(1938-10-22) A Piano Walks Into A Bar
Details for A Piano Walks Into a Bar
Summary: Half past five in the Broomsticks. A piano arrives. Takeshi goes slightly off his head. These facts are not necessarily related.
Date: October 22nd, 1938
Location: 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.

It is fortunate that Fabia Fairfax, landlady regnant of the Three Broomsticks, confided to her valet Frid Lee that she was expecting a piano, and that he in turn thought to notify Madam Tabitha, the manageress: for without this vital intermediate link in the chain, she'd not have had the earthliest it was coming and she'd have sent it back and absolutely declined to pay.

She looks, in fact, rather inclined to send it back anyway, on general principles, and to the devil with these two gentlemen in overalls. But Fabia's wishes were made clear; and all she can do is purse her lips, whilst the first overalled gentleman holds the front door open and the second one's wand expertly levitates the piano — a handsome mahogany upright — inside…

"Sorry we're late, love," the one holding the door explains cheerfully, "emergency organ-tuning in East Dulwich!"

"I don't know where you're going to put it," Madam Tabitha sniffs, smoothing her apron; and then, her habitual nosiness getting the better of her: "How's tuning an organ an emergency, then?"

"When it's in advance of some poor sod's funeral," the one with the wand puts in, gesturing delicately upward to help his burden clear the stoop.

By now these operations are surely the cynosure of all eyes.

After checking out his competition in the local sweet shop Michel has decdied he wants tea and quite possiblly something to eat. However the effeminate blonde male seems to be having a run of bad luck. A piano is blocking the path into the Three Broomsticks. He doesn't seem to mind this though. He glances around the street and waits until the piano has been moved inside a ways before he too steps in and slips into the pub's main room with a smile on his face. Settling at a more central table he glances around waiting paitently to be served.

Upon approaching the Three Broomsticks with Takeshi, Rena had quite easily spotted the arrival of the grand instrument in question, just as it was being levitated through the open doorway. Now, her dark eyes go quite wide and she exclaims with breathless excitement: "Is it… could it be?" The poor healer at her side will find his arm suddenly grabbed in the excitement. "It is! It's a PIANO!" She beams, looking at Takeshi as if expecting him to be just as enthusiastic.

Rena practically jumps up and down impatiently, waiting for her chance to run for the pub's entry now. Immediately following Michael, she slips in through the door. And now, it would seem that she has only eyes for the piano.

Takeshi is actually out of his bright yellow robes, a simple black suit and tie, with a white dress shirt what he is wearing today. While a simple black canvas satchel hangs off his side, as Rena squeezes his arm in excitement, "Are?" he says softly, blinking a few times looking at the Piano then back to Rena with a smile, not being nearly as shy around her has he had been in the past, "Yes… umm… it is…" he mummers looking at it then back her.

As he seems so excited he follows her into the Three Boomsticks, the smile still on his face, "I take it you like Pianos?" he ask curiously tilting his head a bit to the right.

The Staff Only door bursts open; Fabia rushes through it and around the bar on feet quickened and lightened by her excitement. Today's ensemble from her wholly Mugglish wardrobe consists of a beautifully-made, very fitted but very plain sea-green wool frock, somewhere between an afternoon dress and cocktail attire, its skirt pleated below the belt at her waist which bears an off-centre diamante buckle. Over it, a shawl of cobweb-thin undyed cashmere edged with a scattering of green-lined crystal beads, to give it weight — and a beaming smile.

"It's come!" she gasps, clasping her hands together in delight, hurrying between the tables to stand next to Madam Tabitha. "Oh, do put it — oh, we made room last night, but someone's put the table back again — do shift it, please, into line with those others and then there ought to be plenty of room. I measured, and then I had Frid measure," this to Madam Tabitha, for the commanding officer doesn't take a direct hand when there's a sergeant in the room.

And Fabia takes a step nearer the hovering piano, not quite into the way but very almost, and her eyes devour all that gorgeous mahogany.

She's unaware of the jaundiced look Madam Tabitha gives her behind her back, as she produces her wand — so convenient, to be a witch — and waves the table and its associated chairs to where her employer indicated. Luckily no paying customers were installed around it at the time…

Michel watches with growing curiousity and a hint of amusment as the piano is moved into place. He tilts his head to one side and looks to the couple that came in after him. They get a warm smile before the blonde eyes look elsewhere once again. Fabia's excitement over piano has him smiling once again with an amused look in those smoky grey eyes.

The bar wenches have been as much struck as the customers by the instrument's advent; but it's not too long before one of them sees that a young man who has nothing to do with pianos has also come in, and, wiping her hand on a towel and dropping it on the counter, comes round the bar and across to Michel's table to ask him: "What can I get you?"

"Oh, yes!" Rena replies to Takeshi, absolutely beaming. "I used to play and sing all the time. But, I 'aven't 'ad a chance at a beauty like that, though. Cor, ain't it lovely?"

A grin is flashed at Michael in return before Rena tugs on Takeshi's arm again, trying to get closer to the instrument. "I wonder who's going to be playing. Maybe they've gone and 'ired someone to provide entertainment 'here?"

Although they haven't known each other long, Takeshi probably hasn't ever seen Rena this excited about anything, yet.

Takeshi smiles warmly, looking over the Piano slowly, his eyes looking at something different then Rena, his eyes sweep across the ornate woodworking, before smiling softly, "It is …very …lovely." he says softly with a small nod, "That would be nice, I suppose, I am not very musically inclined…" he says with a small chuckle, clearly seeming to be happy that, Rena is so excited.

Skillfully manipulated as it is, by a gentleman from the wizarding world's leading music shop, the piano rises above the level of the tables, swivels gently until it's not quite in parallel with the indicated wall — and settles to the floor with a rumbling boom, as every chord within it is struck at once.

"So beautiful!" sighs Fabia, dashing forward to run her bediamonded hand over the lid, now that it's at her level.

"It's a fine instrument, madam," one of the overalled gentlemen assures her, "you won't be disappointed in the sound." They have converged upon it now, sidling — they are both smallish men — into the gap between it and the wall, and removing with a flick of a wand the panel on the back of it. "It'll take us no time at all to tune it, and then you'll see."

"What rapture," Fabia comments approvingly, stepping round the edge of the instrument to look at what they're doing behind it; she reaches up to rest her hand on the top of it (it's a very tall upright, as well as a very ornate one). Her shawl falls from her shoulder into the crease of her other elbow.

There is a pensive, breath-holding moment as the piano hovers over the ground mid-air, but then it is expertly brought down to rest on the floor, and Rena breathes a sigh of relief. Fabia isn't the only enraptured admirer of her new acquisition, clearly!

Coming to a stop near to the instrument - but not near enough to be in the way - the redheaded girl grins at Takeshi: "That's alright. You 'ave your own special 'obbies. You could say songs are one of mine. I'll make music for you sometime - promise!" She gives the man's arm a fond squeeze before releasing him with a sudden look of self-reproach: "'Ere, I've been dragging you along all this time, and you probably want to get something to eat and drink. I'm sorry."

Takeshi smiles softly at Rena, though he still seems a bit shy he hasn't been upset at all by the dragging, "You are… fine Rena" he says slowly with a small nod, "You are excited… and… and… I would like… to hear you… make music…" he says softly, looking at the Piano then back at Rena, "We can… get food…" he says slowly with a small smile towards Rena, "When you are… ready." he says tilting his head at her a bit.

"No. Honest ta goodness. She tol' me, she did: 'I'll gie ye a skelpit lug!' An' I says ta her, I did: 'Keep the heid! Bu', whit's fur ye'll no go by ye.'" Comes a voice that some locals, as well as frequenters of the Broomsticks, will recognize as Isobel Strudwick. Her laugh rings out as she holds the door open. "I'll see ya in the new day. Donnae be a strange ta me, ya here! I mean it now!" She smirks and shakes her head, obviously amused, as she does finally enter into the establishment fully.

With the back of the piano off, of the overalled gentlemen has circled round past Fabia (receiving a warm smile on his way) to unlock the lid which protects the keys. The other has his wand out again, to perform the necessary manipulations upon the strings inside it, whilst his partner strikes the notes.

Fabia looks from one to the other, fascinated, for she's never before seen the wizarding way of tuning a piano; and as the notes ring out, she has one eye on the rest of the taproom, too. A nod to Isobel, upon her entry, for she's a vaguely familiar face; and then she catches sight of Rena, reads her mood accurately enough, and gives her a much warmer look. One understands.

Takeshi's willingness to wait a few minutes is not lost on Rena, and she smiles gratefully. It's been such a long time since she was near any sort of chance at music like this that she's almost beside herself. "You're such a gentleman," she says warmly.

Isobel's entry causes Rena's attention to divert in her direction. Laughing a little, she bounces up on her toes and waves excitedly to the lady before returning her attention to the Piano and its owner. "You got a real beauty there, ma'am," Rena remarks to Fabia with a fond grin. "Don't take me amiss, I love your pub - but if it could've ever used anything, it's song. Looks as though you found a piano what's ready made to fit in 'ere like an 'and in a glove!"

Takeshi smiles softly, at the compliment, "It… seems this… is important to you…" he says softly offering her a smile, as Isobel enters, Takeshi looks up at her for a moment, shuffling a bit. HIs eyes move towards the bar stool and he realizes they are not lined up straight, well straight enough for Takeshi, he begins to straighten them out, taking a step back, before trying again, taking a step back, this just goes on and on.

Offering a smile and a wave to the familiar face that is Fabia, Isobel makes her way further into the establishment…when she sees the piano. "Hot sausage in a bun! Are we gonna have some entertainment tonight? Ooo! Are we gonna have dancin'? Are ya gonna have a ceilidh? I've nae been ta a good ceilidh in a long while. I've nae heard about anythin' happenin'. Have ya been keepin' it a secret?" She grins widely. She waves to Rena as she notices the woman waving to her. "Evenin'…barely, I suppose, bu' still, evenin'!" She chirps brightly. "What do ya think? Does a ceilidh sound good?" She certainly is in a chipper mood this evening. Perhaps it's because of the company she just departed from. Who knows!

"Oh, thank you sweetie," is Fabia's immediate response to Rena; and then, when Isobel's irrepressible temperament makes itself known: "Oh, I hope so! I'm afraid I haven't any plans or any secrets, but I hope we'll have a party every night! Do you play, either of you?" She looks from one young woman to the other, smiling incandescently. "I do, a little, but I don't know what kind of music people would like around here. What would you like? Do tell me…"

Rena watches Takeshi go into OCD mode with a minor hint of concern, but she doesn't do anything to prevent him. It seems best to let him have his space to do what makes him feel more comfortable.

Isobel's sprightly attitude almost outmatches Rena's own enthusiasm over the instrument, and the redhead giggles a little into the back of her hand: "I can't say as I know what a ceilidh is, but it sounds like fun.

Returning her attention to Fabia immediately, Rena suddenly becomes a little self-conscious and ducks her head a little, glancing at the floor: "I, well… I 'aven't played in a while, but I used to, all the time." There is a brief hesitation before she adds: "I mostly play and sing… muggle music."

Takeshi listens to the conversations going on around him, his gaze moves from the stools to Fabia and Rena, then back to the stools, then back to the two, his eyebrow twitches, "The stools are fine…" he says softly in not much more then a whisper, though his gaze moves back to the stools for a moment, "I would… love to umm… hear you play." he says warmly to Rena peeling his gaze off the stools, trying to keep his eyebrow from twitching, "Music is music… muggle or not… I think people… would enjoy it…" he says warmly, his gaze every so often moving back to the stools.

"I tell ya, with the people o' this village? I'm sure if ya plan it, they'll come a-runnin'!" Isobel smiles widely. "I donnae play a thing. M'parents tried ta get the local church pianist ta teach me, but I was…well, I was nothin' but grief ta my poor mother an' father. I regret not focusin' on learnin' how ta play piano." She says softly. Looking to Rena, she smiles. "Ah, a ceilidh. It's a gatherin' tha' usually involves music an' dancin'." She twirls around once for the fun of it. "It's quite the enjoyable gatherin', it is! An' it's been a while since I've heard some muggle music. I grew up on it. But I now only hear it, usually, when I go back ta m'home village."

Tuning a piano is a much swifter business for wizards than mere Muggles: working in unison, the two overalled gentlemen conduct their business in a very few minutes, re-attach the rear panel of the piano and align it neatly with the wall; and Fabia hands them into Madam Tabitha's custody for the settling of their bill, the full extent of which she hasn't really calculated. She had to have a piano, she had to have it quickly (East Dulwich notwithstanding), and it had to be pretty; what more was there to be said upon the matter?

Having left her erstwhile interlocutors for just long enough to — not deal with business, precisely, but palm it off on someone else — Fabia returns to them, beaming, adjusting her cashmere shawl about her slender form. "Oh, I only know Muggle music," she assures them; and, meeting Isobel's eyes with her own big green ones, "I'm sure you can't have been such a disappointment as all that, a lovely creature like you," and, "Shall we try it out?"

She snags a chair from the recently-relocated table (no magic, only her own hands), pulls it across to her new piano, and strikes up a tune in a reasonably straightforward syncopated 5/4 time signature. If you're blue and you don't know where to go to, why don't you go where fashion sits: puttin' on the Ritz…

Takeshi actually left off his straightening of the barstools… Rena blinks, quite reasonably surprised. And now, Isobel looks to her expectantly as well. Needless to say, her cheeks colour slightly, but the music has already been struck up by Fabia, and she just can't resist the syncopated rhythm once it begins.

Almost instantaneously, Rena steps fluidly out to the beat of the song and stops to strike a pose on the accented note before moving again. Then she begins to sing, moving in time to the music like someone who can at least remember their time on stage in the past:

"If you're blue, and you don't know where to go to
Why don't you go where fashion sits?
Puttin' on the Ritz

"Different gowns upon a bevy of high brows from down the levy, all misfits
Puttin' on the Ritz

"That's where each and every lulu-belle goes
Every Sunday evening with her swell girls
Rubbin' elbows

"Come let's mix, where Rockefellers walk with sticks
And umbrellas in their mitts
Puttin' on the Ritz!"

And with that, Takeshi spins on his heels and starts straightening out those darm bar stools, "No… they… are… not… good….!" he says to himself, his eyebrow twitching slightly, his brow furrowed in deep thought, when the satisfied the bar stools are straight he begins to straighten out tables and chairs, "Either… are these…" he says, his hand reaching into his satchel and removing a small bottle of cleaner and a cloth as he starts to clean off all the tables and chairs as he straightens them out, his eye brow still twitching, "No… they are not fine…" he says to no one as he keeps cleaning and straightening out the whole pub, now muttering something or other in Japanese.

While she starts to twirl a little to the music, but when Isobel notices Takeshi, she slowly stops and watches him, almost in a pitying way. "Are ya…is…" She wiggles her nose a little bit. "Well, good ta get everythin' in order, I suppose?" She frowns, wondering if he's alright.

As her hands rise and fall jauntily over the keys, playing through the first few verses of the song, Fabia wiggles slightly in her chair. Her enjoyment of the moment is absolutely palpable — her piano, in her pub, perhaps it's all going to be all right after all — but then the tone of the talk she can hear shifts, and, moving into the next verse, she risks a glance over her shoulder…

The young Asian gentleman is cleaning the pub. And Madam Tabitha is reacting quite as one might expect to the suggestion that the pub is not clean enough already; her mouth hangs open and her eyes are wide, giving her something of the appearance of an elderly haddock.

Nothing more is put upon the Ritz; Fabia leaps up from her chair, and hurries over to Takashi, where he is presently polishing one of the empty tables. "Oh, you're quite right," she says sympathetically, "we did miss a spot there. Thank you for pointing it out. I'll make sure the girls take more care. Won't you come and sit down and have a drink now? You did come in for a drink, didn't you? With that very pretty girl…" Her hand rises, directing his attention to Rena…

Alas, the exuberant music-making is brought to an untimely close as all attention swings in Takeshi's direction. Rena is left hanging in the moment and stumbles to a stop. She hadn't actually noticed what the young man was doing until just then, and her expression falls slightly as she comes back down to earth. Dropping both arms to her sides once more, the redhead gives a faint sigh. Fortunately, nobody seems to be angry with the young man… well, except for that irritable haddock-ish lady over there.

Recovering from the brief sinking feeling quickly, Rena puts on a smile and walks over to join the others with Takeshi: "Let's 'ave that drink, luv, shall we?" She says kindly, reaching out to try and gently stay his hand.

And with that Takeshi dies, the sudden snap of realization hits him as he looks around the pub slowly, "No… umm… it… is… umm… well… umm… is… clean…" he says slowly a heavy set of nervousness now in his tone, his hand moves and recaps his bottle as he looks around, "No… umm… you… you… you… go back to… playing… the piano…" he says slowly putting the bottle and cloth back in his bag, "Did… mean to make… make… a scene." he says, his cheeks now growing bright red and his head hanging low, " he closes his eyes for a moment, trying to just vanish from everyone.

"I don't… drink…" he says slowly before opening his eyes, his hand moving into his pocket as he removes a small piece of paper, starting to fold it, his eyes focus on that, "I apologize, for the inconvenience and hassle that I created." he says slowly, not looking up, "Please, the song was lovely, please continue, you both were doing great." he says softly, his eyes still focused on the the paper he is folding, before turning and slowly moving to walk out of the pub, not saying anything else, just hanging his head and leaving in silence.

"Did somebody say drinks? Eh? Eh? Aye. Le's all have somethin' ta drink." Isobel nods and smiles kindly. "An' I'm payin'!" She chirps. "Really. I mean, I'd say I'm puttin' it on the Ministry's tab, bu' they've wagged a finger at me for doin' tha'." She grins, obviously joking about charging the ministry. She shakes her head at Takeshi. "No. Ya've been no trouble. I'm sure ya've nae been, have ya?" She asks, pointedly looking at Madam Tabitha. But, after a moment, she turns back to Takeshi. "An' hey, I could probably use someone like ya at my place. Someone ta clean up an' organize where I do a terrible job. I could learn from ya!" She says softly. But it's too late. He's leaving. She lets her gaze fall slightly, looking toward a chair back instead.

Takeshi's quick lapse into himself is disheartening to say the least. However, Rena isn't angry or upset… she's just concerned. He exits the pub, looking so dejected that Rena very nearly follows without a word. Remembering herself however, she pauses and offers a faint, uncertain smile to Isobel and Fabia. "I'm awfully sorry about this, luvs." She says in a low voice, "Please don't take offense - 'e can't 'elp 'imself, really. I'm going to go see that 'e's alright."

That being said, the redhead quickly turns heel and makes tracks for the exit. Faintly, her voice can be heard from outside, calling to Takeshi.

"I…" Isobel wiggles her nose again, frowning. "Well, I certainly hope the lad's all righ'." She says, nodding. "You go an' chase after 'im. It cannae be easy for 'im." She smiles. "An' tell 'im that we'd like 'im back here for a lil visit. He shouldnae feel bad for what heppened!" And with that, she plops herself down at the bar. "Firewhiskey! An' make it a double."

It's all rather a mystery to Fabia, but she's a sympathetic sort; she gazes pensively after the departing Takeshi and his self-appointed minder, until well after the door of the pub has shut behind them. She hasn't quite the heart to sit down again at her piano; but, recovering herself, she drifts back behind the bar, and she's the one whose ears catch Isobel's order. "A double? At the double, sweetie," she murmurs, adjusting her shawl again, reaching out to where she could have sworn she last saw that bottle. Really, the places girls put things…

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