(1937-09-19) Elephants and Monkeys
Details for Elephants and Monkeys
Summary: Annie and Jack bump into each other at the zoo.
Date: 09-19-1937
Location: Regent's Park Zoo
Related: Two Sides of a Coin Walking Through The Park One Day Model Students
Characters
AnnieJack_Dodderidge

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Regent's Park Zoo London
Wed Sep 19, 1937 ((Wed Sep 19 15:33:33 2012)) (C,1 N)


It is a summer day. The weather is warm and fair.


The London Zoo provides both locals and tourists a relaxing, family friendly way to spend a day. Wide, tree lined, pebbled paths meander through the various exhibits that go well beyond the standard lions, tiger, and bears. The London Zoo was the first zoo to ever offer its guests the creepy thrills of a Bug House, the scaly wonders of a Reptile House and the chance to explore the hidden world of fish in its very own Aquarium. And of course, there are plenty of opportunities to watch the monkeys in the rotating Round House or see an elephant show or even sit on a bench and enjoy ice cream or snacks purchased from a kiosk vendor.


The rain has stopped on this chilly mid morning in London, and families are swelling the numbers of folks finding their way to the zoo. Annie has a day off from the library, and decided to pay a visit to the animals, something she's not done in a rather long time. Near to the elephant's enclosure, she's stopped to sit a spell on a bench, licking an ice lolly despite the cool of the day, and watching the people around her. She looks thoughtful and perhaps even somewhat melancholy, matching the clouds that grey out the sky.

The chill in the air is what brings Jack out, mostly. The flat isn't heated well, not that he's lit a fire yet, or rather, the landlord hasn't set the boilers rumbling in the basement yet. Moving keeps one warmer, so they say, and so.. one of the better places for a mark would be where? Oh yes.. a park. A zoo.. and so the young man slowly walks the paths, cigarette in hand, dark eyes watching the people moreso than the animals. Seeing not so much of a mark but.. okay, a mark, Jack veers and begins to approach the bench with a cocky, quirky smile on his face. "Oi.. yer lookin' grey."

Blue eyes swivel away from contemplation of a family, mum, dad, a young boy, enjoying their walk from one animal cage to the next, and Annie looks to the voice. The tone was familiar at once, and Annie is moreso hoping she'd gotten it wrong. But there's Jack, The Cad, approaching. "Hallo, Jack," she says. It would be impolite to ignore him. "Alright then?"

Jack finishes his approach and perches on the edge of the bench, an arm on a knee, and looks across (and a little down). The hail in return brings that smile up a notch, and he stubs out his cigarette carefully before putting it back in his box.. the one with the autograph from Hadrian. "Fairs'nuf. You? Ain' seen y'round much. Not since Hogshead." The smile doesn't fade, and he leans a little, "Was right surprised to see y'there."

Without thinking about it, Annie edges away just a tiny bit, almost imperceptibly. A sudden chill on her fingers reminds her of her treat, and she pauses to lick a streak of cherry from the back of her fingers. "I'm alright, ta," she responds, not quite looking at him directly. "Yes, not since Hogsmeade. I was surprised to see you as well." At first. Then no so much as his reason for being there was clear.

Jack watches her lick the melted cherry from her hand, and he tilts his head consideringly before pulling out a handkerchief that looks like it's seen better days. It's clean, mind.. just.. old. "I occasionally find my way up there. I clear houses, mind.. and stuff the Ministry don't want, or don't think is a problem for the general public," and he enunciates the word public, "I clean. 'Member?" Not a bad job for squibs. "Seein' a few of yer old mates? Darlin' kids, them. Makes me wonder what the world'll be like in the next 10 years once they get their say."

Annie nods, murmuring, "Yes, I remember." As if she would forget. She remembers it as well as she remembers the snogging of him and Briar. She licks the lolly again, instantly feeling awkward as he's not got something, and she doesn't have enough money for another for him. But she is ever polite and offers it toward him. "Would you like some?" She's not concerned about germs, even though who knows who else he's been swapping spit with. Absently, she adds, "I thought I'd take a walk up to see who was there." She is staying in a cottage there, after all, though with his preoccupation that evening she's doubtful he would remember.

Ask either one of them, Jack or Briar, neither is attached to the other. He's not got a girlfriend, and she's not got a boyfriend. He's not yet met a bird that he'd give that title to. At all. Left holding his handkerchief, he exhales and puts it back into his pocket and shifts his weight again. "Whu? No.. ta. Plannin' on hittin' a cart for a pasty later." With the little change he's got. "Who was there? Bit o'snakes, surprised me. Little bastards," and he lets his words trail before he looks to her again, his brows rising. Now he remembers, and he points a finger, "D'at's right. You've got a place up there. A place t'get away from it all. Hole away with a bloke, it's a good spot."

Annie was about to reply that she saw some of her Ravenclaw friends, but his presumption takes those words from her head. Her eyes widen, and then her brow furrows, and the look she gives him is furious. Her voice is low and insulted when she speaks. "How dare you? I'm not some tatty little tart doing god knows what up there in Hogsmeade. I wasn't raised that way!" Apparently, he's hit a nerve, because although her voice is angry, her eyes well up and she blinks rapidly to stave off giving him the satisfaction of her tears.

Jack watches her in a measured way, and as the fury rises, he sits down beside her, shifting such that he's facing her, his leg bent and in front of him, between them. His brows rise, and his voice lowers, "Who'd think worse of ye if ye did? Whose business is it anyway for a bit of fun?" He ducks his head, "An' it is fun.." Reaching out, he moves to put a hand on the side of her face, fingers stroking her cheek, his thumb looking to wipe any hint of an angry tear away. "No cause to be defensive."

A tear that had slipped past her blinking defense (it's not a very good defense anyway, admittedly) is brushed away at his touch, and for a moment Annie is simply too surprised by him to react. And when she does it's to burst into tears, the ice lolly dropped forgotten to the ground beside the bench. Annie leans into Jack, hands finding purchase on his shirt as she buries her face in his shoulder and cries. Not dramatic, loud sobbing, but soft, desperate weeping.

Okay, Jack is surprised at the reaction, and he leans forward to put an arm around Annie's back, his hand that lies upon her cheek lingering there until she buries her head into his shirt. "There, there.. s'all right then.." Rubbing her back, his voice is a hoarse whisper, a touch.. okay, more than a touch uncomfortable. A lot more. "S'all right.."

It takes a few minutes for Annie to regain control now that the first tears have fallen, and there is more than one odd look cast at the pair by passersby. Gradually the tears lessen, and before they've fully stopped Annie pulls back and looks at Jack with pink eyes and tear streaks down her cheeks. "I'm so sorry, Jack," she says quietly, looking absolutely mortified.

"S'all right.." See now, the handkerchief that he'd put in his pocket is taken out once again, and is used to wipe away the tearstreaks. As he does so, Jack gets a little closer, and a bit closer still before he leans in to steal a kiss. It's a quick one, a gentle press, and away again before she gets the idea to slap him one. "Wanted to do that for a bit.."

She felt him leaning closer, but Annie had no idea what he intended. Her tears are surprised out of her, and she just sits there, seconds ticking away, and looks at Jack. Finally she looks down, only just noticing that her hands had landed on his bent leg. She says softly, "It's my mum's birthday today. I thought coming here…. that they'd feel closer." She pauses, before adding, "They don't."

"I can give you my mum and da," Jack's voice doesn't rise from it's hoarse whisper. He nudges Annie a bit, a gesture to 'buck up', but he doesn't move away, nor does he move her hands from his leg. "Really though.. don't know what sort of thing you had with your mum, but one day, you might want to ring her up. You know.. tell her 'Oi, gettin' on, fanks for everyt'ing.. met this great bloke. Shackin' up.. will check in wif'you in another ten years.'"

Annie's eyes lift to Jack's face, a wan smile coming at his attempt to be… comforting? She sniffles, rather indelicately, no longer worried about keeping up appearances in front of him. "They were in France… in my sixth year at Hogwarts. So it's about three years ago now." She's never tried to keep exact track, she doesn't want to dwell on it that closely. "There was a ferry accident." She doesn't go on, hoping he grasps the gist of it without her having to give voice to their fate. Her eyes don't leave his face, despite the curl that has dropped down into her eyes.

Jack makes the utterance of 'oh'? before it comes out again as more of a statement as it dawns on him. "Ooooh.. I.. see.." comes slowly. "Sorry t'hear it. I thought.." well, one of their last conversations made it sound like a door was shut because of the whole 'muggle/wizzie' thing. "Right.." and reaching out, he moves to shift that ringlet of hair from her face, keeping his hand there now on the side of her cheek to cup her jaw, and leans over to kiss her again, pressing for a slightly longer embrace.

As Jack's realization dawns on him, Annie says softly, "No, no, you couldn't have known.." Her eyes stay on his as his hand moves, brushes her hair away, and then his lips are on hers again, and for a moment it's lovely, and it's not being sad to be alone, and she kisses him back, soft and sweet, her hand raising to touch his cheek gently. And the light stubble of his scruffy beard on her fingertips pulls her back to reality, and pulls her back away from the kiss. She doesn't look horrified or like she's going to sock him a good one in the jaw. She just lets her eyes drop, along with the light touch on his face, and she takes a deep breath in that catches in her throat.

Oh look! Looks like he won't be sportin' stripes on his face for that one. Jack enjoys the kiss; he's a bit more gentle than he lets on, perhaps.. and once the kiss is completed, he straightens to give her a little breathing room. "Now I know." His hand strokes her cheek with his thumb, and there's a certain.. discomfort to be found, and he shifts his position a little, clearing his throat. It's gotten a bit hot out now, suddenly it seems. Trying to make it look smooth, though he's anything but smooth and suave, he sits beside her, side by side, and sets his arm up and over the back of the bench, to put around her. "S'alright, you know. Y'make do in the world, and you've got it."

To say that Annie is a bit unsettled by not only the kiss, but by Jack's gentleness and understanding, would be the understatement of the century. She brings up her hand to wipe away the last traces of the tears from her cheek that Jack hadn't caressed away, and sits back on the bench. Her eyes drift up, but no, the clouds haven't cleared away for the sun to come out. Maybe it's just a warm breeze. She swallows a few times, processing everything over the past several days, but without much success. So, looking ahead at the people going by, she says, "Would you like to come feed the elephants with me?"

Jack sits for a long moment before his brows rise and he looks beside him. "Feed the elephants?" He looks as if he'll make comment, but he resists the urge and makes to rise slowly, gaining his feet. "Alright.. this once. An' we're avoiding those damned monkeys. Can't stand them. Always lookin' at'y.. jealous that yer on two legs and they're still in the trees."

Jack's assessment of the monkeys brings Annie's smile back out, and as she stands beside him, she deliberately pokes her elbow into his side. "Maybe they're just wonderin' how you got out?" She flashes him a grin before scampering away from him, toward the elephant house.

An arm is raised to wrap around her shoulder to tug her in closer. Jack's greeted with the side-poke and he laughs it off, his free hand coming around to lay on the spot. "Oi.. I've lost the ability to truly appreciate bananas.. and to fling shit.. though I have t'say that it's a very handy skill." At her scampering, however, he laughs and gives chase, "Oi! Not so fast.."

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