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politestpirate wrote in milliways_bar
[OOM: In which Merriman requests Archie Kennedy's help in apprehending a pair of dangerous fugitives. Sort of. The following discussion with said fugitives more than likely will not be found on any official reports when all is said and done.]

From here.

Henry Wellard opens the Front Door, and steps in to Milliways. The door swings shut behind him, but at the moment he is paying it no heed. Yes, he was right. It was all true. Give it a moment to sink in, and then he will begin worrying about everything he may have missed.

Wellard looks a little worse for wear, standing with the stiffness that indicates bruised ribs, and he is holding his left arm carefully-

But, he is all in one piece. And alive- that does really count for something, at any rate.

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Hannah is long past the point when she would turn to look every time the door opened.

So it may take a moment, or two, or ten, before she looks up and see him.

And then she gets up, takes exactly three steps towards him, and stops, one hand going to brush her hair out of her face, somewhat needlessly, then drops to her side. She's still, and while it's not exactly tense, it's very controlled, mouth in a thin, tight line.

Even if you know her well, it might be hard to tell exactly what Hannah is thinking right now. That might be because Hannah doesn't know, herself.

Henry Wellard knows her well, or as well as a person who has missed the last five and a half (rather critical) months of her life can. (That, Henry, is what you have missed, and that may be hard to recover from, on both sides.)

Hannah isn't sure at all what she's supposed to do here.

So she just waits.

That would be one of the things Wellard is worried about that he missed, yes. And there is no way he can make up for those five months and what happened here.

That much he knows.

Wellard has no idea what to do here either.

After another moment, he steps forwards, taking a deep breath.

"I- I have no idea what happened here while I was gone, or even really how long it was. I can only imagine, Hannah- and it won't even come close." He looks down at his hands for a long moment, before looking back up to her.

"I am sorry, though that probably doesn't even come close to making up anything and everything you went through while I was gone."

Hannah folds her arms, and gives him a very level look.

"A little over three months here," she says, and her voice it tight and clipped. "Almost twice that for me. And no, you don't, and no, it won't, and no, it doesn't, though I'm not clear on why you think you need to apologize.

"Hello to you, too. Welcome back. Are you all right?"

Another deep, careful breath, and Wellard manages a humorless smile. "I'm a little bruised and cut up, but mostly alright. I survived- both the battle and the Locker."

There is a quick glance around the bar, his jaw clenching.

"... Six months for you. Which would be the reason why behind the apology, since I figured that coming in here as if nothing happened would be insulting to you and everyone else here concerned about me."

"You really should still start with 'hello,'" she says, quietly. "And ask how I am, and let me answer, before you apologize for making me that way.

"I missed you, and I was worried about you, and Commodore Lyon is the least comforting, most useless provider of information I have ever encountered, by the way. And I'm glad you're back, and I'm glad you're okay, and I'm really mad at you, and I have no idea what I'm supposed to say now."

"... Right, then." Wellard nods slowly, biting his lip.

"I missed you too, Hannah, and I never would have left you to worry if I had any choice in the matter. If I was able to get a message to you, I-" He raises his hand, then drops it back to his side, slowly.

"I've no idea either." Quietly.

"What, you mean you don't have any more speeches planned?" she says, and then shakes her head. "I'm sorry. That wasn't fair.

"I really am glad you're back," she says, less angry and getting closer to tears. "I've been . . . I've been scared."

"Nothing planned." A bit clipped, but the frown does not last long.

He could not say which was worse- Hannah being angry at him, or near tears. Wellard does reach his hand up again, touching her arm- waiting to see what she does in regard to that.

"I was too."

Hannah still remains one of the few people he would admit that to.

She doesn't move her arm away, but she doesn't move any nearer to him, either.

It's just easier that way.

His being back changes everything and nothing.

"Do you want to talk about it? Or . . . ?"

"... I don't know, just yet." A quiet sigh, and he reaches up to rub the bridge of his nose, before giving her a faint smile.

"Its just something in and of itself, to really find out my memories were real."

Wellard shrugs stiffly, though more due to the wrapped ribs than anything else. "I can figure out a place to start, after a moment."

"You . . . you don't have to, if you don't want to.

"I mean, I don't want to make things worse."

Than she has to.

"Parts of it aren't that bad." Wellard's lips twitch, and he motions back to the table Hannah was at before. "So no way to make the worse. Just different, at least."

He pulls out the chair she had been sitting in. "... Very different from things in Neptue, certainly."

"Everything's different than Neptune," says Hannah, weakly.

She looks at the chair, and then she looks back at him.

"I'm sorry, Henry, but I can't do this. I really wish I could, I probably should, but I can't. I just . . . I can't."

Wellard stops, looking down at his hands on the chair, then back up to Hannah after a long, quiet moment.

"... And I've no right to even ask you to." Softly.

"I'm sorry, Hannah."

She shakes her head again. "You have nothing to be sorry for," with a half smile and tears on her cheeks.

She steps forward and kisses him, very lightly, because it's the last moment she can, closes her eyes, takes a breath, and steps back.

"I love you. But this . . . this was only ever going to end this way.

"I really hope that at some point we can manage to be friends again. But, now that you're back, and I know you're all right, I think what I need is . . . time. Or space.

"God, this just such a string of cliches."

He reaches up to brush a wisp of hair back from her face, smiling sadly. "We were friends before. I- I'd miss that."

Wellard's hand drops, and he takes a deep breath.

"I should be here, after... after you've had time. I think I need time, to just-" He motions to the bar.

"Get used to things again."

Hannah nods. "Yes, I would, too. And you better be around. If you get yourself vanished into another world again, I'll be really, really mad."

She manages a smile, if only for a second.

"I should . . . I should go," she says.

She doesn't want to. Because once she does, it's actually over. It's finished. Undeniably, irrevocably finished. And while Hannah knows, rationally, that it needs to be, that it would only get harder from here on out, there's a large part of her that just wants her boyfriend back.

"Be careful, okay? And if you need me, Henry, for any reason, come find me."

"I'm certainly not planning any more unexpected trips like that." A bit wryly, but Wellard manages a faint smile as well, for a moment.

He then nods. "The same, Hannah, if you ever need my help. I-" He bites his lip.

It was all about endings, in one way or another."

"Good bye."


And then she turns, and very quickly goes back to Neptune.

There is a very loud shriek of joy coming closer very quickly. If Wellard is going to duck, he'd better do it now.

"HENRY!" Elda barrels towards him and barely stops short. He might get some feathers to the face. "You're back!"

Wellard has had lots of practice on his reflexes, lately. He steps back for just enough room so Elda does not finish the job someone started on his ribs. Hopefully.

He is smiling, though. "Ah- yes. Hello, Elda."

"Hello? Is that all you've got to say? You...! You're such a stupid boy."

Elda grabs him (carefully! She saw the step back.) and wraps her wings around him, tugging carefully at his hair with her beak.

"I was so worried!"

Carefully is good! Though Wellard is still able half-hug Elda back, (wrinkling his nose through a faceful of feathers).

"Not really that sure what else to say, except that I'm sorry for worrying you and everyone."

"You should be," she tells him in the same voice she used to use when tattling on her older siblings.

"Are you all right?" Elda lets him go quickly to look him over. "I didn't hurt you, did I? Here I am, lecturing you about being more careful-"

"I'll remember that for next time." With a wry smile, and then a quick, reassuring shake of his head.

"You didn't- I'm alright. Well, mostly. Its not that bad, really."

Wellard has been shot, before. Next to that, many injuries are 'not that bad'.

She eyes him suspiciously. "On a sliding scale, how are you from zero to Blodwen Rowlands?" Elda pokes him in the shoulder with one talon.

"Come sit down. Do you need a drink? Something to eat?" Prepare to be mothered.

Wellard stands up well enough to the poking, so that should say something. Wellard gives Elda an amused look. "I'm standing and I'm walking. I'd say about a one or a two at the most, really. However-"

He gives Elda a slight grin. "Food does sound good."

"Then that is what you shall have." She herds him toward a table, then heads toward the bar. Her wings are up at a cheerful angle, possibly bumping into a few chairs on the way.

She comes back quickly enough, with sandwiches for both of them. Tea for him, and coffee for her. They both have straws, however.

That short amount of time was still long enough for him to quietly look around the bar- enough so that he blinks, a bit startled, as Elda returns-

And maybe give the straw-in-tea-cup an odd look, as Wellard gives her an appretiative nod. "Ah... thank you."

Again, Wellard is remembering some of the very basic things he enjoys about Milliways. Hot, running water and FRESH FOOD.

Maybe she should have gotten oranges, too. Luckily for Wellard, she will not be checking his gums.

"I won't make you tell me all of it now," Elda says, taking a bite of her food. She holds it just like a human would. "But I barely heard anything about what happened, and I would like to know."

Wellard nods slowly, sipping his tea (sans straw). Some of it is easy to tell, some of it, not so much. He looks at Elda carefully.

"... Which parts?"

"I know that you were somewhere that was descriptively referred to as 'hell', though I doubt it's the same as I think of it. And then you were out, and lost somewhere on the ocean, and, well. Mostly I've been reading Mr. Lyon's notes and such." Elda looks sheepish and sips her coffee to shut herself up for a moment.

"I'm sorry, Henry. You must not want to be quizzed about all this. You don't have to say anything, if you don't want. Looking at you and seeing you have all your pieces intact is enough!"

"I heard that he left notes for people." Carefully, and then Wellard takes a deep breath, toying with his cup of tea.

"The Locker. Not hell. Though I do not know what any sort of difference there may be."

"Then maybe in front of the whole bar might not be the best place to talk about it," Elda offers, concerned. "But after that, you were with your pirate friend?"

She has accepted that this is probably better, despite her prejudice toward pirates.

Anything is better than telling about the Locker, right now. Wellard smiles faintly, and nods.

"Well, first the others that went to find Jack and the Pearl. They found a way to the Locker as well, just... rather wrecked their ship, getting there. But the Pearl was fine. Just that getting out of there was another adventure."

"And then back on the ocean, I suppose. However did you find a way back? If there was a door on the ship, you could have just walked right back barely after you had left!"

"Not from the Locker." Quietly. "Or else Jack would have been able to leave when he was there. We all had to find a different way out, but at least there were a few clues-"

Wellard brightens a bit, giving Elda a bit of a grin. "There was a map, that the others had gotten, to find their way into the Locker. You'd love it, Elda- it wasn't a map of exact places, but clues and information to find your way to special places. The Locker, for one, and others. It also had the way out of the Locker, once you changed it around to see how."

"It must have been some sort of magic," she says, leaning forward with her sandwich still in one claw, eyes bright with interest. "To find a way to where you were, as well as to change and show different paths as well! I would have liked to see it."

"Maybe magic, or just made well enough by someone who at least knew some magic, to be able to find all those places. When Jack comes by next time, I'll see if we can take a look at it." He grins, and traces a set of circles on the plate holding the sandwhich.

(Or at least the half left remaining, so far.)

"Basically, to get out of the Locker, we had to flip the ship over at sunset- which would be sunrise outside of the Locker. Up is down, and... somehow that was a way out."

"Flip it over? Henry, this wasn't one of your flying ships! How did you do that and not drown? Did you go through the water?"

Gravity doesn't work like that!

He rolls his eyes cheefully. "If you loose the cannons and all the cargo so it shifts about while you're rocking the ship, you can."

Wellard makes a face. "Though drowning is possible."

That may have put him off learning to swim for a long while.

Elda shudders a little, crest rising. The idea of drowning is not one of her favorite things to contemplate. "It's good you didn't, then. But you were gone for months. Were you trapped in that place for so long?"

That is awful if it's true!

"... I don't know." Quietly. "Time... was sort of odd, there."

Odd and endless.

"Well, time isn't any less odd here, but I'm glad you're back, all the same. Just take care not to vanish again, all right?"

He probably doesn't realize that's not a joke, considering what's been going on...

He manages a wry smile. "I'm certainly not planning on it, so no worries there."

Besides, several people would Not be happy if Wellard disappeared again.

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