(1938-10-13) The Fox Takes Possession of the Henhouse
Details for The Fox Takes Possession of the Henhouse
Summary: Drinks at the Three Broomsticks, where some of the patrons discover the pub's new owner lurking in their midst.
Date: October 13th, 1938
Location: The Three Broomsticks, Hogsmeade
Related:
Characters
FabiaAstoriaCorinaDouglasGrahamPhilRenaTakeshi

Three Bromsticks Pub

Despite the obvious patina of age, The Three Broomsticks has a warm, inviting ambiance. This character the pub has attained is, no doubt, thanks to the years it has been steeped in the environment of this particular village. Just one evidence of the village's influence on the pub can be seen in the dark paneling inside the building. The wood was once the outer walls of the home that housed Hogsmeade's founding family. Put to good use once again after the founding family bequeathed it to the pub, the paneling has served the pub just as well as it once served Hogsmeade's founders. The Three Broomsticks has flourished under its current proprietor and is always open and ready for a customer or visitor.

The dark wood surface of the floor glows with a polished sheen from much cleaning, and exposed ceiling rafters, which appear to be original, cross the ceiling in tidy squares. Wood tables of varying sizes litter the room, and matching chairs are scattered among them. Several secluded booths fill up the space along one wall. A flavorfully aged mahogany bar takes up most of the space near the back wall with a series of mirrors and shelves of varying heights hanging behind it. Those shelves behind the bar are lined with memorabilia depicting the life and people


Late afternoon in Hogsmeade; and the weather may be fair for the time of year, but the warm taproom of the Three Broomsticks is vastly preferable to the out of doors. As it's not one of the approved weekends for Hogwarts students to overrun the village, such regulars as Phil Rowle and Astoria Bletchley have commenced to gather, as they often do, for a quiet drink; a few new faces, as well.

The door to the street jitters in its frame, as though someone's having uphill work to get hold of the knob; and then a slight figure in a winter-white vicuna coat pushes the door open with her shoulder and comes into the pub backwards.

The high, bouffant silver-fox collar of her coat (she's in Scotland in October) rises to brush the underside of her dark grey trilby (there's a pheasant feather tucked smartly in its turquoise satin band); the face looking out from the midst of all this is about sixty, glamourously made-up, with big, curious dark green eyes. She has a turquoise leather purse held under one arm, and her hands, in their paler suede gloves, are wrapped respectively about the handles of a) an elegant dressing-case the surfaces of which are inlaid with scenes of 18th century lovers' meetings, in pearwood, tulipwood, acacia, and a dozen more; and b) a small open wicker basket, containing a couple of brown-paper parcels, a half-eaten bunch of grapes, et cetera, on top of which has been shoved an unfolded, refolded, crumpled, and mutilated newspaper. It is not the Daily Prophet: it is the Times, the newspaper of record for Muggles.

She takes two or three graceful, gliding steps forward and turns slowly, looking all the way about her, craning her neck, as though determined that in her first glance round the place she shan't miss the tiniest detail.

Douglas pops into existence, apparently it never gets old for the youngster, just outside the pub, and on spotting the old woman struggling with the door hurries to help her, albeit a few seconds too late, and so instead he just sort of sidles in after her, doing his best to look like Not A Student At All.

Having finished the story she has been working on for months Phil is a little bereft and wanting to be a bit drunk as she celebrates, not with the butterbeer that the Broomsticks is legendary for but with a large gin and tonic with a slice of lemon in it. A haze of cinammon scented smoke hovers above her in the air, occassionally wafting away as the door opens or someone passes by. She takes a draw off her cigarette and eyes the flamboyant entrance — really how could she fail to notice.

Rena Lee, for her part, was just hanging up an overcoat when the older lady and the much younger boy made their entrance into the pub. She's only been here a couple of times in the last month or so, being a relatively new resident of Hogsmeade. But new as she is, she can't help casting a quizzical glance in the direction of both newcomers.

However, offering only a fleeting, bemused smile, the redheaded woman slips quietly by, looking to get a drink that will warm her up a bit. No need to be rude and stare.

From a barstool, Corina lifts a sculpted eyebrow at the Mugglish-looking woman's entrance. One pale hand hovers over her glass of red currant rum, her fingertip drawing little circles along the rim. The hood of her winter cloak sits bunched up behind her head, in a sort of half-on, half-off stage, which suits her fine to keep her toasty and lend just a hint of mystery. She notes the luggage and gestures. "The inn is through there, madame," she says with a hint of a French accent.

Astoria sits near Phil, nursing a pint of ale. Though, at present, she is more preoccupied with a few notes and a pad of paper. She writes quietly, quill in hand, while simultaneously reading from a piece of parchment that is propped upon the table. Atop her head is a knit cap, and she has yet to remove a worn traveling cloak. When the door snaps open, Astoria does glance upward and focus upon Fabia. "My," she states, though softly. Intrigued, Astoria's expression narrows slightly. She does not return to work.

Phil glances at the young man trailing in behind the much, much older woman and quirks a brow. She leans in to Astoria and posits in a quiet voice, "His grandmother perhaps?" Maybe Douglas has a legitmate reason for being in the Three Broomsticks. Maybe he's one of those who left school with only his OWLs and now has to trail around Britain with his granny looking after her. "Or sugar mama?" Or maybe not.

The Mugglish-looking woman's measured twirl has passed by Corina where she sits at the bar; but, when she's spoken to, and addressed moreover as 'madame', she reverses direction, and favours this possible kindred spirit with a bright smile. "Je vais bien, ne t'en fais pas, cherie," she says cheerfully, and deposits her basket and her dressing-case (thump, thump!) on an empty table. Her little turquoise purse falls out from under her arm and lands between them. She's near not just Phil but Astoria; and seeing them both looking at her, she glances from one to the other, offering each a smile and a small acknowledging nod. She doesn't appear, upon second glance, to be with Douglas — either that or she's with him, but he's DONE something and now she's ignoring him as punishment.

Rena has the utter misfortune of passing by Phil when she muses about Douglas and Fabia. It is unfortunate only because she actually hears what the woman says, and it catches her completely off guard. A laugh escapes before she can prevent it, and the redhead is forced to stifle it into a feigned coughing fit as she drops into a nearby chair… slightly red-faced.

Corina shrugs, "Je tiens a' prendre un verre avant de s'installer aussi. (I like to have a drink before settling in, too.)" She gives Fabia a mischievous grin as she takes a sip of the crimson rum. Her attention us drawn to Rena's mild outburst, and she takes the opportunity to examine the other occupants of the pub, perhaps noting them for the first time since she came in from the cold.

Astoria stifles a laugh. "I would select the former," she replies, her expression narrowed, and her eyes made darker by shadows that seem to linger. Catching sight of Fabia's nod, Astoria exchanges the gesture, grinning ever-so-slightly. She is taken off-guard by Rena's laughter, however. Turning, with a sudden, but small, frown, Astoria regards the other woman with a tilt of her head.

It was a long ride, but Takeshi arrived through the door of the Three Broomsticks, his broom in his hand, looking a little fried from the ride. He moves across the bar, leaning his broom against the bar and starts to place an order, but stops. Adjusting the broom and the bar stools in front of him for a good long moment before satisfied, before suddenly blushing. He was not a normal patron of this Pub, and they are not familiar with his interesting habits "Oh.. umm Sorry…" he says softly, with a cough, before he places his order, hanging his head a little low as he slips onto the bar stool.

Douglas does his best to blend in with the furniture, heading for the bar, and, it must be said, giving Corina a once over and his best, most charming smile, before ordering. "Um. Butterbeer, please."

Graham enters into the pub not long after the healer like having made a call near by for work or something which happens time to time. "Ah Healer Odori, it's good to see you again." he greets the other before he looks about the place it seems rather packed this evening and a few familiar faces. He moves through the place before reaching the group he offers a wave in overall greeting though not his usual visit he still needs to get the feel for his surroundings.

With a shrug, Phil pulls off her spice scented cigarette and gives Rena an amused glance then looks back at Astoria. "How is the story going?" Whoever the woman and the handsome young man are they are unknown to the journalist so she turns her focus back on the woman she is sharing a table with.

The older woman meets Corina's eyes, still nodding, and laughs her agreement.

She unbelts and unbuttons her coat: beneath it, a russet-coloured tweed traveling suit, very tailored, with long and narrow lines, and a brilliantly turquoise silk blouse with a long-tailed bow tied beneath its collar. Then, leaving it over the back of a chair, she walks exquisitely up to the bar and leans an elegant wrist upon it. "Hello, sweetie," she says to the bar wench, and it's apparent from her voice that, no matter the perfection of her French, she's an Englishwoman of the upper middle class. "Would you make me a gin martini, please? Very wet. Shaken, not stirred. Three olives. One doesn't like to drink on an empty stomach." With that, an inquisitive glance along the bar to the two young men.

Corina catches the look from Douglas, one she knows all too well, and returns an impish smile. "Just butterbeer?" she teases. "I suppose it is a bit early for anything stronger?"

"Very well," Astoria replies. "The research is completed - I am nearly to the final paragraph. I think it will accompany your piece exquisitely," Astoria says with a wink that is not without a sense of irony. She glances towards the older woman at the bar, but still speaks to Phil when she asks, "Do you know who she is?"

Takeshi turns and looks seeing Graham, "Ah… Mr… Cohen!" he says with a rather relieved tone and a deep sigh, "What's brought you out here?" he says softly, his tone still timid, "I have a Journeyman healer you likes to forget… that I do not use the Floo network or apparate… to messy. So he likes to send me out here for follow ups." he says speaking a little rushes and nervously, but at least he is comfortable around Graham not to stutter anymore. As his lemonade is sat on the bar, he picks it up the lemonade taking a small sip.

Douglas is apparently fortified by the thought of butterbeer, smoothing a hand through his hair. "Maybe we'll have something a bit stronger later on at my place?" he suggests to Corina, in what he'd like to think is a suave, James-Bond manner, going so far as to wink. It's all a bit creepy.

Feeling a few pairs of eyes trained on her, Rena wishes more than anything that she could sink into the floor and vanish - at least temporarily. There's got to be a spell for that.

Busying herself with tugging her gloves off carefully, Rena focuses all of her attention on that until she is quite certain the rest of the room no longer gives a fig about her.

Then, moving back to the bar to place her own order for Butterbeer, the redhead notices Graham, and the young healer speaking together. Takeshi is the gentleman who happened to be kind enough to undo the damage she inflicted in the previous day's dust-up in Diagon Ally. Taking some initiative to move closer, she smiles, glancing between both men: "'Ello Graham! And 'ello friend whom I didn't catch the name of, yesterday."

Looking back at the older woman Phil squints as if trying to place the woman's face. "No, I can't place her. But I don't know every elderly witch." She lifts her drink and sips some of her gin. "Wasn't there something in the article about Travers which said he had a widow? You know, I can't remember him let alone a widow."

"I got called to check into something in the area, i'm just returning from that. Nothing interesting i'm afraid once I got there but seems like I found where everyone has gone so not a total loss." he says looking back around again. "Ah, Rena hello again. I forget you live out this way don't you?" Graham greets her looking between the pair though he'll let the healer introduce himself properly.

Corina lets out a bright laugh, eyes sparkling at young Douglas, apparently quite amused. "My, you do move fast." She regards him silently for a few moments, staring in a way that might make some uncomfortable.

The bar wench gives Douglas a dubious look as she sets his Butterbeer before him, but business is business, right? If he's breaking the rules it's his look-out, not hers. And then on to the delicate business of making this new customer's very specific martini. She's not at her best with cocktails. She measures out the gin and vermouth as though it were an exercise in potions class, and then shakes with all her might, an expression of fierce concentration on her face. Olives, olives… The jar under the bar contains only two specimens, the martini not being a wildly popular choice at the Broomsticks, and it being the end of the week besides. Well, it'll have to be two, then.

Presented with her drink, the new customer's face falls. "But, sweetie, you should never put an even number of olives in a martini," she protests gently. "Always one or three. Or," she considers, "five, if you're fortunate to have a particularly large glass. But never two. Still," she takes a healthy sip, "not bad, not bad. Bring me another one in a quarter of an hour, hmm? There's a good girl." She doesn't return to her table straight away, being rather diverted by the exchange between Corina and Douglas, which she is just near enough to overhear (it's not eavesdropping if they know you're there). The boy is between them; she winks at Corina from behind his back.

"Fastest man in Gryffindor," Douglas replies with an easy smile, smile faltering for a moment before he hurriedly corrects himself. "I mean. I was. When I was at school. Obviously. Running, that is. Not… you know. Not that other thing. Not fast at all there. No, no. Slow. Sloooow. Um." He is rescued by the arrival of his butterbeer, of which he necks a good half. "So. You come here often?"

As Rena greets him, his head instantly shoots down from his conversation with Graham, his cheeks growing red as his hands moving into the pockets of his bright yellow robe and removes a piece of paper. His eyes training on it, he starts to fold it slowly, "Oh… umm… umm… Oh… umm… Hi." he says sound very timid now, not looking up to make eye contact with Rena, shuffling slightly uncomfortably on his bar stool, not responding to Graham either, apparently trying to sink into his stool and hide from everyone.

"He did not seem a social man," Astoria agrees while she watches the wench mix the drink. She raises an eyebrow, at some point during the process, and begins to stare. Blinking, Astoria glances back to Phil. "I suppose it is a possibility," she adds, nodding. A moment later she takes a sip from her pint.

At least Douglas can make Corina laugh, though possibly not for the reasons he'd like. She nods sagely, but her broad grin gives away her facetiousness. "Yes, of course. Not that other thing at all." She gives a wink…at Fabia, though that may not be obvious. "But no, I do not come here often." Any regular could tell that she is anything but a regular, and doesn't have the look of a Hogsmeade villager at all.

Noting Takeshi's discomfort, Rena glances at Graham and gives him a little helpless shrug. She isn't sure what she's done - or can do - for that matter to help the situation. However, a bright idea suddenly takes her, and she remarks to her fellow Auror with a grin: "This fellow saved my 'ide yesterday, 'e did. What with my accident in the Ally when I was chasing down Glinch." She motions to Takeshi with a tilt of her chin. "Regular 'ero, 'e was. I couldn't 'ave revived the old gentleman, myself. So, you 'ave my deepest thanks, friend."

He got a wink. That's pretty much all the encouragement Douglas needs. He shifts his stool a little closer, propping his elbow back on the bar, perilously close to Fabia's substandard martini; enough to rock it, but not quite to tip it over. He is about to press his luck when it suddenly clicks that the old biddy behind him is muscling in on his pull. He pauses, then glances back over his shoulder.

Now that she is looking around Phil notices several of her friends. She wiggles her fingers in greeting to Graham, Rena and Takeshi in turn then glances back at Astoria. "A reclusive old wizard from a pureblood family?" She laughs. "Say it isn't so."

The Mugglish-looking woman who is so fond of turquoise raises her eyebrows at Douglas, smiles once more at Corina, then pats Douglas's arm vaguely as she rescues her drink and carries it away to the table she has buried beneath her various accoutrements. She sets it down and draws out a chair for herself, more or less facing Phil and Astoria. Slipping out of her pale suede gloves (she is wearing several splendid diamond rings, but no wedding band), she nods to them again and says, "How do you do, girls? I'm Fabia Fairfax."

As Fabia sits down with them Phil offers a smile and a hand. "Phil Rowle, it is a pleasure, Ms Fairfax. Are you passing through or hoping to settle?"

Graham smiles "He's a bit shy with new meetings is all this is Takeshi." he motions to the other "This is Rena, she's an auror like myself." he makes the introduction to each he looks back to Rena "We'll that's excellent, good thing we have healers about indeed." he looks catching Phil's wave and returns it with a grin to his friend before looking back

Takeshi sees Phil wave to him he offers a rather quick wave he looks pretty nervous, "Umm… it was…umm… was… umm… nothing." he says to Rena slowly, "Umm… pleasure… umm… to meet… me…" he says slowly, "Oh… umm… no…meet you." he says softly, his hands finish folding the paper, sitting the finish orgami paper crane on the bar, poking at it trying to get it just right for a few moments. "Thank you Mr. Cohen." he says softly looking at him with a soft smile.

Corina smirks, continuing the little dance with Douglas. She makes a quarter-turn toward him, sitting up straighter in such a way that subtly enhances her…assets. "What is your name, my not-presently-in-Gryffindor friend?"

"The pleasure's mine, Miss Rowle," answers Fabia 'Fairfax', clasping the girl's hand for a friendly moment. She has an immaculate French manicure. "Passing through or settling down? I don't know yet. I thought I'd look and see…" She tilts her head, glancing from Phil to Astoria and back again. "I hope you and your friend don't mind having your party crashed. But you looked so nice, and it can be dismal sometimes to sit alone." A slightly self-deprecating smile.

Douglas can't help himself, but drags his eyes back up to Corina's face as soon as he can manage. "Uh… James Macmillan," he offers after a moment, then extends a hand, giving a hopeful smile. "And yes, that is a wand in my pocket. But I'm also pleased to meet you."

Grinning at Graham over Takeshi, she gives a quick wink - just in time to catch sight of Phil's little wave. Flashing a bright smile briefly, she returns her attention to Takeshi. Seeing the beautiful paper crane he's somehow managed to produce out of a slip of paper, the young woman does a small intake of breath. "Cor, now there's lovely, and no mistake!" She exclaims quietly, leaning in to see it a little closer: "'Ow did you ever learn to do that? Wi'out magic, no less?"

That does it. Corina does place her hand into Douglas's, but his wand comment sends her over the edge, and she can no longer contain her laughter. She doubles over in her stool, overcome with a fit of giggles, holding up her other hand and trying to mouth words of apology.

"Astoria Bletchley," Astoria replies with a practiced smile. She regards Fabia quietly, and offers her hand - like Phil - to greet the older witch. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Madame," she adds. Afterwards she quiets, and listens to Fabia speak. "Not at all," she remarks with a grin. "I do enjoy company."

"No party to be crashed. We are just having a nice drink after work." Phil salutes Fabia with her glass of gin then takes a sip. "You seem to be carrying a good deal of luggage, have you come from anywhere interesting?" A side long glance goes to the boy making his moves at the bar and Phil's mouth twitches with laughter.

Douglas just looks slightly bemused, glancing around, before looking back to Corina. "It's… uh, yeah, it's fine. You're allowed to laugh. You can even laugh in the bedroom." He leans in to add with a knowing nod, "just don't point at the same time. It's rude."

Fabia has just said "How do you do?" to Astoria when the burst of laughter at the bar piques her interest; her eyes dance across to Corina, and she tilts her head quizzically, as though asking, 'What's he tried now?' Douglas is also included in the sweeping beam of her curiosity. But she can't look too long; why, that would be so impolite, when she's talking to these lovely creatures at the next table… She answers Phil's salute with a lift of her martini glass, which has hardly been out of her hand since she sat down, and is now in consequence half-empty. "Oh, just overnight things," she says, fluttering her other hand dismissively. "Do you girls live in the village? What's it like? Any good gossip lately?"

Corina manages to sit upright, putting a hand to her mouth in a vain effort to cover the laughter. But she gathers her self-control and stifles enough to speak. "Oh dear. Sweet James." She lowers her voice to avoid further embarrassing the lad. "That is simply no way to charm a girl into your bed. Besides which, sweetheart," she leans in terribly close, her cheek nearly touching his, and whispers in his ear, "You can't afford me." Placing a light kiss on his cheek, she rises from her barstool, giving him an endearing smile, and picks up her rum to find a new spot to roost.

"I think he has crashed and burned. Hopefully he won't be too put off by it or traumatised later in life," says Phil with a smirk. She glances at her drink, noticing a need for a refill. "We both live in London, just came up for the atmosphere. Would you care for another drink, Fabia?"

Takeshi looks at the crane and looks back at Rena, "Oh…umm… I learned it from my mother…" he says slowly picking up the crane and offering it to Rena, "I can make other things…" he says slowly, "It's… um… called Orgami." he says slowly, "I make them… when I am nervous…" he says slowly.

"Oh, I would," Fabia confirms, inclining her head confidentially toward Phil, "but I've already taken the precaution of telling the girl behind the bar to bring me one in… Oh, here it comes now, bless her. Better sooner than later." The second martini has been carried with tremendous care through the increasingly crowded pub; Fabia catches the wench's sleeve after she's put it down and says, "Let's have some more of—" She makes a vague gesture in the direction of Phil's empty glass, and Astoria's too. "Whatever they're drinking." Seeing Corina on the move, she waves speculatively to her as well. "And perhaps hers, too, if she fancies joining us…?"

Astoria sits quietly, watching the conversation between Phil and Fabia. She reclines slightly and crosses one leg over the other. A moment later she smiles towards wench, though only briefly, and raises her pint to her lips. "It is a quiet village, usually," she adds. "It has had a dark air about it recently, however. I am sure you heard -" Astoria trails off, taking another sip of her drink.

Fascinated by the paper crane, Rena seems to be genuinely enthralled by the notion of Origami; and just as genuinely affected when Takeshi generously offers it to her. "Really? You mean I can 'ave it?"

Taking the tiny paper bird gingerly, Rena beams: "Thanks. I'm going to keep 'im with me at work, I am. 'e looks like a good luck charm if ever I saw one."

Rena's small butterbeer arrives beside her just then, and she tucks the crane very carefully into a flat pocket inside of her purse before taking the mug in hand. Considering Takeshi again, momentarily, she leans in and says quietly: "I'm sorry if I made you nervous. I'll get out of your 'air if I'm being a nuisance."

Corina's attention is drawn by Fabia's wave, and she lifts an eyebrow to her table companions. "If your friends don't mind." She drifts a bit closer, but does not presume to sit until given approval by the ladies.

Takeshi smiles at her softly, "Of… course you can…" he says slowly, with a nod, "Dunno… about good luck…" he says, "Umm… umm… but they always make me smile." he says slowly with a small nod, reaching over and taking a sip of his lemonade slowly, he looks at Rena softly, "Umm…umm… you can have a seat…" he says slowly with a small nod, "You… are not… bothering me…" he says slowly with a small nod.

The remainder of the first martini is knocked back to clear the way for the second, lest the gin warm: "Heard what, sweetie?" Fabia says to Astoria. She glances warmly up at Corina, and pushes out the chair next to hers.

"Please sit," Phil says to Corina. "We are not such an exclusive club that we cannot drink with others in a public house." As the new drinks arrive she nods her thanks to the barmaid and offers to settle up when she leaves. "Yes, as Astoria said…the mysterious death of old man Travers has people all a twitter. The reclusive owner of the Three Broomsticks." She waggles her brows.

Corina smiles gratefully, sliding into the offered chair and setting her red currant rum on the table. "Ahhh, yes, I had heard something of this. Quite the local scandal?"

Astoria looks up to Corina and nods to the woman. A moment later she says, "I have no objection - please, sit," with a faint grin. She finishes her first pint and accepts the second with a short smile. She turns back to the conversation. "It is. But it goes beyond the village, too. What self-respecting witch or wizard has not graced the bar of the Three Broomsticks?" Astoria asks.

Douglas, apparently stunned into silence for a while, watches after Corina as she walks away, as though trying to figure out /exactly/ which line he failed with, before shaking his head in bemusement and nursing his butterbeer. He does turn on his stool to watch the rest of the pub in general, rather than scowling into his drink. Rejection is, after all, just a learning curve! There'll be another one along in a minute for him to hone his technique on!

Fabia beams at Corina, and beams at Phil, and beams at Astoria, by way of reward for falling in with her plans. She has quite the little circle gathered about her now. And Astoria's question might be rhetorical, but she answers it: "Me," she says pertly, and sips her drink. "Now, sweetie," she turns to Corina, "I'm Fabia Fairfax, and, reading from left to right, those two are… Astoria Rowle and Phil Bletchley. No, that's wrong, isn't it? The other way round. Astoria Bletchley and Phil Rowle. What's your name, or am I the only one who doesn't know it?"

Corina shrugs at Astoria. "It's my first time here," she lies. "I'd like to think I'm self-respecting. Then again…" She permits a slow smirk, and turns toward Fabia, bowing her head in greeting. "Corina Silver." A few other patrons in the pub do their best to mask their recognition of the courtesan's name.

"Owls, no shaking them." Graham returns after a note fluttered in carried by one of these animals. He moves back in to rejoin the group of people "Sorry about that an update from work." the auror says though he'll order a cider from a server who moves by his favorite drink.

Phil's long forgotten cigarette has died a horrible ashy death in the ashtray on the table prompting her to light another. Caught in surprise in the act of lighting her cigarette Phil winks at Corina then finishes her task and shaking her hand puts the match out, dropping it into the ashtray. Pulling the cigarette away from her mouth she says, "A pleasure to meet you, Corina." Phil nods towards the boy at the bar, "Part of me is tempted to go mess with him, you were very good not to."

"Do you know," Fabia murmurs, looking now more closely at the ravishing blonde she has invited to sit close beside her, "I think I might after all be the one who does. An unexpected delight, Miss Silver." But she says no more; turning to the topic-before-last, she asks Phil, "Now, didn't I hear you say the owner of the pub had just died? What happened to the poor chap?"

"Thanks again," Rena says brightly, sliding onto the stool next to Takeshi, upon being invited. It might be more natural for girls to flock together in the middle of the room, but Rena has her own issues with shyness - whether she likes to admit it or not.

Taking a small sip of her butterbeer, the redheaded woman glances over at Takeshi and mentions: "I get nervous 'aving to talk to people first-'and. Jumping up on a stage and performing in front of them? Not a care in the world. But 'aving to actually chat with them?" She gives a small shudder and takes another sip of her drink. "There's 'ard."

Glancing a short distance down the bar, Rena can scarcely help noticing that Douglas' girl has left him high and dry, and she gives a slightly wry smile. "Poor fellow," she murmurs.

Corina follows Phil's gaze toward the bar, glimpsing Douglas again. "I'd have felt awful if I had. The poor lad was out of his league. But I must give him credit for determination." She flashes a wicked grin at Fabia, dipping her head in appreciation. "Thank you."

And as Corina speaks Fabia also looks toward Douglas — three of them, now, peering at him. "Yes," she remarks thoughtfully, "the only way a boy reaches his full fighting weight is by training up to it."

Takeshi smiles s Graham returns, "Yeah… work can… always find you… Mr. Cohen." he says warmly giving him a small smile, then Rena takes a seat next to him, he takes another sip of his lemonade, he looks down at Douglas, he clearly looks familiar, his mind trying to place him, "He looks… umm… familiar…" he says slowly before shaking his head, bringing his attention back to Rena, "Oh… you do? Get nervous… um I mean…" he asks softly, "But you are so pretty!" he exclaims, in a nervous outburst, his face goes bright red and he fumbles, falling off his chair trying to grab the bar only for his hand to grab his broom and come with him, he just lays there, closing his eyes now, pretending he is not there.

From across the bar Phil winks at Douglas then looks at Fabia again, "Ah, well nobody knows." She takes a drag off her cinnamony scented cigarette and opines, "I bet it was something delightfully mundane. Old people's deaths are rarely ever as controversial as younger people's deaths are. People expect the older generation to die. Of course the real mystery is who is going to own this place."

Graham nods "Yes it can, unfortunately oh well it doesn't happen very often surprisingly given what we both do I imagined more owls being sent but there are enough auror's at time that I wont get hauled in for every thing that happens." He moves to sit down across the table and is unable to chuckle a little at the outburst but not meanly as he looks over to Rena and back "She's the rage at the office right now too." he says helpfulness abounds.

Douglas spots the trio of witches staring at him, and self consciously checks his tanktop to see if he's split his drink. He then wipes his top lip and glances down at himself again, before turning a sort of awkward smile over to the ladies. One on one, he'll try it. Three on one, and it'd be carnage.

The eldest member, by several decades, of this little feminine coterie, Fabia smiles indugently at Phil and leans forward, chin in hand. "How old was he, then? You make him sound a hundred, and dry as dust."

Rena narrows her eyes at Graham and makes a face at her co-worker that pretty much says it all.

"Sure as sure, I get nervous," Rena replies easily to Takeshi's question, returning her attention to him. However, before she can finish her thought out loud, he takes a tumble off of his chair. This has Rena jumping to her feet in an instant, sloshing her drink on the bar as she leaves it behind. "Oh! Are you alright?" She exclaims, quite worried as she crouches beside him.

Shrugging a shoulder Phil says, "I haven't a clue. I never met the man as far as I know. But evidently he left his room at some point since he seems to have had a widow." She grins, "Well one assumes he did leave the room to court and marry his wife, but one never should assume so I'll just say it seems plausible." She flicks the ash off the end of her cigarette and waves to barmaid over. When the girl reaches her side Phil leans up and whispers to her, pointing towards Douglas and pressing a bit of coin into the barmaid's hand before she looks at Fabia, "Although equally interesting things have been happening in London," she gestures towards the trio across the way, "Two of them helped the Ministry aprehend a very dangerous criminal."

Takeshi just lays there for a moment, quietly not opening his eyes. Holding his broom close to him. "Umm… umm… umm… umm…" is all he can manage to get out of his mouth before he opens his eyes only to see Rena standing over him, his blush deepens even more, he takes her in for a moment, "Umm… umm…" he says softly, "Sorry I didn't mean it…" he say slowly before his eyes go wide, "I mean! I shouldn't have said it, not that you are not pretty, you are very pretty, like Mr. Cohen said I am sure you have people you work with all over you!" he says rather rushed, the nervousness in his voice very think, then he thinks about what he said, "I am just going to be quiet now." he says slowly closing his eyes and continuing to lay on the floor for a moment.

That is however til it hits him that he is on the floor. Then his eyes shoot open, wide eyed as ever and the flash of Bright Yellow he starts taking his robe off revealing his simple black suit and tie underneath, he reaches into his pocket of his slacks and removes a small bottle and a cloth, his eyes focused on his robe as he starts to clean it, putting the solution the the robe, wiping it with the cloth, trying to get every bit of dirt dust off of it.

Graham returns the look to Rena an innocent grin on his face. He turns back to see the other tumble it's too late to try and catch him "Are you okay, breath it's okay." he has jumped up as well. He watches as the healer tries to clean himself off. "If you stand up i'll get you all fixed up." he offers.

The exchange between Phil and the bar wench, and its object, earns an approving nod from Fabia; "Very sweet thought," she murmurs; and then she allows her eye to be directed to the group of stalwart defenders of law and order, just as one of them switches from propping up the bar to propping up the… floor. Her thinly-plucked, finely-drawn eyebrows dart upwards; she puts one hand on the edge of the table and rises halfway from her seat, but then the man's friends seem to be clustered about him, so she settles again. "Everyone's being knocked back tonight," she comments, sympathetically. "Do you suppose they're celebrating?" she asks Phil. "Which two? And who was the dangerous criminal?" She flashes her a quick, slightly apologetic smile. "I hope you'll forgive me asking so many questions, sweetie, it's just that I haven't been at all up on the news lately."

Douglas raises a brow as a shot of whisky is placed before him, and his attention is directed towards Phil. He flashes her a small smile, taking the glass and lifting it towards her, before taking a tiny sip, immediately shuddering and pulling a face.

"Ah," says Phil, watching Takeshi, Rena and Graham with some amusement, "that would be the one who was on the floor and the woman who's skirt he was trying not to look up. The other one, he's a fuddy duddy." Her lips twitch with unreleased laughter which she stiffles further by drinking a nice mouthful of her gin and tonic.

Rena isn't remotely annoyed at Takeshi for his fumbled words. But frankly, her face does go a bit red. Whether because she's flattered, flustered or just simply choking back laughter with every ounce of effort she can muster, is hard to say.

Once he begins to clean the dirt from his robe, Rena keeps her hands to herself by clasping them: "Is… is there anything I can do to 'elp?" It seems like it would be a large misstep to interfere, given the fervor that Takeshi is putting into his efforts. For the moment, she is unaware that others are talking about them.

Corina half-turns to look at the trio in question, taking a moment to appreciate the view. "Fuddy duddy, hmm? He's rather dashing for a fuddy-duddy."

Phil looks over at the bar to see how her little friend Douglas is getting on. She laughs when she sees his face and calls over, "You're welcome." She falls back into her chair then, chuckling.

"I see," Fabia murmurs gravely to Phil over the martini she's bringing to her lips, eyes twinkling at the remark about the skirt. Ancient, you know, but not dead. Her eyes flick sideways to Corina. "These two lovely creatures," she nods to Phil and Astoria, "said they'd come up from London for the atmosphere… But you create an atmosphere wherever you go, sweetie, don't you? May I be terribly indiscreet and ask?"

Douglas snorts a laugh, steeling himself before knocking back the rest of the shot of whisky in one, eyes closing for a moment as it burns its way down, and doing his best to prevent a shudder. Thumping the shot glass back on the bar top, he dips his head towards Phil. "You're too kind. But you know if you want a drink with me you just have to ask, right?"

Takeshi starts to calm down a bit as Graham comes to save him, taking deep breaths and cleaning his robes, though finally he stops taking a deep closing his eyes for a moment, before looking down at the robe, every inch of it it, once satisfied that it is clean he slips it back on with a cough, looking towards Graham and Rena "No… umm… I'm fine…" he says slowly, still blushing looking down trying to avoid seeing anyone looking at him.

Corina brushes a lock of moonlight-white hair from her eyes, giving Fabia an appreciative wink. "Ask about my business here? Oh, I suspect you know that I cannot divulge specifics, Madame Fairfax. Many of my clients prefer discretion."

"The fuddy duddy is Graham," offers Phil the font of all knowledge. "He really likes beautiful women." And he is so going to kill her, if he ever figures it out. She looks at Fabia and beams, thinking the older witch had been complimenting her but when she relises she meant Corina Phil shrugs it off. "Do excuse me. I am going to make a man out of that boy," she rises to her feet then laughs and lowers her voice to say to the three women, "well not really but it will amuse me to torture him a little." With that she begins to make her way to the bar, weaving expertly throw the crowded tavern to reach Douglas' side. "You were saying?"

Graham nods to the healer "Good all set." he says simply as he seems to be alright after all. He looks towards his co-worker a moment before he remembers his drink which is sitting on the table. He takes a long drink of the cider setting it back down. He cannot here Phil's conversation luckily with the crowded room.

Douglas smoothes a hand through his hair as Phil is drawn to his animal magnetism, leaning an elbow on the bar. "I was saying you look lovely," he decides, turning on his best, most charming smile again. "Did you know I was going to be here, or do you always look that good?"

A wistful look from Fabia to Corina, eloquent of curiosity thwarted. "Of course they do. … But," she mentions, lowering her chin as she meets the much-younger witch's eyes, "one or two, perhaps, do talk." She smiles gently. And she nods at Phil and Douglas. "Quite the mountaineer, that boy. One admires the spirit. If only there'd been more of it about when *I* was a girl."

Phil pulls an ashtray over to her as she perches on the stool near Douglas. "No, I sometimes look better." She pulls out the slim silver cigarette case and flipping it open offers one to Douglas. Thus begins the corruption. "Come here often…I'm sorry I didn't catch your name?"

"Come on then," Rena smiles encouragingly, without sounding patronizing, hopefully. "Up on your feet and we'll all get back to things as they should be. No 'arm done but a little wounded pride - and that's not the end of the world."

Moving back to her seat, Rena sees the remainder of her half-sloshed butterbeer and gives the glass a little amused swirl. She might as well down the rest.

"D… James Macmillan," Douglas responds, flashing a smile as he accepts a cigarette, tucks it between his lips and fishes in his pocket for matches. Striking one and cupping it with his hand, he holds it up to light Phil's smoke before his. "I disbelieve you could possibly look any better without being some sort of angel." He pauses, then leans in conspiratorially, puffing on his cigarette as he lights it. "You're not, are you?"

Corina laughs softly. "They might talk, but I dare not. A woman in my line of work must have a reputation for discretion if I want to keep the sort of clientele I do." Her eyes shift conspiratorially, and she adds quietly, "Of course, I rarely ever go where I have no work. So…make of that what you will." That impish grin reappears just before she takes a heavy sip of her rum.

Takeshi takes his seat slowly, sitting his broom back against the bar, he doesn't respond to Rena, he is to embarrassed. He picks up his lemonade up and takes a small sip of it, "Takeshi Odori" he says slowly, sounding rather forced, "It is a pleasure to meet you Ms. Rena." he says slowly and thoughtfully with his head still down.

Phil leans in, letting the boy light her cigarette for her and then back again, snapping the cigarette case shut. She motions to the barmaid to refill her glass. "Funny you should say that, I frequently am told how angelic I am. It must be my sweet-good-natured outlook." Phil looks Douglas over and leans in to ask in a low voice, "You have what, three maybe four hours to get back before some doo-gooder reports you missing? Or wait…did you do the old pillow in your pyjamas trick?"

Fabia continues to study the only woman in the Broomsticks more obviously expensive than she herself. "And yet," she muses, "you're not, just at present, *at* work… Stood up? How could *that* be?" A moue, very red, over the lip of her martini glass. "The Broomsticks can't be one of your regular haunts… can it? … Oh, I'll leave you be," she sighs, "reluctantly. Let's talk about something else instead. Something quite unrelated… I rather like your jacket."

Douglas pauses to blow a smoke ring upwards, clearly a new trick he's eager to show off, then eyes Phil. "I don't know what you mean," he insists, although he does glance to the window, and then to the clock behind the bar. "Ah. But. Yes. I should probably go and… do things. Um."

"Pleasure is all mine, Mr. Odori," Rena says quite genuinely, tilting her head a little to try and get some view of Takeshi's face. "And you can call me Rena anytime you like."

"'Owever, be that as it may, I've got to be nipping along 'ome. I've 'ad myself a busy day and can do with a soak in a nice 'ot tub." Rena remarks, placing her payment on the bar. "Be seeing you tomorrow, Graham," She calls over to her fellow Auror as she begins to move for the exit. "Thank you again for the lovely gift," she adds to Takeshi, patting her purse where the little crane has been tucked away.

And with that, Rena gathers her coat from the rack and heads out into the brisk Autumn evening.

Oh yes, Phil looks impressed or it could be amused, it's a fine line. She pays for her drink as well as the one that was brought to her table earlier and nods to Douglas. "I can see that you are a man with places to go and people to see. I wouldn't want to keep you from that."

Takeshi smiles at Rena softly as she leaves and talks, but doesn't respond. Once she has left, Takeshi crumbles laying his head on his arms, that are crossed on the table, "Mr. Cohen… I that wasn't smooth at all was it?" he asks Graham slowly, not looking up at anything just sighing as he continues to hide, ignoring his lemonade.

Douglas flashes a grin, taking the cigarette from his lips as he rises to his feet. "Thanks. It's been a pleasure. Try not to get too tired, eh? From all that running through my dreams."

Corina's light laughter matches her sparkling eyes, so full of amusement at Fabia's curiosity — like a schoolgirl with a secret. "Well, I can say that I was not stood up. My business here is done, and I was simply enjoying some extra time in the country before returning to London. Believe me…I do not get stood up." She winks, and tugs at the sleeves of her jacket, modeling it a bit for Fabia.

At that Phil laughs. "Go on with you before that nasty bastard comes and finds you and throws you in some torture room." She makes like she might kick Douglas towards the door.

Douglas gives a short bow, grins, takes a long puff of his cigarette, then places it in an ashtray to dispose of the evidence, before hurrying out.

Admiring the jacket every bit as much as Corina might wish, Fabia giggles a little, lifting her hand too late to cover her mouth. Her diamonds sparkle significantly. "Oh, I didn't really think you did…" Her hand drifts down, smoothing her own well-tailored tweeds. "You must tell me where you got it, if you can bear to admit. Mine's a new Lachasse, so *reliable* for when one's business takes one out of the city."

With her admirer on his way Phil decides to follow suit. She lifts a hand, waving it to Astoria who is working on her story and slips out.

Astoria listens quietly to the conversation between Fabia and Corina, smiling, at times. She leans forward and takes another long drink from her pint. She waves towards Phil as she departs, and then turns her attention back to the two women. "I will be right back," she remarks. Astoria stands and walks towards the back of the room, towards the loo.

Corina smoothes down her own jacket, and reaches old quite boldly to touch Fabia's. "It's lovely. This one came from the personal tailor of a gentleman I was acquainted with in Paris. It is one-of-a-kind."

Graham shrugs a bit towards the healer's words before he answers "Honestly i'm not smooth myself when it comes to that sort of thing. I am lucky my girlfriend is much like myself and see's my awkwardness as cute." he grins before taking another sip from his cider.

Takeshi lifts his head up taking a sip of his lemonade, "You think Rena thought I was cute?" he asks curiously looking at Graham, before taking a small sip of his lemonade. "She did a really good job…" he says slowly, looking towards the door, "With that guy the other day…" he says with a small nod.

Fabia doesn't flinch at the hand upon her jacket; if anything, she leans into it infinitesimally. "Yes," she sighs, nodding, "I thought it might be. I haven't as many couture pieces as I used to, of course, what with one thing and another, but it's always better to invest in quality when one can, because it *lasts*…"

Madam Tabitha, the alleged proprietress of the Broomsticks, revealed now to be a mere manageress, bursts into the taproom, smoothing down a pristinely-white apron with one hand and patting at her iron-grey bun with the other. Her bustling footsteps bring her, in seconds, to where Fabia and Corina still sit.

"Mrs Travers," she utters reproachfully. "We expected you tomorrow… If you'd only let me know you'd arrived…"

Her secret revealed, 'Fabia Fairfax' looks about her with the air of a guilty little girl. "Madam Tabitha, I suppose? How do you do?" She presents the woman with her hand, and her brightest, most determined smile: a silent declaration that she's dashed well going to do her best here.

"I do well enough, thank you, madam. You'll…" Madam Tabitha looks suspiciously at Corina, pursing her lips, then pulls her attention back to the glamourous, Mugglish figure of Mrs Bertram Travers. It's difficult to say which of them has her more on edge. Her new employer, perhaps, by default. "You'll want to see upstairs first, I expect…?" she offers. Upstairs. She can only mean the rooms where Bertram Travers lived and, so recently, by his own hand, died.

"Well," Fabia says candidly, "I've rather been enjoying seeing what it's like just to be a customer here. Won't you please let me play quietly with my new friends a little longer before we have to talk about death and money?" She lifts her empty glass. "And perhaps you'd have a word with the girl at the bar and let her know I'm ready for another martini…"

A temporary reprieve. Madam Tabitha seems to disapprove of that, too, though there's a hint of relief, too… "Of course, madam. Whenever you're ready. Would you like me to have your things taken up?"

"Oh, yes, that would be marvelous. Thank you so much." Fabia smiles.

Having come back in for her cigarette cause Phil returns in time to hear that Fabia is in fact Mrs Travers, wife to the late elusive Mr Bertram Travers. This amuses her even more than the young man's pick-up lines. "Well played, Fabia, well played. Or should I say Mrs Travers."

Graham shrugs "I am not the right one to ask that, but i'll ask Phil to give me a play by play she likely can tell me everything. I need to chat with her anyways once the party here has ended." he takes another drink of his cider "I know it'd be rough but you might want to just talk to Rena see if she'd like to go out with you. She's a nice sort."

Takeshi is distracted from Graham for a moment, as he watches the scene unfold about the women who is apparently the owner of the pub. He takes a sip of his lemonade, "This place is certainly interesting." he says slowly, before turning his attention back to Graham, "I might just do that… Thank you Mr. Cohen." he says slowly, not seeming all that nervous or shy around Graham.

Corina's eyes widen a bit at Fabia, blinking in…what? Surprise? Astonishment? Respect? "You are the proprietor's widow?" Her eyes shift to Madam Tabitha briefly, then back to Fabia. "I admit, I didn't see that coming."

Looking away from the retreating figure of Madam Tabitha (retreating to the bar, to see about that martini) Fabia says to Phil, "I don't know whether you should or you shouldn't," and sighs. "I haven't been called that in… longer than any lady likes to admit." For Corina, she has another, more rueful smile. "You'll forgive me, I hope… I was curious just to listen, for a little while. To hear what people were saying of him. You wouldn't believe," her voice lowers, "what I heard just on the way from the station… Hanged himself with a lady's stocking? I wish it had been so, it would have been more amusing for him than the truth." Which she, she of all people, must have been told… by someone.

With her belongings now in hand Phil decides apparation is far easier. "Well it was an excellent ruse Fabia. I will be looking forward to coming back and seeing you sometime soon, but for now I must go." She lifts a hand to wave goodbye to Takeshi and Graham as well.

Corina readjusts, finding a more comfortable position in her chair. "Hanged with a lady's stocking? That sounds like small town rumour to me. But you…you say that you haven't gone by your husband's name? It is my turn to be inquisitive. When had you last seen him?" She spares a wave to Phil as well, honouring their brief acquaintance.

The courtesan gets a wink, courtesans should always at least get a wink. Then with a loud -CRACK- Phil is gone.

"Goodnight, sweetie," Fabia says to Phil. "Do come back and have another drink with me one of these days." She raises her hand to wave, a gesture rather like Corina's, but even more graceful. And then! Ah! Her third martini! In a rare moment of prudence she murmurs to the wench who has just brought it, "A glass of water, perhaps?" and nods encouragingly up at her. To Corina: "Well, I suppose it must have been… Before the Great War, certainly… When I broke my hip and he heard that I was in St Mungo's and brought me those rather fetching orchids. Nineteen thirteen," she declares, rather proud at having remembered so far back.

"Yes it is, I should head back to London as well." Graham says standing up and finishing his cider "It was good to see you again." he says to the healer. The young man moves back a little bit before turning and disappearing as well.

"I don't know how he managed without you," Corina muses. "You have a positively magnetic personality. I quite like you. I'm sure I shall have to return. That is…assuming you intend to take over the Three Broomsticks."

Takeshi nods at Graham, "You too Mr. Cohen." he says slowly as he takes the last sip of his lemonade and standing up, "Well suppose I should conduct my follow up…" he says slowly grabbing his broom and heading out into Hogsmeade, after paying for his drink.

Laughter comes even more easily from Fabia Fairfax, or Fabia Travers, or whoever she is, now that her third martini is percolating blissfully through her slender figure. "You're so sweet! I like you too," she confesses, "so you must come again… I don't know, I honestly haven't decided, whether or not to keep the place. People keep telling me to sell it, but I didn't want to make up my mind till I'd seen it for myself. I'll be here at least a week. Perhaps always."

Corina grins. "Alright, then I have at least a week to enjoy your company. I suppose the country air will be good for me. So, you should expect me at your Floo regularly for the time being."

Astoria returns to the main room to catch the manager departing. She raises an eyebrow, but doesn't comment. On her way to the door she offers Fabia and Corina the briefest of nods. She closes the door quietly behind her.

"The Floo Network," Fabia sighs. "Do you know, I was always rather afraid of it? I took the train up here today… I like the train, it's the only occasion when one has time to read a novel." She reaches for her basket — just as one of her employees comes to remove it, along with her dressing-case, and leave in their place only a glass of water. She watches all this philosophically. "Anyway you must come, if you haven't anything," she means 'anyone', "too exciting to do elsewhere. I think I shall need a friend or two in the next little while."

Corina nods sagely, finishing off her drink and rising to her feet. "Count on it. I admit, I'm very curious about what will happen here. I suppose I've been caught by the gossip net." She pulls her cloak down over her shoulders, preparing to go. "But I'm more interested in you. Everything about you tells a story, and I should like to hear more."

"Oh! I do like such high compliments…" Though Fabia doesn't get up to farewell her young acquaintance, she offers her her hand again, smooth and perfectly manicured, sparkling with very fine stones, cooled by its contact with her martini glass. She smiles congenially up at her. "Good evening. Let's tell some awfully good stories next time, shall we?"

Corina takes Fabia's hand between both of hers, giving them a light squeeze. "Agreed," and what stories she could tell. Bobbing a light curtsey, Corina steps over to the fireplace. Leaving a coin on the mantel, she takes a handful of Floo powder from the vase there, says, "House Lorelli," and throws the powder into the flame. The fire flares up, and she steps into it, vanishing with a WHOOSH!

"Well," Fabia murmurs to herself; and sees Madam Tabitha bearing down upon her for the interview she has run out of convenient excuses to delay. Time to go and play widow.

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