(1938-11-13) A Fortuitous Meeting
Details for A Fortuitous Meeting
Summary: Fabia meets Farniverous, a recluse who happens to be the creator of saccharine powder. The two hit it off with a business deal.
Date: November 13th, 1938
Location: Back Room - Three Broomsticks

Another early evening in the Three Broomsticks. The proprietress is making her presence known, somewhat more discreetly than was her wont in her first weeks here; she stays much of the time behind the bar, venturing out to deliver the occasional drink to persons whose genuine smiles she has felt now and again.

When a stranger in a cloak accosts her, wishing a word, Fabia pauses, though her eyes are slightly cool (she expects the worst). But when he whispers the magical words (literally), she brightens and makes as though to sit at his side. By some telepathy they agree that this is not the most suitable option, and, with a swirl of her green velvet skirts, she beckons him to follow her into the pub's inner recesses, where they may discuss private business undisturbed.

Being not one of Fabia's usual haunts the back office is bleak. A couple of chairs, a filing cabinet, a desk behind which she sits down with an air of schoolgirlish self-consciousness: it's not at all her milieu.

She clasps her hands and leans her elbows on the edge of the desk, all French scent and curiosity. "Do tell me," she asks, "what about saccharine powder?"

When Fabia meets the man, he introduces himself as, "Farniverous, bah," while trying to wave away two ravens that lurk on his shoulder. His voice is rather deep, clearly brogue, and suffers from years of cheap whiskey and pipe tobacco. He has a shabby, dark appearance, and deep lines run across most of his face. His hands are tough and quite dry, and not at all pleasant to touch. A thick, wiry beard keeps most of his expressions hidden, and long, greasy hair does nothing for his already unsettling appearance.

Once they are in the office, the man seats himself awkwardly and looks about the room with a narrow scowl. The two birds that accompany him squawk on occasion, and he does his very best to keep them from flapping, but it seems a lost cause.

"I am its maker," the man says in his rough, deep voice while narrow eyes squint. "I take it you enjoy my creation."

Fabia has been a trifle on edge in the presence of this unprepossessing gentleman and his corvine companions; and a trifle pleased that, no matter what the state of her relations with Frid, he always comes, no matter how far away she might be, whenever she happens to shriek his name.

But then he says it.

"Yours?" Fabia breathes; she leans across the desk towards him, as her mind connects the faintly familiar name uttered moments ago with that which she read once upon a promptly-lost letter. "Oh, my dear sir. Yes. It's positively delicious!" Her eyes roll back in her head, and then her eyelashes bat twice in his direction. "Thank you so much for the present… But I confess to having been a trifle confused by it. For weeks. Why me? Is it possible we met once, and I somehow, unpardonably, forgot?" she inquires charmingly.

"Mine," the man replies as a bird caws on her left shoulder. He smacks it on the beak, making the creature flap its wings irritably and shake its head. "Accursed creature," he grumbles with a deep scowl. "Well," he continues, scowl still settled, "you are interesting. You will forgive my notice, please. I learned long ago that I have strange tastes, and perhaps too forward. I embraced them, and only approach those who I believe can either understand, or forgive, my oddities." The other bird's feathers ruffle, making him pause, but he soon continues, "I am delighted you enjoyed my treat, however, as I thought you might. As to your question - no, we have never met. Not formally, at least. I have sat in the Three Broomsticks on many an evening, however. And I decided you would enjoy my creation as so few others would never understand it."

Another measure of Fabia's caution melts once she is appealed to in this style. He has strange tastes; he's too forward; he gives her presents… Well, perhaps they're going to get on, no matter that he has the appearance of a particularly dissolute goat. Her wrists come together, she rests her chin in the palms of her hands, which are perfectly French-manicured and glittering with diamonds.

"I // have// been enjoying it…" she whispers, her smile deepening. "With a few close friends, I might add. But — I haven't very much left… I must ask you, Mr Farniverous, would it be possible to come to an arrangement…?" She tilts her head, beaming ingenuously. She wants more. Of course she wants more.

"An arrangement? My dear woman, that is why-" CAW! He reaches over and smacks the bird, again on the beak. Its wings flutter violently and its head tilts. "- why I am here. To sell, that is. I have made as much as I can make, and now I must find those willing to buy. The price is, regrettably, high." He pulls a card from his coat pocket and slides it, face down, towards Fabia. "But if you accept, I can promise the Three Broomsticks shall be the only pub selling my product in all of Britain. A fair deal, I assure you, as you shall receive travelers from across the isle. Assuming my intelligence is correct." One of the birds hops a bit and turns its head. Its black little eyes studies Fabia before its feathers ruffle. The card reads: minimum of two galleons a quarter teaspoon. A ridiculous price, to be sure.

Her chin still supported by the palm of one hand, Fabia reaches out with the other to pick up the card and read the figure. It honestly doesn't mean a great deal to her. And she has enough gin in her to admit to it.

"I'm not sure what sort of price this is," she tells him, smiling ingenuously, holding the card daintily betwxt thumb and forefinger, "but I expect that… if the Broomsticks is to be," and her emerald eyes look deeply, trustingly into his (it's not all genuine, but the day Fabia Fairfax forgets how to look engagingly helpless in front of a man, will be the day Hell freezes over), "the only pub in Britain to serve Saccharine Powder… and how I should like it to be! You are so kind to suggest it… we can simply charge enough to cover it, and," a hint of laughter in her voice, "to pay for the little bit I put in my cocktails, too…" The nearest raven startles her; she draws away, her lips parting and her tongue running over them, then masters herself. "But, er. Oh, dear, what was it Madam Tabitha was telling me the other day? She's the manageress here, she has been for many years, she's always trying to tell me how things are usually done, and I'm afraid I'm not usually awfully attentive… Oh, I think it was called… a discount for volume?" She blinks at Farniverous, eyelashes fluttering.

Farniverous listens quietly, though his lips rise to reveal several yellowed teeth. "Yes, yes, inde-" he begins, but at the mention of "volume" and "discount" he blinks several times. "Eh?" he asks, apparently not having processed that such a request might be made. A bird pecks at his hair while he leans back. "Oh, why-" he stammers, gazing into her fluttering eyes. "-why, well, yes. I suppose it might be arranged. Two kilograms, well, that is… let's see. Twenty grams to a tablespoon, and that's .02 kilograms. Carry the three… and the four… aha, one point one galleons is the reduced amount for two kilograms, but honestly an even one is far easier, and it shall take me a good while to make such a total. I can give you five hundred grams, which is half a kilogram, tomorrow. Delivered personally. It should last two weeks of heavy use. Acceptable?"

"One galleon," Fabia breaths out, a note of longing entering her tone, "and the first half a kilogram tomorrow… Why, Mr Farniverous, I believe we have a deal." She takes his hand, and then rises slightly from her chair to press her perfect red lips against his cheek.

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