(1938-08-28) Would You Hold It Against Me?
Details for Would You Hold It Against Me?
Summary: In response to a dare, Douglas Macmillan proves himself the bravest of all Gryffindors.
Date: August 28th, 1938
Location: Leaky Cauldron

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'.

Four o'clock in the afternoon is as quiet a time as the Leaky Cauldron knows; the after-work crowd has yet to come crashing in, and those of its elderly habituees who warm their favoured barstools all day aren't much trouble to anybody but one another, and that only if someone rashly contradicts someone else's tall tale.

Not at the bar, but splendidly established alone at a table for four, with her back to the wall next to the fireplace, is a small witch garbed traditionally in black robes, black hat, and expression scarcely lighter. She is far from the eldest of the Cauldron's patrons, but old enough to appear ancient to the Hogwarts set. Before her are spread out half a dozen books in various states of openness and decrepitude; a pot which once contained black China tea, and a cup which still holds half an inch of bitter dregs; and several sheets of parchment in a neat stack, above the topmost of which a quill dances in the air.

Something she reads displeases her; she sniffs loudly, shuts the book, and obliges the quill to tuck itself into the coils of the silver serpent which is twined, for this purpose, round her inkwell.

She takes up her saucer in her left hand, lifts it six inches from the table, and brings the cup the rest of the way to her mouth with her right hand. Very prim. Very correct. She has the air of one who THOUGHT as much.

Douglas jostles in with a couple of young lads of a similar age, all doing their absolute best to straighten up and look older than they are by the time the barman spots them, the effect ruined by whispering and nudging between them all. Still, one of the lads swaggers up to the bar, orders, and, miracle of miracles, is served. After a thumbs up to his friends, they retreat with beers to another table off to one side, resulting in back slaps and grins all round.

As the beers are started, it turns out this time it's Doug's turn to get volunteered for a dare, his 'friends' poking him and nodding over towards Ismene meaningfully. With a martyred sigh, he rises, runs a hand through his hair, and does his best to saunter suavely over towards the older woman's table, there to pause, look her over and announce, "If I said you had a great body, would you hold it against me?"

This is so far from anything which could possibly happen, that at first the object of Douglas's brave sally simply sits there and looks at him.

"What," she utters at last, in the clear, frigid soprano of a witch of the highest breeding and education, "did you just say to me, young man?"

Douglas hesitates for barely a moment before straightening and giving his best, winning smile. "Well, I was wondering… if I flip a coin, what are the chances of me getting head?"

Douglas's friends high five in the background, drain their drinks, and slink out, unbeknownst to the poor lad.

The little old witch's eyes harden into a black basilisk glare. "I don't know what that means," she informs him, brows coming together in a scowl, "and I refuse to respond to it. Who the devil do you think you are, coming over here and interrupting me with this ridiculous talk? And is there a single reason I shouldn't curse you to the Isle of Drear and back again for such grubby impertinence?" Her pitch has been rising steadily; and her tone growing more peevish. "Stand up straight while I'm talking to you, young man, and get your hands out of your pockets."

Douglas glances towards his erstwhile table of friends, and on finding it empty, and himself in a predicament, freezes, grin more like a grimace. His hands automatically withdraw from his pockets and he does straighten to an obscenely upright posture, chin lifting. "Ah. Um. I… like your dress, ma'am," he attempts, screwing up his eyes as he tries to think.

Unlike Douglas, who has perforce had his back to the rest of the Cauldron save whilst stealing that single furtive and unrewarding glance, his interlocutor has had a good view of beers being downed by other young persons who then made themselves so very scarce. And she's one of those shrewd Slytherin types who are abominably good at putting two and two together and coming up with…

"Ah, I see," she says, more coolly than hitherto, "someone thought it would be — amusing, did he?" A beat. "I disagree." She sniffs again. "What is your name, young man? And which house do you blight with your presence at Hogwarts?"

"Uh… I think maybe there was a mistaken identity… um… thing," Douglas hazards, chewing his lip. "Um. Douglas Macmillan, ma'am. Gryffindor. Hey, wait… I mean… maybe I'm not at Hogwarts?"

"Oh, stop wittering," the witch's lips twist disdainfully, "and get out of my sight."

Douglas opens his mouth to respond, closes it again, opens it once more like some sort of demented fish thing, then thinks better of it and simply offers, "Um… good afternoon, ma'am! It's… um… been a pleasure. Byyyyye," this last added even as he's turned to hurry on out, shoulders hunched and trying to look inconspicuous.

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