[Mathias and Dorian Lockwood] Who: Mathias L. and Dorian L. Where: The Cat When: Around five-ish Rating: PG
The Cat wasn’t the normal place someone like Dorian would hang out at, but on a weekday afternoon, it was quiet and the beer was cold. The staff didn’t seem bothered by him sitting at the far end of the bar with a book either, leaving him alone unless he needed them. It was nicer at the shop obviously, but he wasn’t going to get as much reading done there. Someone always had a question, and now that the holiday had passed, they’d all come running for the coffee, the acceptable break from family. At least here, no one both asked him about his book and complained about their mother in the same breath.
The tall glass of clear liquid was set down to the upper right of the book, far enough to not be a danger to the pages, but near enough to be in Dorian’s field of vision as someone took the seat to his right. Condensation dripped down the side of the glass, a result of the piled ice cubes, topped with a slice of lemon. “Some may say it’s a little early in the day,” the familiar voice intoned - though it was one that had been long absent, for all that there was a casual lilt to it, as though this were simply a continuation of a recent conversation. “Personally - I say that life’s too short to worry about crap like that.”
“It’s five o’clock…” Dorian trailed off as his back went rigid. He’d answered because he recognized the voice, his mind taking him to Ward or someone else, but he knew that voice much better than his friend or neighbors. He turned slowly, catching a glimpse of his brother, his brother before closing his eyes and counting to ten. He was dreaming. He had to be dreaming. “Tell me you didn’t just…”
“Buy you a drink? What kind of a brother would I be if I couldn’t by my little bro a drink at Christmas?” Mathias said, slapping Dorian on the back just a touch too hard, though he clearly didn’t mean it to exactly hurt. “Okay, so it’s a couple of days late, but I’ve been settling in - nice little town you have here. Quaint. Not entirely sure how you’re not busting at the seams to get out of here it’s so one horse at times, but you always were better at that kind of thing than I was. Don’t get me wrong though - it’s charming. Thought I might stick around for a while.” Mathias leaned back on the bar stool, looking pleased with himself and clearly expecting the same from Dorian - as though he’d just been given the best Christmas present in the world.
Dorian was going to be sick. Mathias was there and talking about staying. He opened one eye after wincing at the back ‘pat’ and then both to glare at him. “You’re years late, Math,” he pointed out, before sighing. “What do you mean getting settled?”
“Years? Come on, it’s only been--” Mathias paused, mentally tallying up how long it had been since he’d seen his younger brother. He wasn’t very good with dates, so he counted back along the job’s he’d been through, the memories he’d have to share. There’d been that thing in Africa, with the rats. Then the job in South East Asia - Dor was going to love the story about the fishwife and the drug runners. That stint in Canada during the winter. He shivered. Far too much snow and a distinct lack of excitement. Well, unless you counted nearly losing a toe to frostbite. Thankfully his demon blood had protected him against that. Then there’d been the period in Ecuador, some time in Sweden. He skipped over a few more jobs then winced. “Okay - maybe it’s been a little while,” he admitted. “But I’m here now, with not a whole lot to do. So I bought this little boat and had it moored on the lake. She’s lovely.” Lovely enough that he’d dropped more than a few having her transported here, and ignored the looks of the workmen who clearly figured that a boat like that would be more at home on the ocean than a local lake. Mathias didn’t care - anyway, the thing only slept eight. It was barely more than a small apartment, in real terms.
Dorian nodded as Mathias figured out just how long he’d been gone. “You left without telling me you were going last time too,” he added, reaching for the glass because if Mathias was there he was going to need it.
Of course he bought a boat. That only made sense. Dorian fought the urge to hug his brother, because while he annoyed him to death, he was also his brother and he missed the man. “Why here?”
Mathias’ smile was beaming and genuine. “Because you’re here,” he said, as though it were the most simple, honest and self-apparent observation in the entire universe.
Dorian hated that smile. It made him want to smile back, to believe it entirely, to know that was exactly why Mathias was there. The problem was, it was true. He knew it. Why else would his brother show up in the little town? That didn’t mean he was staying though. It didn’t mean anything close to it. “That’s it? You’re just here for me? And you’re not just passing through?”
“I brought a home, Dor. I didn’t check into a motel, I haven’t picked up someone to crash with. I put down real cash and I have my own place. There’s nothing on my horizon right now.” Which wasn’t the exact same thing as ‘I’m staying forever’, but if there was one thing about Mathias’ habit of picking up and leaving and then returning without warning, it was that he never lied about it. Math didn’t pretend to be something he wasn’t - not with people he cared about, at least.
“Oh.” It was all Dorian could, say right away, not speaking again until he’d swallowed back half his drink. So Mathias was staying. At least for a little while. There was no use in believing he was staying though Dorian longed for him to, he knew better. But he was there for the time-being. “Everything okay then?” The question was laced with true concern, giving his brother a once-over for any obvious injuries, but nothing jumped out at him.
Mathias shrugged a cool shoulder and took a sip of his own drink - a whisky on the rocks. “Just time to take a break.” Telling the truth to his family wasn’t the same as telling them everything - and Mathias was a master of sidestepping a question. Especially when knowing the real answer could put them in danger. Not that he thought there was any real risk. These days, Math was obsessively careful about covering his tracks. The trouble he’d left behind wouldn’t be tracing him back to this little backwater. Not when all signs pointed to him being in Geneva right now, planning on seducing a very rich, very reclusive old lady with an eye for a vast inheritance and a chance of toppling an influential family business with the ensuing infighting.
Which was were he should have been, if the kid that he’d hired to scream at the right point during his last job hadn’t got fucking distracted, meaning that Mathias was lucky to have got out of there unscathed and it was only because his mother had raised him to really know what hell was all about that he’d managed to get out of their with the damn hounds that lived there yapping at his heels.
Still - that was over now. Mathias had burned that identity, scorched the earth, spent a couple of months setting up juicy false trails, bought a boat and looked up the closest thing to a home he had, once it was safe to do so.
Dorian huffed a noise, mostly disdain. “I’ve known you long enough to know when you’re lying,” he pointed out, but didn’t push for more. He didn’t need more if Mathias wasn’t giving it. That was just how his brother worked. He looked down at his drink, then over at his brother. “So you’re staying.” That was something, something that Dorian was going to have to deal with, but for now, he let the smile that he’d been holding back slip to the forefront. “This town is not ready for two Lockwoods.”
Mathias’ grin turned a playful kind of evil, a glint that was almost red showing in the back of his eyes as he toasted his brother. “No - I very much think it’s not.”