(1937-12-27) Horseshoes And Hand Grenades
Details for Horseshoes And Hand Grenades
Summary: Llewellyn and Nicki share drinks at the soda shop and almost a New Year's kiss. Almost.
Date: 27 December 1937
Location: Ulric's Oddball Malt Shoppe
Related: Lemon Drops and Ponies

Ulric's Oddball Malt Shoppe Diagon Alley
Thu Dec 27, 1937 ((Tue Nov 27 01:29:58 2012)) (B,2 W)

It is a winter night. The weather is freezing and clear.

Malt shops seem to have the universal ability to turn adults into children again, without the use of magic and Uric's Oddball Malt Shop is no exception. The malt counter, its wood polished to a high shine and cushiony bar stools lined up in front, provides a place for patrons to sample all manner of drinks that fizz, foam and steam. A long section of the counter has also been set aside for rows of glass jars with chrome lids filled with all manner of sweets, Muggle and Wizardly alike. And for those that want a little more privacy or for the couple on that romantic date tables have been set out on the malt shop's floor with seating for two or four.

For a field agent of the Ministry, a hundred-kilo commute is no big deal, just find a fireplace and some floo powder and you're off. For a teenage wizard? Well, the travel itself is just as handy— but you have to find time away from the school, and even then, half the time your parents are sending you off on little errands here and there. Even magic folk can (usually) only be in one place at a time. Still, he's managed to get away for a couple hours, picking up a few little personal items, and now a quick drink before he has to head back again.

It's no real surprise for the students of Hogwarts to run into each other in Diagon Alley over vacation, since it's usually either arranged or family will be taking them there anyway. Nicki has caught up with a housemate or two already, having been set on her own for the past hour or so already. She's not due to meet her mother for another hour at least, and she knows with fair certainty that it may well be longer, as Mother is shopping for new robes. Hours. So she's wandered to the Malt Shoppe, and is seated in a booth sipping on a drink that has little bursts of bubbles raising from it every few seconds, almost like bubbly fireworks.

Surprise, no. Pleasant change of direction? Certainly. Nicki may have this strange affinity for animals, magical or otherwise, but that still puts her far closer to Llew's mindset than pretty much any adult. "Showoff," he says, pointing toward her glass as he helps himself to the seat opposite. "Really, though, what's it called? Looks like a new one."

Nicki looks up at the voice, her attention drawn away from the little display before her, and she smiles at sight of Llewellyn. "It's just new since this past November, she said," and a nod goes to the young witch at the soda counter. "It's called a Fawkes Flagration." She looks at the drink thoughtfully, "I think it was supposed to be a conflagration, but that wouldn't have had the whole F's going then, would it?" Her eyes lift to Llew as she talks, and the question seems directed at him, along with a pleasant smile.

"That's a good point, they need to get people talking about it. I mean, you can only see it if you're already here." Llew lifts up his own glass for a moment. "I just got some hot chocolate with a dash of exploding lemonade— they say it won't shatter unless you try to pour it straight." Then again, he's glancing over toward a suspicious transparent shard embedded in a nearby wall. "So what've you been doing on holiday, besides coming here? Off to your stables?" She mentioned something about having stables, right?

Nicki looks at the boy's concoction curiously, her nose wrinkling slightly as he says what it is. "Chocolate and lemonade?" The look she gives the glass clearly says that she wouldn't be at all surprised if Llew suddenly fell down dead before her. She even gives a bit of a shudder before turning her attention to his questions. "Oh, Mother needed to do some shopping, so I came along. I've done some riding, but most if it's been boring family things. I'm happy to have gotten to come out today." She leans forward to take a drink from the straw in her glass, only to get a fizz of bubbles in the face.

Llewellyn shakes his head. "I know, it doesn't sound like it should work, but it does! You should try some—" But before he gets any further with that thought, there's her own drink going and bubbling up, which sets him off laughing for just a moment. "Is that how it's supposed to work? It looks more like a drink you'd buy for one of your friends as a prank."

Nicki squints, reaching for a napkin to get the fizz out of her eyes. "I think I timed something wrong," she offers, barely suppressing a giggle. "It wasn't bad, except it stings a little when it's in your eyes. I don't recommend it." She looks up with a grin, nudging her drink toward him. "You try, see if you time it better."

So it's a challenge, eh? Llewellyn is up for it. Not that he's running around looking for one like your standard Gryffindor, but hey, this is Nicki after all. Of course, he can't resist putting his own little spin on it: "Trade you," he replies, reaching out for both glasses and switching them around.

Nicki's nose wrinkles distastefully again, as Llewellyn shifts their glasses. Clearly, though, this is a dare. Perhaps even… a double dog dare? No, no, that would be a serious breach of protocol. Just a dare. She squares up her shoulders, lips pressing together and she nods. "Alright then. At the same time, or you first? Gentlemen should go first you know." It's worth a try.

Technically, Nicki's already gone first. Has Llew actually drunk anything from his own glass yet? But he nods and draws the Fawkes closer. "Me from my glass and you from yours," he confirms, before taking an experimental draw on the straw. Well, it seems safe enough at any rate.

Nicki leans forward, and even though it's hardly as likely she'll get anything in the face from Llew's drink, she still winces. What if it does blow up? She watches him, waiting to move at the same time, then leans forward to take a pull from the straw in the chocolate/lemonade concoction.

Again, nothing worse than the taste. It really was a small dose of exploding lemonade. "This is actually pretty good!" Llew adds— right before it bubbles up again in a high arc, landing in his hair. Cue the drowned rat look.

Nicki's eyes widen in surprise at the taste. "This isn't bad, either." Then he's tagged as well, a little worse off then she was, and Nicki laughs, quickly slapping her hand over her mouth to stifle it. Not very successfully, actually, since her shoulder still shake with barely suppressed laughter, and, after a moment, a tear runs down her cheek.

Llewellyn just sits there, resting his chin in his hands, elbows anchored against the edge of the table. (How rude!) "Oh, sure, I'm a clown. Always wanted to run off and join the circus." Dare completed, he pushes the glass off to one side, where it will hopefully catch a hapless passerby the next time. "I could probably make you shut it but we'd probably get in trouble."

She's not quite done giggling yet, but Nicki makes an attempt at being helpful. Since they aren't old enough to use magic out of school, she reaches for the napkin dispenser, tugging out a handful and pushing up onto her knees on her seat, attempting to reach across the table and take a swipe at his hair. "Move in, Llew," she says through laughter that is tapering off. "I'm sorry, I didn't know you'd get it that badly."

Leaning forward, Llewellyn accepts the offer— at least he doesn't have to duck his head down all that far for Nicki to get at it. "Watch your fingers, I bet that stuff'll stain them orange or something. Probably have to wash it out with lye soap and a scrub brush." Is he speaking from experience? Or maybe just passing down an old story.

Nicki dabs at his head, but when that proves ineffectual she kind of scrubs a little. It may only marginally dry his hair, but it works wonders at getting it to stick up all over. "Oh," she says, "I think I'm making it worse." Leaning back to look at the damage she's done for a moment, she then reaches up with her empty hand to try and comb his hair with her fingers. "Orange? They couldn't let you drink it if they did that." She doesn't sound exactly sure about that.

"Well, sure they could," Llew answers back, catching sight of his reflection in the napkin holder but ignoring it. There won't be a proper name for that look for a few more decades, yet. "I mean, who cares if your insides are a little orange? Or your tongue— you can get that just from too much pumpkin juice. Or, you know, orange."

Concentrating on what she's doing, Nicki's fingers rake Llewellyn's hair first one way, then after a pause to look, back the other way. "Alright then, if it were going to stain them orange, wouldn't your hair turn orange as well? At least I wouldn't be alone."

Llewellyn tilts his head to one side. "You? Go look at Summerbee some time and then tell me your hair is orange. Now red, maybe. A little bit. Actually, is this green back here?" as he points toward a spot just behind her ear. It's a question so it's not technically a lie.

Nicki stops fussing over the boy's hair to slap lightly at his hand. "There's no green," she laughs, pulling back to look at Llew again. "I think it's not so bad now. It's hardly even sticky now." She's being a bit kind on both counts, but she grins across at him.

Llewellyn shakes his head. "This drink is just a clever way of selling hair tonic, I'm certain of it! Wish I'd thought of it myself, actually, it's brilliant if that's really what it is." He pulls his own drink back and takes another sip, reveling in the curious mix of sweet and sour. "So where are you headed after this? Back home with your folks?"

The girl pulls her own drink back with a measure of caution, lest it go off again. "You're mad," she says easily at his talk. With one hand shielding the top of the glass, Nicki attempts another pull on the straw. Success! She backs off quickly, looking up and across to Llewellyn with a nod, "As soon as Mother is finished." She only thinks to glance around then, asking, "Are your folks here?"

"I'm mad? You're the one who wants to hop on the back of an animal and hope it knows where it's going." Llew waves a hand vaguely in the air. "Oh, they're around somewhere. Dad's still working for another couple hours— I almost hope they do repeal that law about the muggles, he'll get loads of overtime."

Nicki laughs, "Hope it knows where it's going? It likely doesn't, you're the one that needs to know where they're going, and you guide the pony." Wow, he is seriously animal impaired, the poor boy. "Does he bring you when he works when we aren't at school? I hardly ever get to come to the city."

He really is. At least he's aware of it, and tries to stick to creatures small enough that he can pick them up. "Sometimes," Llewellyn says. "His real work's wherever the muggles are, he just comes back here to check in before and after."

Nicki eyes her drink for a moment, waiting until there's a particularly large fizz before ducking in for another quick drink and getting out of the line of fire again. Not bad. Maybe she's getting the hang of the drink. "He's with the Ministry, isn't he?" She regards Llew curiously, "I don't recall that you said what he does."

Llewellyn thinks back for a moment. "I'm not sure if I have. He's an Obliviator… which sounds simple on paper, but the way he describes it? Not only do you have to go find the muggles in the first place, but then you have to come up with a story that they'll believe and move on. Otherwise, it just keeps spreading and getting worse…"

There's a clear spark of interest in Nicki's eyes. "It sounds like it could be dangerous. Is it dangerous?" She's managed to get this far without having a great deal of interactions with muggles. In truth, she's much more familiar with non-magical animals than with non-magical people.

Llewellyn hasn't dealt a great deal with either, and offers a shrug. "I suppose it can be. Mostly, if someone in that department does mess up, then one of the others steps in before it gets too bad. I don't really know a lot of the details… I mean, it's a good job, but I kind of want to do my own thing, you know? Easier to get credit if no one can say he's covering for me." At least not directly.

Nicki's head tilts, and she absently tucks her hair behind her ear. "Do you know what your own thing is then?" she asks with clear curiosity. Another badly timed lean into her drink gets her a spritz in the face, but it's mild and merely garners another wrinkle of her nose before the girl drinks.

"Well, I'd really like Gambol's job, but who wouldn't?" At least in their house, it's not too unusual a goal. "I don't think you can really aim for it directly, though, you have to work your way up. That part, I haven't exactly worked out yet."

His answer is considered, and Nicki nods. "We do have time, after all." At least another year until their first round of tests. Then they get to decide what they want to do when they grow up. "But I think you'd be as likely as anyone to figure it out." There's a tapping at the window next to their table, and Nicki looks over… and then down. Standing outside, one hand up having clearly just done the rapping, is a house elf. He hops around a bit seeing he's got the girl's attention, making something of a display of pointing up the road. A frown comes, and Nicki nods, sending the elf scampering.

Llewellyn takes the opportunity to work through some more of the chocolate lemonade snap. That's as good a name for that mix as any, right? "What's going on?" he asks, looking back to Nicki after the elf takes off.

It's a disappointed look that goes toward Llewellyn across the table, even as Nicki is sliding to her feet. "Mother's going to be ready. I have to go. I didn't even get to ask how your Christmas was." This realization doesn't make her look any happier and she sighs as she shrugs her coat on. "Likely see you back at school then."

Llewellyn nods to Nicki, then snaps his fingers. "Yes you did, just now! It was fine—" No doubt they have some stories they could share about that, too. But not quite yet. "Tell you all about it when we get back, all right? And you need to tell me about yours."

Her smile finds it's way back to the surface, and Nicki nods, looking a measure more happy. "Alright, when we get back. Oh, and Happy New Year!" She steps in quickly, aiming a kiss at his cheek, because that's what you do when you wish someone a happy new year.

"Happy New Y—" Llew echoes, or starts to. And turns at just that same moment so that… well, the kiss was aimed at his cheek, before it moved. Oh. Um. He'd thought about that a little earlier, but not seriously. Now what?

There is no moment of shocked silence where Nicki keeps her lips on Llewellyn's, thus garnering her first kiss. It's more like the girl was hit with a live wire she jumps back so quickly, eyes going wide and surprised. "Oh! I'm sorry!" She hadn't thought about it, and won't for a couple hours yet. Then she'll probably think about it, and maybe wonder what it would have been like, had her instinct been different. For now, however, she just blushes a deep pink, pulling her coat more tightly around her. "I should… go."

Oh yes, it was going to have an asterisk next to it anyway, but now there's absolutely no doubt about it. That won't be awkward at all. "Right, you should." But he abruptly doesn't want her to. But she should. At least Llew's thoughts will have some time to settle down again before it's his turn to head off.

"Yes, Happy…" No, that started this awkward moment. Nicki stops, and then settles for a simple, "Alright. Bye." She turns in a flap of robe, making haste for the door. Out the door like a shot, she still glances sideways as she passes the window, her eyes finding Llew's face for a moment before she scurries off.

Wordlessly, Llewellyn meets Nicki's gaze that one last time. And then he plops back down in his seat and slumps forward, face leaning into folded arms. He so could have handled that better. And as if agreeing with that thought, what's left of the Flagration flares up again, sending one last little spatter of foamy bubbles scattering down his back.

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