27 March 2015 @ 07:12 pm
East of the Brandywine river and the Far Downs  
*It's evening by the time John gets to look at his paperwork. After the hectic business of the final day of parliament, the drive to Buckingham and rushing between constituency meetings seems serene in comparison. John had bundled a stack of papers into bright blue carrier bags and thrown them on the back seat before he'd kissed Sally goodbye. The children were still asleep when he had left but he'd see them later in the week.*

*He had gone to the car in his slippers and moth-eaten jumper and nodded politely at the neighbours as he fumbled in the back for his luggage. He returned to the living room with the papers, Radio 3 playing something inoffensive and unmemorable.*

*It was a good half an hour until he saw an envelope hidden among the drafts of election material and out of date order papers. John recognised the handwriting and frowned in confusion. Why was Peter sending him a letter?*

*Ever cautious, John takes the unopened letter through to the kitchen and draws out a protective circle in salt on the counter top. He places the envelope in the centre and carefully opens it.*

*No demons escape. He can't see any hexes springing forth. There doesn't seem to be any potion leaking onto the side. John opens the envelope wider and takes a look inside it.*

*There is a card. Just a card. John pulls it out of the envelope to examine it.*

*YOU ARE TOTALLY SCREWED the card reads. John rolls his eyes and opens it anyway.*

*He is taken aback at the contents. In addition to the printed message, the other man has scrawled "Try not to embarrass yourself - Peter" in one of the hidden folds.*

*John suddenly feels bad for removing Peter's thumbs.*

*He tidies up the kitchen and goes back to the living room, the radio forgotten. It takes him a while but eventually he composes a reply.*

Text from 078## ######


Have just found your note. Thank you. In Buckingham. Reference should you need it.

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therealpm: weary[personal profile] therealpm on March 27th, 2015 08:10 pm (UTC)
*Peter's not exactly awake when he receives John's text. He's definitely not asleep though because falling asleep at 3 pm after a solid night of working on cybertronic limbs, face down on a workbench under parliament, is the sort of thing that lesser peers, the sort of Lords that don't have an immensely successful post-politics career, would do. Peter is far too sensible for such things - he maintains a healthy sleep cycle, gets plenty of antioxidants and exercises regularly. He also has a 1.5 mm draper screwdriver stuck to his 7 o'clock shadow, and engine oil all down the back of his shirt, but these are minor mishaps that could easily happen to the best of us.

The phone buzzes again. He fumbles for it with one hand, scattering metal filings and scraps of wire onto the floor.*


*His mouth feels thick with old coffee and dust.*

'Machine, what time is it?'

*Rubbing his eyes, he sits up and tries to focus his eyes on the tiny text. It's from John. But either something's desperately wrong with his eyes or the fonts on these things are getting stranger by the day. He shoves the phone into his pocket and slouches off to the emergency shower. *
bamfbercow: Sad[personal profile] bamfbercow on March 27th, 2015 08:15 pm (UTC)
*John doesn't check his phone periodically to see if he has received a reply. He certainly doesn't get worried the longer his phone refuses to buzz. After all, he is in the country at the moment, and phone signal coverage is not the most reliable in these parts. John would be surprised if the text got through at all under the circumstances...*

Text from 078## ######


Not sure if you got my last message. Sending again to make sure:

Have just found your note. Thank you. In Buckingham. Reference should you need it.

therealpm: Thinking[personal profile] therealpm on March 27th, 2015 08:30 pm (UTC)
*The shower is most invigorating, not least because with the MPs gone, Bercow's turned the main boiler off. Slightly closer to hypothermia, but definitely more awake, he checks the messages again.

Well that's interesting. John's never given Peter his Buckingham fireplace code before - ostensibly because there's no reason for Peter to ever visit, but in all likelihood it had more to do with a series of unfortunate events several years ago.

He rolls his neck and ponders his next move. He should probably go home and sleep. On the other hand, John's period of contrition might not last. In the end, it wasn't much of a choice - the opportunity to see John grovel was one he wouldn't miss for the world.

Bidding The Machine good evening, he sets up a secure connection and steps through the fireplace.*
bamfbercow: huh?[personal profile] bamfbercow on March 27th, 2015 08:45 pm (UTC)
*John is working away on a draft speech when the fireplace springs into life on the far side of the room. He watches, amused, as Peter becomes aware that fireplaces in most country homes are slightly shorter than the ones in Parliament. It's been a while since John has used the fireplace for anything other than homing a vase of flowers and it shows - as Peter scuttles out from under the low lintel he is covered in soot.*

Peter! So glad you could make it...

*As Peter straightens up in the safety of the living room, John spies the card he's only very recently opened on the mantle behind Peter's head.*

Sh-shall I get you a cup of tea? There are biscuits in the kitchen? Would you like a shower, I think the water's warmed up by now...

Edited 2015-03-27 08:58 pm (UTC)
therealpm: Thinking[personal profile] therealpm on March 27th, 2015 09:08 pm (UTC)
*To his credit, Peter brushes off most of the soot onto the hearth, where at least it'll be easy to clean up, rather than the rug. As he does, he notices his card on the mantlepiece and tries not to appear incredibly smug.*

Unless you also happen to have a spare change of clothes I doubt a shower would do much good. Dinner, however, would be very much appreciated.'

bamfbercow: Not sure about that[personal profile] bamfbercow on March 27th, 2015 09:21 pm (UTC)
Well I was planning to pop down into the village and pick up fish and chips but if you'd rather I can drive to the next-village-but-one and pick up a Chinese takeaway. That might take upwards of an hour to get dinner back here, however, given the state of the roads.

I suppose we could always see if there's a table free at The King's Arms or The Bell if you'd rather have a sit down meal? They do tend to get rather busy on Friday evenings, of course, so we may be in for a bit of a trek to actually acquire sustenance.

Alternatively, I believe there are a few tins of spaghetti hoops in the cupboard...
therealpm: I don't think so[personal profile] therealpm on March 27th, 2015 09:32 pm (UTC)
*Peter steps back and nearly brains himself on a ceiling beam.*

'... all of those options are wonderfully quaint, however there is, through this delightfully compact fireplace, the alternative of London, which has significantly more options for dinner, far better wine and the prospect of sleeping in a bed without mildew.'
bamfbercow: Oh really?[personal profile] bamfbercow on March 27th, 2015 09:37 pm (UTC)
Peter, I didn't think I would have to remind you of all people but there is an election on at the moment. While exalted members of the Lords such as you need not concern yourself with the terribly old fashioned and inconvenient business of winning votes, I, nevertheless, have to keep such considerations in mind.

I have a dozen events tomorrow! I can't leave Buckingham!
therealpm: Confused[personal profile] therealpm on March 27th, 2015 09:41 pm (UTC)
*Peter represses the urge to bang his head repeatedly against the nearest solid surface. John had been through a very trying day - it was no wonder that he was unable to master even rudimentary lateral thinking.*

'I am certain that the electorate can do without you for one evening and you can always return through the fireplace if necessary.'
bamfbercow: posing[personal profile] bamfbercow on March 27th, 2015 09:46 pm (UTC)
*There are many long and complicated reasons why John should remain in Buckingham - for a start, he's spent so long in Westminster recently the constituency had started to forget him. John didn't want to end up like Portillo.*

*On the other hand, it is only a short fireplace hop away and there really isn't much in the place. It couldn't hurt to just pop to Peter's for dinner and be back by bedtime, could it?*

What were you considering ordering for dinner?
therealpm: A tolerable tipple[personal profile] therealpm on March 27th, 2015 09:55 pm (UTC)
*Peter throws up his hands and ushers John through the fireplace.*

'Something, now come on.'

*In the end they couldn't agree and ended up ordering two - a rogan josh for John and a pad thai that was ever so slightly too spicy for Peter. At least there was plenty of wine to wash it down.*