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The thought of marrying Cecily Gallivan had occurred to Fitz in the way that the thought of marrying any attractive young lady did: a firm maybe and a hasty step away to more pleasurable topics, like sport or brandy.Fitzroy Prewett in Well. That took a turn.
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March 30th, 1891 - Ester's Rooms
This was easier than pretending, it was; he'd landed at one of the opium dens he knew Gibson frequented, and still tended to carry enough pocket change around to buy a little laudanum, enough to make him popular enough that he could stay here. It was cheaper for him to get high than it had been years ago, because he wasn't used to it anymore — any tolerance he'd had was gone. That was enough to ensure that Monday went by in a haze, which he'd wanted — he didn't have any obligations that day, Easter Monday or whatever, so all he had to do was go back underwater into his own poor decisions. He could do that.

He missed Dezzie. He should have listened to her.

The sun was rising.

"What time is it?" Arthur asked, head lolling back on Ester's couch. He had not known Ester before the other day but she was lovely, if just because she was letting him crash here, and because she was friends with Gordon. He was wearing Gordon's clothes, he was pretty sure. His Quidditch robes at least were at the Howlers pitch.

He needed to come down before he went to practice or he was liable to topple off his broomstick. He should have gotten his watch back from Bella Scrimgeour, should have brought more stuff from home, should have — made several different choices, but in the fog of this laudanum haze he was having a hard time deciding exactly what they were.

@Ester Montgomery @Elias Grimstone
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“Oh, far too early,” Ester said, with soothing confidence - not because she had glanced at the clock (or was even capable of accurately reading the numbers on it half the time) but because she didn’t really care. He ought not to, either: the sun was scarcely up, so there was little fun to be had elsewhere.

And if Bart - or was it Art? she thought it might be, but she had heard Bart the first time he had introduced himself and somehow could not seem to shake the conviction even now - and his life were on a downward spiral there was really nowhere better he could be. Escapes from life were Ester’s specialty. And she was no stranger to picking up strays.

“Anything you need?” She asked lightly, hoping he was not yet alert enough to pick up on her rummaging vigorously through the pockets of a man’s jacket. (Ester was not sure if it was Bart’s or Gordon’s or one left by another nameless visitor, but it had been left on the armchair she had just sunk onto, at any rate, and so it would be remiss of her not to check for any petty cash or perhaps a convenient little bottle of something.)

Not that she was lacking in options, in her own cabinets. (Not quite as full as Fenny’s or a proper druggist’s, but otherwise as well-stocked as anyone’s home could be.) But while her new gentleman friend still looked a little out of it, she had woken with stomach cramps a while ago, and had needed a few more drops of laudanum to get rid of them.
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She was going through his coat, he thought — he didn't remember if there was anything in the pockets other than general detritus, but she might find some laudanum from when he'd gotten here yesterday, or maybe a few loose knuts.

"I think I have work in a few hours," he said. A few hours, Quidditch practices weren't early, he didn't need to be there until ten or so — but he did still need to be there, at some point. And time could get a little weird for him, on laudanum, especially now when he was unused to it and was not actually convinced he'd slept at all.



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She had found a couple of knuts in the coat, which she scooped out quietly, and then discovered a small hole in the bottom of a pocket. Ester prodded a finger through and sat there for a long moment in surprise at herself, and the sudden motherly pang that had hit her with the desire to sew it up for him.

But he had work on the brain. She chuckled lightly when she digested it, mostly because the poor dear clearly could not see the state he was in.

“Quidditch, wasn’t it?” Ester said vaguely, half-aware that he was famous for something other than his obvious vices. “But you don’t need to go, do you? Surely the rules of the game don’t change that often,” she teased. But really, she did not know what quidditch players possibly did all the time: it was not as though they could forget how to fly every week, was it? (The only other thing she knew about quidditch was that Thomas played it at school - he had said it in a letter once - but she couldn’t remember which position.)

And poor Bart was busy going through something, so no one ought to make him work today.
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Arthur hummed vaguely, because she was right, the rules didn't change that often, and was it really so bad if he just didn't go? If he wanted to burn everything down he really ought to just do it as quickly as possible. The comforting weight of being a fuck-up; things would be easier if no one had to pretend to believe that he was better now.

"But I'm supposed to go," Art said, with none of the real urgency he was supposed to feel about this; the laudanum could shield him from the urgency but not from the fact of it. "And if I don't go they'll all know I'm —" he made a vague gesture with one hand that was meant to encompass quarter life crisis, or maybe just that he was high. (That they would also know he was high if he turned up to work like this had not occurred to him.)



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Finding nothing else of note in his pockets and deciding she might actually sew it up later, Ester folded the jacket back over the arm of her chair and slid herself far enough down in its seat that when she stretched out a bare-footed leg out from her dressing gown, she could just about prod at him with her toe. Not that she actually needed to test his reactions - she was acquainted with all the side effects of every tincture of an opiate, and certainly well-versed enough to tell the jitters of coming off it from the enviable languor of being in it. It had not worn off on him yet.  

Supposed,” Ester echoed, making a tutting noise with her tongue behind her teeth. Better forget what one was supposed to do entirely, if one ever wanted to be happy. “And what if you fall right out of the sky, buttercup?” What was the likelihood a bludger knocked his brains out while he was still halfway to oblivion?

Still, she was not quite awake enough to feel the full gravity of his dilemma, and probably did not know him well enough to care what he did with himself one way or the other at all, beyond a vague curiosity about how he would manage it. “I may have ridden a few brooms in that state,” Ester mused with an idle grin, “but never that sort.”


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Ester was funny, and Art snorted at her despite himself. He was not convinced he had ever been called buttercup before. There was something charming about her, with her tutting and her nicknames and her idle grin — if he let himself become too at ease here he could find himself staying forever.

Would that really be so terrible?

He knew it would, but it was still almost preferable to pretend that he didn't.

"I'm pretty good at staying on a broomstick," Art said, grinning crookedly at her, "Of multiple sorts. If you ever want tips." He'd lost track of the metaphor halfway through, and he was fairly certain he had not intended to imply what he'd just implied — but what did it matter? These rooms felt like they were so removed from the bubble of his own life that there could be no consequences for what he said, like when he apparated from his house with Desdemona on Easter he had also sucked himself out of reality. So — whatever.



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“I’ll keep that in mind.” She had to laugh at the thought she would ever need tips (of any sort, but most amusing to her was the picture of her spontaneously taking up flying lessons with him one day, when the most she had ever done in the years since her first at Hogwarts with an actual broomstick was pose suggestively). Still, she wouldn’t rule it out. (To be fair, Ester did not generally rule things out.) Especially not when her new friend was actually rather entertaining. 

“But here I thought artists were the only deviants,” Ester added musingly, eyeing him anew at that little revelation. She was not shocked, of course - there was hardly anything left in the world to shock her, she fancied, and she wasn’t joking about her artistic circles, either - but she was interested, perhaps a little more curious about him now. “Is that why you -?” She broke off to wave vaguely about the room, meaning came to play in the demi-monde, as if maybe he felt more at home here. She thought there had been talk of gambling troubles, or something, (which would explain the disappointingly empty pockets of his), but she also thought he was married, so escaping a probably tedious spouse seemed as good a reason as any to have left.

Ester could empathise; or at any rate, she knew quite well how stifling marriage and propriety and society could be, especially all rolled up in one. It was almost nice to know she was not the only person in the world with that wild reckless urge to sink into other pleasures and disappear.


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