(1937-09-02) A Strange Interlude
Details for A Strange Interlude
Summary: A quiet Sunday night at the Leaky Cauldron isn't always so quiet.
Date: 09-02-1937
Location: Leaky Cauldron, London
Related: None

The Leaky Cauldron Taproom - London

It is a summer night. The weather is warm and overcast.

This Sunday evening finds a lively crowd keeping poor Elly busy at the Leaky Cauldron. Perhaps there's a little celebrating by parents who have had their first free weekend of kids back off safely to Hogwarts. Surely some of the crowd are the after-shopping group, who stop in to gossip and share time with friends. One table holds a single occupant, a book open in front of her as a bowl of stew cools at her elbow. Halfway along one wall, Annie is engrossed in the tome… or seems to be. If one looked, they might notice her attention is actually flitting around the room, a half smile on her lips as she takes in all the chatter and movement.

It's a dead right place to be if there is the desire not to get into a row, and this particular night, Jack has no desire to engage in fisticuffs. He's got his pay, plus a couple more copper from Hyde Park, and it's ambience he's looking for. Well, actually.. some semblance of quiet. Come Monday, he'll be back at his old haunts, but.. it's not the night. He's got something of a nervous look to him as he steps in the door, ducking his head involuntarily, pulling his hat off and holding it in his two hands. He wanders towards the bar, and gives up an order in a lower tone, but not before clearing his throat. Once done, however, he takes a deep breath and makes to lean against the bar with an elbow, looking out at the gathered, and gathering.. sizing them up, perhaps.

Crowds. ELijah's favorite thing. Not hard to hide. No need to skulk around behind potted plants. Or boxes. Or ridiculously oversized hats. He effortlessly moves through the sea of people; hands gently moving people out of the way, eyes locked on the bar he's approaching. The young Hit Wizard's eyes remained focused, but his mind is positively dancing behind them.

The door opens to admit one Janus Arkham, dressed in casual eveningwear and wearing a generally congenial expression. He pauses to offer a little salute to the room, one finger to his brow, then moves to occupy a stool at the bar and raises one finger to flag down service once it's available. This done, he swivels in place a bit to face the room, looking over the evening's crowd to see if there are any familiar faces about.

In another corner of the room, Dorothy is sitting with a large notebook, a quill, and an inkwell. She's not exactly used to writing with a quill rather than a pen or pencil, but she thought it would be fun to try it at least once, when she heard that quills were the usual writing implement among witches and wizards. In any case, while she writes, she occasionally looks up at the others in the room thoughtfully.

Blue eyes dance about the room, taking in different aspects of movement. A scruff at the bar, looking close to her own age, garners her gaze for a few moments, before the stealthy movement of an older man draws her attention. The low squeak of the opening door turns Annie's head in that direction, a new face noted. Had she recognized him as a reporter her amusement would have grown, having shortly met that news darling, Hadrian Higgs, in this very establishment. But her gaze moves on again without faltering, and lights on the woman writing at another table. In another moment of 'Do I know that Person?', the second tonight, Annie's brow furrows just slightly in concentration. Then she quickly turns her attention to a stack of books set aside on the table, quickly beginning to sort through the few gathered volumes.

Jack shifts his position a bit for those coming up to the bar as he leans somewhat.. sideways as he waits, clearing a spot for Elijah, and then Janus. Once the drink is given, he looks at it twice; perhaps he wasn't expecting the billows of 'smoke' coming off the top of the drink? Or perhaps the tentacle that seems to be making a grand attempt to crawl from it? He jumps in surprise, but catches himself immediately and smiles a little sheepishly while looking around to see if anyone noticed. "Cool, Jack.. very cool.." he murmurs. Then louder, he picks up the glass and offers, "Cheers.." before he looks in it, and takes that first swallow. Only then does he really take a look around, feeling a little better about being in the place, according to his manner, anyway. He can't say he recognizes anyone but.. Dorothy. She's a bit busy, and there's the bird at the table that's looking a bit his ageish.. and should she look up and his way, she'll get a smile.

Elijah finally makes it to the bar and breathes a sigh of relief, resting a balled up fist on the wooden surface. His fingers uncurl and he lightly taps them against the grain, signalling Elly to bring him his usual glass of milk. Elly fetches it quickly for him and shoots him a smile, saying, "Evenin' Inspector," before walking on to serve the other patrons. Elijah startles slightly as Jack offers a cheer, but looks over at him, raising his eyebrows and nodding slighty, "Yes. Cheers."

Receiving his pint of pitch black cream stout (slightly out of season, really), Janus raises it to those at the bar. "To your health, gentlemen," he offers amicably, though with a quirk of a smile at Elijah, he adds, "And, of course, inspector. I trust you're resting much easier now that Black Bill Tortingham is no longer running that illicit potions den out of Southwark?" His eyebrows lift knowingly, then he lifts his glass and takes a slow sip.

Dorothy looks up from her work and seems very interested in the mentions of wizard police work. She was somewhat aware of the existence of the department from the Daily Prophet, but hadn't ever encountered anyone who was actually involved with it. She listens to them talk for a bit.

The light thump of the scattering books quiets as Annie lays her hands on a particular tome, it's cover deep red leather, gold lettering on it's surface catching the low light with a magical flicker. She looks at the book, reading it's title 'Incident at the Gold Lion Inn' before her eyes dart up and back to the woman at the other table. A moment passes as she seems transfixed, and then she moves, half rising from her seat. Only to plop back down, then start to rise again and stop after barely moving. She clearly seems torn on whether to get up or not, and she glances around the taproom. Her eyes catch on Jack, and a slight blush creeps into her cheeks at the possibility that someone may have witnessed her dithering about like a lop-sided duck. But it only takes a second for her to return the smile, her lips curving easily as she seems to relax again in her seat, before her eyes lower to regard the book cover once more.

Inspector? Jack's brows rise, and he shifts his jaw before he gets to his drink again, trying desperately not to look into the smoking mist that is his glass for a glimpse of tentacle that he could have sworn he saw. Still, it isn't bad stuff, and another swallow is taken before he catches the fact that he's been smiled back at! "Wha- oh, right.. Health.. and such." He's got a cockney accent; a lowerclass cast to his tones that matches the less than stylish clothing he's got on. He puts something of a cheeky, innocent smile and raises his glass again, "Inspector.." and he enunciates the word before he takes another swallow, turning his attention back around. Not a lopsided duck.. more like.. a delicate bird ready to be pulled from the bushes, and he cants his head, dark eyes gleaming.. and his glass is raised towards her.

Elijah hears the voice and turns to look at Janus, "Black Bill? Southwark? Potions?" He stops and gazes through Janus for a moment before something clicks back into place, "Yes! Mixed potions that turned people into pasta for brief periods of time. Side-affects were appaling. Called Noodling." He rubs at the bar and says, "I wonder if he's technically a cannibal, too…" His eyes drift off, pondering something deeply. His concentration is broken and he turns to look at Jack, catching the odd pronunciation. His eyebrows furrow and he blunty asks, "Do you kill people?"

Dorothy wonders if all police in the wizarding world are like this. They certainly aren't like the protagonists of her books. Speaking of books, she glances toward the stack of them on the table and wonders for a moment. Some of those covers do look suspiciously familiar… In any case she returns to her writing.

Janus offers an expression of mild disgust at the discussion of Black Bill's peculiar habit of transfigurational cannibalism, but he does sigh and nod. "Yes, that's the chap, I'm afraid. Never been so pleased to see anyone end up in Azkaban before, truth be told." He shakes his head a bit, setting down his drink. "But, do give a fellow a hand-up. What's new on the beat, these days? Anything positively nefarious?"

Jack's attention is taken by the Inspector, and the words that come out of his mouth simply make his jaw drop open in.. stunned silence. Brows rise again, and for a moment, he's not entirely certain how to answer the question- well, without cursing a blue streak. He's might have done a few things, but murder? Not in his repetoire, thankyouverymuch. Straightening, he's got his smoking drink on the bar, now mostly done. No tentacles. "Do I kill people? Whut.. like.. turn them into pasta and put a nice red sauce on them, with a slice of garlic bread on the side? No thank you, sir.. never consider it."

Annie's attention is drawn up from the book's cover by a voice from the bar as Jack responds to the inspector's inquiry. He seems, even from the distance between them, suddenly much rather more…. put out… than moments before. A curious sort, Annie can't help but wonder why, and lets her eyes linger on them. Even still, the book remains clutched in her hands.

Elijah keeps his sharp eyes on Jack's face as he answers him, "Well, then whatever you do that may be slightly askew in the eyes of the public…are not my concern." He smiles and says, "Enjoy your drink!" before turning around and looking at Janus. Eli takes a sip of his milk, leaving a nice white mustache above his lip. He ponders as he looks at the man and says, "Kidnapping. I'd love to give you the scoop as long as you keep it out of the papers until you have my permission. Don't want the suspect to also have that hand-up. Or the foot-down. Gods forbid he garner a waist-sideways."

One of Janus's eyebrows drifts upward, and he leans forward a bit toward Elijah. "So long as you assure me an exclusive once it's safe, I can hold back any and all details in the interim. Kidnappings, of course, are a nasty business, but people do love to read about them in the paper." He shakes his head a bit, picking up his drink, and adds, "Ah, the sick, insatiable mind of the public!" Another long sip follows.

Jack looks down at himself, his brows rising as he tries to work out exactly how and where he looks like he'd roll an old geezer for a bit of spare change. Then again, he probably would, if he could get away with it.. and chuffs a breath out. "Right.." and the word is lengthened before he's given the 'all clear' for his drink. With that, he finishes it, and .. he makes a face as the glass is placed on the table. Who ate the worm? He's chewing, slowly.. and Jack doesn't look all that keen on the idea. Turning away, he takes up his glass and spits the rubbery tentacle back into the glass, trying not to make retching sounds as he does. Very classy, very smart, very clever, Jack! Now, if the girl doesn't not— crap. And it's something of that sheepish smile that returns.. confidence is attempted, and he straightens again. Nope.. nothing amiss..

A policeman, a reporter, and a kidnapping, Dorothy thinks. A situation ripe for drama in any society, whether magical or not. Actually, it just so happens that the book she's working on at the moment is largely about a kidnapping. Of course it's a coincidence; though, even though the book is intended for Muggles, the inclusion of a kidnapping was in fact related to her introduction to the wizarding world. She flips back through her writing to check some of the previous details again.

Yes. Annie is indeed still watching the men at the bar, and as the older pair exchange words, her eyes remain on Jack. The curiosity gives way to a slowly building smile. His unfortunate moment with the tentacle did not escape everyone's attention, surely not Annie's. But there's something a bit sympathetic about her smile. She finally realizes that it could right be considered that she's staring, and her eyes dart away and she occupies her hands gathering the books back in a pile, the red covered one still on the top.

Elijah nods to Janus, "Exclusive. Of course." He peers around and uses his sleeve to wipe the milk from his upper-lip. His eyes scan the room, resting on the face of every patron for about half a second before moving on to the next. They land on Dorothy, the lady who's been looking up at them regularly for the past few minutes. He leans in to Janus and says, "Arkham, you know people, right? Who's that?" He gestures in her direction.

Janus smiles, nodding, and takes another long, slow sip of his drink. At the question, he peers toward Dorothy for several long moments, and then he sets down his glass with a sudden start. "Bard's tongue!" he exclaims, "That's Dorothy Frost! Excuse me a moment, won't you?" He abandons his pint and stool, cutting through the crowd with surprising speed and grace for such a large-framed fellow, until he draws up beside Dorothy's table. "I say, do pardon me, madam—but aren't you Ms. Frost, the muggle mystery novel writer?"

Jack pushes the glass back, coppers already on the bartop in payment before he takes a deep breath, and mutters under his breath, "Righto, Jack.. off wit'ye then.." before he turns to face the tables once again. He hasn't got a beer in hand, or even another drink, so this one he'll have to do solo. "Pleasure, gentlemen," and he reaches to take a brief pull at his 'forelock' before he makes his way towards the table where Annie sits. He pauses there, standing above a chair that he'll be more than happy to pull over, "'Scuse me," and there's the Cockney, "Could I interest you in a drink with me, though without quite so much calamari in it?"
Janus' approach to Dorothy brings Jack's attention around- Muggle nothing. Woman's a squib, or so's he remembers. Bad luck with the head.. "Cor.. if she was a muggle, whut's she be doin' in here?"

Dorothy smiles toward Janus. "That would be me," Dorothy answers. "I didn't think there were many wizards who'd be familiar with me or my work." She closes her notebook, hoping to keep the reporter from possibly seeing any of her work in progress. "I'm a… Squib, I believe the word was," she adds, noting Jack's mention. "Raised by Muggles, though. And my work so far has been directed towards them. So in a sense that description is true." She's not a Muggle who's a mystery writer, she's a writer of Muggle mysteries.

A warm smile greets Jack's approach, but she hesitates for a moment before nodding toward the chair. "Please." There's a gleam in her eye as she regards him, "Yes, I believe it's something of an acquired taste." She looks toward Dorothy's table as Jack does, and her eyes widen slightly. "It IS her," she whispers, her voice suddenly hushed among the murmur of all the others in the bar. Annie looks at Jack, her expression like Christmas morning. "That's Dorothy Frost." In a blink she regains herself, literally blinks, and adds hastily, "And I'm Annie. Taylor. Annie Taylor." She might be a bit flustered.

Elijah flails and almost falls off of his stool as Janus shouts. He grips his chest to make sure his heart is still there and looks around. A writer? Neat. He stands up and follows after Janus, peering over his shoulder at the woman, "Have you written any cookbooks? Or guides on how to keep a cat from hiding your shoes from you?"

Janus offers Dorothy his hand, bowing low over it, "My dear lady, please forgive my presumption, but I must say I'm quite a fan. Janus Arkham, quite charmed indeed. I'm something of a writer, myself, though all I've done apart from these horrid scribblings of mine in the Prophet is publish a small memoir of my travels during the aftermath of the Great War." He pauses, then gestures to Elijah, "Oh, and pardon me. This is Inspector Lovegood. We're something of… professional collaborators, you might say. He discovers the truth of matters, and then I distort it horribly in print."

"A squib.. raised by Muggles.." Jack whistles softly, and shakes his head, and continues, "Glad you got everything sorted out, then.." and he turns back to Annie to fill in the gaps, as it were. "Friend I was with sic'ed her Department friend on 'er.. gave her a bit of a .." He waves his hand, wiggling his fingers, ".. you know.. that sort of thing.." He'd caught some snippets of conversation, here and there, pieced the rest together.
Now, however, Jack sets his attention back and on on Annie, and he smiles brightly, reaching dark eyes. "Evening, Miss Annie Taylor. I'm Jack. Jack Dodderidge.." He pulls out the chair and sets down, his gaze turning towards the bar, and he raises his hand to order. "Something without so much smoke.. and seafood."

Annie gives herself another moment of worship from afar. "I've read everything she's written, I believe. She's wonderful." Her bright smile turns fully on Jack, "It's a treat just being in the same room as her." One hand drifts up and pushes a lock of hair back from her face. "Jack. A pleasure to meet you. I'll have one of whatever you end up with," she adds, taking a chance daringly. At least she's used to most of the concoctions, having gone through a brief 'try anything once' phase with school friends.

"…No, nothing of that kind," Dorothy says to Elijah. "So far only mysteries and children's books. Actually… I might need your assistance in the future, Inspector Lovegood," she adds. "In case I decide to expand my audience into the wizarding world, I'd be interested to know more about the sort of crimes and investigations that go on." She looks toward the rest of those talking about her. "It's very nice to meet you all."

The bustle in the Leaky Cauldron continues on, voices raising and lowering through the course of conversations. Sharing a drink with Jack, Annie can't help but cast glances at the table where Elijah, Dorothy and Janus talk, although the young man does capture the majority of her attention. As the hour grows later the young pair take their leave of each other, parting at the door to the Cauldron to go their own ways and leaving the excitement of the bar to visit yet another day.

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