(1938-10-20) It's Not Idiotic, It's Character-Building
Details for It's Not Idiotic, It's Character Building
Summary: Evening in the Three Broomsticks on a Hogsmeade weekend. And, wouldn't you know, Douglas and Augustin evolve rather a complicated bet…
Date: October 20th, 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.

"And that's when she told me it was made of wood anyway," Douglas finishes regaling Gus with a terribly, terribly amusing story as the pair make it into the Three Broomsticks. He holds the door open for his friend before entering himself. "Oh, and by the way, Gus? Your round! I got them in last time, remember, and you totally owe me for ditching us to go hang with Lillian." He does the dreamy eyes as he says her name, hands going up to his chin and eyelashes fluttering.

Gus positively /roars/ with laughter as he comes into the Broomsticks. In fact, once inside he actually pauses to slap his knees a few times. There are actual tears of mirth at the corners of his eyes. "Ah, Dougie, lad, you're takin' the piss with me, aren't you?" he chuckles. And up to the bar he goes, fishing out some coins. "Fair enough. Oi, two butterbeers, please."

All hands on deck, on the last evening of this Hogsmeade weekend; even the newest and least reliable pair, belonging to Fabia Fairfax, or should we say Fabia Travers, old Bertie Travers's recent widow and not as much of a Muggle as she looks in that black silk cocktail frock straight from Lucien Lelong. (Well, not quite as much.) The real bar wenches all being occupied elsewhere, she reaches out for the coins proffered by that nice-looking young man, and drops them absent-mindedly into the pocket of her very small, very frilly white apron.

"Oh, of course, sweetie," she tells him, amiably, and draws the two pints of Butterbeer almost as though she knows what she's doing. Diamonds glitter round her neck, so outrageously that they can't be real… can they?

Douglas finds a table as Gus goes to the bar, sliding into it and unwrapping the scarf from his neck. "I still need to find out who dropped me in it for last weekend," he calls over to his friend as he waits for the beers to be pulled. "Seriously, man, you should have been here. I was on fire."

Never say a Malfoy doesn't know how to make an entrance. The door to the Three Broomsticks is opened by a nervous looking young boy who promptly runs off after doing his door duty, enabling Medusa's booted feet and angry stride to carry her inside. The Gorgon glare firmly in place the platinum blonde uses it on anyone who gets in her way as she crosses to the bar.

"Thanks," Gus says. His eyes are drawn down, and for a second or two, he's mesmerized. "Er… nice diamonds," he tells the witch, flashing her an unabashed grin. Over his shoulder to Doug he says, "Would rather not get a Howler from me mum, thanks." He turns with the beers in hand to take them back to the table and nearly collides with Medusa. "Hullo," he greets her, deftly getting out of the way as fast as he can without spilling anything on her.

For once Alphard was bereft of the usual small pack of Slytherin and Magijugend sycophants with which he tended to raid Hogsmead with. Raiding including both enjoying the little village's delectable treasures, and just plain bullying in an arena free of the great shadow of Professors and faculty that haunted Hogswarts itself. None the less he seemed in a good mood, smiling a great big smug smile to himself, like he had more than fulfilled his quota of teenage evil for the day, and now could finally just settle down and -relax-.

Fabia grins at Gus as her French-manicured hands slide the two Butterbeers over the bar to him; "Thanks, sweetie," she purrs, and rests for a moment from her awfully intense labours, sipping her martini, which has its own special safe place on the counter.

Gus' departure, quick though it is gets a flicker of recognition from Medusa but for now she is still to angry to torture the Hufflepuff. When she reaches the bar Medusa looks at the stool in front of her as if it were somehow likely to infect her. She pulls a handkerchief from the pocket of her floor length fur and wipes off the stool before sitting down. "You," she calls over to Fabia. "I want tea. Water freshly boiled. Tea leaves left in for thirty seconds no longer. Cream, not milk. Fresh cream." A coin is set on the bar and a cigarette and lighter come out.

Douglas lifts his hand, about to call Medusa over to join them. And then promptly changes his mind, lowering his hand to hide his face as he hunches his shoulders and shifts up to give space for Gus beside him. "Well. Somebody's in a good mood today, eh?" he comments drily, nodding thanks for his butterbeer. "Heads down, somebody's going to get it in the neck for sure. She's probably left a trail of statues behind her."

Gus whistles very quietly to Douglas, just a little impressed by Fabia's… hard work. He slides into place beside Douglas and has a sip of his butterbeer, then raises his eyebrows questioningly. "What?" he asks. "Like you didn't notice them, all… all flashy and on display like that." At Doug's warning he glances up at Medusa, and then back to his friend. "Wait. Aren't you her boyfriend?" he asks curiously. "Did you do something that merits being turned into a statue?"

Alphard worthied Gus and Douglas with an absent minded nod of recognition. Turning towards the bar - and service - he paused for a moment to look Fabia over with supreme superiority, and his voice contained the destilled essence of every last aristocratic snob when he demanded: "A glass of burgundy. A fine one. None of the swill you serve the.." He made a grimace as he looked around the clientl of the Three Broomsticks, not really needing to say what he thought of them when his arrogant expression was so much more eloquent! "Hello Malfoy."

Another sip of her martini; then Fabia returns the glass to safety and moves nearer to Medusa's stool. "Certainly, but what kind of tea?" she asks interestedly, leaning forward. "I suppose if you want cream, you mean black rather than green or white — I don't think we have any white anyway, I don't drink it myself — but after only half a minute's infusion of course all you'll *taste* is the cream. Something with a strong enough flavour to it that a hint may still come through? Standard English Breakfast? Lapsang Souchong? Or I have rather a good Panyong Needle you might try, if you prefer an oakier flavour." Nodding to Alphard, she adds, "In a moment, sweetie, one thing at a time."

"Probably," Douglas admits to Gus, grinning faintly as he sips his beer. "You know what women are like." He pauses as he watches the interaction at the bar. "Five sickles says you can't nick the old bird's drink while she's not watching. You on, or are you chicken?"

"If you are offering something exotic then I will have an orange blossom oolong." Medusa lowers her head briefly to light her cigarette. She gives Alphard a side glance, "Black. You need to improve your knowledge of defense if you are going to continue to be of use to me. Why are you here wasting time picking on snot-nosed mudbloods?" A long drag is take off of the cigarette and the smoke blown carelessly towards Fabia as Medusa looks the woman over. "Do not presume to tell me what I will or will not taste. Simply do what I have said. If you are unable to do so state it now and I will see to it that everyone knows you have failed to provide decent service."

Gus squints a bit at Doug's dare. "I'm no chicken," he says, sounding rather affronted. "Make it ten, Dougie, and you're on. /And/, when I succeed, you've got to… ah… grab a gonk. Eh? Eh?" He gently elbows his friend in the ribs.

"You lose, you owe me ten sickles," Douglas confirms, nodding. "And if you win, I have to grab a gronk. And then when I win that you owe me ten sickles. You've got a deal. Go, go forth and do your drinks criminal thing, Moriarty." He sits back with a grin to watch.

"Excuse me?" Alphard blinked once, then twice, turning on Medusa with a look of surprise. It took him a couple of seconds to process the fact she was talking to him, with -that- tone. Then his eyes narrowed into sharp little obsidian daggerblades. He sneered: "I don't know what crawled up your skirts and laid a bunch of bitch eggs in your panties, but I'm not one of your little pawns. But I'm going to be the better man, and walk away. And tomorrow you can apologize with a proper amount of groveling, or you can find yourself someone else to help you!"

"I will be over there when you're ready." The latter to Fabia as he lifted his chin and walked away from the bar. The gall of some people.

Second-hand smoke doesn't bother Fabia, though she does pick up her martini again and wet her throat before she answers. "Naturally I'm concerned to make sure you don't end up with something even more revolting than," her lively emerald gaze flicks across to the departing Alphard, "*that*. Please, say what you will about the service here," and she smiles, refusing to get into a vulgar barroom quarrel with a spoiled brat, "to any of your friends, Miss Malfoy. I'll go and find your tea." She knocks back the last of her martini, tucks the empty cocktail glass away whence it came, and departs through the Staff Only door.

"You mean, when you fail to grab a gonk, you'll owe me," Gus shoots back with a grin. He stands up and makes his seruptitious way to the bar, leaning oh-so-casually against it. He observes Alphard and Medusa's little snit with some interest, just waiting for that perfect moment to nab Fabia's glass. Which comes just as she leaves. He picks it up and comes over to the table, setting the martini glass down in front of Douglas. He looks slightly unhappy. "She certainly knows how to drink," he comments.

Alphard's outburst only seems to amuse Medusa and garners him no response. She picks up the coin she had placed on the bar and spins it on its side as she sits waiting for what will undoubtedly be the best cup of tea ever. When Gus sidles up to claim the elderly barmaid's empty glass Medusa's gaze follows him. Seeing the recipent of his gift she sighs and slides off the barstool to trail in the wake of the less attractive blond. Without invitation she drops down next to Douglas, wordlessly.

"So infantile," Alphard muttered under his breath. He rolled his eyes at them on his way to the nearby table. As if the Slytherin's habit of stealing candy from younger students was the pillar of adulthood. Carefully he sidled in, rearranging the candle and anything else on the worn down old battered wood until everything was to his satisfaction. He used a napkin to brush away some imagined dirt he didn't think the staff had cleaned up to his satisfaction. Then he settled in, drawing out a notebook, and waited for his Burgundy. A young aloof gentleman, ignoring the rougher (and lesser) crowd around him.

Douglas eyes the glass, then raises a brow. "Seriously? Seriously, though? This is the best you can do. That is not a drink, Gus. That is a glass," he points out, giving Medusa an easy smile as she settles in beside him. "If that's your drink, this is my gronk," he decides, looping an arm around Medusa's shoulders. "If you can get away with a glass with nothing in it as a 'drink', I can totally get away with a fittie as my gronk."

Gus frowns at the glass. "Hold on a tic," he says. "I'm not done. And Medusa doesn't count, since she is your girlfriend. The gronk can't be her. Also, hullo, Medusa." He picks up the glass again and twirls it. "I'll get her drin, yet. Just you wait." He glances over at Alphard, frowns even more, and then resolutely turns his face away from the boy.

Very soon, a cautious and nameless bar wench sets down before Medusa a red and black lacquered Japanese tray. It holds a cup and saucer of almost paper-thin green porcelain, a small silver teapot, a matching silver jug of fresh cream (let her ruin a delicate oolong if that's really her pleasure), and a silver dish across the rim of which rests the infuser containing the wet, still-steaming tea leaves, removed as ordered, faintly redolent of orange. Not at all the style of refreshments one is accustomed to in the Broomsticks.

Seconds later, the elderly and henna-haired barmaid in the Lelong frock reappears, with sables draped over her shoulders — it's getting chilly! She has another martini in one hand, and a leaded crystal goblet of red wine in the other. She pauses to have a word with one of her staff about putting a bit more wood on the fire, then looks about for that excessively unpleasant youth. Ah. There, absorbed in his notebook. She approaches, and, at his shoulder, recollects something: "You *are* sixteen, I suppose?" she asks him.

Snap. The little leather bound notebook snapped shut at Fabia's arrival. There had been a few neatly cursive lines of text, and the beginnings of a drawing. And some doodles that showed a teenager's budding hormones in full effect. Thankfully any look of those would have been a blur! Alphard looked at the barmaid with a cool lift of an eyebrow. "Yes, I am. Alphard Pollux Black." As if his name meant that she should know exactly who he was, his age, his year in Hogwarts, his family and his general social standing in the world at large. Because *everybody* knew who he was, obviously. Or should. "Keep them coming." Clink, went a coin. Then a second one, a hefty tip all things considered. Say as many bad things as you want about Alphard; stingy wasn't one of them.

"What sort of idiotic game are you two playing?" Medusa demands of Douglas and Augustin. Even if she is suspicious she readily accepts the arm which is put around her and offers her cigarette to the Scot. When her tea arrives she smiles, seemingly pleased with the presentation. From inside her pocket she withdraws a silver flask and tipping it in regards towards Fabia further ruins the tea by adding a decent measure of whatever it is that is in the flask to the cup. Then Medusa takes a careful sip.

Douglas accepts the cigarette with a grin, taking a puff and tipping his head back to blow a smoke ring towards the ceiling. "It's not idiotic. It's character building," he demurs, holding the cigarette back out to Medusa. "And when he completely fails, it's also going to help pay for your Christmas present." He lowers his voice, explaining, "He has to steal the old biddy's drink. It's a dare."

"Did you — did you just pour your own alcohol into that tea, while in a bar?" Augustin asks Medusa, as if he doesn't quite believe his own eyes. He was /going/ to answer her question, but was thrown by her antics. Seeing Fabia enter again and pour herself a new glass, he brings the old glass with him and goes up to the counter. He sort of keeps the old glass hidden out of her sight, and… lies in wait, looking for a chance to switch them out.

The Three Broomsticks are in need of someone more adorable and charming than the dramatic upperclassmen. Ahem. Angelus, dressed casually in aero blue robes, or at least, would he considers casual. They're on the dressier side, worn neatly, even though his face is red as he enters the pub, from cold and from the exertion of playing around. The youth is alone now though as he comes into the pub, but at a look around he sighs, silently wishing he wasn't. Apparently upperclassmen have taken over the pub. Eh - maybe he'll pick up some gossip while he sits quietly. Or - Angelus grins as his blue eyes land on Alphard. Now there's a cool dude worth hanging out with right there. Angelus doesn't say anything until he approaches closer to the table Alphard is at. "Black," he greets, dipping his head politely to the sixth year.

The boy's name, specifically, means nothing to Fabia; but the surname, of course, Black… Well, he looks sixteenish, and it's only wine, after all. She sets down the glass next to his notebook and scoops up the coins, popping them into her frilly little apron, which by this time jingles slightly with her movements. "I know the feeling," she remarks sympathetically, "bless you, sweetie," and she moves away, gliding between tables, offering a nod here and a greeting there to those regulars she has become acquainted with in the past week. She has one eye on the tea-tray she sent down — half those things are her own, after all — and her eyes widen when she sees Medusa's activities with the flask. Well, well. That'll be a line on the bill, to be sure. A little surcharge for bringing one's own booze into a pub. It's not as though she couldn't afford it.

"Oh, well that explains everything," drolls Medusa. She offers the flask to Douglas and reclaims her cigarette as her gaze follows Gus' approach to the bar. Leaning in to Douglas, she lowers her voice, "Wily old birds like that don't fool easily. Those diamonds were earned. Gus should use his Gallic charm and play the pretty boy angle. It will have been a while since she had someone that young beneath her and judging by her saucy French maid-esque outfit she likes to play games. He might learn a thing or two to share with Lillian." Advice doled out she kisses Douglas' cheek and then declares, "I need some attractive girls to throw at Kaiden Sykes so he will help me. List some names."

Alphard grimaced at being repeatedly refered to as 'sweetie', but didn't argue the fact as long as there was in fact wine in front of him, and the old hag was leaving him alone. His notebook carefully unfurled once more, which he took to leafing through absentmindedly while he sipped from his glass. Apparently the vintage suited him, or perhaps it was just the price that did. Expensive meant better, right? Every time!

"Eibon." It was a neutral greeting, followed up a moment later with a casual gesture with his glass that said the younger kid could sit.

Augustin lurks at the bar, trying not to eye Fabia's martini like a hawk with a mouse.

Douglas snorts a laugh, nudging Medusa in the side. "You've met Gus before, right? He couldn't chat up a pillarbox. If he switches the drinks out, I'll go chat up the old biddy. Doesn't get more gronk than some ancient woman who's probably older than your grandmother, right?" He sniffs at the flask thoughtfully, then takes an experimental sip, wrinkling his nose. "Ew. Um, right. Attractive girls. Briar Crocker? Isn't she with him anyway? Or am I getting confused."

Medusa watches Rousseau work his magical stare on the bar. "Not even points for effort at the moment." She takes another drag off the cigarette and chases down the nicotine with a sip of her doctored tea. "Kaiden Sykes is not dating Briar Crocker. They hate each other because he was stupid and did date her last year but wasn't entirely faithful. Plus he's a Sykes, not a chance of him ever going near her again given how the whole family are devoted followers of," Medusa flicks the pendant Douglas is wearing, "the Truth and last time I checked she's still only a half-blood which is nowhere near good enough for the Sykes."

Behind the bar again Fabia weaves in between the two busy wenches who have remained there all along, pulling pints and dishing up platefuls of steak and kidney pie and doing all the things that barmaids do. She flattens herself against the wall whilst a tray of drinks goes past, sipping thoughtfully at her own. Her apron has begun to feel heavy. Perhaps it's time to empty it into the box under the counter. Looking left and right, as though at a zebra crossing, she steps forward to the bar, sets her already-half-empty glass on the counter below it for a moment, among various empties, and kneels smoothly in order to decant what she can't help thinking of in some sense as 'prize money'.

Gus heaves himself stomach-first onto the bar and oh-so-smoothly switches Fabia's half-empty glass for the totally empty glass in his hand. And the deed is done. He scuttles back to the table and sets down his prize in front of Douglas with a triumphant, "Hah! I /win/."

"What about Rowle?" Douglas suggests, leaning an elbow on the table, then straightening in surprise as Gus returns with the prize. "Merlin's beard, he's only gone and done it," he breathes, giving his friend a broad grin and a clap on the shoulder. "Nice one, mate! Fair play!" He takes up the martini, sniffing it, then takes a tiny sip, running his tongue over his lips thoughtfully.

Snatching back her flask Medusa closes it and puts it away. "Hmmm, perhaps. He does like them younger." She looks at Augustin and smirks, "Well done, Rousseau. I didn't think you ha - Douglas, don't drink that. You don't know where that woman has been and worse it could be a poorly distilled gin." She pulls a face, "Or vodka." Because a vodka martini would be a sin of great proportions. Medusa sips a bit more tea. "Rowle might do nicely. She's bookish and doesn't stuff her bra." Looking between the two boys she suddenly thinks of something, "So what does Douglas have to do now in order to win?"

When Fabia's face appears again above the bar, it very soon wears, in addition to its thorough but tasteful layering of cosmetics, a mildly puzzled look. She has reached for her martini; and she has found an empty glass. Did she, after all, swallow the rest of it before she put it down? … Well, she concedes privately, a small giggle escaping her lips, she may have done. Still, the situation's easily mended. She leans down with (under the circumstances) surpassing grace, and retrieves from under the bar one of the *new* cocktail shakers, very sleek aluminium and crystal creations she brought up herself from London the other day, and, her own personal bottles of gin and vermouth, and so on and so forth.

"He's gotta chat up the least likely bird in this joint," Augustin says with a slightly evil grin. "Unless of course you, Medusa, as his girlfriend, forbids him to. In which case, Dougie, I'll take my money, now."

Angelus considers as he regards the sixth year, flicking his gaze to his notebook. He frowns and is about to turn away from the table when he gestures an invite. A grin flashes across his face along with surprise, but then he's dropping into a seat and resting his arms on the table. "What's been going on?" Angelus asks curiously. His eyes flick off to scan the place, but his gaze doesn't linger at the upperclassmen at the bar, almost pretending as if hadn't seen them.

"The most unlikely girl?" Rather than annoying Medusa she snickers. "Let's see…" Her icy blue gaze travels the length and breadth of the public room of the tavern, searching for the most perfect candidate for Douglas' charms. "I think…her." A slender finger points at the dowdiest looking barmaid, one who looks to be only just slightly older than Douglas and Medusa themselves. "She will do nicely. Now go earn the money for my present Douglas. You know what expensive tastes I have."

"Going on?" Alphard asked casually as he reclined in his seat. His notebook once more closed up, and this time was returned to his wizard robes' inner pocket. "Well, right now I'm expecting we'll see the conclusion of Rousseau and Macmillan's bet. I'm sure they have one. They've had their heads close together and were giggling like little girls while stealing the old hag's drinks. A bet if I've ever seen one."

Humming slightly to herself, Fabia shakes her lovely lovely cocktail and leaves the resultant mess of shaker, jigger, and bottles behind her as, glass in hand, she hurries round the edge of the bar to claim a stool the previous tenant of which has just got up to leave. "Goodnight, sweetie," she says to him, "I do hope we'll be seeing you tomorrow." And, ah, she sits; bliss. Her feet are just on the point of commencing to kill her. Belatedly, now that she's across from the mess, she notices it; and she waves to the nearest bar wench (the dowdy one, as it happens) and points her toward it. "Do please pop things in the sink," she tells her, coaxing rather than commanding, "and run upstairs with the bottles." And lo! the dowdy bar wench is gone via the Staff Only door, to return? Who knows?

Douglas snorts a laugh, draining a good half of his butterbeer. "Too easy, Gus, old man. Too easy. Just watch and learn. She'll be falling all over me in no time." He rises, pats Medusa on the shoulder, and slides out from the table to approach the bar, one thumb tucked into his belt and sauntering with a deliberate, practiced ease, the whole gait designed to show off his physique. He rests an elbow on the bar, looking down the length of it, ready to dazzle with wit and charm, and his best smile already fixed in place… and she's gone. There is a moment of bemused puzzlement, and he scans over the barmaids again to be sure, then looks back over to Medusa and Augustin with an exaggerated 'what now?' sort of shrug.

Gus chin-nods toward Fabia, and raises his eyebrows in an obvious "I dare you" silent challenge.

Medusa snorts a laugh at Gus, "You think he's going to lose. Think about it Augustin. If you were her," she nods towards Fabia, "I mean she must be what…sixty if she's a day? Sixty, your life is some yokel bar in Hogsmeade and every couple of weekends all these lusty good-looking teenage boys with their rampant hormones and desire to both be devirginated and be noticed by the opposite sex — it must be like some kind of a candy shop." She shakes her head, her faith clearly behind Douglas' charms or rather Fabia's undoubted gagging-for-it-ness, and gives Douglas a 'go for it' motion towards Fabia. Go on Macmillan, ooze that charm.

Douglas purses his lips, then steels himself, swivelling back round to face Fabia this time and flashing her his best smile. "Hey, I'm sorry, but do you have raisins here? If not, then how about a date?" He raises a brow, suave as he can manage, and runs a hand through his hair before offering it to the older woman. "I'm Doug Macmillan. And you're gorgeous."

In her splendid furs and diamonds, her cocktail frock and frilly pinny, Fabia swivels slightly on her bar-stool, toward Douglas. The heel of one shoe unhooks itself automatically from the crosspiece and her leg extends to its full length, giving her rather the pose of a lady in a Muggle fashion-plate. "Ah, so I hear, so I hear," she breathes, amused, over the rim of her cocktail glass.

Did Douglas really use that line? Medusa shakes her head, "That was appalling. Where is my whispering bee when I need it?" She looks at Gus, "You are an awful wingman, Gus. You should have taught him some better lines."

Gus slides a glance to Medusa, and laughs. "I think that… he's going to chat her up and… he's not going to be able to handle her," he tells the girl. "I mean… the lad stands no chance." He laughs. "At all!"

"Well, I was just wondering if it was hot in here," Douglas gamely continues, lifting a finger to attract a member of staff, then pointing to Fabia's drink. "Then I realised, no, it's just you."

"Bet?" Angelus quirks a brow and his gaze trails towards the upperclassmen at the bar. He hums thoughtfully, tilting his head curiously as he considers. His blue eyes watch the two older boys and a smirk touches at Angelus' lips. Sure, okay - he'll sit, relax, and speculate how he's supposed to behave when he's older. Perfect role models, right? Angelus lifts his head when he's asked about an order by one of the barmaids, and he asks for a butterbeer politely. In imitation to Alphard, Angelus lounges in his seat, kicking back and relaxing.

Medusa shakes her head and sips her tea. She puts her cigarette out in the tea leaves creating a soft hissing sound when heat meets damp. "Honestly, sometimes I wonder just where he gets them from. Do you think he has a notebook in his bedside cabinet where he jots them down before bed each night?" The question is posed to Gus as the pair of them watch the Douglas-Fabia show.

The game young Gryffindor is now the cynosure of the old woman's big emerald green eyes. "I imagine you've heard," she purrs, lowering her gaze at him as she sips her martini, "one or two interesting things about redheads…" Her empty hand glides up, diamonds sparkling, to touch her sleek henna'd hairstyle. "And," she leans just slightly forward, lowering her voice so that his friends won't hear this part, "bursting into flame."

"I have no idea," Gus admits to Medusa. He watches in fascination the scene unfolding between Douglas and Fabia. "What do you think you'll do if she asks him to the back?" he wonders. "And if he goes?"

"I can't believe that guy, I really can't. He defies any sort of logic or understanding." Alphard slowly shook his head as he listened to the lines Douglas was delivering. Despite himself he leaned forward just a little when the whispers got so hushed he couldn't catch anything. He glanced towards Angelus, rolling his eyes, then languished back again. It took dedicated effort to look the exact right sort of nonchalant cool kid that Alphard was going for.

"Naturally," Medusa tells Gus, "I expect she will fancy him. What is not to fancy?" She looks Douglas over and a sly grin curls up one corner of her mouth. Aware that she looks like a besotted fool she shakes it off and covers it up with another sip of her tea. "The backrooms aren't that fancy. Just a little more quiet. Douglas likes to win a bet as much as any of us, but you have to decide if you think it is worth making your best mate into a whore for a few sickles." Clearly if Douglas does do anything he shouldn't with the old bat Medusa will blame Gus.

"All of it true?" Douglas asks, leaning back a little even as Fabia leans forward. "I mean, you're burning me up." He glances back towards Medusa and Augustin with a quick flash of a triumphant smile. "So, I'd offer to buy you a drink, but you've beaten me to it. Can I make it up to you? Dinner at eight?"

"Oh… my…" Gus breathes, staring hard at Medusa. He even leans in, peering at her face. "You /like/ him. You really, actually /like/ him," he half-whispers. "I don't believe it!" Then he laughs. "Like you'll let him win," he says. "Because if he really did go back with her how would that reflect on you, eh?"

"I like a Marie Dressler film as much as the next girl, sweetie," Fabia drawls, extracting the olives from her drink and drawing one delicately from the end of the stick with her very red lips. She bites into it, just once, and swallows it as it is. "But don't you have to be in for the night rather soon? How much time," she slides the two remaining olives back into the glass, and reaches out with exquisitely manicured, heavily bejeweled, undoubtedly elderly fingers, to graze his soft brown hair, "do you mean to waste, in your pursuit of truth?"

Medusa gives Gus an odd look, "Of course I like him. I wouldn't be dating him if I didn't like him, would I?" She quickly lifts a hand, palm facing him, "Nevermind, don't answer that I can tell by your surprise that you think I would." Her pale head shakes as her hand comes to rest on the table, "I am sick and tired of people thinking so little of Douglas. You of all people shouldn't be that way. He's — forget it." She looks back at the pair at the bar. "I don't manipulate Douglas, Augustin, but I wouldn't expect you to believe that." Medusa falls silent as she finishes her tea, placing the cup carefully in the saucer.

To his credit, Douglas doesn't actually flinch when the old touches him, although his smile does flicker to one of worry for a second, and he glances towards his buddies for support. "Um," he decides, sophistication and suavity rapidly departing, "Well, I don't think spending time with you is wasting time. Um. Is it?"

"Well," Gus says. "There's liking someone, and there's /liking/ someone. You /like/ him." But he seems happy with this. "Oi, now. I never said I don't think well of Douglas. He's me mate, after all." He shrugs. "Even if he's in that unfortunate club." He rolls his eyes a bit. "The point is… I'm just happy for him, is all. Why do you have to automatically jump to the worst conclusion about me, eh?"

Fabia's hand slides through Douglas's hair, trapping a short strand or two between her fingertips, twisting it gently. "Certainly not." She brings her glass to her lips, and gives him a low-lidded, smouldering look as she drinks a generous mouthful of the clear, fragrant cocktail. "You may almost have reached the end of your time at Hogwarts, but there is still your informal education to be considered… isn't there?"

"You're the one who told me not to date him in the first place," Medusa reminds Gus. "So is it surprising that I'm suspicious?" She starts to get to her feet. "Look, I'm going to go." She lifts the hood of her black fur coat up over her pale hair, "I'll see you later, Gus," and begins to make her way to the door.

Douglas looks more alarmed as she plays with his hair, and downright panicked when she pulls out the bedroom eyes. "Um. Uh. Well. We can have dinner. Right? And. Um. See how it goes. Another night, maybe."

Douglas's elderly conquest manages to sustain the sultry look for another three or four seconds, before it melts away into amusement. "Oh, sweetie," she gasps, between peals of laughter, "not if you were the last—" She pats his arm, but in a purely grandmotherly capacity. "I do like younger men — but not green boys who wouldn't know what to do with me! Besides, as soon as the pub shuts I'm off to London for supper at Quag's with the gentleman who gave me," she pets her diamond necklace, "*this* the last time we met. Here," she presses her half-a-martini into his hand, "you look as though you need this more than I do." She has turned suddenly contrite, and looks just a touch worried about him. "Oh, your face — your face. I'm sorry, but I just couldn't resist playing a little."

Angelus is picking up all these behaviours now so that he can be better, cooler, in his sixth year than any of the upperclassmen now. Come back in a couple years after graduating and see how well he's running the school. Or maybe that's just what the confident youth is imagining and really not going to be his future? That would be a shame. In any case, Angelus relaxes in his seat, going over his own thoughts as his gaze is at the bar. He gives his head a shake when his drink is placed in front of him, and he grins, leaning to the table as he says, "Brilliant, thank you, ma'am."

Medusa stops near the door only to turn back again, not towards Augustin but towards the bar. She makes her way over to Douglas and Fabia. "I am sure that being an advanced age you have a lot of experience to offer," this is her way of nicely calling Fabia old, "but this one…he's mine." She reaches out and grabs the front of Douglas' jumper to pull him down so that she can kiss him.

Douglas is at least mostly relieved when the old woman stops and laughs, giving an awkward smile and just holding the martini in his hand. But then Medusa, late in her wingman duties, but thankfully still present, comes by for a snog, and all is once more well with the world. As she pulls away again, he settles back in his seat with a 'what can you do?' shrug for Fabia, and knocks back the martini in one, promptly pulling a face and shuddering.

Alphard gave Douglas and Fabia one last look, complete with an expression of derision, then drew his notebook back out. Medusa's public claiming was thoroughly ignored. "Listen, don't take this the wrong way, Eibon. I was planning on doing a bit of reading and drinking, so I'm going to do that." And just because Angelus had come to join him didn't mean that Alphard felt obliged to change his plans. "But, feel free to sit here.." or not, the latter unvoiced sentiment added with a lazy flick of his wrist. "We Magijugend stick together, and so forth, and so forth. All I'm saying is, if I happen to ignore you completely for the next couple of hours, don't take it personal, or a reflection on your personality. Good, good." And for the next few hours he intended to drink his wine, doodle with his notebook, and ignore everything and everyone.

"Annnnnnnd I win," Gus says. He takes a long drink of his butterbeer and grins across the room at Douglas. He rubs his fingers together, and then makes a beckoning motion.

Without a drink for once in her life, Fabia clasps her hands together in delight at the youthful romance suddenly unfolding before her. "How sweet! Of *course* he's yours," she says to Medusa, "I've got a much better one meeting me in London tonight. Ah," and this at Douglas's most recent, gin-inspired face, "not used to it? You wouldn't have *survived* a night out with me. Still, sweetie, thank you for the laugh."

"I'll see you later," Medusa tells Douglas. Her gaze flits to Fabia and she looks amused. "Thank you for the tea, it was excellent." With that she turns to leave, giving Gus a decidedly un-ladylike hand gesture on the way out.

"Who says you'd survive a night out with me?" Douglas returns to Fabia, setting the glass down and shaking his head with a half smile. "Um. Thanks for being a sport. Even if you did just make me lose my bet," he mentions, lowering his voice considerably.

This puts a very different complexion upon things. "Oh! You had a *bet* on," gasps Fabia, in a low voice, leaning in closer, but this time without the same… sensual menace. "Is it too late? Is there anything I can do?"

"Wha —?" Gus says at Medusa's hand gesture. "What did I do?" he asks, completely at a loss. "Women are /nuts/. You tell 'em you're happy for 'em and they do that…" He shakes his head. "Crazy." Then he stands up and saunters over toward Douglas, just in time to catch Fabia leaning toward him. "Hulloooooo," he drawls.

Douglas gives Fabia a meaningful Look, casually then leaning his elbow on the bar. "But now she's gone," he notes with a nod to the door, "you can stop pretending. I'll come and get you just before closing, shall I?" He glances to Augustin as he approaches, giving him a smug smile and rubbing his own thumb and forefinger together, hand out.

Naturally Fabia takes these assorted hints. Ignoring Augustin's arrival, she looks deep into Douglas's eyes as she slithers down from her barstool to lay her hand lightly, caressingly upon his arm. "I'll be waiting," she murmurs, in a voice rich with carnal promise. Her hand lingers on his arm just a second longer than is needful; a hint of a smile touches her lips. Then she turns on her heel and wafts away in a cloud of fur and silk and expensive French scent.

"Pfffffffft," Augustin says. "I don't believe it for a second. Pay up, chum. It was nice of her to try to help you win, but…" he shakes his head. "Can't fool me." He makes a beckoning gesture again. "If you need to borrow some funds to buy her a gift, I'll loan it to you, though. All you gotta do is ask, you know that."

"Nuh uh, she wants me bad," Douglas insists good naturedly, even as he fishes in his pocket for coins. "Here, I'll owe you the rest," he compromises, handing over the four or five sickles he actually has. "I've got this plan to make her a Christmas present anyway. I just need to melt down the silver to do it."

Angelus' blue eyes watch Alphard in silence as he speaks. A brow lifts a tad, and his mouth twitches as if to frown, but he stops it with a smirk. The youth just shrugs, flicking a hand through the air in front of him as if to say 'go ahead, don't let me stop you.' He's just here for refreshments and to pick up on how the older years behave. He lifts his butterbeer and drinks, and pulls out some coin that he lays on the surface of the table. Then a young boy in Angelus' year dashes in, pauses for a second to look around, and then darts over towards the boy. "Hey, Gel, you have come, check it out. It is /brilliant/." Turning onto his year mate with a wide grin, Angelus tilts back his head in a gesture and slides his chair back and stands. "Right, I'm following." And in a lower voice the boy relaying the message explains roughly the situation as they head out.

At just this moment, when Douglas's finances are at their lowest ebb, one of the bar wenches slaps a bill down in front of him. No, two bills. His own for the Butterbeers he got in, and Medusa's… which lists two items. A more than usually expensive pot of tea; and a somewhat larger surcharge for Bringing One's Own Booze Into Licensed Premises.

Gus chuckles and accepts the coins, sliding them into his pocket. He trusts Doug. "Oh, yeah?" he asks. "What is it?" There's a glance down at the bills, and Gus pulls out money and slaps it down as casual as you please, like there was no question of him not picking up the tab. Since, you know, it's his turn and all.

Douglas just gives Gus a silent, relief filled nod of thanks as the bill is dealt with, although he does glance at the 'tea' line and his eyes widen considerably. Shaking his head, he admits, "I was going to make her a necklace. You were going to do the mould for me. I've seen your whittling. Oh, yeah, Gus, will you do a mould for me?"

The Staff Only door behind the bar opens a crack; Fabia's face appears. She attempts to catch Douglas's eye, quirking a brow at him. Did it work?

"Yeah, sure, what're friends for?" Augustin leans against the bar. "What's the necklace of?" he asks. "Not like that ridiculous thing you've gone on." He means the Eye of Truth.

Douglas taps the pendant around his neck. "This got me out of a year's worth of Pringle. I'd say it's worth it. And I dunno yet. I'll come up with something. Look, um," he glances to the door. "I'll catch you later, all right?"

Not quite able to overhear the boys' conversation over the chatter on either side, and unwilling to linger in case she spoils things again, Fabia shuts her Staff Only door with exquisite care and tip-toes up the stairs behind it. She's not, after all, quite ready for her DATE.

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