(1937-09-08) Welcome to the Neighbourhood
Details for Welcome to the Neighbourhood
Summary: Josefa comes to Hoxton to find a new flat, only to discovery another wizard and a Squib living in the same building.
Date: September 8, 1937
Location: Hoxton Apartments, London
Related: None

Hoxton Apartments, London

If it weren't for a few windows knocked out and broken the main areas of this slum apartment building, all would suffocate with the stale stifling stench of poverty. Newspapers that are as old as the building are used to stuff holes in the floor and in the walls. Some are pasted with who knows what on the walls like they were wall paper. Every board in the stairs squeak and groan like that step might be the stair climber's last. The banister if it's there at all is a shaky treachery. Some doorways don't even have doors as some were busted by Bobby raids or in a domestic dispute. All in all living out on the actual street might be more accommodating and 'homey' than this housing project.

The young woman walking in to the Hoxton does not look like she belongs here. With her black hair curled and pinned back and her immaculate muggle clothing, she looks, well, quite neat compared to some of the more unsavory people that would tend to live in such a … well, unglamorous setting. She strides up to the front desk and places her clutch upon it. "Excuse me?"

The only other person in sight at the moment is a ginger-haired man with a scruffy beard and a heavy brow, presently removing a few envelopes from his postbox. Glancing over at the woman, he gives her an appraising look. "The manager is out. Or drunk," he says plainly.

Josefa presses her lips together in displeasure when the ginger man speaks and turns, leaning on elbow on the counter, apparently not afraid of grime. "Of course he is," she laments with a sigh. "It's not even that late in the day."

Gideon smirks, just slightly, as he sorts his mail. "Welcome to the Hoxton." He speaks in a very noticeable Glaswegian Scottish brogue. "Pardon my saying so, but you don't look like you belong here." He isn't exactly the picture of poverty himself. He isn't dressed fancy, or anything. But it's a decent suit and long coat. Very likely, the fedora propped on top of the postbox is his, as well.

Josefa sizes Gideon up for a moment. "I don't make a lot in my line of work," she says with a smile. "It's only temporary. Or would be, if the manager would come back and tell me if I can rent a flat here." Her heels click softly on the dirty floor as she takes her clutch and crosses to him, holding on her free hand. "Jo Loucks. Have I met you before?"

Gideon takes her hand gently in his own calloused mitt. Now that he turns to look directly at her, there is a hint of recognition. Then he nods with certainty. "Loucks," he lowers his voice, "You're with the Muggle Liaison Office. Inspector Adamantus Gideon, M.L.E.S. I saw you when I brought in the file for the Bosworth kid." Of course, he is referring to the Dorian Bosworth case — a boy wizard who had gone missing after suffering abuse at the hands of his Muggle father. Naturally, once the case was cracked open and the boy found, the Muggle Liaison Office was called in to consult on how to handle Mr. Bosworth.

Josefa ahs as her face lights up and she nods a few times. "Yes, of course, Inspector Gideon. I'm sorry to have misplaced your name." She flashes him a pretty grin. "With the new school year starting my plate has been quite full. I've got enough follow-ups to last me through Christmas." She looks around and then arches one delicate eyebrow at him. "I wouldn't expect to find you in this place either."

Gideon looks around at the pit of squalor he calls home. "I'm not one to pick up and move once I'm settled in." He rubs his chin, eyes flashing toward the manager's desk, then back to her. "Don't let him put you in a place without a door. He'll say that he'll fix it, but don't hold your breath."

There's a whistling that comes in through the front door, and something of a scruff opens the door and lets it close behind him on it's own. Jack doesn't bother removing his hat now that he's in-doors, nor does he put his cigarette out. This is someone who looks very much as if he belongs here. Dark eyes focus on the occupants of the lobby, bringing him up short for the moment before he offers a half-smile, that is, lopsided and quirked. He grabs at the rim of his hat and offers, 'Sir..' and then to the woman, 'Mum..'. It looks pretty obvious he fully believes he's caught the Inspector in something of a 'situation'?

Josefa smiles at Gideon and nods her head. "Oh, rest assured, I'll be demanding a door. I don't think he's fixed a thing here since …" she looks around and finishes dryly, "The war." The place looks like it took a bombing! She looks Jack-wards when he greets them and nods her head politely.

Gideon snorts, nodding. "That sounds about right." He instinctively straightens up into a more "ready" stance at the sight of the newcomer. "Dodderidge," he says in a grim, gravelly tone. "Keeping yourself busy?" His voice drips with understated meaning.

Jack grins and holds up his hands, wiggling his fingers, "Idle hands, devil's tools an' all that. Keepin' 'em right busy.." He crosses the room, and as he passes, gives Josefa a quick 'once over' before he continues on, making a 'not bad' face at Gideon. A hand goes to the mailbox; of course he won't have anything, but he's being particularly nosy. "Right.. Cromwell stayed here once, complained about the same fing.." Oh.. she didn't mean the Civil War?

Josefa folds her hands politely in front of her and her head turns to follow Jack. "He lives here as well?" she asks Gideon politely. She misses his appraisal, and lifts her eyebrows at his comment. "Pardon?"

Gideon, who is standing right by the postbox, turns to keep his eyes on Jack…particularly Jack's hands. They may have an understanding, but it doesn't mean the Hit Wizard completely trusts the ne'er-do-well. "That he does. Josefa Loucks, this is Jack Dodderidge. Jack…Josefa is a colleague of mine." He stresses the last word, for Jack's benefit.

Jack turns about, back against the wall of mailboxes now, and he leans, the smile still playing on his face, hands crossing before him, one over the oth. He gestures with a broad hand now, rolling it encouragingly, "You'd said that the place looked like nuffin's been fixed since the war. I mentioned the Civil War.." and he leans forward, "I know they teach you lot History. Did they leave out ol' Crommie?" He makes that leap, now that he's been told that the lady's a colleague of Gideon's. He pulls at his hat at the introduction, "M'um.. pleasure." He clucks his tongue and cants his head, "Colleague, eh? 'Ow's that workin' for ye?"

Josefa nods politely and smiles. "It's nice to meet you, Jack." Apparently she has no such problem with the young man. Or no reason to suspect him just yet. Of course, she's nice to everyone, so that's not surprise. "I meant the Great War, of course. I know about Cromwell, but that was quite a long time ago." The pleasant look on her face might slip slightly at his insinuation.

"'Our lot' usually learns magical history, Dodderidge," says Gideon is his usual growl. He nods to Josefa, "Jack's a Squib, so he's got a firmer foot in both worlds than most." Was that an actual compliment for Jack? Maybe.

Jack scrunches up his nose and nods slowly, and leans forward, his tones turning conspiratorial, in that thick Cockney accent he's got on, "Den I'll keep it nice and current for ye." Straightening again, he looks at Gideon, a pleased smile coming to his face, "Dat's me. One foot in the grave, the other, on terra firma.." Beat. "So.. to speak." He's not going to try and explain the Cromwell comment again, instead looking between the pair, "You lot moving in, does that mean they're raising the rent 'ere? I'll be gone soon, outta your ginger.."

Josefa looks…sympathetic? Yes. "I'm sorry to hear that, Jack." And she seems to actually mean it. "Well, my parents were Muggles, so I learned quite a bit of Muggle history." At the young man's suggestion that rent might be raising she kind of looks scared. "I hope they aren't raising rent! This is all I can afford right now."

Gideon, on the other hand, has lived here for years, despite that his Inspector's pay could almost certain pay for someplace with less cracks and vermin. At Jack's announcement that he's leaving, the Hit Wizard arches an eyebrow with a hint of suspicion. "Gone? Where are you going?"

Jack smiles, his lips forming a thin line as he looks to Josefa. "Parents muggles? Sorry t'hear it." He sucks his teeth, making a soft *thht* sound, and he relents for that brief moment, acknowledging his fate with a handwave. "S'all in the cards. If I weren't what I am, I wouldn't have all this," and he lifts his hands to gesture around him.

It's to Gideon that he turns to next, dark eyes glittering with amusement. "Awww.. you'll miss me, Inspector?" Jack enunciates the syllables of the word slowly and carefully, putting some emphasis on the 'tor'. "I've signed up for His Majesties Royal Air Force. Seems I'll be flyin', just.. not quite in such a style as you might be comfortable with. No chasing snitches 'ere. No sir.. Trainin'll be coming up soon. Real soon, I reckon."

Josefa seems rather confused at his apology for her muggle parents. "Why are you sorry?" she asks him, genuinely curious. But she relents, letting the two men speak to each other.

Gideon furrows his brow, nodding. "I see. I'm a little surprised…but good on you, Dodderidge." Gideon actually offers his hand to the man.

Jack looks to explain his statement and opens his mouth.. and closes it again, and shakes his head. The smile remains, however, and he extends his hand, "I knew you liked me," comes with that cheeky grin. "Makin' good, as long as I can, anyway. But, it's not yet. Trainin' first, then call up." He presses his hand in the shake, and after, drops it quickly. "And there's still many things to be done 'round 'ere." He looks to the pair, his gaze laying on Josefa once again, "All's you can afford is this hole? I'm not feelin' so down on m'self now. And here I thought, Inspector, that you just wanted to live wif the natives.."

Josefa offers Jack a shy kind of smile. Ah yes, the pretty young lady is certainly slumming it. "My family is not wealthy, and they can't afford to help me out with rent. So, well… this is what I've got to work with on the wages the Ministry pays me. Eventually I'll get that promotion…. and stop eating take out every night."

Gideon looks at Jack in a new light. "I've never disliked you, Jack," he states forthrightly. Of course, he doesn't actually say he liked him, either. He tries to reassure Josefa, "It isn't so bad here. The place is in bad shape, but there are some good people here."

Doesn't mean Jack isn't going to do the little cons, and the lightening of the occasional pocket, or apartment. He grins broadly, his eyes gleaming in mischievous mirth. "We'll see, Inspector." He turns to Josefa again, and with a step towards the stairwell, he offers, "Sorry t'hear the Ministry don't pay its folks well. Could always come and work wif me. How much worse could it be?" He winks at the pair, and pushes on the antique door that leads to the iron-clad stairs. "G'night."

With her head still reeling in the wake of the force that can only be described as Jack, Josefa looks back at Gideon. "Well." Yes. Well. "I suppose that manager isn't going to be back soon."

Gideon leans toward Josefa as Jack disappears up the stairs. "Trust me, it could be a lot worse. Hm…the manager? He's usually in before it gets too late." His eyes drift down the hall. "Listen, if you need to wait for him, I've got coffee."

"I have no choice, really, unless I want to rent another night at the Leaky and try again tomorrow." Josefa sighs with good natured tolerance. "Coffee would be lovely, but I don't want to impose, if you're busy."

Gideon shakes his head. "I was just coming home. Come on in. I'm sure we'll hear him when he returns or wakes up. He and his wife shout a lot." Ah, the joys of slum life. He leads her down the hall to his first-floor apartment. After inserting his key into the lock, he looks up and down the hall before producing his wand, touching it to the center of the door. "Alohomora adamantus." Only then does the door swing open, and he steps aside to let her enter the tiny, spartan apartment.

Josefa smiles just a touch. "Does that keep the thieves out?" she asks lightly, preceding him into the little apartment. "Home sweet home," she jokes and looks around, standing in the center of the room with her hands folded over her clutch.

The flat isn't much to look at. Just a single room with a kitchenette near the door, and a door leading to a restroom off to the side. A tiny window lets in what little remaining sunlight penetrates the London fog and the alleyway outside, barely illuminating the small bed and bedside table with an oil lantern atop it. There is also a worn and raggedy sitting chair, with several well-read books stacked on the floor next to it, and a tiny table and chair by the kitchenette.

"It isn't much. I apologize for the mess." What mess? "Please, have a seat. I'll fetch that coffee."

Josefa looks around for a moment between raggedy reading chair and kitchenette table and opts for the later, pulling the chair out and leaving her clutch on the table. She fusses with her skirt for a moment, making sure all's proper while watching him make the coffee. "It's no problem. Give me a week, and I'll show you a mess." The young lady grins. "I won't need locks, you'd never find anything beneath all of the carry-home meal containers and unread newspapers and discarded letters left by bored owls on my window."

Gideon shuts the door, re-engaging the locking spell with his wand. "It isn't just thieves you have to worry about, Miss. Loucks," he says dourly as he takes out saucepan and lights the stove with a quick ignition charm. "This is a troublesome place to live, and there are bad people that come through this neighborhood."

"Well then, it's fortunate I'll be living near you, Inspector Gideon." Josefa gives him one of her most charming grins, at her best now. "And I'm rather handy with a wand, if I need to be."

Gideon nods curtly in agreement. "I do what I can to keep an eye on things here. But you need to watch out for people like the Shore Gang. If you have any trouble, you come tell me."

Josefa leans forward and prompts, "The Shore Gang? I'm really…not familiar. I've been living with my parents, but it's just been a hassle getting to the Ministry on a daily basis. Too hard to get a Floo approved in a Muggle residence, and I'm not very good on a broom. Perhaps you should fill me in."

Gideon grunts, "Gangsters. Extortion, racketeering, you name it. They think of this as their turf, and the Muggle authorities can't do much about it. I suggest keeping your head low. Don't give them an excuse to pay you any attention."

Josefa is not exactly the trouble making sort. "I'll keep that in mind," she agrees with a smile. "I wouldn't want to draw attention to myself." No sir!

Gideon ladles up two cups of coffee, setting one steaming mug down in front of Josefa, along with a bottle of milk, though no sugar. "You're a pretty girl," he states matter-of-factly. "That will get someone's attention. How are you at apparition, if it comes to it?"

Josefa has to blush, maybe a little pleased that he's calling her pretty. Even if he's not offering her a compliment directly, it's still nice. "Apparition?" her laugh is a little self-deprecating. "Splinched myself once. Suppose that's better than the alternative though."

Gideon winces at the thought of splinching. "Ah…well, yes. It is. Still, I'd feel more comfortable knowing you could get to and from work safely. Unfortunately, even with safety concerns, the Floo network isn't really an option. The closest thing you'll find to a fireplace here is a stove." He gestures toward the little pot-bellied stove where he'd warmed the coffee.

Josefa considers the little pot-bellied stove. "Did you know, I can cast a wicked glamour spell, and I'm not too shabby with a transfiguration?" They won't win her a fight against anyone, but they're useful skills. "You never know when a fireplace might pop up." She pours a bit of milk into her coffee until it's turned a much paler shade of brown. "You were a Gryffindor, weren't you? I can tell."

Gideon leans up against the wall by the table, as the only other chair is across the room, and a bit bulky to be moving about. "Is it that obvious?"

Josefa laughs into her coffee cup and takes a timid sip. "It is," she tells him with a grin. "You've got… that save everybody complex. I saw it plenty in my years there."

Gideon shrugs, taking a heavy sip of his own, not minding the heat, nor the bitterness of the black brew. "It's better than the alternative," he says, echoing her words from moments before.

Josefa inclines her head in agreement. "I try to stay out of such things. I was never one to get involved."

"Not everyone should," he concurs. "It's better if those with the inclination to fight do the fighting. It's a lot harder to protect the masses when the masses are wading into the battle." He tilts his head curiously. "So what made you want to be a Muggle liaison?"

Josefa sips more coffee in quiet agreement. "Oh, that. Well… I told you, my parents are muggles. The man who assisted us when I got my letter was great. He really made a difference and I thought, when I was old enough to make such decisions, that I wanted to do that too. It's rewarding to be the first face of the Wizarding World that some of these families meet."

Gideon nods to that, though whether he can appreciate the warm feelings connected to the sentiment is difficult to determine through his stony countenance. "It must be hard sometimes. Some Muggles don't react well to learning about it."

"I've had some doozies," agrees Josefa with a laugh. "I'm usually the one they send in on the tough cases though. I've been thrown out of a house or two, but I always get my cases to the platform on time."

"The platform," Gideon repeats. "So, you work mainly with families and children, then?" He nods in approval. "That's good. That's good." If she had been present this year as the children boarded the Hogwarts Express, she may have even seen him there, looming like a guardian hawk over the students.

Josefa bobs her head in agreement a few times, "Yes, young wizards. It's not bad work, but somebody has to give some explanations. 'Surprise, you're a witch!' is a lot to swallow. And then there's the issue of getting into Diagon Alley and finding Platform 9 3/4."

"Aye, hardly an easy task for the uninitiated. So what about you? Did you have a hard time adjusting after thinking yourself a Muggle all your childhood?"

The unpleasant sound of the Manager getting sick in a garbage can out in the lobby is a good indication that he's feeling much better now.

"I was an adjustment," agrees Josefa thoughtfully. "I'd never been away to school before, you know. So that was the biggest thing. None of it exactly came easy to me, either. It was just all so /new/."

Gideon winces at the sound of the manager's awakening. He clears his throat in an attempt to cover it. "I think I hear the manager, if you'd like to see him."

Josefa is not deaf, and she looks…faintly ill at the sound of the manager retching. "I think it might be best to wait until he's done…doing that. Otherwise I might be joining him."

"Mmmhmm. Very wise. I wouldn't worry, though. He'll be done momentarily. This is…not new."

Josefa sets her elbow on the table and props her hand up in it, sighing. "He's a Muggle?" she asks curiously.

Gideon nods through a sip of coffee. "Mmmhmm. Not exactly a shining example of Mugglekind, though."

"No," she agrees, looking around at the place and sighing. "I can't imagine anyone who would allow people to live like this to be a shining example of human kind, magical or not. We treat our house-elves better." But only marginally.

Gideon chuckles grimly. "A house-elf would be a great boon to this place." He cranes his neck toward her. "Need that refreshed?" He nods toward her coffee mug.

Josefa sighs wistfully. "Puddings, roast chicken, potatoes, gravy, someone to do my laundry and pick up after me…" Oh how spoiled they were. The young lady looks into her mug and shakes her head. "No, that's okay. It will only give me the jitters."

"Wouldn't that be something." Gideon takes a moment to fantasize about having a house-elf. "Well, we'd better go see the manager before he starts drinking again."

Josefa chuckles and then nods. "Yes, I suppose we'd better." And with that she rises elegantly to her feet. "Thank you for the coffee. And the companionship, Inspector."

Gideon stands upright, setting down his coffee, and walks her to the door. "It's my pleasure," he states with his usual forthrightness. "If the manager gives you any trouble, you know where I am." He opens the door for her, inclining his head politely.

"Yes, of course," agrees Josefa with a smile, and then takes her leave with a nod of her head. "I shall see you around, then." And with that she's heading out to go talk to the grotesque man who manages the building and rent herself a room. With a door.

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