(1938-11-17) Scarfy Come Home
Details for Scarfy Come Home
Summary: Douglas has lost… his… scarf. He comes to find it. He and Fabia discuss cigarettes, Muggles, wars, and something about an ostrich.
Date: November 17th, 1938
Location: The Three Broomsticks
Related: Afternoon Calls

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.

Late Sunday afternoon; the tail end of another Hogsmeade weekend. Fabia is helping behind the bar in a desultory sort of way, that one or two of the girls, who were rushed off their feet all through lunchtime and the hours thereafter, might have a rest before the evening drinkers begin to settle in and clamour for booze. She's wearing a little frilly apron over a dark blue velvet frock, and the usual quota of diamonds.

Later than perhaps one might expect, and later than most students, who have already started packing up and heading back to Hogwarts, the messy haired Aberdonian Gryffindor thumps in through the door. Bereft of both scarf and hat, he makes a line directly for the bar, leaning an elbow on it and flashing a grin. "What's a nice lady like you doing in a place like this?" is his opening gambit today. The classics.

"Waiting to be taken away from all this," is Fabia's glib and equally classical retort, chased by a smile. She has just made her first martini of the day and is in fine spirits, in every sense. She inclines her head toward Douglas, as though expecting he'll have something more to say. "What's your pleasure, sweetie?"

Douglas was never a great actor. It's not his thing. He hesitates, leaning a little closer and all too clearly and slowly insists, like some sort of code phrase, "I've… uh… lost my scarf. You know? I think I, um, Left It Here?"

Christ, Fabia's going to have to find some better co-conspirators around here. She looks at him blankly for a second and a quarter, just long enough for his face to start to fall, and exclaims, "Oh, was that your scarf, sweetie? You're a Gryffindor, aren't you? Oh, yes, Tessa found it. We've been keeping it in case someone asked. Let me see…" She plies, pretending to search under the bar for something she in fact placed here personally several hours past; and rises again holding a squishy, scarf-sized package done up in brown paper and string. "Yes, this is it," she assures him, placing it on the bar, beaming. "Anything else?"

Douglas looks more and more worried as she looks blank, then breathes out in relief as the parcel is found. "Ma'am, you are an absolute lifesaver," he insists, with far more gratitude in his tone than a scarf usually merits, no matter how warm and pleasant a piece of clothing it may be. "Um. It wasn't any trouble, was it? Keeping my scarf by, I mean? You didn't have to go out of your way, did you?" He pauses, digging in his pocket to pull out some coins. "I mean, can I give you a thank you for looking after it? You know?"

"No, no," Fabia promises, "it was no trouble, really. You've no idea how little trouble. You can buy yourself a drink, though, if you like," she suggests, wiggling her eyebrows. "Regular custom is always appreciated."

"Drink's a good idea," Douglas agrees readily, sliding onto a stool and setting his scarf parcel on his lap gingerly. "I'll have a.. no, you know what? You tell me what's good," he decides firmly. "I was at the Hog's Head on Friday and we drank… merlin only knows what it was. It was green, and foul. No more of that, whatever it was." He pauses, thinking, then leans in, "And you don't sell fags, do you?"

Fabia makes an extravagant moue. "A very just punishment for drinking at the Hog's Head," she sniffs, pretending to be terribly cross, though she can't quite keep her eyes from twinkling. "Let's see, you don't get on tremendously well with gin or whisky — and apparently not absinthe; I suppose it was absinthe?" She pauses, to see whether the word sounds familiar to him, though depending how much of it he had, it may not… "I'll bring you an orange juice, shall I, with something special in it. You'll hardly know it's booze, you'll just be awfully pleased with the world. And I shan't put an umbrella in it." She winks at him; and her lithe aproned form sashays away into the back.

It looks like orange juice. It tastes — almost like orange juice. And yet, the promised feeling of pleasure in existence is very soon forthcoming…

"What else was it you said? Fags? Sweetie, we don't sell them, but," and from the pocket in her apron, Fabia withdraws a silver cigarette case, monogrammed with 'F', twice, and pops it open, "you can have one of mine if you'll give me a light." They are narrow black cigarettes, gold about the filters.

"Could have been," Douglas admits, shoving a hand into his pocket to pull out his wand, and knocking a dead mouse from the pocket as it's withdrawn. "Done deal… what the hell kind of fags are these, anyway? Some kind of posh smoke?" he queries, claiming a cigarette from the pack and popping it between his lips to light up, mumbling the spell around it and puffing once or twice before offering it over, now lit.

"Sobranie Black Russians," Fabia explains helpfully. She doesn't see the mouse, thank God, with the bar between them. "I don't know, I suppose they might be expensive. Frid buys them for me, and before that my husband bought them. I only smoke one or two at night, usually, but I was desperate for one when I came in today and now you've put me in mind of them again…" She fishes about in her apron pocket again and withdraws a short tortoiseshell cigarette-holder; fits the cigarette into it; and draws happily upon it. Someone further down the bar attempts to get her attention. She is oblivious. "What sort do you like?"

"Frid?" Douglas queries, raising an amused eyebrow. "What, is that your boyfriend or something?" He gestures to the cigarette case hopefully. "So can I cadge one for now, maybe?"

"Oh, go on," Fabia grants, amused, plucking out the half-dozen cigarettes left in the case and pushing them across the bar to Douglas. The case itself she snaps shut and puts away in her apron again. Throughout these manoeuvres her diamond rings glitter. "Frid's my valet, you may have seen him about the pub. My boyfriend," slight smirk, she can't help it, "lives in London. And you won't see him about the pub, because of the same problem I so often have — he hasn't the least notion I'm a witch." She rolls her eyes to heaven.

Douglas flashes a grateful smile as he takes a cigarette for himself and repeats his spellcasting manoeuvre around the fag in his lips, only this time without passing it on. Instead he takes a long drag, savouring the taste for a moment until her words register, and he just stares. "He's a muggle? Really? Why?"

Fabia blows two perfect smoke rings across the bar at Douglas. "Why?" she asks. "Because he's nice-looking and rich as sin and fancies me terribly, why do you think? … Oh, now I've shocked you?" She laughs; and salutes him with her martini before bringing it to her lips and taking a good long swallow.

"But…" Douglas protests, tucking his wand away and taking up his drink instead, "But don't you have to do everything for him? Isn't that just really draining? And what do your family think!"

What Fabia thinks of first, of course, when it's suggested that she might be doing 'everything' for her Muggle boyfriend, isn't what Douglas is thinking. "Oh!" she gasps suddenly. "You mean magic. Oh, you naive and sheltered little thing! One never does magic in front of Muggles; but it is quite possible to live well without it. I did, for," a vague little gesture with the cigarette, one doesn't like to be needlessly specific, "years." She pauses. "I don't say I didn't charm the chill from my bedroom occasionally, though, when we were on tour in the winter, and there was no one else present to notice."

"Oh, I know how to get by without casting spells," Douglas assures her, flashing a crooked grin. "And it's part of my business plan. But why would a lady like you choose to?" He shrugs, taking a puff from his own cigarette and blowing a not quite so perfect smoke ring upwards. He's been practicing. "I mean… I just don't get it. Why not a wizard? I like owls, but I wouldn't want one as a girlfriend. Same with muggles, really."

There's an empty barstool next to Douglas's; Fabia pops her martini glass up onto the bar, and flits round the end of it to perch there. Much more conversational. "Well, perhaps because till recently I didn't know any wizards," she explains reasonably, taking another drag on her cigarette. "I've lived almost all my life in the Muggle world, so of course I've had Muggle lovers. A Muggle husband, too. I hope you're not too appalled, a good pureblooded boy like you — but although there are things in my life for which I might owe the occasional apology, I don't for a moment think that's one of them. I don't like that owl talk of yours, by the way, I don't think it's very civilised."

"I don't mean to cause offence," Douglas is keen to add, pausing to switch between fag and drink, then back again. "I just… well, why? If you don't mind me asking, ma'am. Why would you live like that? With people like that?"

"People like what, sweetie?" Fabia answers instantly, and blows another smoke-ring at him by way of punctuation. "People are just people, whether or not they carry wands. Anyway." She sips her martini. "Wizards know about half-bloods and often don't like them. Muggles don't know about half-bloods, and don't care. No Muggle ever said to me, aren't you glad not to be living with people like that anymore? And there were greater opportunities open to me away from the wizarding world. I couldn't have done what I truly wished to do with my life, pent up in this tiny beehive of a society."

Douglas puffs on his cigarette, absently plucking it from his lips and searching around for an ashtray. "But… well, isn't it dangerous?" he queries, puzzled. "Not that I mind danger. Fearless, me, you know. Um. But muggles spend all their time killing each other?"

"Oh, don't be silly." Fabia reaches along the bar for someone else's ashtray, says, "May I? How kind," and slides it in front of herself and Douglas. "How is it they bring you up so bloody ignorant?" she asks this fine figure of a young Gryffindor.

Douglas nods thanks as he taps ash from the end of the black cigarette, then pauses. "Who're you calling ignorant? Look, I took muggle studies and everything. They basically think there's some giant bloke with a beard in the sky, and they kill each other over deciding what kind of sandals he wears. Or they kill each other because they think they're wizards. Or they kill each other because they're foreign. And there was something about an ostrich."

The serious turn their conversation has taken, can't survive uninterrupted. Fabia giggles so rapturously she has to put her glass down on the bar, and lean her her elbow next to it and her head in her hand, gazing at Douglas with an expression of fond astonishment. "Oh, heavens," she sighs at last. "Is that what they reach you? Sweetie, they don't know a thing about it. Take my word for it. In every way that counts, I am a Muggle, and I tell you Muggles have created beauty," her eyes half-close, in an excess of sudden passion, "and music and art and literature and cities and palaces and gardens beyond anything the wizarding world could offer you… You'll never have a true taste of that, in your Muggle Studies classes; you may never have a taste of it. Wars! Killing! Is that all you think there is in the outside world? And do you think wizards never kill, never hurt one another? I'm a damned sight more afraid of wizards than I am of Muggles, be certain of that." She drains the last of her martini, and waves for another. … Oh. There's that serious tone again.

"I guess they're pretty brave, to try to build anything or whatever without magic," Douglas muses. "I'll grant them that. It takes some balls to put your wand away and live on your wits." He shrugs, taking another puff of the cigarette and blowing a crooked smoke ring upwards. "But I'd hardly go as far as to call you a muggle, ma'am. You're definitely a witch, and a damn good one. I appreciate… you know. Everything. You're a real sport."

Fabia nods. The rhetorical wind has gone from her sails; she draws upon her cigarette just once more and stubs it out in the ashtray she procured a moment ago. Her cigarette holder goes back into her apron pocket, there to spread lipstick-stains upon the white linen to the eventual dismay of Frid. "I'm a useless witch," she argues, "I always was, and I'm worse now; I put my wand away when I was not much older than you are and hardly touched it from that day to this. But I hope I'm a good friend."

Douglas half grins. "I've lost 200 points for Gryffindor since the start of term," he points out. "I'm taking two NEWTs and I'll almost certainly fail one of them. I might pass Charms. I'm not exactly an academic myself, but I'm still a wizard, and I'm proud to be one. I'm proud to be a Macmillan, and I'm proud to stand up and defend my family, my friends, and all wizards if the muggles kick off."

Beneath Douglas's speech there is a murmur from Fabia about 'two hundred' and 'Christ'. She shakes her head, looking at him with wondering eyes, and raises her recently-received second martini in a toast to this magnificent reprobate. (No speeches from her about his responsibility to shape up and wash behind his ears.) And then, of course, he alludes to… "My gentleman in London says we'll certainly be at war next year," she sighs, "in the summer, if not sooner. He made me promise to go into the country the minute it starts. If only he knew!" An extravagant roll of her eyes around the pub.

"Us or them?" Douglas asks, glancing to the window, and suddenly starting. "Shit, I'm going to be late." He sets down the remains of his drink, gathers the parcel from his lap to hug under one arm, and he's off.

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