Miss Mephistopheles Traps the Bandit


"Keira""Grace""Masked Bandit"

Summary: Irish busybody sets a trap

Date: 16 January, 1884

Log TitleMiss Mephistopheles Traps the Bandit

Schoolhouse, O'Connor House

He had come, as always, skulking out of the shadows, stealing along the streets and through alleyways known to mongrels, children and himself. Into the schoolhouse, he slips, pausing to look around, then begins to make a circuit of the desks.

Not every desk is opened..only certain ones, perhaps a half dozen of so..From each, he takes a slip of paper, covered in a child's hand with writing, and for each slip of paper taken, he leaves a bright, shiny nickel.

Some desks also get a stick of hard candy, if the paper is particularly neat, or the writing has more import to him.

As he searches, a piece of paper catches his eye from an odd place..obvious, yet hidden. Retrieving the paper cautiously, the masked man reads the following message, ""My dear, my dear, I know/More than another/What makes your heart beat so,/Not even your own mother/Can know it as I know,/Who broke my heart for her/When the wild thought,/That she denies/And has forgot,/Set all her blood astir/And glittered in her eyes. …O'Connor's. 10pm. Bring more tea."

So..he had brought himself this far, crouching in the shadows of the abandoned row house next door, peering through the windows of the O'Connor home, wary of a trap.
Grace's attention is on the dress and how it moves. "Ach," she mutters and bends back down to make some more adjustments to the gores. "Hrm? Oh, I'm sure someone'll come along who cares fer yer company," she says softly. "Jus' remember what I touldye. Keep an open heart and mind."

She keeps looking at the clock for some reason.

He came through the bedroom door, crouched warily, ready to flee or fight as the case might be, the cold glittering eyes darting to left and right, before his gloved hand drops a piece of paper onto the small table, and looked at Keira, "You had need of me? A very unique method of asking for a visit."

A small cloth sack of fragrant tea plops down on top of the note.

"Don't scream, don't ye dare…" Grace says, poking poor Keira with a pin to distract her.

Keira jumps at the voice, and then yelps as one of the pins break the skin, "wha…" she looks to Grace, her eyes narrowing a little and then she looks back to the man who is suddenly in her house and offers him a confused smile and wave.

"Nae, boyo," Grace says as she stands up, looking quite pleased with herself. "I had need o' ye." She takes Keira's hand and turns her to face the masked man. "Miss Keira maybe tha' muse, but ye're tha paying customer… 'Tis the final fitting. Yer thoughts?"

The muzzle of the gun drops towards the floor, and he takes in the dress Keira is wearing, that Grace is making so many adjustments to. An almost haunted look seems to envelope him, as he taeks a half step back towards the bedroom, "It is a great improvement, indeed, over the brown. And the fabric is quite flattering to Ke,,Miss O'Connor's form." Another sliding half step back.."Though my opinion is hardly of a requirement, so long as she is happy with it."

Keira watches him, longingly, probably too long then it is proper and she quickly has to divert her eyes, "aye, I love it, thank ye..again..fer yer gift Masked Stranger." a light blush lights up her cheeks, her eyes momentarily fluttering closed.

"Ye're here, an' ye brought tea… Keira, bid him tae stay?" Grace is looking between the two with a happy-sad look on her face. "Methinks ye're safe here, yes?"

She lets a hand rest on Keira's shoulder briefly. "We could speak of sonnets an' enjoy th'evenin?"

The appellation caused him to stop his retreat, and look at the teacher with an air of injury, and speak in a plaintive tone, "You will not call me Achille, as I asked?", the flour sack quivers a bit in a sad negative movement, "A rose by any other name may smell as sweet, yet…" He draws a deep breath, loosing it in a long sigh.

The dress is small payment enough for all you do for the children."

Grace frowns at Keira and nudges her forward with a hand in the small of her back.

Keira pulls a little away from Grace and towards him, being careful not to move so the pins hurt her once again. If allowed, she tries to grasp his hand, "fergive me..Achille, an yes, please..stay. Ye are safe 'ere…please…" she tries to meet his gaze with her own.

He meets her gaze briefly, his fingers squeeze hers before pulling away then his eyes skitter from her face to pinion Grace with a piercing look, "This is a machination of yours, I presume?" He steps around the teacher, passing close, "Rather than tell her what I had said, this?"

He plucks one of the long pins from the dress, and twirls it in his figners slowly.

Grace looks undaunted. "This. So ye could tell her yerself if ye cared so much. She's my friend an she deserves fer ye tae say what ye will to her. Not through another. I'll na let ye do that to her."

Keira frowns as he pulls away, her eyes closing again and she forces herself not to shed any tears, "Grace.." she mutters and looks over to her friend, to Achielle and then back to Grace, "if ye are don wit tha fittin, I think I may go git changed so ye ken..finish tha dress."

He turns back to the teacher, and replies, "She is correct, for all her nefarious ways." He leans the gun against the wall carefully, and holds both hands out to Keira, palms up, "Please, I do not wish to see you shed tears over me. Surely, you must know that.." he throws a murderous look at Grace, before turning back, "Everyone I have ever cared for has been hurt, or slain, because of me, directly or indirectly."

Grace has the good sense to quietly slip to the kitchen with the teapot, letting the two speak. However, she pauses in the doorway, urging Keira silently to -go- to Achille. Busybody big-sister types. Sheesh.

Keira looks back over to Ashielle and against her better judgement, takes his hands, turning to fully look at him, "aye, boot ye ken't stop yerself from carin." she pulls herself closer to the man, "an I kent..stop 'ow I feel, no matter how hard I have tried." she chews worridly on her lip for a moment, "I want..ta be with ye"

He is silent for the longest time, regarding her, then asks soft and quiet, leaning closer so the coarse sacking brushes her cheek, "Is it the man, or the romance of the danger that speaks such things in your heart. Would you feel the same if you knew..whose face laid behind this cloth? Or of the things that have been laid upon my doorstep, rightfully or wrongfully?"

Keira allows her eyes to close, butterflies quickly filling her stomach, "tis tha man that has sparked these feelings in me stomach. Tha same man that ken 'ave talks of books with me, and it wouldn matter if he be wearin a mask or not." her eyes slowly open so she can look at him again.

Grace is still adding water to the pot in the kitchen, making enough noise that the other two's voices can't beheard by her.

He remains bent close, and whispers, the movement of his lips under the cloth barely perceptible against her cheek, "A man whom you could never see the face of, or kiss as a man and women were meant to? With whom you could never admit to knowing, much less..being associated with in such a manner? You could be, likely would be..kept and tortured by those who seek the price on my head."

Keira shakes her head, "I know tha..danger being assoated wit ye, I do, boot.." she reaches up to gently touch the side of his face, "when ye look at me, I feel safe an loved, and it feels like ye were meant fer me." she rests her forehead momentarily against his chest and lets out a slow breath, "ye..know..how I feel, boot..tis yer decision."

Grace bangs a few more things around for now in the kitchen.

His lips brush across her cheek, "And what if you were to find I were a black man, or Mexican? Perhaps I am nothing more than one of the ignorant savages..an Indian, perhaps a bit more clever than most? Would you give your love to man not of your own blood..a savage, an animal?"

His hands travels up her arm, slowly caressing, "What better show of concern, even love, could I show but to protect you from even myself?"

Pressing closer, his body hard and taut, he adds, his voice even softer, lips against her ear, "You are a woman any man would desire, myself included..very much so. Could I be so selfish as to endanger you? And what of your position?"

Keira shakes her head, "I don care bout race.." she says, honestly, "ye could be black, or native, an I wouldn care. Me heart…" she lifts her hand up to rest against his chest, "me heart knows wha it wants, an there's nothin ye ken say tha will change me mind." her fingers lift up to trace the lines of his face and then his lips, "ye aren..forcin me ta be wit ye, I'm doin this under me own free will, an if ye are worried bout me job." she laughs a little, "don be."

He holds her then, tight, his srms tight. Words at this point fail him, only the slow, rhythmic beating of his heart, and his deep, regular breathing lending life to the still form.

Then, his arms slide lower, still claspsing her waist, and softly kisses the top of her head. At last, he says, "I believe you, Miss O'Connor."

Keira lets out a slow breath, her form resting more against his strong form, "Keira.." she murmers, softly, "if ye wish me ta use yer name, then ye must use mine." she pulls away a little to look up at him again, and smiles, happy tears glistening in her eyes.

He steps away now, with a glance towards the clock, and replies, ruefully, "And such are the sands of time, dear Keira, that they pass through the neck of the glass, as I must pass from this idyllic repose into a far less hospitable clime."

Turning half away, he takes up the shotgun, and waggles a warning finger in Grace's direction, "Keira's safety has been entrusted to your discretion. Do not betray her, or me. For if she comes to harm through you, there..will..be..hell..to pay."

Keira lowers her head a little, "aye, o'course, good eve Achielle, and I 'ope ta see ye again soon." she stays planted in her spot, using every muscle not to run up to him, wrap her arms around him and kiss his mouth, through the mask if need be.

Grace re-emerges just at the right time and smirks at the man. "Likewise goes fer ye, Boyo," she says with a broad grin, her arm around Keira in a sisterly way. "Don't betray us." The rest is left unsaid. But with a slight cough, she pushes the girl forward again and -slyly- looks to the side. OH so innocent.

It was quick..a second or less, and more as though he had thrust his head forward, but the masked man bussed Keira's cheek, his free hand touching her arm lightly. Then, he turned quickly, his coat flopping a bit.

As he heads for Keira's boudoir, a piece of paper falls from his coat pocket, unnoticed in his flight. It is from a lined school tablet, in a child's hand Keira would recognize, reading, "Poppa told Mama wells fargo is hiding gold in whiskey barrels to ship by wagon next week. Is this worth a nickel?"


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