(1938-06-07) To Mediocrity
Details for To Mediocrity
Summary: A case of mistaken identity turns into a light hearted pity party.
Date: June 7, 1938
Location: Leaky Cauldron

Leaky Cauldron London
Fri Jun 07, 1938 ((Wed Mar 06 04:48:21 2013)) (E,4 NE)

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 sometimes coined 'Wenches' 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, as if they stumbled out of 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'.

Like most days in London, it's a bit overcast and nearing the end of people's workday. As the sun dips to grace another part of the world with its presence, England falls into a cold spring shadow, the kind that forms dew on fields. Colin has been enjoying the relative peacefulness of the Cauldron from his table by the window…or what would be a window if it was particularly scenic. His coat is on the back of his chair and there are a number of teas, some halfway languishing, one still warm. All of them are curiously not doctored in a particularly English way. They are ruined with what appears to be cream and sugar (the bowl disturbed and nearby on the surface). He has a book open and small scroll of parchment he's marking every once in awhile.

Not in any mood to bring a Friday at the office to a full close, Cooper crafted a tale about a sick elderly relative needing an escort to Mungo's. But the truth was that she was headed to the Leaky Cauldron for a meeting with an old friend she hasn't seen since she left on assignment two months ago. The unfortunate part was that she was already running late, and she definitely looks it. Her cloche hat barely sits snugly on her head and her coat is inside out because she didn't realize she was putting it on wrong. Still, she spots the back of her companion's head once she walks through the doors, scanning through a book and enjoying his assortment of tea. "Merlin's beard, were you waiting that long that the tea went cold? I'm sorry!" Cooper squeezes Colin's shoulder mistaking the man before pushing her thick glasses up her nose and taking up the tea cup to get an unladylike gulp out of it. Someone's thirsty!

It's not uncommon for someone to waft through to talk to Colin every now and again to make sure he doesn't need anything. It's pretty uncommon for someone to squeeze his shoulder however and it causes him to straighten up abruptly, not quite a jump or jolt. He bears a small grin as he realizes he's been mistaken. He doesn't make a peep. Instead he holds up a warmer cup of tea for her, since she seemed to have grabbed the lukewarm one as if this type of thing is old hat. "You should really try this one," he says as he leans back and to the side to look up at her. "I don't believe you're /that/ late," he assures her as he rises. His eyes quickly take in the details of her attire. "My name is Colin Godwin. Please, join me. I've only seen people leave for the last thirty minutes, so either he's very late or hasn't shown up yet," depending on how late she is, but he's giving her the benefit of the doubt.

"Blehhh," Cooper grimaces after partaking of the lukewarm refreshment. "Since when did you put cream and sugar into your tea? That's extremely unpatriotic. Thank you." Still not recognizing her error, she gladly accepts the warmer drink, still scrunching her nose in disapproval but at least this one was warmer. But it's only when he stands to look at her face to face that she realizes she's got the wrong person entirely! Unlucky for Cooper, this happens mid-sip and she chokes halfway through, spitting out the rest back into the cup with a light fit of coughs. "Oh my goodness! I'm so sorry!" The cup delicately goes back down on the table where he was sitting as if she were reserving it back to him in panic, "I apologize, here. This is yours. Actually…no, don't drink that. I spit up in it. I'll get you another." Snapping in the air, she tries to flag down the waiter. "I am really really sorry Mr. Godwin! It's just that the back of your head looks so…generic, you know?" Her hand waves around the back of her own head as she looks for the words.

Well it doesn't help that Colin must have been masking part of his accent. Once she realizes who he is, he drops the perfect Londoner accent for something a little more Scandinavian on top of it. It's faint, but distinct. He stands there, still, and even takes the lukewarm cup off her hands. Cradling it in his hands, he watches her do this, do that. It just makes his smile grow just a fraction more. However, at her comment on the genericness of the back of his head, his eyebrows arch just slightly and then he chuckles. "Please, it was an honest mistake," he says. "You don't nee-" beat, "d to do that. And to answer you on when I started putting cream and sugar in my tea, it was when I got settled in Sweden," he teases lightly, then he gets to work clearing some of his old teas by hand to a nearby table so someone can bus it when they have the chance. "Since you rejected my tea and informed me that the back of my head is as perfectly generic as your friend's…I suppose it's alright that you get me another one…tea that is," he concedes.

Anxious to get through the post-awkwardness of her mistake, Cooper snaps faster and perhaps a bit more obnoxiously at the server, who quickly begins to make his way to the pair. "Sweden? Well that would explain it. Only…," she purses her lips thoughtfully while giving him a good once over. "You don't look very dutch. I would have never guessed, even if you do have a slight accent. What was so important there?" Namely, it's his dark hair that gives him away, upon which Cooper's blue eyes settle briefly to indicate what she means. But she gives a snicker and a half smirk when agrees to a replacement drink. And when the server comes by to take their order she replies, "Yes, uhm two more early greys. Piping hot please. And a fresh bit of cream for the Swede here." Turning back to Colin she asks as she takes the empty seat, "Anything else?"

"That's because I'm not. I spent ten years after Hogwarts apprenticing under," Insert now retired old Swedish researcher. Colin doesn't look like he expects recognition. Niche field. "A museum of sorts, if ninety percent of a museum is under lock, key, and wards. So research, negotiation of acquisition, restoration, appraisal, cleaning things," he rattles off. "A lot of unimportant administration duties. I assisted him until he retired this year," he explains. "Emotion, mind, etc. Mostly artifacts that deal with that." As to why it was so important to spend a decade there, he looks down and then back towards her, "He's the most accomplished in his field and I wanted to leave, so it worked out." He finally sits down opposite of her and closes his book. "But now I'm back…What do you do if I may ask?"

Well. You're right. Cooper starts to lose herself after the long foreign name, and her eyes glaze over a bit. Not because she's bored, but because she's rather clueless about this line of work. "Hmm well…that sounds…exciting," tries to give the warmest grin possible in order to look as sincere as possible. But she may not get her desired effect, but suddenly her eyes light up with interest once he explains exactly what kinds of artifacts he deals with. "Mostly emotional? Or mostly mental?" The question is oddly specific, and she tilts her head with an inexplicable curiosity when she asks it. "Oh! Forgive me. I'm Genevieve Cooper, but everyone just calls me by my surname because it's easier to remember - when I'm actually remembered," she grins sheepishly and extends a hand for him to shake. "I'm an auror. Recently returned to London myself about a week ago."

The server reappears setting down their fresh, practically boiling teas and also slips a note to Cooper, muttering something in her ear. Unrolling the small parchment, the blonde crunches her nose and shows the note to Colin:

Something's come up, forgive me. We'll catch up later.

"I guess you were right about him not arriving, the flake," Cooper half-smirks and half-frowns.

"I'm sorry if I'm boring you…it's not terribly eventful work," Colin explains shortly before answering her question, "Emotional mostly. There are theories that mental and emotional are tied, but it's all very…how do I put it. Not well received." He holds his tongue from rambling off about the particular details of this, just trying to stifle his own fascination with the subject matter. "Genevieve Cooper," he says aloud as if to commit it to memory. He reaches out to give her a decent hand shake. Not overly firm, not limp. The handshake of a scholar. "Ah. Were you away on assignment? Or…" Suddenly the server is there and he watches the little scene with quiet politeness. When she shows him the note, he squints slightly. "If I forget your name I will always remember to call you generic head lady," he says dryly and then lifts his cooling tea for sip. Right back down on the table. "Wrong one." He gets to doctoring his new one. "What will you do with your newfound freedom then?" he challenges lightheartedly as he pours a dollop of cream into his tea. Traitor.

Despite her initial waning attention, Cooper doesn't seem to find the topic so terribly dull anymore seeing as she leaning forward just a bit while she rests her chin on her hand. "Not well recieved?" she asks putting a spoonful of sugar in her tea and nothing more. "Tell me Mr. Godwin, if I wanted to learn more about this subject do you have any suggestions for books I should look into? Studies recently published?" Yes, quite a curious curiosity indeed. The look on her face makes it seem like there are gears turning in her mind, and she's so occupied with what he has to suggestion that she has to bring herself back to reality when he asks about her own job. "Oh uhm yes, researching and tracking mostly for a certain case. But unfortunately not anymore free time than usual. I've come back to take all the information I've gathered and make it count, if you will." She snickers and nods at his nickname for her, lifting her tea with one pinky up - of course. Cooper tries her best not to grimace at the cream Colin so casually pours into his bit, and with a tightened jaw she clears her throat. "So now that your master has retired and you're back in dreary London, what sort of trouble are you up to now? Working independently?

Colin reaches up to rub his forehead a little as he rifles through his brain. "Well, it's rather controversial. Most of the studies I know of are not really supported by research done in England," in other words, probably not in English. "I have some I could lend to you," the young man will definitely make a mental note to talk to a coll-his boss about this. "But I warn you, even my employer isn't keen on those studies…" he sounds, slightly hesitant, like a researcher with a guilty pleasure. "I'm certain there is something to them though. Perhaps not what the researchers have intended, but…" He shrugs, perhaps unwilling or not keen to dive into details over the soiled tea. Yet, he continues to answer her questions as she asks them, showing no sign of major balking. He smiles as he listens to her talk about her work, as vague as she must be. "Sounds exciting…that you get to finally apply all that hard work," he says in turn, toasting his soiled tea to her. "I am currently working as an assistant, though, I do wonder if I'll keep at it."

"You won't be giving me anything illegal now will you?" Cooper peers at Colin with a cold and intimidating stare that is devoid of her natural warmth. One might suspect that she saves this face for interrogation, but not too long after she cracks and smirk and says, "Cause if it is, you obviously have to tell me." And taking another sip of the tea, she pushes her glasses up the bridge of her nose oncemore. "Forgive me, I'm not too well versed in this particular field which is what could be so controversial. I suppose I'll learn when you help me gain a better understanding." Now the reason why exactly she's so curious is left a mystery for now, but her brows raise when he shares his current occupation. "Ten years and you're still working as someone's assistant! Well congratulations are in order, your career is officially progressing faster than a snail." Cooper even clinks her cup against his in a 'cheers' motion though she does question, "No really, you spend all that time being an apprentice and studying under someone. There's nothing you want to pursue on your own accord?"

"Is that some kind of entrapment?" Colin says with a goofy smirk, head tilting to the side. Clearly law enforcement is not his expertise. He chuckles and leans back, relaxing into his seat. "Well, it's disputed whether matters of the heart have anything to do with the mind," he points out gently. "Deep motivations, bonds, things that form the basis for powerful magic. If it was that easy to…manufacture," he shrugs. "Thanks. Cheers," he celebrates his progress. "I was nearly running the museum when my mentor retired." Course the shadow of super-long-scandanavian researcher is long. "But," he nods with substance, eyes stuck in thought, "I'm thinking on that. I've been going a bit stir crazy. This certainly allowed me to land in London…but my interest is in people and of course the research I was doing. I haven't figured out what that means for me yet though. I never thought I would come back here," he explains. "In a sense, this has been like starting over…and what are you chasing being an Auror?"

Cooper jokingly groans and shakes her fist slightly in the air, "Oh bother, I was hoping you wouldn't have noticed. My plans have been foiled again." She mockingly sighs but then continues on leaning her chin against her hand while she listens to his explanation. "Well if you put it that way … sounds like very dangerous knowledge in the wrong hands." A thumb goes to swipe her lip thoughtfully. "Now I can tell you have an interest in this, but do you believe that maybe it's a box that is better if not opened? Why couldn't you just pursue research in that area? It sort of involves people, doesn't it?" Taking another sip of her hot hot tea she explains, "I've always had an intense desire for justice. And I believe people should get what they deserve. Good or bad. Of course all that energy was supposed to go to journalism. I was going to write for justice, but a few people said I'd do better in Law Enforcement." With a half-smile, she scratches the back of her neck, "Though lately I find I haven't lived up to the hopes of those said people."

"Naturally," Colin beams. "It could be, yes." His grin softens until it fades into a somber expression. "I've thought on that a lot," he shifts his eyes to meet hers. "You have to expect that there are bad people out there, trying to open that box…There's just no defense, no coming back from that kind of knowledge gap. And that danger. You have to be proactive. In the long term, for the children who have to live in the world we leave behind." He reaches for his tea and takes a sip. He settles into a soft squint as he listens to her motivation. "Do you believe you've strived to fulfill your belief of poetic justice?"

Cooper finds that she can't do anything but hmm at his words, mulling them over while her eyes keep on staring back at his behind the glare of thick lenses. But the corners of her lips do twist up into a slight smile. "That is," she pats her pockets for a box of cigarettes, one of which she slips between her lips and then subsequently offers another from the pack to Colin, "A very realistic and yet optimistic perspective. I like it." The flick of a brass lighter and up the smoke drifts from the tip. "So I guess it's okay to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil then, as long as we soften the blow for those after us, am I right Adam?" She gives a cheesy snicker, not realizing that the wizard may not get the muggle religious reference until after she's said it. "Alright well, in order to help you find out the future of your career, I'll ask a better question. If you could do anything in the world - nevermind qualifications, money, physical limitations - what would you do?" That's always a fun question to ask. Cooper has gotten quite a unique bunch of answers in the past. "Hmmm, yes well I've always strived I suppose. But I get distracted sometimes and forget my original goal in the first place," she scrunches her nose.

"Thank you," Colin says, takes a sip of tea, and sets down his cup. "I'm not sure I can trust you Eve," he counters, following with a smirk. He sits up to take the offered cigarette and rolls it into position between his fingers absentmindedly. "Are you my personal fortune teller now? My seer?" he teases lightly but then wears a getting down to business face, "Right." Then he laughs a little bit, shaking his head, "I'm sorry. It's just I've asked that question of jr apprentice candidates too many times over the last decade of my life." Settling down again he says, "I would want to get there first," he says with a sobering tone. "And along the way, hopefully have a good story or two to pass down." He assures her with some small spring of confidence, "Listne, if you've strived for that, and you feel like you've honored it with everything in you, then I wouldn't worry one lick about what other people have to say."

Out extends Cooper's arm to hold forth the lighter, flame burning and all so that Colin can light up. But as she does so she can't help but laugh, happy to know he got her reference. She does add, "If you want someone who will do a terrible job and give you a completely inaccurate reading then sure, I can't most certainly be your seer." Once he's settled, she'll shove the pack and lighter back into her pocket. His response though confuses her just a tad and she asks, "Get where first?" Cooper exhales a puff in the other direction before taking a sip of her tea again. His assurance solicits a warm smile from her. "I think you're right. I suppose the problem lies in my own expectations. Dropped the ball a couple times and no one seems as angry with me as I am at myself. Every feel like you failed terribly at something?" She asks casually before taking another drag.

Colin leans forward, lifting the cigarette to his mouth with one hand, while cradling the light. After he gets it started with a puff or two, he leans back in his spot. "Thanks." He takes a draw before he says, "Then you're my seer. And to get to that magic, that knowledge first, before someone bad does." Smoke trails from his mouth for a moment escaping with the words before he blows it out to the side. He squints through the smoke that invades his sight, stinging his eyes. "Yes," he answers decisively and almost immediately, smiling. Then suddenly the smile shifts to a look of concern, "You'll find a horrific song written by an eleven year old boy framed on me Mum's wall…In her bedroom." He bursts into a smirk. "I was an apprentice for ten years and now I'm an assistant. I think, perhaps you might be asking the wrong person."

"That's very ambitious," Cooper says, flicking some ash into the ash tray provided next to the cup of sugar. "Think you'll ever reach that goal as an assistant?" She gives Colin a teasing wink and a bit of a smirk. "I'm kidding. I'm not your mum. Do what you wish, when you wish, but the point is to do it!" She sits back in her seat, slinging her arm atop the back of the chair next to her in a very mannish fashion. Speaking of parents, the mention of the song instantly earns a laugh out of Cooper only it came in the middle of a drag she took. The smoke chokes her lungs, and she ends up guffawing/coughing a bunch of smoke out. "By god that does sound terrible. I have absolutely nothing to compare to that." She waves the away with her hand, "Guess we're both failures in a way. Glad to know I'm not doing it alone." And to bring a bit of light to the mood and the subject, she raises her tea cup once more for a toast, a bright, proud smile on her face. "To being subpar and not living to our full potential."

"I'll be satisfied if I just make more progress than the competition," aka the bad guys. Colin also reaches forward, but wait till Cooper's done with the tray to lean the inches forward to ash his cigarette. He settles back in to ponder her question, bobbing his head back and forth a little as if calculating options. "Well I think the competition is still a bum on holiday after trying to pass NEWTs," he teases, "So I think maybe it's just fine for a few months." He takes a drag and his eyebrows shoot up at her choking, "Are you alright?" half laughing, half concerned, but still, overcome by laughter. "It is. Yes," he says boisterously as he picks up his tea cup and lifts it to toast, smiling right back. He follows her with, "To mediocrity!"

And once again the tea cups clink as Cooper downs the rest of her tea. Settling the china on the table she grins and waves the last bit of smoke out of the air surrounding them. "I'm fine, you merely caught me off guard. Admitting childhood failure is the hardest thing anyone can do," she nods once definitively before rising up from her seat to stretch her arms and push her glasses up the slope of her nose again. "Anyhow, thank you for not only letting me drink your tea, but also serving as the replacement for my missing company. Just send an invoice to my office, I will make sure you're paid handsomely." The butt of the cigarette is crushed into the ash tray and she holds her hand out for one last shake, "I've ought to be on my way, but it was a pleasure meeting you Mr. Godwin. May I ask where you work? Perhaps I can pick up the literature I asked for there?"

Colin sips at his tea. When she begins to thank him, he rises up out of his seat, cigarette between his lips, tea cup in one hand, the other hand behind his back as he does a little bow. Then he snatches the cigarette from his lips, to say with a certain amount of self-aware cheese, "My pleasure." He straightens and puts the cigarette back in his mouth to shake her hand, unwilling to relinquish his tea or tobacco willy nilly. "Hhmm." Out the cigarette goes. "Oh yes, here." He deposits the tea and then scrambles for a bit of parchment from his book and his quill. He scribbles out, "You can fire me at this address."

Cooper snorts, rolling her eyes and pushing her cloche hat down closer on her skull to prepare for any potential precipitation. Her lips purse in approval at his shake and then comments, "Good grip you've got there. Not overly firm, not limp. The handshake of a scholar!" Receiving the parchment from Colin, she glances at the address and says, "Excellent. I shall be in touch then. Take care, sir." A quick tip of her brim as she politely dips her head in a goodbye and out the door she is, fighting against the sudden influx of people coming in for the dinner rush.

"Perpetual student," Colin says with a laugh. "Good evening," he says, as he smiles, lifting a hand from his tea cup briefly, weight shifted to one side. And then, as she leaves, they start to come. And Colin suddenly realizes that the massive influx of people-THEY'RE HERE. Like a man trapped from zombies, he quickly walks over to save his book and leave via floo, the horde flooding into the nooks and crannies of the Cauldron in his wake.

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