(1937-10-01) How To Court A Hag
Details for How To Court A Hag
Summary: A chance meeting at the Leaky Cauldron, and Laurence nearly starts a serious relationship with a hag.
Date: October 1, 1937
Location: Leaky Cauldron
Related: None

Leaky Cauldron London
Mon Oct 01, 1937 ((Mon Oct 01 23:39:17 2012)) (E,4 NE)

It is a fall night. The weather is cool and overcast.

This cramped, angular room is the taproom of the Leaky Cauldron. A long bar runs along one side of the room, plain wooden stools set out before it. Smoke from pipes and candles fills the air. The patrons of this curious little bar, many of them elderly, sit hunched over their mugs at the tables. Waitresses bustle back and forth bearing trays of food and mugs of ale. Many of the people seem strangely out of place, dressed in cloaks and floppy hats, it almost seems as if you've stumbled into another century. Notably absent is any modern muggle devices or electric lighting, or any sign of electricity at all. Still, the occasional muggle does find their way in here, usually declaring it to be 'quaint' and 'atmospheric'.

Nightfall comes to the city of London, and the moon's on the rise. The nightlife begins for some, and for others, it's time to begin to get ready to close down to go to sleep. The cauldron is in 'full swing', even for a Monday night. While not all the tables are filled, there is a respectable showing.
Niamh O'Shea is one of those homebodies however, and she's got her almost finished plate before her, and is getting ready to dig coins out to place them on the table for payment and tip. Sure, sure.. should really start cooking, but.. when it's so available? She's got a jacket behind her, a basket at her feet of a few random bits of.. things. No doubt for her shop. Or maybe it's just.. because?

Annie's not long off work, and it's a good night to stop for a warm cider before taking the Floo home to Hogsmeade. The young witch breezes in through the door, looking fairly pleased for a Monday after work, and she heads for the bar. But look! There's Niamh, and Annie veers her path to step toward where the other woman sits. "Alright, Niamh?" she greets as she nears.

It isn't stormy or drizzling so Laurence can live with that, bustling into the Cauldron with his trench coat buttoned up and his hands shoved in his pockets. Simply glasses with the dark green lenses hide his eyes and he gives a full body shudder, the 'god I'm glad my work day is over' shudder and takes a deep breath, moving further into the room and heading for an empty table, messenger bag hanging at his side.

Nia's getting everything together in order to depart, but she's far from ready to leave. Looking up at the door's openings, she catches the arrival of Annie, and a warm smile graces her face. "Right as rain, Annie.. How are ye this eve'?" Pushing a chair with a foot in gesture for the younger woman to join her, she nods a brief greeting to Laurence; she knows that expression and gesture. Only now..? It's a joy and a pleasure.. "Sorry I've had my dinner, or I'd take a meal with ye. As it is, I may have a bit of time with a pint.."

"Brilliant," comes Annie's reply with a beaming smile. "Just brilliant." Her brows raise as Niamh says she's already eaten. "I'd love the company if yeh can stay a spell. I'll just pop over and get us something," she offers and turns to go to the bar. It's clear she means to treat for the drinks, and she's humming lightly as she moves away. Her steps take her almost directly into the path of the wizard with the messenger bag, and as she moves to go around a rather large hag, there's a danger of collision.

Elly breezes by only a mere half a minute of passing by Nia and Annie's conversation to set down a Pint for Nia and a nice warm mulled cider for Annie. Winks and hugs and such are quickly tossed in before she brisks away to handle everyone else. "Elly's comin'. Wha can I get ye…Aye? Comin' up. An' for ye?" Aye! Good. Specials of the day is Tomato with some cheese sprinkled on top if he like. Croque Madams n' Mosiours, wich is just dem Frenchies way of sayin melted cheese sandwich with or without a fried egg on it…wha can I get ye loverly? And for ye dear?" Elly's just doing her Elly thing.

Kogrod arrives through the Floo, the evening Prophet tucked under his arm. He glances about the room, examining the patrons before moving to a relatively empty seat to read the paper. Even if you work there, it's always good to look at the finished product.

The mysterious broom maker catches the nod from Niamh, taking a moment to lower his glasses a minute as the woman gets a one over and he smiles and nods back politely, turning around in time to see the collision coming and he does attempt to move out of the way really, he is supposed to have good instincts but he's step-stumbling into a hag and getting a handful of…well he's not quite sure WHAT that was, but he has a handful of it, before muttering his apologies, tripping and falling at Annie's feet, glasses falling off and he takes a moment to catch his breath, raising his voice. "…Elly…beautiful…can I get one of them Frenchie cheese things with a glass of scotch and a side of me dignity?" He, chuckles roughly, that repressed scottish burr adding a purr to his words as he looks up at Annie with a wry smile. "I can kiss your feet now if you like…" He winks and flashes a grin as he works on pushing himself to a seated position.

"Oh?" Nia's expression lights, and the impish grin is easily reflected in her eyes. "You have t'tell me everything.." Without leaving any of the better bits out! "I've eaten, but-"
And with Elly's breezing past? The potion-maker's smile is directed at the whirlwind. "Perfect.. an' then this is my last." She's had a couple, but.. one can't sit in a pub without a pint in hand! "I swear it." Thankfully, the shop's nearby, and she can have a cup of tea in the dim light.
Kogrod is given a glance as, well, the fireplace burns with a green almost.. luminscence. It does capture one's attention, particularly when it's a goblin that appears! Kogrod, too, is offered a nod, and her attention comes back around, though she catches poor Laurence's stumble and handful of.. hag. Wincing in.. ew, she dips her head and lifts her pint to hide the giggle. "Oh dear.." That won't be pretty.. if and when he opens his hand. Assuming he's not lucky. If he's lucky? Niamh doesn't even want to dwell on that possibility.. hags being nice? Polite? Perish the thought!

"Molester!" That would be the shriek of the hag, upon being so brazenly fondled by the floundering Laurence. She swings an arm back, apparently about to swing at the wizard with a rather large bag, when, thankfully, the hag's companion stays the swing. "Zorna watch y'sel! Last time y'flew off the 'andle 'ere she 'ad t'… snap." Her eyes are on Elly, and no one wants her mother summoned from the kitchen. Surprisingly, the mere threat quiets the hag almost at once, a fearful look coming into her eyes.

Annie, meanwhile, is ending up with someone at her feet. "Cor, I'm so sorry!" At once she tries to reach for Laurence's hand and is still apologizing. "I should have watched my step better, I hope yer not hurt!" His joke and wink, eases her at once, and she laughs. "Please, let me help yeh up." If she'd have just stayed at the table a few seconds longer she'd have avoided this entirely. She flashes a look back to Niamh, looking sheepish.

Laurence's eyes widen a bit as he watches the hags, flashing them an apologetic smile as well. "I'm ever so sorry really…I was distracted by your rather mature and alluring presence…" At least he sounds genuine. Before he looks back to Annie to accept the hand up, squeezing it gently and he keeps a hold of it as he gets to his feet, dusting off his clothing with his free hand. "S'okay, its my own doin'. Clumsy sod that I am…" He eyes his free hand and eyes the hag and then back his free hand and then turns back to Annie. "I do warn yah…I have a fierce longing to sit comfortably between two women who'll comfort my wounded spirit." He shivers a bit. "And maybe allow me the honor of paying for their drinks or food?" There's a twinkle in those ice blue eyes.

Now the hag's response to the entire thing just sets Niamh off a little more, but she can't help herself. Waving a hand in front of herself, she shakes her head, "I'm sorry.. it jus' reminded me o'somethin'.. pardon.. a thousand pardons.." She's not sounding remorseful in the least, but.. it's hard!
She does manage to flash Annia a wide grins, and at the hand holding? Brows rise, even if she knows it's completely random and accidental.. it's just so cute! And, perhaps she may be a little bit filled with whimsy, as the days have been going splendidly for her, and.. the pint doesn't hurt! "I've already had my coin put down, but fair Annie's there.." comes as a response to Laurence's offer, her Irish lilt sounding a merry note. "She's not yet eaten, I am to gather… aye, isn't tha'so, Annie?"

The gropee turns her attention for a moment to the groper, and flashes a dazzling hag smile to Laurence. Alluring presence indeed. "Alright, dearie, alright, no 'arm done then." Clearly she is making nice to avoid another encounter with The Mother, and a puzzled glance shoot over to Niahm. But, as the ladies were making their exit, the friend just pulls on Zorna's arm, urging her to the door. "C'mon, b'fore anythin' else 'appens!" she hisses. The pair lumber their way off, the normal noise level returns to the tavern, and all is well with the world.

And Annie stands with her hand in Laurence's, which she pats with her other hand amiably as she laughs. "Of course yeh should sit with us," and she casts another look over to Niamh and shakes her head lightly at her words. "It's just a cider for me tonight, I've a meat pie waiting at home." She looks back to Laurence and she steps back toward Niamh, giving him a light tug if he doesn't release her hand, "Please do come sit."

Laurence chuckles softly, giving that hand another gently squeeze as he follows his way over at the tug, releasing the hand. "Thank ya kindly ladies…" He does awww softly at the news of the drinks. "A meat pie? Now its good to meet women with healthy appetites." He brushes his thumb against his jaw and smiles a bit as he pulls a chair out for Annie and nods politely to Annie. "M' Laurence by the way…Laurence Toulson…" He looks up to watch the hags leave and looks back to the two women. "And for a second there, I thought I had gotten myself accidentally engaged."

Kogrod looks up and frowns a bit at the incident with the hags. He hasn't spent too much time around them, since they aren't very active in the business world. But, he shakes his head at the whole thing and returns to his reading. "He really should know better than that in this day and age," Kogrod comments on an article. "Beater for the Tornados and he goes and makes such a stupid joke…" He grumbles something in Gobbledegook after this.

Niamh watches as the hags depart and she drops her head and giggles for a couple of seconds before she takes a deep breath. Finally, she lets it out, and raises her brows, her tones settling conspiratorially, "Ye don't even want t'begin to know the sort of things they ask for from the shop.." and she lets it go there, but she does drop the hint, "Beautifying potions'll only go so far.."
There comes a soft *ahem* as Nia clears her throat and sits a little straighter in her seat. Composure? Check! "A pleasure, Laurence," and she all but extends a hand. "Niamh O'Shea.." and.. she's just about to introduce Annie, but obviously she can do that for herself. "An' Ye almost did. One o'them had a philter, an' ye could have been a target.." She wiggles her brows before she a laugh sounds again. And again, pardons are begged!
The sounds of rumblings about quidditch, however, brings Niamh's attention around to the goblin. "It's precisely b'cause he's good at what he does tha' he can get away with such things. I'll not fault 'im for openin' his mouth, no matter what may fly into it.."

Annie slides into the chair, smoothing her skirt out, and it's a sympathetic look that goes toward the departing hags from her. "Aw, I can't help but feel a bit badly for them. I've met some very nice hags." No she hasn't, but she just so darned polite she gives them all the benefit of the doubt that perhaps they're nice at /other/ times. Then her smile is back, and after Niamh introduces herself, she chimes in, "I'm Annie Taylor. Pleasure t'meet yeh, Mr. Toulson." Niamh's remarks to Kogrod bring a questioning look to Annie's face and her eyes shift between the pair. "Did someone say something?" She did look over the morning paper, as she normally does, but she wasn't really paying full attention this morning.

Laurence settles down at the table, unbuttoning his trench coat to sit more comfortably in his seat, messenger bag resting against his leg on the floor as he half stands with his manners to nod politely to both Annie and Niamh. "Miss O'Shea…Miss Taylor, forgive me if I speak out of turn…but there is no Mrs status that I've missed is there?" He settles back down and eyes Niamh with a curious quirk of his eyebrow. "A shop then? Potions and things? I knew you had the look of a hard workin' woman filled with bubbly charm for your work…" Then he looks between Annie and Kogrod, hearing word "Tornado' and listening carefully.

Elly blows at one little tuft of her honey hued bangs to get it up and out of her face and back into her black yarn hairnet that's much more medieval in style than the more modern hairnets. Humming to herself she is muttering a song that she put together herself that keeps all of her orders organized so she is soon placing orders before those that ordered them.

"That's true," Kogrod answers Niamh. "I suppose celebrity does lend one a certain credibility, even in matters completely unrelated to what the person's famous for," he notes. "It's how the world works these days, people listen to whoever they read about in the papers or hear on the wireless." He thinks about this for a bit.

Quirking her head, Niamh nods with a dip, her smile remaining behind. "Aye, in that you're right. There's no vows t'the priest, an' no ring upon my finger." Yet. "Though, if in the next breath, ye are forward enough t'ask if there's one who might fit the bill, I'd answer ye 'aye'.. and be done. Still, there's no cause to turn a man away from company. Particularly one s'passing fair." Her Irish lilt is in full-swing, the sing-songy quality playing easily. "An' I do have a potions shop. Inherited from my gran. MacDiarmarda.. in the Alley. M'brother an' I."
Annie's given a sidelong grin and a nudge, "O'course someone said something. They all do, though none's so good at it as Mr. Hadrian Higgs.." She exhales in a soft sigh and grins soon after. "He's one who could say the sky is green, an' I'd defend it to my dyin' breath." A gesture is given in the goblin's direction, "An'.. I think I just made his point."

Annie's head shakes at the query put out by Laurence, tailing her words onto Niamh's, "No ring for me either." She leaves it at that, but there's a smile on her lips so she's apparently not upset at that fact. And Niamh's mention of her brother bring a lift to Annie's brows, "Cor, Niamh, I was meanin' t'tell yeh; I stopped at the shop Saturday last but yeh weren't there. I met your Keenan though. And doesn't he look handsome with that beard." Yes, subtle Annie. But she did tell Keenan that she would put in a good word for his facial hair to his sister who wants it off him.

"I love chance and I'm ever so open to new and exciting opportunities…and I have an artistic appreciation for beauty but even if you've the looks that could keep me up at night…I'm wise enough to know I wouldn't be the only person to notice. Whoever's holding ya heart is lucky…but I can't promise not to stare." A wry smile curls Laurence's lips before he accepts his scotch when it comes his way and he rakes his fingers through his hair to brush it out of his face and takes a sip of his drink. Then his attention shifts to Annie and he just hmms thoughtfully, shifting back slightly to position himself more comfortably in his seat. "Be still me heart." Then he's quiet as the comment on Quidditch and just looks thoughtful as he sips his drink.

Niamh gives Laurence a bright, warm smile and a chuckle sounds, "I will accept flattery, an' the occasional stare. I'm not dead, after all." A soft Mmmm does sound after, and she nods, her tones striking a happy chord, "An' I think he believes himself lucky. I'm pretty sure, aye."
She looks to Annie again, her brows rising, creasing her forehead. "Ye met Keen there..?" She clucks her tongue and shakes her head. "Whatever he's paid ye to say that, I'll pay ye double t'forget it. Da's of the opinion that he's likin' it, while Mum says the jury's still out. T'me, it looks like he simply can't make up his mind.. an' Irishmen's got no cause for a beard." Not like a certain Scotsman! "Mind, an' I say that with the greatest amount of love. I appreciate a ginger beard, I do.."
The pint is recalled now, and Nia begins to take swallows of it; hardly demure little sips, but she's actually got to get back to the shop. Rising to her feet, she gathers her basket, and makes her apologies, "Mr. Toulson, it's been a pleasure.. an' Annie.. I need t'go. The Inspector may be 'round this eve'n, an' I've got to have the kettle on for him." And if he's not, that's okay too.. it's enough to have the light on and the kettle warmed if he needs it! There's money on the table for her ale, and she departs.

"Indeed you did," Kogrod says with a nod to Annie. "Perhaps I should become a celebrity myself," he muses. "Though, I already write for the Prophet…"

Annie can't help but laugh again at Niamh's assessment of her brother. "I think a beard looks fine on an Irishman," she protests lightly. After all, Tim has had a penchant for one of late as well. The other witch's need to go is understood, but still taken with a pinch of sadness. "Aye, have a wonderful evenin', Niamh. Hope to see yeh again soon." She waits for Laurence to bid her farewell also, then turns her attention fully to the wizard along with her smile. "Yeh've a way with words, Mr. Toulson. I've met a lot of writers lately, are yeh one as well?"

Laurence stands respectfully when Niamh takes her leave before settling back down to look to Annie. "I've met quite a few Irishmen with decent lookin' soup catchers." He shrugs a shoulder and takes a sip of his drink as he notes the goblin speaking about writing and that eyebrow quirks again before he turns his full attention back to Annie, watching her quietly before offering softly. "Not quite, lovely…I write and I read thanks kindly to years of book learning…but I do make brooms if that's worth anythin'?" He tilts his head to the side. "I've learned alot from polishin' and pruning' and handling my craft and applied the same care and attention to the words I speak…and even more attention to the women I address."

Annie's eyes widen slightly at news of the man's profession. "Cor, I've never met a broom maker before. I've always thought a lot of work goes into them, with the charms and making them look so nice and all." Her dimples deepen a measure as her smile widens. "Yeh do seem quite the gentleman, I must say. An' have yeh been making broom for very long then?" She seemed to have forgotten her cider, and her eyes drift to it and she blinks before taking it up for a sip. Still warm, bless Elly and her warming charms.

"Ah, a broom maker," Kogrod says, interested in what Laurence has to say. "A good trade to be in, sir. In fact, I originally started following Quidditch because of those fine brooms," he explains. "Whether it's metal or wood, a goblin knows a well-crafted product."

"Never?" Laurence slips a couple of cards from up a sleeve and offers one to Annie, held between two fingers. "Well you've met one now…its just an evenin' of firsts for us innit? Never groped a hag before and you've never met a broom maker." The card is a soft grey color and there's a broomstick on the card that changes colors 'Every Broom Speaks To Its Rider' 'Laurence Toulson - Broom Maker'. "I've been makin' them long enough to know what I like, anticipate the needs of those I have the pleasure of…servicing, hm?" He grins and looks towards Kogrod. "When my shop opens then, it'll always be open for those who appreciate well-crafted products indeed."

Annie takes the card, taking a moment to look down at it. For a moment she watches the broom's color vary, before she tucks it away into a pocket of the jacket she wears. "Ta," she chirps. "I've been thinking of getting a broom. I haven't ridden since I left Hogwarts, and I do miss it sometimes. They're rather dear, but I'll have enough set aside in time." Another sip is taken of her cider, and she has another question for the broom maker after mention of Quidditch. "Do any of the professional players use the brooms yeh make?"

Laurence has to nod slowly, the second card is slid/flicked over to Kogrod's table as the craftsman sips his scotch and sets it down. "The Grodzik Goblins…in Poland, they have a few players who've had the pleasure of making custom brooms for them, and others but in the British and Irish League…well I have a few contracts I am negotiating and there have been a few purchases…aye, now that I'm more local it'll be easier."

Annie raises her cup to Laurence, a good natured toast. "I wish yeh the best fortune then. An' I'll be able to say 'I met him' one day when everyone fusses over the team's brooms." The clock behind the bar chimes the hour, and Annie frowns for a moment. She raises her cup and drains it, then smiles across at Laurence again. "I've got t'get home, but it's been a right pleasure t' meet yeh, Mr. Toulson." She moves to stand, nodding to the goblin as well, "An' nice t'see yeh again."

Laurence lifts his own glass, an appreciative smile in place. "And maybe you'll have one of those brooms yaself, but thank you Miss Taylor…you're kind." He stands when she has to get to her feet to make her leave. "Take care and enjoy your meat pie, I'm sure I'll see you again." He takes a deep breath and looks around. Right. No Hags, so he offers a small wave to Annie. "And perhaps then I'll come up with a greeting that doesn't involve me falling prostrate before you."

"I see," Kogrod says. "Will this be your first shop then?" he asks, examining the card. Of course he'd heard of the Polish team that shared the name of his race; there had been a bit of back and forth in the Brotherhood of Goblins about whether it was demeaning to have a Quidditch team named after them. Kogrod didn't mind it so much but he understood why some would take offense. "If your business takes off, I may do a profile on you for the Prophet," he suggests. "Up-and-comers in the world of business are always good to see, especially nowadays."

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