(1937-09-05) Two Sides of a Coin
Details for Two Sides of a Coin
Summary: A chance meeting shows Jack and Annie that they have more in common than they ever imagined. Including anger issues.
Date: 09-05-1937
Location: London
Related: A Strange Interlude

It's late afternoon, and the street is filling with the traffic of rush hour. There are all makes and models of cars, of lorries, and one in particular is set on the side of the road, another (newer model) lorry parked in front as if to block the path of the more.. rough looking lorry. There's an argument that is happening right on the sidewalk, voices rising, and some of the language that can actually be understood isn't of the .. polite kind between two men, one a younger, wiry man, and the other looks a bit more like a dock worker. Jack isn't backing off, however, and as the volume escalates, it seems that the violence has the potential to as well as each gets into the other's face. Push comes to shove, as it will, and Jack is certainly outmatched as far as body weight goes, and he has to take a running start in order to get a good shove in.. and that is just before the fists begin to fly.
The first good, solid hit, of course, is on Jack, and it's a testament to his spunkiness that he actually is able to take the first ham-fisted punch, though he doesn't get his own quite so solidly to land. It's that strike, then, that allows the bigger man to make his exit towards his own lorry, though not before slamming the hood of Jack's truck with a rather large spanner, putting a good-sized dent. (And departs in a burst of black, oil smoke.) For Jack's part, as soon as the man turns his back, Jack is spinning around, putting a hand to his face, doing something of an 'ouch' dance, a hand reaching out to rest on the back of his lorry as he mutters, "Owowowowow.."

It's not exactly unusual for one to hear raised voices in the streets of London, but it will draw one's attention when one of the voices sounds familiar. It's that rather than anything else that pauses her step as she walks on the opposite side of the road, and Annie looks curiously toward the altercation. It doesn't take but a moment to place Jack's face as the bloke from the Leaky Cauldron, and she witnesses the altercation go from raised voices to raised fists. Well, /A/ raised fist, and the girl winces at the solid thump lands. Annie's face clouds, and as she starts to move across the street her gaze shoots daggers at the big man lumbering away. If they were anywhere else, she'd have hex'd him on the spot, turned him into an ant, let him see what it's like to be the disadvantaged one. A car horn honks as Annie skirts it's fender, approaching with a cautious, "Jack?"

Oh, it's going to bruise, and after the 'damn this hurts' dance is done, Jack knocks his head against the side of the lorry.. gently. The sound of a bird's voice, however, brings his attention around, particularly in that it's his name he catches. He straightens quickly, and he drops his hand, though the area of his jaw looks pink and threatens to swell. He offers a 'absolutely nothing amiss' smile that makes him wince, swinging around with a quiet *owowow* before he comes back around.. "Ah.." and he looks surprised in actually recognizing her. He nods, and takes a step forward, "Dat's right.." Ow.. "You.. ah.. live 'round here?"

Annie's brows are drawn together as she spies the bright pink of fresh wallop to the face, and she ignores his play at male bravado. "Cor, that'll leave a mark," she says lowly, shaking her head a bit. "Come round here." She steps around the lorry, toward a doorway sheltered from the main thoroughfare by the vehicle. Expecting he'll come with, Annie fishes a handkerchief out of the pocket of her light jacket as she moves. She answers as an afterthought, "No, nowhere near here."

"Meant t'do that.." Jack pauses, and thumbs behind him, "Not the 'walk into the hamfist..' part, but I could'a taken'im.." And he sounds in earnest, too! He does come 'round, however, putting a hand on the now throbbing jaw. He drops it after a couple of seconds, making the attempt at handling it well, though he really wants to bang on the side of his lorry again and yell.. and kick the tyres before getting in and driving home. "No?" Following her into a doorway, he leans back on one side, his foot coming up to rest on the side of the building as he leans. "Was over there," and he nods his head in the direction of 'down the street', "on a clean-up. Dat's whut I do to earn a few quid.. clean out geezer's houses when their family don't want t'do it." Only reason he's in the area.

Dipping her hand under her jacket, Annie looks around quickly to make sure there's no one about before producing her wand from it's pocket in the seam of her skirt. Her back is to the walk as an extra measure to make sure no one might notice as she says a quick charm, giving the cloth a tap with the wand's tip. It disappears back into the pocket as Annie turns to Jack and steps toward him with the now cold cloth. Risking his indignance at what she's about to do, she reaches up with the intent of pressing it gently to the swelling. "And what was the ape's problem with yeh then?" she asks as she moves close.

IF Jack were a wizard, he'd have done that self-same thing, but.. sadly, he's not. He watches as the wand is pulled from its place, and his eyes move from her actions to the sidewalk beyond, and back again, his voice lowering, "Cor.. what's that.." but he already knows what it's for, and the question dies even as he's asking. As the rag is pressed to his jaw, he shifts the bottom jaw up and down.. and side to side, testing. It is going to hurt.. and when the pressure is applied, "Ow.. owowow.." then, "Hold on.." but it's there, and it's for the swelling.
Putting a hand up to hold the cloth in place so Annie doesn't have to, Jack exhales, "'E said that it was 'is pull, when it was nuffin' of t'kind. Was all mine, and I 'ad the paperwork on it. All straight up, and the bu— ape's callin' this his territ'ry.." He mutters again, and looks back out onto the street, "Bloody bastard.."
And then, sounding a great deal cheerier (or is that manic?), comes, "What brings you 'round, then?"

Annie doesn't entirely relinquish the cloth to Jack, more concerned that he'll not hold it in the right place. Men are a bit daft in matters like this, to her experience. Seems most of the time they'd rather just suffer the pain to keep up appearances. She shakes her head sympathetically in the right places as Jack explains, and nods in agreement with his final assessment of the man. Her eyes raise to his at the question, smile coming easily, and she says simply, "Errands." Turning the subject again, she questions, "Is he Muggle, or one of us?" She's no idea that he's a squib, and just figures since he was in the Cauldron…

Jack then holds the cloth, about near Annie's hand, and as it lies there for a few moments, works his jaw slowly before he shrugs a shoulder. "If'n he was a wizard-type, chances are good I'd be hopping about on the street, so's that's not a bad thing." He shakes his head and begins to pull the compress from his cheek, "S'I'd guess it, Muggle." A hint of a smile lifts one side of his face, the uninjured part, and he shakes his head. "I ain't a wizard either.." and it's something that's come easier to say as the distance of time's set in. "M'parents were. Bof'of'em.. Me, nope." And the 'p' is over pronounced. "S'why I can see such and like.. but can't do a bloody thing about it.. one way or the other."

As Jack gives her a short version of his life, Annie's expression changes and something that might be identified as sorrow by the observant settles into her eyes. "I'm sorry," she says softly. Not because he's not a wizard. "It's difficult to be different from your family." Her hand, which had been hovering like she didn't trust him to tend his own wound, moves to cover his own, and she gently pulls it away, checking the swelling beneath for a moment. She keeps her attention there as she says, "My family was Muggle." Although it gets easier for Jack to say, it's clearly something that Annie doesn't find quiet so easy, even still.

"Yeah, well.. 'different' is a word for it." Jack sounds a little more harsh than perhaps he means to, and when she pulls the compress away, he makes reasonably sure it doesn't make it back. His back is up, straightened for the real or imagined pity that may come, and he watches Annie with dark eyes. "Y'ran away to Hoggies, though.. learned you a thing or two.. and you've got the choice.. like a giant smorgasbord." He shrugs, and before too much argument can be made, he glances at the rag and mumbles, "I'm fine. Will be right as rain come morning. Now, just have to explain 'ow I got the bruise to a Leftenant."

Hurt flickers across Annie's face for a fleeting moment, her eyes take a wounded cast for a moment at Jack's words. That turns to a flash of self-defensive anger, and she hastily stuffs the cold cloths back into her pocket. "I had no choice," she says stiffly, stepping back from him. "I had to learn to live with this. I had to leave my parents, my friends, my home. I didn't know what would happen to me, I had no warning and no one to understand." Her smile has never been more absent as she adds quietly, "I would have chosen to be a normal girl, not a witch." She takes a step to move away, realizes she was actually heading in the other direction, and turns. Seems she's destined to dither when Jack's around.

There.. there it is, and Jack takes a step from the overhang of the entrance where they'd been .. somewhat sheltered. "You can go back to your friends.. like nuffin's happened. Hide the stick. But those folks, they'll take care o'you. Give you everything you ever wanted." He's a bit more bitter, perhaps, than even he had considered? "If you'd considered being normal, you can. Go back to it." There's a pause before he grins broadly, a cheeky-bastard grin, and he thumbs the other direction, the way she does turn to go in correction, "Underground's that way." Heading towards his lorry, he pushes up the back lift-gate and slams it into place; feels good to get that out. "How 'bout now? Any different?"

Annie pauses, turns back, and almost says something else. But her lips press into a thin line, and she just looks at Jack a moment. Without another word she turns and walks away, back straight and head up, not a glance cast back to him.

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