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Thursday's Child, Part Eleven: Post Drunken Bard Indeed
tapestry jacket
I'll admit it. I dote on the character I have named Macduff 'Duffy' Fife. Personality-wise, he seems like my boyfriend at his happiest. I hope he doesn't come across an idiot here because he's not one.

My office smelled so disgusting, in such a familiar way, that it was a relief.
“My apologies, Doctor. When I tried to get up to wash your bin out, my knees turned to water again.” Crumpled on the sofa, Macduff spoke slowly but not weakly. Good sign.
“Did you get much sleep, Duffy?”
He smiled, even though his jaw and throat hurt. “Not a wink and not for the right reason.”
“It seems you tied more than one on. Great bash?”
“Yes and no. I just wasn’t enjoying myself as much. Perhaps I’ve been spoilt by fey revelries.”
“Most likely, it’s hard not to after your first. You’re surprisingly articulate.”
“I am the Post-Drunken Bard.”
“Now, you should have taken yourself home earlier today. Why are you here?”
“It’s tied into why I didn’t have fun. Why is there a box on your desk?”
“Keep in mind, I am a telepath so you don’t have to talk out loud if you don’t want to.”
“I’m fine. Just don’t expect me to sit up. I kept wondering if ‘Nia was all right. She wasn’t happy, angry or upset at all that she didn’t see or hear from us for so long.”
I waited. I took the ornate lacquered box, rested it on my lap and drummed my fingers on it.
“That doesn’t happen.” Thank Hera, Macduff was smart enough to notice patterns. “She always pounces on Mr Head whenever he returns to tell him what she did or what she needs his help with. I once left her waiting for an hour after an assignment because I had a drink with someone. I couldn’t find her and went straight back to the office… where Nia was, trying to gather everyone as a search party. She threatened to castrate me if I did it again and then burst into tears.”
According to his thoughts, she had actually beaten on his chest and howled that she would rip his balls off, but that’s not entirely inaccurate. “That sounds like a rather extreme reaction.”
“‘Nia had her reasons. She thought someone who hated her had tried to kill me out of sheer spite. Now that is extreme if you ask me. I know she’s done things she shouldn’t have, to put it…very mildly, but…sheesh. I couldn’t think like that.”
He was remembering how it wasn’t like the ‘silly’ tears Lavinia shed when being hammy, but that she kept stopping for a moment before something inside her seemed to break and start it all again. That it was too bad Rosalie hadn’t been hired yet; to sit Nia down, wrap her in her red coat and get her something warm to drink or something to wipe her face with because he couldn’t physically do it even if he had thought of it then. How rotten he had felt. Dick had firmly told her to let him go, and then resorted to striking her with the rule book until Macduff realised she just couldn’t. He had to fill his report out by dictating it to one of the other chaps because Nia was clinging to his writing hand and would not respond to a request to simply change arms- Duffy had long given up on getting free. Eventually, after being alone in the office for ages, a cleaning lady took pity on them and was able to somehow conjure some pastries and sugary coffee. Now that I find weird because that lady clearly wasn’t a Boggan. I have to find out this benefactor’s name and ask her out on a date.
“You sound like you still feel guilty about it.”
“What sort of gentleman causes some poor girl to cry like that for at least two whole hours? We also got in trouble over that. People in other departments working late thought it was some kind of romantic tiff and made complaints about the noise disturbance. Everyone here knew it wasn’t, so the investigation wasn’t extensive. We wrote our own versions of what happened and why, and apologies for our mistakes. It must had fit together well enough- we didn’t read each other’s. Nia still had to take something for a fortnight that made her sleepy, even though I stressed it was my fault. It made me realise she may have been serious about the ‘younger brother’ thing, rather than a kind way to say- actually, that part’s not particularly relevant.”
“If you say so.” I tried not to smile. He had remembered in time not to mention what he had asked her shortly into their professional relationship, her polite turning-down and how they had happily got on with the job they were on anyway. I really shouldn’t let on that he was on that trail of thought long enough for me to now know.
“What can I say? I like having an older sister at work even more than a mentor. More hugging.”
“Have you always referred to Lavinia with the feminine pronoun?”
“…I guess so? Shouldn’t I?”
“It’s just uncommon. I don’t see it among the rest of the Department.”
“…I can’t speak for anyone else. I only came in relatively recently and met her as a woman even though I had heard some rumours that sounded… odd, at first.”
“At first?”
“When I met her, most of the insulting parts just seemed unfair. Some of the others may have not always known her as one of the girls, most likely Mr Head, but if anyone really had a problem with it, wouldn’t they have complained about it or left?”
Post-Drunken Bard indeed, he actually made sense.


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