About two and a half weeks later, and Niall was patched up enough to glower at Venice’s trail of wet footprints on the wooden floor.
“I’m not cleaning that up Ven.” He said, coming out of a back room. She finished taking off her mac and placed it on a usefully placed hat stand. The water fell off it in a sheet. It was soon after closing hours, and Venice enjoyed disregarding the closed sign. And the lock. And the other 3.
“I know. Hey, they make it look homely”
“They make it look like I want someone to fall over…” he was interrupted in mid frown by her hug.
“Good to see you on your feet Niall. How’s business?” she flumped down into an armchair. He followed suit.
“Not bad, not bad. I mean, not brilliant either, but it turns out that people like it here for some reason. Must be the charming owner, if you ask me” he twirled an imaginary moustache and stared off dramatically into the middle distance.
“Of course. Or it could be the fact people like the atmosphere. It’s nice to just sit and relax without worrying that the owner is going to snap your neck if you breath too heavily.”
“Still, what would we do without her, and her library?”
“I don’t know. Truthfully, I’d rather not think about it.” She shook her head “Imagine all those books… just gone.” Niall turned to her, and about to change the subject, but she was staring at something she couldn’t see, frowning.
“Venice!?” he strode over to her, and placed a hand on her shoulder. She snapped out if it the second they touched.
“Mn? Sorry, I was just… anyway, tea?” she got up and stalked off to the kitchen. He shook the curious expression off of his face and followed her in. He’d allowed her to make a cup of tea once before. Just once. It wasn’t an experience he wanted to repeat.
“And then you turned up, and the rest is history” they were sitting on the sofa in Niall’s place, sipping tea. He had just finished recounting exactly why Van Dreg had gone after him, and she was still giggling into her tea. He grinned again, then was struck by a thought. Poking her knee, he asked he what had happened to the book.
“The purple one you hit him with”
“Oh. OH. Oh… now that’s curious. I can’t remember doing anything with it once I had knocked him out… how odd. Hmmm” she suddenly scrambled up, handing him the tea cup emblazoned with a steampunk dirigible motif (he was going to get Cthulu ones, but had remembered something about them being based on the Faceless Ones. Pirates are better anyway).
She had vaulted down the two flights of stairs to his libros magicae, and was now scanning the shelves, muttering to herself. Niall walked in grumbling mildly. But he never gave up the chance to see someone who knew what they were doing tease the true magic out of these books, and he’d heard about Venice Rain’s dedicated, bordering on obsessive, nature when it came to a puzzle
He was not disappointed.
She had pulled a book from the shelf, and despite the late hour and the fact she’d been sitting calmly curled up on a sofa scarcely over a minuet ago, she was now buzzing with energy, flipping through the pages with zeal, stopping on seemingly random pages. Eventually she came to a stop and grinned to herself.
“I though so.” She was now placing the book back on its shelf, still smiling
“A forget charm. Well, it’s not technically a charm, its more complex than that… but basically, I used this book for violent means, therefore I forgot about it. I don’t think there are many people today who even know what it is, let alone how to do one…” she was biting her lip and tapping her fingers on the wood of one of the shelves. As Niall watched, she nodded to herself, coming to a conclusion on something or other.
“Well then Niall my dear, grab your coat, we’re off to my place.” And she skipped up the stairs without another word.