwise, mostly smooth sailing. “What, did he beat you out for a heist or something?” It seemed a flippant reason for so much woe and head slamming but it was all that came to mind.
Wendell Darrow - May 29, 2010 04:00 AM (GMT)
Atlas slid another glass of whiskey towards him. At least he thought he did, even though he was face down on the bar the world seemed to be spinning around him. Additionally, his head had started aching from the brutal contact it had just made with the bar top. Wendell's displeasure with his current state of affairs was emitted with an unhappy grumble that wasn't so much words as that weird moaning language of the whales.
“Jasper is a great many things but,”
Though the spinning and the pain he realized that Atlas was trying to stand up for Jasper, or make excuses for him or something. He wasn't suprised by this fact, but it certainly wasn't making his headache any better. In fact, the angry crinkling response of his forehead only made it worse. He emitted a displeased groan to inform Atlas his opinion on what exactly Jasper was.
What, did he beat you out for a heist or something?”
No. Merlin would rise from his grave to fulfill his lifelong ambition of becoming the world polka champion before Jasper would double cross him on a heist. But on a girl? There was no honor among playboys. Wendell tried to take the moral high ground by telling himself that if he really believed Jasper liked Sofia, he would have stepped aside (it was a total lie, of course). But the truth was, he knew that Jasper didn't like her. He remembered the appalled look on Jasper's face the first time Wendell mentioned running into the most stunning brunette auror...Robards something. In the face of Wendell's obvious admiration (and admitting that she was quite attractive) he had usually resisted offering whatever his real opinion of her was. But Wendell knew it wasn't complimentary.
With a great effort Wendell pulled his head up from the bar top, and reached for the drink. He swayed unsteadily and the whiskey sloshed over the rim on the glass to trickle down his hand. Undeterred he brought it to his mouth, most of the liquid made it in a little splashed down onto his shirt. He tried to focus on Atlas' face, it would have been easier if he were sitting still...or maybe it was the wall behind him that wasn't sitting still, it was hard to tell.
"I-I saw her first! First I tells you!" He ranted. "In the were- wear- warehouse. She was stunner and hit me with the stunning! But then she liked me anyhow...but didn't know about Batman. Stupid Batman! Always ruins everything. Betrayal!"
He drank some more, and swayed some more, and sloshed some more. He eventually decided that gripping onto the edge of the bartop was necessary to maintain his balance. Who knew that London had earthquakes?
Atlas Caedmon - May 29, 2010 09:05 PM (GMT)
People often made a mistake in assuming that Atlas didn’t like drinking. It wasn’t true, he did, sometimes more than he should. His opposition wasn’t to drinking, merely to doing so in public. The primary reason was that he just didn’t trust who else might be in public slipping things into your drink, or just blinking at you when you asked them for a nice side car. The other reason was that sometimes there were scenes. Like this time. Wendell managed to rouse himself, giving Atlas a look that expressed two things, one that he was incorrect and two that he was almost piteously thick. That expression looked the same on anyone who used it, a rare convenience. Now that he’d informed Atlas of how wrong he was Wendell reached for the glass, using a start stop technique common to those well pissed.
I-I saw her first! First I tells you! In the were---wear The first was out like a fact, the second like a question and the third and final preparation, warehouse was shouted in a manner suggesting that he might imagine Atlas was deaf. He wasn’t deaf but he was almost ready to agree with Wendell that he was thick because he still wasn’t sure what exactly what the other man was on about. Was the Warehouse some new club Atlas would know nothing about? Funny that Wendell should complain about Jasper taking dibs on a bird, he should just only agree to go to clubs where there might not be models. Like this one for instance. Glancing over his shoulder Atlas confirmed that theory.
Wendell’s shoulder bumped him, forcing Atlas to reach out a hand and grab at the edge of the bar to stay upright. Shouldn’t have ordered him that third drink, a voice very much like Jasper’s chimed in with something about giants and alcohol tolerance. was stunner and hit me with the stunning! But then she liked me anyhow...but didn't know about Batman. Stupid Batman! Always ruins everything. Betrayal!
First they were angry at Jasper and now Batman was falling under the ax. Wendell needed to make up his mind so that Atlas would know who he needed to be cross with.
He shook his fist and raged at the very ceiling of the Vault, which merely dripped on the two of them in response. Wendell seemed to take this as some indication that Atlas might have apparated the two of them onto a boat of some sort because he was having an increasingly difficult time remaining upright.
Assessing the situation Atlas determined that it was time for them to leave, digging his pockets produced a wooden button, some peruvian sand dollars that he hadn’t exchanged back for galleons and finally the proper currency which he plunked on the table before gently taking a hold of Wendell’s elbow. “I think maybe we should go for a walk. What do you say?”
He’d managed to tug Wendell a good foot away from the bar when the elements in his brain finally galvanized into something useful. Very slowly, still unsure that the signals weren’t getting all mixed up, he looked back and down at Wendell. “Warehouse, means warehouse? Like a place, and you mean Sofia Robards? Wendell, Jasper doesn't even like Sofia Robards.”
Wendell Darrow - June 1, 2010 12:53 AM (GMT)
“I think maybe we should go for a walk. What do you say?”
Atlas put some money on the bar and pulled Wendell to his feet without waiting for a response. Wendell grumbled unintelligably at the abruptness of it all, he hadn't finished his last whiskey! His feet felt oddly leadened as Atlas pulled him across the room, and he stumbled ungracefully barely avoiding crashing face-first into a table, a one-eyed hag, and the floor only by Atlas' quick work in uprighting him and pulling him out of danger at the last second.
“Warehouse, means warehouse? Like a place, and you mean Sofia Robards? Wendell, Jasper doesn't even like Sofia Robards.”
"Eggzactly! He don't even like Sofie-a!" Wendell agreed emphatically. "But he stole her anyways! Prolly doesn't even know how she likes her tea! Or her favorite colour! Or...or...anything!" Wendell nodded decidedly, but it made him even dizzier so he quickly abandoned the activity. But he felt his point was made nevertheless. Jasper's ignorance on something as basic as her favorite color or the way she liked her tea was evidence that he clearly didn't really like her and was just dating her to backstab Wendell for some mysterious reason.
When he regained his balance again, he noticed that Atlas was still staring at him skeptically. Clearly he wasn't understanding the significance of Wendell's words. So he dug into his pocket and pulled out a crumpled bit of newspaper that he waved under Atlas' nose. It was the same article that Wendell had brought to Jasper's house one sunny afternoon, with a box of muffins looking for a good laugh. The result had been much different. Wendell was beginning to believe that he had a masochistic streak in him, since despite the disaster that article had brought him, he couldn't help but carry it with him. He'd pull it out every now and again and brood over it.
Atlas would also soon discover he had scribbled an unflattering lumberjack beard and horns on Jasper's picture. Tiny doodled crows circled his head and occasionally swooped down to peck at his eyes. Wendell scowled at the piece of paper (although he wasn't sure if he was frowning at the right one...there were three), as Atlas perused its contents.
Atlas Caedmon - June 2, 2010 12:54 AM (GMT)
He believed that Wendell was agreeing with him, Atlas had an ear for accents but drunkin sloshing was something that really sounded very different on every tongue. It also went through a number of alterations depending on the subject matter. One of your mates dating your ex girlfriend, your very recently ex girlfriend had a tinge of drunk anger mixed with drunk self righteousness maybe there was some form of sullenness buried underneath. Hard to tell with the sputtering.
But he stole her anyways! Prolly doesn't even know how she likes her tea! That was probably true. Unless Eres Christie had created some kind of index about how different pureblood girls liked their tea and then made Jasper memorize it. Or her favorite color! That was probably, actually, not really true. It was something that Jasper seemed to pick up about women fairly quickly, and then he would provide jewelry of the complementing color. He’d known Helena’s favorite color, a blue of some sort, long before Atlas had even thought it something important enough to ask about.
He looked down at Wendell, ready to tell him about it, and then thought better of it when he saw the mixed expression on his face. Wendell was burrowing into his jacket pocket, one arm trying to hold the coat in place while the other coal mined. There was a great deal of bending going on, like Wendell had decided that an impromptu yoga session in the vault might woo Sofia back to him. Finally, with a triumphant whoop and a trip that nearly sent him to the ground, Wendell produced a crumbled scrap of paper, shoving it into Atlas’ face and then try to stand still.
Grateful for that summer spent learning (or trying to learn) to catch flies, Atlas snatched at the paper and managed to take it from Wendell’s hands after only a few flailing attempts. What he saw wasn’t particularly damning. Some fluff piece written for the Prophets gossip section, though the photo had undergone some careful edits under Wendell’s artistic hand. The horns might not have been such a exaggeration, sometimes Atlas thought he saw them, the buzzards though. Aware that he could easily become sidetracked he moved on to the words, reading them over carefully. And again it was the usual drivel, two pure bloods from families older than the mayonnaise in his grandparents refrigerator are believed to have been seen together and everyone was a twitter. Wondering when the next practically inbred in every way child would appear to aforementioned couple.
“Wendell.” Wasn’t good at being Will, Will was nice and sensitive and commonly observed social niceties. “This doesn't prove anything, they’re two separate pictures, judging from the lag on Jasper’s they’re from two different time periods. Like before Sofia became head of level 2, she got more squinty after that...” No wait, wrong, Wendell would be accusing him of things next. “These sorts of stories appear all the time. It never means anything, Jasper’s been telling the Prophet’s gossip columnists since puberty. Unless you saw something that is. That’d be pretty indicative of something wrong in Denmark, or even London....really with the universe in general.”
Wendell Darrow - June 2, 2010 02:01 AM (GMT)
“These sorts of stories appear all the time. It never means anything, Jasper’s been telling the Prophet’s gossip columnists since puberty. Unless you saw something that is. That’d be pretty indicative of something wrong in Denmark, or even London....really with the universe in general."
Wendell began to shake his head in disagreement but it made him dizzier than ever. He pulled Atlas to a stop while the world tried to straighten itself again. Any further attempts at walking would accomplish nothing but him tripping over his own feet and chipping a tooth as he hit a chair on his way down.
"Of course not! But I took it to him, for a laugh. And he telss me its true! To make up for goblin-man he was seeing before that his mum didn't like." Wendell argued. He couldn't blame Atlas for being skeptical of Lola's article, after all he had had a similar reaction when he first read it. It had taken significant amounts of convincing on Jasper's part for him to finally believe it.
With his senses once again righted, Atlas continued steering him towards the Vault's exit. When he finally stumbled out into the street, it was muddy but the raining had at least let up for a while. Wendell pulled free of Atlas' firm grip and leaned against the brick wall of the club. He was too dizzy to actually take any steps unaided, but being pulled around like a pet was making him nauseous. Either that or the large quantities of firewhiskey he'd been chugging for the last past few hours.
"They're just laughing at poor, stupid Wendell Darrow." He muttered. "Just like they used to."
He leaned his head back against the building and looked up at the night sky, there were no stars twinkling above him, just a coal black churning mass of clouds above. It was a poetic representation of his current mental torment, but it did absolutely nothing to make him feel any better. He had a feeling that the words coming out of Atlas' mouth might have done that, but he couldn't make the strings of words form any coherent sentences in his head.
Dear Merlin, how did this happen?
Atlas Caedmon - June 2, 2010 02:55 AM (GMT)
They made it out onto the street, Atlas muttering an apology at an intimidating looking pair of wizards, one had a gold tooth, the other didn’t appear to have any teeth at all. And it was looking increasingly as if some of what was proving to be so upsetting to Wendell might have some truth to it. He hadn’t seen Jasper in a few days, not since the tattling incident. He’d childishly been avoiding Jasper, at all costs, apparating where he needed to go, staying indoords and making no efforts to try and speak to him. Or Cal, who had to be the goblin man Wendell was talking about. He’d always thought that when Eres found out where would be some definitive sign, lightning in the sky, fire in the streets.
He’d also thought that he, rather than her fiddling son, would be the first to die in the resulting Armageddon. But how had she found out? And why hadn’t she or Jasper come to kill him yet. Making sure to keep an eye on Wendell, who kept tracking to the right and hitting the wall at increasingly higher speeds, he looked at the scrap of paper again. No date, and he hadn’t read the Prophet in days.
They’re just laughing at poor, stupid Wendell Darrow. Just like they used to.
Self hating, this meant he was going to have to do something didn’t it? Wendell’s voice had come from a distant, Atlas looked up to find him trailing down the wall, loosing speed and altitude all the time. Crunching the paper into his pocket he limped off after him, catching his elbow and adding leverage to get him up, making a few reassuring sounds while he did. Stupid William and his promotion and stupid Jasper for getting them all into this mess. Wendell slid on something sticky, Atlas didn’t even want to know what it was and so kept walking, gently steering the two of them toward Wendell’s flat.
“Whose laughing? Oh, metaphorically?” He thought that Wendell might have just tried to swat him, or he could have been reaching for invisible door knobs. This whole thing seemed fare fetched and horrible, even for Jasper, and it was those reasons combined with the current situation that made Atlas increasingly wondering if maybe it was true. He had always wondered when Jasper was going to turn on them, go back to what he was meant to do rather than what he’d chosen. It was something that he hadn’t thought about in a long time, and he’d never thought Wendell would be the first to be betrayed. They were the same weren’t they? Both had the names and books with lineages going back forever that could buy so much money and power in their world, even if they hadn’t had any to begin with.
They’d finally gotten there and Atlas went to work on the locks, pausing to make sure Wendell was up right. “Always thought that Jasper was different. He’s always been so good to us.” The benevolent pure blood who lowered himself to spending his time with freaks. They were going to need more to drink. “It’s f-cked up. What he did to you. If it’s true. It must be true though. Right?”
Wendell Darrow - June 3, 2010 04:10 AM (GMT)
“Always thought that Jasper was different. He’s always been so good to us.”
Wendell's head nodded dejectedly. He had always been able to tell when the purebloods were prideful snobs. They typically didn't expend much effort in making you believe otherwise. But Jasper had never really seemed to care where you came from, as long as you were able to smuggle potions without getting caught. But coming from a family as important as the Christie's Wendell could only believe he had been niaive to think that Jasper wouldn't eventually conform to his family's standards.
“It’s f-cked up. What he did to you. If it’s true. It must be true though. Right?”
"When have I ever lied to you?"
Wendell managed the final few steps to enter his darkened flat. He didn't very often enertain any of his friends there, it was silly when they had much nicer homes, in a less shady part of London. It wasn't that he couldn't afford to have a better place, but nicer flats were usually accompianied by nosey, law-abiding neighbors. It was easier to store merchandise in the spare bedroom when there wasn't anyone interested in the cumbersome parcels you brought in and out every few days.
Wendell motioned for Atlas to take a seat, or rather his arms flailed wildly around in a direction that may have pointed towards the chair in the living room. He opened the liquor cabnet that stood in the corner of the room, it was well stocked, mostly because Wendell rarely drank at home. He pulled out a couple of bottles and two glasses which he plopped down on the coffee table.
"Have a drink Atlas, I don't think your drunk 'nough yet."
He filled both tumblers and collapsed on his sofa.
Atlas Caedmon - June 3, 2010 04:09 PM (GMT)
When have I ever lied to you? The words weren’t all that slurred but it appeared that it was but a brief and transient moment of sobriety because a moment later Wendell was stumbling his way into the apartment with all the grace of a three legged new born foal. Unfortunately he did have a point, aside from one or two little white lies along the way, Wendell had always been remarkably straight forward with him. Atlas had often found that criminals and those otherwise considered to be nere-do-wells could be infinitely more honest than the majority of those people put their trust in. When a member of the Russian syndicate told you they were going to make you eat your own liver, chances were that they were going to do their utmost to make that happen.
When angry members of Level 2 made the same threat while they attempted to search your home or business, were usually just full of hot air. Stepping into the flat Atlas gently closed the door, resetting the locks that he knew and trying to remember the last time he’d been in Wendell’s flat. A few months ago, William had asked Atlas and Jasper to accompany him to the flat after Wendell had passed away. They’d been planning to find a few personal articles to return to Wendell’s family and decided about halfway through the search and into Will’s second crying spell that the Darrows didn’t really deserve it.
Some wild flailing across the room drew Atlas’ attention, he wondered if Wendell had been telling him to follow, swatting at imaginary flies, or instructing Atlas to hurl himself from the window. Eventually Wendell’s arm lost some of its momentum and Atlas recognized that he was being told to have a seat. Which he promptly did, shuffling so as to get himself properly situated.
Have a drink Atlas, I don’t think your drunk ‘nough yet. That was a personal critique Atlas had heard a lot over the years. One of the disadvantages of being large; aside from it completely destroying childhood dreams of being a tiny P.I. fitting into narrow spaces and spying on the bad guys, was that it meant getting drunk took a concerted effort on his part and sometimes careful planning.
Lifting the glass he took a generous gulp and then lifted the bottle to eye level, fire whiskey, breakfast of champions. “I don’t understand.” He paused for a moment, suddenly aware of how much Wendell might not know. That Calixtus wasn’t in prison for example, or that until very recently Jasper had been...well, things with him. Atlas wasn’t usually the one in a position where he had other people's personal secrets at hand, it made him feel itchy.
“Why Robards though? There are so many other pure bloods he could have chosen. Ones less involved with the police and less involved with, well, you. He’s been such a..... prat lately.” It felt good he realized, to insult Jasper. “Just completely self important and....” It was still hard to make the words happen, so he drank more. “Bossy. He didn’t even tell you did he? Just waited for you to find out? Probably would have just kept it hidden if he could. Do you know how long it’s been going on?”
Wendell Darrow - June 3, 2010 05:19 PM (GMT)
“Why Robards though? There are so many other pure bloods he could have chosen. Ones less involved with the police and less involved with, well, you. He’s been such a..... prat lately. Just completely self important and....” He trailed off searching for the right word. It looked like it was somewhat painful for Atlas to think up slurs for his best friend. This was undoubtedly because Atlas was a good friend. He wouldn't just up and sleep with your girlfriend a couple weeks after a painful, breakup. He actually cared about his friends and their well-being, not just his own.
“Bossy. He didn’t even tell you did he? Just waited for you to find out? Probably would have just kept it hidden if he could. Do you know how long it’s been going on?”
"Dunno. Only found out this morning. Thought it was funny, brought it to him for a laugh." He leaned over and picked the discarded article up off the coffee table, staring at it morosely. "Ha. Ha. Ha. Joke's on me."
He took another swig of his firewhiskey. "Tried to blame the whole thing on her. She never even mentioned knowing him. Course...I dunno if she knows I knowed- knew him. But he knew anyway! Didn't care."
He settled into a resolute pout and worked on convincing himself that he didn't care he had lost his friendship with Jasper. He was a traitorous, back-stabbing prat! So what if he had helped Wendell when he needed to fake his death, or during the uncountable number of times they had worked together. It had all been a grand, elaborate sham. No he didn't care that he had lost Jasper...or Sofia either! He was just upset at their presumptious habit of using people. Who needed them! He still had Will- wait no. Will wasn't speaking to him either. Well he had Atlas and Apollo!
Damn. Life would be a lot more sparkley and a lot less reasonable now.
"Should've broken 'is nose." He lamented. It was something that he had been considering almost from the instant he had walked out of Jasper's flat. Jasper was always so touchy about his nose, it would have been the ultimate form of revenge. 'Eh, he'll need some asprin at any rate.' Wendell consolled himself with pictures of Jasper's left eye black, and swollen.
Atlas Caedmon - June 5, 2010 06:51 PM (GMT)
Wendell went for the paper again and Atlas immediately regretted leaving it out in the first place. He had to get rid of it, it really wouldn’t do to have Wendell sitting about, looking at it day in and day out and steadily become more and more angry with Jasper as he went. There was one scar on Jasper’s body, a small patch just behind one knee, Atlas hadn’t seen it in a number of years, not since Helena had once somehow coerced Jasper into swimming trunks for a very short lived and ill fated sailing excursion. That one scar had been the work of Wendell Darrow, a younger less angry just trying to be helpful by teaching Jasper to duel Wendell Darrow, but the fact remained. Hopefully Wendell had just stormed out and hadn’t gone for Jasper, it was sort of like attacking a sloth while it was crossing a road. So easy it wasn’t even satisfying.
At least it hadn’t been too long since Wendell had found out, which safely meant that he hadn’t been wallowing for too long. It also meant that Atlas was in that all important position of damage control. Tried to blame the whole thing on her. She never even mentioned knowing him. Atlas supposed that this wasn’t the time to point out that considering that the two families ran in the same circles, most of which involved formal teas and formal dinners and many different kinds of utensils, they would have had to know one another. As Atlas recalled one of the first conversations he had ever had with Jasper’s mother was in regaurds to how prefect she thought ‘that pretty Robards girl’ was for her son. At the time Atlas, Jasper and the perfect girl had been 12.
“Thats how it is when he wants something.” Atlas leaned forward to refill Wendell’s glass, he didn’t want him flailing for the bottle, his grasp on gravity was rather specious without adding in any sudden movements. “He just takes it, irregaurdless of another persons feelings. He just doesn't think.” Atlas found that he needed to speak slowly in order to ensure that all the words were getting out in their proper place and order in the sentence.
Should’ve broken ‘is nose. Wendell’s voice when he said the words was the same one Apollo used when he’d seen something on sale and failed to buy it. Morse and regretful.
Atlas clapped Wendell on the back and nodded slowly. “You probably should have. It’s not as if it isn’t something that could have been fixed later and it might have made you feel better. Might have better communicated your displeasure with the situation. Any chance you can talk to Sofia about this? I wouldn’t try and break her nose though, she can be a bit scary.”
Wendell Darrow - June 7, 2010 03:12 AM (GMT)
"Any chance you can talk to Sofia about this? I wouldn’t try and break her nose though, she can be a bit scary.”
Wendell's grip on the news clipping tightened, crumpling in his tense grip. 'A bit scary' was something of an understatement when it came to Sofia. Even when only moderately annoyed with him, Wendell came out with a broken arm. Her deathly pallor and unusual silence had spoken more than words ever could. She was so angry and upset with him that words weren't capable of properly expressing it.
"No. I-I can't."
As much as he had believed he was doing the right thing by not telling Sofia or any of his friends about his escape plan when he started it, he was beginning to realize that perhaps it had not been the best decision. Whether or not his actions had provided them any protection from the likes of Ivy Ballantine, they had apparently suffered equally from his deception. And yet, their anger - justifiable or not - befuddled him in its intensity. He was alive, he had tried to apologize, to explain but they just wouldn't listen.
"She won't see me, and I don't think--" I don't think I could bear actually hearing her tell me that she prefers being with Jasper than me.
"--I don't think that she would listen to me." He finished lamely, taking another gulp of his drink. He glanced forelornly over at Atlas who nodded along glumly.
"I'm suprised you're not...defending him. You usually...well I mean what did he do to you?"
Atlas Caedmon - June 7, 2010 05:09 AM (GMT)
Wendell barely considered Atlas’ question before he muttered answer, muffled by the proximity of his glass to his lips. Atlas caught it though and didn’t press him on the matter further. If Wendell wanted to talk about it he would, but if he preferred to sit in amiable silence until he was too pissed to move, that was fine by Atlas was well. And for a little bit that was what they did, Wendell starring into this class like he was back in that ill advised divination class and Atlas keeping a watchful eye on him to see when he needed refills, water, possibly peanuts, or maybe some help getting to bed.
She won’t see me, and I don’t think-- Wendell swallowed heavily and his head lulled on his shoulders. If it went too much he might loose his center of gravity and tip over. Atlas judged the hardness of the floor, the hardness of Wendell’s skull and estimated if he’d be able to catch him in time. Needed to move a few more inches to the left to make it viable.
I don’t think she would listen to me. Sofia, in the very few conversations that Atlas had had with her, had never really struck him as a person capable of making great leaps of faith. More grounded and single minded, someone, basically, who wouldn’t really appreciate someone coming back from the dead. Where Atlas marveled at the feat it seemed that Robards would be more deeply concerned with the implications it might have on her position in the Ministry. Another reason to dislike the system to be added to many.
I’m surprised you’re not...defending him. You usually...well I mean what did he do to you?
That was true. There wasn’t ever really much cause to do so, criminal dealings of the physical and magical varieties aside. When the moment came though Atlas had always risen to the occasion, primarily because he had believed that Jasper was always going to have his back. Then when the moment had been best for him he’d gone behind it. Atlas looked at Wendell and wanted to tell him everything, all the little things Jasper had been doing that annoyed him, made him angry, worried him. It wasn’t an option though, there was too much to loose or too much that was secret. Which, he supposed was how Jasper felt all the time.
“He went behind my back.” That was safe enough and would give Wendell some common ground to cling to. “To my grandfather about.....things. We’ve been arguing. Jasper n me. Ever since Calixtus came into things. He was lying to all of us you know, for weeks at least, if not months. I thought that he trusted us more n that, y’know? Jas lies to everying, just not us.”
"Wouldn't listen to me. About anything. Tired to warn him, especially after the incident with the scarf. I told him. I've never tried t tell Jas what to do and the one time he just blows it off like nothing. Just doesn't listen. Ever. And then everythin turns to sh-t and he said he was sorry but what does that even mean?"
Wendell Darrow - June 7, 2010 05:50 AM (GMT)
"Wouldn't listen to me. About anything. Tired to warn him, especially after the incident with the scarf. I told him. I've never tried t tell Jas what to do and the one time he just blows it off like nothing. Just doesn't listen. Ever. And then everythin turns to sh-t and he said he was sorry but what does that even mean?"
Atlas turned to him as if expecting that Wendell would be able to provide him an answer. He blurrily wondered if Atlas had, had anyone to vent to about Jasper. He suspected the answer was probably no. Although they got along well enough, truth be told Wendell had really only ever been friends with Atlas through Jasper. He wasn't sure that he had ever just had a drink with Atlas independently of any of the other boy's club members before. And he strongly suspected that this was the case with Will and Apollo as well. He felt a little guilty about never taking much time to get to know Atlas on his own. He felt worse for not being able to be around after SHOP was attacked by the terrorists. He was supposedly dead at the time, so he couldn't even if had wanted to - but it was a painful personal realization that he had been too wrapped up in his own personal drama to even properly inquire after him through Jasper. His depressed moping wildly shifted into self-righteous anger at Jasper. Atlas clearly needed someone to vent to as well!
"Nothing! It means absolutely nothing, Atlas!" Wendell said sitting up with unnatural speed considering his inebriated state. "He said the same damn thing to me! 'Oh I'm so sorry Wendell...I've been meaning to tell you about Sofia!' I'll tell you what it means Atlas, it means he's sorry he's gotten called out for being a total arse! But he's not sorry about it at all, he'd do the same damn thing all over again!"
He swayed a bit but managed to pick up the bottle of firewhiskey and refill Atlas' glass to the top. Nodded at him sympathetically.
"I mean why the 'ell would he believe some scrawney creeper over 'is best friend, eh? Tell me that? Cause he thinks he's some f-cking infall-infallible god or sumtin! He can do no damn wrong!"
He waved his glass around as he started gesturing wildly with his hands.
"And I bet he turns it back on you to, didn't he? You tell 'im he was wrong and he tells you that it's somehow your fault. That you're selfish for being pissed he's destroying your life!"
Atlas Caedmon - June 7, 2010 06:13 AM (GMT)
For some reason he had expected Wendell to admonish him. Tell him how silly he was being and that he should really just keep these things to himself. But that was Jasper talking wasn’t it? Telling him he was wrong, or insane, or just plain paranoid, and he hadn’t been. He’d been right, not about everything, and what he’d done had negated the prize of crowing over the realization, but Jasper had never even acknowledged it. Even after the attack they’d never talked about it. Not once.
Nothing! It means absolutely nothing, Atlas! He’d spent so much time having Jasper argue with him and dismiss him that it was startling to be agreed with. And so readily. It took a moment for the gears to shift and Atlas to accept that Wendell wasn’t going to instruct him to be quiet or start shouting. Not that he wasn’t shouting now but it was a pleasant agreeable kind of shouting. They should invent a new word for that sort of shouting. It was nice to have Wendell translating Jasper speech and behavior for him. Maybe they really should get together more often. Have to be careful what he said though. In the forefront of his mind was everything Wendell couldn’t know, and along with it came a pang of guilt that he might not be much better than Jasper himself.
I mean why the ‘ell would he believe some scrawny creeper over ‘is best friend, eh? Atlas covered a mixed shudder shurg hybrid by taking a drink from his glass. It was a question he’d asked himself forever, up until the point where it had no long been relevant.
“Used to think it was mind control powers. N Jasper said wasn’t, loud. Really loud. Unnecessarily loud. Don’t see the appeal. Could see there was somethin wrong with him. But Jasper couldn’t cause he didn’t want to.”
And I bet he turns it back on you to, didn't he? You tell 'im he was wrong and he tells you that it's somehow your fault. That you're selfish for being pissed he's destroying your life! Jumping with the glass hit the table Atlas moped the slipped liquid up with one sleeve. Then wriggle his arm, upset at the new found dampness.
“He does! All the time.” Another drink and then he reached for the bottle, motioning for Wendell to hand it over. This was going to get out of hand before too long but it felt oddly cathartic. Therapeutic. “Nothing can be his fault, because he’s already thought of everything and how to use it against you. Even when he does you a favor you wonder if its just so he can have something over you. Use it gainst you when you cross him. He’s better than that though, can be better than that.”
“Don’t think he’s human sometimes. How could he not know?” Wendell was nodded in agreement but Atlas wasn’t quiet sure what he was talking about. “How Will would react when he saw Ferox like a naked mole rat in Jasper’s hall? Or me when he....” Still too much. “When all I was trying to do was look out for him, all I’ve ever tried to do. Or you with Sofia. He had to know you’d be pissed? Yeah?”
Wendell Darrow - June 9, 2010 03:22 AM (GMT)
Atlas jumped up, not unlike Wendell had moments earlier, spilling his whiskey in the process. He had apparently struck a nerve - no doubt Jasper twisted things around to shift blame onto Atlas all the time. Atlas was probably a fairly easy target for his manipulation because he was a loyal friend and trusted Jasper.
“He does! All the time.” He motioned for Wendell to hand him the bottle again. He slid it across the coffee table into Atlas' waiting hand.
“Don’t think he’s human sometimes. How could he not know?”
Wendell nodded along, he hadn't had very many meetings with Jasper's strange 'houseguest.' But his first thought had been that the guy was rather creepy and untrustworthy. It was one of the reasons he had gone out of his way to seperate him from Sofia. Of course Cal had then started staring at Wenbale with a lot more lust than Wendell had been comfortable with. He shuddered at the memory.
“How Will would react when he saw Ferox like a naked mole rat in Jasper’s hall? Or me when he...." He awkwardly trailed off without finishing.
Wendell felt like he was missing something from Atlas' side of the conversation, but he attributed that to the six (or was it seven?) firewhiskeys he'd had so far that evening. Too many. He was going to have a hellish hangover the next morning.
'When all I was trying to do was look out for him, all I’ve ever tried to do. Or you with Sofia. He had to know you’d be pissed? Yeah?”
"He's f-cking selfish. Makes me sick." He added crossly. Or more likely it was the alcohol that was making him sick. But he was too far gone to realize this. "Of course he knew, I'd be pissed. Who the hell wouldn't be pissed?"
Atlas Caedmon - June 12, 2010 08:29 PM (GMT)
He’s f--king selfish. Makes me sick. Wendell looked as if he might actually become sick. Atlas looked around the room wildly for something appropriate for catching sick in. You could do it with a wand, but only if you concentration held out. Drunk and ruminating upon a heap of lies laid upon you by your best mate didn’t leave ones mind properly open for concentrating on even very basic spells. And Atlas had no urge to have a repeat episode of the last time he’d tried such a thing and ended up encasing his own head in a fishbowl like environment until he managed to flail enough to break the spell. There was a bowl that might do nicely...
Of course he knew, I’d be pissed. Who the hell wouldn’t be pissed?
“People looking for a reason to break it off anyway?” Wendell blinked at him blearily. “Not applicable here, right yeah. You’ve every right to be pissed...I don’t suppose there would be any hope of getting an explanation out of him.” Atlas finished off his glass and then kept his hand over the glass, partially for the balance and partially to prevent Wendell from refilling it. He’d probably be hung over tomorrow as it was. “Someone outghta talk to im...he can’t be allowed to just do these things cause.”
Wendell wasn’t moving, more swaying as if caught by some kind of breeze. “Maybe we should be blaming it on the culture. You know the sick state of things that pressures interbreeding to maintain the division of the classes. You’ know. Isss like brain washing. Both of em have a pre recorded message that jus tells em to go at it. Make new ones to feel the same pressure.” He was rambling, that happened sometimes. “Or Sofia could be tryin make you jealous, know? Women can be like that. Coy n stuff. I’m sure that the situation isn’t terminal.”
Wendell Darrow - June 13, 2010 04:27 AM (GMT)
Atlas' words were starting to slur together to the point of incomprehensibility, at least to Wendell. His brain was too fuzzy to properly focus on the conversation anymore. His slight swaying continued with a greater ferocity, to match the percieved rocking of the room. He dropped his glass to reach for the coffee table in an attempt to stabilize himself.
“Or Sofia could be tryin make you jealous, know? Women can be like that. Coy n stuff. I’m sure that the situation isn’t terminal.”
"Work-ing pertty well, innit?" He mumbled, falling back into the couch. The room began to fade to black as he started to sink into a drunken coma. However, he was brought briefly back to the living world by a stinging sensation across his cheek. He blinked his eyes blearily open to see a hazy Atlas leaning over him, rambling on about...something. After a few moments of blinking stupidly at his friend, he realized that Atlas was trying to get him to move someplace better suited to pass out drunkenly, than his current position haphazardly across the sofa.
He struggled to pull himself upright, and it would have been an utterly futile effort but for the assistance of his mildly less intoxicated friend. The two staggered wildly in the general direction of Wendell's room. They bumped into various bits of furniture and the wall (multiple times). However finally, Wendell (or more likely Atlas) was able to locate the bed and drop him onto it. There were more words, but again they faded away as the darkness closed in again.
"Jus--haf to steal 'er back. I'm good at stealin' stuff....even from Jas," were the last words that he managed to mumble before he finally passed out. The next morning he would wake up still miserable and with a hangover of epic proportions, but for now at least he could escape into his dreams.