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Sullivan is darker on the inside

Chapter Text

some night at a party

Sullivan is wearing the green paisley suit made from water-pressed silk with a velvet lining. His cravat is tied in The Renegade, which is a very daring fold, the secret to which three silly fops have already tried to wheedle out of him. It is also a private joke between Sullivan and his valet, as were Hangman's Bait and The Secret.

The velvet lining is exactly as absurd and extravagent as it was supposed to be, but it is also totally unsuited to the warmth of a New Stormrook summer. Sullivan is only grateful that he's never been one to sweat easily. Neither is his father, the cold-blooded snake, who is currently looking the room over with the complacently satisfied expression of a man about to have many, many more clients.

Think of the devil, and here he comes. Sullivan sees his father turn and start striding purposefully in his direction and immediately feels a strong, pressing need for a drink. 

It will, unfortunately, have to be iced tea again. 

The man behind the bar gives Sullivan a wink as he glides the glass full of amber-colored liquid over. Not cool. Someone will need to be spoken to about unnecessarily risky facial expressions.

But meanwhile Sullivan is tipping back the glass and drinking, making the appropriate grimaces. Later tonight he'll get something appropriately hard, and make sure to breathe his booze-y breath over the right people. That Sullivan Chesterford, incorrigible.

The thought is so comforting that he breaks into a grin, with terrible timing, since-- Welp-- here's the old man Chesterford himself. Crisp and neat in a perfect black suit, and giving Sullivan's green monstrosity the evil eye.

Sullivan grins even wider, with extra teeth. Bite, bite he thinks. "And which lovely lady do you need me to seduce now, Father?"

"Don't talk nonsense," his father says. "And I thought the plum suit was the lowest depth your clothing could reach but as usual you prove me wrong."

"It's the pinnacle of everything sharp and spiffy," Sullivan protests, "I've already gotten four requests for the name of my tailor."

Which has the added advantage of being true.

His father gives a brief snort of disgust. "Go dance with Loretia Hanley," he says, as he turns to leave. 

"Hanley?" Sullivan says, just- only just- slightly raising an eyebrow.

"Her father has gained rights to a very promising coal seam. Make yourself useful for once."


Later, much later in the evening, Sullivan slips off with a group of laughing, very drunk young men who are off to a gambling house to lose quantities of inherited money. None of them pay much attention when he slips away from them as well, laughing and stumbling a bit, with one or two comments hinting at a full bladder. He walks into the dark alley and keeps going, swaying back and forth, taking another turn, and another, and falling slightly against the wall and turning back in a confused circle, looking around him, seeing nothing. 

Then he straightens up and begins to stride purposefully down the street, staying in the shadows-- not hard to do, with the Skyborn long since having cut funding for all but the most minimal of street lighting.

Down a set of stairs and past a small stone garden is a door. Sullivan knocks, but then steps right in-- someone watching might think he is twisting the doorknob, which indeed he is, and not pay attention to the weight he's putting on his other hand, which he's leaning on the wall by the doorframe.