(1938-10-18) Blonder Pastures
Details for Blonder Pastures
Summary: Cassius and Medusa Malfoy meet in the Three Broomsticks during a Hogsmeade weekend, among other visitors and pub stories to be told.
Date: October 18th, 1938.
Location: The Three Broomsticks, Hogsmeade

The Three Broomsticks

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 of the village as well as items which are special mementos to the pub's owner.

Medusa has made extra effort with her appearance this evening. Not that she doesn't usually make an effort, but she has gone further with it this time. She also has fussed over finding a clean table that is lightly out of the way but visible from the door. Once she has everything just right she points to a chair and instructs Gerald, "Sit there." Then sits herself, "And now we can wait. My brother is coming."

Gerald does as he's told, though out of curiosity more than demand. She IS being weird after all. Taking the seat, he reaches to help guide hers under her, a small habit from childhood. "You're brother? Why am I here then? That seems like a very private reunion." He doesn't seem bothered by the moment, more curious than anything more. "I can come back when it's done if you'd like some privacy with him."

The door to the Three Broomsticks opens to a very serious looking wizard with hawkish eyes. The man pauses in the doorway, momentarily blocking another customer's exit as he surveys the pub interior. After seeing the poor, confused customer out with a suspicious stare, he looks out the door and nods.

With an audible sigh, a second wizard enters. This gentleman is finely dressed in a sharp, narrow suit of black, accented by silver piping, and a deep forest green cape in lieu of robes. He shakes his platinum-blonde head at the first man, chuckling. "A bit overboard, I think. Wait outside." As the bodyguard reluctantly steps out, it is Cassius Malfoy's turn to survey. When his eyes fall upon the shining hair of another Malfoy, his smile broadens and he strides forward on long legs, extending his arms. "Medusa," he greets her. "Have you grown even lovelier since the summer?"

"Because," says Medusa as she checks her hair for the umpteenth time, "you are one of my best friends and I'm a bit nervous. I won't feel quite so nervous." She looks at Gerald, "And -" and then Cassius is there and Medusa is rising to her feet. She takes Cassius' hands in her own then slides her hands up his arms to embrace him, their pale blond heads briefly touching before she pulls back and gestures to Gerald, "Cassius, this is my friend Gerald Cornfoot." She smiles at her brother, "Gerald, this is my brother Cassius Malfoy."

Gerald ahs, though Cassius's entrance and Medusa's sudden embrace of her brother ends any further talk. He smiles easily enough, his head bowing in a respectful enough nod toward the greeting. "Mr. Malfoy." He is after all Gerald's elder. The young man also stands, another small tidbit of manners left over from his time with his parents. "It's a pleasure." Wow this family looks creepy alike!

Cassius's hug is warm, but brief enough to remain appropriate for public consumption. He turns at Medusa's introduction, giving an ever-so-slight bow at the waist. "Mr. Cornfoot. How do you do?" He offers a hand for a more casual greeting before moving to take out Medusa's chair for her.

Medusa smooths her dress beneath her as she retakes her seat after Cassius pulls it out for her. "Gerald has been tutoring me in potions this year, he is one of the friends I mentioned in my letter." A barmaid hovers a few feet away, a tray of tea things in her hands. "I took the liberty of ordering in your name, Cassius, I hope you do not mind? I opted for tea knowing your preference for it and Gerald's dislike of sugary butterbeer." The corner of her mouth twitches upwards into a smirk as she gives Gerald a pointed look, recalling well his last butterbeer sugar high.

She can tease him, but you have not LIVED until you've experienced Hogsmeade at light speed! Gerald laughs lightly at his friends words, offering her a small, loose shrug. There's no defense for THAT experience.

As he listens to the siblings, Gerald is silent, though he offers the occasional nod toward the two as Medusa lays out their arrangement, his arms folded loosely over his chest. Naturally though, the offered handshake was accepted.

Cassius gives Gerald a respectful nod as he takes his own seat. "You have my gratitude for being so helpful to my sister, Mr. Cornfoot. I am pleased to know that she has a friend such as you." He gives the barmaid a charming smile as she sets down his tea. "So, Medusa, Mother tells me that you are really diving into your studies this year. I should say it's obvious, since I am sitting at a table with your tutor. I must say how that pleases me. You have a unique way about you, and you can go quite far with the proper NEWTs behind you."

"I am more focused this year, it helps having people to keep me on track." Medusa sits perched on the edge of her chair and takes over as hostess, her impeccable manners showing as she pours tea for each of them starting with Cassius. It is easy to remember how he takes his tea and she has had enough study hall sessions with Gerald to recall his preferences. "I have also submitted my intention to join the headmaster's new club. Social networking is always beneficial. I have heard that a few half-bloods are members, which does surprise me but we need to work with these people so undoubtedly Headmaster Flint has a purpose in mind for them." Lifting the plate of biscuits that came with the tea she offers, "Gingersnap or Shrewsbury biscuit?"

Gerald chuckles, though he listens as the two speak. He himself is silent, such is his way, but he does nod approvingly as Medusa serves the tea. "No thank you," are the only words spoken by the young man as he listens.

Cassius plucks a gingersnap from the plate. "I assume you are referring to the Magijugend? There has been increasing talk about it. I admit, it intrigues me, and I think the idea has some merit. But I cannot help but wonder at the need to wear the Eye of Truth. A school club hardly needs to declare allegiance to a political figure like Gellert Grindelwald to achieve its aims." He arches an inquisitive eyebrow at Medusa over the rim of his teacup as he takes his first sip.

After she sets the plate down on the table Medusa takes up her cup and saucer and nods slowly. "He is most adamant that it be visible as well, which I too find odd. Not quite so odd as the threatening of wands." She takes a careful sip of her tea and looks at Gerald then at Cassius, "I intend to find out more from the inside. It needs a Malfoy touch. A bit like my light touch in the Abbott affair."

Cassius furrows his brow, the matter suddenly going from a mild concern to something a bit more worrisome. "I beg your pardon? Threatening of wands? Whatever do you mean? What is old Flint up to?"

"He makes the members put something on their wands and sign an agreement," Medusa explains to Cassius, well as best as she can. She takes a gingersnap from the plate of biscuits and bites off a bit of it. "Flint is clearly gathering a group for some cause or other. Most of the members are simple creatures, a few are a bit more devout followers."

Cassius purses his lips for a another sip of tea and a touch of disapproval. "My word, and you wish to subject yourself to that? It is your choice, of course. Though the Headmaster would think twice about threatening the wand of a Malfoy. Still, many of these Grindelwald followers are becoming increasingly fanatical. I can respect devotion to a cause. But blind devotion is rarely a good thing."

Douglas sidles into the inn, glancing to the bar before entering fully and brushing himself down. He spies Medusa, Gerald, and Some Weird Old Guy, and steers clear for now, instead going to order a butterbeer and sitting himself down at the bar.

Medusa looks over at Douglas and subtly motions for him to come join them. "There are fanatics in all causes, I suspect even in your own dear brother." Another crisp bite of the biscuit and she adds, "However, I concur. Can you ever see me being blindly devoted to anything Cassius?" The idea amuses her. "Well perhaps to myself."

Cassius laughs softly, shaking his head. "It isn't your blind devotion I'm concerned about." Subtlety is rarely lost on the keenly observant Cassius, and he tilts his head slightly in Douglas's direction. "Another friend, Medusa?"

"Malfoy," Douglas greets as he ambles over, butterbeer in hand. "Cornfoot," he adds towards Gerald. And then there's the third, so he offers his hand politely. "Doug Macmillan, sir."

Medusa sits up and sets her cup and saucer down. "Yes, Cassius." She looks at Douglas and then at Cassius, knowing full well her brother will make the connection because Cassius is incredibly clever and even better at putting pieces together than she is. "Douglas, this is my brother Cassius. Remember I said he was coming this weekend?"

Cassius rises politely to take Douglas's hand, giving a slight, gentlemanly bow. "Ahh, so this is Mr. Macmillan. A pleasure to make your acquaintance, young man. Cassius Malfoy," he echoes, nodding to his sister. "Won't you join us?"

Douglas drags a chair from the next closest table, turning it round and sliding in to sit on it all in one fluid movement, and all without spilling his pint. "Good to meet you, sir," he offers, giving a nod of interest. "I hear you're a lawyer?"

Still playing hostess Medusa offers the plate of biscuits to Douglas. "Gingersnap or Shrewsbury biscuit, Douglas?" She glances between him and her brother with guarded interest likely understandable to only the pair of them. "Cassius is one of the most clever minds in the Wizengamot. And as all those old people die off he will become the most clever."

Gerald has been silent for the most part, though as Douglas arrives (and gets a small nod and a grin) his eyes lift back toward the door and the red head that wanders by..again. He's always chasing that girl! "Cassius, it was a pleasure to meet you, but I'm afraid I need to track down a friend and I'm fairly sure she just passed." Standing, he turns to nod to Medusa faintly, "Thank you for the evening. I'll see you later." Douglas doesn't get words so much as a wide grin as he turns to go, but he at least lifts a hand to offer them all a wave as he departs.

Cassius nods to Douglas. "Wizengamot Administration Services," he corrects Medusa, "and thank you, dear sister. I could only hope that I might one day serve on the Wizengamot. Then we might see some real change." He dips his head at Gerald's departure. "It was a pleasure, Mr. Cornfoot. Do take care."

The front door chimes twice while a woman strides into the room, allowing a gust of wind to follow her. It rushes into the room, but is soon cut short by the door snapping closed. Astoria, the woman, walks forward and onto a mat where she carefully wipes her shoes. It isn't long before she heads towards the bar.

"Thanks," Douglas replies absently as he accepts a biscuit, nodding as he listens to Cassius. "What's the difference, exactly?" he queries as he settles back to munch on his biscuit, hooking his other arm over the back of his chair.

Lowering the plate back down Medusa picks up her tea, inclining her head to Cassius she accepts the correction gracefully. She sips her tea and nibbles on her biscuit. "We have been discussing our intention of touring the various ministry departments, explaining the differences would be helpful."

There's a door behind the bar which bears an elaborate 'Staff Only' plaque; it opens, and stands ajar for some moments, during which precisely HALF of a conversation might be audible to those in the vicinity.

"But I don't see what that has to do with anything," a woman's voice protests, in an upper middle class English accent doing its very best to sound innocent. "I couldn't possibly have told her where I was really going that day — what if she'd told someone else? … I suppose I did eat all the peaches, but I was so hungry. What did she want them for, anyway? … No, I'm quite sure I left it in either my blue-green bag or my blue-violet bag, do look again, it must be there. … No, the other one. … Oh, no, not *that* one. … Well, why don't you decide for me, sweetie? I can't think of everything myself, you know."

Into the area behind the bar steps rather a Mugglish-looking woman, not young, but dressed with ferocious elegance in a pale blue satin gown and matching bolero jacket, with waterfalls of diamonds dripping from her ears. She almost walks straight into one of the bar wenches (Tessa's her name), then hops out of the way, lifting her hands, as though keeping clear of trays full of drinks were a game, and a diverting one at that. She already has hers in hand, a martini in a beautifully frosted glass, garnished with three olives still to be munched.

"Hello, sweetie," she says to a customer she knows, leaning across the bar to touch his hand for an instant; and then, "Oh, hello, how's your husband's leg? You must tell me all about it later"; and then, "Astoria! Why, good evening."

"Ah, of course." Cassius wets his lips with a spot of tea, and launches into his explanation. "The Wizengamot is the central legislative body of the Ministry, as well as its judicial power. Court cases of sufficient importance, such as serious crimes, are brought before the Wizengamot, rather than a Magistrate. In its legislative capacity, it serves to decide upon new laws and government policy." He pauses for breath and another sip. "Whereas the Wizengamot Administration Services, or W.A.S., is a subdivision of the M.L.E. which provides the necessary personnel and services to keep the Wizengamot functions. Clerks, recorders, court-appointed lawyers, and so on, are all employed in the W.A.S."

Douglas tries. No, really, he does. He tries to listen to the explanation, but then there's the biscuit in his hand, and that's pretty distracting. And there's the window right over there, and look, is that people walking past? And, of course, there's Medusa sitting there too. All in all, Cassius never had a chance, but Douglas gives him a blank nod anyway.

Astoria cannot help but eavesdrop. Her eyes flick up towards the door while she listens; though, as laws of decency dictate, her gaze does not linger long. She looks away and pretends not to listen while crossing one leg over the other. When Fabia emerges, however, she focuses on the woman with a slight grin. "Good evening," she returns, accent light and words spoken precisely.

Even Medusa drifts off a bit, it is one of the things she and Douglas have in common - short attention spans. However, she notices her fellow seventh year's attention waning first and gives him a little kick under the table. Nearly two decades of smiling and nodding have taught her the most appropriate places in a conversation when to do this. "It sounds vast." She eats another bite of biscuit and asks Cassius, "Have you seen Cyril or Edwardlinda lately?"

Fabia leans her henna'd head across the bar to say rather confidentially to Astoria: "Keeping your promise already — I do appreciate it." Her big green eyes are a-twinkle as she sips her martini and looks about to see who else is in tonight. Despite her little adventure in London she has had time by now to introduce herself to quite a few of the regulars, and learn which like to chat and which don't, which are interested in her and which would much rather pretend she hadn't happened to their comfortable village watering-hole; but over *there*! The boy who addressed Phil Rowle's gift of whiskey so valiantly on the night she arrived, sitting with two spectacular blondes, one of each sex. Her curiosity is piqued. But it's too soon to abandon Astoria for blonder pastures. Or… is it? Hmm. She reaches out an elegant hand to interrupt Tessa's next pass, this time with an empty tray, and tells her, "Sweetie, why don't you take Miss Bletchley's order next?"

If Cassius noticed the two students drifting off during his explanation, he makes no outward note of it. "I visited Lin and the baby a few weeks ago," Cassius explains. "Actually, that was shortly after Cyril came by Berylwood for dinner. They both seem to be doing fine. Cyril is being civil, which is always a blessing." He chuckles. "I might even invite him to come around during your visit."

Douglas gives Medusa a quick glare as she kicks him under the table, wrinkling his nose as he takes up his butterbeer for a sip. "Is that more brothers and sisters?" he asks of her as Cassius speaks, leaning back and absently playing with the chain around his neck. "You never said how many you had. Just that Cassius wanted to come up for a weekend some time."

"Well, don't give me /all/ the credit," Astoria says with a slight wink. She follows Fabia's gaze to the Mafloys. She grins… slightly. A knowing look spreads across her features while she focuses on Tessa. "A half-pint of ale," she orders, grin still present on her expression. She turns back to Fabia and asks, "Do you know the Malfoy siblings, Madame?"

With a strong gust of wind following him, Arian stumbles into the 3 Broomsticks, hair blown every which way, school uniform all askew. A moment is spent standing next to the doorway simply straightening himself out, then the yyoung Ravenclaw makes his way across the room. He keeps an eye out for an available table, but there's nothing particularly desirable. Everything is either taken or close to someone who doesn't look particularly inviting. And then there's the table where Cassius sits with Douglas — who Arian actually likes — and Medusa — who Arian does his best to avoid. And that's exactly what he does here. Instead of taking a table, he heads to the bar, where he actively looks for an available bartender to order a butterbeer from. Astoria and Fabia are both given a glance, but he doesn't say anything to them because his mother taught him not to talk to strangers.

"Civil." Medusa's mouth twitches as she thinks of the word in connection to her eldest brother. Her gaze lands upon Cassius, the pair of them so alike in appearance and easily identifiable as being Malfoys. "I am looking forward to seeing your home. I envy you, having your own space like that. At the moment it seems there is rarely peace to be had at school what with all the amateur dramatics and death threats from whining girls." She eats the last bite of her biscuit and nods across the table to Douglas, "Yes, the elder two." Any looks or glares sent her way are blithely ignored, Medusa is well used to being the object of affection and jealously. "Sadly, to our Mother's annoyance, not a married one in the bunch," she gives Cassius a teasing look, "and the three of them so eligible too. Especially Cassius."

"Don't look at me," Douglas insists, holding up his biscuit laden hands. "No offence, but he is totally not my type."

"Mmm…yes, Mother would like to see me wed," Cassius says. "I admit, I find the notion rather agreeable, if I could find the right woman. But what is this about death threats?" Cassius frowns, a protective scowl forming. "Please tell me you are speaking in hyperbole."

The bar wench nods and hurries along behind the bar to pull Astoria's half; and Fabia breathes an interested, "*Oh*. Is that who they are?" She's ostensibly looking at Astoria again now, but her gaze flicks just once more across to those two blonde heads… The edge has been taken off her determination to make their acquaintance. She remembers one or two things learned about Malfoys during her school days. "I wonder what…" she murmurs. "I suppose the girl is at Hogwarts, and her brother has come to take her out. Will you pardon me a moment?"

… But on her way back to the Staff Only door, Fabia pauses opposite the windblown lad who has just come up to the bar: "Hello, sweetie," she says, smiling, like the world's most glamourous grandmother, "What would you like?"

Fingal enters the pub after Arian, holding the hood of his robe down to shield himself from the wind before throwing it back dramatically when he enters. "Good evening!" he says jovially to those in attendance, looking particularly appreciatively toward Douglas, as he recognized the youth as a fellow Macmillan, though not an especially close relation. He heads for the bar and nods toward Fabia as he passes her. He'd been rather surprised to see her take over as landlady, knowing her mostly as that "fancy-dancy" girl who was a few years below him in Gryffindor. But, it was a pleasant surprise to be sure. He waits for Arian to make his order before giving his own, usually preferring to defer to the younger generations in things like this.

"Funny and here I thought you liked blonds," Medusa teases Douglas then just a quickly tries to shrug off the issue of the threats. "I have asked to speak with Professor Slughorn about it. I took action to try and help a fellow housemate not suffer from social ridicule. My advice was ignored and punishment doled out by the house and by her parents." With a nonchalant shrug she winds up her tale, "Now I am being blamed for it all. The foolish child thought I would be frightened by her threats of death and violence. She clearly did not pay attention in her History of Magic lessons or else she would know Malfoys don't buckle under threats."

"Abbott," Douglas explains to Cassius, leaning forward in his seat again. "She's… well, she's batshit crazy, basically. I mean more than most girls." He drains the end of his butterbeer, glancing thoughtfully towards the bar before offering at the table, "My round?"

Astoria nods to Fabia, continuing to grin slightly. She rests an elbow against the bar and her attention turns to Tessa. "Of course," she answers Fabia, but at that moment Fingal enters the bar. She glances over her shoulder, noting him - but not recognizing. She turns back around.

Cassius's jaw tightens, and he permits a rather menacing look to cross his face for a moment. "Indeed, and she would also know that Malfoys stand together against outside threats." He nods to Douglas, then to Medusa. "Is this the Abbott girl in question in your letter to Mother? I should think she would like to know about this prior to it coming back to her via Professor Slughorn."

"Yes please, Douglas." Medusa looks at Cassius, her lips forming a moue. "Yes, it is the same girl. I have yet to write back to mother but I will mention it in my reply to her. She will likely take it as proof that my actions were incorrect, however. She is already chastising me for being involved." But then just as casually as Medusa raised the subject she drops it, giving both Cassius and Douglas a sidelong glance. "I will need to think carefully about a gift for Lin's baby. Something hand crafted."

"Just a butterbeer, please," says Arian, politely as he can manage, handing a coin across the bar to Fabia. As he waits for the drink, he takes another look around the room. Nope! Still nothing in the way of seating, so the boy climbs up into the seat next to Astoria. "Seat isn't taken?" he manages to ask the lady.

Cassius nods gravely to Medusa. He let's the subject rest, but it would be no great surprise when Hogwarts receives a letter from the desk of Cassius Malfoy on the matter. "That's very thoughtful of you, Medusa. Edwarlinda will be touched." With a light sigh, he puts down his teacup. "I fear I must soon depart, dear sister. I am to dine with our Great-aunt Ismene tonight, and that sort of thing requires some mental preparation."

A coin! How novel. How extremely novel. Fabia puts it absent-mindedly into her pocket, says, "Certainly, young sir," and then looks up to the older gentleman who came in behind Arian and has been waiting patiently for someone's attention. No sign of recognition in her eyes, only congenial courtesy. "And for you?"

"You won't stay for one drink, sir?" Douglas offers, hand going to his pocket already. "This place does the most amazing butterbeer. Or real beer, if you'll buy it for us," he suggests, lowering his voice and trying a hopeful smile.

Astoria turns to Arian. She offers the boy a practiced smile before answering, "You are welcome to it, young man." Turning slightly, Astoria adds, "Are you enjoying the weekend?" with a gentle grin that touches the corners of her eyes.

Arian accepts his drink and takes a big swig of his drink, eyeing Astoria warily. He hadn't expected her to actually talk to him, and he's a bit nervous. After all, you can't trust a lot of the wizarding world as far as you can throw 'em. "Yeah," he finally answers with a nod. "It's been good so far. Just trying to do a little gift shopping." He quickly asks, "And yourself?" to try to seem polite.

Medusa leans over and presses a light kiss to Cassius' cheek. "Thank you for coming to see me. I know you are very busy." She brushes lipstick off his pale skin and smiles at her brother. "I look forwards to seeing you at the holidays." Her head ducks as Douglas asks for beer and Medusa coughs to hide her laugh.

Cassius smiles, taking Medusa's hand for a squeeze of affection. "This was enjoyable. Perhaps I shall make the trip again before the holidays come." He rises, giving Douglas a chuckle. "Beer, indeed. How droll. Good day, Mr. Macmillan. Medusa." He bows politely to the two of them. On his way out, he offers plenty of smiles and a few handshakes to those that express their political support.

"I'll have a butterbeer for myself as well," Fingal says cheerfully. So, she didn't remember him. It wasn't too surprising, honestly. "Things are going well up at Hogwarts, I presume? Imagine, I've been living here for ten years and I haven't had the time to go back and see the old place properly. Apart from the odd Quidditch match," he notes.

"Good to meet you, sir," Douglas rejoins with a nod, rising to his feet a moment afterwards, although in his case it's not so much to get to the door as the bar, giving Medusa's shoulder a brief squeeze on his way. He slides up beside Arian, giving the boy an amiable nod before resting his elbow on the bar and waiting to be served.

Another coin goes into Fabia's pocket; she jingles slightly as she pulls two tremendously careful pints of Butterbeer, WITHOUT splashing her gorgeous pale blue satin, and sets them before her customers old and young (in that order). And then she resumes her flight through the Staff Only door, blithely unaware that the conundrum about which she wished to consult with Madam Tabitha has just walked out via *another* door. Alas. She needn't have fretted.

"Quite well, thank you for asking," Astoria answers after her half-pint arrives. She takes a rather long drink from it, but is careful not to get foam on her nose or upper lip. After setting it aside, and swallowing, she turns digs into her pocket for a few knuts.

The bar wench Tessa, looking less nervous now that her august employer isn't 'helping', notices Douglas on his stool and leans toward him: "What can I get you?"

As Medusa watches her brother leave she snags another biscuit from the plate and bites it in half as her thoughts drift so does her gaze, tripping over others in the bar. The undoubted attention the lone remaining Malfoy receives from curious onlookers is ignored and for some reason the usual ribbing comments from other students are absent tonight, likely because of all those old people.

"Good, that's good," says Arian nodding, not really sure if he's supposed to continue the conversation or not. Fortunately, he's saved from trying to come up with a subject by Douglas. "Hey, Doug, good to see you," he says while simultaneously looking around to make sure Medusa isn't with him. "How's your weekend?"

"Two butterbeers, please," Douglas orders with an amiable grin, glancing back to Arian and his somewhat older companion. He raises a brow, nodding subtly towards Astoria. "I knew you liked older women, kid. Good going, though. She's a beauty," he insists as he waits for the drinks to be poured. "Yeah, weekend's going well. 'scuse me." He nods again as he takes the beers, returning to Medusa to set them down on the table in front of them.

Fingal grins as Douglas approaches. "Hello," he says, taking a sip of his butterbeer. "Nice evening isn't it?"

When Douglas returns Medusa sits up and reaches over to pick up her drink. "You know you can just buy the beer, you're old enough to apparate you are old enough to drink." Even so she isn't complaining, she will accept the butterbeer. "Was that the tiny ball whinger over at the bar? Is he now going after Miss Bletchley? Or the grandmother behind the bar?" She glances over at the bar to see if it is Arian.

Astoria raises an eyebrow towards Douglas while her lips form a gentle, but undeniable, frown. She does not watch him depart, however, and instead takes a sip of her ale. After a pause, Astoria turns back to Arian. "Hm," she begins, frown flattening to a simple line. And then, rather abruptly, "Have you enjoyed the semester?"

The pale blue silk figure of Fabia Fairfax has attained a new dignity during her conference with Madam Tabitha in the back room. She returns through the Staff Only door, intent upon some mission, and reaches the end of the bar before sighing, "Oh, he's gone?" and turning round and going back the other way. "Tessa, sweetie, a martini or I'll die right here in my shoes. Oh, heavens, I may as well make it myself, now that I'm a working girl." She reaches under the bar for her personal bottles of gin and vermouth, and one of the *new* cocktail shakers, imported yesterday from London by her own thoughtful self. She raises an eyebrow at Astoria. "There but for the grace of I don't know what."

"It doesn't taste the same unless it's contraband," Douglas insists to Medusa, then lifts his chin towards Fingal in greeting. "Afternoon," comes his simple response before returning his attention to the Malfoy. "And yeah, that's the ball kid. You should give him a break, though. He's a good lad, under all that. I know it'd ruin your reputation and everything, but, y'know. He's all right. And naw, I don't think he's really after the woman there. He's managed to hook his fifth year. Our advice helped, of course. And my lines."

Arian nearly chokes on his drink when Douglas infers that Arian is, in fact, insane, and is flirting. By the time he's recovered, the other boy is already, gone, though; the only thing Arian can do is turn as quickly as possible to Astoria and offer an awkward smile. "I, um… he likes to joke a lot," Arian offers with a nod over at Douglas. He's only too happy when Astoria changes the subject. "Yeah, it's been quite nice so far. There've been a few, um, problems" (*cough* MEDUSA *cough*) "but for the most part things have been going well. I think I've even finally got an idea of what I want to do when I get out, which is a big step up."

Medusa rolls her eyes at Douglas and bites off a, "Fine." She sips her drink and looks back over at the bar and Arian and then back at Douglas. "Since you asked nicely I will see about what can be done." Another sip of her drink is taken. "Your lines are legendary, even the gay students are trying to use them now."

"Hm?" Astoria asks, glancing at Fabia. She smiles briefly before returning her attention to Arian. "Oh, there are always… a few," Astoria says with a sober nod. "Excellent," she adds. "Planning for the future is important." She takes a sip from her ale, and then looks between Arian and Fabia. "Do you always visit the Three Broomsticks during Hogsmeade weekends?" she wonders.

"Well, I for one always enjoy visits from our young witches and wizards in training," Fingal says. "It always makes me wonder what you all will grow to become."

"Probably something completely unexpected, in most cases," Fabia puts in. Shake, shake.

"I usually try to get in here at least once on every Hogsmeade weekend," says Arian. Another swig of butterbeer is taken, and he glances around the room. "There's usually more students around." There's a pause as a look of disappointment momentarily flitters across Arian's features, but then he remembers himself. "Oh, forgot, I'm Arian Kyle." The Ravenclaw cautiously offers his hand.

"By which you mean Thad," Douglas surmises, leaning his elbows on the table. "That boy would chat up a cheese sandwich if he thought it was into him, though," he points out good naturedly. "Still, if he's using my lines, maybe he's got a chance. Oh, which reminds me, I've got a new one for you. See what you think. Have you been slipping love potions in my tea?"

Arian may have been speaking to Astoria; but Fabia takes his words as partially hers anyway, and, as she pours her martini into its chilled glass, answers him: "How do you do? I'm Fabia Fairfax, and this rather seems to be my pub at the moment. I do hope you and all the others from Hogwarts will keep coming in on your weekends out — liven up the place a little for me." She smiles, quite dazzlingly, and raises her glass to him before her first long, savouring sip.

Astoria chuckles after Fabia speaks. "Completely," she agrees with a mild grin. She turns back to Arian. "Miss Astoria Bletchley, and-" She turns to Fabia, but Fabia, the very image of perfect timing, interrupts her introductions. Not that Astoria appears to mind. Smiling, she takes Arian's hand, which she releases only a moment afterward, and takes a drink from her ale.

"Mainly, yes. He's taken to writing them down. I told him the bogart one the other day." Medusa smirks as she watches Douglas, preparing herself for a new chat up line. "As if I need potions to get anyone to want me. Have you looked at me?"

"Sadly I have," Douglas tells Medusa solemnly. "But allegedly you scrub up all right, so I live in hope for the Halloween Feast that you won't look too out of place on my arm."

"If we're introducing ourselves," Fingal says with a laugh. "I'm Fingal Macmillan. I run the toy shop down the road from here," he explains. "Fingal's of Hogsmeade, that's the place," he says with a snap of the fingers. "Purveyors of fun and enjoyment since 1870… though, the Hogsmeade store has only been here ten years." He smiles a bit at all this talk of love. "I could tell you the story of how I hooked Hermia, but I'm sure you have more important things to think about!"

Arian's attention is drawn over to Fabia as she introduces herself, and then proceeds to down a good amount of martini. "Nice to meet you," he says, before hastily adding, "both." When Astoria states her name, Arian's face gets a look like he's trying very hard to remember something. "Your name sounds familiar. Where have I heard it before?"

Leaning her forearms on her side of the bar, Fabia muses, "The best pick-up line anyone's ever said to me was…" And then her eyes, which were just dreamily upraised, fall upon Arian. "You're probably too young to hear it," she sighs.

"It will be amazing, especially when those third years carry me in on my sedan chair." Medusa sets her glass down. "I'm thinking it is getting full of old people in here." She rises to her feet and looks down at Douglas, "I'm going for a walk, you're welcome to come if you like."

Douglas necks the rest of his drink, wiping his mouth on his sleeve and rising to his feet. "You're actually getting them to do it?" he asks, amused. He offers Medusa his arm, tilting his head in question. "You're certifiable, you know that?"

Astoria nearly smiles after Fabia speaks, but contains herself. Her attention focuses on Arian. "Bletchley is an ancient name, of course. However, I write for the Daily Prophet." Her attention raises slightly and her head tilts ever-so-slightly to the side. "I would not be surprised if he has read an article or two of mine - youngsters have grown much more curious than they used to be. Especially with all the news from the continent," Astoria suggests. "Although, I imagine most of my articles are a bore," she notes.

Medusa laughs as she takes Douglas' arm. "You know you love it," she tells him with a smirk. "Life would be far too boring with out me."

"I think I HAVE read some of your articles," says Arian, though he stops short of trying to name any piece specifically. But there's a sudden excitement on his face. "You know," he says matter-of-fact-ly, "I'd really like to work for the Prophet one day. Do… do you think I could send you an owl sometime? Maybe pick your brain? It'd really help, I think."

Douglas makes his way out with Medusa, although he does look for slightly longer than strictly necessary as they pass an attractive witch on her way in. No doubt he'll pay for that later.

"Is that so?" Fingal says. "I'm afraid I don't tend to pay much attention to the bylines," he adds with a shake of his head. "Especially not with so much alarming news in the articles these days."

Slipping into the pub quietly trying to pass unseen is a pale skinned woman clad all in black carrying a black sack. Pale green eyes scan the area as she glides twoards the end of the bar and in a soft voice orders cider puttinga few coins on the counter to pay. The drink is delivered and she takes a seat on a barstool setting the large heavy sack at her feet.

Astoria regards Arian with a rather narrow expression, but it isn't without a measure of kindness. "You may. If you send me a sample of your work I will read it, and leave you comments. I shouldn't promise more, though. My editor is a tough nut." She turns and regards Fingal. "Subscriptions have increased dramatically," she explains. "While good for the prophet, well - the escalation in news-worthy events has dramatically increased. People are beginning to pay attention."

While not exactly magic, at some point Frid has managed to move from the back of the pub marked 'Staff Only' through to the bar, served a couple of patrons, and even collected a round of glasses before it becomes apparent he's actually there, and this only as he provides, without a word being said, a fresh refill of martini in front of Fabia, giving her a knowing half smile.

Listening rather than chatting has given Fabia ample leisure in which to dispose of the martini she made for herself; she has only a mouthful or two remaining, and is nibbling her third and final olive, when the new one appears. She leans her head upon Frid's broad and manly shoulder for an impulsive instant, and utters: "You've saved my life, sweetie." Then, to the others, "I don't recall, have you met my valet? Frid Lee — Astoria Bletchley. And that's Arian Kyle, and… I'm afraid I didn't catch yours." She smiles apologetically at Fingal Macmillan.

"Fingal. Fingal Macmillan," comes the answer from the man, with a smile. "Actually, I believe we went to Hogwarts together for a while," he adds to Fabia. "I was a few years above you, of course… Imagine my surprise when you turned up here!"

"Gentlemen," Frid greets politely, taking Fabia's empty glass and hovering his hands in question over the empties sitting by those introduced to him. "Madam. How do you do. Saving lives is only a minor part of my job description."

"That'd be great, thanks!" says Arian excitedly. Real correspondence with a real reporter person! "I'll be sure and send you an owl soon." He finishes the butterbeer in front of him before climbing down from his seat. "Thanks again, Miss Bletchley. And it was nice to meet all of you." Nods are given to Fabia, Astoria and Fingal in turn before he turns and heads out the door, grinning ear to ear.

When Fingal reintroduces himself and brings up their long-ago school days, Fabia seems somehow to draw closer to Frid. "Did we? … Well, people do turn up in quite surprising places, don't they," she agrees, in a subdued tone. She returns Arian's nod genially enough (amplifying hers with a little wave), and then, simply for something else to say, asks: "Another Butterbeer, Mr Macmillan?"

"Pleasure to meet you again," Astoria replies to Frid. "And you are most certainly welcome," Astoria replies to Arian. She nods as the boy departs, but quickly returns to her ale - which she finishes with a long sip. "I admit that I am not long for the inn, either," she admits with a sigh, though her attention is swiftly taken by the conversation between Fabia and Fingal.

Frid turns his smile on Astoria, then, subtly manoeuvring himself so he is between Fabia and Fingal as he gathers glasses. "And the inn will be a poorer place for your departure, madam," he tells her.

Fingal nods. "Of course," he says with a nod to Fabia's offer of another Butterbeer. "And… er, hello," he adds to Frid as he gets in between them. What does he think Fingal's trying to do here, anyway?

With her shield in place, all six feet and something of him, Fabia pouts over the bar at Astoria. "Oh, must you go? We've hardly had a moment to talk," a variation upon her usual plaint. "Won't you have the other half? You ought really to have the other half." She taps Tessa's shoulder as she passes, mouths 'Butterbeer', and gestures to Fingal. The wench nods and sets about it.

Astoria's grin is rather wide when she turns from Frid to Fabia. It is Frid she focuses on, though. "Well, perhaps you have both convinced me. I will see myself to a quiet corner, but do not send the wenches too consistently. Otherwise I will not get a single word written," she notes. A nigh-imperceptible wink follows, though it is directed towards Fabia. Seconds later, Astoria stands and turns, leaving the empty half-pint on the counter.

Frid settles back at the bar, arms folding as Astoria heads off to the corner. "Do you think I'm just intimidating the customers away?" he asks thoughtfully, then gives Fingal an amiable smile, shaking his finger at Tessa and moving to pour the pint himself.

Fingal shakes his head, blinking a bit. "Well, no. Not really," he says. "I'm sure you're a fine man."

Fabia affects to give Frid a considering glance from beneath an upraised hand, which bears the usual blaze of diamonds. "Oh, I shouldn't think so," she decides. "Not the women, at any rate." Belatedly realising that something more might be called for in another direction, she nods across to Fingal. "I do hope you enjoy your Butterbeer."

Frid laughs quietly, shaking his head. "I shall endeavour neither to scare off the men, then," he decides. "I can't think how insudderable you would be if this place were empty."

Fingal nods. "I always do," he says to Fabia. "Ever since I started coming here on the weekends from school myself," he points out.

And the new landlady's smile freezes upon her face for an instant, before she nods and answers with a pleasant, "Of course. It's good to have a few traditions, isn't it?" Her own particular tradition, drinking as many martinis as possible at every opportunity, she proceeds with posthaste; and then lines up her glass next to a few other empties which have collected. "Well. Do forgive me, Mr Macmillan, but I have one or two other customers I probably ought to speak with, or they'll think I don't *care*. And I'd better make certain Miss Bletchley is all right in her corner. Good evening." She inclines her head toward him again, and glides gracefully away around the far end of the bar — still none the worse for her indulgence, or so it would seem.

Fingal smiles. "Have a good evening, then!"

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