(1937-09-28) An Awkward Encounter
Details for An Awkward Encounter
Summary: A reunion of sorts between Josefa and Kaiden is interrupted by the unexpected arrivals of Hephaesta and Ria, in which Phae and Kaiden have it out over their mutual affection for Ophelia.
Date: 28 September, 1937
Location: West High Street, Hogsmeade
Related: Study Date, Midnight Melancholy, among others. Immediately precedes Bad Advice

West High Street, Hogsmeade

This is the main street and venue for Hogsmeade Village, the western portion of High Street. The street is always occupied by someone either out for a walk, loitering, or tidying up the outside of their business. OPEN signs hang in windows, shutters and drapes are open wide so display windows can be peered into to view some of the shop's wares. Bustling with life the forest surrounding the village is as active with wildlife as the village is with civilization, however quaint and country it might be.

Having escaped her newest Muggle suitor, Josefa's in the mood for a bit of her own kind. Rather than her usual watering hole, she's in Hogsmeade to find a drink. For once she's wearing robes, being the more appropriate attire for the Wizarding villiage, wandering down High street looking in shops, though many of them are winding down for the night.

Kaiden is wearing less-than-appropriate garbs for a wizarding community. Though it's still quite convervative in nature, being no more than a sweater, button-up, slacks and a pair of fine, leather shoes. He's humming quietly to himself as he once again tastes the sweet freedom of Hogsmeade.

Josefa sees the young man in regular dress coming down the street and turns her head. It's dim but still… She pauses and squints at him, trying to place his face.

Kaiden stops and peers at the woman, tilting his head a bit, "Is that…no, it couldn't be." As he gets a little closer to her he stops again, saying, "Is your name Josefa Loucks?" He rests his hands on his hips, observing her.

Josefa mimics his stance, her face bursting into a grin. "It is," she says, voice growing high. "Little Kaiden Sykes… Not so little anymore." Laughing, she reaches up to tuck a curl behind her ear. "I can't believe you're here." Though of course, it /is/ Hogsmeade.

Kaiden grins broadly at her, "Yeah! How are you?" He positively beams at the older Hufflepuff and rests his hands on his hips, "What are you up to these days, Loucks? Surely something important, ey?"

Josefa snorts and grins wryly. "Important? No, not in the least." Her smile is irrepressable. "What about you? Still as lazy as ever?" she teases, and then rocks back, giving him a once up and down. "Merlin's beard you've grown up." Of course, anything might be large for the petite witch.

Kaiden chuckles and rubs the back of his neck, saying, "Yeah, age and hormones will do that for a person. Grow them up, I mean." He chuckles a bit embarrassedly and looks off into the night, "So, you're not out feeding the homeless or anything awesome like that?"

Hephaesta strolls down the street, a dark blue winter coat buttoned up to the collar, and a wool cap on her head. Her eyes are on the road, paying no mind to those around her…until she hears that voice. She wants nothing more than to get away from him, and fully intends to do just that. Yes, she'll be moving right along…except, no, she panics and freezes, staring right at Kaiden and his companion.

"Well that depends on your opinion on charity cases. I work as a Muggle Liaison for the school now." Josefa tucks her hands into her pockets. "I was on my way for a drink. Care to come along?" Noticing another body approaching she looks up curiously and nods to Hephaesta in greeting.

Kaiden furrows his brow as he spots Hephaesta. Yeah, he knows what's up. Luckily, friendly ol' Kaiden couldn't hold a grudge if someone made him some sort of grudge-holding device. He offers his cousin a wave and says, "Hey, Phae! Come meet Josefa!" He looks back at Josefa offering her a 'hold on' gesture.

Hephaesta has no intention of coming to meet Kaiden's friend. She hates Kaiden…doesn't she? So, naturally, she limps right up to the two of them, making little clicking and whirring noises as she steps. "Hullo," she says meekly.

Ria steps out of Gladrags with a small bag and judging by the shuffling noises she bought herself a new outfit. Retail therapy perhaps. And in addition to that treatment she's wearing her best clothes for the season and her hair looks extra kept today. Nothing makes a girl feel better than perhaps spending a bit more time on herself. Notably she's not wearing her prefect badge though and upon seeing her cousin and twin she walks up to the group. "Oh didn't think we'd all be in the same place at the same time."

Josefa squints at Phae for a moment. "You're…" She trails off and shakes her head. The Ravenclaw girl was only a second year when Josefa left Hogwarts, not exactly in her sphere of interest. At least she's a nice enough person, even if Kaiden isn't. "It's nice to meet you, Phae. Or remeet you, I suspect. You seem familiar." Ria, at least, is another face she knows, and she, too, gets a grin. "Ah, it's like a little school reunion," she says cheerfully.

Kaiden offers Phae a friendly smile and says, "This is Josefa Loucks. She's a Huffie like me. Graduated…" He looks up at Jo, calculating something in his head, "What…two or three years ago?" Upon Ria's approach he peers at her…and then notices the lack of her badge. "Ria…did you forget something?" He smiles at Josefa and says, "Isn't it, though?"

Hephaesta nods to Josefa, then remembers her manners. She bobs a lopsided curtsey. "Hephaesta Mulciber, ma'am." Ria gets a half-smile and a little wave. "Hi, Ria. Oh, I wanted to talk to you," her eyes shift to Kaiden briefly, "Later. If that's alright."

Ria gives a distant if not at least polite smile to Josefa. She doesn't recall the woman too much, but if she's a friend of Kaiden's she'll at least acknowledge her. "Ria Sykes, I'm his sister," she introduces herself after Phae. But turning to her younger cousin she asks, "Sure uh…anytime Phae…" Her eyes shift to Kaiden when the Ravenclaw's do and she has an idea what it will refer to, but isn't sure how the half robot is connected to all of it. "No, Kaiden. I didn't. Slughorn took away my badge temporarily," she says flatly, and there's a slight misery to the way she says it.

Josefa holds up two fingers, wiggling them. "1935." Upon being given the girl's full name recognition dawns. "Mulciber! Of course. The girl with the…" she bends a bit to indicate her leg, the same one Phae wears the brace on. "My, you all make me feel so old," so sighs Jo, who's barely been out that long. "I know who you are, Ria," replies Josefa airily.

Kaiden peers at Ria. Normally he'd be making fun of her for it, but the tone of her voice makes his protective brother side kick in, "What happened, Ri?" Any other comments or conversations are ignored as he awaits an answer from his sister.

Hephaesta lowers her head abashedly as she is identified by her handicap. But like Kaiden, her own troubles are momentarily forgotten as Ria seems to be having difficulties of her own? "But…you're the best Prefect in Slytherin. Why would Professor Slughorn take it away from you?"

"Oh. Good," Ria simply says to Josefa, throwing a half amused smile to the woman before her face falls flat once more. "One of those Fox twins in our year, Leander asked me to help him with a defensive charm. And so I did and things went awry and he broke my arm while I broke his nose. We're not supposed to practice dueling magic outside of dueling club, so now my prefectship is suspended. And I get it back after a probationary hearing. Essentially, I'll be tried. Like a criminal," she scrunches her nose bitterly at those last two sentences. But even Ria's cold heart can't fight her cousin's cuteness. In an awkward yet comforting way, she'll reach out to pat Phae on the head unsurely. Kind of like a little dog because she isn't really good at showing affection. "I broke a school rule, dearest. One I don't entirely agree with, but I broke it. And so I have to face consequences for it."

Josefa looks a bit apologetic. "Well, it's very distinctive is all," she says gently. And then trails off, having no part in student problems. "Sounds like you all could do with some catching up. I'm off to get that drink. Cheers…" Cue one Hufflepuff Alumni, seeking out a bar.

Kaiden nearly growls as he hears the news and gets the boy's name who did it. He peers at Ria and says, "That stupid, little…" he decides to cut himself off, as he is in the presence of ladies, after all. But, oh how Leander will pay. He looks at Josefa and says, "I'll see you around, Jo. It was nice talking to you." Now, attention back to Ria.

Hephaesta's jaw drops in shock at the story. "That's awful. But…I'm sure you get it back. You were only trying to help." Josefa's recovery at the faux pas earns a half-hearted smile. Distinctive is good, even if she'd rather be known for other things. "It was nice to meet…or re-meet you, Miss Loucks."

"Stupid little, indeed," Ria frowns bitterly but holds a hand up at Kaiden as if telling him to hold on. "Don't worry about it too much. I've got it under control." What that means exactly is unclear. "Yes, I think I'll be fine. This is only my first offense," she assures the rest. "Anyhow. How are you two lately? Phae I haven't seen you in a while. Thing going well? Any new projects? Did you hear Kaiden here has a girlfriend now." And there she goes! Ria drops a bomb without even knowing it.

Kaiden smacks Ria's hand down and says, "I bloody will worry about it. Little…person's done gone and hurt my sister. That's not something I abide at -all-." He rests his hands on his hips, looking quite assured about his plan of action. Oh, great…Ria's done gone and mucked something up. Kaiden's eyes shoot to his sister to try and shut up but…alas, it's to no avail.

Hephaesta is not known for being overly temperamental. Not that she is like one of her machines, but she's always been more cerebral than emotional. So when she visibly flinches at Ria's announcement of Kaiden's girlfriend and tears start welling up in her eyes, it is a noteworthy event. She swallows, trying to suppress yet another sobbing session. "I…I know." The look she shoots at Kaiden might as well be a Killing Curse.

Ria wants to say something in retort to Kaiden. Perhaps encourage him to calm down before he loses any points, but then she catches her brother's look and immediately turns around to find Hephaesta crying. And with an utter look of confusion she blinks, unsure of waht to do. "…What's….what's wrong?" she asks the girl and the raises her brows at the murderous look to her twin. And then she looks over at Kaiden, "Or am I asking the wrong person?"

Kaiden has no reason to feel bad about anything he's done. For all he knows, Hephaesta's just trying to steal his girlfriend. The Hufflpuff just raises an eyebrow to Hephaesta's 'death glare'. Who does she think she is? A Scottish Hit Wizard or something?

Hephaesta lowers her gaze to the street, but her expression remains dark. "He's bewitched Ophelia into being his girlfriend." Is she serious? In any event, there is obvious anger in her tone.

Ria is extremely lost now having her hands up to the ready just in case she has to pull the two apart. Highly unlikely she knows, but it could happen. And so her eyes skip back and forth from Kaiden to Phae to Kaiden to Phae until a lightbulb goes off in her head and she puts two and two together. "Wait a minute….Phae do you….do you fancy Ophelia? Are you…jealous?" her eyes widen just a bit.

Kaiden furrows his brow at Hephaesta and say, "What the f-. Now, listen here. I'm head over heels for that girl and I think she feels the same way." He rests his hands on his hips and continues, "I didn't bewitch anybody. I just asked her to be my girlfriend."

Hephaesta lifts her eyes to Ria with a slightly terrified look, nodding slowly. Then she scowls at Kaiden, and the floodgates open. "You paw at her like she's some pet, and get her to be your girlfriend on a flimsy promise of studying harder. I work harder every day than you have in your entire life! You don't deserve her!"

Ria's jaw drops in realization but she then presses her lips together, again looking back and forth between to the two of them. She can't believe the serious words coming from Kaiden and she could never ever fathom the venom that Phae was capable of. "Oh, come now Phae, those are quite strong words to use against Kaiden. Surely you can't really mean that against your own cousin," she bites her lip trying to put the arm around the girl's shoulder.

Kaiden sneers at the girl, "How DARE you!? You think that just because you can sit around and absorb advanced concepts with ease, that you're better than me!? I'm not smart, I know that. But at least Ophelia treats me like I might actually amount to something some day! How dare you even think about taking that away from me…and because you think you deserve her as a reward for hard work."

Hephaesta leans into Ria, but her anger is only fueled by Kaiden's retort. "I never said you were stupid, Stupid! I said you lay around and don't even try! But the minute Ophelia tells you to stop being so handsy, suddenly you care about studying? It's obvious what you're after. You're such a…a…a BOY!"

Ria bites the tip of her thumb thoroughly unsure of what to do in this situation. It's so easy to break up fights when it doesn't involve your own family. "Oh Kaiden, ease off now," she frowns at the harsh words from her brother. Only because Phae's younger and he should have some decency. Rubbing on Hephaesta's shoulder she says, "Phae, maybe we should go inside somewhere. We're in public, it's best not to lose yourself out here. Why don't we go inside somewhere and calm down."

Kaiden glares at her, that Gryffindor fire that once confused the Sorting Hat so many years ago filling his eyes, "That is -not- why I started trying! I could care less if she let me kiss her. She deserves someone who would move the heavens and the earth for her, and if that means I'm going to have study enough to become and Auror, so be it!" His voice then turns into a growl as he says, "And don't. Call. Me. Stupid."

Hephaesta can't keep the tears away any longer. Damn, and she was doing so well. "I would move the whole universe for her!" she sobs. "I just…it hurts…K-Kaiden…I'm sorry…" She turns into Ria, burying her face into her cousin's robes, losing herself in the latest of many fits of crying.

Ria freezes awkwardly as her cousin suddenly clings to her for comfort. "Oh…oh my," she looks down at the girl in a 'what do i do?' manner, so just as hesitantly as before she rubs the girl's back and says, "There there." Peering at her twin, she throws him a 'I'm sorry, let me just talk to her' look. And then quietly whispering to Hephaesta she says, "It's chilly, hmm? How's about some hot chocolate? Hot chocolate is always wonderful. And once we've got some you can let go all you want to." But right now, her cousin is scoring them some weirded out looks from passers by, which makes Ria uncomfortable.

And in an instant, the big, mean Kaiden is replaced by soft, cuddly Kaiden. He kneels down, leaving himself a bit shorter than Hephaesta. He doesn't do it as much as a way of evening the conversation, but more of a way to portray his humility, "Hey…Phae. I'm sorry. I didn't know you liked her."

Hephaesta nods pitifully, first to Ria — hot chocolate makes everything better — then to Kaiden. "I know…y-you couldn't have. I just…I don't know what to do…" She lowers her eyes in shame, submitting herself to Ria's direction.

Ria gives Phae a light squeeze on the shoulder and nods to her brother. "We'll see you later Kaiden. Get back safe." And off she goes to haul her cousin over to the Three Broomsticks.

Continued in Bad Advice

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